The Fortnightly Playlist, November 22nd, 2020

I’ve bookended this edition with covers of some classic tunes. Brittany Howard’s powerful version of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” hits hard, and Karen O and Willie Nelson’s gentle duet of “Under Pressure” is thoughtful and beautiful. These seemed a good way to frame this one.

I hadn’t yet heard much of the new Loma album, Don’t Shy Away, when a song came on the radio. I could tell it was a song Jonathan Meiburg had a hand in. I knew it had to be Loma, as it wasn’t quite a Shearwater sound. The melody, though, had a distinct sound. Sure enough it was “Half Silences” I’ve now listened to the full album straight through, and it is excellent. For me, their first record had certain highpoints that were incredible, but this record sustains this through every song. It’s something special.

I also want to highlight Black Thought’s latest record, Streams of Thought Vol. 3. He’s always been known as an incisive writer and rapper, and now it’s been so cool to see him do these solo projects and get an idea of who he is as a solo artist shaping his own sound.

Other favorites in this edition are Ghetto Kumbe, illuminanti hotties, and Erik Blood.

Brittany Howard – You’ll Never Walk Alone
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Ghetto Kumbe – Vamo a Dale Duro
Vel the Wonder – Trophy Wife
Residente – Yo Te Quiero a Ti
Nels Cline – Passed Down
Loma – Half Silences
Midnight Oil – First Nation
Death Valley Girls – I’d Rather Be Dreaming
Quivers – Texarkana
Illuminati hotties – ppl plzr
Sunflower Bean – Moment in the Sun
Left at London – 6 Feet
Erik Blood & Gary V – Rent is Due
Loma – Given a Sign
Mint Field – Delicadeza
Bartees Strange – Stone Meadows
Shame – Water in the Well
Black Thought – State Prisoner
Boof – Chicken With Waffles
Tierra Whack – DoraRoisin Murphy – Murphy’s Law
Karen O, Willie Nelson – Under Pressure

The Fortnightly Playlist, November 8th, 2020

Well, it’s been quite the fortnight. A lot has happened since my last post and playlist, and you can certainly expect some of that emotion to be evident in the song choices here. Enjoy, everyone!

There are a lot of rootsy selections in this edition, but I want to draw attention, in particular to Lianne La Havas. What an excellent album she’s come out with this year, and the song of hers that I chose to include in this edition is a cover of Radiohead’s “Weird Fishes”. Her version really draws out the jazz connection in the song wonderfully. Give her album a full listen, and you won’t regret it.

I also want to highlight Joensuu 1685. This Finnish group draws a bold line to the emotional and intimate rock music of Frightened Rabbit, but certainly with their own sparkling, shimmering twist to things. I first became aware of the group through Mikko Joensuu’s “Amen trilogy”, and I’m glad to engage with some new music from the full band.

Other favorites this time around are Trummors, Sauti Sol, Busta Rhymes, and Skyway Man.

Resistance Revival Chorus – I Woke Up This Morning (With My Mind Stayed On Freedom)
Trummors – Late Arriver
The Nude Party – Easier Said Than Done
Calexico – Hear the Bells
Kurt Vile, John Prine – How Lucky
Sauti Sol, Soweto Gospel Choir – Brighter Days
Tank & the Bangas, Hasizzle, Keedy Black, Big Choo – To Be Real
Rapsody – 12 Problems
Dessa – Tyranny
Aesop  Rock – Pizza Alley
Busta Rhymes, Kendrick Lamar – Look Over Your Shoulder
Open Mike Eagle – I’m a Joestar (Black Power Fantasy)
Joensuu 1685 – Running In Our Graves
Xyla, Oso Feo – Cold
Eartheater – Diamond in the Bedrock
Joensuu 1685 – Gloria
Bob Mould – Forecast of Rain
SG Goodman – Which Side Are You On?
RVG – I Used To Love You
Skyway Man – Muddy Water
Cut Worms – Last Words to a Refugee
Dillon Warnek – Freedom and Me
This is the Kit – Carry Us Please
Lianne La Havas – Weird Fishes
Joensuu 1685 – I’m In Paradise

The Fortnightly Playlist, October 25th, 2020

I’m just going to put this out there… this might be the best list I’ve made all year. I was working out the order over the last couple days, and realized how much I am loving music right now. I hope you enjoy this just as much.

