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My Top Five is a series of WHQR staff blogs that lists some of our favorite (or least favorite) odds and ends. Topics vary from music, to local life, to history, and to whatever else might catch our attention. Keep your eye out for some interesting stuff from our staff!

My Top Five Music Beds

Top 5 Music Beds

When you’re driving along in your car, getting your local and national news from your public radio station, you might hear a song in the background that strikes your fancy. It may serve as a break between news stories, or it might be under an underwriting message. Before you can get out your phone to Shazam the selection, it’s gone.

These brief musical interludes are called “music beds.” And I take great pride and joy in selecting mine when hosting WHQR’s Saturday Weekend Edition. I’ve made a fair amount of mixes to use while on air, and their names play on the “music bed” terminology; my CDs have titles such as music inflatable mattress, music sleeping bad, music pull-out couch, music hammock…you get the idea. I like to think I’m punny.

Here are a few of my favorite tracks.

1. “Let Me Tell You About My Boat” by Mark Mothersbaugh, The Life Aquatic Official Soundtrack

Watch the video here.

Wes Anderson consistently puts together fantastic soundtracks. The scores are often as playful as his film’s characters, and just as complex. While I frequently use his scores from such movies as The Darjeeling Limited, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The Grand Budapest Hotel, this track from The Life Aquatic always seems perfect for those early mornings on WHQR’s Saturday Weekend Edition. It’s whimsical, upbeat, with just enough pep to get you moving as you start the day.

2. “Something Elated” by Broke For Free

Watch the video here.

Broke For Free is one of my go-to bands for music beds, and this track is the one that got me into their sound. Tom Cascino creates these electronic beats, and they can all be downloaded for free on his website. So really, the band name isn’t fooling around.

3. “See” by Tycho

Watch the video here.

Tycho has become quite possibly my hands-down favorite for music beds. The music is transcendent, organic yet composed technically. I was thrilled to see them at Ziggy’s by the Sea back in June, and I can only hope they’ll come back to Wilmington soon. Give it a listen, feel uplifted.   

4. “Murderers” by John Frusciante

Watch the video here.

My friends and coworkers know that my favorite part of hosting a news program is selecting the music beds. I get to pretend to be DJ, and what’s cooler than that? In any case, my pals are kind enough to send me song ideas whenever they hear an instrumental that they think might work, and Frusciante’s “Murderers” was a particularly good recommendation. The guitar riff is relatively simple, but then when layered with the synth, it’s got a full body sound that carries me through my breaks.

5. “Outlaw” by Emancipator

Watch the video here.

Emancipator gained exposure by opening for Bonobo, another one of my favorite music bed artists. Producer Douglas Appling’s beats are groovy, with just a touch of melancholy—perfect for rainy days or winter nights. Or lazy Saturday mornings, listening to WHQR public radio!