Fresh Rotation | 4 Songs We’re Listening to Right Now

New music from Sharon Van Etten, Khalid, Holiday Ghosts and a long-overdue Terry Allen reissue

Press images of Sharon Van Etten, Khalid, Terry Allen and Holiday Ghosts
Credit: (From left) Sharon Van Etten press photo by Michael Schmelling, album artwork from Terry Allen's 'Smokin The Dummy,' Khalid press photo by Ro.Lex and Holiday Ghosts press photo courtesy of the artist.

Each and every week the JME team handpicks the juiciest new tunes from local, regional, national and international artists to add to the rotation on The Independent 89.9 HD4 (and to our tasty, tall-glass-of-a-listening-experience that is our monthly Fresh Squeeze playlist). Each song is chosen with intention. And so we often feel like they are worthy of a broader discussion (or at least a bit of context).

Here are four new songs that the JME team is listening to this week.

Tune in to The Independent 89.9 HD4 to hear many of our team’s Fresh Rotation picks, as well as the best new music from non-commercial artists.

“Mistakes” by Sharon Van Etten 

As a follow-up to her most sonically ambitious album, 2019’s Remind Me Tomorrow, singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten’s latest, We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong, reinforces her ability to thrive in the metamorphic. Foregoing the slow drip-drip of single drops, Van Etten released We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong in its entirety as a way to exercise “a subtle act of control,” she told Rolling Stone. As one piece, the record takes a hard look at problems both intimate and societal, all of which seemed to be exacerbated in the last two years, to explore personal transformation. On songs like the cathartic anthem “Mistakes,” faced with an apocalyptic world Van Etten seeks light among the darkness with references to Elaine Benes and her lived experiences as proof of concept to Ms. Frizzle’s mantra: Make mistakes and get messy.–Matthew Shaw 

“Skyline” by Khalid

Platinum-selling R&B artist Khalid dives deep into soft-yet-soulful pop with the retro-fied “Skyline,” the lead single from a much-anticipated full-length due later this year. Producer Chrome Sparks provide energy for Khalid’s vocals to float like a colorful orb over the track’s dreamscape –– lyrics about getting romantically and chemically lifted add to the gravity-defying nature of the tune. An early candidate for song of the summer? Definitely.–Al Pete

“Credit Note” by Holiday Ghosts 

This ain’t their first rodeo! Over upbeat bops, UK’s retro-rock-band Holiday Ghosts continue their lamentations of failing political systems and lack of social change — dance-inspiring topics, no doubt. On “Credit Note,” the title track from the band’s soon-to-released EP, the Ghosts deploy a mantra-esque lyrical approach over versatile power chords to metaphorize the inescapable, cyclical systems of daily life. Intentional? Maybe not, but it makes for a great singalong. Though the Ghosts’ sound is straightforward and not entirely original –– simple drumbeats are among several obvious influences the band draws primal rock of the ‘60s and ‘70s –– staring at a blank canvas can also be paralyzing. And like the song says “art’s extinct”! The band’s not here to blow minds that sit atop high brows. They’re here for the listener who wants to jump around while hating the government. –Rain Henderson

“The Heart of California (for Lowell George)” by Terry Allen & The Panhandle Mystery Band

Texas polymath Terry Allen is a renowned singer-songwriter and conceptual artist-sculptor whose career is as wild and wooly as his lifelong hyphen-jumping. Allen is a peer and collaborator with the likes of Lucinda Williams, David Byrne, Joe Ely, Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore; while his visual art is featured in international collections, including NYC’s MoMA, SFMOMA and the Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon. This tasty edition of his 1980 album Smokin’ The Dummy is part of a series of deluxe and long-overdue-vinyl Allen reissues. “The Heart of California (for Lowell George)” is a stomping tribute to his then-fallen comrade and Little Feat leader, a fitting, wild-eyed ramblers’ tale about restless spirits: a label that surely applies to both George and Allen. –Daniel A. Brown

Tune in to The Independent 89.9 HD4 to hear many of our team’s Fresh Rotation picks, as well as the best new music from non-commercial artists.

In this article: