We’re back with two hours of nonstop hit singles that I enjoyed listening to over the last month. Most of these songs were either originally released or reissued this year, but there’s a bit of older music hidden down in there as well. For songs pulled from albums I’ve already written about, I’ve linked those old posts for your personal benefit. Russel the Leaf, Stoner Control, and MJ Lenderman are the only ones with multiple songs this time around. As always, be sure to check out previous playlist posts if you like this one, and you can follow the entire playlist on Spotify here.
Rest in power, Matt “Money” Miller and Tavish Maloney.
“Sailin’ Away”, Russel the Leaf
From Then You’re Gunna Wanna (2021)
Producer-singer-songwriter Evan Marré starts off the latest album from his solo project Russel the Leaf with the positively stunning “Sailin’ Away”. The song is based entirely around a ringing piano and Marré’s high, youthful singing that’s backed by gorgeous vocal harmonies. The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson comparisons basically write themselves, but it’s one thing to take influence and another completely to make something as good as “Sailin’ Away” from those old bones. Read more about Then You’re Gunna Wanna here.
“Tumult Around the World”, Titus Andronicus
From An Obelisk (2019, Merge)
I did that 2019 time machine playlist last month, and it got me to revisit a few albums from that year I remembered enjoying but maybe didn’t give enough attention to. That led me back to An Obelisk, a good Titus Andronicus album whose gimmick is that it’s just a good Titus Andronicus album, and to “Tumult Around the World”, which is Titus’s distressed, howling version of “Baba O’Riley”. It’d be easy to look at how simple this song is on the surface and say “What’s the big deal?” but Patrick Stickles and company really tap into something here over “Tumult Around the World”’s five minutes. Not that they really tell you what that thing is. Is it a fierce condemnation of Earth and its toil? Is it a plea for understanding? Surely any world that contains the guitar that kicks in roughly three minutes into “Tumult Around the World” can’t be that bad.
“Debutante”, Olivia’s World
From Tuff 2B Tender (2021, Lost Sound Tapes)
The lead single from Olivia’s World’s upcoming Tuff 2B Tender EP is a surprisingly dense take on Pacific Northwestern twee pop. The band is now based in lead singer Alice Rezende’s native Queensland, Australia, but originally got its start in Vancouver, British Columbia—not too far from K Records and the International Pop Underground. However, while most of the bands arising from that scene repped musical simplicity and minimalism, “Debutante” is a multilayered composition that builds into a wall of sound against which Rezende’s distinct vocals fight for attention. The song is about the concoction of emotions that comes with starting a new project—something Rezende has direct recent experience with, as she had to rebuild the lineup of Olivia’s World after her latest cross-continental move.
“Sparkle Endlessly”, Stoner Control
From Sparkle Endlessly (2021, Sound Judgment)
Every second of the title track from Stoner Control’s Sparkle Endlessly is immaculately executed—from the giddy “Flagpole Sitta”-esque opening drumbeat, the incredibly hooky guitar riff, singer Charley Williams’ absurd but somehow emotional chorus, and just the right amount of trumpet. Put on your best shit-eating grin and party all your stupid human emotions away with Stoner Control. Read more about Sparkle Endlessly here.
“What I See”, The Chisel
From Enough Said (2021)
The Chisel are some angry Oi! punks, and they’re here to yell about you about some stuff with their latest EP, Enough Said. While this doesn’t sound on the surface like something I’d usually go for, The Chisel put together a positively anthemic chorus in “What I See” that elevates the song above your typical screed (not that there’s anything wrong with a screed here and there). “What I See” tilts against one of the most tilt-worthy targets of all time—the sensational, frenzied British press. The creeps that like to blame all of your problems on immigrants, minorities, et cetera. “What they print in the fuckin’ rag / We don’t believe it”, they carefully explain, before lifting the curtain for the listener: “This country’s brought to its knees / But not by the people in the paper you read”. Not sure what’s up with the hash browns, though.
