DJ End-of-Year Picks

DJ Erica, “Soul of the City”
Thursdays 4-6 p.m.


This CD truly shows the many different sounds of "Soul of the City" Every song is completely different and the whole album is a blend of hip-hop, r&b, electronica, and house music. Kaytranada is a Canadian based electronic producer and 99% is his first full album. 99% features contributions from many artists including Craig David ("Got It Good") and Anderson.Paak ("Glowed Up"). My favorites are aforementioned "Got it Good" and "Vivid Dreams."

A Seat At the Table

Solange (aka Beyonce's sister) has been doing lots of indie R&B tracks for a few years, but this, in my opinion, is her most complete album. To quote  Wikipedia and Solange, she described the new album as “a project on identity, empowerment, independence, grief and healing," especially in light of the various issues that have affected African-Americans in recent years. On the album, there are several interludes that include her parents' thoughts on the struggles that they went through growing up Black in America. She has guest contributors including Q-Tip, Lil Wayne, and BJ the Chicago Kid. My favorites on this album are "Borderline (An Ode to Self-Care), "Junie," and the big song, "Cranes in the Sky"

A Tribe Called Quest
We Got it From Here...Thank You For Your Service

This is the last official ATCQ album since the death of Phife Dawg due to complications from diabetes. Similar to Solange's album, this album has songs that touches on the recent issues going on in the African-American community. To be honest, the best thing about this album is that ATCQ is back. Solid production, great samples, and there's lots of great contributions, especially from the "fifth" ATCQ member, Busta Rhymes. My favorites are "Dis Generation" and "Solid Wall of Sound" (with a great Elton John sample) and "The Space Program."

Essential Soul of the City Artists

Soul of the City is a neo-soul/hip-hop/jazz/ and everything that fits those genres type of show. Therefore, there are some essential albums that make the show complete. Here are some artists that you must have:

D'Angelo "Voodoo" and "Black Messiah"

Erykah Badu "Baduizm," "New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh)," and "But You Caint Use My Phone (Mixtape)"

Jill Scott "Who is Jill Scott?," "Beautifully Human," and "Woman."

Jamiroquai "Dynamite" and "Rock Dust Light Star"

Stevie Wonder "Songs in the Key of Life, " "Talking Book," and "Innervisions"

DJ Aaron, Co-host of “Fidelity High”
Sundays 6-7 p.m.

Top Ten Records of 2016, in no particular order:

Descendents - Hypercaffium Spazzinate
Steve Gunn - Eyes On The Lines
Dinosaur Jr - Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not
Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression
Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial
Preoccupations - Preoccupations
David Bowie - Blackstar
Jeff Parker - The New Breed
Blackball - Self Titled
Parquet Courts - Human Performance

DJ Ed, “Eighties Schmeighties”
Fridays 11 a.m.-Noon

The Clash
The Clampdown

Eighties/Schmeighties heartily recommends the most essential song of the 80s. There are a lot to chose from. But when one considers where we are now socially, politically and economically I think the choice is obvious: The Clash's “The Clampdown” from London Calling. I mean listen to the words!  From the opening line  “What are we gonna do now?”  to  “We will teach our twisted speech to the young believers”   to   “Let fury have the hour, your anger can be power,” this song is like a message being sent directly to us from December of 1979. It begins with an ominous development of authoritarian fascist takeover but leads the listener to hopeful resistance. The song was written as Thatcher was consolidating power and the worst elements in society were given license to act out their bigotry. Sound familiar? I've already played this song a couple of times on my show and will certainly play it many more times. It is an anthem for today, as timely as ever. Give it a listen.

Rick Pecoraro, “Rick Pecoraro Talks to Himself”
Thursdays 1-2 p.m.

Car Seat Headrest
Teens of Denial

When I first heard "Vincent," a seven minute barn-burner-of-a-song, off of Car Seat Headrest's "Teens of Denial" (Matador, 2016) I was hooked. It was a master-class in the slow-build, and a Pavlovian trigger for the response, "Oh yeah! Guitars! I remember guitars!" Look, I enjoy the beeps and bloops of an electronic-jam as much as the next guy, but if "Teens of Denial" served any one purpose for me, it was a reminder that guitar-rock is not dead. If that was all, it would be enough to make this my record of the year. But it's the lyrical content from brainchild Will Toledo which pushes the whole record into instant classic territory. Hearkening back to the bad-ol-days of one's teenage years, it somehow finds a way to straddle that line between giddy nostalgia and hopeless regret. Oh, and it also it sounds great being blasted from a car stereo.

