The Fortnightly Playlist, July 16th, 2017

Is there a song that can trasition between jazz-folk-singer-songwriter, Meklit, and electro pioneer, Gary Numan? Yes. It’s Cut Copy’s newest single, Airborne. I’m quite proud of that discovery. All that and more in the playlist this time around.

It’s always interesting to hear a very familiar voice singing an unfamiliar song. The instantly singable melodies of Lo Tom make that even more strange. It’s new, but I felt when I first heard it that I knew it. Lo Tom is a new project fronted by David Bazan with members from Pedro the Lion and Starflyer 59. The full, self-titled album dropped this week, and included here is the first single that was released, Overboard.

Jazz and soul, bright horns, fluttering strings and beautiful melodies… Ethiopian jazz, folk, singer-songwriter, Meklit. There’s so much I’ve been enjoying in her new record, When The People Move, The Music Moves Too. It’s all enhanced by the guest appearances from The Preservation Hall Horns and Andrew Bird.

Other highlights this edition are Pixx, Songhoy Blues, Salt Cathedral, This Is The Kit, and Vertebrae.

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  1. Pixx – I Bow Down
  2. Lo Tom – Overboard
  3. Waxahatchee – Never Been Wrong
  4. Com Truise – … Of Your Fake Dimension
  5. Mammut – Breathe Into Me
  6. Songhoy Blues – Sahara (Feat. Iggy Pop)
  7. Mogwai – Party in the Dark
  8. DJ Shadow – Systematic (feat. Nas)
  9. Salt Cathedral – Always There When I Need You
  10. This Is The Kit – Moonshine Freeze
  11. The Districts – If Before I Wake
  12. The Telescopes – You Can’t Reach What You Hunger
  13. Vertebrae – Half The Time
  14. Low Cut Connie – Controversy
  15. Les Amazones d’Afrique, Rokia Kone – Mansa Soyari
  16. Meklit – I Want to Sing for Them All (feat. Andrew Bird)
  17. Cut Copy – Airborne
  18. Gary Numan – My Name Is Ruin
  19. Nine Inch Nails – Less Than
  20. Wolf Alice – Don’t Delete The Kisses
  21. Jadea Kelly – On The Water
  22. Olafur Arnalds, Arnor Dan – Take My Leave of You
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The Fortnightly Playlist, July 2nd, 2017

Plenty of music to get through in the past couple weeks, and multiple in this edition that are currently among my favorites of the year so far. Notably missing is the new Public Enemy, Nothing is Quick in the Desert, which is not available on Spotify. The album is available to stream or download for free on their bandcamp page, and it is excellent.

Listen to the playlist here

Algiers has something plenty special about them, but there is no way around the fact that one thing stands out… that voice. Franklin James Fisher’s soaring, soulful vocals are at the forefront of the listener’s experience. Even when you try and listen to other aspects, his voice effects how you hear it. It’s haunting in the best way possible, and he manages to keep them recognizable as they shift through a wide range of styles.

The bold, hard-hitting message of Propaganda was a standout find this week. Crooked starts in immediately with cutting and critical, Crooked Ways, and keeps hitting on the same themes of cultural and political divides throughout. It has a dark feel that suits the subject matter, but still somehow maintains determined, grit-your-teeth hopefulness. I highly recommend this one.

Other highpoints this week include Making Movies, John Van Deusen, Rosi Golan, Bocafloja, Manchester Orchestra, and Roger Waters.

Until next time,

Josh

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  1. The Drums – I’ll Fight For You
  2. Algiers – Cry of the Martyrs
  3. Making Movies – Locura Colectiva
  4. The War On Drugs – Holding On
  5. John Van Deusen – The Bitter End
  6. Aislinn Logan – So Loud
  7. Apache – Basta
  8. Sims – No Getaway (feat. Travla)
  9. Rosi Golan – Underneath
  10. Jen Gloeckner – Breathe
  11. Bonobo – Surface (feat. Nicole Miglis)
  12. Arcade Fire – Signs of Life
  13. Bocafloja – Arrebato
  14. Propaganda – Slow Cook
  15. Adult Mom – Tenderness
  16. Molly Tuttle – Lightning in a Jar
  17. Steve Earle – Lookin’ for a Woman
  18. Manchester Orchestra – The Gold
  19. The National – Guilty Party
  20. Chastity Belt – Different Now
  21. Melvins – What’s Wrong With You? (Death)
  22. Roger Waters – Is This The Life We Really Want?

