Some personal news: I got a speaker clip and now I can inflict my amazing musical taste on hapless Minneapolitans whenever I’m biking around town.
I mention this not because it’s the only thing I think about anymore but because my added streaming time has allowed me to more frequently revisit the 2019 playlist I’ve been compiling in this space. Do I find myself saying “I love this song!” after every song?
Not gonna lie, friends. I do.
Imperial Teen – “Walkaway”
Back in the ’90s (the four most dreaded words in the English language) this San Francisco quartet brightened the post-grunge alt era with a bratty indie pop that was downright visionary in its exuberance. As their commercial moment (such as it was) passed, they developed into a spunky groove band, their commitment to each other evident in their beat, and their first new music in seven years charts their further evolution into a fantastical four-headed creature of indomitable creation.
Raphael Saadiq feat. Rob Bacon – “Something Keeps Calling”
Speaking of long waits between albums, Saadiq’s been dormant for eight, since the brilliant Stone Rollin’. But the master of neo-soul classicism is back, with another one of those jams that’s as familiar as an oldie but with that nearly imperceptible yet indelible twist, and, as advertised, a hot guitar feature from Bacon.
Erykah Badu feat James Poyser – “Tempted”
Badu sees your eight-year wait between albums and raises you to nine. (Unless you count her 2015 mixtape, which for the sake of my little conceit here, I am not. Work with me, folks.) Yes, it’s the old Squeeze hit, which Badu, being Badu, doesn’t have to fuck with much to remake in her image, especially with Poyser, Ali Jackson, Thundercat, and Derrick Hodge creating a lounge-R&B vibe for her to loll about in. What if there was an Erykah Badu Sings the New Wave Classics in the works?
Jay Som – “Superbike”
It’s only been two years since this L.A. bedroom indie dream-popper’s last album, Everybody Works—which, compared to everyone else we’ve been talking about, is like yesterday. The lyrics are about a summer crush, so the mood’s both ecstatic and sad, but the song is really about its expansive wash of guitars, which is, yes, also ecstatic and sad, evoking one of those June midnights when the sky still looks like dusk.
Velvet Negroni – “Wine Green”
Writers are always calling albums “highly anticipated” and shit like that, but for real, I’m genuinely looking forward to Velvet Negroni’s upcoming full-length. Spare production from Psymun and Elliott Kozel allows the singer to unfurl one of those melodies that feels like it’s being improvised on the spot, with a reggae lilt and rapper’s sense of flow.
Sophia Eris – “Feel the Burn”
The Go 95 morning show co-host, Lizzo tourmate/collaborator, and all-around very busy and talented local person has been dropping a series of Lazerbeak- and Bionik-produced singles since late last year, and this is the top of those bops. Just moments into the vibrant and nimble first verse her namedrops include Kaepernick, Luigi, and Trina, then she souls up the chorus with a house-style vocal. Burn felt.
Every week, music editor Keith Harris scours the vast musicscape for six worthy tracks to add to City Pages' ever-expanding 2019 playlist.