Featuring Kesha, Amir Obe, and Madlib

Our weekly playlist looked at some of the great hip-hop producers, some nostalgic bands from the early-2000’s, and classics like Van Morrison and Duke Ellington. This week, we’ve got new tracks from The National and Kesha plus classics from Madvillain and Mos Def.

Brandon Allin: Red Hot Chili Peppers – Soul To Squeeze

The Chili Peppers are one of those bands who are, at least to me, timeless. After 11 studio albums, the Los Angeles four-piece have songwriting down to a science, with each record producing at least a few instant classics. “Soul to Squeeze” is a testament to what the quartet is capable of. Smooth melodies showcasing Flea’s irresistibly tasty bass lines, and with enough room for frontman Anthony Kiedis’ vocal stylings to breathe. The perfect number for those late-night summer drives with the windows down.

Premal Bhatt – Marshmello feat. Khalid – Silence
Newcomer Khalid’s almost in the “do-no-wrong” territory because of his unique, soulful-sounding voice. This time he pairs with EDM producer, Marshmello, in proclaiming that he’s “found peace in your violence.” Marshmello’s use of the classic, ever-changing, catchy EDM recipe — slow built-up during verses bleeding into fill-in jam at the hook and chorus — provides the perfect backdrop for Khalid’s vocals. As two newcomers to fame, this song should continue their ascending trajectory and dominate airwaves. Ironic, given the song title.
Matt Bram: Amir Obe – Cigarettes

I fell down a rabbit hole on Spotify and eventually came across this jam. Airy vocals echo out in the background, dancing around the infectious and penetrating bass. Then the chorus kicks in and the track starts grooving hard. I’ve had this stuck in my head all week. You can’t help but move to this one as you hope the chorus repeats indefinitely.

Cody Conley: Sonic Youth – Youth Against Fascism

Publicly shame fascists. Don’t tolerate Nazis. Topple Confederate monuments. Stomp out white supremacy. Oppose authoritarianism. Vote Kaepernick/Lynch in 2020.

Grant Evan: Kesha – Hymn
If you haven’t listened to Kesha’s triumphant return to music yet, I highly suggest you do. I’ve always been a fan. She was fun, cheeky, and weirdly brilliant; bringing bizarre wordplay and over-dramatic elements to a genre that was saturated in super basic party pop. Her return comes during a time when overcoming obstacles and getting deep and personal is all the rage. Lorde, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Halsley, Selena Gomez, Harry Styles, and Justin Bieber have all made critics swoon recently with more personal tunes but Kesha has the distinct honor of overcoming a legitimate trial that drained her physically and emotionally. In spite of all that, Kesha’s album soars with optimism and brings a unique flair that only she can provide. Daring to go big on her vocals, write delightfully vulgar lyrics, collaborate with brilliant musical minds (including two team-ups with Eagles of Death Metal who are no stranger to hardships themselves), and just going all out and bursting the doors open on what was becoming an unexciting and predictable move for a seasoned pop star.
Akshat Singhal: The National – Carin at the Liquor Store

The National released their newest single “Carin at the Liquor Store” from their upcoming album, Sleep Well Beast, and as we’ve come to expect from the Cincinnati band, it’s a gem. A slight change of pace from “Guilty Party” and “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness,” this track features the use of a piano as its base track before slowly adding drums. Matt Berninger’s soothing voice completes the ballad, as he sings about disappointment and love. Sleep Well Beast is due out on September 8th, and the first three tracks have done nothing but invoke more excitement for fans of the band all around.

Drew Steele: Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Deeper
Last week was Dilla and this week is Madlib. The California-based artist is right up there with Dilla as arguably the best hip-hop producer of all time. He may not have the name-recognition of Dr. Dre or Kanye West, but Madlib has been a significant influence on the underground scene. He produced Madvilliany, co-produced Champion Sound with Dilla, and produced Freddie Gibbs’ Piñata. Madlib’s signature is using obscure and international samples for his beats. The way he cuts up The Ledgends’ “A Fool for You” really makes “Deeper” the standout track of Piñata, as does Gibbs’ very blunt lyrics about heartbreak. Madlib’s instrumentals are usually the highlights of any song because of their distinct sound. You can always pick out a Madlib beat once you familiarize yourself with his discography. And you should absolutely familiarize yourself with his discography.