Staff Picks : June 2018 *Joy Ride* Edition

June 2018

Joy rides are great especially when it’s nice out, you’re in good company and the music is on point. At ZUMIX this month we picked our jams for the long drives, the beach trips and the cross country road trips. If you’re enjoying the summer vibes and are looking for some new tunes to play in the car, we’ve got you covered! Check out this months picks below.

“One Day” by Matisyahu

“No matter what, when I put on this song it makes me happy and hopeful…plus, my daughter and I love to sing it together in the car :)” –Kimberly Dawson, Director of Advancement

“Biggy” by Warpaint

“Aside from having one of the grooviest contemporary rock drummers, Stella Mozgawa, Warpaint’s tunes are big favorites of mine for blasting on long summer drives with the windows down because I feel like I’m swimming in their ethereal sounds!” –Nicole Pompei, Teaching Artist

“Not For Radio” by Nas

“So much truth in 1 track. NAS is truly a poet and master with words, his delivery is straight forward and unapologetic. Its refreshing to hear such raw reality from one of the greatest to do it.” –Corey DePina, Youth Development and Performance Manager

“If It Feels Good” by Leon Bridges

“This track makes me think of my friend Caroline, who introduced me to Leon Bridges on a summer night when he covered Ginuwine’s Pony in front of a bunch of screaming fans. It embraces being mysterious and low-key, and is best when turned way up — all qualities of a good joy ride.” –Brittany Thomas, Radio Station Manager

“Sunshine” by Atmosphere

“A classic. This song perfectly emulates the mellow joy that can come from a slow drive on a sunny day, singing along to your favorite song (which just so happens to be this one).” –Nikala Peroni, Development & Communications Associate

“Strange Mercy” by St. Vincent

“This is one of those songs that brings me right to a specific moment every time I hear it… Road tripping from California to Montana in the summer of 2011 – windows down, rolling hills, endless blue sky.” –Sarah Saydun, Pathways Coordinator

“Evergreen” by YEBBA

“I love this song, this singer and her arrangement – it makes me so excited about music and life!” –Ali McGuirk, ZUMIX Play It Forward Instructor

“Hunnybee” by Unknown Mortal Orchestra

“This is what the wind sounded like as it flew by me in my imaginary baby blue hatchback the day before I got my license whispering lil summer vibes into my dreams. This song is so sweet, its lovely to hear over and over again.” –Rene Dongo, Radio Program Coordinator

“Glowed Up” by Kaytranada feat. Anderson .Paak

“Super fun “celebration of life going well” song and Andy brings the high vibrations!” -Jake Gilman, Events Coordinator.

“Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)” by Crystal Waters

“I’d hop in a car and drive for miles just to hear this song blast good vibes at me a couple times. But don’t sleep on those socially-conscious lyrics; homelessness can happen to anyone. In that condition, our title woman still considers herself beautiful as she busks on the street after losing her job. Confronted with extreme loss, what would you preserve to live on proudly?” –Julianna Quiroz, Administrative Assistant

“Ride On Shooting Star” by The Pillows

“I first heard of The Pillows, as did many people, from the anime FLCL (Fooly Cooly) which released in America in 2003. The story revolves around a 12 year old boy and a ‘Vespa-riding maniac’ woman from outer space. The Pillows did the soundtrack to the short 6-episode anime and I was a young 10 year old kid with no real music taste. However, this specific song was the credits sequence track to each episode and I actually would sit through each episode’s credits sequence just so that I could listen to this song. I think it’s where my love for alt-rock and j-rock was subconsciously being bred. The credits featured a montage of one of the main characters riding around on her vespa… which may be why I associate it with joy riding!” – Ramsel Gonzalez, Program Manager

Listen to the playlist here on Spotify:


Staff Picks : May 2018 *Spring is Here!* Edition

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It’s springtime! Here at ZUMIX we’ve been wrapping up classes with graduations and performances over the last couple weeks and we’ve been bumping music to get us going in this shift over to springtime. Take a listen to the music below and see what ZUMIX Staff picked to highlight as their jam to groove to.