This week I was taken by surprise by the new This is the Kit album, Off Off On. It quite suddenly launched itself into my favorites of the year. The record has a quiet power to it. There are points with banjo or saxophone that just touch on bluegrass and jazz, but evading being pinpointed. Kate Stables has made something special here.

There are several songs in this list that tackle difficult topics, and are intensely personal. Open Mike Eagle, Amanda Shires and Courtney Marie Andrews offered some very intimate work recently, and it’s worth bringing attention to the courage that takes to be vulnerable with your audience.

Sometimes a song hits you, and it’s just what you need. Yesterday, after a long, difficult week I was finding some solace in going through the music for this. Brand new Stevie Wonder lifted me up so much. Throw in guest spots from Busta Rhymes and Rapsody, and you’ve got me all in. Speaking of Rapsody, she also appears on this new 2020 remix of Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power”, and her verse is a stunner. If you asked me about the best lyricists in the last 10 years, then Rapsody would be in the conversation.

Other favorites in this edition are Nilufer Yanya, Songhoy Blues, Polyrhythmics, and Deep Sea Diver.

Deep Sea Diver – Eyes are Red (Don’t Be Afraid)
Open Mike Eagle – Everything Ends Last Year
Durand Jones & the Indications – Power to the People
Stevie Wonder, Rapsody, Cordae, CHIKA, Busta Rhymes – Can’t Put It In The Hands Of Fate
Public Enemy, Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought, Jahi, YG, ?uestlove -Fight the Power:Remix 2020
Polyrhythmics – Zion
Budos Band – Sixth Hammer
Delvon Lamar Organ Trio – Fo Sho
Arlo Parks – Green Eyes
This is the Kit – Found Out
Drive-By Truckers – The Distance
M. Ward – For Heaven’s Sake
Throwing Muses – Sue’s
Courtney Marie Andrews – Ships in the Night
Amanda Shires, Jason Isbell – The Problem
This is the Kit – Was Magician
Tricky, Oh Land – I’m in the Doorway
Nilufer Yanya – Crash
Dylan Cartlidge – Cheerleader
Bootsy Collins, George Benson, The Williams Singers – The Power of the One
Songhoy Blues – Dournia
Mourn – Men
Bartees Strange – Mustang
Clipping – Check the Lock
Tobacco – Centaur Skin

The Fortnightly Playlist, October 11th, 2020

What is it? October now? I guess the new Deep Sea Diver album comes out this week. In fact that pre-ordered vinyl has already been shipped. I’ve included their latest single, “Wishing” here, as well as new singles from Pearl Jam, and a collaboration between Zion I and Fantastic Negrito.

I want to draw your attention to this amazing new album by Sa-Roc called The Sharecropper’s Daughter. Sa-Roc is an impressive MC, and this album among the best of 2020. Race and womanhood are at the heart of this record without apology, and delivered with a voice powerful enough to compete with any other MC.

There’s been a lot of Mark Lanegan playing in our house lately. I just finished reading his memoir, and his dark, beautiful music has accompanied that well. Lanegan’s latest offering, Straight Songs of Sorrow, is another remarkable chapter in his recent prolific run. Really, ever since he’s gotten clean, we’ve had a release from Lanegan either solo or collaboration. Seattle has an unfortunate history of losing our singers before their time, and I’m thankful we’ve still got Mark Lanegan with us.

Other favorites I’ve not yet mentioned in this edition are Cloquet, Kevin Devine and Amber Mark.

Deep Sea Diver – Wishing
David Wirsig – Duck and Cover
Mark Lanegan – Churchbells, Ghosts
El Ten Eleven – With Report
Bob Mould – Heart On My Sleeve
Pearl Jam – Get It Back
Chong the Nomad – Provider
Lazerbeak – Top Down
Amber Mark – My People
Sa-Roc – Lay It Down
Zion I, Fantastic Negrito – Try & Try
Paper Tiger – Knuckles
Esther Rose – Thirteen
Yola – Hold On
Kevin Devine – Taking Shape
Samuel Joseph Smythe – End Titles
El Ten Eleven – All of This Bliss Doesn’t Come Without a Price

The Fortnightly Playlist, September 27th, 2020

“Do you hear that thunder?
That’s the sound of strength in numbers!”

