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#280: Johanna Samuels, “Excelsior!”

“Excelsior!” is the first LP by NYC-based singer-songwriter Johanna Samuels. Produced by Sam Evian, the album features contributions by the likes of Courtney Marie Andrews, Hannah Cohen, A.O. Gerber or Lomelda’s Hannah Read. If you’ve followed us long enough, you know this means we’ve already sticked our seal of approval five times. Come for the copious namedropping, stay for some of the best lyrics of the first half of 2021.

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#275: Spirit of the Beehive, “Entertainment, Death”

Stuff to listen to when your mind is warped enough (and your ear is muscled enough) to find neo-freakfolk with sweet guitar licks hugely enjoyable. Get a cold one, lay down, close your eyes, and enter the beehive’s spirit. You won’t get stung, we promise. Spirit of the Beehive’s record is pleasure percolated through aural honey, mind the cliché. And, just like honey (pun intended), it will age well.

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#270: Fruit Bats, “The Pet Parade”

After a small break to record some music in the folky “superband” (we’re guilty, but can we all please forget this concept?) Bonny Light Horseman, Eric D. Johnson celebrates 20 years of Fruit Bats with a brand new record. “The Pet Parade” shows Johnson, one of the best melody crafters of the game, at his most dreamy and contemplative so far.

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#230: Damien Jurado, “What’s New, Tomboy?”

You know Spring has arrived whenever there’s a new Damien Jurado album to marvel at. The prolific American singer-songwriter is probably the most featured artist in our playlist since we started five years ago, and he doesn’t seem like he’s slowing down any time soon. We’re not complaining. Plus: new tracks by Lavinia BlackwAll, Alasdair Roberts, Johanna WarrenTalitha FerriBig ThiefAndy JenkinsCourtney Marie AndrewsChristian Lee HutsonLanghorne SlimZachary CaleRose City BandCar Seat HeadrestMan ManBC CamplightChicano BatmanAmerican AquariumGrutera, João Pais Filipe, neubauten.orgProtomartyrFantastic Explosion, and Diet Cig.

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#225: Nap Eyes, “Snapshot of a Beginner”

The world might have changed a lot since we’ve started doing this playlist. But there’s one thing that doesn’t: every time Nap Eyes releases an album it goes straight to our playlist as our top pick of the week. Go get your literate guitar pop fix. Plus: new tracks by Lola KirkeCraig FinnDawesDamien JuradoLow Cut ConnieRoger Eno & Brian Eno, Maria McKeeMargaret GlaspyKatie Von SchleicherWaxahatcheeLilly HiattSay Sue MeChuck Prophet, LewsbergMushEgyptian BlueWe Versus the SharkMelt Yourself DownHailu MergiaTony AllenNoveller, and Bob Dylan.