Best of 2021: If You Made It This Far, It Went Horribly Right

  1. “Nested”–Matthew E. White (K Bay)
  3. “Game Changer”–John Moulder (Metamorphosis)
  4. “Rushing Water”–Sting (The Bridge)
  5. “Innerstellar Love”–Thundercat (It Is What It Is)
  6. “GOLDWING”–Billie Eilish (Happier than Ever)
  7. “Satellite”–Split Single (Amplificado)
  8. “Last Night”–Arooj Aftab (Vulture Prince)
  9. “Stronger Now”–Tim Clarke (Life Changes)
  10. “New Light”–John Mayer (Sob Rock)
  11. “K.C. Girl”–Indigo Girls (Look Long)
  12. “Hustle”– Sons of Kemet, ft. Kojey Radical (Black to the Future)
  13. “Cut You Loose”–Joanna Connor (4801 South Indiana Avenue)
  14. “Fast Lava”–Riz Ahmed (The Long Goodbye)
  15. “Ponyboy”–SOPHIE (Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides)
  16. “Horribly Right”–Mammoth WVH (Mammoth WVH)

This mix is also available to stream on Mixcloud, Soundcloud, and, in slightly abridged form due to song availability, on Spotify and Apple Music.

“Nested”–Matthew E. White (K Bay)

As the pandemic has worn on (and on) and my daily schedule has slid into a barely recognizable variation on what it once was, I’ve somehow managed to become a morning person. Not up-before-dawn morning or anything crazy like that, but up early enough to be quiet and alone for a while. I’d like to say I use the time to meditate or exercise—well, sometimes I actually do manage to—but mostly I’m just sitting in an easy chair, wrapped in a blanket, drinking something hot, and scrolling aimlessly through my phone. On Saturday mornings, one of my favorite things to scroll has become the weekly newsletter from Bandcamp.

I was first hipped to Bandcamp almost a decade ago now as a place to post my own original recordings (ahem, click here for the Felus Cremins Band page), but I’ve also come to appreciate it as a really wonderful site for discovering all kinds of otherwise under-the-radar music. From Argentinean stoner metal to Korean shoegaze, there’s countless albums I’ve downloaded from there on a whim, happy to know that most of the money I’m paying is going straight into the artist’s pocket.

I can’t remember what the Bandcamp newsletter said about Matthew E. White that got me to click on his discography, but from the moment I heard this track, I couldn’t get it out of my head. That fuzzed-out bass line and strutting, stuttering beat make this a perfect specimen of the sort of dumb-but-incredibly-smart art that makes me giddy with glee.


Like anyone reasonably well-versed in contemporary pop culture, I was aware of the “Old Town Road” phenomenon when it happened but honestly didn’t pay that much attention to it, beyond being sort of off-handedly like, “good for you, Lil Nas X. Way to get those country fans on your side.” But after my first time watching the “MONTERO (Call Me by Your Name)” video, I decided I was on board for absolutely wherever he was going next. I’ve been shrieking a lot on social media about how much I love him. The outfits? I swoon.

The MONTERO album is of course chockful of bangers, and there’s so much to love in so many of them. But something about the lyric “this plastic bed don’t blow up no more” and the slight emo-inflection to his vocal on the chorus instantly endeared “TALES OF DOMINICA” to me.

“Game Changer”–John Moulder (Metamorphosis)

I promise you I’m not trying to intentionally name-drop in an obnoxious way here. But I have to acknowledge that I know John Moulder personally, that he is a dear friend in fact, because the context of my first hearing and falling in love with this track is sort of inseparable from why it’s appearing on this mix.

My husband Brian and I have been very cautious, socially and behaviorally, throughout the pandemic. We didn’t really do anything outside the house, aside from grocery shopping, prior to getting vaxxed, and even after we got our first two jabs, we stayed masked up and tried not to take undue risks, as far as gathering in large groups of people. In-person hang-outs, if they happened at all, were usually confined to our condo, with one or two close friends who were just as cautious about risk management as we’d been.

In the late summer, though, Moulder invited us over to his house for an afternoon visit, and I felt like I’d been asked to Buckingham Palace, just out of the sheer novelty of going somewhere else. I put on a dress and makeup and earrings, all manifestations of my excitement about seeing a friend somewhere other than on a Zoom screen.

