The Fortnightly Playlist, June 6th, 2021

I’m not writing much this time around, but there is plenty here to enjoy. There’s a lot that I’ve been enjoying in this collection of songs. The new songs from Torres, CHVRCHES, Darkside, and Saalt, and the new albums from Sons of Kemet, Kaidi Tatham, Mdou Moctar, and Racquel Jones. There’s also this new Gang of Four compilation featuring IDLES, The Dandy Warhols, and many others.

Spotify and WordPress have apparently decided they will not play well together this weekend, so I could not embed the playlist the way I normally do. I managed to get the link there, but that’s the best I could do this time.

Torres – Don’t Go Puttin Wishes In My Head
Chvrches, Robert Smith – How Not To Drown
Darkside – The Limit
Saalt – Wonderful
Amber Mark – Worth It
Kaidi Tatham – DSXSWC
Bomba Estereo – Se Acabo
Sons of Kemet – Throughout The Madness, Stay Strong
Mdou Moctar – Asdikte Akal
Vel The Wonder, Rome Streetz, NugLife – Spittin’ Waves
Racquel Jones – Sacrilege
L’Orange, Namir Blade, Marlowe, Solemn Brigham – Pipe Dream
Little Simz – Introvert
IDLES, Gang of Four – Damaged Goods
Flea, John Frusciante, The Silverlake Conservatory Youth Chorale, Gang of Four – Not Great Men
Ayron Jones – Killing Season
The Dandy Warhols, Gang of Four – What We All Want
The Linda Lindas – Racist, Sexist Boy (Live at LA Public Library)

The Fortnightly Playlist, May 23rd, 2021

Okay… so May has brushed past quickly… I guess after the seemingly endless months during Covid havechanged the perspective a little. Lots of favorites in the list this edition. Some artists here that I’ve featured quite a lot over the last few years such as Dessa, L’Orange, Aesop Rock, Son Volt, and Making Movies. Also plenty of new artists as always.

Ayron Jones has been grinding along and building his career in the Pacific Northwest for some time now with a couple independent releases, and last year was signed to Big Machine records. I would describe Ayron Jones and his band as a Post-Hip-hop Grunge-Blues, but I’m not expert when it comes to accurately distilling an artist down to a few words like this. I’ll clarify this a bit. The Grunge and Blues should be clear within listening to a few songs, but “Post-Hip-hop” isn’t a term I’ve ever really heard thrown around. I think that a lot of current rock music right now has been influenced by the philosophy and the techniques of hip-hop, and I also think that this is a defining characteristic of rock music in our current era. This is, in part, why we see classic Hip-hop acts being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Ayron Jones is an artist whose rock music clearly has a Hip-hop edge. Ayron himself has described his music as being influenced by Blues, Hip-hop, Grunge, Hard Rock, and Soul. I strongly recommend giving his new album, Child of the State, a listen.

At this point, I sort of wonder how L’Orange manages to absolutely kill every beat he makes. Now for the last few years there has been a L’Orange project in my top 10 at the end of the year. It seems this may again be the case. Imaginary Everything was released this week, and this time around L’Orange is paired with Nashville multi-instrumentalist/producer/MC, Namir Blade. I was unfamiliar with with Namir Blade before this album, and I’m enjoying his work here enough that I’ll have to take a look at his previous albums. One thing that I’ll note here about Blade is something that I think of with numerous rappers, and I think is something many hip-hop fans struggle with at some point; the use of the N-word. I don’t think it is my place, as a white man, to criticize any black person about this usage, but at the same time I would be lying to say it didn’t make me feel uncomfortable. At times, I think that is the point, and those are the instances where I actually think the word may be useful. Sometimes we should feel uncomfortable. In large part, I tend to agree with one of my favorite rappers, Akala, that there is just too much blood attatched to the word to use it casually. I tend to gravitate toward artists that keep it’s usage very sparing. I’m not familiar enough with Namir’s work really say whether his usage casual or conscious (and again, it should be said with emphasis that it isn’t my place as a white person to judge when a black person should or shouldn’t use the word), but I did feel that it was time to bring this up. There have been a fair number of songs that have included the word, and I know I’m not alone in finding this difficult territory.