“Let’s sieze the day,
All hold hands, chase the pricks away.”

If The Clash wrote began writing the punk gospel, then the latest record from IDLES, Ultra Mono, feels like one of the late epistles written by an apostle of punk awaiting trial. A letter to the punks of the world in dark times insisting still “If you want to beat the machine, keep your teeth clean and kill ’em with kindness”.

There’s a lot more to cover this week. New records from Fleet Foxes, Bob Mould, and Sufjan Stevens, the title track from the final album by Toots & The Maytals (RIP Toots Hibbert), and new singles from Pixies, Black Thought, and Janelle Monae. Of course, It’s been 3 weeks instead of my usual 2 since I last posted, so there’s a lot of music to share.

Marika Hackman – Realiti
IDLES – Kill Them With Kindness
Mark Lanegan – Daylight in the Nocturnal House
Throwing Muses – St. Charles
Pixies – Hear Me Out
Nation of Language – Gouge Away
Dave Hause, Amethyst Kiah, Kam Franklin – Your Ghost
David Wirsig – March
Local Natives, Sylvan Esso – Dark Days
Sufjan Stevens – Run Away With Me
First Aid Kit – Come Give Me Love
Chuck Prophet – Love Doesn’t Come From the Barrel of a Gun
Toots & the Maytals – Got To Be Tough
Black Thought, Pusha T, Swizz Beats, Killer Mike – Good Morning
Pete Rock, Camp Lo, Talib Kweli – Ladies & Gentlemen
Janelle Monae – Turntables
Sault – Fearless
John Vanderslice – lure mice condemn erase
Bronson – Foundation
Aesop Rock – The Gates
Eddie Vedder, Nick Zinner – Cartography (Nick Zinner Remix)
Matt Berninger – One More Second
Fleet Foxes – Going-to-the-Sun Road
Bob Mould – Forecast of Rain
IDLES – Ne Touche Pas Moi

The Fortnightly Playlist, September 6th, 2020

I have this desire to always keep including new and different sounds here. What I always say is this: “You probably won’t like everything I include, but you’ll always find something you like.” This tends to match the feedback I often get, so I think it is working. This blog has been going for nearly 4 years, and the playlists go back another year before the blog. Looking back at some of the early lists this week, I realize that how the process of just paying attention has evolved and broadened my own musical preferences.

Missing live music has certainly been a feature of 2020. The last show I went to was back on January 18th. I saw Dessa and Monakr at The Crocodile in Seattle. I don’t really recall the last time I went over 6 months without going to a show. If you count every local gig at every coffee shop, then it would probably go back to before I could drive. There’s a few artists in the list this edition that I’ve seen live. Sarah Jarosz, Deep Sea Diver, and Naked Giants (x2). I sure hope 2021 holds live music again.

I wanted to point out Mark Lanegan this edition. Lanegan was frontman for Screaming Trees their entire run. They didn’t see the kind of success that some of their fellow Washington bands did through the ’90s, but Lanegan, in particular, has shown himself to be a lasting talent. He’s thankfully also very prolific. It seems now that we can just expect an album every year from him, and we can also expect it to be excellent. He also published his memoir back in April, and I’ve heard it is a very difficult but good read. It’s on my booklist for sure.

Other favorites of mine in this edition are Fantastic Negrito, Hinds, Throwing Muses, Barbi Recananti, and The Harlem Gospel Travelers.

Sondre Lerche – Patience
Fantastic Negrito – Chocolate Samurai
Nicola Cruz – Yeva
Disclosure, Fatoumata Diawara – Douha (Mali Mali)
Chong the Nomad – On Fire
Lila Ike – Stars Align
Blu & Exile – The Feeling
Gregory Porter – Faith in Love
Deep Sea Diver, Sharon Van Etten – Impossible Weight
Mark Lanegan – I Wouldn’t Want to Say
Throwing Muses – Bo Diddley Bridge
Bibio – Sleep On The Wing
Sarah Jarosz – Empty Square
The Harlem Gospel Travelers – Fight On!
Wyatt Waddell – Fight!
Gordon Koang – South Sudan
Bronko Yotte – Galvano
Barbi Recanati – Que No
Hinds – Take Me Back
Mourn – Call You Back
Naked Giants – Take a Chance
Son Lux – Last Light

The Fortnightly Playlist, August 23rd, 2020

Raw hip-hop, bright bluegrass, and some punchy punk rock included this edition. There’s a lot of new music out now, and more right around the corner. I’ve got a big list for you this edition.

