PLAYLIST: V.V. Lightbody’s Songs for Being V.V. Comforted/V.V. Caffeinated

The Chicago songwriter compiles a two-tier track list for coffee hour.

V.V. Lightbody just dropped another full LP of what she aptly calls “nap-rock”—a subgenre coined not so much as a term of self-deprecation, but rather speaks (softly) to Vivian McConnell’s brand of rousing, hushed rock anthems. Make a Shrine or Burn It blends a variety of genres and instruments to generate a sense of melodic calm best enjoyed at sunrise—which, I guess is an excuse to take a nap later in the day, thus providing another definition for “nap rock.”

As with the title of her new album, Lightbody gives you two options with the playlist she’s cobbled together for us: stream songs with a soothing morning cup of joe, or stream songs to get absolutely jacked on caffeine to. “I am always on a mission to make the most flawless ‘morning music’ playlist—calming, uplifting-but-moody, gentle tunes that lead me into the day,” she explains. “Especially during quarantine, I lean on a lot of these songs to keep focused and positive. Brazilian music is a go-to—you can’t really go wrong with flutes in the morning, either. A lot of the moments on this playlist inspired sounds on my new record.”

She does her best, though, to recreate that feeling of “oh shit, was this one too many cups?” with a certain groove injected midway through. “If you’re a coffee drinker, I tried to imitate the moment when the caffeine hits, although I know it’s different for everyone. You’ll notice a groovy incline towards the middle of the playlist.” 

Whether your goal is to be very, very comforted or to be very, very caffeinated, you can stream the whole playlist below. Grab your copy of MaSoBI right here.

COMFORTED:

Lô Borges, “Calibre”  

This one is a pretty recent find. At a genuine one minute and twenty-nine seconds long—if I could choose entrance music to a day, this would be it. Stay for the flute.

Hamilton De Holanda Quintet, “Clube da Esquina No 2.”

An instrumental track from a Brazilian artists collective (featuring Lô Borges from track one, Milton Nascimiento). Mike Harmon, the bass player on MaSoBI showed me this track and I think it’s one of the most gorgeous songs I’ve ever heard.

J.J. Cale, “Cherry”

Panned vocals on point! 

Helado Negro, “Pais Nublado” 

Helado Negro released This Is How You Smile in 2019, and the whole record is a is a go-to soother for me.

Gal Costa & Caetano Veloso, “Onde Eu Nasci Passa Um Rio” 

This whole Gal Costa / Caetano Veloso duo record is perfect. I also am obsessed with the album art

Elis Regina, “20 Anos Blue” 

The synth on this track makes me melt. Supposedly Elis Regina was “a perfectionist who was frequently dissatisfied” and was called “Hurricane” and “Little Pepper” by musicians and journalists, which makes sense. Her vocal performance is stunning and emotional. 

Ahmad Jamal, “Poinciana” (Live at Pershing, Chicago, 1958) 

This is one of my favorite versions of this song. I was able to see him in Urbana in 2012 and it was such a treat! 

Bonnie Raitt, “Thank You”

Can’t stop coming back to this song. The recording is so warm. 

CAFFEINATED:

Fernando Falcão, “Revoada” 

I found this track on NTS Radio (an online radio station based in London)—and it really gets me going. Bird sounds to boot! 

Bread, “Guitar Man”

My parents danced drunk in a barn on my dad’s sixtieth birthday to this song, so it had to make it on the list. 

Fell Runner, “Come Home” 

These are some buds from LA—this song makes me feel so good, and their guitar work inspires me so much. “It’s always good to have some time alone / But I like your voice in person / So much more than on the phone.”

Betty Harris, “There’s a Break in the Road” 

Nate Friedman, who plays drums on Make a Shrine or Burn It, showed me this track as we were leaving a rehearsal for the tour we never got to go on. I had this on repeat for weeks. Produced/written by Allen Touissant and an insane drum sound!

Jeff Parker, “Build a Nest (feat. Ruby Parker)” 

Jeff Parker is a genius—and this is one of my favorite records so far of 2020. Shoutout to International Anthem.

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