For this spring edition of the Indie Playlist, contributors chose songs traversing the genres of country, rap, disco, funk, blues, and rock. Many of them, though undeniably feel-good, express something deeper on closer examination. Listen on Spotify at tinyurl.com/4x6efzw2.
“Pareidolia,” Buck Meek
Pareidolia is the human tendency to see patterns where they don’t exist. As kids, we’d lie in the grass and look at the clouds, pointing out an animal here, a face over there. Texas singer-songwriter and guitarist Buck Meek opens his new album Two Saviors, released in January, with a song about this phenomenon. Easy and laid back, it sounds like sweet tea, or a dog running through a meadow.
“Pareidolia,” uttered in Buck’s silky, twangy voice as the first lyric, comes out sounding a bit like a name. It’s as if he’s speaking to someone, the two of them lying in the “buffalo grass,” staring up at the sky. That theoretical “someone” is the real focus of the song — the symbols in the sky are only vehicles for their connection — vehicles for dreaming and reminiscing. The whole thing is hazy, as if there’s something unplumbed beneath it all — something magical and unconscious that Buck is only able to hint at over the course of the shuffling little tune. —Will Powers
“Found Your Love,” Bosq
Everyone needs a mood-boosting track to get them going once in a while. When I’m down, or in need of a little boogie to switch up my day, I throw on “Found Your Love,” by Bosq.
A fusion of disco, funk, live instrumentals, and female vocals, the song is enough to get me off the couch and dancing with my vacuum. The simplicity of the lyrics, which are about finding love, partnered with an upbeat tempo, make this a song that appears on almost all my good-to-groove-to playlists.
The best part? Bosq is Brewster native Benjamin Woods. Now based in Colombia, he’s an internationally recognized DJ, instrumentalist, and music producer. If you’re lucky, you might be able to get your hands on a Bosq 45, or even attend one of his rare live gigs on the Cape. —Emma Doyle
“Anyday,” Derek and the Dominos
“Anyday” is a lesser-known cut from the 1970 album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek and the Dominos, the short-lived rock band formed by legendary guitarist Eric Clapton, keyboardist and singer Bobby Whitlock, bassist Carl Radle, and drummer Jim Gordon, who had met as part of Delaney & Bonnie and Friends.
The entire Layla album is a collection of lovesick blues, and “Anyday” is a lush example, with indelible rock hooks that engage like pure emotion. Duane Allman was a guitarist on most tracks, and his and Clapton’s sweet, high-flying riffs create a resonance that rivals Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound.
The lyrics by Clapton and Whitlock are simple enough — “I know, anyday, anyday, I will see you smile” — but the musicians, drowning as they were in a mix of hard drugs and male-martyr myths, nonetheless connected with the closeted gay teen that I was in the early 1970s.
Clapton, at the time, was pining away for his friend George Harrison’s wife, Pattie Boyd. He descended into heroin addiction after Derek and the Dominos broke up, only a year or so after forming. The album, though not initially successful, evolved into a classic after the single “Layla” belatedly scored in 1973. The group’s pop-blues sound, growing out of the British Invasion, has long passed. But there’s an innocence to it that is timeless.
In the dark days of Trump, and especially the horrific year of Covid, “Anyday” has served as a quasi-anthem to me. The song’s lovesick yearning is earthy yet ethereal, a heartfelt escape. —Howard Karren
“Never Catch Me,” Flying Lotus (Featuring Kendrick Lamar)
Whenever I hear this 2014 track, I am instantly transported back to my freshman college dorm.
It starts with soft piano and pitter-patter percussion. The beat soon drops as the piano and drums become more pronounced and funky guitar complements Kendrick Lamar’s rhymes.
Lamar enters the scene quickly, discussing his own existence in a firm tone. “Never Catch Me” is from Flying Lotus’s fifth album, You’re Dead! It’s themed around the mysteriousness of life and death.
About a minute and a half in, the percussion speeds up while the piano stays the same. Lamar changes pace accordingly and starts rambling with his flow. Then, he lets loose with a barrage of fast-paced lyrics.
I love how quickly things get serious. I remember that, the first time I heard this track, this was the moment I picked my head up and really paid attention. “I got mind control when I’m here, you gon’ hate me when I’m gone,” Lamar raps. “Ain’t no blood pumpin’ no fear, I got hope inside of my bones.”
Two minutes in, the rapper’s verse is already over. He repeats “You will never ever catch me” in the chorus as the staccato percussion continues.
The song completely changes course in the last minute and a half. The beat stays unique as the producer experiments with a cacophony of new sounds. —Ryan Fitzgerald
“Daddy Lessons,” Beyoncé (Featuring the Chicks)
Do you know how to two-step? Beyoncé and the (formerly Dixie) Chicks’ “Daddy Lessons” — six-and-a-half minutes of pure, swinging, Texas joy — will make you wish you did.
This “Daddy Lessons” is a countrified remix of Beyoncé’s moodier solo track, released on her 2016 album Lemonade. Performed live for the first time at the 2016 Country Music Awards, the collaboration is all fiddle and boot stomp and belting twang. And if you don’t think yourself above country lyrics, these are a treat: “With his right hand on his rifle/ He swore it on the bible… He said girl it’s your second amendment.”
Tucked into the second half is a quotation from the Chicks’ 2002 song “Long Time Gone” — specifically, the last verse, a three-line indictment of contemporary country’s soullessness: “Now they sound tired but they don’t sound Haggard/ They got money but they don’t have Cash/ They got Junior but they don’t have Hank.”
Months after the Chicks won a Grammy for “Long Time Gone,” lead singer Natalie Maines expressed regret to a London crowd about President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq. In an instant, the Chicks were over. Eighteen years later, the band is still a flashpoint for country music’s core audience — the same core that rails against Beyoncé’s “anti-cop agenda.”
So, here, on “Daddy Lessons,” are four women (already radical in a country music context) with little in common but Texas roots and a knack for offending the right, breathing some life back into a genre desperate for a wake-up call. —Josephine de La Bruyère