Fresh Rotation | 3 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To

Avant-pop from Dummy, folk punk from Pigeon Pit and a mythic free-jazz reissue

Dummy performing
Endearingly strange L.A. avant-pop band Dummy takes corporate greenwashing to task on the new single “Mono Retriever” | Credit: Photograph courtesy of the artist

Each and every week the JME team handpicks the juiciest new tunes from local, regional, national and international artists to add to the rotation on The Independent 89.9 HD4 (and to our tasty, tall-glass-of-a-listening-experience that is our monthly Fresh Squeeze playlist). Each song is chosen with intention. And so we often feel like they are worthy of a broader discussion (or at least a bit of context).

Here are three songs that the JME team is listening to this week.

Tune in to The Independent 89.9 HD4 to hear many of our team’s Fresh Rotation picks, as well as the best new music from non-commercial artists.

“Empties” by Pigeon Pit

Led by singer-songwriter Lomes Oleander and hailing from the unheralded-yet-important independent-music city of Olympia, Washington (Beat Happening, Bikini Kill, Sleater Kinney… need I go on?), Pigeon Pit makes inspired folk punk for modern times. Clocking in at 135-seconds, the song “empties,” from the band’s full-length Feather River Canyon Blues, unfurls in a hazy blur of revelrous polyphonic vocals, percussive acoustic guitars and primal drums. It’s an emotive cleanse cased in a grimy 12-pack of warm Natural Light coated in campfire ash.–Matthew Shaw

-Stream “empties” by Pigeon Pit


“Shwabada” by Ndikho Xaba and the Natives 

The label Mississippi Records continues with their impressive efforts at finding and reissuing obscure releases that dip into the mythological. Originally released in 1971 in an edition of 100 LPs, the eponymous album by Ndikho Xaba and the Natives meets and exceeds even that label’s standards. A South African multi-instrumentalist, Xaba fled his homeland in 1964 and exiled to the Bay Area. By the time he released this solo album, he had already played alongside free-jazz luminaries Alice Coltrane, Sun Ra and Pharoah Sanders. The opening track “Shwabada” is a rumbling drone-contemplation of percussion, droning upright bass, piano, chants and various woodwinds and reeds. The assembled Bay Area and African players invoke the certain post-Coltrane/Ayler jazz magick that was crackling from releases on labels like Impulse! ESP, and BYG/Actuel, and “Shwabada,” along with the rest of the album tracks, is a winning artifact of a then-confrontational and challenging movement in contemporary music; a spiritual-jazz revolution which remains highly rewarding today and continues to influence subsequent generations of musicians.–Daniel A. Brown


“Mono Retriever” by Dummy

Endearingly strange L.A. avant-pop band Dummy takes corporate greenwashing to task on the new single “Mono Retriever,” the A-side of recent Sub-Pop-Singles-Club release. Unlike the thematic underpinnings of the song (an important topic, to be clear), one needeth little previous knowledge of the criminally porous system for certifying products “organic” in order to feel the band’s righteous and noisy wallop. Nor does “Mono Retriever” ask its listeners to bring their knowledge of krautrock or other obscure musical genres from which the band derives inspiration for creating their drone-y baroque soundscapes. It’s pretension-free music that packs a multi-level sonic thwack.–Matthew Shaw

-Stream “Mono Retriever” by Dummy

Tune in to The Independent 89.9 HD4 to hear many of our team’s Fresh Rotation picks, as well as the best new music from non-commercial artists.

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