“This is America” by Childish Gambino

“This song is one thing and then the video takes it to another level. I love how this piece brings up questions, dialog and feeling about content, race, media and our country.” –Corey DePina, Youth Development and Performance Manager

“Como Siempre Soñé” by Javiera Mena

“Spring is perfect for dreamy electro pop that gives you that soft, falling asleep next to your crush feeling.” – Sarah Saydun, Pathways Coordinator

“Good Kisser” by Lake Street Dive

“Nope it’s not Usher, it’s Lake Street Dive with a recent release that screams new beginnings! Video director Bianca Giaever is a master of quirky and fun, and she shows us all the ways we could be delivering messages in this playful al maximo video, beyond the realm of the phone. ” – Brittany Thomas, Radio Station Manager

“Colors” by Beck

“It’s retro, it’s futuristic, it’s serious, it’s fun, it’s mindless pop, it’s intellectual psychedelic pastiche. While we could criticize Beck for some questionable choices on this album (rapping over a trap beat for example), there is no doubt he is one of the most versatile, fearless, and prolific songwriters of the last 25 years.” – Daniel Fox, Director of Creative Media & Technology

“Hoo La Hoop” by System Band

“What an amazing horn arrangement! ” – Brian Paulding, Brass Instructor

“Year Round” by HighKey Random

“For me everything goes into slow motion when this bumps; mosh pit shoves, ice cream drips, hair in the wind, running for the train, flashing lights.” – Rene Dongo, Radio Program Coordinator

“It Was Not Natural” by Wye Oak

“Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack (the duo behind Wye Oak) are not only incredibly skilled musicians and highly knowledgeable about music production/music tech, they were a true pleasure to meet and share the stage with at Brooklyn Steel. Wye Oak tunes are some of the grooviest out there — perfect for blasting during long spring bike rides!” –Nicole Pompei, Teaching Artist

“Lion’s Jaws” by Neko Case

“This song reminds me of both the comfort and discomfort of Springtime and it has a cool 50’s vibe to it.” – Jenny Shulman, Director of Operations

“Maria Tambien” by Khruangbin

“I just like it. The guitar player gets cool sounds out of the instrument.” – Omar Sosa, Administrative Assistant and Teaching Artist

“El Jornalero/”El Hijo de Tuta” by Lisandro Meza

“¡Wepaaaaa!” – Julianna Quiroz, Administrative Assistant

Listen to the playlist here on Spotify:


Staff Picks : April 2018 *Walk Up Song* Edition

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This April we’re holding our biggest community-driven fundraiser of the year, the Walk for Music! So in honor of this special event we’re celebrating with the start of themed staff picks and this month it’s the epic ‘Walk Up Song’. Those songs you hear when a baseball player gets up to bat or an athlete enters the arena, Have you ever wanted your own anthem to start the day? We did and you can listen to all the tracks below!

“Good” by STL GLD

“I had the pleasure of having Moe Pope from this band STL GLD visit my high school classes this week and it was amazing. I feel like his energy, skills and vibe comes across in this song very well. I would be honored to use this as my WALK OUT song cause it goes as hard as I do” –Corey DePina, Youth Development and Performance Manager

“Homebody” by Nai Palm

“This is a non-traditional vibe for a walk-up song, but lyrically it makes me want to hit a metaphorical home run in my life. Also, can I just be a fire juggler in this video?” – Brittany Thomas, Radio Station Manager

“Venus Fly” by Grimes ft. Janelle Monáe

“Man, there are so many good options for a Walk Up song… But how could I not feel ready to take on the world when I’m listening to two kick-butt females sing about reclaiming the dance floor from creeps? ” – Sarah Saydun, Pathways Coordinator

“Wake Up” by Arcade Fire

“Its a call to arms: Go Weapons of Mass Percussion! And it has a great double-time coda!” – Mr. Ed, Teaching Artist

“Groove Is in the Heart” by Deee-Lite

“This is my walk up song because I dare you to NOT dance when you hear this. ” – Jenny Shulman, Director of Operations

