The Fortnightly Playlist, November 19th, 2017

Some huge albums to cover this edition from Ibeyi, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Mavis Staples, Samantha Fish, Kamasi Washington and Alex Lahey. Also, we’ve got some great new singles from Drive-By Truckers, Neil Young, and The Breeders.

I’d been tentatively constructing my top 10 albums for the year, but a few late albums have really shaken it all up. One that absolutely captured me in the last couple weeks is Ash by Ibeyi. The duo comprised of twin sisters Lisa-Kainde & Naomi Diaz created something truly special here. I could hardly listen to anything else for several days. The musically sparse sound lends itself well to the intimacy of the album, the well articulated themes of social justice, and a few perfect guest appearances (in particular, Kamasi Washington on Deathless) make this an album worth listening straight through repeatedly. It has a lot to offer with repeated listening, and I see it being an album that will stick with me over time.

A lot of people seem to be noting that there are a lot more artists being overtly political in the past couple years. I would argue that music and art has always had political aspects. That said, in our current political climate, some artists respond with thoughtful and cutting critiques, and some respond with half-baked, angry, namecalling. No one does politics in music like Drive-By Truckers, and they are in fine form on their newest single, The Perilous Night. For those who have been familiar with the Truckers for a while, their views have always been a part of their music. However, it really came to the forefront of their music in last year’s American Band. This new single continues in that vein, and it does so very well.

Sharon Jones was someone who carried herself with the utmost grace and strength through her battle with cancer. Last year’s documentary, Miss Sharon Jones, told her story of struggling through cancer treatment while still keeping on recording and performing. I had the privelege of seeing her perform during that time (Every now and then, I go back and watch the video from that show). Now, on the one year anniversary of her passing, we get one final album from Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings: Soul of a Woman. It is everything that any fan could ask from a Sharon Jones album. Her voice sounds as beautiful as ever, and the record exudes all the energy and soul and life that we’ve come to expect. There’s nothing missing from it. It is the perfect Sharon Jones record. For more on the record, this is a good review.

As mentioned, I’ve been considering my favorite albums of the year. The last Fortnightly Playlist of the year will be my top 10. There’s still a lot of shifting positions there, and quite a few more than 10 I’m considering. I’d love to hear from you on your favorites this year as well.

Until next time,

Josh

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Tracklist:
1. The Breeders – Wait in the Car
2. PINS – Serve the Rich
3. Neil Young – Already Great
4. Ibeyi – When Will I Learn
5. Daniele Luppi, Parquet Courts – Soul & Cigarette
6. Samantha Fish – American Dream
7. Philip Morgan Lewis – Six Foot Tambourine
8. Drive-By Truckers – The Perilous Night
9. Mavis Staples, Jeff Tweedy – Ain’t No Doubt About It
10. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – Searching for a New Day
11. Kamasi Washington – Knowledge
12. Bootsy Collins – Come Back Bootsy
13. Teen Daze – On the Edge of a New Age
14. Ibeyi – Away Away
15. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – Sail On!
16. Franz Ferdinand – Always Ascending
17. Alex Lahey – I Haven’t Been Taking Care of Myself
18. They Might Be Giants – I Left My Body
19. POLICA, stargaze – How Is This Happening

 

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The Fortnightly Playlist, November 5th, 2017

Plenty to cover again as usual with new singles from Mavis Staples, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Dessa, Tune-Yards, and Levee Walkers, and new full-length albums from Manchester Orchestra, Noah Gundersen, Shredders, Stars, Margo Price, Brian Wright, Iron & Wine, and EPs from Billy Bragg and Langhorne Slim.

Listen to the playlist here on spotify.

Levee Walkers are back again. This time Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), Duff McKagan (Guns’n’Roses), and Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees) have collaborated with Seattle Singer-songwriter Ayron Jones. This is now the third vocalist the supergroup has worked with, and each one has brought something very different to the table. It seemed appropriate pair it with a song from Ayron’s album from June, Audio Paint Job. The band seems happy to swing the spotlight on a younger artist that has impressed them recently. Duff McKagan said recently of him, “Ayron is such a special and bad-ass new Seattle artist. I went to a show of his last year in Seattle, and it was one of those that just simply made me realize how glad I am that I chose music as a path.” I’ve enjoyed the Levee Walkers a lot so far, and their choices of different vocalists to work with has led me to some other great musicians. Last year’s single with Raquel Sofia was excellent as well.

The new Shredders release is one I’ve been excited for, and it didn’t let me down. Sims, P.O.S., Lazerbeak, and Paper Tiger of Doomtree have created a record that is a more stripped down and straightforward rap album than their previous records with the full Doomtree collective. Included this edition is a trio of Doomtree releases. Shredders, Style Boys, features fellow Doomtree member Mike Mictlan, then there’s Singer States from Paper Tiger’s solo release from earlier this year, and finally, the new Dessa single, Good Grief. There’s been a lot out this year from the Minneapolis collective. P.O.S.’s solo record from earlier this year is still one of my personal favorites.

Until next time,

Josh

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Tracklist:
1. Manchester Orchestra – The Maze
2. Bill Bragg – The Sleep of Reason
3. Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – On Script
4. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – Call on God
5. Mavis Staples – Little Bit
6. Ayron Jones – West Coast Feeling
7. Levee Walkers & Ayron Jones – All Things Fade Away
8. Open Mike Eagle – Legendary Iron Hood
9. Shredders & Mike Mictlan – Style Boys
10. Paper Tiger – Singer States
11. Dessa – Good Grief
12. Stars – Hope Avenue
13. Tune-Yards – Look at Your Hands
14. Saintseneca – Book of the Dead on Sale
15. False Advertising – Hey You
16. Julien Baker – Shadowboxing
17. Langhorne Slim – Life is Confusing
18. Margo Price – Pay Gap
19. Brian Wright – Goldmine
20. Bahamas – No Wrong
21. Tyminski – Southern Gothic
22. JD McPherson – Lucky Penny
23. Noah Gundersen – Fear & Loathing
24. Iron & Wine – Claim Your Ghost