Pete Wilson, “Nashville Jumps”
Fridays 8-10 a.m.

I'm always looking for new old music to play on Nashville Jumps.  Lately I've been feeling lucky with records from the early ’60s.  That seems to have been a time of transition between the classic R&B of the ’50s and the modern soul and funk that began to dominate in the middle of the decade.  Like many periods where styles were getting sorted out, the early ’60s coughed up a lot of great little records that break free of older straits while not settling into conventions and cliches that coalesced later.

Rockin' Rhythm 'n' Blues from Memphis, from the Stomper Time reissue label, is a great example.  These are records (some unreleased at the time) from the Memphis label Home of the Blues, cut between 1960 and 1962.  There's an impressive array of performers. Roy Brown and the "5" Royales, two of the greatest acts of the ’50s, made some of their last records for the label. House producer Willie MItchell, who would later move on to Hi, cut some great instrumentals, and Nashville singer Larry Birdsong made some of his best records.  Sun Records alumnus Billy Lee Riley, bluesman Sammy Lawhorn, and longtime Memphis bandleader Gene "Bowlegs" Miller are represented, along with lesser names like Willie Cobbs, Billy Adams, and Woodrow Adams. Crack Memphis session men like Mitchell and Fred Ford (who played sax and barked on Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog") fill out the bands.

The sound is hot—not always 100% perfect but warm, with plenty of treble, and always satisfying—and the music's hotter.  Soulful without making an issue of it, funky without being funk, it strikes a balance between rawness and sophistication.  

32 tracks of fun—how can you beat that?  Pick it up (probably online), sit down and listen!  Stomper Time also has lots of other great releases.  I really like Nashville Rock 'n' Roll (35 cuts!) and their Willie Mitchell set.  Check their website out.


Drew Wilson, “Loud Love Show”
Sundays 11 p.m.-1 a.m.

Start Your Own Fucking Show Space
Various Artists

Despite its unsafe-for-radio title, the album we recommend the strongest right now is Start Your Own Fucking Show Space (Famous Class, 2016) a chronicle of the beloved, now-shuttered New York venue Death by Audio. On each sleeve of the record set are listed every show that played there, from 2007 to 2014 an interesting run through bands both well-known and obscure. This 3 LP set is a compilation of audio taken from shows held the final month at the venue, when some seriously impressive lineups blasted the tiles from the ceiling. Standouts include tracks from Thee Oh Sees, Brooklyns own Shellshag, Parquet Courts, Lightning Bolt, and a few of Nashville's finest like Natural Child, Pujol, & JEFF the Brotherhood. Special shout out to our personal favorite Natural Child track, Crack Mountain, off their very first 7" and out of print since, that appears on this compilation. Really impressive track list top to bottom however for 3 discs. A powerful look at how great bands can form a good scene and really make something special during a time when DIY venues and the same scene that brought these bands up through it are embattled with bad press and politics.

Frank Turner
England Keep My Bones

There's the new, but we would also like to highlight one older record, and this year we will pick "England Keep My Bones" by Frank Turner (Xtra Mile Recordings, 2011). A lot of people might recognize Frank Turner, as he was big enough to perform during the Olympic ceremonies in London, but still can come to America and play setting like 3rd & Lindsley just as smoothly. This guy just knows how to put into words feelings that are universal from England to Nashville and really just bring everyone along for an uplifting time. While a lot of great music, especially punk rock, comes out of times of stress and fear (including this years excellent "Worry" by Jeff Rosenstock) it still just feels right to leave a show feeling lighter and singing along with a smile on your face. With lyrics that you want to shout along after the first listen and live shows that end up with the singer crowd surfing careening through the crowd, you will almost forget that this is a kind of folk rock and you weren't just in the middle of the pit. For that ability to instill intimidate camaraderie, for the way people who don't like punk rock will love his songs without realizing that's the direction they're moving, any of his albums make an excellent jumping in point, but it's still our review, so we'll pick our personal favorite, with excellent songs like "If Ever I Stray" or "I Still Believe" not hurting the cause.

