Welcome to the Monday Mix, where each week we showcase new songs debuting on the opbmusic broadcast. This time around, we highlight a track inspired by a trip across the Big Muddy, a soulful tribute to a sibling, and some deep, deep funk.
Waxahatchee - “Fire”
The Skinny: According to songwriter Katie Crutchfield, the song was inspired by a drive on a bridge over the Mississippi River into West Memphis, AR. The beautiful vocal tone and relatable lyrics give listeners the texture to see through her eyes. In a statement released with the single, Crutchfield said she wrote this song addressing herself: “It’s about the internal dialogue of shame surrounding mistakes you’ve made in the past and how we spiral and beat ourselves up when we slip. It’s meant to be a bit of a personal pep talk. If I can love myself unconditionally, then I can move through the world a little easier.”
Release Date: The record “Saint Cloud” comes out on March 27 via Merge Records.
PNW Tour Dates: Waxahatchee plays in Portland on May 12 at The Old Church and May 13 at Aladdin Theater.
Frazey Ford - “Azad”
The Skinny: This song is named after Ford’s sister, who the singer says was “born with a third eye birthmark and hence my hippy parents gave her a Sanskrit name.” This ode to her sibling contains the complex interplay of a classic soul song with its distinctive funk guitar and rhythm. Fords says the song is about her youth spent on a commune in Canada where she lived with her family who had fled the Vietnam-era draft.
Release Date: Ford’s new record “U Kin B the Sun” comes out on Feb. 7 via Arts & Crafts.
PNW Tour Dates: Frazey Ford plays at Mississippi Studios in Portland on March 19.
Thundercat - “Black Qualls”
The Skinny: The album version of “Black Qualls” is a collaboration with Childish Gambino, Steve Lacy, and funk icon Steve Arrington, who Thundercat has been a fan of since he was a teenager. “Black Qualls” is an unapologetic statement about reaching a level of confidence to feel free to be ones self as a young black person in America. This sentiment is illuminated by the lyric, “You know I gotta vibe, yeah I’m just doin’ what I like, how I like I don’t need your co-sign.” A funky bass groove, a distinct guitar rhythm, and smooth synth overlay come together to provide a perfect accompaniment to the provocative lyrics and soulful vocal.
Release Date: “It Is What It Is” is out on April 3 from Brainfeeder.
PNW Tour Dates: Thundercat performs at the Portland Art Museum on Feb. 29 as part of the PDX Jazz Festival.