This monthly playlist is a collaboration between WYCE, AMI Jukeboxes and Revue West Michigan. You can hear this mix as a playlist on AMI Jukeboxes and stream it on wyce.org — from Grand Rapids to the world! Also, some of these bands are headed to West Michigan this month, check out the show info.
Pete’s nuances, observations and quips:
BØRNS – “Dopamine”
Grand Haven native Garrett Borns transitioned from adorable banjo wielding Kendall student to international dream pop star in a matter of moments. Our lead track this month is the latest single from his Fall 2015 release that’s topping charts and garnering critical acclaim. Our last chance to catch him in Michigan is at Shelter in Detroit on Dec. 16 before he heads to Australia and Europe.
Jason Isbell – “The Life You Chose”
Featured here is a heart-wrenching piece of songwriting handiwork that looks a typical love ballad square in the eyes and says “bad decision.” Isbell sucks you into this hard-to-hear fictitious tale that smarts with truth. It will equally mire you in tears of sorrow and reticent laughter.
John Grant – “Voodoo Doll”
AllMusic Guide calls the Michigan native’s latest release Grey Tickles, Black Pressure “some of his angriest, saddest and funniest music yet.” This song finishes off with the rare lyrical shout out to Michigan: “I made a voodoo doll out of you, I didn’t know what else to do. I know you don’t get out that much, so I took it on a trip to Kalamazoo.”
Hugh Masekela – “Lady”
This is not a misprint, Hugh Masekela is in fact Performing at the MSU Wharton Center with Larry Willis on Dec. 1. The two living legends met at the Manhattan School of Music some 50 years ago and are performing in a limited capacity this year. Here’s a live version of Masekela performing Fela Kuti’s “Lady,” recorded in the early 1990s.
Kamasi Washington – “Cherokee”
Modern-day Coltrane Kamasi Washington released his 172-minute debut album Epic earlier this year, easily the best-respected jazz debut of 2015. This cover of “Cherokee” is anything but standard, a soul-groove rendition of the classic song.
Sam Amidon–“Pat Do This, Pat Do That,” and San Fermin – “No Devil”
This mash-up of two amazing, talented yet stylistically different artists is going to be a tough show to miss. To demonstrate, this is a WYCE-favorite of Sam Amidon’s and the new single from San Fermin. They will both perform at Founders Taproom Dec. 10.
All Them Witches – “Call Me Star”
Nashville’s talented neo-psychedelic ambassadors, riding the waves of their new release Dying Surfer Meets His Maker, prep us with this rootsy, slow-burning departure embroidered with finger-picked acoustic and slide guitars. They plays Founders Taproom, Dec. 17.
The Sword – “Empty Temples”
Austin, Texas’ own The Sword shall be wielded by the Pyramid Scheme on Dec. 11. Come see for yourself why they’re noted kings of fantasy metal.
Dead Weather –“I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)”
Jack White and company come back after a two-year break with a highly-anticipated new album that satisfies fans of anything from Sonic’s Rendezvous Band to the Heartless Bastards. This is rock ‘n’ roll at its finest.
Stream the full playlist above or at WYCE.org — including more songs from David Wax Museum, Basia Bulat, El VY, and Neon Indian. Past "Songs We Like" and other playlists can be found at grcmc.org/wyce/mixtapes.