“Back in the New York Groove” by KISS

“This song has always been on my “walking around the city” playlist. Great for strutting down the street or on the subway…or walking up to the plate ;)” –Kimberly Dawson, Director of Advancement

“I Want to Take You Higher” by Sly & the Family Stone

“Can you feel the heat?!” – Avi Salloway, Z-Tech Live Sound Coordinator

“Fergalicious” by Fergie

“In 7th grade, my best friend could do all of Kevin G’s rap from Mean Girls, and I could do all of Fergie’s “rap” from Fergalicious, and those were our things. If I’m really telling myself that I’m now too cool to get down or walk up to this song, I’m simply lying to myself.” – Nikala Peroni, Development & Communications Associate

“Righteous Woman” by TORRES

“This song is a reminder that as a queer woman, I don’t need to shrink myself down and allow the men around me to consume all of the space, that I should be able to consume the same amount of ‘manspreading’ space.” – Nicole Pompei, Teaching Artist

“Raggamuffin (Real Rock Riddim)” by Koffee & Chronixx

“This 17 year old has the most interesting flow I’ve heard in a long time. Backed by the best modern reggae band around, the result is pure fire.” – Brian Paulding, Brass Instructor

“I’m Every Woman” by Chaka Khan

I am obsessed with Chaka Khan and I appreciate the role she and this song have played in female empowerment. – Ali McGuirk, ZUMIX Play It Forward Instructor

“King Kunta” by Kendrick Lamar

“I’m mad, but I ain’t stressin’!!” – Julianna Quiroz, Administrative Assistant

Listen to the playlist here on Spotify:

Staff Picks : March 2018

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March is almost over and we’re celebrating the eventual spring on the horizon! In this months staff picks we have the rare *double pick* courtesy of Janelle Monáe’s musical return alongside tracks from Drake, X, Amber Mark, Kings of Leon and Ziggy Marley. Take a listen to the tracks below!

“Make Me Feel” by Janelle Monáe

“This new track from Janelle is so Prince. Janelle confronts her countless sexual orientation rumors head on and I love her for it. People are calling this song the Bi-Sexual anthem, The catchy hook that makes you wanna dance creates a dance floor vibe where sexual orientation comes last to what dance moves you can bring ” – Corey DePina, Youth Development and Performance Manager

“Janelle Monáe is an incredible actress, singer and producer. I am so excited that she’s releasing music again — this song is a clear tribute to Prince, but has its own modern, soulful sound. It’s a beautiful statement of strength, authenticity and freedom!” – Sarah Saydun, Pathways Coordinator

“Sad!” by XXXTentacion

“I love this song for the infectious hook, and it even though I did not like the artist at first, this is one of his better songs.” – Dawry Ruiz, ZTC (ZUMIX Teen Council)

“Falling” by HAIM

“Your birthday week is a good time to sing the same lyrics you sang in college: ‘Never look back. Never give up.'” – Brittany Thomas, Radio Station Manager

“Redemption Song” by Ziggy Marley and the Chieftains

“This is one of my most favorite mashups of genre and I think Bob Marley smiles down with this song.” – Kim Dawson, Director of Advancement

“Happy Alone” by Kings of Leon

“When I first heard this song, I was floored. I couldn’t believe it was Kings of Leon. The raw energy of this song feels so simple and pure, it’s a real quick way to get me up and groovin’ with a smile on my face.” – Nikala Peroni, Development & Communications Associate

“God’s Plan” by Drake

“I hold back, sometimes I won’t, yuh. I feel good, sometimes I don’t, ay.” – Julianna Quiroz, Administrative Assistant

“Love Me Right” by Amber Mark

“I really can’t with how much I love these feels. This drives such an emotional rollercoaster through beauty, nostalgia and strength that’s elevated + accentuated by the atmospheric rose petals, cosmic gold tears and hand-held realness the video delivers without any hesitation.'” – Rene Dongo, Radio Program Coordinator

Listen to the playlist here on Spotify:


Staff Picks : February 2018

Feb 2018-2February 🙂 We’re back with a short list for a short month of ZUMIX Staff Picks. This month brings a mix of Hip Hop, Indie Rock and Local Music. Take a dive into the mix with a stand out track from Black Panther, two local artists working in different genres and a Soca track you’ll want hit replay on.