“God’s Gift to Women”, Harmony Woods
From Graceful Rage (2021, Skeletal Lightning)
Even taking into account just how much of an emotional rollercoaster the rest of Graceful Rage is, I still wasn’t prepared for “God’s Gift to Women”. It’s raw and unflinching, but in a different way than the rest of that album. Harmony Woods’ Sofia Verbilla paints an absolutely brutal sketch of a two-faced person who disguises their misdeeds under a neat, perfect public image, and channels her anger into the extremely potent power of pop punk catharsis. When the song ramps up into its chorus, it’s a “wow” moment that’s surpassed only moments later by that “haunted by the past” line that’s crammed between the bars. “God’s Gift to Women” only represents one pole of Graceful Rage—“Time to watch those skeletons fall / This is your wrecking ball” becomes “Now I’ll keep my mouth shut, baby / Save it for the ones who love me” merely a song later. Those thornier, more complex emotions that Verbilla explores elsewhere are no less powerful, but for one glorious moment, she leans fully into the “rage” side of Graceful Rage. No Infinite Jest discourse in the comments, please.
“Deliverance”, St. Lenox
From Ten Songs of Worship and Praise for Our Tumultuous Times (2021, Don Giovanni/Anyway)
Although St. Lenox’s upcoming fourth album grapples extensively with Andrew Choi’s feelings towards Christianity, opening track “Deliverance” begins by referencing a secular holiday—Groundhog Day. “The Punxsutawney folktale was bullshit, you know / Well, that’s what I’ve always thought about religion” is how Choi starts to explain where he’s coming from, but, of course, “Deliverance” wouldn’t be worth a mention if he didn’t interrogate those thoughts further. Over simple piano chords and buzzing synths, Choi sings about how mortality—both his own and those around him—has forced him to confront heavy topics that, up until now, he’d been fortunate enough not to have to face. The song follows that thread and ends with Choi musing “I’m ready to believe in something these days / Maybe I can believe in deliverance now”. It makes one begin to understand why he has described Ten Songs of Worship and Praise for Our Tumultuous Times as “a progressive, queer, spiritual record”, and it makes one appreciate the path that Andrew Choi has taken to arrive here as well.
“Redeeming Qualities”, Proper Nouns
From Feel Free (2021, Phone Booth)
I’ve said this on Twitter before, but, my goodness, does Proper Nouns’ Spencer Compton sound like the late Scott Miller of Game Theory and The Loud Family. It’s not just one aspect of Miller’s music that rings the bell for me—it’s the high tenor “miserable whine”, it’s the chip-on-shoulder vocal inflection, it’s the skewed pop sensibility that can turn something like the phrase “redeeming qualities” into something profound. In case it’s not clear, this is all a high compliment at Rosy Overdrive, but the second single from the upcoming Feel Free is a strong song in its own right. “Redeeming Qualities” is a slightly new wave-influenced jangle/power pop number that mostly sticks to traditional rock band instrumentation, other than letting the synths take front and center during the bridge, and it will not leave your head once entered.
“Strawberry Cough”, FACS
From Present Tense (2021, Trouble in Mind)
The lead single from FACS’s fourth album, Present Tense, is a fuzzy blast of post-punk that’s also surprisingly catchier than the typical fare from the Chicago experimental/noise rock band. Despite being (presumably) named after the strain of marijuana, “Strawberry Cough” has a woozy, psychedelic undertone—almost like FACS took all those kaleidoscopic, fruit-themed songs of the sixties and filtered them through scary eighties American underground rock. The end result falls somewhere between “cool cat” and “paranoia”, or kind of like if Sonic Youth had tried to go commercial about five years earlier in their career than when they actually did.
“Someone Get the Grill Out of the Rain”, MJ Lenderman
From Ghost of Your Guitar Solo (2021, Dear Life)
MJ Lenderman has a knack for Sparklehorse-esque beauty in the mundane, and it’s out in full force on the 70-second “Someone Get the Grill Out of the Rain”. Coming off as a brief but memorable scene sketch, the song quickly presents its thesis sentence and doesn’t overstay its welcome, preferring to fly by like a twangy Guided by Voices or Magnetic Fields album track. Still, Lenderman gets out the line “Precious memories are the ones that suck” before the song ends—he’s not playing around. Read more about Ghost of Your Guitar Solo here.
“Old Friend”, Worriers
From The Old Friend EP (2021, Bruiser Worldwide)
The recent covers EP from Worriers is a really fun, light follow-up to 2020’s excellent You or Someone You Know. The Old Friend EP finds the band laying down worthy version of two songs that are near and dear to me (“Letter From an Occupant” by The New Pornographers and “That’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate” by Mission of Burma) but oddly enough it was the title track, a take on a Rancid song that I don’t think I’ve ever heard before, that made it to the playlist. The first ska song to make an appearance on Rosy Overdrive, Worriers’ cover of “Old Friend” best captures the spirit of the EP, which is that of a group of friends coming together to play music they love for the pure enjoyment of it.
