LA, as you may have heard, is a driving city. I’d never owned a car before I moved here, but I now spend a good quarter of my life sitting behind the wheel (and I’m one of the lucky ones who works from home). In Los Angeles, cars take the place of outfits – people are constantly scoping each other through windows and windscreens, so you better make sure that you look good in yours. Cars are where you bond with friends, have awkward first kisses, escape the smog in pursuit of cleaner air, go crazy with frustration sitting on the 405 at rush hour, and try to avoid the temptation to Instagram the sunset on Sunset.
Like everyone, I view the traffic as probably the worst thing about living in Los Angeles. But every cloud has a silver lining, and the upside of sitting in your car for hours on end with nothing to do but read bumper stickers is that you listen to music. Properly. All the time. LA is where I rediscovered the joy of putting on a new album and riding with it all the way through to the end – something I hadn’t done since the time-rich days of my student years.
Unfortunately, public radio here is appalling – I like DJ Quik and Tupac, but that doesn’t mean I want to listen to DJ Quik and Tupac all day long, thanks KDay – and there are only so many driving playlists I can be bothered to curate. Which is where Soulection comes in. Since a friend (from London, ironically enough) told me about this Long Beach-based radio show a few weeks ago, I have listened to it non-stop. I listen to it while I’m making coffee in the morning, I listen to it while I’m getting dressed to go out, and I listen to it – of course – while I’m stuck on LA’s clogged freeways, going nowhere very fast. Offering the perfect mix of new wave R&B, soulful house, and nerve-soothing breakbeat (plus releases from the small roster of artists on its own burgeoning label), Soulection somehow sounds good in every setting, at every time of day.
If you’re not already, you should listen to it, too.