The visit was a social one, first and foremost, a time to catch up and chat and eat snacks and drink good wine. But at a certain point, musicians are gonna talk music, of course, and the discussion turned to the imminent release of Moulder’s latest album, Metamorphosis. He’d just received his first advance batch of CDs in the mail and wanted to know if we’d like hear some tracks (as if he even needed to ask). “Game Changer,” the album opener, was the first song he put on, and he cranked it. His incredibly nice stereo system enveloped us in the sound of his quartet, and what with the slant of sunshine coming in through the western-facing windows, the chilled white wine bubbling in my veins, and the casual but intimate trust in this moment of offering to share a sneak preview of his original music with us, I was deeply sated with a profound joy. It didn’t hurt of course that the track also sounds incredible, all angular guitar and criminal beats making a frame for Richie Beirach’s minute-long piano solo that’s like a crash course in the history of 20th century jazz harmony.

“Rushing Water”–Sting (The Bridge)

God, how embarrassing is it that I still love Sting as much as I do? I openly acknowledge everything ridiculous about him, and yet I imprinted on him at such a formative age (and, even worse, on his solo albums) that I’m somehow never not going to be rooting for this incredibly rich and incredibly famous white man to keep churning out three-minute jazz-inflected pop songs for my personal amusement. Even as I roll my eyes as far up into my brain as they’ll go, acknowledging that he is, in fact, the worst.

The past couple decades of his work have been spotty, no doubt. Between the endless rerecording and remixing of his own old material and the confused and confusing collaboration with Shaggy (with! Shaggy!!), I wasn’t really expecting much from the announcement that he had a new album coming out toward the end of 2021. (Well, OK, fair enough, I kind of liked his weird duet with Zucchero last year.) But as his press team’s marketing strategy started dripping out advance tracks to drum up pre-release excitement, I actually couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Was this new stuff actually…good? Was it not just a return to form but maybe even a new level of mastery as he finally started to allow himself to age into the elder rock statesman I’ve always known he could be?

And look—yes. His lyrics are never not going to be cornball to the max. Rhyming “I’ll see my shrink on an analyst’s couch” with “hit me with a hammer and I say ‘ouch’”? Thanks, I hate it. And did he really have to make his recording engineer put that little bit of echo at the end of the “trapped in the belly of a wha-aaa-ale” line? But, I’ll gladly take those dopey little moments if it means I get stuff like the extraordinarily beautiful “ease into the water / flooding through your brain” outro. (“It’s like he’s channeling Scott Walker there!” Brian kept exclaiming the first few times we streamed the song.) But really, the whole thing just works. It sounds effortless, in the best way possible. Simple, inevitable, classic.

“Innerstellar Love”–Thundercat (It Is What It Is)

OK, now, this is how you combine jazz and hip-hop in a genuinely forward-looking way. My esteem for Thundercat has only grown since I put “Show You the Way” from Drunk on my Best of 2017 mix. Not only is his musicianship obviously incredible, but I also just love being in the world he has created in his lyrics, all anime references, sagas of being drunk at the club, his love for his cat and his friends, and paeans to his durag. The combination of serious-silliness is intoxicating to me. And then he can also put together something incredibly gorgeous like this, pulling in Kamasi Washington for a track-ending sax solo that’s on the level of Wayne Shorter’s from “Aja.”

“GOLDWING”–Billie Eilish (Happier than Ever)

Most folks who know me personally know what a musical legend my dad was in the local scene where he raised me. He was revered as a keyboard player and arranger, and once, at someone else’s gig, I even saw him grab a trumpet to parp out a secondary horn line with the other trumpeter who was playing that night. Yet, of course, he couldn’t do everything. No musician, no matter how gifted, can. And, LOL, my dad was a truly terrible harmony singer. I mean, he obviously wasn’t tone deaf and could basically carry a tune, but I remember standing next to him at church one morning and listening to him (admirably!) trying to sightread the tenor line to some hymn, and it was…not good. So of course he loved listening to tight, complex vocal harmonies from acts like the Manhattan Transfer and Jackie Cain and Roy Kral because he knew how hard they were to do well.