First 1/2 Top 3

Here we are halfway through 2017. The second year of creating the Fortnightly Playlist, and the first full year of it appearing here on this blog. At this time of year, I start to think what albums have really stood out to me so far. As usual, there are more great records than I can really include, but there are a few super-standouts for me that I’ll be sharing here. There’s still 6 months left, and plenty of new music on the way, but my top 3 so far might be difficult to break into. I don’t see these dropping out of my top 10 at the year’s end for sure.

#3 – I Am Another You – Making Movies
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I was completely blindsided by this record in just the last couple weeks. Thematically, the group focuses in on stories around the immigration and social justice, and does so weaving rock, psychedelia, American roots, and various Latin styles. Incredible guitar hooks and truly fantastic latin percussion make this a great listen.

#2 – Chill, dummy – P.O.S.
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This record unlocked a lot of new music for me. I wasn’t all that familiar with P.O.S. or the Minneapolis collective, Doomtree, until hearing P.O.S. do a live set on the radio earlier this year. I really connected with this record, and from there I springboarded into the records that Doomtree had made as a collective, as well as the numerous solo projects of all its members. This record shifts through intense and atmospheric and back again so smoothly, and it holds my interest. I find myself often listening to it straight through in its entirety.

#1 – Life and Livin’ It – Sinkane
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Brooklyn-based, London-born, Sudanese Sinkane incorporates such a broad variety of sounds that it is no surprise that this one stands out for me. Catchy keyboard and guitar hooks draw you in on each track. Bright afro-rock, pop, shoegaze, reggae and blues all identifiable at moments in this unique, funky blend, and yet it has a coheseive sound. It covers so much ground, but doesn’t lose itself.

This is my top 3 so far this year, and I’d love to discuss these and other records in the comments. Please, share your own favorites! Here’s a short playlist with a few tracks from each of these, and we’ll be back to The Fortnightly Playlist next week.

Top 3 so far

  1. Sinkane – Deadweight
  2. P.O.S. – Wearing A Bear
  3. Making Movies – Locura Colectiva
  4. Sinkane – Telephone
  5. P.O.S. – Faded (feat. Lady Midnight)
  6. Making Movies – Brave Enough
  7. Sinkane – Passenger
  8. P.O.S. – Thieves/Kings
  9. Making Movies – Tell Me The Truth
  10. Sinkane – The Way
  11. P.O.S. – Infinite Scroll (feat. Open Mic Eagle, Manchita)
  12. Making Movies – Que Hace El

Josh

The Fortnightly Playlist, June 18th, 2017

It’s a little hard to even keep up with all the new music right now. Several of the albums featured this time I still haven’t listened to fully. This edition featuress new records from Ani DiFranco, Making Movies, Pickwick, Ride and Jeremy Ylvisaker, and new singles from Arcade Fire, ODESZA, Queens of the Stone Age and Bomba Estereo. I’m excited, and I think this is one of the best lists I’ve put together.

Listen Here!

One of the records that I’ve been looking forward to listening to in full is the Planetarium project that came out last week. The project features Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner (The National), American contemporary classical music composer and arranger Nico Muhly, Sufjan Stevens, and Sufjan’s longtime drummer James McAlister. Everything I’ve heard so far is a beautiful blend between classical and modern.

A big discovery for me this week was Kansas City’s Latin/Rock quartet, Making Movies. Catchy Latin grooves, huge rock guitar riffs, high-energy, and a bold message make them one of the most attention-grabbing acts I’ve encountered this year. I highly recommend their new album, I Am Another You.

Enjoy,

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  1. Rostam – Gwan
  2. The Horrors – Machine
  3. Pickwick – In Time
  4. Son Little – Nice Dreams
  5. Own Light (What Hearts Are For)
  6. Ani Difranco – Zizzing (feat. Justin Vernon)
  7. James McAlister, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, Sufjan Stevens – Venus
  8. Sims – Time Don’t Fear Me Back
  9. Macklemore – Glorious (feat. Skylar Grey)
  10. Lorde – The Louvre
  11. ODESZA – Corners of the Earth (feat. RY X)
  12. Arcade Fire – Creature Comfort
  13. Ride – Rocket Silver Symphony
  14. Queens of the Stone Age – The Way You Used To Do
  15. Algiers – Underside of Power
  16. Jeremy Ylvisaker – Goodbye (Steve Earle cover)
  17. Kelly McFarling – Records
  18. Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – Hope the High Road
  19. Kevin Morby – Crybaby
  20. Big Thief – Haley
  21. Making Movies – Brave Enough (feat. Hurray For the Riff Raff, Alaina Moore)
  22. Bomba Estereo – Duele
  23. Portugal, The Man – Number One (feat. Son Little, Richie Havens)
  24. Beth Ditto – Savoir Faire
  25. Prince – Father’s Song

