Your Guide to SLS

SLSAnyone who isn't arriving at this site for the first time has seen references to SLS sprinkled throughout these pages. I occasionally receive emails asking me what it is and why I nominate songs for SLS consideration. Why is one song SLS-worthy and another not? What does SLS stand for? What's the story behind SLS?

Quite frankly, I'm tired of going over the whole spiel every time so this entry is an attempt to explain all. In the future, when I want to explain SLS, I'll simply refer to this entry.

This is going to be a long one, but necessary I believe, especially in light of the increased traffic to this site of late. Here is SLS101...

What exactly is SLS? SLS is 80 minutes of what the SLS committee deems to be the best new music since the previous installment of SLS was "released". A new edition is "released" every year around Canada Day and Christmas Day. The reason we cut each edition of SLS off at 80 minutes is because that's the length of time on a standard CDR.

What does SLS stand for? SLS stands for Smells Like Sour. The phrase was coined before I got involved with SLS, but I hear it has something to do with a road trip, a Nirvana song and an aroma.

How did you get involved in SLS? A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I worked with this guy. It turned out we had similar taste in music, so he "lent" me a copy of the second installment of SLS. It was simply another mix of new rock tunes for the car and not intended to be much more than that. We began collaborating on the playlists of the next couple of installments, which were "released" periodically, at non-specific intervals. It occurred to me that we should normalize the "release" dates so that they were every six months. Independently we'd come up with our choices for the next edition, we'd meet up and we'd negotiate until we arrived at a consensus.

Does SLS have a home on the web? Absolutely. There's the Smells Like Sour home page which I've been maintaining since September 16, 2003. From this page you can access the songs that have appeared on the previous installments and suggest a song for the next edition. It's also become a popular destination for those who wish to discuss the latest releases and such. I even maintain an SLS Blog. Although we only went public with the SLS site about thirteen months ago, we had been using the web as a way to track tunes we each thought was SLS worthy for a couple of years prior, only it was our little secret.

What makes a song SLS-worthy? This is a tough question to answer. If a song is going to qualify as part of the best 80 minutes of music from the previous six months, it's gotta be good. We know an SLS-worthy tune when we hear it, but it's difficult to quantify. There's a spirit to an SLS tune that makes you want to turn it up and get lost in it's aura. System of a Down's "Chop Suey" was SLS-worthy. Simple Plan's "Perfect" was not.

Who decides the final playlist for SLS? Anyone can submit a song for SLS consideration via the Smells Like Sour home page, but the final decision is made by Mark and I. Since I maintain the page and have my ear closer to the ground, I usually come up with a potential 80 minutes of music and give Mark an opportunity to veto a track or suggest another. We typically come to a consensus pretty quickly.

What edition are you on? We are currently accepting submissions for SLS12 which will be "released" in late December. SLS13 is due by Canada Day 2005 and SLS14 will be in the can by Christmas 2005. You get the idea.

Isn't this illegal? There is nothing illegal about compiling hypothetical mixes. Any resemblance to a compilation we share with friends and family is completely coincidental.

What tunes are looking good for SLS12? The best way to catch hints about what the next edition of SLS might look like is to monitor this site. When I submit a tune for SLS consideration, I'll mention it here. I also periodically write about potential track lists and tunes that look good for inclusion. In fact, I intend to write such an entry sometime this weekend. Stay tuned!

That about does it. You now know what SLS is, what it stands for, how it came to be and where you can go to learn more. And yes, there will be a quiz.


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