Cliff Chenfeld is a member of the ALL ARTS Editorial Advisory Board.
While we muddle along in this surrealistic limbo, let’s take advantage of the extra time to enjoy some great new music that may have slipped through the cracks.
This is an exciting time for music, as many artists create inspired and compelling recordings that often live outside of the mainstream, but command a significant and passionate audience. The “virus-buster” playlist below focuses on such artists, some of whom headline major music festivals but are absent from broad platforms like the Grammys or pop radio.
This is a playlist for those who want to hear new music, but don’t get to discover as much as they’d like. It avoids disposable pop and the brilliant, but often inaccessible, fringe.
There are many exceptional artists here — including Tame Impala, whose combination of psychedelic rock, dance music dynamics and introspective lyrics make them, perhaps, the most groundbreaking act of recent years. Black Pumas, Vagabon and Curtis Harding repurpose classic soul sounds for a new era, while strong, unflinching artists like Mitski, Angel Olsen, Big Thief, Sharon Van Etten, Japanese Breakfast and others celebrate their femininity and power. Rüfüs Du Sol, Bob Moses and Sofi Tukker produce smooth, danceable songs that make you move or chill; and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever and Cage the Elephant prove that passionate, catchy rock songs can still delight in 2020.
Those are just some of the artists that are featured on the playlist. With over 60 songs and four hours of music, there are plenty of other artists from a variety of genres to discover.
Music has always lifted us through tough times. It will do it again.