“Nina Simone’s ‘Young Gifted and Black’ ” by Aretha Franklin

“For Black History month I thought it would be great to remind myself of how special I am” –Corey DePina, Youth Development and Performance Manager

“Venus in Furs” by Velvet Underground

“This song encapsulates why the Velvet Underground was ahead of it’s time and solidified it’s influence for decades to come.” – Kim Dawson, Director of Advancement

“All the Stars” by Kendrick Lamar & SZA

“Kendrick walking with supernatural black panthers looks to the past and the future. I love the calm pulse that goes through this whole song, the gorgeous colors and production, and the final shot of SZA’s bun turning into Africa, then the universe.” – Brittany Thomas, Radio Station Manager

“Variations on an Aria” by People Like You

“Excellent local jazz/emo/indie/rock/heart/soul/mind music. Nothing I can say will do People Like You justice, so just give them a listen.” – Sarah Saydun, Pathways Coordinator

“Dog Milk” by Palm

“In the indie rock space, Palm is completely disrupting what it means to be a traditional rock band. Their compositions slip and slide through mixed meters with complex rhythmic play between all voices while incorporating unconventional electronic sounds while maintaining a level of ‘pop sensibilities’. They have deep artistic and musical prowess and are equally genuine and thoughtful human beings that are carving an important trail for guitar rock bands.” – Nicole Pompei, Teaching Artist

“This Ole King” by WHY?

“WHY? has been a consistent and reliable band in my life. There’s nothing better than a favorite artist coming out with new albums that are just as good as those before them. Plus, I’m a sucker for a unique voice singing melodic and repetitive chorus.” – Nikala Peroni, Development & Communications Associate

“Hello” by Kes

“My favorite tune from Trinidad and Tobago carnival this year. Can’t help but move to this one.” – Brian Paulding, Brass Instructor

“Flamingo” by Kero Kero Bonito

“Sometimes the best times of your life happen on the anniversary of the worst. P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E.” – Julianna Quiroz, Administrative Assistant

“Edges” by Seraah

“Seraah is complex artist who fuses movement, music and surreal imagery and to me ‘Edges’ pushes feelings in a visceral way, I loved how this video encapsulated the vibe Seraah puts out at live shows and glad to see it be transported to a torch lit forest, elevating it to an ethereal level” – Rene Dongo, Radio Program Coordinator

Listen to the playlist here on Spotify:


Staff Picks : January 2018

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It’s the new year, and we’re looking forward to all ahead for ZUMIX, as well as the great artists on this list. 2018 will bring a new LP for experimental rock band, Palm, a work which borrows methods from electronic music. Jamila Woods will be on tour, stopping in Boston! And Bedouine will make her ‘telly debut’ on Late Night with Seth Myers. Whatever your goals are for the new year, go get em!

“Dog Milk” by Palm

“Palm continues to amaze me with how they keep their rhythms so sporadic feeling yet the groove of this band is unshakable and locked in. Harmony wise, it’s a breath of fresh air to hear such bright and optimistic progressions layered over dense syncopation.” – Ramsel Gonzalez, Program Manager

“Glory Bound” by Martin Sexton

“Pretty much sums up the beauty, possibility, and loneliness of following a dream.” – Kim Dawson, Director of Advancement

“Wave of Mutilation” by The Pixies

“Driving backbeat with slow intensity, shimmering guitars and aquatic imagery. This song brings me to a place I’ve never been, yet somehow remember…” – Scott Mizrachi, Community Engagement Coordinator

“Marcy Me” by Jay – Z

“An incredible ode to a beautiful city full of contradictions, this music video places  fear, suspicion & surveillance in direct contrast to joy, freedom & family. Personally it brings up many good memories of walking down Nostrand Ave.” – Rene Dongo, Radio Program Coordinator

