If you’ve been following me through my various social media platforms, you’d know that I’ve been in Chicago for the past few days for a conference related to my day job — and of course, while in town I’ve been running around to see friends, eat good food, drink good beers and catch as much live music as I could possibly take in. Naturally, while en route here and towards the bars, music venues and restaurants I’ve eaten in, I’ve spent it listening to a variety of music — especially Chicago blues, particularly my favorites, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and B.B. King. Check out this (mostly) Windy City-inspired playlist below. (Of course, there will likely be additions as I’m commuting to and fro for the next few days, so feel free to keep checking it.)
There’s still some outstanding business with 2017 that I must attend to before I can begin 2018 in earnest and in this case, check out some of what I think were the best singles of the past year. Although the music industry typically slows down during the holidays, I’m looking forward to what 2018 brings musically and creatively — and most importantly for new music that I’ll love and tell you about.
With the close of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, countless bloggers and others have spent the past few weeks retrospectively looking back at the previous year. Now yesterday, I had posted what I thought were some of the best albums of 2016 — and continuing on with that vein, I wanted to share what I thought were the best singles of 2016 with a Spotify playlist. Check it out below.
The Joy of Violent Movement’s Best Albums of 2016
Earlier this year, I had a lengthy bit of correspondence with a British publicist, who I’ve worked with for some time – and as you can imagine, once you’ve worked with someone for a while, the lines between friendship and your professional working relationship can become a bit blurred. But in any case, this colleague had asked how I was doing and at the time my response was: “If there was one word to describe my 37th trip around the sun, I’d say it would be this – embittering.” In that email exchange, I had gone on to describe how I had been dealing with several different, complicated situations in which politics, race and other sociopolitical issues of our era had come up and impacted my personal and professional life in messy and heartbreaking ways. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site since I started it almost 7 years ago or follow me through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, that music has held a profound role in my life, informing both my intellectual and emotional life. And while some things have been difficult, I can still say that I’ve been particularly blessed. After all, the fact that music can hold the same vital connection that it did when I was 3, 13 or 25 as it does when I’m 37, suggests that somehow I’ve been doing something right. With our lives becoming more urgent, more politically charged than ever, I personally find myself turning towards art and music to gain a further understanding of my life, my inner world and my place in a ugly and cruel world – and frequently a world that seems to hate difference, uniqueness, thoughtfulness, etc.
Sadly, over the past couple of years, this site’s Best of List has kind of languished although I had desperately wanted to post something about my favorite albums of the year; however, there have been years in which I had been incredibly overwhelmed – to the point of not having enough time to actually sit down and write. And while some friends and other associates have bemoaned the death of the music industry without realizing that over the past year, there’s been some challenging and interesting music that’s been released; that there’s been collaborations that would have never happened 30 years ago happening right this minute, and in the case of this year, there have been an incredible array of releases that I’ve been absolutely been obsessed with in a variety of ways. Check out what were the best albums this year, below.
Hannah Williams and The Affirmations Late Nights and Heartbreaks
Plague Vendor BLOODSWEAT
David Bowie Blackstar
Cinemechanica S/T LP
Exploded View S/T LP
A Tribe Called Quest We Got It From Here . . . Thank You 4 Your Service
Run the Jewels Run The Jewels 3
Clipping Splendor and Misery
Kishi Bashi Sonderlust
The Veldt The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur
Marta Ren and The Groovelets Stop Look Listen
Magic Trick Other Man’s Blues
Drakkar Nowhere S/T LP
La Sera Queens EP
Preoccupations S/T LP
The Deltahorse Transatlantic
Anna Rose Strays in the Cut EP
Super Hi-Fi Super Hi-Fi Plays Nirvana
Beninghove’s Hangman Zohove: Beninghove’s Hangmen Play Led Zeppelin
Shana Falana Here Comes the Wave
Wolkoff Without Shame
La Femme Mystère
Arbor Labor Union I Hear You
The Shondes Brighton
My Gold Mask Anxious Utopia
Alma Afrobeat Ensemble It’s Time
Afro-Haitian Experimental Orchestra Bade Zile
Siama Matuzungidi Rivers – from the Congo to the Mississippi
Bad Sports Living with Secrets
San Lazaro La Despedida
Check out JOVM’s top ten albums on Spotify:
So last evening, the folks at Speak Into My Good Eye (SIMGE) in partnership with The Footlight had the first of a monthly series dubbed Blox Cord in which three other Tri-State area-based writers/editors/bloggers are invited to curate a live showcase of locally-based indie music. And each writer/editor/blogger did a short DJ set in between sets.
