Toking Tunes

  • Easy Greasy: How stoner metal got its name

    From Weedeater to Acid King, the slow, fuzzy sounds of stoner metal make up this week's playlist.

    February 23, 2018

    Even to a metal layman it’s pretty clear where the stoner subgenre gets its name from: it’s slowed down, spaced-out, and covered in a layer of fuzz. Fusing post-rock’s sweeping guitars and un-fussy drums with the sludgy, almost funereal quality of ’70s southern rock, stoner metal makes up this week’s playlist.

  • Diamond Days: Freaky Sounds from Britain’s underground

    From Sybille Baier to Vashti Bunyan, this week's playlist tunes into the influential sounds of Britain in the '60s.

    February 16, 2018

    The British dream of the ’60s died long ago, often relegated to an acid-damaged aside for aging hippies and old guys in denim jackets. But the avant-garde of this particular era has aged incredibly well — drawn to the mythology and folklore of the British isles.

    Designated as ‘Freak-Folk’

  • Sativa: Futuristic R&B for sci-fi dreamers

    This week we bring you sounds of digital futurisms and abstracted sounds, from Jhene Aiko and Rae Sremmurd to Kelela

    January 26, 2018

    Stuck with ungainly and misleading monikers like ‘alternative R&B’ or ‘PBR&B,’ the emerging sounds of contemporary R&B are chock-full of digital futures and fascinatingly abstracted sounds. We start with Jhene Aiko and Rae Sremmurd’s gorgeous love letter to ‘Sativa,’ (better luck next time, indica) which crawls through odd noises, languid melodies,

  • Symbolic Use of Light: Tune in and zone out to lysergic techno and house

    Tracks that are typically suited for the dance floor are repurposed for a stoney session

    January 19, 2018

    Techno is, generally speaking, a genre not always so accommodating to stoned listening — but divorce these tracks from a club environment and their unceasing drum patterns and prolonged lengths become hypnagogic. Small flickers of sound and gently shifting instrumentation are ideal for soundtracking deeply wiggy moments. Richard D James,

  • Jack, I’m Mellow: Songs from some of TV’s best stoner shows

    This week's playlist features the theme songs of TV's best weed-related shows, from Broad City to Weeds.

    January 12, 2018

    In recent years, there’s been an uptick in the number of TV shows that feature cannabis use. No longer used just as a cheap punchline or for a moralizing scare story, there’s a considerable overlap between the dawn of “peak TV” and the realization that audiences might just be able to relate to characters smoking up as an everyday pastime.

  • Green Line: New York’s weed-inspired rap sounds

    From Princess Nokia to Wiki, the sounds of New York's 420-friendly rappers make up this week's playlist.

    December 8, 2017

    Wiki likes to smoke weed — the Ratking lynchpin is pretty up front about it. Last year, he sold a line of T-shirts blessed with the phrase “smoke weed in the park.” On his single ‘Pretty Bull,’ released earlier this year, he flaunts his preference for a tight zoot, lambasting a friend for rolling a J that looks like “a dad pouch.”

  • Did You See: The genre-averse stew brewing in London

    This week's playlist features the sounds of a new strain of UK hip-hop, from the cheerful ode to pot that is 'Marry Juana' to the emotive sounds of 'Hurtin' Me'

    December 1, 2017

    Naira Marley’s ‘Marry Juana’ is one of the most ebullient odes to reefer ever written, period. Marley adorns the low-slung BPM percussion of dancehall with bleeping laser synths, topped off with a lolloping, lightly auto-tuned vocal. It’s representative of both the joyous potential that weed has as a muse and a new strain of U.K.

  • Trance Abstractions: A new wave of artists haunt the rave

    New artists that break apart the sonic architecture of trance make up this week's playlist, from the deconstructed sounds of Lorenzo Senni to the saccharine tunes of Toxe

    November 22, 2017

    Trance is often misunderstood. Thought of as a goofy genre, its proto-EDM is seen as overblown festival fodder, which has done a lot to sully its reputation. But Teki Latex’s 2014 mix Deconstructed Trance signaled a reappraisal of the genre, opening the door for a wave of new artists to break its sonic architecture apart and assemble something new out of its skeleton.

  • Sinista Funk: The narcotic darkness of Memphis rap

    The heavy sounds of Three 6 Mafia make up the core of this week's playlist, alongside tunes from the likes of Indo G and Gangsta Pat

    November 10, 2017

    Memphis rap is essentially the product of Three 6 Mafia. DJ Paul, Juicy J, and Lord Infamous found the perfect formula: molasses-slow beats, muttered and threatening lyrics, horror-movie samples and a laissez-faire approach to audio quality. All they had to do to change the game again was turn down the distortion.

  • That's Why I Be Grinnin': The sensory experience of Chicago bop

    This week, we venture through tempos with the likes of Stunt Taylor, Sicko Mobb, and Yemi Marie.

    November 3, 2017

    In the history of Chicago’s music scene, there’s an emphasis on genres that lean on heightened tempos and angular percussion, such as ghetto house, juke, and footwork. But there’s also a jagged offshoot of these sometimes stark genres that is perfect for this time of year — when the temperatures drop and we all feel the need for a potent dose of sunshine.