The Fortnightly Playlist, June 4th, 2017

We get Dance-y, rootsy and rockin’ this time with new singles from Elton John & Jack White, Arcade Fire, and Portugal The Man, and new records from Dan Auerbach, Kevin Devine, Justin Townes Earle, and !!! (Chk Chk Chk).

Listen here!

There has been a certain amount of buzz around Dan Auerbach 2nd solo record (his first being 8 yrs ago). It is a definite shift from the gritty, rambling blues-rock of The Black Keys, and the similar sound he’s brought out in producing other artists. Waiting On a Song has a more acoustic, poppy, early rock’n’roll/rockabilly sound. What comes to mind very strongly for me is Buddy Holly.

I first became aware of Kevin Devine in 2010 when I heard How This All Ends by Bad Books (Devine & Manchester Orchestra). I stumbled upon the song without being previously aware of either Manchester Orchestra or Devine’s music, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I strongly recommend checking out his Devinyl series which he has done with various other artists; covering each other, singing duets, and writing songs together. Devine’s new record, Instigator, is excellent modern rock.

The new Portugal, The Man single, Feel It Still, never fails to make you want to dance. Justin Townes Earle offers an amazing range of Country, Blues, Jazz, Blugrass in his latest record, Kids in the Street. There’s plently to look forward to with new singles and upcomin albums from Arcade Fire and Ride. And, of course, who doesn’t enjoy to end with a little humor from Nada Surf?

Until next time,

Josh

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  1. Elton John, Jack White – 2 Fingers of Whiskey
  2. Diet Cig – Tummy Ache
  3. !!! – Dancing is the Best Revenge
  4. Arcade Fire – Everything Now
  5. Land of Talk – This Time
  6. Jay Som – Remain
  7. Kevin Devine – No History
  8. Sharon Van Etten – The End of the World
  9. Washed Out – Get Lost
  10. Ride – All I Want
  11. Alt-J – Deadcrush
  12. Chvrches – Down Side Of Me (live)
  13. Paper Tiger – Always Meant
  14. Portugal, The Man – Feel It Still
  15. Dan Auerbach – Waiting On A Song
  16. Justin Townes Earle – What’s Goin’ Wrong
  17. Guy Davis, Fabrizio Poggi – Sonny & Brownie’s Last Train
  18. Kiran Leonard – Living With Your Ailments
  19. Speedy Ortiz – Young Liars
  20. Ride – Charm Assault
  21. Kevin Devine – Both Ways
  22. Nada Surf – Meow Meow Lullaby

The Fortnightly Playlist, May 21st, 2017

There’s a return to world music in this edition. Artists from Mali, Tunisia, Zimbabwe and Mexico are all featured here. Also, we have newly released Prince, and new tracks from The National, Roger Waters, Fleet Foxes, and Courtney Barnett.

Listen to the playlist here

Emel Mathlouthi is a Tunisian singer-songwriter. In 2012, her politically-charged songs were adopted as anthems of the revolution in her country, and she was forced to leave when this put her under threat. Her new album, Ensen (Human), was recorded in 7 different countries.

It’s hard to say exactly how a death of a musician you love affects you. It’s not a friend you ever knew personally, but you also feel like you were influenced by them. I have spent countless hours listening to Chris Cornell’s music.
The space needle went dark Thursday night as Seattle mourned the loss of yet another iconic voice. He struggled with depression for many years, and his openness about the topic was impactful to many with similar struggles. I included his new single, The Promise, to close out the list. It’s a sad loss of someone that was loved by his family, friends and fans.

Until next time,

Josh

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The Fortnightly Playlist, May 7th, 2017

There’s so much new music out in the last few weeks! This is a longer list than usual, and I made some cuts to it. Gorillaz, Feist, Pond, Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees), and Woods all have new records out. Some of these I’ve featured already with the singles, and now the albums have been released. Also, we’ve gotten lots of new singles out.

