SN&R's playlist issue

SN&R asked a bunch of local notables to help jump-start 2015 with fresh mixes, killer jams and party playlists

Janelle Bitker

Janelle Bitker

Photos by Darin Smith

Each of these playlists can be found on the SN&R's Spotify account:

I’d be willing to bet that music is a pretty big part of most of our lives. It’s the soundtrack to our highest moments and the valleys in between. It can get us fired up for a night on the town or help us unwind during a particularly nasty traffic jam on Business 80 (good luck with that one—it’s going to take more mellow horns than Yanni and Kenny G could order up on their best days).

But here’s the weird thing: Most of us don’t go looking for a specific song. We’re happy to soak up what we hear on the radio, on TV or from our friends.

That’s all well and good for the ’80s and ’90s, when major labels kept a tight grip on our access to music. But now it’s easier than ever to surf around the Web and find something you’ve never heard before. What if your favorite band was out there, just waiting for you to discover it? What if that perfect gym song was only a few clicks away and you missed it?

In an ideal world, we’d all have the time and energy to find the music that speaks to us. Streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora and Rdio provide access to an unprecedented amount of music, and the options just keep growing.

I’m a die-hard music hunter, and one of my favorite things to do is look at what other people are listening to. What’s the DJ listening to when he’s not deejaying? What album inspires my favorite local musicians? What kind of jazz gets the real-deal jazzbos all jazzed up?

We decided to take a peek into the playlists of some notable Sacramentans (and me). You can find a link to each of these playlists in the infobox to the right.

Brian Breneman’s Favorite Songs from Brian Breneman’s Favorite Albums of 2014

Brian Breneman is SN&R’s junior art director.

“Under The Pressure,” The War On Drugs

“Don't Wanna Lose,” Ex Hex—Perfect pool party rock 'n' roll. Too bad it came out in October.

“Keep In the Dark,” by Temples

“Oh My Darling (Don't Cry),” Run The Jewels—Perfect morning music. It makes me want to punch my day in the face and steal its wallet.

“Wastoid (feat. Chrome Pony),” Stardeath And White Dwarfs

“Purple Mesas,” Gardens & Villa

“Bomb (feat. Raekwon),” Freddie Gibbs

“Accelerate” by Jungle

“Despicable Animal” by Wye Oak

“XMAS_EVET10[120][thanaton3 mix],” Aphex Twin

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Janelle Bitker’s Memorable Songs From Bands Who Toured Through Sacramento in 2014

Janelle Bitker is SN&R’s arts and music writer.

“Lead Us,” Spirits of the Red City

“Marigold,” Mother Falcon

“Josephine,” The Dustbowl Revival—Sure bet for time travel to the 1930s, especially at a live show. Close your eyes and lean back in that rocking chair on a sunny porch in New Orleans.

“No Love,” The Ballantynes

“Um Abracaco,” Caetano Veloso

“Zombies,” Radiation City

“Terracur,” Social Studies

“Sea of X's,” Be Calm Honcho

“Psychic City,” Yacht

“Conversations Between (feat. Ayla Nereo & The Polish Ambassador),” Wildlight

“Peanut Butter Sandwiches,” Milo—Expert weirdo wordsmith in the nerd-hop genre. I wish we were friends.

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Steve Hansen's Mr. Hansen Goes To The Club Playlist

Steve Hansen is the Sacramento City Council representative for District 4.

“Sleep Walk,” Santo & Johnny

“Alors On Danse (feat. Kanye West and Gilbere Forte)” by Stromae—I first heard this song in Morocco and it brings me back every time.

“Only The Horses,” Scissor Sisters

“Atmosphere,” by Kaskade

“Walk on the Wild Side,” Lou Reed

“Deadlines and Commitments,” The Killers

“Instant Crush (feat. Julian Casablancas),” Daft Punk

“Feeling Good,” Nina Simone

“Feel Your Love (feat. Javeon),” Le Youth

“Rather Be (feat. Jess Glynne),” Clean Bandit

“Good Thing,” Sam Smith

“I'll Try Anything Once,” Julian Casablancas

“Dancing Out (feat. Jody Watley),” French Horn Rebellion—A nod to TBD Fest brought to us by Clay Nutting and Michael Hargis.

