The Fortnightly Playlist, June 17th, 2018

Well folks, we’re a little on the late side this time around, and who knows if my internet will allow me to even post this as it has been extremely temperamental today. This edition gets into international music quite a bit. Iceland, Canary Islands, Bulgaria, India, and Benin are all represented in this edition of the Fortnightly. There are some big new singles from Gorillaz and Death Cab for Cutie, and there are really exciting new albums from Angelique Kidjo, Lazerbeak & Longshot, Busdriver, Brownout, and M. Ward.

Funk/Latin powerhouses, Brownout, are taking on another classic. After releasing 2 albums of funk interpretations of Black Sabbath (Brownout presents Brown Sabbath I and II), the group is now taking on  hip-hop legends, Public Enemy. In the new record, Fear of a Brown Planet, we are treated to complete reworkings of many Public Enemy classics. This is an amazingly fun album, and it allows you to see some of this classic material in a new way.

In the last few years, I’ve come to think of hip hop as the genre that seems to be pushing boundaries the most in music. Maybe it is just the current cycle we are in, but, in terms of bold creativity, hip-hop is the current leader. Busdriver’s latest album, electricity is on our side, is a perfect example. The album is incredible. It’s somehow MC at a danceclub, and jazz at a winebar at the same time. Busdriver, and other artists like him, are pushing Hip-hop into all kinds of territory that people don’t expect. Because of the borrowing culture that has surrounded it from early on, it’s a genre that seems to have no limit to what it can draw into itself. electricity is on our side can seem a bit out there on the first listen. Maybe it is an acquired taste. Maybe some will find it inaccessible in its complexity. I think it may be one of the best records of the year.

I have a lot of favorites in this edition, but there are a few that have struck me particularly. Van Stee, Angelique Kidjo, Mazzy Star, Kiran Ahluwalia, Lazerbeak & Longshot, and Courtney Marie Andrews are some great ones this time around.

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Tracklist:
Van Stee – Here Comes The Fire
Gorillaz – Humility
Longshot, Lazerbeak – Just Dance
Brownout – Fight the Power
Angelique Kidjo – The Great Curve
Kiran Ahluwalia – Khafa
Busdriver – I been there
Eptos Uno – Peso Pesado
Olafur Arnalds – re:member
The Mystery of The Bulgarian Voices – Sluntse
Mazzy Star – Still
Courtney Marie Andrews – Long Road Back To You
Luke Winslow-King – Blue Mesa
The National Reserve – New Love
M. Ward – Miracle Man
Lord Huron – Secret of Life
Death Cab for Cutie – Gold Rush
Desert Mountain Tribe – Spyders
Olafur Arnalds – unfold
Dat Garcia – Anfibio (Space People Remix)
Pablo Fierro – Timanfaya
Rosalia – Malamente
Longshot, Lazerbeak – Parades
Nocando – She Went to War
Busdriver – pull the sky closer

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The Fortnightly Playlist, June 3rd, 2018

So if you’ve been reading this lately, then you know how much I’ve been talking about Ry Cooder’s new record. This edition, I’m also including a track from his son, Joachim’s, new record, Fuschia Machu Pichu. I’ve been listening to this record a lot lately, and especially this track that I’ve included “Everyone Sleeps In the Light”. Also in this edition, new albums from Wooden Shjips, Chvrches, Sudan Archives, and Neko Case. There are new singles from Dawes, Mitski, and Rubblebucket as well.

Black Thought has never really gone out on his own much, and taken on projects outside of The Roots. Streams of Thought Vol. 1 is an impressive release. The 5-song EP is produced by 9th Wonder and The Soul Council, and covers a range of topics. Of course, Black Thought is well known as a great lyricist, and this EP really highlights his abilities distinctly.

I’ve written in the past about Sudan Archives, and I was so happy to see more new music from her this year. The genre-defying violinist is back again with a new 6-song EP called Sink. She blends various techniques on the violin, but throughout her music you here traces of the North African styles that are particularly influential to her. It’s difficult to say what her music is. It’s R&B, but centered around the violin. It’s pop, but it’s eclectic and unline any other pop music you can point to. It is complex and layered, but uncluttered and simple. She’s building a sound so distinctly her, and I absolutely love it.

Other highlights that I haven’t discussed here are the new Neko Case, Parquet Courts, Halo Maud, and Dawes. There is also plenty to look forward to yet this year. The new Angelique Kidjo is one that I’m looking forward to this coming week. I’m thinking I might write an extra something toward the end of this month about my favorites in the first half of the year. I’d be curious to know what my readers have enjoyed so far this year as well.

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Joachim Cooder – Everyone Sleeps in the Light
Sudan Archives – Pay Attention
J. Cole – KOD
Black Thought – 9th vs. Thought
Halo Maud – Tu Sais Comme Je Suis
Neko Case – Last Lion of Albion
The Joy Formidable – Dance of the Lotus
Chvrches – Forever
Rufus Du Sol – No Place
Sin Fang – Wasted
Mitski – Geyser
Wooden Shjips – Staring at the Sun
John Prine – God Only Knows
Thunderpussy – All In
Wand – Perfume
Parquet Courts – Total Football
Rubblebucket – Fruity
Kung Foo Grip – Mic Check
Planet Asia – Executive Criminals
Sudan Archives – Escape
Ry Cooder – Jesus and Woody
Gretchen Peters – The Boy from Rye
The Jayhawks – Everybody Knows
Dr. Dog – Go Out Fighting
Dawes – Living In The Future