Plugged In is a limited-run web series for 91.5 KRCC Music in which contributors from Colorado College's student radio station, The SOCC, tip us off to great new releases, under-the-radar favorites, and other music they can't live without. Below are recommendations from Air Check intern and The SOCC's general manager, Paulina Ukrainets.
Sasami –– Free (ft. Devendra Banhart)
I first found out about Sasami through noticing her as the opener for Soccer Mommy on their tour in fall of 2018, though she’s been a familiar face in the DIY realm of the American music industry for a while now, having previously played synths in LA’s rock outfit, Cherry Glazerr. When I listened to “Callous,” the first single from her eponymous album, I felt a small, yet tangible void slowly begin to close within me; I’d been craving the kind of femme-lead, spacious, shoegazy sound Sasami creates for a long time without having been aware of it.
“Free” is perhaps my favourite song on her album. It is both calm and moving, layered and startlingly simple. It builds a vast and simultaneously intimate space both in its use of stereo panning and the delicate blending of Sasami’s and Devendra Banhart’s vocals on the chorus. Listening to it feels somewhat like standing in a doorway, looking out into a spacious landscape: both enclosed and sweeping, standing and floating.
If you like what you hear, you might be interested to know that Sasami is playing a show at Denver’s Lost Lake Lounge on Wednesday, April 17th. Tickets are available here.
Jamila Woods –– “Eartha”
Disclaimer: I am in utter awe of Jamila Woods. In my eyes, she can do no wrong (even if sometimes she doesn’t quite get it right, either). She is a poet and an educator as much as she is a musician, and this shows in all of her many endeavours.
On “Eartha,” a recent single inspired by actor, singer and activist Eartha Kitt, Woods is triumphantly, unapologetically in love with herself–– in the kind of love that could only come after its lack. The line, “who’s gonna share my love for me with me?” acts as a kind of chorus, but also an invocation of a lesson that many members of marginalized communities are in the process of absorbing––that loving yourself comes first.
Jamila Woods is also playing in Denver at Lost Lake Lounge on Saturday, June 15th. Tickets are available here.
Helado Negro –– Please Won’t Please
On this track from his recent incredible (and extremely critically-acclaimed) album This is How You Smile, Roberto Carlos Lange (the man behind Helado Negro) shapes an intricately textured sound, evoking (at least in me) a profound sense of both stillness and sadness.
Dual in its disembodiment as well as its invocation of physical form (“and we’ll light/our lives on fire/just to see/if anyone will come/rescue/what’s left of me”), the song calls attention to the complicated reality of being brown in present-day America: “history shows/that/brown won’t go/brown just glows.” This piece both celebrates brownness and calls attention to its erasure. It is beautiful and moving in all of its dimensions. You should listen to it.