Listen to the new playlist here!

There are certain bands that you know the music will always have new layers in the context of an album. Gorillaz are definitely one of those. Damon Albarn has a way of weaving through genre after genre with the aid of a myriad of diverse guests. Humanz is no exception, and there’s always a lot of digging to do. I feel like I could give the record a few more listens for a proper review, but for now I recommend it highly.

The formation of The Levee Walkers last year was a big deal for me. Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), Duff McKagan (Guns’N’Roses), and Barret Martin (Screaming Trees) played an Iggy & The Stooges tribute show about 2 yrs ago from the roof of Pike Place Market along with Mark Arm (Mudhoney) as lead vocals. It was thought that this was a one-off show at the time. Then last year Freedom Song/Tears of the West appeared with guest vocalist Jaz Coleman. This time McCready/McKagan/Martin have gotten Puerto Rican singer/songwriter Raquel Sofia to join them with great results.

It had been years since the last Grandaddy album, and their reunification showed they still had exactly what fans loved. What began as a group of teenagers had matured a lot in the decade-long absence, and it was exciting to see them touring again. Sadly, on May 2nd bassist, Kevin Garcia, passed away after a massive stroke. Their next tour date was supposed to be tomorrow (May 8th) at the Neptune Theatre in Seattle. It seems right to close out this edition with a song from their latest album, Last Place.

Until next time,

Josh

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The Fortnightly Playlist, April 23rd, 2017

There’s something of a back and forth this edition between rootsier sound and more electronic, modern sound. Between DJs like The Chemical Brothers, Lusine and Jai Wolf, and the roots, blues and soul of Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’, Jake Xerxes Fussell, and Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Listen Here!

A couple days ago as I was driving into work, Fire by Beth Ditto came on the radio. I have not cranked the radio that loud that early in the morning for a long time. She’s got a bold, soul voice, and the song has a great, infectious groove. It’s definitely a favorite in this edition.

It would not be right to post this without mentioning the new single by a pair of blues giants, Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’. Don’t Leave Me Here Delivers exactly what you would want from these two. The tight blues riffs and the wailing harmonica offer us blues at its finest. Two absolute masters doing what they’ve done for over 50 yrs.

New singles from Feist, Waxahatchee, and POLICA, and new full albums from Bread & Butter, Low Roar, Jake Xerxes Fussell and Todd Albright round things out.

Enjoy,

Josh

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The Fortnightly Playlist, April 9th, 2017

This edition takes on a very strong dance and hip-hop feel with new releases from Jamiroquai, Goldfrapp, Talaboman, and Gorillaz. Also included are Mark Lanegan (formerly of Screaming Trees), Dan Auerbach (of The Black Keys), and Saxophone virtuoso, Colin Stetson.

Listen Here!

I highly recommend the new record, Whiteout Conditions, by The New Pornographers. They continue a long run of consistently excellent work with this release. With their lyrically clever, musically interesting and infectious sound, they’ve produced an excellent body of work to date. I also recommend looking into the solo releases of the various members. Especially that of A.C. Newman, Neko Case and Kathryn Calder.

Enjoy,
Josh

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The Fortnightly Playlist, March 26th, 2017

The end of March. One quarter of the way through the year, and we’re almost fully into 2017 releases on this Fortnightly Playlist.

In the past year or so, I’ve featured a few tracks by some “desert blues’ artists like Bombino and Tinariwen. It’s a style that has a curious familiarity to it. Hailing from the nomadic Sahara culture from an area including Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Libya and Algeria, they have used for many generation much of the same musical structure that we find in American Blues. This time I’ve included a track by Tamikrest that demonstrates this well.

For a band to remain relevant and poignant over a long period of time says a lot about how talented they really are. Depeche Mode doesn’t just have material that has stood the test of time. They continue to write material that holds up very well. The new record, Spirit, is excellently crafted.

Canadian indie-rocker, Joel Plaskett’s, new album of duets with his father also feature here. There’s something about Solidarity that sort of tugs at the heartstrings, something intimate, but also it is a fun listen. Probably the best moments are when the two are singing together. This is a good review of the album.

Also, we have excellent new albums from singer-songwriters Sera Cahoone, Laura Marling, and Jesca Hoop, and new singles from The New Pornographers, Afghan Whigs, and The Drums. Enjoy!

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