Other particular favorites in this edition are Kaidi Tatham, Dessa, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (featuring Moses Sumney), and Tomo Nakayama.

MALIA – Lucid Dream
Hiatus Kaiyote, Arthur Verocai – Get Sun
Wu-Lu – Times
Kaidi Tatham – Intergalactic Relations
Tony Allen, Jeremiah Jae – Gang on Holiday (Em I Go We?)
L’Orange, Namir Blade – Shotgun
Aesop Rock – Jumping Coffin
Busdriver – airliner_patio
Ayron Jones – Boys From The Puget Sound
Sleater-Kinney – Worry With You
Modest Mouse – We Are Between
Weyes Blood – Titanic Risen
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Moses Sumney – Soon It Will Be Fire
Anjimile, Lomelda – 1978 (Reunion)
Tomo Nakayama – On The Way
Dessa – Talking Business
Jose Gonzalez – Visions
Robert Finley – Sharecropper’s Son
Ayron Jones – Baptized in Muddy Waters
Making Movies – La Marcha
Son Volt – Reverie

The Fortnightly Playlist, May 9th, 2021

I don’t think I had a lot of set expectations when I began making these playlists in early 2016, and not even when I began to write more for them and started this blog in late 2016. I certainly don’t think I expected that it would lead to the amount of jazz and afrobeat included on a regular basis, but I really love that it has happened that way. I always sort of wanted it to span genres, and it seems like these recent posts have done this more than ever before.

Anjimile is an artist that I haven’t been familiar with until recently. It’s interesting to begin with an artist on a project of remixes, but Anjimile’s latest release is orchestral remixes of songs from last year’s album Giver Taker. The arrangements are beautiful, and it motivated me to go back an give some attention to the original versions of these songs. In particular, this song “In Your Eyes” featuring Jay Som has really grabbed and held my attention.

This posthumous album from afrobeat legend, Tony Allen, has quickly become one of my favorites so far this year. The string of collaborators are so varied in their styles, and it helps highlight Allen’s versatility. The mix is excellent, and it keeps his genius drumming prominent. Tony is most famous for his work with Fela Kuti. The two were longtime collaborators, and they shaped West African music for decades (and by extension, heavily influenced hip hop and modern soul/funk around the world).

Other favorites in this edition are Faye Webster, Jose Gonzalez, Manchester Orchestra, and Jupiter & Okwess.

Lianne La Havas, Wu-Lu – Seven Times (Wu-Lu Remix)
Faye Webster – Cheers
Damien Jurado – Tom
Hussy – I Tried
Veps – Ecstasy
Flying Lotus – Crust
Str4ta – Rhythm In Your Mind
Sons of Kemet – To Never Forget the Source
Tony Allen, Lava La Rue – One Inna Million
Little Simz, Cleo Sol – Woman
Tobe Nwigwe, Lanell Grant – Caged Birds (SIO Version
Alfa Mist, Kaya Thomas-Dyke – People
Jose Gonzalez – El Invento
Anjimile, Jay Som – In Your Eyes (Reflection)
iLe – No Es Importante
St Vincent – The Melting of the Sun
Laura Mvula – Church Girl
CIVIC – Radiant Eye
Dinosaur Jr – I Expect It Always
Iceage – High & Hurt
Mad Foxes – Crystal Glass
Flock of Dimes – No Question
Manchester Orchestra – Keel Timing
CHVRCHES – He Said She Said
Bomba Estereo – Profundo
Tom Jones – I Won’t Crumble With You If You Fall
Jupiter & Okwess – Bakunda Ulu
The Black Keys – Going Down South
Rhiannon Giddens, Francesco Turrisi – Black As Crow
Dropkick Murphys – Queen of Suffolk County

The Fortnightly Playlist, April 25th, 2021

Here’s another two weeks of music, and it’s a good one. This one really has a lot of good collaborative projects. Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi have a 2nd album out together, Jay Som and Palehound are behind the project called “Bachelor”, Andrew Bird and Jimbo Mathus, Talib Kweli and Diamond D. I really enjoy seeing artists working together to create something new.