“Holy Ghost” by Bent Knee 

“This song makes me go “wow.” The lead singer’s vocals are mind-blowing, the instrumentals are dynamic and intricate. It’s eerie, theatrical, catchy, and insanely impressive.” – Nikala Pieroni, Development and Communications Associate

“LSD” by Jamila Woods ft. Chance the Rapper

“I couldn’t get Jamila Woods’s entire album, HEAVN, off repeat this month.  A beautiful blend of R&B, jazz, poetry, and protest, each song is intimate, powerful and very catchy.” – Sarah Saydun, Pathways Coordinator

“Second Time Around” by Tuxedo

“January is a reflective time; it’s my birth month, first month of the new year, and home to everything bitterly cold and dead. My ex sent this to me some weeks before breaking up with me, and I think that’s laughable now. I would like to think this song will set the tone for second chances and new opportunities in 2018!” – Julianna Quiroz, Administrative Assistant

“How Far” by Tei Shi

“I loved this song’s groove long before I saw the video, which is more gruesome than the matching turquoise car and water tower let on.  I think I’ll just keep pretending that sorry could be a genuine thing to say.” – Brittany Thomas, Radio Station Manager

“100 Percent” by Sammus

“Sammus’s prowess as a beat maker and a lyricist is really inspiring. She creates some of the raddest beats to transcribe and play on drums!” – Nicole Pompei, Teaching Artist

“Calypso” by GBN Nutro

“Chill and minimal soca vibes to keep me warm all winter.” – Brian Paulding, Teaching Artist

“Solidarity Daughter” by Bedouine

“Born in Aleppo, Syria to Armenian parents, Korkejian spent her childhood in Saudi Arabia, moving to America when her family won a Green Card lottery. She’s lived the life of a nomad which inspired her to chose the name, Bedouine. She sounds like an old soul. I love her gentle vocal delivery, beautiful lyrics and arrangements. “Leave me to the books and the radio snow. Leave me alone to the charcoal and the dancing shadow.”” – Avi Salloway, Z-Tech Live Sound Coordinator

Listen to the playlist here on Spotify:

Staff Picks : December 2017 *Holiday Edition*

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Ehhh It’s the Holiday Edition of Staff Picks! Which is so nice, we have a collection of music to lift your spirits along with that eggnog! Enjoy the classic picks below along with some real funky ones!

Ain’t No Chimneys in the Projects” by Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings

OK Ok OK this song is not an oldie, yet but i love how its funky and brings up a good point.” – Corey DePinaYouth Development and Performance Manager

Last Month of the Year” by The Staple Singers

Gospel, soul and R&B coalesce in early 1960’s Chicago…a Christmas miracle!” – Scott MizrachiCommunity Engagement Coordinator

Last Christmas” by Wham!

Yes, this is actually my favorite Christmas song. I genuinely love all my 80’s music with a heaping serving of cheese – bet you didn’t know that about me.” – Sarah SaydunPathways Coordinator

This Christmas” by Boyz II Men

RnB that heats you up like a warm fire — so smooth, with handbells!” – Brittany ThomasRadio Station Manager

Christmas Time Is Here” by Vince Guaraldi

This song always makes me wanna drink some hot chocolate, snuggle on my couch and fall asleep while watching it snow 🙂 Yup.” – Rene Dongo, Radio Program Coordinator

8 Days (of Hanukkah)” by Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

This is the funkiest song about the Celebration of Lights and Sharon Jones makes the “Dreidel” song sound badass.” – Jenny ShulmanDirector of Operations

Shark Smile” by Big Thief

Adrianne Lenker is a prolific songwriter and Big Thief tunes are the perfect addition to long drives!” – Nicole Pompei, Teaching Artist

Little Saint Nick” by The Beach Boys

I don’t know about you, but I like to have beach vibes no matter the season. Merry Christmas, Saint Nick!” – Julianna Quiroz, Administrative Assistant