It’s a little hard to even keep up with all the new music right now. Several of the albums featured this time I still haven’t listened to fully. This edition featuress new records from Ani DiFranco, Making Movies, Pickwick, Ride and Jeremy Ylvisaker, and new singles from Arcade Fire, ODESZA, Queens of the Stone Age and Bomba Estereo. I’m excited, and I think this is one of the best lists I’ve put together.
One of the records that I’ve been looking forward to listening to in full is the Planetarium project that came out last week. The project features Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner (The National), American contemporary classical music composer and arranger Nico Muhly, Sufjan Stevens, and Sufjan’s longtime drummer James McAlister. Everything I’ve heard so far is a beautiful blend between classical and modern.
A big discovery for me this week was Kansas City’s Latin/Rock quartet, Making Movies. Catchy Latin grooves, huge rock guitar riffs, high-energy, and a bold message make them one of the most attention-grabbing acts I’ve encountered this year. I highly recommend their new album, I Am Another You.
We get Dance-y, rootsy and rockin’ this time with new singles from Elton John & Jack White, Arcade Fire, and Portugal The Man, and new records from Dan Auerbach, Kevin Devine, Justin Townes Earle, and !!! (Chk Chk Chk).
There has been a certain amount of buzz around Dan Auerbach 2nd solo record (his first being 8 yrs ago). It is a definite shift from the gritty, rambling blues-rock of The Black Keys, and the similar sound he’s brought out in producing other artists. Waiting On a Song has a more acoustic, poppy, early rock’n’roll/rockabilly sound. What comes to mind very strongly for me is Buddy Holly.
I first became aware of Kevin Devine in 2010 when I heard How This All Ends by Bad Books (Devine & Manchester Orchestra). I stumbled upon the song without being previously aware of either Manchester Orchestra or Devine’s music, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I strongly recommend checking out his Devinyl series which he has done with various other artists; covering each other, singing duets, and writing songs together. Devine’s new record, Instigator, is excellent modern rock.
The new Portugal, The Man single, Feel It Still, never fails to make you want to dance. Justin Townes Earle offers an amazing range of Country, Blues, Jazz, Blugrass in his latest record, Kids in the Street. There’s plently to look forward to with new singles and upcomin albums from Arcade Fire and Ride. And, of course, who doesn’t enjoy to end with a little humor from Nada Surf?
Until next time,
There’s a return to world music in this edition. Artists from Mali, Tunisia, Zimbabwe and Mexico are all featured here. Also, we have newly released Prince, and new tracks from The National, Roger Waters, Fleet Foxes, and Courtney Barnett.
Listen to the playlist here
Emel Mathlouthi is a Tunisian singer-songwriter. In 2012, her politically-charged songs were adopted as anthems of the revolution in her country, and she was forced to leave when this put her under threat. Her new album, Ensen (Human), was recorded in 7 different countries.
It’s hard to say exactly how a death of a musician you love affects you. It’s not a friend you ever knew personally, but you also feel like you were influenced by them. I have spent countless hours listening to Chris Cornell’s music.
The space needle went dark Thursday night as Seattle mourned the loss of yet another iconic voice. He struggled with depression for many years, and his openness about the topic was impactful to many with similar struggles. I included his new single, The Promise, to close out the list. It’s a sad loss of someone that was loved by his family, friends and fans.
Until next time,
There’s so much new music out in the last few weeks! This is a longer list than usual, and I made some cuts to it. Gorillaz, Feist, Pond, Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees), and Woods all have new records out. Some of these I’ve featured already with the singles, and now the albums have been released. Also, we’ve gotten lots of new singles out.
Listen to the new playlist here!
There are certain bands that you know the music will always have new layers in the context of an album. Gorillaz are definitely one of those. Damon Albarn has a way of weaving through genre after genre with the aid of a myriad of diverse guests. Humanz is no exception, and there’s always a lot of digging to do. I feel like I could give the record a few more listens for a proper review, but for now I recommend it highly.
The formation of The Levee Walkers last year was a big deal for me. Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), Duff McKagan (Guns’N’Roses), and Barret Martin (Screaming Trees) played an Iggy & The Stooges tribute show about 2 yrs ago from the roof of Pike Place Market along with Mark Arm (Mudhoney) as lead vocals. It was thought that this was a one-off show at the time. Then last year Freedom Song/Tears of the West appeared with guest vocalist Jaz Coleman. This time McCready/McKagan/Martin have gotten Puerto Rican singer/songwriter Raquel Sofia to join them with great results.
It had been years since the last Grandaddy album, and their reunification showed they still had exactly what fans loved. What began as a group of teenagers had matured a lot in the decade-long absence, and it was exciting to see them touring again. Sadly, on May 2nd bassist, Kevin Garcia, passed away after a massive stroke. Their next tour date was supposed to be tomorrow (May 8th) at the Neptune Theatre in Seattle. It seems right to close out this edition with a song from their latest album, Last Place.
