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

tracklist:
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, January 31st, 2021

Some early favorites for the year appearing here, and some of them are total surprises. There are some real gems here, and I had a lot to work with and even had to cut a few to keep this one a reasonable length. Just one month in and 2021 is delivering some great new albums, as well as promising many more in the works.

I’ve got to start with this new Tune-Yards single, “hold yourself.” This one was a surprise for me, and it’s connected with me, I think, more than anything they’ve ever released. So combine that with their now well-established reputation for boundary-pushing, genre-blending indie-pop, and this has gotten me pretty excited to hear more from them.

Last weekend, I spent a good chunk of time with the new Steve Earle album, J.T. It was back in August that we learned of the passing of Steve’s son, Justin Townes Earle. This new release is 10 covers of Justin’s songs, and closes with an incredible tribute song called “Last Words”. It’s worth noting that this might be Steve’s best song that he’s ever written. Every line hits right to the heart. Somehow, with this song Steve was able to communicate all the mess of emotions that he’d felt with Justin’s passing. It’s a heartbreaking song, but it’s also beautiful. At some point, play that song and listen to it without any other distraction. Listen to every word, and feel it.

I follow a lot of luthiers on Instagram. I love seeing the craftsmanship. Well, one of my favorite builders is Mule Resophonic Guitars, and I’ve found a few artists through them that have ended up on the Fortnightly. Most recently through Mule, I’ve found Larkin Poe. The duo are sisters Megan and Rebecca Lovell and following a breakout album in 2020, they’ve now released a collection of covers. I don’t think you’ll find a better modern blues sound than what these two have developed over their now 6 album catalog. Gritty, mean-sounding riffs that make you scrunch your face up and say “oooh…” Their singing and their guitar-work together is just absolutely perfect. It’s got that bourbon-soaked, smokey bar, dusty road kind of soul.

Ity was tricky this edition fitting in what I wanted to, and some things have been pushed to next time or cut. There’s a lot of great new music out right now and coming soon. This list was pushing an hour and a half, and it took some last minute changes to make it fit together nicely. Besides what I’ve already mentioned here, some favorites are Sitka Sun, Crazy Arm, Arlo Parks, Goldmund, and this killer Run The Jewels remix with Mexican Institute of Sound.

tracklist:
Sitka Sun – Dauntless
Run the Jewels – Ooh La La (Mexican Institute of Sound remix)
Kali Uchis, Buscabulla – la luz(Fin) Buscabulla Remix
KAMAUU – MANGO
Arlo Parks – Hope
Tune-Yards – hold yourself.
Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio – Right Place, Right Time
Breeze Brewin, Juggaknots, Marco Polo – King Oxymoron
Madlib – Road of the Lonely Ones
Goat Girl – Badibaba
Jess Locke – Destroy Everything
Bleach Lab – Old Ways
Crazy Arm – Fear Up
Larkin Poe – Fly Away
Steve Earle – Last Words
Dan Wriggins – Dent
Holly Macve – Be My Friend
Pearl Charles – Sweet Sunshine Wine
Hand Habits – 4th of July
Eddie Vedder – Future Days-acoustic at home
John Fogerty – Weeping in the Promised Land
Oux – Rise
Goldmund – The One Who Stands By