High on the list of “well, that was unexpected” is this new Tom Jones album. To be fair, I haven’t kept up with his music, and how it has developed. I know “It’s Not Unusual” and a few others. So hearing “Talking Reality Television Blues” on the radio, and thinking it was Nick Cave singing over a Radiohead sample seemed more likely than learning it was Tom Jones. That is still the standout song for me on Surrounded By Time, but the whole album has a sneaky, biting, humor somehow blended in with a charming sincerity that really won me over on it. Also, you can’t deny he’s taken good care of his voice over the years. Hard to believe that strong vocal belongs a man approaching 81 this year.
“We stayed tuned in, and here we are.
Reality killed by a reality star.”

A pair of hip hop greats have teamed up for the project known as Gotham. Talib Kweli and Diamond D’s full album is out now, and it is excellent. I’ve heard some say Kweli has a tendancy to be preachy in his rhymes. I see him as someone who takes very seriously the platform he has, and the platform the music industry has in general. This is a man who made his name responding clearly to hip-hop becoming shallow pop. He and Diamond D are top of their game together on this project. They’ve knocked it out of the park on this album, and it’s hard to pick a couple standout tracks. I really enjoyed “The Quiet One” which was one of singles released before the album, and since hearing the full record I’ve really enjoyed “In Due Time” and “Chillin While Black”.

I have been really enoying this new album from Jupiter & Okwess. The Congolese group, led by frontman Jupiter Bakondji, have branched out more on this record. While still firmly rooted in the sound of their home, they include guest artists from the Chile, Brazil, France, and multiple parts of the US. They meld their high-energy afrobeat with artists that compliment them in unexpected ways. I was especially pleased to see one of my favorite Chilean artists, Ana Tijoux, included on the album. Bakondji’s vocals are versatile, and the album really showcases his abilities. With 2018’s Kin Sonic, they stormed in with high-energy. Now with Na Kozonga, they’re not just maintaining their energy… they’re also showing off their ability to deliver songs with a range of moods.

Other favorites in this edition are Dinosaur Jr, Mdou Moctar, Miss Grit, and Fruit Bats.

Rhiannon Giddens, Francesco Turrisi – Calling Me Home
Ayron Jones – Free
Dinosaur Jr – I Ain’t
Mdou Moctar – Afrique Victime
Jupiter & Okwess, Ana Tijoux – You Sold Me a Dream
Topaz Jones, Maxo, Phonte – Who?
Gotham, Talib Kweli, Diamond D, Nire Alldai – In Due Time
Elaquent – The Official
Marlon Craft – Tell Me Today
Miss Grit – Buy the Banter
Flock of Dimes – Walking
U.S.Girls, Buffetlibre – 4 American Dollars (Buffetlibre remix)
Andrew Hung – Promises
Tom Jones – No Hole In My Head
Lord Huron – Long Lost
Rhiannon Giddens, Francesco Turrisi – Bully For You
Andrew Bird, Jimbo Mathus – Encircle My Love
Fruit Bats – Gullwing Doors
Low Island – Don’t Let the Light In
Bachelor, Jay Som, Palehound – Stay in the Car
Magna Carda – Propaganda
Gotham, Talib Kweli, Diamond D – Chillin While Black

The Fortnightly Playlist, April 11th, 2021

Okay, so I had a hard time editing this down to under 2 hrs of music for this edition. That’s a reasonable playlist length, right? Some got pushed to next time because there’s a lot music coming out right now. I got into a lot of new latin music in the last few weeks, so there’s probably more latin music in this edition than I’ve ever included before. US, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Chile, Spain, Nigeria, UK, and Australia all represented by the artists included here.

