Heavy Rotation: 5 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop PlayingLast month, we started a new feature called "Heavy Rotation" where we asked public radio DJs from around the country to tell us about the best new music on their playlist. The response was overwhelming, so we've decided to make it a monthly sampler.
In this installment of Heavy Rotation, we've got hip-hop from Baltimore, indie rock from Portland, Ore., introspective folk from California, plus new material from radio veterans David Byrne, St. Vincent and Aimee Mann — and you can download each song below. If you happen to love one of the songs, be sure to check out the public radio station that selected it.
David Byrne and St. Vincent
Currently in rotation on: WFUV 90.7 FM in New York City
"Who" is a natural pick for us at WFUV, as so much of the project was born in New York City. David Byrne first met Annie Clark at the Dark Was the Night benefit at Radio City Music Hall, they first planned the song at a Dirty Projectors/Bjork benefit show at the Housing Works bookstore in the East Village, and they first performed it at Lincoln Center. The song bursts out of a funky gate and is full of rhythmic curveballs. David leads off with the vocals, Annie jumps in on the chorus, and their harmonies ring throughout. You can feel a city beat beneath it as it grows more complex, and there's something about it that pulls together the best of what they each do. This may be one of the best songs of the year. — Rita Houston, WFUV
Download "Who" (right-click and "Save Link As")
Currently in rotation on: WXPN 88.5 FM in Philadelphia
Since her solo debut release in 1993 with Whatever, WXPN has been a fan of Aimee Mann's power pop and rock songs. We may occasionally dip into the 'Til Tuesday library, however Mann's solo albums have always been a big hit with XPN listeners. "Charmer," the first "single," and title song, from her new album is already a classic. It is a super melodic, perfectly crafted pop song with sinewy synth lines, electric guitar riffs, and Mann's matter-of-fact lyrics about life and love. – Bruce Warren, WXPN
Download "Charmer" (right-click and "Save As")
Currently in rotation on: WEAA 88.9 FM in Baltimore
We play Al Great's "Pray I Make It" almost every week on "Strictly Hip Hop." The production and lyrics of the song paint a picture of this Baltimore MC's journey on the road to riches. His new mixtape, Summer Nights, just dropped and is also worth a download. - Florida & DropaJewel, hosts of WEAA's "Strictly Hip Hop"
Download "Pray I Make It" (right-click and "Save As")
Currently in rotation on: WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio
This collection of songs greets us with the vague feeling we've come upon a long, quiet phone conversation between Annie Gallup and her sister, far away. The stand-out tune has to be "Speed Of Light." Here we find Gallup recounting an evening with her astrophysicist lover. The song opens: "Looking at an object from extremely far away is the same thing as looking into the past." Before it is done, we realize that we experience time-travel every time we open a bottle of wine or gaze into the night sky. WYSO listeners' interest in these ethereal reflections has kicked up considerably, since the heat wave settled in. The phone lines always light up when these songs hit the air. Just the right kind of calming introspection for record temperatures. Simply lovely. – Niki Dakota, WYSO.
Download "Speed of Light" (right-click and "Save As")
Pure Bathing Culture
Currently in rotation on: opbmusic.org in Portland, Ore.
When Sarah Versprille and Dan Hindman relocated to Portland last year, it was in part to record with Oregon producer Richard Swift. The result was the four-song EP, Pure Bathing Culture. The pair's first live shows around Portland created no small amount of buzz here. The band has since expanded to a quartet, while they work on their first full-length record. Infused with breezy vocals and ringing guitar lines that make it a very tasty summertime listen, the song is making quite an impression on our listeners. - Dave Christensen, opbmusic.org
Download "Lucky One" (right-click and "Save As")