Until next time,
There’s something of a back and forth this edition between rootsier sound and more electronic, modern sound. Between DJs like The Chemical Brothers, Lusine and Jai Wolf, and the roots, blues and soul of Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’, Jake Xerxes Fussell, and Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
A couple days ago as I was driving into work, Fire by Beth Ditto came on the radio. I have not cranked the radio that loud that early in the morning for a long time. She’s got a bold, soul voice, and the song has a great, infectious groove. It’s definitely a favorite in this edition.
It would not be right to post this without mentioning the new single by a pair of blues giants, Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’. Don’t Leave Me Here Delivers exactly what you would want from these two. The tight blues riffs and the wailing harmonica offer us blues at its finest. Two absolute masters doing what they’ve done for over 50 yrs.
New singles from Feist, Waxahatchee, and POLICA, and new full albums from Bread & Butter, Low Roar, Jake Xerxes Fussell and Todd Albright round things out.
This edition takes on a very strong dance and hip-hop feel with new releases from Jamiroquai, Goldfrapp, Talaboman, and Gorillaz. Also included are Mark Lanegan (formerly of Screaming Trees), Dan Auerbach (of The Black Keys), and Saxophone virtuoso, Colin Stetson.
I highly recommend the new record, Whiteout Conditions, by The New Pornographers. They continue a long run of consistently excellent work with this release. With their lyrically clever, musically interesting and infectious sound, they’ve produced an excellent body of work to date. I also recommend looking into the solo releases of the various members. Especially that of A.C. Newman, Neko Case and Kathryn Calder.
The end of March. One quarter of the way through the year, and we’re almost fully into 2017 releases on this Fortnightly Playlist.
In the past year or so, I’ve featured a few tracks by some “desert blues’ artists like Bombino and Tinariwen. It’s a style that has a curious familiarity to it. Hailing from the nomadic Sahara culture from an area including Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Libya and Algeria, they have used for many generation much of the same musical structure that we find in American Blues. This time I’ve included a track by Tamikrest that demonstrates this well.
For a band to remain relevant and poignant over a long period of time says a lot about how talented they really are. Depeche Mode doesn’t just have material that has stood the test of time. They continue to write material that holds up very well. The new record, Spirit, is excellently crafted.
Canadian indie-rocker, Joel Plaskett’s, new album of duets with his father also feature here. There’s something about Solidarity that sort of tugs at the heartstrings, something intimate, but also it is a fun listen. Probably the best moments are when the two are singing together. This is a good review of the album.
Also, we have excellent new albums from singer-songwriters Sera Cahoone, Laura Marling, and Jesca Hoop, and new singles from The New Pornographers, Afghan Whigs, and The Drums. Enjoy!
Aaand we’re back again with another listful of diverse sounds. Once again covering as much ground as we can, stylistically speaking (and a significant amount geographically as well).
A collaboration of note in this edition is from the new Baba Zula album, XX. The track included, Carino, features Argentine singer/rapper La Yegros, which makes for an interesting blend of styles between her and the Turkish psych-rock band.
There are 3 very longstanding, well-regarded, influential musicians with freshly released singles out now are included as well. Bob Dylan released his third single leading to his upcoming album, Robyn Hitchcock his second, and Thurston Moore released a new single just a few days ago.
Plenty of newly-released albums here for P.O.S., Minus the Bear, Valerie June, The Shins and others. And once again my 2 favorite albums so far this year – Backlash by Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears and Life & Livin’ It by Sinkane – are both included.
We’re doing the usual genre bouncing with this list. New singles out from Laura Marling, Bob Dylan, The Dandy Warhols, and others give us a lot to look forward to this spring.
Sampha has his first full-length album, but he’s far from a newcomer. He’s done guest work and production work for Kanye, Drake, Solange and many others. Most recently, he produced Solange’s A Seat At The Table last year. His record, Process, is well worth a listen.
Sera Cahoone offers a very beautiful and sad song as her second single released from her upcoming album, From Where I Started. You can read more about the song and Sera Here.
I want to mention Sinkane’s Life & Livin’ It. It’s been an early favorite this year, and I highly recommend giving the full album a listen. The Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears new album, Backlash, is one that could be a favorite this year as well.
The new full-length record from Chuck Prophet is a highlight this edition. His brand of clever, guitar-driven, hooky, singable rock is both accessible and thoughtful. We’re still early on in 2017, but Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins is among my favorites so far this year.
Karsh Kale is also a recent favorite. Up came out early last year, so I’m a bit disappointed that I only found it now. Karsh Kale has an amazing and unique blend of Indian folk and modern dance beats. His music is very percussion heavy, and mixes traditional methods with modern in a way that just fits together so well.
Also featured this week are local acts like Moon Duo and Dude York, as well new singles from well-established legends Robyn Hitchcock and Depeche Mode.