Throughout the summer, Nooky Jones will be releasing playlists from each member of the band complete with track by track descriptions of what we're listening to when we're not on stage.
Take a listen to this playlist curated by Bassist Andrew Foreman and read further to check out what he loves about this music. Previous playlists from other band members are included below.
Hey - Pixies
At the utter genesis of me playing bass are The Pixies. I came into my first bass lesson having learned Nirvana’s Come As You Are, feeling awesome. Then my bass teacher, a mid-twenties anarchist-leaning bicycling Buddhist named Justin, told me “Listen man, you can learn anything you want, but in my opinion if you want to learn some Nirvana, you gotta go to the source. This is the band Nirvana wanted to be.” He gave me his copy of Doolittle and that night was one of my first memories of opening a door to a whole world of sound I didn’t know existed. I could make a whole playlist of Pixies music, but I’ll leave this here as one mile marker on my road. Kim Deal was my hero for a while - never changing her strings, grinding out eighths with that grimy P-Bass plunk, driving the band in the shadows. I saw them years later for their first reunion tour and felt like I had reached Mecca. This track in its simple rawness, all the space and room in the sound, and Frank Black’s artsy/obscure/esoteric minimal words, maximal vibe hooked me right away and is still one of my favorites.The Roots - Silent Treatment
Do You Want More?!!!??! - The Roots
Do You Want More?!!!??! (1995)
Early ‘Roots - how can you go wrong? These guys were responsible in part for my falling in love with Hip Hop; Black Thought’s slick relax, often poetic often philosophical. I love the ‘verb on the snare and the dub-like baseline. Bassist-at-the-time Hub has been one of my favorite players in terms of time and vibe; his playing isn’t cluttered with the cerebral - it’s just what it needs to be. To be fair, every bassist The Roots have ever had stays high on my list. I bought my first car at 23 - a two-door apple-red Ford Focus and I put a stereo in it myself, felt pretty handy, and bumped the hell out of this one summer.
Certainly (Live) - Erykah Badu
In college I was blessed with the opportunity to gig around the cities several times a week with a group called Loe and the Nastys. The lead singer, Loe, had all sorts of quirky musical taste that she imparted on the band as we made acoustic hipstery Hip Hop + Jazz + Funk. We had a damn good time and I’m forever grateful to that experience, which I see the beginning of me meeting people in the Minneapolis scene and playing around town etc. Loe gave us this tune to learn and I flipped OUT at Braylon Lacy’s slinky-ass bassline, and the direction they take it live as opposed to the record. I’ve always loved and respected Badu’s writing and performing but this live record for me was one of those lessons in what a band might do in the live show setting. I gave my mom a copy of this record seven years ago for Christmas and I don’t think it’s left her CD player yet.
Waiting In Vain - Bob Marley and the Wailers
One gift I got from my mother is this record. Growing up as a little kid on a small Hawaiian Island I was surrounded with Reggae music all the time - so much of my memory there is the patient pulse of sub bass coming out of someone’s modded-out-lowrider truck, almost always island. But I don’t think I really clued into it until we got a CD player (after everyone else, it seemed) for the family. It was a big deal at the time to have a 5-disc changer and this was a record my mom put in and kept in. As soon as she got home, it was Reggae time. Family man has been in my shortest list of favorite bassists for a long, long time. There are unspoken lessons and subtle wisdoms in certain players and he represents so much of that to me: serving the song, serving the vibe. He was a mechanic who dimed the bass knob and turned everything else down because it felt good. All of his basslines are so structural, so serving on a fundamental musical level, but they are all so lyrical and relentlessly melodic, and I love it when those two aspects can coexist fluently, poetically. Seeing him play live was a bucket-list moment. This tune is a classic and its gentle honesty makes my heart swell every single time.
The Root- D'Angelo
I think everyone in this band could make a whole D’Angelo playlist, but I’ll just pick this in an effort to eschew too much verbosity and say, like so many of my contemporaries, thank you D’Angelo & co. for this record that has shaped generations of musicians. Right after college I played in a 90s Rap cover band, which was equal parts hilarious and ridiculous. During one rehearsal the drummer, Umar, told me “maybe try playing that more behind the beat.” I didn’t know what he meant at all. He repeated himself in a number of ways, and I still didn’t get it. What? I had just come from several years of studying walking bass in the Jazz tradition and my definition of playing involved driving the band with my time. Finally Umar was like “like D’Angelo, man!” and I told him I’d never heard any of that guy, and he said “Oh man. Get ready, cause I’m about to change your damn life.” He put this on and told me to listen to how the bass came a little after the kick, sometimes a lot after the kick, and *BOOM* that is a huge life-changing moment in my whole musicianship. I went home with this record and for months played along to every track on it, and for years after would practicing playing in different parts of the beat, recording myself and looking on a computer at the milliseconds of difference between different feels. Since then Pino Palladino and Raphael Saadiq have been two of my favorite bassists ever. I still learn from their playing every time I listen.
