October 20, 2017
Few songs manage to capture the feeling of a drowsy head-high properly; the sensation of your brain lifting away from your body and taking you someplace else is hard to express. But Neutral Milk Hotel’s ‘Engine’ pulls it off through meandering lyrics drifting atop an otherworldly theremin.
‘Engine’ kicks off this week’s playlist,
October 13, 2017
Opening Toking Tunes this week is Esperanza Spalding’s ‘I Know You Know,’ from her eponymous 2008 release Esperanza. It’s followed by a tune by Soweto Kinch, a British saxophonist and rapper, from his 2016 release Nonagram.
Also included are tunes from Kamasi Washington’s 2017 follow up to the incredible 2016 release The Epic,
October 6, 2017
This week’s playlist opens with ‘3’ by Pita — a beautifully noisy and distorted track from 1999’s Get Out — and closes with ‘Hail to Thee, Everlasting Pain’ by The Body. The tracks offer distinctly different takes on noise, though they’re both thoroughly consuming. Much has been written on the relationship between cannabis and aural perception,
September 29, 2017
Breaking from the tone of the past few playlists, this week we offer one of calming of minimalist music. From precursors such as Erik Satie’s now-iconic Gymnopedies to recent ventures such as Claire M Singer’s ‘The Molendinar’ and Laraaji’s ‘Zither Dance,’ the playlist stretches from 1888 to 2016.
September 15, 2017
Opening this week’s playlist is the bright and flashy ‘PONPONPON’ from J-pop star Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. Catch the fantastically trippy video here if you haven’t already.
Also featured this week are a range of pop sounds. On the weirder end of things we have the eclectic Róisín Murphy with ‘Night of the Dancing Flame’ from her excellent 2005 album Ruby Blue,
September 8, 2017
Many tunes from the noughties make up this week’s playlist, complete with a few more recent ventures in indie rock. We kick it off with a few feel-good tracks from the likes of Dr. Dog, Rilo Kiley, and Bombay Bicycle Club.
In between features some folkier sounds from Fleet Foxes,
September 1, 2017
This week’s playlist features tunes from post-punk’s vicinity, from noisier, industrial tracks to songs that veer towards synthpop. Based on releases solely from the ‘80s, it includes many sounds from the U.K., but also artists from the U.S., Slovenia, and Japan.
Opening the playlist is a growling tune from industrial pioneers Throbbing Gristle,
August 28, 2017
It goes without saying that there are more than a few weed-related dub tunes out there — a few of which appear in this week’s playlist alongside classics and more experimental tracks.
Essential sounds from time-honored artists include King Tubby’s ‘King Tubb’s Big Big Dub’ and Lee “Scratch” Perry’s ‘Rude Boy’
August 18, 2017
Since the early 1990s, it’s been on- and off-trend to blatantly reference drugs in popular music. From Cyprus Hill’s ‘I Wanna Get High’ to Lana Del Rey’s ‘High By The Beach,’ many tunes are unabashed in their enthusiasm for altered states. But in the earlier days of recorded music, drug references were more often in-group phrases that non-consumers wouldn’t understand.
August 11, 2017
This week’s Toking Tunes playlist comes from Calum Armstrong aka Pet Grotesque. A former editor at Volteface (where Word on the Tree’s founder and editor has freelanced), Armstrong left his full-time gig to pursue music. His debut album Good Egg is available at Bandcamp and you can find out more at Facebook.