And there was a there was a happy hour with Narragansett and Austin Eastciders drink specials and giveaways that was DJ’d by up-and-coming producer DJ DeModa.
Check out some of the songs that I wound up playing as part of my showcase, as well as a bunch of shows I would have loved to play if I had more than my allowed time.
February 2016’s JOVM Spotify playlist will likely continue the wild variety I’m so proud of but with a number of mainstay artists including tracks by Victoria + Jean, Anna Rose, Rene Lopez, Anika, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Gosh Pith, Marco Benevento, New Order, Boulevards, Mavis Staples, Sofi Tukker, Charles Bradley, Majid Jordan, La Sera, Pr0files, Atmosphere, We Are Temporary, Beacon, Elephant Stone, Caveman, Octo Octa and several others who you’ve become familiar with through this site. But you’ll also come across a couple of tracks from one of my favorite new artists of the year, Sophie and the Bom Boms, some classic blues from Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley and George Thorogood, porto-metal and stoner rock and countless more. Check it out!
Although not every single I’ve written about over the course of 2016 was available on Spotify, this month’s playlist continues with what I think is the strength of this site — true diversity of music. And this month’s playlist features tracks from JOVM mainstays METZ and Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, Koncept and J57 as well Toronto, ON-based electro pop act Laser, Keith Murray, Main Source, the legendary Mavis Staples, singer/songwriter Jenny Gillespie and many more. This playlist also includes a 50 plus song tribute to David Bowie, who has been a large influence on me and the eventual creation of this site. Check it out and enjoy!
After a two year hiatus, in which life was just way too busy, and I never got a chance to compile it, the JOVM Best Singles List returns. Out of the countless singles I’ve listened […]
Last night, I learned that JOVM has had readers and viewers from over 117 countries across the world — this year. 117! I’m honored, flattered and incredibly humbled that my childhood obsession with music and my labor of love have become a part of so many people’s lives. With 2015 coming to a close, I want to thank you, dear friends for letting me come into your screen and hopefully bring a little bit of joy, wonder and meaning into your lives. And if I’ve done that, I’ve been wildly successful in ways that I never would have dreamt.
This month’s playlist comes a couple of days early, but don’t let that faze you much. In typical JOVM fashion, the December playlist is wildly eclectic — and touches upon several decades of artists and songs both known and obscure. You’ll come across Eric B. and Rakim, R.E.M., Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Posies, Foo Fighters, The Smiths, JOVM mainstays The Black Angels, Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, Patsy Cline, Nancy Sinatra, The Fixx, Pearl Jam, INXS, The Verve, New Order, Big Daddy Kane, Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, Michael Jackson, Los Angeles‘ Line & Circle, shoegaze pioneers RIDE, the club-rocking sounds of Neon Indian, Cameo, Twin Limb, the fantastic Charles Bradley, Black Sabbath, and a tribute to Motorhead‘s Lemmy Kilmister. And that’s just off the top of my head. Enjoy!
Over the past couple of months I’ve been experimenting with a monthly Spotify playlist that covers the songs I’ve reviewed over the course of the past month, along with the songs I’ve referenced. And although some songs almost always seem to be missing during the initial compilation, I think it still manages to be a fairly comprehensive look at the past month on JOVM. (Just an early world, December will be pretty interesting as there will be a monthly playlist and I will be doing a Best of List primarily through Spotify as an additional experiment. But we’re jumping ahead here.)
November’s playlist continues the eclectic and tasteful curation that this site has long been known for and includes Aroc!‘s collaborations with Eric Bellinger, the gorgeous sounds of Floating Points, the socially conscious psych rock of Brazilian superstars Boogarins, JOVM mainstays Rene Lopez, Escort, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Pr0files, White Reaper, Beacon, New Order and Freddie Gibbs and others among a lengthy list. You’ll catch new singles from the Houston, TX-born, New York-based indie soul artist Melany Watson, several singles off Coke Weed‘s excellent Mary Weaver, two singles off The Giraffes kick ass, stoner rock album Usury, a new single from Swedish psych rock sensation Caviare Days, anthemic singles from Brandi Carlile‘s powerhouse country album, The Firewatcher’s Daughter and Canadian trio Red Moon Road, a few singles off Neon Indian‘s club-friendly VEGA Intl. Night School and more. There’s quite a bit of funk on this list as I make references to The Whispers, The Gap Band, Kool and the Gang, Chic, Rick James, and others. And there’s quite of synth pop including Tears For Fears, Depeche Mode, The Human League and more. Check it out and tell your friends while you’re at it!