We begin and end with some cover collaborations. Starting off with Sharon Van Etten and Josh Homme’s duet on “(What’s So Funny ’bout) Peace, Love and Understanding” and ending with an ensemble version of “What the World Needs Now” led by Tank and the Bangas. I’ve seen these songs and others in a similar vein start appearing more often, and it’s no wonder given the sort of uncertainty and division in our world right now.

One song that hit me hard this week was “How Long?” by Fantastic Negrito. I was previously unfamiliar with Fantastic Negrito, and was pleasantly surprised to find he’s already got 3 full-length records ready to be discovered. I’ve yet to give the others much time, but his new album, Have You Lost Your Mind Yet, is really good. It’s one of those records that captures the moment very well, and it deserves your attention.

Marlowe is a project that grabbed my attention with their first album 2 years ago. L’Orange, in particular, has a unique production style weaving in samples of old radio theatre and classic blues and jazz to create a story to his records. Marlowe being something of a Crime Drama. L’Orange tends to work with rappers that have a more laid back approach, but Solemn Brigham has a raw, breathless, loud, in-your-face style that creates a juxtoposition to the atmosphere laid down by L’Orange.

Other favorites this edition include Songhoy Blues, Jonsi, The Notwist, and Sarah Jarosz


Sharon Van Etten, Josh Homme – (What’s So Funny ‘bout) Peace, Love and Understanding
Songhoy Blues – Badala
Budos Band – Long in the Tooth
Fantastic Negrito – How Long?
Marlowe – Future Power Sources
Blimes and Gab – Shelly’s (it’s chill)
The Notwist, Saya – Ship
Throwing Muses – Frosting
Biffy Clyro – North of No South
Midnight Oil – Gadigal Land
Jonsi, Elizabeth Fraser – Cannibal
Bill Frisell – Keep Your Eyes Open
Jerry Joseph – Dead Confederate
Sarah Jarosz – I’ll Be Gone
Dawes – St. Augustine At Night
Low Cut Connie – Stay as Long as You Like
Illuminati Hotties – freequent letdown
The Big Moon – Why
Doves – Carousels
Marlowe – Preach Honest
Jehnny Beth – Heroine
Idles – Model Village
Ty Segall, Cory Hanson – She’s a Beam
Young Jesus – Pattern Doubt
Tank and the Bangas – What the World Needs Now


The Fortnightly Playlist, August 10th, 2020

A little late this edition…

One of the most fun covers I’ve heard recently has to be Hinds cover of The Clash’s “Spanish Bombs”. The garage-pop quartet from Madrid do an excellent job both staying true to the spirit of the original while making it very much their own.

I have to mention the new Marlowe 2 record. Now, I was pretty clear about how much I loved that first Marlowe record, and it landed #3 on my favorite records of 2018. L’Orange and Solemn Brigham are back with the follow-up, and it has hit hard. By the time the release was available in the US, it was among the top downloads in the UK. I’m excited to listen to this one much more, and you can expect me to share more from it.

If you’re looking for a new supergroup that sounds different than anything else currently, then look to Dinner Party. Robert Glasper, Kamasi Washington, 9th Wonder, and Terrace Martin have made a beautiful album this year. Jazz, Funk, Hip-hop flowing together joyously. This is different, and it’s so needed.


Courtney Marie Andrews – How You Get Hurt
Deep Sea Diver – Lights Out
Hum – The Summoning
Cloquet – Garden
Washed Out – Time to Walk Away
BIIANCO, Chong the Nomad – Put You in the Kitchen
Chong the Nomad, Hollis – Take Two
Hollis – Sedative
Residente – Hoy
Marlowe – Can’t Have Me Nothing
Gabriel Teodros – Lemonade
Black Thought – Thought vs Everybody
Noname – Song 33
Dinner Party – First Responders
Phoebe Bridgers – I Know The End
Sylvan Esso – Ferris Wheel
Fontaine’s D.C. – A Lucid Dream
Hinds – Spanish Bombs
Courtney Marie Andrews – It Must Be Someone Else’s Fault
The Chicks – March, March


The Fortnightly Playlist, July 26th, 2020

Hey, listen to this!

