Staff Picks: June 2017

Staff Picks - June 2017

Summer is in full swing here at ZUMIX. In anticipation for the inevitable barbecues you will be at tomorrow for the 4th, here are some suggestions for additions to that backyard playlist courtesy of your friends at ZUMIX. These are the tracks we were digging over the past month including Roxbury-based artist, Vintage Lee, who has been hailed as Next Wave of Boston Rap.” Sit back, press play, and dive right on in. The water is fine!

“How Can I” by Laura Marling

“I’ve been traveling a lot recently and have discovered that there is absolutely no better sunset plane ride music than Laura Marling.” – Anni Leff, Development Associate

“Free Room” by Raven Lanae Ft. Appleby

“It’s finally summer! And right now, this song feels like a celebration of the sunshine.” – Sarah Saydun, Pathways Coordinator

“Bless You” by Vintage Lee

“Chill summer vibes, posted up at Popeyes. I think the catchiness of the track and the visuals made me hit repeat.” – Rene Dongo, Radio Program Coordinator

“Neighbors” by J. Cole

“Neighbors called the police because a lot of people were going in and out of this house. They assumed cause they looked like thugs that drugs were being sold here. Police then raided the house only to find a recording studio where artists rent out to record. Inspiring this song by J. Cole with live footage in the video of the raid. Thats what I call real.” – Corey DePina, Youth Development and Performance Manager

“Yes We Can” by Lee Dorsey

“Recently discovered the treasure chest of funky soul grooves that comprise the catalogue of Lee Dorsey. With a positive message, a voice that drips melody like tupelo honey, and New Orleans’ very own the Meters as his backing band, what more could you possibly ask for?” – Scott Mizrachi, Volunteer Coordinator

“Farmer In The City” by Scott Walker

“I love it because: I’m a farmer in the city.” – Ed Meradith, Teaching Artist

“Toe Toes” by Palm

“The mesmerizing drum and bass combo lets me drift away while the jarring guitar tones and rhythm keep me alert. It’s a very refreshing take on syncopation with interesting melody, noise, and chord choices.” – Ramsel Gonzalez, Program Manager

“Blood Muscle Skin & Bone” by Brandi Carlile

“This song always gets me through hard days and reminds me to ask for help when I need it!” – Kelly Baker, Director of Development

“Guilty” by Lady Wray

“All month I have been fixated on Charles Bradley, affectionately known as the screaming eagle of soul. This is not Charles Bradley but an algorithm at Spotify told me that I would also dig this track. Turns out I do!” – Jeeyoon Kim, Events Associate

“Lately” by Polica

“This is a love song whose meaning I’ve repurposed to be about trust and truth in all kinds of relationships. If it’s good it’s gonna stay.” – Brittany Thomas, Radio Station Manager



Staff Picks: May 2017

Staff Picks - May 2017

They say April showers bring May flowers but we seem to be running a bit behind schedule here in the dreary rain-filled past few weeks. Time to ditch those clouds and let this month’s staff picks from your friends at ZUMIX brighten up your days. Check out picks below including: Sharon Jones, Soundgarden, Ian Sweet, and more (p.s. We even snuck in a podcast there….)!

“If You’re Crying” by Ian Sweet

“Because sometimes I’m a sad girl and it feels good to listen to other sad girls be sad.” – Sarah Saydun, Pathways Coordinator

“100 Days, 100 Nights” by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

“Powerful and thematically relevant – 100 days down – 1,360 to go!” – Madeleine Steczynski, Co-Founder & Executive Director

“The World Is Mind”  by KRS-One

“A new album from the teacher KRS-One. he took this popular folk story and turned into a great hip hop song with the message. Enjoy!” – Corey DePina, Youth Development and Performance Manager

“Politically Re-Active” by Hari Kondabolu and W Kamau Bell
“I know I’m cheating in that this isn’t a song but I can’t stop listening to this hilarious and thought-provoking podcast. Sometimes you just need to laugh while you’re listening to people talk about politics in America!” – Anni Leff, Development Associate

“Get on the Bus” by Peace, Loving

“That first day of school, when you get abducted by aliens.” – Scott Mizrachi, Volunteer Coordinator

“Trail Of Tears” by The Budos Band

“They’re super funky and epic. These are also some of the best recordings I’ve heard so shoutout to Daptone Records.” – Mario Jarjour, ZUMIX Teen Council Member

