Just because I like it Vol III: Doomtree

This week I’m going to see Dessa. This will be the third time in the space of less than a year that I’ll be seeing a member of the Doomtree collective. In the past year, I’ve certainly written a fair amount about them. I’ve actually not been familiar with Doomtree all that long, but I really went all in when I discovered them for myself. I heard a live in-studio session on KEXP with P.O.S. back in January of last year, and I was convinced enough to include a track in the playlist. A friend commented on it saying that I should look into P.O.S.’ earlier albums and Doomtree. I jumped in with both feet, and listened to everything.

For those who aren’t familiar, Doomtree are a hip-hop collective from Minneapolis, MN. The group consists of rappers P.O.S., Cecil Otter, Sims, Dessa, Mike Mictlan and DJs Paper Tiger, and Lazerbeak. Each member has their own solo projects as well as various side projects. They own and operate their own label, and do nearly everything themselves. For their earliest releases, there was something of a DIY work-in-progress feel, and it seems they have learned and improved with every record they make. You can hear it in this playlist as it takes one song from each record chronologically. I’ve included some of their side projects and special appearances as well to get a better feel for what they’ve done.

Last fall, P.O.S.’ Chill, Dummy tour hit, and I saw him at the Wild Buffalo in Bellingham, WA. At that point, I was already well familiarized with all of his material, and the show was an absolute blast. I got to meet him briefly afterward, and he was really cool and down-to-earth. By November, the Shredders album, Dangerous Jumps, came out, and there was another tour on the way. This time, Sims and P.O.S. handle all the rhymes, and Lazerbeak and Paper Tiger teamed up for some of their best work to date. In January of this year, I saw them at Chop Suey in Seattle. I’ve given some attention in the fortnightly playlist to Dessa’s new record, Chime, and I’m excited about seeing her at the Neptune in Seattle this Friday.

If you’re wondering where to start with this big of a catalog, then the best place is No Kings. This is really the cohesive full-collective album. From there, whichever member grabs you attention most is the place to go. For me that was P.O.S., Sims, Dessa and Paper Tiger.

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The Fortnightly Playlist, April 22nd, 2018

Another big playlist of new music again this edition. When I make these there are a few things that I always try to do. One of my biggest goals is to include local, national and international artists. There’s always some fluctuation in this, but I feel like, in general, I make that happen. I really like the balance I’ve struck on this edition. Of course, there is the usual covering many genres as well.

Singer and violinist, Sudan Archives, has me excited right now. Her debut EP last year was truly unique, and the singles she’s released since then have grabbed my attention as well. On her latest release, Nont For Sale, she plucks the violin to an R&B beat. She sings beautifully, and she blends Sudanese fiddling, R&B, West African rhythms, and experimental electonic beats. I am super excited to see what she’ll come out with next.

Given that I’ve used spotify to share these playlists, there are sometimes artists that I cannot share. Ty Segall has been one of these… until now. Just in the last 2 weeks, Ty’s library went up on spotify.  The fuzzy garage psychedelia master is very prolific. Ty always has a new album out, so I’ve included a track from his latest record, Freedom’s Goblin. If you’re unfamiliar and interested in Ty, then I would recommend Manipulator as a good album to get started.

I have lived between Seattle, WA and Vancouver, BC my whole life. At times closer to Vancouver, and now much nearer to Seattle. This means I’ve had the benefit of seeing pieces of both local scenes. Dan Mangan is an artist that I am so happy to know thanks to Canadian radio. It’s been 7 yrs since Dan’s last full-length, Oh Fortune. It has really held up as a favorite for me, and so I am really happy to see some new material from him. He’s actually been busy since then doing some work on various soundtracks. Oh Fortune and Nice, Nice, Very Nice in particular have shown us an excellent and insightful songwriter. I look forward to more from Dan Mangan.

My other favorites this time around are Trick Candles, Kultur Shock, Wye Oak, Parquet Courts, Altin Gun, and Lord Huron.