Kansas City band, Making Movies, has long been a favorite that I’ve shared here. Each of their full-length records has been featured here. Now theyve shared their cover of “Listening Wind” by Talking Heads, and I am absolutely loving it. They’ve got a new album on the way, so more to come!

I’m a huge fan of this new Flock of Dimes album, Head of Roses. “Price of Blue” certainly grabbed my attention before the album was released. Flock of Dimes is the solo outlet of Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak. She has also collaborated and toured with Bob Iver and Sylvan Esso. Some of these collaborators make appearances on the record including Nick Sanborn of Sylvan Esso and Matt McCaughan of Bon Iver. Where other projects Wasner has done are collaborative efforts, though, Flock of Dimes is her own artistic vision, and it showcases her strength as a songwriter. In this, her second full-length, the growth in songwriting is evident. This is among my favorites so far this year.

Other favorites in this edition are Tony Allen, Centavrvs, Xenia Rubinos, Rodrigo y Gabriela, and Hiss Golden Messenger.

Flock of Dimes – 2 Heads
The Joy Formidable – Into the Blue
Goat Girl – They Bite On You
Tune-yards – Cannonball
Field Music – No Pressure
Jungle – Keep Moving
Dub Collective – Shield & Spear
Tony Allen, Sampa the Great, – Stumbling Down
Making Movies, Calvin Arsenia, Jeremy Kittel – Listening Wind
Buscabulla – Eva
Dessa – Life on Land
Helado Negro – Futurism
Flock of Dimes – One More Hour
Xenia Rubinos – Did My Best
Clara Peya, Alba Flores, Ana Tijoux – Mujer Frontera
Mello Music Group, Open Mike Eagle, Elaquent, Namir Blade – Symbol of Hope
Phife Dawg, Redman, Busta Rhymes – Nutshell Pt II
L’Orange, Namir Blade, Quelle Chris – Point to Point
Mello Music Group, Oddisee – No Trouble
Camila Moreno – Hice a Mi Amor Llorar
Centavrvs, Cornelio Reyna Tercero – Me Cai De La Nube
Marinah – Desalma
Nano Stern, Simón González – Ya Es Tiempo
Rodrigo y Gabriela – Street Fighter Mas
Valerie June – Two Roads
Waxahatchee – Light of a Clear Blue Morning
Hiss Golden Messenger – Sanctuary
Quivers – Radio Song
Middle Kids – Today We’re The Greatest
Tune-Yards – be not afraid.

The Fortnightly Playlist, March 28th, 2021

I had a list of over 40 artists to work through for this edition. When it came time to start writing this post, I still had a lot of decisions to make. Some gets cut, some gets pushed to next time because it just doesn’t fit… and this is the list I’ve managed to build this time around.

No One Sing Like You Anymore, the new posthumous album of covers by Chris Cornell actually came out back in December, but the release was rather quiet, and at the time I was writing my year-end posts so it slipped by me. There is some really good material here, and some of it unheard before. Several of them had been performed live and were well-known. Chris had performed Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” a number of times, and had performed Harry Nilsson’s “Jump Into the Fire” at a Temple of the Dog reunion show as well. I’ve enjoyed this collection, and it really shows how broad Cornell’s listening and influences were (Something you probably already know if you’re at all familiar with his music over the years). No one sings like Chris anymore.

Marlon Craft has a new album out that I’ve not yet listened to, but he also has this new single that isn’t on the album and that song has really grabbed my attention this week. I was not really all that familiar with his music before, but “State of the Union” certainly made me want to be. So expect more from Marlon Craft because I’ll be giving his new album How We Intended a listen soon.

Describing bands and artists is something I sometimes find difficult, because genres don’t have clear boundaries. The Weather Station has fallen victim to this before by simply getting slapped with the labels “folk” and “singer-songwriter” as if that were enough to tell you what her music sounded like. The new album, Ignorance, has quite a big sound. It delves into jazz rhythms and definite pop beats, big string arrangements as well as more sparsely-arranged and intimate moments. The album feels versatile with the ease it moves from song to song, and Lindeman’s gentle voice ties it all together so well.

