Producers’ Picks

Here at PlayNetwork, music is not just our job, it’s our passion!  Our Web Radio player is packed full of the tunes that we just cannot get enough of, at the moment.  The following is a list of our choices, and why we chose them, and comments are always encouraged.  Now just sit back and enjoy the experience!

Listen here, and don’t forget to ‘click to purchase’ from Amazon or iTunes if you just have to hear more!


Artist:  Metric

Song:  “Help I’m Alive”

from the album, Fantasies (Last Gang Records)

originally formed in New York 11 years ago they are currently based in Toronto, Ontario, Montreal, Quebec, Los Angeles and New York.  Fantasies is their fourth studio album, released April 7th, 2009.  Though formed in 1998, the band’s first album Grow up and Blow Away wasn’t released until late June of 2007 due to internal changes with their former record label.  Along the way the band earned 2 Juno Award nominations for Best Alternative Album in 2003 and 2006.  Singer/Keyboardist Emily Haines grew up in a house rich with experimental art and musical expression; early influences include Carla Bley, Robert Wyatt and PJ Harvey.  Metric’s songs have been featured on the television show Grey’s Anatomy and CSI: Miami.

Artist:  Lee Fields & the Expressions

Song:  “Money i$ King

from the album, My World (Truth & Soul Records)

Lee Fields has been releasing material since the late 60’s but, for the better part of 3 decades has been in relative obscurity. Lee’s latest release is like stepping into a late 60’s time capsule and experiencing Soul Music for the very first time with punchy horn lines and perfectly accented funk guitar riffs; My World, released in June, 2009 is a throwback to the genuine Philly Soul of the 60’s and holds up fresh and original as ever.  As more modern Soul artists like Raphael Saadiq, Jamie Lidell, Alicia Keys and others gain a prominent foothold with the mainstream audience; it’s like a breath of fresh air to hear Soul Music in a less conventionalized setting.  Previous releases by Lee Fields include Enough Is Enough, Let’s Get a Groove On and Problems.


Artist:  Bad Boy Bill feat. Alyssa Palmer

Song:  “Falling Anthem”

This is the lead off single from “Bad Boy Bill The Album” which besides this collaboration with Alyssa Palmer, is set to feature an appearance from Duran Duran’s John Taylor.  The Album is out July 28. It should be a good one!

Artist:  Metric

Song:  “Gimme Sympathy”

This song was supposed to be the first single to Metric’s fourth disc “Fantasies”, but when the album was leaked, everything changed.  The opening track, “Help I’m Alive” began generating tons of buzz and was picked up by radio stations, leading Metric to release the song as the official first single.  Although the whole album is great, Gimme Sympathy is still my favorite track.

Artist:  The Noisettes

Song:  “Don’t Upset The Rhythm”

The Noisettes have been called the Best Live Band in Britain and I am dying to see them live.  Since they haven’t scheduled any US dates, however, I’ll have to make due with the album.  This is the first single from their second album, “Wild Young Hearts.”

Artist:  V.V. Brown

Song:  “Shark In The Water”

V.V. Brown has been prepping her debut album “Travelling Like The Light” while touring with fellow Brits Ladyhawke and The Ting Tings.  This is the first single off her album, which is set for release sometime in July.  I can’t wait to hear more!


Artist:  Camera Obscura

Song:  “French Navy”

Album:  My Maudlin Career

All summertime and sunshine-sounding, even if it is about bittersweet longing. Horns, strings, tambourines and layered fuzzy vocals make the heartbreak easier.

Artist:  Phoenix

Song:  “Lisztomania”

Album:  Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix


This French pop is delicious nonsense! It’s okay to want to listen to it too much!

Artist:  Santogold

Song:  “Your Voice”

This song was excluded from Santogold’s debut solo release of 2008. Any new Santogold is good even if it is old. New album please, Santi…

Artist:  Bishop Allen

Song:  “Dimmer”

Smart, rhythmic, and lean- that’s how I like my folk. Like this.


Artist:  Musee Mecanique

Song:  “Our Changing Skins”

From the Album, Hold This Ghost (Frog Stand Records)

Portland, Oregon-based band with a totally unique sound fusing folk, electronica, a beautiful melody, hushed vocal, lush arrangement and an array of instruments that include a saw, clarinet and a glockenspiel. Be sure and watch the music video they produced providing the soundtrack to an old Max Fleischer cartoon.

Artist:  Leslie Mendelson

Song:  “Rest of London”

From the Album, Swan Feathers (Rykodisc)

Leslie Mendelson is a beautiful young singer-songwriter channeling some of the best songwriters and vocalists of the past 50 years. At various times on her new CD, Swan Feathers, you can hear the influences of Laura Nyro, Dusty Springfield, Norah Jones, Karen Carpenter, Billie Holiday and the best of Motown. I love the beauty of the melody of this song, the intimacy of her vocal and the moody, dark, but ultimately, hopeful lyrics. A rising star.