“Crescent Bridge”, Joe Pug
From The Diving Sun (2021)
“Crescent Bridge”, the opening track to Joe Pug’s latest album The Diving Sun, is everything I enjoy about his music—Pug’s soulful vocals are front and center, the instrumental is simple rootsy stuff that enhances but doesn’t distract, and his lyrics are as grandiose-bordering-on-corny as ever. Here we find Pug, ever the plucky underdog, waiting on the titular Crescent Bridge and trying with all his talent as a songwriter to sell a certain love interest on his troubadour, unglamorous lifestyle over an unnamed member of the upper crust. “He drives a dark car, no heart, rebel with a Gold Card” is such a great petty line, and “Your stomach’s always empty with a silver spoon” is a pretty good one-liner too.
“North Fork Wine”, Personal Space
From A Lifetime of Leisure (2021, Good Eye)
Among the various character studies that permeate Personal Space’s A Lifetime of Leisure, “North Fork Wine” is one of the most complete and intriguing. The song’s verses paint the picture of a “conscious consumer” progressive liberal that fully embraces the mantle of purchasing habits as politics. “Fair trade, free range every day” proclaims our discerning narrator at the song’s climax, and elsewhere they take pride in boycotting XXXTentacion’s music and tracking down reclaimed pine. The song’s chorus is a pretty succinct dispatch, seemingly shaking its head both at this Vitruvian man’s internalization of the lack of societal change as a personal failure and his still-unshakable belief in his outlook. Also, the song’s extremely catchy and you don’t have to care about any of that to like it. Read more about A Lifetime of Leisure here.
“Surface Tension”, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
From Theory of Ice (2021, You’ve Changed)
Theory of Ice, the latest album from Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg author and singer Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, is a strong collection of writing that draws inspiration from water and its forms, as well as her experiences as an indigenous North American. She and an all-star group of Canadian musicians steer the album deftly from a full-band folk rock update of Willie Dunn’s withering “I Pity the County” (Dunn will appear later in this playlist) to spare acoustic songs like “Failure of Melting” and “The Wake”. “Surface Tension” contains moments of both ends—although it eventually swells to a gorgeous musical climax, the way it slowly builds to its conclusion and its lyrics about “simple, stolen moments” make the song one of the more delicate tracks on Theory of Ice. Rosy Overdrive favorite John K. Samson joins Simpson on vocals to add an extra layer of warmth to the journey.
“Today’s the Day”, Herzog
From Fiction Writer (2021, Exit Stencil)
I liked Fiction Writer as a whole album because it found Herzog tapping into a hard-earned well of maturity and depth in their songwriting. I like “Today’s the Day” because it fuckin’ rocks. It’s a hard-charging, fuzzy garage power pop song about getting out there in the street and clashing with the fuzz—uh, I mean, the authorities. Lyrically it’s a little vague as to what Herzog is protesting, but at least they’re very enthusiastic about it. Read more about Fiction Writer here.
“Kansas”, Neil Young and Crazy Horse
From Neil Young Archives Vol. II (2020, Reprise)
I could’ve pulled several hidden gems from Neil Young’s 10-CD Archives II box set, but I went with an alternate, full-band version of a Neil song that I already liked before the box set came out here. A solo version of “Kansas” showed up last year on the unearthed release of the “lost” album Homegrown, but it’s given the mid-tempo country-rock treatment from Crazy Horse on the box set’s eighth disc, Dume (which is a reimagining of 1975’s Neil Young and Crazy Horse record, Zuma). The sparse Homegrown version fit well with that album’s bleak tone, and while this upbeat rendition emphasizes the song’s tender moments, it still can’t shake its sad and lonely undertones. If you’re looking for more Archives II highlights, a solo live version of “Midnight on the Bay” and the Tonight’s the Night outtake “Everybody’s Alone” were also on the shortlist for this playlist.
