Going a bit darker this week, for no reason in particular. I was literally sitting in the dark compiling this playlist, so maybe that’s part of it. I’m also trying really hard to motivate some writing, so I chose thoughtful, inspirational tunes with driving beats. Enjoy!
“Emily” by San Fermin – New San Fermin! This is from their April release, Jackrabbit, and is the inspiration for this playlist. San Fermin skews dark while still maintaining an accessible poppy beat, which is one reason I love them so much.
“Sirens” by Lola Marsh – My gosh, my gosh, I just love this song. It’s the kind of song that should play over a Quentin Tarantino travel montage featuring a dangerous female protagonist. This single came out in March, and I’m desperate for more.
“Loud Places” by Jamie xx – Just wait for that drop. Just… wait. Ah, so good. This is Jamie xx of “the xx” fame, gone solo.
“Keep That Letter Safe” by Highasakite – New Highasakite! I’ve been enjoying this Norwegian pop group for a couple of years now, and I was so happy to discover their new single recently.
“Daydreaming” by Dark Dark Dark – This one’s a bit of an oldie, from 2010. I remember listening to this song on dark drives home after work and singing along too loudly. I’m very sad Dark Dark Dark hasn’t released anything recently.
“Waste of Time” by MØ – A song from Danish singer Karen Marie Ørsted, who’s fairly new on the electropop scene but is doing some exciting things.
“Grass Stain” by Waxahatchee – Katie Crutchfield’s lo-fi work as Waxahatchee is some of my favorite music. I’ve always been a fan of stripped-down folksy tunes, they feel so honest and raw.
“Won’t be a thing to become” by Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld – Let’s end with a quirky instrumental.
Yeah, yes, yes, yeah. I know. It’s been months. You don’t have to make me feel guilty about it. I already do. Honest! I’ve been writing a lot on other projects and playing with a lot of dogs. Honest!
To make up for it, have a playlist. Loud, sunny, perfect for July.
“Even If I’m Loud It Doesn’t Mean I’m Talking to You (RAC Mix)” by Tove Styrke – How can you not like a song with a title like that?
“Class Historian” by BRONCHO – I have a friend in this band, and they’re doing really well. I heard this song played on my local NPR station (Morning Becomes Eclectic, whut whut) and was just so happy for them. BE THEIR FAN, they deserve it!
“Mix Down of Back Again MASTERD V1” by Flor – The sentiment of this playlist I just made, in song form. I won’t be long. We’ll be back again. (I’M SORRY, OKAY? Cries quietly)
“Hard Time (Le P Remix)” by Seinabo Sey – This remix just has a slight edge over the original. A little more drive, a bit more of a pulse.
“I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman” by k-os – Let’s throw in some smooth hip-hop for good measure.
“Breezeblocks (Kadugodi Remix)” by alt-J – Another so-smooth remix that I’ve been playing a lot lately. Give me your chillwave, and there’s a chance it’ll be on repeat for weeks at a time.
“Kind of…Sometimes…Maybe (J Cole Remix)” by Jessie Ware – Jessie Ware tends to be a bit blunt in her lyrics, which I can appreciate, but her voice is so gentle that she can get away with it. Here’s a sexy song made a little more edgy in remix form.
“Picking Words” by Σtella – I enjoy running to this song — that thrumming bass line is great for it. But it’s good for motivation in general. Like for getting back to the blog you’ve abandoned and writing amazing posts about great music.
Have a quick, small, video playlist this week featuring some of my current favs!
First up is Brooklyn-based dream folk band, Wilsen — made up of Londoner Tamsin Wilson and American bandmates Johnny Simon Jr. and Drew Arndt. I can’t believe I haven’t written about them before! Their brand of folk is my absolute favorite. Enjoy this performance of “Dusk” from Brighton’s Great Escape festival.
Another current favorite: comedy duo Erin & MeLissa. They’ve been tearing up recent UCB shows and are about to go on tour and also just released an album. Check out one or all of these things, if you’re able! In the meantime, give “Almost 30” a listen, though it might hit a little too close to home for some of us…
Speaking of slightly weird dreamy music, have you all met Kishi Bashi? With a violin and loop pedals, he creates something magical. Give these live performances of “Hahaha pt. 1” and “Hahaha pt. 2” a try. The second song has been on a lot on my writing playlists for a few months, now.
