In this weekly feature, a different LEO staff member will share 7-10 of the songs repeating in their playlists right now. (Songs by Louisville artists are marked with an (*) asterisk.) Got a track that you think we’d like? Let us know at [email protected] or click the author’s name for email.
I’ve been writing about music for LEO Weekly for around eight years, but this is my first Tuesday Tracklist, a new-ish column that I’ve admired from afar for the past few months. I’ve been a big fan of how various LEO writers rotate the column, providing different tastes and musical experiences each week. This time, I’m going to dive into three recently-released local songs, as well as my four favorite songs by out-of-town artists from the first half of this year.
Bonnie “Prince” Billy — “Bananas” *
Like many of the best Bonnie “Prince” Billy songs, “Bananas” is strange, beautiful and distinct. It’s another stunning entry from a master at their craft.
Jordan Jetson — “Midnight Driver” *
Jetson is a dynamic hip-hop artist who can quickly pivot rhythms and ideas mid-song, creating unpredictable tracks that reward multiple listens. “Midnight Driver” gives the smooth beat space to breathe at the beginning and end, but it’s the middle ground, where Jetson’s lightning-fast words strike the hardest, that fuels the song.
Hawks — “Don’t Look Back” *
Through bluesy heartland rock, Hawks’ “Don’t Look Back” sounds like a Saturday night party where everyone’s trying to let go of the things they put up with all week.
Wednesday — “Quarry”
This is my pick for song of the year so far. It’s both an adrenaline-pumping rock anthem, and a nonjudgmental look at the trappings and desperation of small-town America.
Kara Jackson — “pawnshop”
Kara Jackson released one of the most profound and interesting albums of the year, Why Does the Earth Give Us People to Love?, and “pawnshop” is the perfect example of how her unique folk songs are inspired by the genre’s history, but they live very much in the future of the style.
Jason Isbell — “Strawberry Woman”
Isbell has long been heralded as one of the greatest songsmiths in alt-country, and on “Strawberry Woman” he once again lives up to it, creating a novelistic, evocative story-song that powerfully connects listeners to characters that feel deeply realistic.
boygenius — “Emily I’m Sorry”
boygenius — the supergroup of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus — is a songwriting powerhouse. On “Emily I’m Sorry,” Bridgers creates one of her vivid and melancholy songs that’s completely magnetic, while her bandmates lend golden harmonies.