Michael Buhl, “The Scattershot”
Wednesdays 11 a.m.-Noon


"Yenisei-Punk" is the 1995 release from the Tuvan rock band Yat-Kha. It is a blend of traditional Tuvan music and modern rock that has a desolate "post-punk" feel. Both modern and traditional instruments are used, but the most striking feature is the incorporation of Tuvan throat-singing, which is a low, guttural singing that produces more than one pitch at the same time. Yat-Kha has produced more albums since 1995, but of the albums that I've heard, this one stands out in terms of songwriting and production.

DJ End-of-Year Picks

Check out our DJs' recommendations
for great music gifts this year!

DJ David Olney, “Free Fall”
Tuesdays 11 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Jive Melody by Brother Bones and His Shadows
Brother Bones did the version of Sweet Georgia Brown used by The Harlem Globetrotters warm-up routine. Brother Bones himself played bones and whistled. And what whistling! Incredible. Totally infectious.

Devil In The Middle
This is from Anne McCue. Originally from Australia, Anne is now a Nashvillian. She plays smoking guitar and sings like an angel. The guy voice on this is Dave Alvin, California punk/folk/blues legend. Kind of a Cab Calloway feel in this jazz tinged tune.

DJ Tommy, “Tommy Womack’s Happiness Hour”
Mondays 9-10 a.m.

The one tune that I feel always inspiring on my show (and one of the few songs I’ve played twice) is “Tenhert” by Tinariwen. They’re a African group and this particular song is in a 4/4 beat that makes my American head bob. The vocal is in a foreign tongue and the syllables spurt out at a hilarious speed. The guitar is tuned DADGAD. In the western world, that’s an alternative tuning; in Africa, it’s just the way guitars are tuned. I could listen to that song on repeat for an hour.

DJs Kristi Rose and Fats Kaplin, “This Is Pulp Radio!”
Tuesdays 4-5 p.m.

Les Negresses Vertes
Zobi La Mouche

This band is one of our all time favorites and not well known stateside.   They encompass so many elements that we hold dear.  World music, a punk ethos,  great style, and very interesting story.  They were "outsiders."   They formed in the 1980s in Paris, a group of friends, many of whom had not played instruments before starting the band.  Accordions, gypsy guitars, brass and eccentric vocals by the late Helno, all give their music a wild, beautiful, zealous sound.  They've got real street (rue) cred!

“The Future of Jazz” Top Spins 2016

In the Jazz section of the show:

1: Jah Wobble and The Invaders Of The Heart, Everything is No Thing
2: Herb Alpert, Human Nature
3: Industrial Revelation, Liberation and The Kingdom Of NRI
4: Band Of Other Brothers, Self-Titled
(Nashville Based Keith Carlock and Jeff Coffin)
5: The Utopian Dreams Band, Fire Flight
6: The Craig Peyton Group, Homecoming
7: Kay-Ta, Arrival
8: Paul Jackson Jr, Stories From Stompin' Willie
9: Ken Navarro, Barlines
10: Richard Elliot, Summer Madness

For Chill/Electronica portion of the show:

1: Bob Moses, Days Gone By
2: Submotion Orchestra, Colour Theory
3: Hugh Mane, Control Drama
4: Boxed In, Forget
5: Underworld, Barbara, Barbara We Face a Shining Future

— Chris Nochowicz, “The Future of Jazz,” Saturdays 7-9 a.m.


DJ End-of-Year Picks

Check out our DJs' recommendations
for great music gifts this year!

Top 10 Recommended Industrial/Electronic Albums of 2016

1. Youth Code – Commitment to Complications
2. Body of Light – Let Me Go
3. Street Sects – End Position
4. S U R V I V E – RR7349
5. The Rain Within – Dark Drive
6. Schwefelgelb – Wie Die Finger Durch Den Nebel
7. Kanga – Kanga
8. GosT – Non Paradisi
9. Perturbator – The Uncanny Valley
10. Wreck & Reference – Indifferent Romance Rivers End

— DJ Adam Alexis, “Body to Body,” Tuesdays 11 p.m. - 12 a.m.