Despite considering myself more of a singer than my dad ever was, I’ve unfortunately inherited some of his challenges with harmonies. Locking in on intervals and not being influenced by what’s being sung around me will just always be difficult for me, even when the part is written on sheet music in front of my face, and all the more so when I need to come up with an overdub for an original piece of music for my band. So, like my dad, I respect the hell out of other artists who can stack harmonies on top of harmonies like it’s no big deal. (Side note: please listen to this clip of Brian Wilson overdubbing himself doing “oohs” for an unused version of “Don’t Talk [Put Your Head on My Shoulder]” if you never have.)

Billie Eilish had some impressive harmonies on WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? but I’m just totally enamored with the fact that she lets Happier than Ever grind to a halt for nearly a full minute so that she can overdub herself singing some Gustav freakin’ Holst on this track.

“Satellite”–Split Single (Amplificado)

In that brief, shining Hot Girl Summer moment this June when most folks had received their first two doses of the vaccine and cities were tentatively starting to open back up again, Brian and I went out to our first (and thus far only) live show since the start of the pandemic. It was a Jason Narducy solo set at the Gman Tavern in Wrigleyville here in Chicago. They were checking IDs and vax cards at the door, had sold limited tickets, and had spaced out tables and chairs, so everything felt about as safe as it was gonna get.

I ordered a couple gin and tonics. My eye makeup got smeared in the heat. I took selfies in the bathroom. Each Going to a Rock Show ritual gesture felt somehow more significant than the last. And then when Jason, in ridiculously fine vocal form, busted out “Satellite” from his then soon-to-be-released new album Amplificado as one of the first songs in the set, the repeated refrain “I miss you always” took on an extra resonance in my ears.

I don’t know how often I’m going to continue going out to rock shows going forward—both because of feeling like I’m genuinely starting to age out of them and because I don’t know that I’m going to be able to trust folks in larger venues to uphold the social contract in quite the same well-mannered and agreeable way until the COVID thing is well and truly under control. So if this is the last concert memory I’m going to carry with me for a while, it is a precious one indeed. “I miss you allllllwaaaaaays…”

“Last Night”–Arooj Aftab (Vulture Prince)

It’s so funny that I just spent a couple paragraphs raving about Sting’s “Rushing Water” up there, because when “Last Night” came up the first time I listened to Arooj Aftab’s Vulture Prince in its entirety, I thought to myself, “my god, she just effortlessly surpassed everything Sting has been trying to do in however many decades since he left the Police.” The religious ecstasy, the dark and sultry vocal timbre, the downtempo reggae…honestly, I feel like he would have given his eyeteeth to make one song this good in the past twentysome years.

Not only that, but Vulture Prince is also one of the few albums I’ve heard lately that’s a genuinely cohesive artistic statement. I used to be so devoted to the idea of album-as-work-of-art, but these days it’s an increasingly rare commodity. Sure, I guess, maybe my attention span is just being eroded by the instant gratification of smart phone culture, but also, what artists have the range anymore? Who’s not just repeating themselves or padding out an album after the first really big hit single they inevitably put right at the front of the track listing? But Aftab is one of the few to have nailed it recently. It actually felt difficult to pull “Last Night” out in isolation; please promise me you’ll listen to the full album if you at all vibe with what she’s doing here.

As inspired by and infused with grief as this album is, I’ve personally come to associate it not so much with middle-of-the-night existential contemplation as with bright, quiet, solitary weekend mornings where all emotions, whether large or small, have the space they need to expand, express, then dissipate on their own schedule.

“Stronger Now”–Tim Clarke (Life Changes)

I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into at the end of 2019/beginning of 2020 when I debuted my podcast I’ll Follow You. (I mean, no one in the world really knew what we were collectively getting ourselves into at the end of 2019/beginning of 2020, but that’s obviously a whole separate story at this point.) As I detailed in my brief introductory solo show, I mostly wanted an excuse to talk to creative people about their projects and processes. Always insecure about not knowing “enough” about any given subject to talk about it with any authority, though, I mostly stuck to interviewing good friends at first, since that meant I would be intimately familiar with their output already and would have confidence that the conversation would flow easily between us.

But as I gained more experience with the podcasting form, I realized that I was the one making the rules and calling the shots. It wasn’t like I was a professional journalist being assigned to cover some artist I might not otherwise care about or be familiar with. Even if I didn’t have much of a preexisting relationship with them, I could just…reach out to people I was interested in connecting with and whose work I would have a natural affinity for anyway. And that really hit home when I had the great joy of speaking with Tim Clarke earlier this summer.

