The Fortnightly Playlist, May 9th, 2021

I don’t think I had a lot of set expectations when I began making these playlists in early 2016, and not even when I began to write more for them and started this blog in late 2016. I certainly don’t think I expected that it would lead to the amount of jazz and afrobeat included on a regular basis, but I really love that it has happened that way. I always sort of wanted it to span genres, and it seems like these recent posts have done this more than ever before.

Anjimile is an artist that I haven’t been familiar with until recently. It’s interesting to begin with an artist on a project of remixes, but Anjimile’s latest release is orchestral remixes of songs from last year’s album Giver Taker. The arrangements are beautiful, and it motivated me to go back an give some attention to the original versions of these songs. In particular, this song “In Your Eyes” featuring Jay Som has really grabbed and held my attention.

This posthumous album from afrobeat legend, Tony Allen, has quickly become one of my favorites so far this year. The string of collaborators are so varied in their styles, and it helps highlight Allen’s versatility. The mix is excellent, and it keeps his genius drumming prominent. Tony is most famous for his work with Fela Kuti. The two were longtime collaborators, and they shaped West African music for decades (and by extension, heavily influenced hip hop and modern soul/funk around the world).

Other favorites in this edition are Faye Webster, Jose Gonzalez, Manchester Orchestra, and Jupiter & Okwess.

Lianne La Havas, Wu-Lu – Seven Times (Wu-Lu Remix)
Faye Webster – Cheers
Damien Jurado – Tom
Hussy – I Tried
Veps – Ecstasy
Flying Lotus – Crust
Str4ta – Rhythm In Your Mind
Sons of Kemet – To Never Forget the Source
Tony Allen, Lava La Rue – One Inna Million
Little Simz, Cleo Sol – Woman
Tobe Nwigwe, Lanell Grant – Caged Birds (SIO Version
Alfa Mist, Kaya Thomas-Dyke – People
Jose Gonzalez – El Invento
Anjimile, Jay Som – In Your Eyes (Reflection)
iLe – No Es Importante
St Vincent – The Melting of the Sun
Laura Mvula – Church Girl
CIVIC – Radiant Eye
Dinosaur Jr – I Expect It Always
Iceage – High & Hurt
Mad Foxes – Crystal Glass
Flock of Dimes – No Question
Manchester Orchestra – Keel Timing
CHVRCHES – He Said She Said
Bomba Estereo – Profundo
Tom Jones – I Won’t Crumble With You If You Fall
Jupiter & Okwess – Bakunda Ulu
The Black Keys – Going Down South
Rhiannon Giddens, Francesco Turrisi – Black As Crow
Dropkick Murphys – Queen of Suffolk County

The Fortnightly Playlist, March 28th, 2021

I had a list of over 40 artists to work through for this edition. When it came time to start writing this post, I still had a lot of decisions to make. Some gets cut, some gets pushed to next time because it just doesn’t fit… and this is the list I’ve managed to build this time around.

No One Sing Like You Anymore, the new posthumous album of covers by Chris Cornell actually came out back in December, but the release was rather quiet, and at the time I was writing my year-end posts so it slipped by me. There is some really good material here, and some of it unheard before. Several of them had been performed live and were well-known. Chris had performed Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” a number of times, and had performed Harry Nilsson’s “Jump Into the Fire” at a Temple of the Dog reunion show as well. I’ve enjoyed this collection, and it really shows how broad Cornell’s listening and influences were (Something you probably already know if you’re at all familiar with his music over the years). No one sings like Chris anymore.

Marlon Craft has a new album out that I’ve not yet listened to, but he also has this new single that isn’t on the album and that song has really grabbed my attention this week. I was not really all that familiar with his music before, but “State of the Union” certainly made me want to be. So expect more from Marlon Craft because I’ll be giving his new album How We Intended a listen soon.

Describing bands and artists is something I sometimes find difficult, because genres don’t have clear boundaries. The Weather Station has fallen victim to this before by simply getting slapped with the labels “folk” and “singer-songwriter” as if that were enough to tell you what her music sounded like. The new album, Ignorance, has quite a big sound. It delves into jazz rhythms and definite pop beats, big string arrangements as well as more sparsely-arranged and intimate moments. The album feels versatile with the ease it moves from song to song, and Lindeman’s gentle voice ties it all together so well.

It’s a long list this edition, but it’s some really great stuff. Some other favorites of mine this time were Corvair, Arooj Aftab, David Huckfelt, Gotham, and Flyying Colours.