“Little River” by Loamlands

“Beautiful summer song with protest roots.” – Kelly Baker, Director of Development

“Switch Opens” by Soundgarden 

“While I have been listening to many things in the past months, I believe this takes precedence. Chris Cornell, the vocalist/guitarist/songwriter of Soundgarden, passed away Thursday, May 18th. The band taught me a lot about what it meant to be inventive songwriter as I first listened to them in the 9th grade while also starting to play guitar. Chris and his bandmate Kim Thayil inspired me to be thoughtful, a careful listener, and to really care about what my guitar sounds like. This song embodies a lot of what I love and what I aspire to be.” – Ramsel Gonzalez, Program Manager

“The First Hippie On The Moon, PT. II” by Cuddle Magic

“I love this song! The beautiful and haunting melody, the motivic development that circles the same melodic line in a few different keys, seamlessly, the poignant lyrics “heroes give up, zeros add up, and the margins fill the page”, the fat synth that drops half way through, that groove! Plus the band are good friends of mine which adds to the whole experience – Cuddle Magic!” – Avi Salloway, Live Sound Coordinator

“Different” by Gideon Pigeon

“Joe was my roommate when he conceived of this and I got to be the fly on the wall while he was writing, playing, and recording on an old 4-track tape recorder. I’m so proud of him and grateful I got to witness this creative process!” – Jenny Shulman, Director of Operations

“How To Boil An Egg” by Courtney Barnett

“Courtney Barnett used to play this song constantly live when she was 21. Now at age 30 she recorded the track for the very first time, forever immortilizing it into her catalogue. It’s common for artists to do exactly the opposite, delete old demos and discard old works to preserve a brand. There’s a beauty to openly and publicly showcasing your former self and as always I am thankful for another A+ song title.” – Jeeyoon Kim, Events Associate

Staff Picks: April 2017

Staff Picks - Apr 2017All month long, the team here at ZUMIX has been campaigning for our annual Walk For Music! Before the end of this month, we need to get to $40,000 to keep our teen programs free and low-cost for Boston youth. Our work s imply isn’t possible without support from individuals like you – will you support us?

No good campaign is without a soundtrack. Check out this month’s edition of staff picks that have been keeping us going all month long.

“Good Lava” by Esperanza Spalding

“I can’t get enough of this song; the background vocals at the end, especially, are so energizing!” – Anni Leff, Development Associate 

“Christine” by Martha

“Gritty & romantic pop punk at its finest.” – Kelly Baker, Development & Communications Manager

“DNA” by Kendrick Lamar

“He just dropped an album that I have to take some time to think about it. It’s deep.” – Corey DePina, Songwriting & Youth Development Manager

“Sweet Life” by Frank Ocean

“This song is just one of those things that never gets old & vibes with you the right way everytime you listen. As an artist, I appreciate the musicality and musicianship that’s put into this song not only by Frank but everyone who worked on it. Definitely my fave from the album.” – Angelina Botticelli, Events Intern

“Celebrate” by Little Dragon

“You can dance to it but its also experimental and makes you think. Little Dragon channels Prince across time with a loop machine. Thats the only way I can describe it.” – Jenny Shulman, Program Director

“I Was Around” by The Craters

“Astral projection//somewhere between the bedroom and the garage.” – Scott Mizrachi, Volunteer Coordinator

“Land Of The Free” by Joey Bada$$

“This song is a very accurate in portraying the state of America at this moment in time, specifically for African Americans and other minorities.” – Dawry Ruiz, Communications Intern

“Indecision” by Sampha

“Sampha has been my running artist lately, particularly this track – ‘Indecision’ – whose title I find relatable and whose piano chords make me want to throw my hands up and scream ‘the world is beautiful!'” – Brittany Thomas, ZUMIX Radio Station Manager

“Chanel” by Frank Ocean
“This song is so smooth and catchy, I love singing along.” – Mario Jarjour, ZUMIX Teen Council

“Comin’ Undone” by Sarah Jarosz

“This song grooves so hard despite the absence of drums, and the lyrics are a motivational reminder to just keep pushing.” – Brian Paulding, Teaching Artist

“Adult Diversion” by Alvvays

“The happiest song about being sad.” – Gabi Barroso, ZUMIX Teen Council

“You’re Welcome” from the Moana Soundtrack 

“I’ve been listening to this song a lot because it’s a really fun song to dance to and so up-beat. I love the entire soundtrack, but this song is my brother’s favorite so I play it the most.” – Janna Ramadan, Development Intern

Join us on April 30 for our annual Walk For Music! Find all the details here.