As detailed in my intro to our podcast conversation, Tim had read the long blog post I wrote about the Divine Comedy’s soundtrack to the musical theater piece In May and e-mailed me to offer his compliments on my analysis and to confess that he’d worked on the English translation of the lyrics. I replied to thank him and boldly asked if he’d be willing to chat with me about the project on the record. Whence came that boldness? Honestly, it would have been silly of me not to shoot my shot, as the children say. I’d long had so many questions about what In May even was, and now I was going to have the chance to not just get clarity on its specifics but on its genesis as well? Count me in!

Of course I was nervous. What if this guy was like, “pssh, no, silly American, how dare you propose to impinge on my time?” What if he said yes but was an asshole, was reticent with his answers, was fibbing about his relative importance to the project? Well, I needn’t have worried. Jump and the net will appear as the saying goes, and in this case, it was a bit more like the Buddhist notion of Indra’s jeweled net where we all exist as blessedly sparkling nodes of intersection.

I’d love it if you listened to the podcast, of course, and hear for yourself, but suffice it to say, we had a delightful time talking not just about the creation and evolution of In May, but about his own career as a musician, actor, and translator as well. When he shared a selection of his own work with me, I instantly zeroed in on “Stronger Now” with its fantastic Al Stewart meets Ringo Starr groove, tight dissonant backup harmonies, and of course Tim’s own soaring tenor vocals. Is the phrase “Stronger Now” also a not-so-oblique reference to my newly expanded faith in my own abilities? MAYBE.

“New Light”–John Mayer (Sob Rock)

Ugh, so, if it’s embarrassing to still like Sting, it’s downright humiliating to still like John Mayer, right? I mean, it’s pretty much indefensible. Like, my husband literally will not (cannot) listen to John Mayer unless I’m in the room with him so that he can sort of listen through my ears; although he respects his chops as a technician, “I just want to punch him in the nuts,” he says, otherwise.

But, I must admit, to my ears, it’s pretty unavoidable that Mayer’s an incredible musician. And not just because of the guitar pyrotechnics; I personally could not care less about the shredding and soloing. But in whatever idiot-savant way, Mayer just has such a knack for hooks, melodies, and general songcraft. It’s clear that he actually deeply cares about what it takes to build an effective pop song and has studied the mechanics of what makes a tune truly work.

The remarkable thing to me about Sob Rock, which I really did listen to pretty extensively after it came out this summer, is the way he’s able to not just suggest/pay homage to the big radio friendly hits of the ’80s but also genuinely write and play in that style without it being simply gimmicky. Take, for example, the verses of “Til the Right One Comes”—they have that conversational, long-line chattiness that’s a signature of Paul Simon’s solo work, but he somehow manages to digest it and move the gesture beyond pastiche. When I heard that song, I didn’t think, “oh, he’s doing a Paul Simon thing, and now that I’ve figured out the reference, I’m over it.” (Like I did when I first heard Vampire Weekend, tbh!!) I thought, “oh wow, he’s acquitting himself really well here; what a treat to hear someone actually working at that level and creating something new with it that also could have fit in seamlessly with the sonic landscape at the time.”

I didn’t realize that “New Light” actually came out as a single all the way back in 2018, and I utterly loathe that “pushin’ forty in the friend zone” lyric, but it was still such an easy pick for this mix. My god, what a pure pop confection it is! That strummy, Nile Rogers-esque guitar under the chorus, the squidgy little keyboard hooks, the “ah-ah-ah” chord modulation at the end of the guitar solo, the “what do I do with all this” outro—all of it really is nut-punchingly delightful.

“K.C. Girl”–Indigo Girls (Look Long)

As I just said above, Brian and I often borrow each other’s ears when listening to music. It’s one of the great joys of our marriage. “What are you hearing in this that I’m not?” “Check out this tune I just found on YouTube; I think it’s your kinda thing.” “What kind of guitar is that?” “What time signature is this in?” But the most powerful listening happens when we combine our ears to listen together. We don’t even always do it on purpose; it’s actually the most profound gift when it happens spontaneously.

One Friday earlier this year, we were settling in for a quiet night together in the living room, Brian sketching on a drawing pad, me set up on a beach towel painting my toenails. He’s usually the DJ on those kind of nights, connecting his iPad to a Bluetooth speaker and shuffling through some mix on Apple Music. And that night, the algorithm spat out the Indigo Girls’ “Galileo” for us.

