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Introducing the Monday Morning Playlists

Ten new songs to start your week off right

Photos provided|

Shygirl, Juice Lord

I’m trying something new here—not particularly original, but new to Racket. Each week, I’ll post five new local tracks and five new national tracks, which I’ll add to separate playlists linked below. Then you'll listen to the songs and like them. Everyone will be happy.

Oh, if you’re a local yourself, please pass some of your songs along so I don’t have to make shit up. You can find some very simple ground rules at the bottom of this post.

Local Picks

Double Grave, “Heavy”

This trio can get slow and airy and dreamy (and pleasurably so) on its new album, Till the Ground. But this track pounds as mightily as its title suggests, and never ponderously so. Shoegaze with some kick.

Harper’s Jar, “Cracking Irish Whip”

These brisk rockers don’t lose a step as they go all acoustic. There’s a bit of an Elliott Smith fuzz to the vocal, an acerbic bite to the lyrics (“It is a shame to see, but not as much as you”) and the title is (to me at least) inscrutable in the most intriguing way.

Juice Lord, “Blessed Up”

Dropped at the end of March, this St. Paul rapper’s latest album, 8th Inning: Luv vs Passion, nicely timed with the start of the baseball season. Malik Curtis covers a lot of ground in just 36 minutes, but my favorite track is this lulling, woozy expression of gratitude and boastfulness.

Cindy Lawson, “Don’t Come Crying to Me”

Tuff garage-rock that takes a mighty swing as Lawson softens her voice to a mocking pout. She’s been gigging something fierce since plunging back into the scene last year, and you can catch her at the White Squirrel on Saturday.

Partial Traces, “Day Between Dreams”

The sort of midtempo, old-school Modern Rock anthem, complete with heavily processed forming a near orchestral lattice, that you don't hear much anymore, An ideal setting for the weathered voice of former Soviette Maren Macosk, who observes that “It’s beautiful to surrender to a city.” 

National Picks

The Beths, “Watching the Credits”

On an outtake from Expert in a Dying Field that should have made the cut, Liz Stokes overextends a metaphor as only she can, imagining life as a series of awkward film shoots, hoping each night that reviewing the footage will provide “direction in my existence.” As always the cheeriness of the music counterbalances the despair—there’s even a triumphant chord change at the end. 

Cheekface, “Popular 2”

We at Racket have all been Cheekfreaks since our City Pages days, and it’s been rewarding watching these L.A. wiseacres get the recognition they deserve. They’re at their most They Might Be Giants here, putting on a show for private security cameras and sharing their Facebook marketplace inquiries. Slogan: “Hey buddy, this is private property.” Conclusion: “The future is now, unfortunately.”

Ashley McBryde, “The Devil I Know”

Plenty of the artists classified as “Americana” (another word, as Todd Snyder jokes, for “unpopular country music”) would have just been called “singer-songwriters” in a less brand-conscious age. But though she expresses herself plenty, McBryde really does have a Music Row knack for structuring a song around a taut conceit. And so: a great country song about resigning yourself to the most familiar kinds of pain that rhymes “bourbon” and “hurtin'.” And the way the band slams in after the first verse still catches me up.

Shygirl, “Playboy/Positions”

I hate “deluxe editions,” which are obvious attempts to juke an album’s stats, especially when they’re baited with quickie remixes. But this clubby freak has been teasing her alternate version of Nymph with a great Bjork remix, a Tinashe duet, and now this sexy little number, with Shygirl’s Cockney-blunted “t”s really making the most of “Take those panties off/Let me see what’s really good.” 

Teezo Touchdown, “Familiarity”

Convinced he’s a superstar in hiding, the Texas funk weirdo leaves home to chase money and fame, drops a few good lines along the way (”I believe in aliens, I don't believe in luck”), and half-convinces me that he’ll make it big, whatever that means in 2023. 

Wanna get a local song considered for the playlist? To make things easy on both of us, email with MONDAY PLAYLIST in the subject header. (Don’t, as in do NOT, DM or text: If I’m in a good mood, I’ll just ask you to send an email; if I’m in a bad mood I’ll just ignore it.)

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