Category: Weekly New Wonders Playlist !

Weekly New Wonders Playlist # 2 of 2021 !

There is an awesome interview with the wondrous and brilliant Marianne Faithfull in the The Guardian this week which I highly recommend (read it here). In it she ruminates about being a muse to the grandest Rolling Stones songs (“A muse ? That’s a shit thing to be”), smoking (“Oh man, I wish I’d never picked up a cigarette in my life”)…and how close she came to dying during her recent bout with covid-19 (she was so ill that at one point it was recommended she be treated with “palliative care only”). While Marianne’s 1979 album Broken English album is rightfully regarded as her masterpiece I have to admit my absolute favorite song of hers comes from from one of her (far) less popular albums, 1983’s A Child’s Adventure. It’s called “Morning Come” (listen here) and is a million miles from the usual gritty graceful power hymns Marianne usually serves up. It is delicate and extremely melodic and while it does mention “riding on a hummingbird’s wings”, it isn’t happy. It’s more on the darkly hopeful side, a sweet and swoon-worthy heartbreaker.

When will the morning come?
I wait in darkness so long
Will the sun ever rise again?
Hours flowing over me
I wait in vain for some change
Will light ever pierce this pain?

“Morning Come” was the first song that came to mind as I read the last paragraph of the interview. A Doctor had told her that her lungs would likely never recover from the virus. Marianne goes on to say “Where I finally ended up is: OK, maybe they won’t, but maybe, by a miracle, they will. I don’t know why I believe in miracles. I just do. Maybe I have to, the journey I’ve been on, the things that I’ve put myself through, that I’ve got through so far and I’m OK. Does that sound really corny?…we must be hopeful – it’s really important. And I am, yes. I’m bloody still here.” As if we need any more reason to go blast some bloody Marianne 🌹

Welcome to the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest new music we’ve heard over the past week, one that was absolutely stuffed with wondrous, weird, in your face pop music (I’m tellin’ you we were absolutely blessed). You can listen below to the songs currently tied for Number # 1 over on earth 1 where they are hopefully having better days than those of us here on earth 2. On a hummingbird’s wings…

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Weekly New Wonders Playlist # 1 of 2021 !

That’s Sandy Denny (1947-1978), the late, legendary British vocalist & songwriter. Her birthday is January 7th & so I was thinking a lot about her this week. She is rightfully recognized as one the greatest vocalists ever to come out of the UK but that’s underselling her. It’d be more accurate to say she’s one of the greatest voices that the universe itself has ever produced. And good lord, her songwriting, sigh. Folk songs but pop songs. Epic & still utterly accessible. Mystical, romantic & melodic. Cryptic & obscure yet completely relatable. All delivered with a voice of unspeakable warmth & power. She was a contemporary of Nick Drake, part of the same scene, on the same label, utilizing the same producer but has received nowhere near the accolades & attention he has over the years. Uh oh, yeah, get ready, I’m gonna say it; I think she was better than him (more genius songs & of course that voice). The best quote about Sandy came in 2010 from Rachel Unthanks, an otherworldly singer in her own right; “Don’t listen to her ! You’ll realize that the rest of us are wasting your time”. This week has been horrific but a little Sandy can go a long way to quelling nightmares & calming the soul. And so pop on some “Northstar Grassman”, “Next Time Around” or best of all her signature song “The Lady” & let yourself get transported to another century for a few minutes, it’s just the most insanely beautiful medicine & damned if we all couldn’t use some right now.

And with that I welcome you to the first WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST of 2021 featuring the finest new songs we’ve heard over recent days ! They are also beautiful to the core & I am genuinely glad they exist at this insane juncture of humanity. Hopefully they too transport you to a peaceful place. Rock on…

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Weekly New Wonders Playlist # 45 !

This past week legendary NPR Program Director/Host & full-on music champion Rita Houston passed away. Back in the early ’90s we worked together at HMV in NYC where she was the store DJ. She was the coolest & I had a lot of fun nerding out with her over bands & exchanging mix tapes ( “you’ve gotta hear this !”). I was obsessed with singer John Martyn at the time & was so desperate for someone to get him like I did that I gave her my special mix cassette that I used to play before I went to sleep every night. But my main memory of her has nothing to do with the nerd stuff.