It’s a long list this edition, but it’s some really great stuff. Some other favorites of mine this time were Corvair, Arooj Aftab, David Huckfelt, Gotham, and Flyying Colours.

Chvrches – Science/Visions
Corvair – Sailor Down
The Weather Station – Tried to Tell You
BoomBaptist – Komfort Food
Namir Blade, L’orange – Corner Store Scandal
Tony Allen, Ben Okri, Skepta – Cosmosis
Tune-Yards – make it right.
St Vincent – Pay Your Way in Pain
Chris Cornell – Get It While You Can
Middle Kids – R U 4 Me?
Sharon Van Etten, Big Red Machine – A Crime
Wolf Alice – The Last Man on Earth
Joe Pug – Crescent Bridge
Valley Maker – Pine Trees
Eliza Shaddad – Blossom
David Huckfelt – Land of Room Enough and Time Enough
Bow Thayer – This Thing Called God
Arooj Aftab – Mohabbat
Mdou Moctar – Tala Tannam
Vic Mensa, Wyclef Jean, Chance the Rapper – SHELTER
Marlon Craft – State of the Union
Mello Music Group, L’Orange, Solemn Brigham, Marlowe
Aesop Rock – Long Legged Larry
Gotham, Talib Kweli, Diamond D, Busta Rhymes – The Quiet One
Claud – Gold
Flyying Colours – White Knuckles

The Fortnightly Playlist, March 14th, 2021

Whew, it’s been a week. I didn’t write anything, but I do have a playlist here!

Making Movies – Could You?
Dessa – Bombs Away
PRICE, Bas, Wyclef Jean – Selfish
Django Django – Right the Wrongs
Japanese Breakfast – Be Sweet
Chaka Khan, Idina Menzel – I’m Every Woman
Black Pumas, Lucius – Strangers
Bruno Mars, Anderson.Paak, Silk Sonic – Leave the Door Open
Damian Jurado – Helena
Fruit Bats – On The Avalon Stairs
Middle Kids – Stacking Chairs
Flyying Colours – Goodtimes
Dry Cleaning – Strong Feelings
Gretchen Parlato – Sweet Love
Madlib – The New Normal
Valerie June – Stay
Emilee, Maya Jane Coles – Rodeo (Maya Jane Coles Remix)
Jehnny Beth, Rone – French Countryside (Rone Remix)
Rick Holmstrom – Don’t Wake Me
Nathaniel Rateliff – Redemption
Painted Shrines, Woods – Heaven and Holy
Neil Young – Like a Hurricane (Live)

The Fortnightly Playlist, February 28th, 2021

Another big list again this edition as there is a lot of great new music coming right now. As has become typical of the Fortnightly, this one covers a lot of ground stylistically, and hopefully brings some things to the surface that weren’t previously familiar to you.

Rick Holmstrom has not released a solo album for about 9 years, but he’s released plenty as guitar player and band leader for Mavis Staples. His new album, See That Light, gives a look at what makes Rick such a great artist himself. Listening to Rick has a throwback sound, but with a freshness not found with just any seasoned and skilled picker. Holmstrom had recorded and toured with various bluesmen and bands before spending the last nearly 15 years as bandleader for Mavis Staples, and becoming a big part of her tightknit and straightforward blues-gospel sound. His tremolo-drenched guitar sound reaches back to influences that would have to include Mavis own father, Pop Staples (who was well-known for heavy use of tremolo).

One of the more unusual artists included this edition is Senyawa. Rully Shabara and Wukir Suryadi formed the experimental group in 2010 in Yogyakarta on the Indonesian island of Java. while having a modern, avante-garde, experimental aesthetic, the group also include various traditional instruments and vocal techniques, and often has taken on the descriptor “neo-tribal” along side “metalcore”. Unafraid to mix modern with traditional as well as blending edgy with atmospheric. Alkisah is their 9th studio album.