“L’exotisme Interieur”, Stereolab
From Electrically Possessed [Switched On Volume 4] (2021, Warp)
As a casual Stereolab fan, it always blows my mind just how much Stereolab music is out there. Electrically Possessed is the fourth compilation of non-album Stereolab songs, it’s a triple album that’s nearly two hours long, and from what I understand there’s still a good deal of their music that’s relatively hard to find. I’m not sure what possessed (no pun intended, genuinely) me to listen to this whole album despite only really knowing their “classic” records (from Transient Random-Noise Bursts… to Cobra and Phases Group…) but Stereolab is Stereolab, and I found myself just putting it on when I wasn’t sure what to listen to frequently. “L’exotisme Interieur”, which as best as I can tell was originally the B-side to their 2008 “Explosante Fixe” single, is the tight three-minute pop song highlight, with Lætitia Sadier singing a melodic French vocal over a busy but warm instrumental.
“It’s Never Been a Fair Fight”, Craig Finn
From All These Perfect Crosses (2020, Partisan)
“It’s Never Been a Fair Fight” has been kicking around for awhile now, but I only really appreciated it after it was included on the All These Perfect Crosses compilation, which finally got a non-Record Store Day release in February. Musically, it feels like a continuation of the lively version of his sound that Finn explored on 2019’s I Need a New War, with a soul-influenced groove and prominent horn section that would give the song a pretty wide appeal if it wasn’t Craig Finn singing. Speaking of Finn, the lyrics to “It’s Never Been a Fair Fight” find him operating squarely in his wheelhouse. Only he could sing about growing older and becoming disillusioned with the punk and hardcore scenes (“We said there weren’t any rules / But there were so many goddamn rules”) so naturally.
“Warm Storm”, Giant Sand
From Ramp (1991, Rough Trade)
I’ve wanted to talk about Howe Gelb’s weirdo alt-country-roots-rock band Giant Sand on Rosy Overdrive for a while now, and the thirtieth anniversary of 1991’s Ramp is a good an excuse as any. “Warm Storm” is one of Giant Sand’s more straightforward, radio-friendly numbers, and that’s even accounting for the left-turn old-country banjo interlude roughly two minutes into the song. I believe that that’s frequent Gelb collaborator Victoria Williams singing the chorus—my apologies if I’m wrong there, but whoever it is, it’s a stroke of genius. It turns the song into a genuine anthem without Gelb having to stop doing his Dust Bowl vampire routine that gives “Warm Storm” its urgent undercurrent. The warm storm is coming, don’t spend your whole life waiting for it.
“Classic Like King Kong”, Russel the Leaf
From Then You’re Gunna Wanna (2021)
“Classic Like King Kong” is perhaps the most pure pop moment on Then You’re Gunna Wanna, which as anyone who’s heard the whole album knows is very high praise. The song is a masterclass in turning heartache and hurt into something beautiful and comforting. Evan Marré sounds like he’s ruefully grinning throughout the whole thing, even during the moments when he’s not certain just how wounded he actually is. “I’m tossing about at night, wondering what the hell went wrong” never sounded so good. Read more about Then You’re Gunna Wanna here.
“Laughing Waters”, Snowhore
From Everything Tastes Bad (2021, Devil Town Tapes)
Nostalgic sadness permeates most of Everything Tastes Bad, and even “Laughing Waters”, the upbeat album opener, isn’t spared. Snowhore’s Veronica Isley opens the song with “In laughing waters your skin is warm / Ain’t seen no trouble, can’t do no harm” and continues its summer childhood imagery by referencing the taste of artificial cherry—only to sucker punch us all at the end with “’Til your brain went numb / Until you weren’t young”. Read more about Everything Tastes Bad here.
“Oscar Wilde (Came Here to Make Fun of You)”, John Murry
From The Stars Are God’s Bullet Holes (2021, Submarine Cat)
The first John Murry song I ever heard was “Under a Darker Moon” from 2017’s A Short History of Decay. I instantly was blown away with how the Mississippi-born, Ireland-based songwriter traded in gallows humor that could be both genuinely harrowing and funny, and how he could plumb these depths with incredibly sharp melodies. If that sounds intriguing to you, well, here’s “Oscar Wilde (Came Here to Make Fun of You)”. The song’s weapons of choice are a shuffling beat and an excellent bass groove, and Murry walks one of his most impressive lyrical tightropes over them. “Oscar Wilde” finds him thinking of paranoia, violence, and of course the titular author. “I’d rather be deemed a criminal that be a player in this nocturne,” mutters Murry in his distinctive baritone, before mustering up a challenge: “Take me to Reading Gaol with Oscar Wilde / I’ll get used to it”. The song’s video’s worth a watch, as well.
