Happy Juneteenth! Today’s Talkhouse playlist comes courtesy of the LA dream-pop band, Amo Amo, who chose to feature exclusively black artists, from iconic voices to up and comers. The band has a new EP Canta out today on Pacific Standard Records. They’re also donating all of today’s Bandcamp proceeds to Black Lives Matter LA.
—Keenan Kush, Talkhouse Operations Manager
Nina Simone — “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free”
Every line hits me right in the heart. This song may as well be the new national anthem.
Labi Siffre — “Bless the Telephone”
Labi was right when he sang “bless the telephone!” During social distancing, and even more so now to organize these protests that are bringing about positive social change, this gorgeous song reminds me of what is possible when we use technology for nourishing our connection to one another, empowering interactions rooted in love.
Stevie Wonder — “Love’s In Need of Love Today”
I’ll never forget when Jim James blasted this tune in the tour bus after one of our last shows on tour. We were in Detroit and had just visited the Motown Museum that day and the African American History museum in DC a few days earlier. The song hit me so hard that it brought tears to my eyes.
Bob Marley — “Get Up, Stand Up”
Bob Marley and The Wailers taught me just how powerful music can be when it has such a clear and powerful purpose. I used to mistake the music as being too simple or easy when I was learning to play but later realized it was the power of the message and the unity amongst the members that made it feel effortless.
Miles Davis — “Blue in Green”
This song is so nostalgic, with such a beautiful bittersweet feeling running throughout. It’s my favorite track on Kind Of Blue, which was my intro to jazz.
Noname — “Diddy Bop (feat. Cam O’bi & Raury)”
Impossible to pinpoint what I love most about this song — the beat, the verses, the hook? It makes me dream about life and feel things.
Purchase “Diddy Bop (feat. Cam O’bi & Raury)” on Bandcamp
Laraaji — “Essence/Universe”
This record contains some of the most cosmic and healing sounds that has proven most beneficial to my inward journey. As expansive and soothing as the stars, birthed from a man who got his start playing in Manhattan subway stations. You may find him dressed in orange, teaching laughter workshops around the world.
Purchase “Essence/Universe” on Bandcamp
Larry Heard — “Flight of the Comet”
Larry was a transcendent producer and DJ. His albums come from a futurist boogie utopia that pushed boundaries here in the modern times, mixing elements of house, techno, smooth jazz, funk, and rap, Larry is the perfect mood for your space garage dance party.
Kendrick Lamar — “Alright”
This song is so powerful. Kendrick’s voice is prophetic and carries the experience of his community. His music has a way of reaching back in time into the roots of jazz and bringing it into the present and even the future of hip hop. This song conveys the pain, the tension of his experience with the power of an optimism born out of sheer life-force. Kendrick is one of the very important contemporary voices in music.
Smokey Robinson — “Just My Soul Responding”
This song pierces me right through. Smokey sings so sweetly and empathically about the effect oppression has upon the Soul. The genius of this song is that he brings focus to the Soul dimension of the Black and Native American experience, and in so doing emphasizes its universality. I’d never heard a song illuminate this dimension of the effects of oppression so poignantly.