Other favorites in this edition include Fruit Bats, Black Thought, Flock of Dimes, and hey… how about that Tom Jones tune?

Rostam – These Kids We Knew
Fruit Bats – Holy Rose
Dinosaur Jr – I Ran Away
Black Pistol Fire – Pick Your Poison
When Rivers Meet – Walking On The Wire
Rick Holmstrom – Take My Hand
Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio – From the Streets
Black Thought, C.S. Armstrong, Angela Hunte – Welcome to America
Slowthai – focus
Valerie June – Why the Bright Stars Glow
Anisa Romero – Sliver
Julien Baker – Bloodshot
Cassandra Jenkins – Michaelangelo
Sun June – Singing
Midnight Alleys – Broken Ties & Stolen Lines
Wild Pink – Pacific City
Bow Thayer – Ata Ni
Flock of Dimes – Price of Blue
Tom Jones – Talking Reality Television Blues
The Hold Steady – The Prior Procedure
Senyawa – Alkisah II
Chihei Hatakeyama – Night Wind

Special Edition: Black History Month

It’s hard to know quite where to start or who to feature for Black History Month. You could focus on any era in recorded music, and include hours of music that shaped and changed everything after it. So where to start, where to end, the iconic or the understated influences? Nothing any of us listens to now is without a debt of gratitude to black artists. What would our musical tradition be without The Supremes, Little Richard, Aretha Franklin, or Jimi Hendrix?

As someone who grew up in the a bubble of Christian music, my first breaking out of that bubble was Blues and Classic rock. I was led there by beginning to learn guitar in high school, and I was drawn to the notable guitar players. These days I find Classic Rock Radio to be one of the most intolerable things to listen to. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a lot of the music they play, but I find it to be one of the most whitewashed spaces you’re likely to encounter. Aside from a few Hendrix songs in regular rotation, you’ll not find black artists represented on Classic Rock stations. Prince will usually be ignored. Freddie King will be ignored. James Brown will be ignored. Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters will be ignored. They’ll acknowledge the influence, but not the actual music. It leaves you with the impression that black artists only affected the landscape of our musical tradition in an indirect way, and it drives me nuts. So, that’s my long-held rant that I needed to get off my chest.

I gathered over 6 hrs of music for this playlist before really starting to arrange things in some kind of order, and had to whittle things down. Being undecided over what criteria I was using, I tried to keep a mix of the iconic, the influential, the forgotten, the overlooked, the poignant, the past, the present. 65 songs, but it really is just skimming the surface in many ways and there is much more I could have included. Maybe you’ll find much of it familiar, and maybe you’ll discover something long-hidden. Enjoy!