Artist:  James Yuill

Song:  “No Surprise”

From the Album, Turning Down Water for Air (Nettwerk)

James Yuill creates what is best described as folk-tronica, beautifully fusing folk and electronic music. If James Yuill simply sang his well-crafted songs alone on his guitar, that would have been enough to draw me to his music; However, he takes those organic roots of his music and adds tasteful, warm and innovative electronics and his music rises to a whole other level. The album is stunning. This song is one of my favorites.


Artist:  U2

Song:  “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight”

Album:  No Line On The Horizon

Why I Dig It:  Each U2 release is an event for me, not just a new CD.  This stayed in my player every day for over a month as it grew on me and every day I had a new favorite.  This song in particular grabs some of their sound from the 80’s and plants it right into present time.  What’s really amazing is that for a group of guys now in their late 40’s, they are still very relevant whereas the Rolling Stones and The Who were burnouts at that same age playing the same old songs.

Artist:  Rodriguez

Song:  “Climb Up On My Music”

Album:  Coming From Reality

Why I Dig It:  Plug yourself into 1970 and get groovy with this re-release.  Rodriquez never got his big break in the 60’s and 70’s but is now catching on and touring the US.  He’s been huge in other parts of the world.  Great folk/rock that blends Bob Dylan with shades of Jose Feliciano.

Artist:  Mindy Smith

Song:  “Love Chases After Me”

Album:  Stupid Love

Why I Dig It:  Mindy’s vocals are always so pure and penetrate very easily, commanding your attention.  She’s got a ton of soul and heart that digs right into your emotions and brings them up to the surface.  One of the best singer/songwriters on the planet today and a must.  She’s the truth.

Artist:  Iggy Pop

Song:  “How Insensitive”

Album: Preliminaries

Why I Dig It:  This is a release that falls into the category, “wait until you hear what Iggy’s done this time – you won’t believe it.”  Now residing as an elder statesman part time in Paris, Iggy has come up with a very pleasant surprise that melds Leonard Cohen and Serge Gainsbourg including this exquisite take on the Jobim classic, “How Insensitive.”


Artist:  Morrissey

Song:  “I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris”

Album:  Years of Refusal


The “King of Mope” is back! And once again, he transforms feeling sorry for himself into a catchy and infectious pop music gem.

Artist:  Tim Healey, Marc Adamo

Song:  “Ghetto Blaster (Krafty Kuts Remix)”

Album:  Ghetto Blaster


One of the biggest Breaks DJs in the world puts his own spin (pun intended) on this new release from DJ Dan’s label, creating one of the hottest Breakbeat tracks in years.

Artist:  Franz Fredinand

Song:  “No You Girls (Vince Clarke Remix)”

Album:  No You Girls (Single)


The Scottish rockers hand over their new single to the wizard of Synth-Pop. The result: an up-tempo electro romp, worthy of both the dance floor and a summer’s drive to the beach.


Artist:  Wilco

Song:  “You and I”

‘You and I,’ a duet between Wilco frontman

Jeff Tweedy and Canadian singer-songwriter Feist.

The song is featured on the upcoming seventh Wilco release titled

Wilco (The Album).

Artist:  Grizzly Bear

Song:  “All We Ask”

Veckatimest is the Brooklyn quartet’s third studio album.

The name comes from an island in Massachusetts where part of the album was recorded.  Grizzly Bear make complicated songs sound simple with haunting vocals, acoustic riffs and pretty strings.

The band consists of Daniel Rossen (songwriting/guitar/vocals/keyboards),

Ed Droste (songwriting/guitar/vocals/keyboards),

Chris Taylor (bass/woodwinds/electronics/vocals) and

Christopher Bear (drums/vocals). acoustic riffs, haunted croons and precise string parts.

Artist:  Nickodemus

Song:  “Sun Children”

Sun People is Nickodemeus’ sophomore release and according to the artist was inspired by sunny days and good people. It mixes positive sonic vibes from all over the globe including Guinea, Colombia, Puerto Rico , Brazil, Romania, India, Turkey, United Kingdom and New York. Nickodemus hails from NYC and is the DJ behind the long running Turntables on the Hudson parties. The featured song Sun Children is an uplighting hip-hop jam.



Song:  “My Girls”

Album:  Merriweather Post Pavilion


The perfect summer track for any Gen Y music aficionado. “My Girls” combines Beach Boy like vocal harmonies, synth arpeggios and electronic rhythm.

Artist:  MODERAT

Song:  “Rusty Nails”

Album:  Moderat


Moderat is the critically acclaimed collaborative project between cutting-edge electronica luminaries Modeselektor and Apparat. “Rusty Nails” is an epic pop tune with that will appeal to fans of Animal Collective, Hot Chip, Royksopp and Junior Boys.


Song:  “Besides”

Album:  Take My Breath Away


Beautifully lush electro pop from Brazil’s most prolific underground dance producer. “Besides” revives guitar driven, 80’s synth-pop (i.e. The Cure, New Order, Depeche Mode, etc.).