Chvrches – Science/Visions
Corvair – Sailor Down
The Weather Station – Tried to Tell You
BoomBaptist – Komfort Food
Namir Blade, L’orange – Corner Store Scandal
Tony Allen, Ben Okri, Skepta – Cosmosis
Tune-Yards – make it right.
St Vincent – Pay Your Way in Pain
Chris Cornell – Get It While You Can
Middle Kids – R U 4 Me?
Sharon Van Etten, Big Red Machine – A Crime
Wolf Alice – The Last Man on Earth
Joe Pug – Crescent Bridge
Valley Maker – Pine Trees
Eliza Shaddad – Blossom
David Huckfelt – Land of Room Enough and Time Enough
Bow Thayer – This Thing Called God
Arooj Aftab – Mohabbat
Mdou Moctar – Tala Tannam
Vic Mensa, Wyclef Jean, Chance the Rapper – SHELTER
Marlon Craft – State of the Union
Mello Music Group, L’Orange, Solemn Brigham, Marlowe
Aesop Rock – Long Legged Larry
Gotham, Talib Kweli, Diamond D, Busta Rhymes – The Quiet One
Claud – Gold
Flyying Colours – White Knuckles

The Fortnightly Playlist, March 14th, 2021

Whew, it’s been a week. I didn’t write anything, but I do have a playlist here!

Making Movies – Could You?
Dessa – Bombs Away
PRICE, Bas, Wyclef Jean – Selfish
Django Django – Right the Wrongs
Japanese Breakfast – Be Sweet
Chaka Khan, Idina Menzel – I’m Every Woman
Black Pumas, Lucius – Strangers
Bruno Mars, Anderson.Paak, Silk Sonic – Leave the Door Open
Damian Jurado – Helena
Fruit Bats – On The Avalon Stairs
Middle Kids – Stacking Chairs
Flyying Colours – Goodtimes
Dry Cleaning – Strong Feelings
Gretchen Parlato – Sweet Love
Madlib – The New Normal
Valerie June – Stay
Emilee, Maya Jane Coles – Rodeo (Maya Jane Coles Remix)
Jehnny Beth, Rone – French Countryside (Rone Remix)
Rick Holmstrom – Don’t Wake Me
Nathaniel Rateliff – Redemption
Painted Shrines, Woods – Heaven and Holy
Neil Young – Like a Hurricane (Live)

The Fortnightly Playlist, February 28th, 2021

Another big list again this edition as there is a lot of great new music coming right now. As has become typical of the Fortnightly, this one covers a lot of ground stylistically, and hopefully brings some things to the surface that weren’t previously familiar to you.

Rick Holmstrom has not released a solo album for about 9 years, but he’s released plenty as guitar player and band leader for Mavis Staples. His new album, See That Light, gives a look at what makes Rick such a great artist himself. Listening to Rick has a throwback sound, but with a freshness not found with just any seasoned and skilled picker. Holmstrom had recorded and toured with various bluesmen and bands before spending the last nearly 15 years as bandleader for Mavis Staples, and becoming a big part of her tightknit and straightforward blues-gospel sound. His tremolo-drenched guitar sound reaches back to influences that would have to include Mavis own father, Pop Staples (who was well-known for heavy use of tremolo).

One of the more unusual artists included this edition is Senyawa. Rully Shabara and Wukir Suryadi formed the experimental group in 2010 in Yogyakarta on the Indonesian island of Java. while having a modern, avante-garde, experimental aesthetic, the group also include various traditional instruments and vocal techniques, and often has taken on the descriptor “neo-tribal” along side “metalcore”. Unafraid to mix modern with traditional as well as blending edgy with atmospheric. Alkisah is their 9th studio album.

Other favorites in this edition include Fruit Bats, Black Thought, Flock of Dimes, and hey… how about that Tom Jones tune?

Rostam – These Kids We Knew
Fruit Bats – Holy Rose
Dinosaur Jr – I Ran Away
Black Pistol Fire – Pick Your Poison
When Rivers Meet – Walking On The Wire
Rick Holmstrom – Take My Hand
Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio – From the Streets
Black Thought, C.S. Armstrong, Angela Hunte – Welcome to America
Slowthai – focus
Valerie June – Why the Bright Stars Glow
Anisa Romero – Sliver
Julien Baker – Bloodshot
Cassandra Jenkins – Michaelangelo
Sun June – Singing
Midnight Alleys – Broken Ties & Stolen Lines
Wild Pink – Pacific City
Bow Thayer – Ata Ni
Flock of Dimes – Price of Blue
Tom Jones – Talking Reality Television Blues
The Hold Steady – The Prior Procedure
Senyawa – Alkisah II
Chihei Hatakeyama – Night Wind

The Fortnightly Playlist, February 14th, 2021

There’s some new songs here that have me really excited. Those sort of songs that you can listen to over and over, and that you can really feel. New releases have really picked up quick, and here I am with the second list in a row that is a full hour and a half long. I took a look back this weekend as well. As of 2 weeks ago, I’ve been making these Fortnightly Playlists for 5 years. I didn’t start writing here until toward the end of the first year when I decided I wanted to write a little more for my year-end favorites in 2016, but the first Fortnightly Playlist appeared on January 31st, 2016. I don’t know if I expected to do it so long, but I’m still very much enjoying it.