Robert Johnson – Terraplane Blues
Lead Belly – Midnight Special
Muddy Waters – I Just Want to Make Love to You
Jimi Hendrix – Bold As Love
LL Cool J – Rock The Bells
Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar – Freedom
The Supremes – Where Did Our Love Go
Freddie King – Going Down
Otis Redding – (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay
Billie Holiday – Yesterdays
Charlie Parker – April in Paris
The Meters – Cissy Strut
Nina Simone – Wild is the Wind
Mississippi John Hurt – Louis Collins
Billie Holiday – Strange Fruit
The Staple Singers – Why? (Am I Treated so Bad)
Sam Cooke – A Change is Gonna Come
Marvin Gaye – Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)
Moses Sumney – Rank & File
Baby Huey – Hard Times
Sister Rosetta Tharpe – Steal Away
Aretha Franklin – Spirit in the Dark
Curtis Mayfield – Move On Up
Isaac Hayes – Our Day Will Come
Wu Tang Clan – C.R.E.A.M.
Bad Brains – Banned in D.C. 
Afrika Bambaataa, The Soulsonic Force – Renegades of Funk
Sly & The Family Stone – I Want to Take You Higher
Childish Gambino – Boogieman
Ray Charles – Let the Good Times Roll
Magic Sam – Sweet Home Chicago
Little Richard – Long Tall Sally
Wilson Pickett – In The Midnight Hour
Etta James – Fool That I Am
Bill Withers – Use Me
Fela Kut, Africa 70 – Zombie
Sinkane – Passenger
Funkadelic – Can You Get to That
Prince – I Wanna Be Your Lover
Ibibio Sound Machine – Just Go Forward (Ka I So)
Grace Jones – The Hunter Gets Captured By the Game
Betty Davis – They Say I’m Different
Queen Latifah – Nature of a Sista’
Public Enemy – Bring the Noise
Songhoy Blues – Voter
Kele – Between Me and My Maker
N.W.A. – Express Yourself
Albert King – Born Under a Bad Sign
Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode
James Brown – The Payback
Nas – N.Y. State of Mind
Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans – Blue in Green
Duke Ellington, John Coltrane – In a Sentimental Mood
A Tribe Called Quest – Check the Rhime
Sudan Archives – Pay Attention
Junior Murvin – Police & Thieves
Bob Marley & The Wailers – Waiting In Vain
Stevie Wonder – You are the Sunshine of my Life
Ann Peebles – Run, Run, Run
Meklit, Preservation Hall Horns – You Are My Luck
Gil Scott-Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Rapsody, Mereba – Myrlie
Kendrick Lamar, Rapsody – Complexion (A Zulu Love)
Mavis Staples – I’ll Be Rested
Elmore James – The Sky is Crying

The Fortnightly Playlist, February 14th, 2021

There’s some new songs here that have me really excited. Those sort of songs that you can listen to over and over, and that you can really feel. New releases have really picked up quick, and here I am with the second list in a row that is a full hour and a half long. I took a look back this weekend as well. As of 2 weeks ago, I’ve been making these Fortnightly Playlists for 5 years. I didn’t start writing here until toward the end of the first year when I decided I wanted to write a little more for my year-end favorites in 2016, but the first Fortnightly Playlist appeared on January 31st, 2016. I don’t know if I expected to do it so long, but I’m still very much enjoying it.

I wanted to draw attention to Valerie June. This song, “You and I”, that opens the playlist this edition is one of my favorite songs right now. It hit me immediately when I heard it earlier this week, and I immediately wanted to hear it again. Valerie June has appeared here before with her 2017 album, The Order of Time, and I’m very excited for her upcoming release, The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers. 4 years since her last full-length release, but June has clearly been busy as she has an upcoming book release as well.

My favorite instrumental release so far this year has to be Sitka Sun’s All The Way West. It’s not a long record. 6 tracks clocking in at just over half an hour, but it has really grabbed and held my attention. I sometimes find it hard to explain why a particular record does this, and especially so with an instrumental album. Sitka Sun brings us this well-constructed jazz album with a firm rhythmic structure, Central American flair, and a little psychedelic improvisation mixed in. When an instrumental record captures me this way, I’m sometimes struck by the ability music alone has to make you feel something.

Other favorites in this edition are Wild Pink, Anisa Romero (Sky Cries Mary), Femi Kuti, and We Are KING.

Artwork from songs by Adrianne Lenker

Valerie June – You and I
Bomba Estereo – Agua
Hannah Jadagu – Think Too Much
Middle Kids – Questions
Julien Baker – Favor
Wild Pink – The Shining but Tropical
Dry Cleaning – Scratchcard Lanyard
Foo Fighters – Cloudspotter
The Lounge Society – Burn the Heather
Ayron Jones – Mercy
The Hold Steady – Spices
Balmorhea, Lisa Morgenstern – The Myth
Anisa Romero – Borrowed
London Grammar – Lose Your Head
Flock of Dimes – Two
Echo of the Low Light – Afterlife
Bicep – Sundial
Yuno – Somebody
Femi Kuti – As We Struggle Everyday
Jay Gonzalez – Sunspot
Adrianne Lenker – anything
Saintseneca – All You’ve Got Is Everyone
We Are KING – Space Oddity
Sitka Sun – Long Shadow