“Impossible Game”, Oso Oso
From Basking in the Glow (2019, Triple Crown)
Basking in the Glow was another 2019 album that I enjoyed but maybe didn’t give enough attention to. Not that it needed my attention, mind you—Jade Lilitri was perfectly capable of breaking out on his own, and I remember Basking in the Glow cutting through the bullshit sometime during my personal haze of late 2019. A couple times I passed over “Impossible Game” on this playlist, thinking “Do I really need this here? A random 2019 Oso Oso song?” but every time the chorus kicked in it made my stray thoughts look like the fools they were. I am elastically, deliriously, just trying to stay in that lane, too, Jade.
“Season”, Dan Wriggins
From Mr. Chill (2021, Orindal)
This makes three monthly playlists in a row for Mr. Chill himself, Dan Wriggins, and I can’t say he didn’t earn it. “Season” is an intriguing highlight from Wriggins’ latest EP, differentiating itself from that record’s other four songs by wading into darker territory and opting for “cold” rather than “chill”. Wriggins’ vocals are as striking as ever, here letting “How to keep doing the things you should /How to hang on to the days you felt good” hang there like the semi-questions they are. Also, I may be wrong about this, but I’m pretty sure I saw Friendship (Wriggins’ band) play this song live at the same show where they played the title track from Mr. Chill. Read more about Mr. Chill here.
“Live Jack”, MJ Lenderman
From Ghost of Your Guitar Solo (2021, Dear Life)
This is a live version of the song “Gentlemen’s Jack” that also appears on Ghost of Your Guitar Solo. I probably should’ve included the cleaner-sounding “studio” version, but partially due to my high lo-fi tolerance I slightly prefer the, uh, spiritedness of this recording slightly more. “Live Jack” sports a singsong melody that reminds me of Simon Joyner and it features some of MJ Lenderman’s finest lyricism, regarding Jack Nicholson sitting courtside at a Lakers game of all things. “I found two trees with the nerve enough to hold me” is a hell of a closing line, too. Read more about Ghost of Your Guitar Solo here.
“Sunless Saturday”, Fishbone
From The Reality of My Surroundings (1991, Sony)
I’ve been coming to terms recently with the fact that I don’t actually hate funk metal music—I just loath Anthony Kiedis’s vocals so much that I didn’t want anything to do with anybody ever mentioned in the same sentence as his band. “Sunless Saturday” is a lot more metal than funk, though, so perhaps this is me taking a baby step forward rather than a leap. The musical bombast of “Sunless Saturday” works well with its melodramatic lyrics, which capture the same defiant dread that “Tumult Around the World” did earlier in this playlist. It’s a harsh but undeniable closer for The Reality of My Surroundings, an overstuffed, head-spinning tour de force of an album that, as spotty as it can be at times, I’d still recommend for anyone curious about this strain of rock music. Just dive in—I did, and I’m fine. Shit, is Mike Patton’s music actually good too? Do I need to listen to his bands next?
“Elevator World”, Stoner Control
From Sparkle Endlessly (2021, Sound Judgment)
“Elevator World” is Sparkle Endlessly’s (hypothetical) side two highlight. The fun descending riff that opens the song and the trampoline chorus play around with the song’s title and lyrical conceit to great effect. The song dethrones Fountains of Wayne’s “Elevator Up” for the title of best power pop elevator-based song the moment singer/guitarist Charley Williams stretches the “go” in the “You gotta let me know / You gotta let me go” section of the chorus into multiple syllable territory. Read more about Sparkle Endlessly here.
“World of Sand”, The Cakekitchen
From World of Sand (1991, Homestead)
More gorgeous Kiwi pop from The Cakekitchen, who contributed something similar to February’s playlist. The title track from 1991’s World of Sand is an acoustic arpeggiated number that showcases the delicate end of bandleader Graeme Jefferies’ songwriting. His melancholic vocals and guitar picking are accompanied by swelling violin from Alastair Galbraith (“New Zealand’s only violin player”), which gives the song a simple elegance that sounds like a professionally-recorded continuation of the lo-fi pop that Graeme and his brother Peter were making in the 1980s with This Kind of Punishment. While much of World of Sand found The Cakekitchen gelling together as a three-piece band (with bassist Rachel King and drummer Robert Key forming Jeffries’ rhythm section), “World of Sand” the song isn’t constrained by lineup.
