🔊 seeking a soundtrack for the end of the world

audio escapism in 2021

You are cordially invited to this week’s brew of High Tea, your dispatch of 🔥 internet culture served piping hot. This week: chasing pavements with Drive & Listen, from Mexico City to Milan in an afternoon with Radio Garden 🌱  and cameras OFF for getting boozy in our very own bedroom bars.

Drink up 🐸☕️

p.s. if you’re not a paid subscriber, here’s what you missed from this week’s Bucks Fizz: our Thursday dispatch covering the best of TikTok’s unsigned and emerging talent.

🥂 Olivia O'Brien, Jessie Murph & VELLA

what we’ve been sipping on:

Quarantine 1.0 was all about Zoom BYOBs, an attempt to replicate such revered traditions as the boozy pub quiz with some virtual facetime, padding the sides of our lonely lockdown moments with faux post-work drinks. This first iteration of replacing the immediacy of missed socials as quickly as possible was, let’s be honest, a well-intentioned call to arms, fuelled by the desire to maintain the connection to something bigger than ourselves. With virtual social events of 2020 almost exclusively occupying the domain of screen (remember that brief obsession with Houseparty?!), the money move was very much “seeing is believing”. Then, the Zoom fatigue hit hard.

Now 11 months in, and truly over getting hopelessly drunk alone in our rooms, we’re witnessing a shift to replicate something past the face-to-face two-dimensional hang. Enter Quarantine 2.0: atmosphere, ambience and...vibes, tbqh. We’re now choosing to teleport to opposite ends of the globe, peeping into the lives, sights and sounds of complete strangers and cultures unfamiliar. We’re looking for new #povs (point of views, fyi) but this time it’s cameras off, volume set to max. Escapist and exploratory in nature, *hearing* is believing as we’re searching for intimacy and connection outside of our immediate social circles, as formerly dictated (and perhaps limited) by the confines of geographical closeness. As Ryan Dawidjan said: “ears are the new thumbs”. 

This trend is testament to the wider adoption of social audio, no doubt accelerated by the pandemic; Clubhouse just hit 6 million iOS downloads, Twitter Spaces are beginning to pop off as more testers are rolled out  – with our fave feature of closed captions a marked step toward increased accessibility 👏. TL;DR social audio is having its moment. 

*taps mic* is this thing on? Let us present you the audio experiences, powered by indie creators, that may have fallen under your radar.

🌱 Radio Garden 

With a loading screen that reads “planting seeds”, you’re invited into, quite literally, a world of possibility when it comes to immersing yourself in countless global music moments via Radio Garden. Similar to the shift in appetite for podcasts to real-time audio, the thrill of live radio – in all its delicious niches – is a pull of magnetic force, and one that demands spending an afternoon getting lost in. 

The ability to drag and drop yourself into an audio moment  feels as familiar as looking for pals on Snap Map or as simple as exploring cities on Google Maps. As you rotate the globe, where each green dot represents a live station ready to be discovered, it’s no understatement to say this is radio at your fingertips. This morning we were in Cuba listening to Radio Coco, before hopping to Milan for some Radio Monte Carlo. It begs the question: where should we go next? 

👉 Listen here: http://radio.garden/

👀 Window Swap

Mark’s Window in Wellington, New Zealand / Marco’s Window in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil / Katrina’s Window in Glasgow, Scotland

“Let’s travel without moving for now. Let’s window swap”

We have TikTok to thank for so many things (you already know), including bringing WindowSwap into our lives...thank u Gen Z, once again. A quarantine project from Sonali Ranjit and Vaishnav Balasubramaniam, WindowSwap lets you peep into the views of different locations across the globe, inviting you to “Open a new window somewhere in the world” at the click of a button. 

Though not live (thank god tbh, we’re here to see the view, not your 🍆), WindowSwap asks for 10-minute HD vids of your window and frame. Once uploaded, the user is treated to a window, albeit momentarily, into someone else’s world, with the option to enjoy the accompanying sounds of the environment – whether that’s the peaceful sound of birds chirping from a garden in Eicherloh, Germany or the background noise of glasses clinking from a kitchen window in Melbourne, Australia. 

window-swap.com @windowswap
Relax to @rhye ‘s latest album Home along with mesmerising views from his house in California only on @windowswap Artists at
window-swap.com. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for such a wonderful album and calming views in a nerve wracking time.