Darrin Bradbury, Elmwood Park:
A Slightly Melodic Audiobook

Darrin Bradbury’s most popular songs are about junkies, meth, and roadkill.  Some of his best characters are deeply flawed people living on the outskirts of polite society, and his songs are funny at times—really funny. What makes Darrin Bradbury a great songwriter—one of the best pure songwriters of this time, is that he recognizes the humanity of his characters, finds the humor in the situations, and he avoids the cheap laugh at the expense of his characters. Elmwood Park was recorded at Eastside Manor in East Nashville.  Laur Joamets and Jeff Crow from Sturgill Simpson’s band appear on the album—as do Tim Easton, Brian Wright, Megan Palmer and others. But, the songs them self are what  stand out. Some of his best known songs, “Junkie Love,” “True Love,” and “The Roadkill Song” are here. So are “Blue Highways,” Bradbury’s moving road song, and “The Almost Great Lakes,” an allegory about his old band, Big Wilson River.  Two of his newest songs appear here, and they are among his best work. The title track sets an idyllic late 50s/early sixties scene involving baseball and ice cream—and then rips it apart with a powerful allusion to November 22, 1963.  “I Knew Him As Sam” is a touching story told from the point of view of Mark Twain’s childhood friend who was the inspiration for Huck Finn. Add a song with a monologue involving the Misfits in New Orleans and a belligerent couch-surfer, and you end up with my favorite album of 2016.

— Joe Wolfe-Mazeres, “Double Shot,” Saturdays 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience. ELECTRIC LADYLAND. (Reprise, 1968)

If this is an old friend, now's a good time to visit it again. If it's new to you, then you have a treat in store. Double album, the band at its height, and Hendrix more expansive and adventurous. An album I will probably get around to playing most cuts on if given enough time on the show! Favorite cut, worth listening to at least once a month for the rest of eternity: the cover of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower."

— Sue Havlish, “Double Shot,” Saturdays 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Michael Roark of Slings & Arrows recommends Buffy Saint-Marie 's 2015 release Power In The Blood. Buffy wears her Native American spirit on her sleeve, and at the age of 75 the power of her words carry even more weight. This album has old and new songs, but all newly recorded and produced. The stand out songs are the inspiring "It's My Way" (1964) and the UB40 cover of "Sing Our Own Song" with added lyrics by Buffy. Also, the reboot of "Not The Loving Kind" (1972) rocks with ululating chants and jarring guitars. "Carry It On" (once called "Look At The Facts" originally written in 1976) is about taking care of the planet, it's the only one we have.

— Michael Roark, “Slings & Arrows,” Thursdays from 2-4 p.m.


DJ End-of-Year Picks

Check out our DJs' recommendations
for great music gifts this year!

Anderson.Paak: Malibu (Aftermath Records)
2016 will go down as 'The Year of Suck', but hopefully, you turned up the "X" and noticed the music coming out in 2016 was pretty damn awesome. I focused a lot on new music during the 2 hours I have each week. No artist stood out more this year than Anderson.Paak. Waaaaaay back in January he released his debut, "Malibu", on Dr. Dre's label, Aftermath Records. The album was much-hyped since the last artist Dre signed was Kendrick Lamar, and well, we all know how that turned out. "Malibu" delivered, and then some. I found myself playing that record front-to-back for months. I have probably played "Malibu" on-air more than any other record so far. Paak waited until he was the big 3-0 to release his debut, which is unheard of in this musical climate. "Malibu" exudes that patient pace and rhythm that comes from focus and experience. BTW, if you haven't seen him perform with his excellent band, The Free Nationals, stop reading this and go to whatever city they're performing in. I first heard "Come Down" during a DJ set by ?uestlove in late-2015 and it was one of those moments where my eyebrows balled up and my face twisted in a knot. In the best way possible. Once the full record came out I immediately threw on my headphones and went in. Tracks like "The Season/Carry Me", "Am I Wrong?", and "Light Weight" stand out like potatoes & carrots in a soup from Mom's kitchen. The record blends funk & soul with a splash of hip-hop & R&B. Reminiscent of a Marvin Gaye or Stevie record from back in the day. Food for the soul. <3

--dj jason p, "Melted Clock Radio," Fridays 11 p.m.- 1 a.m.

The Frowning Clouds: Whereabouts (Saturno Records, 2013)
Ummm... I've played songs by The Frowning Clouds a lot this year. Honestly, there's nothing groundbreaking or revolutionary about what they're doing, but if you're searching for a new lo-fi/garage/surf/psych/pop album to get into, look no further than Whereabouts. This Australian band wears its influences on its sleeve (see track 2, "Shoe Suede Blues") and they wear them well. There isn't a stinker on the whole album and I keep returning to it again and again. If you're still reading this and have 43 WXNA-free minutes, do yourself a favor and give this a listen. 