Artist:  Gomez

Song:  “Airstream Driver”

Album:  A New Tribe


This infectious tune by the British Band “Gomez” is cool for two reasons: it contains the word, “Airstream” and it’s a real band playing real drums, bass guitar, piano etc…in the great jam band tradition.  For people into music under the age of 35 an airstream is jam band convenient and cool – for people over 35, an “Airstream” is the ultimate a home away from home on the road   once (maybe still) owned and occupied by J.J. Cale.

Artist:  Neko Case

Song:  “This Tornado Loves You”

Album:  Middle Cyclone


Tacoma Washington is not known for tornadoes.  In the not to distant past Tacoma used to be known as something that too easily rhymed with Aroma.  Its neighbors to the North (Seattle) and South (Olympia) found it amusing and ironic that Toyota would one day name a truck with the name of Tacoma.  The former home of Bing Crosby, Dale Chihuly, Robert Cray, Steve Miller, The Wailers, Gary (Far Side) Larson, Blair Underwood, Dyan Cannon, Almond Roca and The Ventures is also a former home of the ambassador of tornado like cool Neko Case.

Artist:  J.J. Cale

Song:  “Who Knew”

Album:  Roll On


On “Who Knew” J. J. seems to be channeling Moose Allison with a slightly satirical (it is what it is) casual cool of sitting on the back porch of home in Oklahoma – strumming guitar with dog on deck and a cooler full of libations on the side.  J.J is also of those artists that never stopped making politely influential music year after without big hair or big screen or Airstream fanfare.


Artist:  Zee Avi

Song:  “Bitter Heart”

Album:  Self-Titled (Brushfire)


Zee Avi is just 23 but she’s an old soul. Her birthplace Borneo; she now lives in Kuala Lampur.  She’s an absolutely darling singer/songwriter who penned eleven of the twelve tracks; this wonderful debut is the quintessential Sunday morning record with a cup of coffee (or Tea!).

Artist: Vetiver

Song: “More Of This”

Album: Tight Knit (Sub Pop)


“One of the coolest bands on the coolest Indie label, Sub Pop, Vetiver is a five-piece folk-pop band that may as well have been founded by one of The Beatles. Their music is so catchy and melodic that you’ll want to take them on a road trip to California…that is, if they’ll fit in your car…If not, grab yourself a copy of Tight Knit and push it to 11”.

Artist:  Aggrolites

Song:  “Feelin’ Alright”

Album:  IV (Epitaph)


I’m an old-school SKA fan. No Madness posers or Mighty Mighty Bosstones for me. Give me Desmond Dekker, Prince Buster or the Skatalites any day of week. But the twenty-something Southern California dudes; The Aggrolites are doin’ it for real. The kindest homage to the early Studio One recordings, and 20 tracks to boot (who does that anymore?!?). Bring on Summer.



Song:  “How Many Worlds”

Album:  Easy Come, Easy Go


Like Dylan, Marianne’s voice is weathered and worn and has never sounded better!  This has become my new favorite Eno cover, yet she has made it all her own.  The way it builds with the strings segueing into the ebow’d guitar is just majestic…


Song:  “Daniel”

Album:  Two Suns


If I were a sixteen year old girl, Natasha Kahn would be my goddess.  I’m not, but I’m giving it some thought anyway.  I’ve been wondering for a couple of decades now who would steal the throne from Kate Bush, and now it has been revealed…  All hail Bat For Lashes!

Artist:  DOVES

Song:  “10:03”

Album:  Kingdom Of Rust


If I was going to be stranded on a desert island and the only music I could take had to all come from one city, Manchester, England would suffice quite nicely.  The Doves can be hit or miss, but this song hits me hard and I can’t get enough…

Artist:  EELS

Song:  “That Look You Gave That Guy”

Album:  Hombre Lobo


There’s something about Eels that makes me uncomfortable, but that’s what art should do.  That being said, this is a lovely little song about unrequited love.  There’s no shortage of this kind of tune, but how many are as listenable as this?


Artist:  Grizzly Bear

Song:  “2 Weeks”

What can i say? It’s the official jam of summer 09 for sensitive weenies everywhere. press play and feel your effeminate emotions swell.

Artist:  The Vaselines

Song:  “Son of A Gun”

Why is it that every band from Scotland is so dope? Teenage Fanclub, Belle & Sebastian, The Vaseline, Primal Scream, Jesus and Mary Chain, etc. Evey non-Scottish mom in the world needs to start making haggis for their kids – STAT! The world needs more awesome.

Artist:  Amazing Baby

Song:  “Bayonets”

Irresistible glam pop melodies? Check! Regal violin flourishes? Check! from Brooklyn? Check! (Quick note to all you Crooklyn Dodgers with guitars – Ralph says Cool It Now cuz George says It’s All Too Much)