Lots of flavor from around the world in this edition. Burna Boy, Amber Figueroa, Mammut, Transglobal Underground, Nihiloxica, and Ana Tijoux all bringing a broad array of sounds this time around. It’s also hard to ignore Sault right now. I still don’t know much in terms of who and how many are in Sault, but whatever. They have been making serious waves since last year. They’ve released 3 full albums in a year and a half-ish, and it’s all top notch. The song I chose to include this edition, “Bow”, also features Michael Kiwanuka and is probably the most boldly African-influenced we’ve heard from them.

I need to make clear that Gabriel Teodros has made one of the best albums of the year. Teodros has always had his messaging clear, and finally it seems our culture is hitting on some of the same touchstones. “If They Come For Me In The Morning…” has been ringing in my head since I first heard the song, and the rest of this excellent record, What We Leave Behind, has followed suit. I can’t get enough of this one. Also, starting tomorrow (July 27th, 2020), Gabriel will be hosting an early morning radio show every weekday from 5-7AM Pacific Time on KEXP, so give it a listen because he’s making some good noise.

In the past on this blog, I haven’t often included big pop albums. Sometimes though, an album or artist just can’t be ignored. Beyonce or Kendrick Lamar, for example, become cultural touchstones that are more universal than a typical summer jam. I don’t think I would have expected to include Taylor Swift here, but her surprise album, folklore, has hit in that way. This song, “peace”, has struck me, in particular, and I definitely recommend the album.

Particular favorite of mine in this list are Gabriel Teodros, Hum, Black Ends, and Burna Boy. Also, really loving the new Tunde Adebimpe single, and I’ll include it once it’s available to stream.


Open Mike Eagle – Neighborhood Protection Spell
Aisha Fukushima – Pandemic
Gabriel Teodros – What You Leave Behind
Sault, Michael Kiwanuka – Bow
Black Ends – Stay Evil
Transglobal Underground – The People Carrier
Ana Tijoux, PJ Sin Suela – Pa Que
Haim – All That Ever Mattered
Burna Boy – Wonderful
Amber Figueroa – Mi Fuego
Taylor Swift – peace
Pacific Range – Santa Monica (Through the Canyon)
Mammut – Sun and Me
Hum – Waves
Dope Walker – Shakes
Nihiloxica – Tewali Sukali

The Fortnightly Playlist, July 12th, 2020

This was a hard week. You see, we’ve had travel plans for a while now, and we finally made the call to cancel them. It was a big trip that we’ve been working toward being able to do for years. It was always off in the future. We had careers and our finances to sort out. It was finally going to happen. I know we’ve got a lot to be thankful for, but it was hard to let go of that trip. We still have our jobs, and, so far, we are still healthy. There are some songs in this edition that helped encourage me this week, and maybe they will do the same for you too.

There’s a double dose of Jenn Wasner’s gorgeous vocals in this edition with a new single from Wye Oak and a new EP under her solo project, Flock of Dimes. Wasner is one of my favorite vocalists lately, and this new Wye Oak single, “AEIOU”, was one that hit me as soon as I heard it the first time.

Another song that I’ve been connecting with is Joensuu 1685’s newest song, “Light in the Heart of Our Town”. The Finnish band is reunited after Mikko Joensuu’s trio of solo albums, Amen I, Amen II, and Amen III. I’ve recommended those before, but I can’t recommend them enough.

Other favorites here are Tre Burt, Phoebe Bridgers, Ayron Jones, and Fenne Lily.


Sufjan Stevens – America
Joensuu 1685 – Light in the Heart of Our Town
Phoebe Bridgers – Graceland Too
Tre Burt – Only Sorrow Remains
Khruangbin – Time (You and I)
Chicano Batman – Moment of Joy
Sault – Stop Dem
Ayron Jones – Take Me Away
Death Valley Girls – Breakthrough
Smokey Brights – Shelter Me
Fenne Lily – Alapathy
Half Gringa – 1990
Wye Oak, Brooklyn Youth Chorus – AEIOU
CeeLo Green – Lead Me
Tre Burt – What Good
Holly Macve – Little, Lonely Heart
Odina – Heartache
Flock of Dimes – Thank You Friends and Strangers