short music recommendations

she, alice smith – because you like sangin’, and original songs, and songs about all the different aspects of love and heartbreak. because alice is on par with the best vocalists singing anywhere today. because her cover of cee-lo’s fool for you smashes.

jake bugg, (self-titled) – because you like bob dylan but always wondered how it would be if his voice was a bit more tender. because you really like simple lines well delivered – ‘broke my heart when i knew/that i could never be with you’.

reincarnated, snoop lion – because it will make you feel like your regular life is smoking weed in l.a. and you’re on vacation in jamaica discovering your greatest self. all summer.

nomad, bombino – because you need gorgeous expansive road music that can play on repeat, and this touches that sacred ali farke toure place.

haim – because sometimes you need dramatic music that harkens fleetwood mac and the 80s and you’ve played your florence & the machine albums too much.

blah, blah, blah, denitia and sene – because you are unafraid of pretty, blatantly cool and well-produced pairings.

overgrown, james blake – because his voice is unique and meta-gender and the album is calm and sexy and kind of feels like bubbling up from a deep place.

ghost on ghost, iron and wine – because you have guests over and you want something warm and cozy and mature and easy on in the background.

passalaqua – because you want some detroit hip-hop that makes you laugh and feel your nerdy swag.

james linck – because though he is harder to find (has some stuff on soundcloud) he’s into making magic electro-soul falsetto music.

indicud, kid cudi – because some songs (not the whole ambum) are magnificent. primarily unfuckwittable and afterwards with michael bolton.

the 20/20 experience, justin timberlake – because it’s smooth and funky and unashamed of being pop. this is going continue to be good all summer.


queen, janelle monae featuring erykah badu – because it’s actually too good to even talk about. song alone, or video.

#beautiful, mariah carey and miguel – because i am loyal.

what y’all listening to?

what is liberation of the mind?

seriously, i am celebrating over a year of not following the traditional news cycle, and it feels like i am unhooking my mind off all kinds of toxic crack.

i was just chatting with a friend about some top secret DC strategy listserv, and my whole being went ew, while laughing…the matrix holds itself up with a news cycle that tells us what is important, what is drama, what is controversy, and what is acceptable. and almost all of it is counter to my belief system of people powered change in a real where ‘change is god’ (octavia butler who I am proposing a session on at the amc).

i started small, by not indulging in negative and reactionary news bits – stuff where the whole story is a back and forth between privileged people jockeying for dominance over each other on a theoretical level. i was too often amazed at how angry and up in arms folks would get over situations they truly knew nothing about, debating based on tiny morsels of subjective information presented like shadows on a wall in plato’s allegory of the cave. I thought I might feel like an ostrich burying my head in the sand…

instead, it almost immediately became clear to me how repetitive and uninteresting the news cycle is. the process – news drops, everyone obsesses, takes sides, gets vehement, and then another piece of news drops…it can destroy minds. good minds, totally distracted from the actual world happening in front of them, building nothing.

i now ignore whole cycles of news that have nothing to do with my life or my community. when i hear a piece of news that is tragedy, i let myself feel it, light a candle and mourn, rather than obsessing over morbid details. i am trying to learn all i can about detroit, because that news is relevant to me, and because i am committed to doing the work needed not just to change the message, but to change the whole story, the whole reality.

i am not ungrateful to those who do watch those cycles and point to the larger patterns, the way the influences are happening. but i do know through my work with allied media that the way to really shift people’s understanding of an issue in the face of reductionist media is to deepen and expand your relationship with them. i send people i love in-depth pieces, rather than debating with strangers in the comment boards of fox stories.

i don’t feel like an ostrich! i feel like a phoenix 🙂

in related news – buy erykah badu’s new album and listen to it on repeat till you get it.