Our favorite activation from this project so far (and surely a sign of things to come) is their artist collaboration with RHYE, an R&B musical project of Canadian singer Mike Milosh: 

“Relax to Rhye’s new album ‘Home’, while looking at mesmerising window views from his house in Topanga, California, where he recorded most of this album. For Michael Milosh (RHYE), home transcends the material. Home is a safe space for creativity. It is an anchor point for the art. Because inspiration doesn’t always come in from outside your window. It also rests within”. 

Room with a view? Sign us up.  

👉 Watch here: https://www.window-swap.com/

🍻 I Miss My Bar

Once in a while a project comes along that’s so agonisingly brilliant that you’re mad you didn’t think of it yourself. Enter: I Miss My Bar. The queen of snacks (aka Snaxshot founder Andrea Hernández) put us on to this concept, a project kicked off by Maverick, a bar out of San Pedro Garza García, Mexíco. IMMB was then developed and designed by two companies, Lagom and Tandem

“at Maverick we’ve made this modern digital artifact to keep you company”

If you’ve ever worked in the service industry, you *know* about those “can you turn the music down” questions that plagued your every shift. Well now, the audio is in the hands of the beholder. Like setting the temperature in a physical space, I Miss My Bar has its own set of environmental controls, adjusted by the user like a set of ingredients perfected to the taste of the individual. If this were the bar version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, know that the vibes are “just right”. 

“Plug your device to a decent speaker set and use it as a background sound for your zoom parties, or just for your daily wind down cocktail at home.”  

Remember Oda? Maybe it’s time to use these incredible surround sound speakers for more than just broadcasting IRL concerts – your NYC speakeasy on a Friday night will also work just fine *chefs kiss*.

👉 Listen here: http://imissmybar.com/

🚘 Drive & Listen

Lastly, we have to pay homage to Drive and Listen, a unique experience to drive through cities of the world while listening to their respective radio stations, which has gained traction of late. Get in pals, we’re going to the Colosseum 🇮🇹! 

👉 Watch here: https://driveandlisten.herokuapp.com/

Quarantine 3.0 👃+ 👅?

Our first wave of the panny-d was all screen time and 2D, but now we’re seeing a move towards immersive social experience, not just replicating visuals and creating a framework for social facetime. The constraints of limited IRL socials in the midst of the pandemic has brought new use cases to these projects and audio experiments. Forget “you’re on mute” or “what’s the link?”, this is for the individual looking to escape and explore...without getting on a plane. What’s next? A synthetic chamber for our snozzles to get a whiff of the perfect Parisian pastry or for our taste buds to be tickled by the fantastical flavors of a Neapolitan pizza. If anyone is building this and looking for testers, the High Tea team offer themselves as tribute. ✨

kettle’s on: ones to watch

  • Bopping to Bucks Fizz 🥂. Did you know that LILHUDDY, VELLA and Reyanna Maria (ft. Tyga) all released new bangerzzz this week? ICYMI: if you were subscribed to Bucks Fizz you’d already know the latest and greatest TikTok releases...and why you should care about how they’re shaping the future of music. To put it bluntly, we spend 30 hours a week on TikTok so you don’t have to. Read our latest edition here.  

  • 💸 NFT$. Logan Paul made some serious dollar this week after entering into a partnership with Bondly Finance to help release his Limited Edition series of NFT collectibles. With 3000 NFTs available, and generating sales of $1M USD in the first 30 mins, we’re ecstatic on the power and potential of these digital assets, not least as digital artist Mad Dog Jones also broke the NFT record ($4M sales in 9 min) on one NFT.

Okay, you made it. Now you can go back to staring wistfully out of Mark’s window in Wellington, NZ – bc, where else would you rather be rn? 👀


Alice & Faye