Another Bad Creation were an R & B boy band discovered by Michael Bivins of New Edition. And they were literally boys, with average age of about 10. They had a couple of hits with truly infectious bubblegum new jack swing songs “Iesha” & “Playgound” which you should absolutely check out on YouTube. We did a little in-store one day & Rita had to actually interview them, these 5 little kids in the DJ booth. There were a gaggle of similarly aged girls screaming as Rita was asking them questions. And she was unbelievably cool with these kids, didn’t talk down to them, asked them funny questions & it was literally the sweetest thing ever. At one point they spontaneously started singing “Iesha” over Rita’s DJ booth mike which prompted a singalong with the girl fans joining in ( “Iesha so glad to meetcha”, I can still hear it now ). But the best part came last. After they emerged from the booth, Rita came out smiling & almost emotional. Because she’d been so cool to them, these little kids, they all literally raced to hug her when it was done & it had totally taken her by surprise. “They all hugged me !” she said. They’d been so enamored with her warmth & kindness that it literally turned them from posing boy idols into little kids wanting hugs from DJ Rita who’d been so nice to them. I know it seems like such a tiny thing in light of all she accomplished but it was the first thing that popped in my head upon hearing of Rita’s passing & I’m telling you it was as sweet as it sounds.She was just the coolest.

And now I welcome you to the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest songs that have crossed our path this week. They are gorgeous & wonderful to the last. You can listen on Soundcloud or Spotify. Hope you find a song to fall in love with. Rock on.

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Weekly New Wonders Playlist # 44 !

As great as Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas album is, once December hits, I tend to crave a sound even more grim, ghostly, wintry & demented, specifically something by Kate Bush from 2011…which is to say we are now officially in 50 Words For Snow season. The album’s contents are eerie, epic, melodic & often weird as shit & it may well be a straight up masterpiece. It features the most erotic song ever written about a snowman in the history of recorded music (“Misty”) & it’s ballads offer the most empathetic embrace you’re gonna get this side of Mom. A big ole snowstorm is descending on NYC in a few days & I’m actually looking forward to watching it whirl around out the window to the strains of the blessed 50 Words. What a perfect freakin’ album.

And now, welcome to the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest new songs that have crossed our path this week ! They are all exceedingly beautiful & hopefully #1’s in a sweeter universe. You can listen on Soundcloud or Spotify below.

The world is so loud
Keep falling
I’ll find you

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And hey, here’s 50 Words For Snow just cuz 🙂

Weekly New Wonders Playlist # 43 !

When you visit a branch of the Public Library in NYC, there’s a security guard that checks your bag as you leave to make sure nothing’s been stolen. During a visit last year I opened my bag… & inadvertently exposed my soul. I hate listening to music on my phone because of some neurotic issues I have regarding “control” & “privacy” ( you’re not the boss of me man). And so I also carry around a fully loaded, overly-curated ipod. Upon seeing the ipod in my bag the guard smiled & laughed, “oh, old school !”. It was then some involuntarily defense mechanism kicked in & I found myself explaining to him why I had it. But truth is, I totally love that little machine to it’s antiquated, President Obama era core ( note: I mean my current one as a few ipods passed away over the years) & as long as I’m roaming the planet & can find replacements as each blessed machine “expires”, I’m gonna keep using these tiny, beautiful metallic nerd stereos & will continue to bow in reverence to their obsolete & old school hearts.

And so just wanted to honor my longstanding musical partner who tirelessly assists me in compiling the WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST each week, the latest edition of which you can hear below ! It features the finest, most life-affirming, heart-squeezing & foxiest songs we’ve heard over the past week & I hope it brings you light tonight.

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Weekly New Wonders Playlist # 42 of 2020 !