Staff Picks – March 2017

Staff Picks - Mar 2017

Anyone else feel like time is speeding up on us this month? Whether you’re training for the Boston Marathon, hyped up over March Madness, or just trying to play catchup now that DST stole an hour from us – take refuge in music for some grounding. Check out the latest selections curated by the ZUMIX staff for some inspiration. Happy listening!

“Cops Come Looking” by Spirit of the Beehive

“This song has a solid grasp on creative song writing and dynamics that allows me to never feel bored. This song is not cyclical. There is no verse, there is no chorus. It is a long midnight drive headed nowhere.” – Ramsel Gonzalez, Program Coordinator & Business Administrator

“Me and Magdalena” by The Monkees 

“A beautiful song, and a name nod to our newest AIM teacher, Magdalena. This was written by Benjamin Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie) for the first manufactured ‘boy’ band that bit the hand that fed…from 2016’s Good Times.” – Ed Meradith, Teaching Artist

“Leave Me Alone (ft. Manu Chao)” by Calypso Rose

“A great modern calypso song by a legendary calypsonian who, well into her 70’s, is putting out hits with some of today’s biggest artists.” – Brian Paulding, Teaching Artist

“For Light” by Jay Som

“I haven’t stopped listening to this album since it started streaming online, I can’t stop. Everybody Works is full of comfort songs, and this album closer is perfect for exhaling.” – Jeeyoon Kim, Community Arts & Events Coordinator

“Them Changes (featuring Flying Lotus & Kamasi Washington)” by  Thundercat

“I love the production on this song, it’s a very cool arrangement, I can’t get the bass line out of my head, and I really like Kamasi Washington.” – Joel Edinberg, Z-Tech Mentor

“On + Off” by Maggie Rogers

“Because it makes me want to dance in a sad kind of way. And there’s one part with a syncopated rhythm that always gets me.” – Brittany Thomas, ZUMIX Radio Station Manager

“Apple Trees” by Blitzen Trapper 

“This is what happens when country bumpkins use analog synthesizers.” – Scott Mizrachi, Volunteer Coordinator

“Honeycomb” by Kadhja Bonet

“Featuring artful lyrics and a soulful groove, this track manages to transcend genre boundaries in the best way possible.” – Magdalena Abrego, Teaching Artist

“Clandestino” by Manu Chao

“Manu Chao brings the fire and raises the voices of the migrants who are pushed to the margins. ‘Soy una raya en el mar!'” – Avi Salloway, Live Sound Coordinator

“Baptized in Fire” by Kid Cudi

“This song is my definition of “mildly lit”. It has a very passionate flow to it, and the song gets you just get into the lyrics.” – Dawry Ruiz, Communications Intern

“Remember The Rain” by Kadhja Bonet

“Listening to this album makes me think about gardening, and I don’t even like gardening, but this album makes me want to sit in one.” – Anni Leff, Development Associate

“Largam da mon” by Jenifer Solidade

“Got to spend a few days with her in Cape Verde and she was so humble. sweet and talented.” – Corey DePina, Youth Development & Performance Manager


“I’ve been listening to this song a lot while walking around Somerville on sunny late winter days, and really appreciate how it layers on top of my experience of life, enhancing what I’m looking at. Like I’ll listen to this song and everything around me is more beautiful. That’s kind of a magical thing.” – Kelly Baker, Development & Communications Manager

Stay tuned for next month’s playlist!

Staff Picks – February 2017

Staff Picks - Feb 2017.png

February vacation is right around the corner – what a perfect time to put some headphones on and melt into new music. Check out this month’s edition of musical selections that our team has stamped off with a seal of approval. Missed January’s picks? Check them out here.