“You're My Best Friend,” Queen

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Taxi Dave’s Fire Me Up For Cabbing Playlist

Taxi Dave

Taxi Dave is Sacramento’s world-famous taxi driver. He’s currently working on a book, The Taxi Dave Story, slated for release later this year, and a short film to be released in May. Learn more at

“Eye of the Tiger,” Survivor

“Fantasy,” Aldo Nova—This song feels the excitement of the nightlife in downtown Sacramento, resembling the sites and sounds but also a caution not to make this your lifestyle because you will regret it because your life will spin out of control trying to chase down the shiny vanity.

“Dream On (Live),” Aerosmith

“What You Got (feat. Akon),” Colby O'Donis

“Get Down On It,” Kool & the Gang

“Danger Zone,” Kenny Loggins

“I'm Going All the Way (feat. Chase Moore)” Taxi Dave—This song is one of my first original songs that I wrote and co-produced in a local Sacramento studio (Omina Labs) with a Sacramento artist. It encourages me to stay focused on my goals and what I stand for, which are included in most of the lyrics of the song.

“Blue Collar Man (Long Nights),” Styx

“I Wanna Love You (feat. Snoop Dogg),” Akon

“Ain't Talkin' ‘Bout Love,” Van Halen

“Fantasy,” Mariah Carey

“Ice Ice Baby,” Vanilla Ice

“Jump,” Van Halen

“Wheel In The Sky (Live),” Journey—When this this song plays in my cab my customers say, “It sounds like we are live at a rock concert with Journey—crank it, Taxi Dave!"

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CAVE Women's cave democraCY list

CAVE Women is a Sacramento jazz quartet; their list features two songs picked by each member. Learn more at

“All My Stars Aligned,” St. Vincent

“Real Thing,” Tune-Yards

“Underbart,” Little Dragon

“Asiam (Joan),” Ambrose Akinmusire

“All Good Things,” Iiii

“Come Down To Us,” Burial

“The Truth,” Moonchild

“Lingus (We Like it Here),” Snarky Puppy

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Thomas Stewarts Tracks to Focus Up to

Thomas Stewart plays forward for the Sac Republic FC. Learn more at

“New Orleans,” Naxxos

“Prayer in C,” Lilly Wood & the Prick and Robin Schulz

“Nobody To Love,” Sigma

“Waves,” Mr. Probz

“Jubel,” Klingande

“Beautiful Day,” U2

“Magic,” Coldplay

“A Sky Full Of Stars,” Coldplay

“Real Love,” Clean Bandit & Jess Glynne

“Heroes (We Could Be) (feat. Tove Lo),” Alesso

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Alexandra Cunningham's Faves to Work Out, Dance or Downright Boogie to

Alexandra Cunningham

Alexandra Cunningham is a dancer with the Sacramento Ballet. This list comprises songs she worked out to while recovering from an injury in 2014. Cunningham will next perform with the ballet in Peter Pan, opening January 10. Learn more at

“Evil Eye,” Franz Ferdinand

“Tonight (feat. Phoebe),” Basement Jaxx

“Kick Your Game,” TLC—Laugh if you want but I dare you to not wanna boogie to this. I mean can we talk about that “meeeeeeooow” sound in the background?! I love it (#becausecats)

“Isis (feat. The Egyptian Lover),” Hot Natured

“The Jerk,” Electric Guest

“R U Mine?” Arctic Monkeys

“Waltz from ‘Masquerade,'”Aram Khachaturian

“What About Us” by Flume & Chet Faker

“Regulate (feat. Nate Dogg),” Warren G

“I Don't Fuck With You (feat. E-40),” Big Sean

“Symphony in C Major: II. Adagio,” Georges Bizet—I love to cool down and stretch to this hauntingly beautiful piece of music that I hope to one day dance to.

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Luke Tailor's Pre-Show Playlist

Luke Tailor is a Sacramento-area rapper. His new album Bored of Education will be released early this year. Learn more at

“i,” Kendrick Lamar—Because this song forces you say “I love myself” over and over again.

“About The Money (feat. Young Thug),” T.I.

“Babylon (feat. Kendrick Lamar),” SZA

“Believe Me (feat. Drake),” Lil Wayne

“Rude,” Magic!

“My Nigga Just Made Bail (feat. J. Cole),” Bas

“Gangsta,” Schoolboy Q

“Wade In Your Water,” Common Kings

“Latch (feat. Sam Smith),” Disclosure

“Mt. Olympus,” Big K.R.I.T.

“III. Telegraph Ave (“Oakland” by Lloyd)” by Childish Gambino—Wavy. Very wavy.

