In this second iteration of The Big Baltimore Playlist, we found five local songs we can't get enough of, ranging from indie afropop to rabble-rousing rock-and-roll to soulful R&B. Check back each month for new top songs of the moment, and follow our Spotify playlist as we continue to build a soundtrack for our city.
“Nowhere” by Djembe Jones
We just discovered this Takoma Park quartet and let’s just say we can’t stop listening. Their listless summer sound is a feel-good fusion, intermingling Afro-pop (the band is named after a ubiquitous West African drum and one of its bandmates hails from the east side of the continent) with hints of indie, hip-hop, and R&B. We dig the warm harmonies, pitter-patter drums, and groovy rhythms of this sweet little love song.
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“Hot Shot” by Joseph & The Beasts
Transport to the stars in this celestial song from local indie-pop-rock group Joseph & The Beasts, on which frontman Joseph Mulhollen’s operatic vocals sail to epic heights—his notes riding higher and higher with dips and diversions as if flying over and through the clouds. It's a mighty anthem and its ambitious spirit is infectious; it makes you want to seize the day.
“Consciousness” by Joy Postell
This track isn’t new, but with our “Best of Baltimore” issue on stands next week, we can’t stop listening to the song behind this year’s “Best Music Video” for Postell’s fall 2016 flick, shot partially inside the Peale Museum during The Contemporary’s Only When It’s Dark Enough Can You See The Stars exhibit. The soulful singer-songwriter uses unruly, jazz-like rhythms, fiercely sharp lyrics, and emotive energy to address issues faced by the African-American community. Her accomplished sound—and message—couldn’t be timelier.
“The Wanting” by J. Roddy Walston & The Business
J. Roddy is back, y’all. The once-Baltimore-based rock band (now residing in Richmond, Virginia) has released a new song for the first time in four years. It might be a little more clean-cut than The Business’s rabblerousing Bmore days, but it’s big and buoyant, with soaring guitar and a catchy, crescendo chorus worth adding to your next road trip.
“Kno” by Us and Us Only
The sad news that Mobtown Studios will be closing its doors this fall makes this melancholy melody all the more bittersweet. It was produced there—its lush guitars, punching drums, and cooing vocals made bigger and bolder in the Charles Village space. This song sort of breaks our hearts in a good way, nostalgically conjuring up the sludgy days of Julys past and those even longer romances you can never quite get out of your head. Be sure to watch the mesmerizing music video, too.