It’s obviously an inescapably popular song, one that we’ve both heard dozens if not hundreds of times since its breakthrough success for the band in 1992. But somehow that night, sitting there together, lightly absorbed in our respective activities, we both heard it as if we’d never heard before. And we lost our minds. We couldn’t believe what an incredible song it is, what an incredible song it always has been, right there, omnipresent, practically hidden in plain sight—the lyrics, the performance, the harmonies, all of it. What a blessing! The song itself, that particular moment of impact. So we naturally went down a bit of an Indigo Girls rabbit hole after that, reminding ourselves of how consistently outstanding they’ve been, basically, well, forever. Amy and Emily, forgive us for how we’ve taken your excellence for granted!

The rabbit hole of course lead us to their most recent album Look Long, which came out in mid 2020. And while many of the songs reckon with painful red state/blue state divides and other realities of life in the Tr*mp era, I was particularly enamored with “K.C. Girl.” To riff on the famous Miles Davis line, “Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself,” sometimes you have to play for a long time to be able to come up with such a deceptively profound song about calling an Uber.

“Hustle”– Sons of Kemet, ft. Kojey Radical (Black to the Future)

I love walking; I love my neighborhood; I love walking around my neighborhood.

Despite knowing these things very well, I still forget to, you know, actually leave the house sometimes, especially now that I’m primarily working from home. After a long day sitting at my desk, hunched over my computer, I’ll start feeling emotionally itchy and crabby, whiny and hopeless. Then Brian will innocently ask, “when’s the last time you’ve been outside?” and, aha. Out the door and into the fresh air I go.

After the first (sigh) full winter of the COVID era, the ability to be outside comfortably again as the springtime crested into early summer was such a balm. While my early years in the city were defined by my very urban walks along Chicago Avenue between Franklin Street and Damen Avenue, and then later that lovely long diagonal up Lincoln Avenue through the Square, staring up at buildings and then down alleyways looking for street art and other weird tableaux, my recent walks have been more focused on nature and on people. With our immediate access to the lakefront and its adjacent parks and paths, Rogers Park has a joyful abundance of both.

Kids on bikes, young couples at the beach, old men on benches, dogs romping through the grass, athletes on the tennis and basketball courts, babies in strollers, old ladies quietly speaking Polish to each other as they slowly amble along side by side, families blazing up a barbecue, the bracing crash of the waves, a constantly shifting haze of weed smoke, the jingle of ice cream carts, somebody stringing a hammock between trees—walking amongst it all in early June, I must have looked like some kind of holy madwoman what with the huge grin affixed to my face and the extra bounce in my step thanks to the marching band strut of Sons of Kemet’s “Hustle” coming through my earbuds.

“Cut You Loose”–Joanna Connor (4801 South Indiana Avenue)

I cannot believe I’ve lived in Chicago for however many years now and have still never been to Kingston Mines. What is my problem! Doubling down on that sentiment, how have I never been out to see Joanna Connor play live at Kingston Mines after she’s been doing her part to keep the blues scene in this city fresh for ages as well? Brian saw her play a small club somewhere on the east coast long before he and I ever met, and he says it’s one of the loudest, most enjoyably brutal shows he’s ever been to. (Regaling each other with stories like these is another way we listen to music through each other’s ears.)

She belongs to the wider world a little more now than she ever has before, though, thanks to the virality of some of those insane clips of her shredding that often make the rounds on social media, not to mention thanks to the extra bit of attention Joe Bonnamassa’s production imprimatur gave to her latest album 4801 South Indiana Avenue. As corny as I often find Bonnamassa in general, he truly did a fantastic job helping bring out Connor’s strengths here, which mainly just meant letting everything growl–the rhythm section, the groove, her axe, her voice.

“Fast Lava”–Riz Ahmed (The Long Goodbye)

What can I say, I’m always a sucker for rap with a heavy English accent! Sometimes there’s not much more to my affinity for a track than a very particular detail like that.

Plus, I loved Sound of Metal so much when I watched it at the very end of 2020 that I felt like listening to Riz Ahmed’s own music was a way of extending my ability to live in the world of the film for a while longer. The Long Goodbye got me through a lot of cold, dark mornings earlier this year when I otherwise would have had trouble scraping myself out of bed to start the workday.