“In Two” by Mini Dresses

“Mellow dreamy lofi popsong.” -Scott Mizrachi, Volunteer Coordinator 

“Drop” by Chloe x Halle 

“Haunting. Original. This sister-duo act (signed to Beyonce’s label!) is incredible.” -Kelly Baker, Development & Communications Manager

“Genius” by Sammus

“Sammus’s lyrics are raw and real, and I love her flow. I’ve been so into this whole album lately.” -Sarah Saydun, Pathways Coordinator

“Paradise Fell” by Kaia Kater

“Just a woman, her banjo, and a handful of activist ballads- what more could you want?” -Anni Leff, Development Associate 

“No Crying in Baseball” by Mothers

“Strength and vulnerability are not mutually exclusive. I am still learning to not apologize for and instead embrace my own sensitivity – Mothers was just able to put a soundtrack to it first.” -Jeeyoon Kim, Community Arts & Events Coordinator

“Wander” by Icebird (RJD2 and Aaron Livingston)

“This entire album makes me dance.” –Kramer Gibson, Teaching Artist

“Good Morning” by Peter Ram

“This is my favorite soca song from the 2017 Carnival season. It was a big tune in Trinidad and Tobago’s annual Panorama competition, and it has been really fun to hear arrangements and performances of it by some of the world’s best steel pan ensembles.” -Brian Paulding, Teaching Artist

“Back Pocket” by Vulfpeck

“The moment the ooey-gooey vocal harmonies of the chorus come in, I can’t help but sway back and forth and tell myself, ‘life is good.'” –Ramsel Gonzalez, Program Coordinator/Business Administrator

“Sister” by Angel Olsen

“This almost-eight minute anthem — introspective and yearning — unveils a journey through quiet realizations that swell into a wailing guitar solo and echoing exit line: ‘All my life I thought I’d change.'” -Sophie Kazis, ZUMIX Radio Program Coordinator

Staff Picks – January 2017

Staff Picks - Jan 2017.png

The new year means new things, right? At ZUMIX we often find music as a top tier source of inspiration, motivation, and overall good vibes. With that in mind, we are starting a new monthly tradition and are proud to present you with the first edition of a monthly round-up of what our staff is listening to these days.

Scroll through the list that see what’s inspiring everyone from our grant writers to our teaching artists, youth staff, and more! Be sure to tune back in each month to see what new things are  bumping through our speakers. Happy listening!

“Lucky I Got What I Want” by Jungle

“This song (the whole album, in fact) is the perfect soundtrack for my commute to work.” – Kelly Baker, Development & Communications Manager

“Freedom” by Rose Cousins

“Rose’s music is so personally honest, and her voice is so beautiful, I always feel calm and warm listening to her sing, only wishing I could write as well as she does.” – Anni Leff, Development Associate 

“Drew Barrymore” by Sza

“This song connects to so many of my emotions and it makes me feel apart of something bigger than myself.” – Angelina Botticelli, Events Intern

“The Bird” by Anderson .Paak

“This song is enjoyable to anyone, specifically for me it is so soothing to hear in the morning, but Anderson .Paak still has so much soul in his voice that it has enough energy.” – Dawry Ruiz, Communications Intern

“Keep Your Name” by Dirty Projectors

“This song slows me down and I am thankful for that.” – Jeeyoon Kim, Community Arts & Events Coordinator

“Jealous Sun” by Parker Millsap

“I love the delicate nature of the song and the lyrics – how it begins and ends not with a strict tempo, but with the pace of tired breathing.” – Brian Paulding, Teaching Artist

Human Body Feel” by Skinny Bones

“A collage of sampled sounds and words, this super weird, super fun dance tune is a reflection on the one-sided nature of portraying one’s experience through art. The lyrics are a cut-up poem put together by transcribing hours of field recordings, printing out the words, cutting them up, and rearranging then rearranging them. Also, there’s pan flute.” – Sarah Saydun, Mass Promise Fellow, Pathways Coordinator

“Ricky (Caught Me Tryin’)” by Spirit of the Beehive

“With their slightly jarring use of five repeated chords in the main progression, it gives the song a constant rising tension that is quickly resolved. The song’s 2:22 runtime makes me want to listen over and over again due to its catchy chromatic melody.” – Ramsel Gonzalez, Program Coordinator, Business Administrator

“Paul” by Big Thief

“A wistful, lilting love ballad of what could have been.” – Sophie Kazis, Radio Program Coordinator

“Why They Had to Kill Him” by Stooges Brass Band

“I got to travel to New Orleans this month and can’t get the brass band rhythms out of my head — especially for this awesome second line turned international touring band, who mix traditional brass with hip hop.” – Brittany Thomas, ZUMIX Radio Station Manager

“Slow Rider” by Cuddle Magic

“Beautifully groovy.” – Dan Fox, Technical Director