Songs you've heard on Nashville Mixtapes:
Into The Ground
Mayan Calendar Girl
All Angles
All Night Long (b-side)
Do Like Me (From Listen Closelier, 2010)

--dj brandon, "Nashville Mixtapes," saturdayS 9-11 A.M.

10 Guilty Treasures of 2016 for Santa

1. Craig David: Ain't Giving Up
2. Thundercat: Bus In These Streets
3. Gallant: Crash
4. Niki & The Dove: So Much It Hurts
5. De La Soul: Greyhounds
6. The 1975: UGH!
7. Blood Orange: Best To You
8. Miike Snow: Genghis Khan
9. Empire Of The Sun: There's No Need
10. Usher: Crash

--BRANDON lee Harris, "Guilty Treasures," SATURDAYS 10-11 P.M.

DJ End-of-Year Picks

Check out our DJs' recommendations
for great music gifts this year!

huey piano smith

HERE ARE TWO LISTENING RECOMMENDATIONS from your Music City/Crescent City connection. First up is some classic New Orleans R&B, “This is Huey ‘Piano’ Smith” (Music Club Records, 1998) by Huey and various incarnations of his band the Clowns. It’s chock full of essential hits, near misses, and a couple oddities, including “Don’t You Just Know It,” “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu,” and “High Blood Pressure.” Hard swinging good-time music, lots of sly humor; Dr. John famously covered several of these medley-style on his own classic “Gumbo” for damn good reason. 

Next is one of Allen Toussaint’s best latter-career records, “The Bright Mississippi” (Nonesuch, 2009). Renowned for his songwriting, production, etc., this time out the Saint of New Orleans does a straight-up jazz record featuring loving interpretations of trad standards by the likes of Ellington, Monk, Jelly Roll Morton and Sidney Bechet. He gets some amazing contributions from his stellar backing band, which includes first-call players like Don Byron, Nicholas Payton, and Marc Ribot; Joe Henry’s relaxed but strong production hand helps make this one a sublime treat.


Arbina by Noura Mint Seymali (Glitterbeat Records)
Released Fall 2016, Seymali’s Arbina is my top-of-the-heap 2016 album. So deftly do she and her impressive outfit combine so many disparate sounds on this record that I must declare there isn’t another out there released this year with such strength and fluency. Her album Tzenni, also released in 2016 I thought was likely untouchable, but lo and behold, the Saharan magus from Mauritania has outdone herself.

I Don’t Remember/I Don’t Want To Talk About It by John Bender
[re-issue (Superior Viaduct)]

Originally written and released between 1978 & 1980, I Don’t…/I Don’t… is a much needed re-issue by the great Superior Viaduct label; one which fills a gap in the early, lo-fi electronic world which would’ve very likely remained gaping without their effort. His self-run label Record Sluts intentionally produced very limited runs of his releases, leaving the hermit-like visionary’s oeuvre teetering on the edges of oblivion. With this release, and the subsequent re-release of his Plaster Falling, we can follow even more accurately the developments of early electronic music.


Feel Like Going Home: The Songs Of Charlie Rich
(Memphis International Records)

Tribute records can be hit or miss for me. Within the first few seconds of the opening track, I was hooked. It has veterans such as Jim Lauderdale and Shooter Jennings to newcomers like Holli Mosley and more. Charlie Rich Jr. also plays piano on the tracks and does a blistering version of "Break Up". Plus, he's playing on the same piano and recording in the same studio that the originals were recorded (Sam Phillips Recording Services in Memphis). It's rare that I get a project like this and love every track but that's exactly the case here. I was hearing these songs in a new way which made me listen to Charlie's originals in a new light. It hit me that Charlie Rich was Americana long before it was a term. This tribute project stands on its own in the quality of the recordings and performances and it also wins by making me dig out the originals to hear them in a new way. My eyes are open and for good reason!


The Explorers Club: Together
(Goldstar Recordings)

I play a lot of tunes from The Beach Boys on Catching A Wave. I pretty much have to include one on each show. I love all aspects of their career and often feel like the late '60s through mid-'70s output from the band is often overlooked. The Explorers Club have a sound that fits right into that time period. They make no bones about their influences but they aren't a tribute band. While they would have fit perfect in that time period, they also bring a youthful freshness to their approach. This is their third album and they keep getting better.  

--JAMES RILEY, "CATCHING A WAVE," Saturdays 11 P.M.- 1 A.M.