“Ponyboy”–SOPHIE (Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides)

And now we come to the headphone candy part of the mix. Every couple years my ears get hungry for really noisy, really bonkers music that helps stretch and challenge my conception of what a “song” even is. I remember the pattern starting most notably with the Micachu and the Shapes album Jewellry back in 2009 (see “Eat Your Heart” on my Best of 2009 mix here!) and Sophie’s Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides continued the grand tradition for me this year (even though the album actually came out in 2017).

I confess that I’d actually never heard of Sophie prior to the artist’s unexpected death at the beginning of 2021, but after seeing so many other musicians that I deeply respect, especially Zola Jesus and Warren Hildebrand, posting about their esteem for Sophie’s music, I knew I had to check it out. Sophie’s original songs are challenging to listen to, but not necessarily in a provocative or abrasive way; it’s more that they’re tuned to a freakquency [sic, deliberately] that most of us normies aren’t 100% ready for yet. Plus I just love the naughty good humor of it all; the pronoun play of “he is just a pony / she is just a pony / they is just a pony / pony-ponyboy” is sheer delight.

“Horribly Right”–Mammoth WVH (Mammoth WVH)

I feel like there’s no better sentiment to end this mix, and the whole of 2021, on than “if you made it this far, it went horribly right.”

Also, I just adore Wolfgang Van Halen. I mean, usually there’s nothing more ridiculous than the kids of genuine rock superstars asking us to take them seriously as musicians as well. I find that they tend to have all the (often impressive) technical facility of their parents combined with absolutely none of the vitality or other interesting bits that made their folks fascinating (and mega-successful) in the first place. (Like, truly, miss me with Bono’s kids doing whatever it is they do.)

And sure, when I first heard that Wolf was touring as Van Halen’s bassist back in the late 2000s/early 2010s, I figured it was just more weird musical chairs within that very contentious band. Like, “oh god, things have gotten so tense among the other members that now they’re resorting to pulling in Eddie’s kid??” But after Eddie’s passing in 2020, I was knocked out by how beautifully Wolf handled his grief in public. His incredible grace in balancing the way he’d become a spokesman of sorts for Eddie’s musical legacy with reminding us all en masse, “hey, this incredibly famous, incredibly gifted guitar player also just happens to be my dad” struck me as being way more than just canny PR; he was showing us an actual, vulnerable, human moment, gently undercutting whatever remains of Van-Halen-the-band’s legacy as nothing more than showboaty ’80s rockers. I took notice of Wolfgang’s own music a little more intently after that. Not to mention, the guy is also flat-out funny as well. (Remember, he’s also Valerie Bertinelli’s kid too—be sure to check out the “Don’t Back Down” video if you’ve never seen it.)

Brian and I have been laughing at our respective responses to the Mammoth WVH self-titled debut album. He, as a lifelong Van Halen fan, has gravitated to the more Sammy Hagar-esque midtempo grooves, whereas I, as more of a David Lee Roth devotee than anything else, have actually gravitated more toward the heavier songs that SMASH! For all the high-octane energy on “Horribly Right,” though, it’s also a model of tastefulness—Wolf’s vocals are impeccable, and he’s learned well that the trick to making a song sound HUGE in its totality is actually to keep all the parts fairly simple and leave plenty of room for all the instruments to breathe.

Other favorites (not necessarily released this calendar year but that were meaningful to me in 2021 nonetheless):

Amy Winehouse’s version of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” from her posthumous album Lioness; Cassandra Jenkins’s “Hard Drive” and “Crosshairs”; Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah saying at the end of “Adjuah (I Own the Night)” off his live album Axiom, “Oftentimes when we come into environments like this to play creative improvised music, you know, someone uses the word ‘jazz,’ and then everyone in the room becomes a fuckin’ Fulbright scholar”; Eomac’s “Mandate for Murder”; Toyah’s Posh Pop; Tracey Thorn’s vocal on Massive Attack’s “Protection”; Floating Points & Pharoah Sanders’s Promises; and all the beautiful ambient music that is impossible to work into a song-focused mix like this: Benoit Pioulard’s Silencer EP, Bisk’s Vacation Package, Gas’s Pop, perila’s How Much Time Is It Between You and Me?, and especially Tim Hecker’s soundtrack for The North Water