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Nick Brunner's Favorite Songs of 2014

Nick Brunner

Nick Brunner is the host of Blue Dog Jam on Capitol Public Radio. Learn more at

“Mercury Dime,” Death Vessel

“Refugee,” Homeboy Sandman

“Awake,” Tycho—Generally I find it annoying when a song becomes ubiquitous through adaptation in other media. Not so the case here. The more exposure Tycho can get the happier I'll be. “Awake” is one of those perfect instrumentals that's attention grabbing without being distracting.

“Cat on Tin Roof,” Blonde Redhead

“Moving to the Left,” Woods

“I Won't Be A Casualty,” OFF!

“Palmless,” Dana Falconberry

“Stephanie Says,” Tele Novella

“Hedron,” Badbadnotgood

“A Simple Design,” The Juan Maclean—I seem to glom on to one track from each The Juan MacLean record. Nancy Whang and John MacLean have really outdone themselves with this straightup dance track. A steady beat, layers that build upon each other and just enough disco to reference the early '80s without sounding like a throwback. It keeps it fun in a genre that's a sea of serious.

“Stardust,” The Rentals

“Route 30,” Jolie Holland

“Southern Grammar,” Hiss Golden Messenger

“Back In The Tall Grass,” Future Islands

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DLRN’S Songs That’ll Sound Good in the Car While Complaining About People Who Can’t Drive in the Rain

Jon Reyes is a DJ and producer for DLRN. Their album Neon Noir Deluxe is scheduled for release in early 2015. Learn more at

“The Pinnacle (of Class & Taste),” Diggs Duke

“P.I.M.P.,” Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band

“Treat Me Like Fire,” Lion Babe

“Laputa,” Hiatus Kaiyote—Named after the Hayao Miyazaki flick, this track is off their recently released EP, By Fire. Some ridiculous textures in this one have you feeling underwater. Leading in to the next joint. …

“Underwater,” Fatima

“Everything Is Everything,” Gabriel Garzon-Montano

“Differently, Still,” Badbadnotgood

“I'm The Man, That Will Find You,” Alice Russell—Alice takes the already dope Connan Mockasin track and destroys it. It opens with a slow burn but builds into a lush soundscape with her harmonies dancing on top of haunting keys.

“PRPL,” Ava Luna

“This Painted World,” Silk Rhodes

“World Restart (feat. Kelela and Ade),” Kindness

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Jessica “the Lipstick Librarian” Zaker’s Songs to Skate 100 Laps by

Jessica Zaker

Jessica Zaker, known to fans of the Sac City Rollers as the “Lipstick Librarian,” also leads punk-rock and heavy-metal aerobics classes at the Sacramento Public Library’s Central Branch, where she is the branch manager. Learn more at

“I Fink U Freeky,” Die Antwoord

“Die On A Rope,” The Distillers

“Shitlist,” L7

“True Trans Soul Rebel,” Against Me!

“Waiting Room,” Fugazi—Around lap 85, this one starts up in my head.

“48 Roses,” Mariachi El Bronx

“Hard Out Here,” Lily Allen

“Hot In Herre,” Jenny Owen Youngs

“I Wanna Be Naked!” Screeching Weasel

“Crazy On You,” Heart

“Leave My Kitten Alone,” The Detroit Cobras—When I resign myself to skating for what feels like forever, suddenly it's over and BOOM, I'm singing meows under my breath.

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Shaun Slaughter's 2014 Favorites

Shaun Slaughter is one of the deejays behind Lipstick, a long-running indie rock and dance DJ night. Lipstick's The Strokes vs. Yeah Yeah Yeahs Party happens this Saturday at 9 p.m. at Old Ironsides. Learn more at

“Hard To Say No,” Chromeo

“I'm in Love (Poolside Remix),” Fool's Gold—Hands down my favorite song to come out this year. I play it anywhere and everywhere.

“Lonely (Waldemar Schwartz Remix) (feat. Donald Waugh),” Ultracity

“Together,” Octave Minds

“You Were a Runaway,” The Juan Maclean

“Works Like Magic,” Yacht—Another DFA records pick, no big surprise here, Yacht rules. We were stoked to have 'em out to our This Midtown music series in 2013.

“Do That Dance (feat. Nancy Whang),” Shit Robot

“Drone Logic,” Daniel Avery

“Can't Do Without You,” Caribou—This song is perfect in so many ways. Dance floor oriented, well-crafted electronic with soul.