“Sun Ra Jane”, Lifeguard
From Receiver b/w Sun Ra Jane (2021, Chunklet)
I enjoy both sides of the latest 7” by Lifeguard (not to be confused with the Robert Pollard/Doug Gillard project Lifeguards) but there’s something about the single’s tricky B-side that caused me to zero in on it in particular. Most of “Sun Ra Jane” is instrumental, highlighted by guitarist Kai Slater playing a mathy riff appearing at both the start- and endpoints, and then a middle section that slows everything to a halt only to build it all back up again. The song’s two vocals parts (not sure if they count as choruses) find all of Lifeguard on deck shouting along together, reminiscent of Unwound’s more punked-up moments.
“Flipping Shit”, Gaadge
From Yeah? (2021, Crafted Sounds)
FUCKED UP AND ONTO SOMETHING, I DON’T KNOW WHAT
“Geisterwaltz”, Writhing Squares
From Chart for the Solution (2021, Trouble in Mind)
I don’t have this problem but I imagine that, for some people, Writhing Squares’ space-psych-prog rock double album odyssey Chart for the Solution might be a tad overwhelming. Well, I’ve got good news for you: “Geisterwaltz” condenses everything great about that record into a totally reasonable four-minute package. The song is built off of a memorably psychedelic swirling riff and is punctuated by saxophone squalls that all come together to be bizarrely catchy—it’s not hard to imagine some mirror universe where “Geisterwaltz” is a number one hit single. I’d like that universe. Read more about Chart for the Solution here.
“Bucket Beach”, The Pretty Flowers
From Listen Up! A Benefit for Democracy Now! (2021, The Stowaways)
“Bucket Beach” is going to show up on a benefit album later this year, but the song itself is out now and stands on its own quite nicely as a single showcase for Los Angeles’ Pretty Flowers. It sort of exudes a slacker vibe, but there are a lot of bells and whistles beneath the surface. It’s got some nice acoustic hits for an intro, and even an unabashed jangle pop chorus and full-on handclaps aren’t enough to pull “Bucket Beach” out of its unexplainably transfixing moody core. Singer Noah Green seems to flirt with both the irreverent and the sincere in his lyrics, perhaps in a nod to the nineties indie underground bands from which The Pretty Flowers undoubtedly have taken some influence.
“Avenue H”, Williamson Brothers
(2021, Dial Back Sound/Janky Genius)
The Williamson Brothers are Adam and Blake, who I’m familiar with as the rhythm section for Birmingham’s excellent Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires. They’ve struck out on their own for this project, with Adam sliding from bass to guitar, Blake taking lead vocals, and Matt Patton stepping in on bass to complete the trio. According to Dial Back Sound, the band’s first single is “a tribute to the joys and frustrations of playing SXSW, skateboarding, and Austin punk power librarians Tim & Beth Kerr”. The song is oddly atmospheric in the verses before exploding into a big garage rock chorus about booking it to the titular avenue at South By. When people say something sounds like Teenage Fanclub they usually mean it’s wispy and jangly, but that band has plenty of distorted, feedback-heavy moments as well, and that’s where the Williamson Brothers land with “Avenue H”.
“The Ballad of Crowfoot”, Willie Dunn
From Creation Never Sleeps, Creation Never Dies: The Willie Dunn Anthology (2021, Light in the Attic)
You can consider “The Ballad of Crowfoot” the playlist’s “bonus track” if you’d like, as its ten-minute length sends it sailing way over the concise two-hour goal I always invariably miss. But that’s certainly not a knock on the song’s quality—the real reason it’s last here is that nothing could follow it. “The Ballad of Crowfoot” was famously the soundtrack for a short 1969 documentary of the same name about the Siksika chief, which is often cited as Canada’s first music video. The late Mi’kmaq folk singer Willie Dunn, who directed the documentary in addition to penning the song, built up a strong songbook that’s beginning to be more accessible thanks to a recent anthology from Light in the Attic Records. Light in the Attic has excelled in bringing this kind of music to the spotlight before, particularly with their 2015 reissue of Willie Thrasher’s Spirit Child. Dunn is in a class all his own, however—“The Ballad of Crowfoot” and its rolling timeline of treachery and atrocities committed by the Canadian government against various Indigenous peoples is all too relevant today, never mind the fact that its narrative “ends” in 1971.