I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know - Donny Hathaway
Extension of a Man (1973)
The first time I heard the break that happens in this tune two-thirds of the way, I literally screamed. I was in a tiny, plywood-walled one-bedroom apartment in uptown cleaning and I probably scared my neighbors. Again with the unspoken wisdoms of so many players - this is such a great example. Willie Weeks is a favorite of mine and I love his swagger on this tune; I love that the drummer decided to wait a verse before bringing the hats in; I love the way Hathaway phrases…everything…always; and I love the switch of feels when they go to the bridge here, and the harmonic movement in that section. And then it’s that break and honestly, if you’re not familiar you just have to listen to this yourself and if you don’t scream or at least raise your eyebrows, you should listen again.
Melt - Chet Faker
Built on Glass (2014)
I love the disjointed feeling of groove found in a lot of music that’s sample-based. I think that’s one of the things I want to cop most as I play a non-digital instrument. I love the layers and textures in this track.
Yuri Kochiyama- Blue Scholars
I love the way this duo does things. I love their signature spacious boom bap; Geologic’s smart, introspective, socially-conscious flows. I love that they use music as a platform to encourage discourse on social issues. I love the sentiment of this track on a couple levels. One: here’s a rap tune that’s not a bumper sticker for a materialist patriarchic narrative; two: how radical, how seldom-seen is it to make a tune praising a social activist instead of some chick the lead voice wants to take to bed; three: here I am loving the track, wondering who Yuri Kochiyama is because this tune is awesome and she sounds awesome, so then I look her up and learn a bit about an important figure in United States activism, and to me that is what all of this is about.
Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip Hop) - Erykah Badu (ft. Common)
Love of My LIfe (An Ode to Hip Hop) (2002)
Reid Kennedy showed me this tune before a gig in Duluth. When the bassline came in I lost my mind. I love Badu, I love Common, and I love nasty-ass basslines full of attitude. The end.
Juicy - The RH Factor
My good friend Sara showed me this record in college. She is consummately Bay Area; grew up on West Coast funk/soul/Jazz and social activism and she got me hip to a lot of things, including Roy Hargrove’s work. I love way this tune starts kinda out-there, then breaks and chills out into this spacious groove bomb with beautiful horn/flute pads. I love how they take their time getting the vocals, and I love Renee Neufville’s delivery. I love her and Roy’s flirty trading at the end, and the air in her voice. Also, the tone of the kick drum.
Llorarás - Oscar D’Leon
En Vivo (1996)
I got into Salsa music pretty much right as I started playing bass in high school, from a Puerto Rican drummer friend of mine. We would jam duet-style in his basement to our favorite Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg grooves, until one day he showed me some Oscar and it subtly blew my mind. I couldn’t wrap my head around the bass tumbao - I could hear it had a pattern but couldn’t tell how to hear it mixed in with the melange of rhythm you find in Salsa. I started studying it with my bass teacher at the time, who told me in our first lesson about Salsa bass “listen, the key is to learn how to dance this stuff. The sooner you start doing that, the better Salsa player you’ll become.” I was too shy to try such a thing until I got to college and started going to weekly Salsa dance lessons - and then it just clicked. I was able to play the music without counting neurotically to myself, and just feeling it instead. I think there is a bigger lesson in there somewhere.
Lovelife - Atmosphere
God Loves Ugly (2002)
I loved Atmosphere since 16 years old and when I found out that they were from the city I moved to for college, I kinda flipped out a little bit. Actually I flipped out a lot. Everyone and their mom could make an Atmosphere playlist in this city, but I’ll put this one here because this whole record is just full of rad rhymes and storylines, and I think Slug’s morose curiosity, the “reality is tragic and poetic” mentality on this track, is beautiful. In high school I took a class and made a djembe and learned how to play it beating along to this record. Then in college I smoked a lot of American Spirits to this record feeling angsty. Hilarious cliché? Yes. Authentic? Also yes.
A Song for Assata - Common (ft. Cee Lo Green)
Like Water for Chocolate (2000)
Another great example of Hip Hop (or music in general) as a modality of social activism. I have a vignette about this track.