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Lord Huron – Back From The Edge
Fastbacks – I Was Stolen
Arthur Buck – I Am The Moment
Wye Oak – It Was Not Natural
Ament – Safe in the Car
Ty Segall – Alta
Sunflower Bean – I Was A Fool
Damien Jurado – Allocate
Sera Cahoone – Baker Lake
Dan Mangan – Fool For Waiting
Roja Y Negro – Tinta Roja
Residente – Sexo
Busdriver – GUSH
Epic Beard Men – Two Different Worlds
Bishop Nehru – Driftin’
Sudan Archives – Nont for Sale
Janelle Monae – I Like That
Trick Candles – Pretend We’re Alone
Kultur Shock – Mirakula Fantastika
Parquet Courts – Almost Had to Start a Fight/In and Out of Patience
Wussy – Aliens in our midst
Altin Gun – Goca Dunya
A.A.L – Such a Bad Way
Fidlar – Alcohol
Manchester Orchestra – No Hard Feelings
James – Busted
Thunderpussy – Thunderpussy

The Fortnightly Playlist, April 8th, 2018

Whew! Well, 2018 releases have picked up their pace by this point in the year, and I might be falling behind a bit. This will be one of the longest Fortnightly lists, and I still had to push some things until next time. Whenever this happens, I feel like I come out with one of my strongest lists though.

Last edition, I mentioned that my all-time favorite band, Pearl Jam, was back, and now this time I am focusing in on another of my all-time favorite artists. Ry Cooder’s last full-length album came out in 2012. He did release a live album in 2013 and tour extensively with Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White in 2015-16, so you can hardly say that it’s been a quiet few years for the multi-instrumentalist/music historian/songwriter. Ry’s career is fascinating to me (I have had a partially finished, more extensive project on him that has been sitting for awhile). He started playing music very young, formed a band at age 17 along with a young Taj Mahal, played with Captain Beefheart, and with the Rolling Stones (years later there was some dispute about the Stones building some hit songs around some riffs that were his). His first several albums were nearly all covers. He was something of an Americana master. Particularly, he was well-known for his slide guitar work, but he plays many. After several solo records, he began doing movie soundtracks and did some work with musicians around the world. He worked with legends like V.M. Bhatt (Grammy: best world music album of 1993), Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Ali Farka Toure (Grammy: best world music album 1994), Manuel Galban (best pop instrumental album 2003), and, most well-known, the Buena Vista Social Club (Grammy: best tropical latin performance 1997). In the mid 00’s, Ry returned to his solo career, and now with almost entirely original material. Ry’s long career through diverse styles and with high-caliber musicians with numerous backgrounds has made him a truly one-of-a-kind artist. The new album, Prodigal Son, is set to be released on May 11.

Perhaps if Ry were to return to working with accomplished World musicians, then Bombino might be among those I could see him working alongside. I first heard Bombino sometime around late 2016/early 2016. He was an artist that changed my entire view of my own instrument. Bombino’s Touareg desert blues guitar playing opened up a whole different style of playing for me. With his last release, Azel, he began to delve into reggae and blend it in with his desert blues. On the newly released singles from his upcoming album, Deran, he continues working to weave reggae into his sound. From this, a new wordblend has been coined, “Touareggae”. I’ve included the song Tehigren here as it really is the clearest example of this. Deran is out May 18th.

Also this edition, I’ve delved into quite a lot of Latin music. Mint Field, Javiera Mena, Elsa y Elmar, and Centavrvs deliver a wide range of latin styles in this list. Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite have an excellent new album out. I’ve also included the latest from Kevin Devine’s Devinyl Splits series which is with Craig Finn of The Hold Steady. The Black Tones have put their very first song on spotify this week, and I’m excited to share this incredible local band with you all. Brandi Carlile remains at the top of my list for the year with her new album, By The Way… I Forgive You. All in all, this is quite possibly my favorite playlist I’ve put together this year. I hope you all enjoy it.

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The Black Tones – The Key of Black
Bombino – Tehigren
Thievery Corporation – Voyage Libre
Ry Cooder – The Prodigal Son
Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite – No Mercy In This Land
Speedy Ortiz – Lean In When I Suffer
Mint Field – Ojos En El Carro
Brandi Carlile – Whatever You Do
Kevin Devine, Craig Finn – Galveston
Trembling Bells – My Father Was a Collapsing Star
Guided By Voices – See My Field
Illuminati Hotties – Paying Off The Happiness
Haley Heynderickx – Oom Sha La La
Courtney Barnett – Need a Little Time
Javiera Mena – Intuición
Elsa Y Elmar – Culpa, Tengo
Sons of Kemet – My Queen Is Harriet Tubman
U.S. Girls – M.A.H.
Czarface, MF Doom – Nautical Depth
Chris Carter – Blissters
Preoccupations – Decompose
Centavrvs – Debilidad
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – Coolin’ Out (feat. Lucius)
Gengahr – I’ll Be Waiting
John Parish – Sorry For Your Loss
Angelique Kidjo – Born Under Punches