Between 1963 and 1966 Andy Warhol filmed hundreds of what he called “Screen Tests” starring the coterie of muses, acquaintances & hangers-on that were part of his artistic universe. About 10 years ago, 13 of the tests were compiled into a short film called “13 Most Beautiful…” with musical accompaniment provided by Dean Wareham & Britta Phillips ( formerly of Luna). The screen test above is from 1965 & features Paul America doing nothing but chewing a piece of gum whilst oozing ridiculous amounts of charisma. It’s stupidly hypnotic & dumbly beautiful & is here for the sole purpose of providing some glamorously dirty distraction from all the mayhem (for at least a few minutes).

Welcome to the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest new songs we’ve heard over recent days. They too are hypnotically beautiful & all are #1 in our heart. You can listen to ’em below on Soundcloud or Spotify.

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Weekly New Wonders Playlist # 41 !

Gonna get pretentious for a second. In 1958, the famed abstract painter Mark Rothko gave an address at Pratt Institute where he outlined “the recipe of a work of art, it’s ingredients, how to make it, the formula”. He then laid out the ingredients:   

1.There must be a clear preoccupation with death, intimations of mortality. Tragic art, romantic art, etc., deals with the knowledge of death.

2.Sensuality. Our basis of being concrete about the world. It is a lustful relationship to things that exist.

3.Tension. Either conflict or curbed desire.

4.Irony. This is a modern ingredient; the self-effacement & examination by which a man for an instant can go on to something else.

5.Wit and play … for the human element..

6.The ephemeral & chance … for the human element.

7.Hope. 10% to make the tragic concept more endurable.

“I measure these ingredients very carefully when I paint a picture. It is always the form that follows these elements and the picture results from the proportions of these elements.”

I had no awareness of this quote until about 10 years ago, even though I went to freakin’ art school. And to be frank, I’m not a Rothko fan… but once these old words landed in my head, they never left & I occasionally find myself applying them to movies, books & songs. They aren’t a catch all for every work of art & yeah, you can cherry-pick their sentiments like you do when you read a horoscope. And they can sound calculated, contradictory & blind to the involuntary impulses inherent in creation…but there is some absolute, beautiful truth in there. 

And hey, it’s time for the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest songs that crossed our path this week. All are full of chance, sensuality, mortality, tension, wit & hope & they are all unspeakably wonderful. 

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Weekly New Wonders Playlist # 40 !

Man, what a week. But somehow we made it through. Time to freakin’ start the healing. YES YES YES. And using that song by those guys up there to help soundtrack the celebratory fireworks tonight ? Add a YES for that too 🙂 Here’s the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the best new music we’ve heard over this tumultuous week. Please dig these brilliant pop songs, may they infiltrate your heart & ignite some true love. Rock on for real…

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Weekly New Wonders Playlist #39 !

And so this is the last playlist before you know what. Not gonna offer anything because you know what the deal is. I voted early in NYC & was blown away by the energy level & eagerness of everyone at the polling venue. Outside I got handed a free sandwich the size of a fireplace log of “the best Jamaican barbecue ever” ( I don’t eat meat so I shared it). I was wearing my NY Mets face mask & was greeted/acknowledged by other fans on both the outside & inside of the polling place. The guy outside was wearing a Mets cap but also felt the need to open his jacket to show me his Mets jersey. Then right after I voted as I was walking out, another fan/acolyte appeared in a Mets cap & shouted “Let’s Go Mets” at me. And yeah, all that makes me feel real love for my home state & city & favorite “ghost town”. Here’s to new beginnings & better days y’all.

The latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the best new songs we’ve heard over recent days is here. They are all plush & absolutely gorgeous & #1 in our heart. You can check them all out below.

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Weekly New Wonders Playlist # 38 !

Until today I had no idea what this Charlie McCoy album from 1969 sounded like, all I knew was I couldn’t get enough of that cover art. I can now confirm it sounds exactly the way it looks & Charlie’s countrified harmonica is the musical equivalent of an 18 wheeler picking up a hitchhiker in 1969, meaning it’s so joyful that there has to be something sinister afoot. That is one straight up handsome cowboy/cowgirl of an album cover.

And with that it’s time for the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest new songs we’ve heard over recent days. It’s unusually small this week but that means there’s absolutely no excuse for not listening to the whole thing ! Every song in it is extra beautiful & all are # 1 in a better, alternate universe as we speak. Listen below on Soundcloud or Spotify.

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