I was on tour with Davina and the Vagabonds and we were in Georgia - I think this was one of the last days of a 6 week run and I was practicing, as I try to do, using downtime to stay sane on the road. This time that meant going to a Jimmy John’s and getting a sandwich. Inside they were playing Tupac’s Me Against The World and as I ordered I told the man serving me, passingly, “This is a great record.” He said “for real, Tupac was a revolutionary, man.” I said “yeah he was, and his godmother too.” He stopped in his movement and said “no way man, you know about Assata Shakur?” and I said “yeah, she’s a total badass, wherever she is,” and we talked about her being in the Black Panther Party/Black Liberation Army, and how her being charged was suspect to say the least, and how she bounced to Cuba at one point. As we’re talking the man gets visibly emotional, he’s excited to chat and also verklempt. He says “man I hope this isn’t strange, but I feel like I need to give you hug. You don’t know how happy that makes me as a Black man to meet a white man respecting Assata Shakur.” I’m a hugger so we hugged. I couldn’t think of what to say really, but I remember saying “I think it’s important to know about revolutionaries.” He gave me free chips and a cookie and I left feeling grateful for a moment of spontaneous connection. There are a lot of resources to tell the stories of the BLA/Black Panthers, and this track is powerful to me because it is, as well as a slammin’ groove, one of those resources. As a white consumer of Hip Hop (there’s a lot more to talk about here), I think it’s important to listen, and to humble yourself to the knowledge/wisdom present in someone else’s story - especially if that story involves decades of oppression.
Distinto - Orishas
El Kilo (2005)
I fell in love with learning other language through Spanish, and fell in love with Spanish from living abroad and listening to music from that part of the world . My first experience doing that was teaching English in a small village in Panama’s Coclé region. I told a local friend of mine that I was super into rappers Tego Calderon (Dominican Republic) and Calle 13 (Puerto Rico) and he got me hip to Los Orishas, out of Cuba. I love how their beats come from so many different lineages of music, and the phenomenon of a profoundly American music like Hip Hop gifting itself to the rest of the world, and hearing what happens out of that tradition elsewhere.
Might Be - Anderson .Paak
Cameron Kinghorn got me into this guy and I’m so thankful. He got me into this record right before I spent six weeks in a van on tour, and I listened to .Paak’s records Venice and Malibu like crazy. I later found out that that this song is largely sampled from Xscape’s “Who Can I Run To,” and love that too. .Paak does so well at making a vibe in each track, and on an album. And I love the tight, focused, almost squashed-sounding tone of the bass on this.
Thieves in the Night - Blackstar
Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Blackstar (1998)
Some records you discover more and more depth to every time you listen and this is a great example. I picked a track to use for this playlist four times and then settled on this one, listening to the social commentary and reflexivity in the lyrics and the angular splicing of Jazz samples (?), and that deliciously heavy, pillowy tone of the kick drum.
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi - Radiohead
In Rainbows (2007)
Palette-cleanser time. I’m sure we could all make a few playlists just out of Radiohead tunes, but I’ll pick this classic for its spacious patience and layers, and I think the tone of the drum kit is really beautifully glassy. Thom Yorke has this ability to meld beauty and strange and questioning and deep sadness, and solitude. He’s the bomb. I also like how asymmetrical this song form is. I used to play an homage to this tune in a Jazz trio setting with the Max Corcoran Project whose namesake got me into this record. Cheers Max!
Mineshaft - Dessa
Castor, The Twin (2011)
I got into Dessa’s work in high school standing guard as a friend would spraypaint sex-positive messages throughout Portland walls and sidewalks. Her name was Beth and we both worked at a sexual health non-profit, and hanging with her I learned a lot about Indie Hip Hop and street art. She didn’t seem to care about bringing a little mini boombox along on her bike as she taught me about stencils and wheat-pasting and gave me names of rap artists to listen to as I was getting into that scene. Then I moved to MN and a lot of the stuff she got me hip to became a soundtrack for my early residency here. When I got called to play on a Dessa track for the Hamilton Mixtape, it felt like a poetic full circle and I wondered what Beth had been up to all these years. I’ve always admired Dessa’s ability for eloquence addressing the existential. Thanks Beth, thanks Dessa!
E=MC2 - J Dilla (ft. Common)
The Shining (2006)
A lot of my favorite basslines come from people who are not strictly bassplayers. Bach is a good example of this, and so is J Dilla. I can’t count the number of times I’ve listened to a Dilla beat and thought “that’s what I want to do on the bass.”
Pretty Pimpin - Kurt Vile
b'lieve i'm goin down... (2015)
What a vibe. So much vibe in five minutes. Listen to these lyrics - I’m a sucker for estrangement and any art that touches the topic. This also feels like an anthem for someone drinking PBR and shot of Jameson at the C.C. club and I’m fine with it. My good friend Thomas Nordlund got me into Kurt Vile. Thanks Tom!