“Half Full Glass Of Wine (Live),” Tame Impala

“Love Letters,” Metronomy

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Harley White Jr.'s Tastiest Cuts

Harley White Jr. is the bandleader for the Harley White Jr. Orchestra, which resumes its third Thursdays residency at Shady Lady Saloon on February 19. Learn more at

“Don't Interrupt the Sorrow,” Joni Mitchell

“Big Bertha,” Duke Pearson

“Old Portrait,” Charles Mingus

“Something to Live For,” Carmen McRae and Duke Ellington

“It's Going Down (feat. Lateef the Truthspeaker and Keke Wyatt),” Blackalicious

“Lucky Day,” Faith Evans

“Jive Talkin',” The Bee Gees

“Mi Swing Es Tropical (feat. Temple & the Candela Allstars)” Nickodemus & Quantic

“It's a Shame,” The Spinners

“Estate,” Joao Gilberto

“Ma-Ma FC,” Ballaké Sissoko & Vincent Segal

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Andrew Barnhart's Current Taste

Andrew Barnhart is singer, songwriter and producer for the Sacramento indie dance rock band Saint Solitaire. You can catch the band for free on January 14 at Dive Bar. Learn more at

“Panther,” White Flight

“True Colors,”Abuela

“Problem Me,” Modwheelmood

“Wardrum,” Life In 24 Frames

“Says,” Nils Frahm

“Utopia,” Cristobal Tapia de Veer

“All Time Low,” Nine Inch Nails

“Voodoo Vision,” Adebisi Shank

“Right On, Frankenstein!” Death From Above 1979

“From God's Perspective,” Bo Burnham

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Rachel Leibrock's Soundtrack to a Midlife Crisis

Rachel Leibrock

Rachel Leibrock is SN&R’s co-editor.

“Out of the Woodwork,” Courtney Barnett

“Don't Want to Know If You Are Lonely,” Hüsker Dü

“Scott Get the Van, I'm Moving,” Cayetana

“Hold On, Hold On,” Neko Case

“Chemistry,” Jawbreaker

“Call the Doctor,” Sleater-Kinney—1996 called; it wants my youthful angst back.

“Alice,” Dick Diver

“He Gets Me High,” Dum Dum Girls

“Every 1's a Winner,” Hot Chocolate—Saddest happy song ever.

“Jolene,” Dolly Parton—Because, Dolly.

“Unsatisfied,” The Replacements—Because, Paul.

“Push It,” Salt-n-Pepa

“The Concept,” Teenage Fanclub—Oh, don't mind me, I'm just over here having a Young Adult-worthy meltdown, thank you very much.

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Ngaio Bealum's Favorite Songs About Weed

Ngaio Bealum writes the The 420, SN&R’s weekly column on medicinal marijuana.

“Cheeba Cheeba,” Tone Loc

“Smoke a Little Smoke,” Eric Church

“Mary,” Freestyle Fellowship

“Follow Your Arrow,” Kacey Musgraves—Pro-pot, pro-gay pride. In a country song? Hell yes.

“Weed Instead of Roses,” Ashley Monroe

“I'm Gonna Get High,” Tampa Red & the Chicago Five

“Roll Me Up and Smoke Me when I Die (feat. Snoop Dogg),” Willie Nelson

“Marijuana,” The Reverend Horton Heat

“Smoke Some Weed,” Ice Cube

“Don't Give Me No Bammer Weed,” RBL Posse—A Yay Area classic

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DJ Crookone's jams from 2014 in no particular order

DJ Crookone

John “Crookone” Molina is a Sacramento DJ. You can catch his “Crucial Fix” nights every Friday at The Golden Bear. His band Team Sleep, a collaboration with the Deftones’ Chino Moreno, will release a live album later this spring.

“Press Play (feat. Zackey Force Funk),” XL Middleton

“The Motherload,” Mastodon—I was a fan of these guys about a year or two before actually getting to play with them at Fields of Rock festival in 2005. This song's video really makes you ponder life—a must see.

“Floyd,” Kelis

“A Certain Way,” Moniquea

“64 Ways” (feat. Mayer Hawthorne)(Kraak & Smaak remix),” Detroit Swindle

“Black Moon Spell,” King Tuff

“Everybody Knows,” SBTRKT

“Collard Greens (feat. Kendrick Lamar),” Schoolboy Q

“Prisoner of Love,” Faze Action

“U Know,” Prince

“Oh My Darling (Don't Cry),” Run the Jewels

“Know What I Want,” Kali Uchis—Totally obsessed. I can watch her videos nonstop. Also check my favorite jam “Honey Baby” on YouTube. Kali Uchis, if you're ever in Sac, hit me up. I'll make tacos and we can drink Tecate and play Perquackey or something.

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