Music fits a lot of emotional needs; possibly most emotional needs. It’s your escape, your energy, your rest, your shoulder to cry on, your party — the list could goes on. This week? Music has been my friend, picking me up when I went down, lending me a moment when I needed a break, and just sitting with me when I didn’t want to be alone.
Hopefully these songs can be your friends too. Listen to them individually below, or just scroll to bottom to listen to the playlist of all our favorite songs of 2016, updated weekly.
Brodka – Horses
A unique blend of traditional Polish folk and modern indie rock, tied together by sincere, delicate vocals. This song walks a interesting line between ominous and alluring, and remains captivating throughout.
Listen if you like: Julia Holter, Laura Gibson, Laura Stevenson
Overhead, The Albatross – Big River Man
Arching, soaring, embracing. This Dublin instrumental band presents a cohesive and well-influenced sound that allows you to get lost in all its intricate layers. You won’t want to be found anytime soon.
Listen if you like: Explosions In The Sky, Sigur Ros, Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Holy Fever – Duress
This track, released by an LA-based rock band comprised of various hardcore outfits, packs a ton of grungy rock and roll attitude that hits you like a steamroller. A great blend of garage rock, punk, and east coast hardcore. Buckle up!
Listen if you like: The Hives, NOFX, The White Stripes
Ital Tek – A Delicate Balance
Dark and atmospheric IDM from England that surrounds you with pulsating dubstep basslines. Producers like this are the reason IDM and dubstep stay relevant.
Listen if you like: Aphex Twin, Kiasmos, Moderat
Mutual Benefit – Skipping Stones
This track in full of delicate and dynamic indie folk pop that swirls and swarms. This Ohio native builds tracks that are structured like church hymns: simple instrumentation, heartfelt lyrics, almost worshipful presentation.
Listen if you like: Sufjan Stevens, Elliot Smith, Kurt Vile
The Avalanches – Frankie Sinatra
Long-awaited new track from this Australian electronica group brings an electroswing track backed by verses from Danny Brown and one of the great flow masters of all time: MF Doom. The beat and flow is uncanny, sampling bits from The Sound of Music and Frank Sinatra while remaining fresh and fun. Spin it!
Listen if you like: DJ Shadow, MF Doom, Gorillaz
Vic Mensa – Shades of Blue
Powerful hip hop from Chicago, whether it be the lyrics or the production. The track plays out smooth and smoky with a jazzy piano backbone. It’s rare to find lyrics this relevant and fluid.
Listen if you like: Vince Staples, Chance The Rapper, Isaiah Rashad
Sophia Danai – Daytime Dreaming
Sultry, heartbreaking, and soulful music from Canada. This track blends slow R&B with ‘80s pop, creating a captivating song that demands your attention.
Listen if you like: Amy Winehouse, Alicia Keys, Adele
Whitney – Golden Days
This song is awesome. Fantastic ‘70s psychedelic rock with an acoustic pop influence that just helps you escape the humdrum all the way to the fading of the brass outro. This Chicago-based band is one to keep an eye on.
Listen if you like: Tame Impala, Smith Westerns, Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Slow Runner – Bike Thieves
South Carolina’s Slow Runner showcase a quirky, funky indie pop sound on this track that builds up and down throughout. With distorted guitars, pounding drums, and wild trumpets, it’s a ride that will have you clapping along by the end.
Listen if you like: Telekinesis, Postal Service, Ra Ra Riot
Middle Kids – Edge of Town
This Australian band brings a smart indie pop track fused with some ‘90s alt-rock attitude that teases into some excellent results. Pedal steel and solid vocals make this a stand out track in a year full of songs trying to tap into the ’90s.
Listen if you like: Alanis Morrisette, Kurt Vile, Grizzly Bear
Gradient’s Best Songs of 2016 (so far)
Jason is the cofounder of the iconic non-profit Invisible Children which was founded to increase awareness of the horrendous activities of the LRA in Central Africa. Jason was also the director of the iconic Kony 2012 film that took the world by storm. In this two-part interview Jason and Branden talk about what it means to create a movement, what Jason experienced during his breakdown and subsequent recovery, and Jason’s experience in the world of theater.
Aharon Rabinowitz is the head of marketing for Red Giant based in New York City. During our conversation, we discussed the importance of work life balance, his start as a production intern at Sesame Street and why artist’s feel personally offended when you reject their work.
United gets their cheap on, fake news, and Trump hired who?
Welcome to Episode IV. This week, Dan spends some time with his favorite singer/songwriter, Matthew Perryman Jones. Matthew and Dan talk about panic attacks, growing up in Atlanta, the way music is informed by pain and suffering and the way music gives freedom.
If you have spent any time watching television in the last decade you have most likely heard one of Mattew’s songs on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, One Tree Hill and many others. His insightful writing and voice have drawn comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley, and he is on the short list of songwriters who skillfully weave the deeply philosophical and the vivid utterly human without ever losing sight of either.
To get his new album Cold Answer, (which features the three songs from him you heard on this episode), visit MPJmusic.com.
Branden sits down with writer and speaker Tyler Huckabee days after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States to talk about empathy, justice, listening, and where we go from here.
Special Election Edition, President Trump to legalized weed and everything in between.
This week we reflect on the election and discuss our strategies for staying sane.
Luca and Ilenia are the founders of Illo, a studio based in Turin, Italy. During our conversation, we discussed their self-driving video bot named Algo, how Illo was formed and how they’ve crafted a unique office culture.
This week we discuss Beyonce’s night at the CMAs, last minute election plans and how SNL might save us all.
We appreciate everyone sticking with us through this long hiatus but are planning our return even as we speak, with a bunch of new goodies and an updated format. In the meantime, here’s a brief primer on Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange — just so you can go into the movie knowing what you’re getting yourself into.