I felt like dancing this week, for the first time in a while. I have also been hiking more lately, sometimes as much as eight miles — which is a huge deal for someone who would much rather tool around on YouTube or Tumblr most of the day. So I made a playlist this week that is both dance- and exercise-appropriate, good for pump-ups when you might be feeling discouraged. Enjoy!
“Classic (featuring Powers)” by The Knocks
Don’t be shy, don’t be shy. Starting off with some funky beats from the Knocks. I wish I’d discovered this song earlier in the summer, because it’s so sunny. It’ll do for the fall, too.
“Hourglass” by S U R V I V E S U R V I V E is an Austin-based full-analog-synth quartet. Head asplode! Their music is featured heavily in this year’s black comedy/actioner THE GUEST. See that movie this month (it’s got campy horror and action) and enjoy the 80’s-inspired soundtrack later.
“Every Other Freckle” by Alt-J
I got really into Alt-J over the summer, since they saw a lot of play on NPR. They’ve got a great mix of dreamy orchestral and rock sounds.
“Good Life x Cecilia (Kanye West vs. Simon & Garfunkel)” by novokane
Stumbled on this mash-up through Reddit, randomly enough. It brightens up one of Kanye’s older songs.
“Yemaya” by Chillum Trio Feat. Coki & Yeni
Some Latino beats from the Havana Cultura Mix. Great for some impromptu dance parties.
“Runners” by Teeel More cool, cool synth from New Jersey artist Teeel for you. It’ll make you feel like you’re in DRIVE, or maybe BLADE RUNNER.
“Papaoutai” by Stromae Check out the great music video for this Belgian singer’s song if you get a chance.
“God’s Whisper” by Raury I heard this one during the end credits for LUCY. (I know, I know.) Not sure why the filmmakers thought it fit as the film’s theme, but as a standalone song I think it’s really cool.
Sorry, everyone — been crazy busy the past few weeks, and work really kicked me in the butt. And now I’m free again in the middle of a heatwave. Los Angeles is getting pummeled with 90- to 100-degree heat, making my apartment a hot box that remains about 90 degrees through the night. I’m sleeping with freezer packs piled on top of me, fans blowing the hot air around futilely.
Suffice it to say, I AM TIRED OF THIS HEAT. I miss cool autumn weather. Here are some darker, colder songs that remind me of fall.
“Dahl Parts” by The Theater Fire
“Dusty Lion” by Shakey Graves
“Seven” by Fever Ray
“Stupid Boy” by Owl John
“iPlayYouListen” by ODESZA
“Like Real People Do” by Hozier
“A Burden” by Horse Feathers
“Arnika” by Sufjan Stevens
Have a great week — drink lots of water, stay in the shade, keep cool.
I’m writing a kind of grungy country thriller right now, so I’ve been listening to a lot of music to match. Enjoy.
“Roll the Bones” by Shakey Graves
I’m very happy to have discovered Austin musician Shakey Graves. He’s got a bit of an off-kilter country sound, which is exactly what I want to listen to right now.
“Star Witness (Neko Case Cover)” by Kate Macdonald & Janelle Blanchard
This is one of my favorite Neko Case songs, covered by two talented Canadian students. They recorded the song in a stairwell of their school, which was shortly afterward shut down. You can watch the video of their performance here.
“Tell Me True” by Sarah Jarosz
A simple, bluegrassy love song.
“Post Empire” by Will Stratton
I found out about this guy through Emily Jane White’s music label, Talitres Records. The label seems to value a diverse group of musicians who are interesting storytellers, and American artist Will Stratton is no different.
“July Flame” by Laura Veirs
This is a song with a heartbeat, and the vocals seem almost secondary, far off in the distance.
“A Gain” by Devendra Banhart
I like these little segue songs that some artists include on their albums. I wish this weird one from Devendra Banhart were longer.
“Everything That Dies” by Matthew and the Atlas
Matthew and the Atlas has developed a sound a lot like NEEDTOBREATHE, leaning more into rock than folk, which is interesting. I love their earlier folk songs, too.
“This Is Not the End” by Laura Gibson
A somber little song about endings, to finish.