I wanted to draw attention to Valerie June. This song, “You and I”, that opens the playlist this edition is one of my favorite songs right now. It hit me immediately when I heard it earlier this week, and I immediately wanted to hear it again. Valerie June has appeared here before with her 2017 album, The Order of Time, and I’m very excited for her upcoming release, The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers. 4 years since her last full-length release, but June has clearly been busy as she has an upcoming book release as well.

My favorite instrumental release so far this year has to be Sitka Sun’s All The Way West. It’s not a long record. 6 tracks clocking in at just over half an hour, but it has really grabbed and held my attention. I sometimes find it hard to explain why a particular record does this, and especially so with an instrumental album. Sitka Sun brings us this well-constructed jazz album with a firm rhythmic structure, Central American flair, and a little psychedelic improvisation mixed in. When an instrumental record captures me this way, I’m sometimes struck by the ability music alone has to make you feel something.

Other favorites in this edition are Wild Pink, Anisa Romero (Sky Cries Mary), Femi Kuti, and We Are KING.

Artwork from songs by Adrianne Lenker

Valerie June – You and I
Bomba Estereo – Agua
Hannah Jadagu – Think Too Much
Middle Kids – Questions
Julien Baker – Favor
Wild Pink – The Shining but Tropical
Dry Cleaning – Scratchcard Lanyard
Foo Fighters – Cloudspotter
The Lounge Society – Burn the Heather
Ayron Jones – Mercy
The Hold Steady – Spices
Balmorhea, Lisa Morgenstern – The Myth
Anisa Romero – Borrowed
London Grammar – Lose Your Head
Flock of Dimes – Two
Echo of the Low Light – Afterlife
Bicep – Sundial
Yuno – Somebody
Femi Kuti – As We Struggle Everyday
Jay Gonzalez – Sunspot
Adrianne Lenker – anything
Saintseneca – All You’ve Got Is Everyone
We Are KING – Space Oddity
Sitka Sun – Long Shadow

The Fortnightly Playlist, December 6th, 2020

Here we are…December. This will the last business-as-usual playlist of the year. There are some late albums dropping still, and those often don’t get the attention in the albums of the year melee as they don’t get the chance to build what other records have. Things take a few listens to really get going. This will be a mix of late 2020 records, and early singles from what’s ahead in 2021.

Northern Irish singer/songwriter, Joshua Burnside, first came to my attention a couple years back when I saw a piece written about a music festival there featuring several local artists. His 2018 EP, All Round The Light Said, was enough to let me know that I’d want to pay attention. His new full-length album, Into The Depths of Hell, is a beautiful work of art. He incorporates a number of different styles in his music, and complex crafting in each song.

I’ve included a few holiday songs this time around, and I always look forward to finding good arrangements to combat the tired box-store playlists that inundate us every year. In particular, Phoebe Bridgers new cover of Merle Haggard’s “If We Make It Through December” really struck me this week. To be honest, I wasn’t all that familiar with the song, and I’m so glad that this new version of it has brought it to my attention.

Other favorites in this edition are Oumou Sangare, The Hold Steady, Eddie Vedder, and Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio.

Phoebe Bridgers – If We Make It Through December
Brigid Mae Power – Head Above the Water
Joshua Burnside – Driving Alone in the City at Night
Eddie Vedder – Matter of Time
Gabriel Teodros, Jonathan Emile – Nothing
Buendia – Espejo
Tune-yards – nowhere, man
Aesop Rock – Gauze
Erik Blood, Envy of Denmark – What Happens on Friday
Loma – Don’t Shy Away
Oumou Sangare – Mali Niale
Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio – Call Your Mom
Walter Smith III, Matthew Stevens, Micah Thomas, Linda May Han Oh, Nate Smith – Cowboy
Alicia Keys, Brandi Carlile – A Beautiful Noise
Black Pumas – Christmas Will Really Be Christmas
The Hold Steady – Family Farm
Mourn – House, Hold
Quivers – Country Feedback
Joshua Burnside – And You Evade Him/Born in the Blood
The Young Evils – For The Moon
Sharon Van Etten – Silent Night

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 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