Spring Playlist: Music for New Growth & Renewal


As the world wakes up to spring, many people seek new music to feed their souls. I am pleased to share ten very special songs collected over the past few months that were released in 2023 or 2024. Genres include singer-songwriter, dance, house, electronic, and electronica. Contributing artists hail from Canada, Korea, New Zealand, Belarus, South Africa, UK, and the U.S. The mood is serene, down- to midtempo, and uplifting.

Enjoy this freely shared Spotify playlist under my handle as DJ Andy Bargerstock with playlist title: “2024 Spring Fringe Toast Music List.” Follow me on Spotify to get notifications about when I post a new playlist. Explore the catalogue of more than 200 playlists available.

Artist Spotlight on Vandelux

The first three tracks are collaborations between Canadian artist Evan White (a.k.a. Vandelux) and other singers. Evan White is described on Marmoset Studio’s website as a “truly independent closet musician from Vancouver, Canada.” He is known for funky grooves and vocals somewhat similar to Vancouver music duo Bob Moses. When Vandelux collaborates with other singers, synergistic magic is released.

“Right Now” by Vandelux and Parson James. This song opens with spare three-chord, lower-register organ/ keys and the celebratory lyrics, “Never felt good as I do right now.” Double-time drumming rhythms are in sync with Vandelux’s compressed, double-tracked vocal lines surrounded with spacious atmospheric voices and additional effects.

“Fly Away” by Vandelux and Tyler Mann. Southern California’s Tyler Mann is also a vocalist and producer. Engineering vocal magic adds to Vandelux’s interesting contrast of slower melodic lines and faster dance drumming. Understated organ/keyboard and synthesizer back the mix. I especially like the contrast of a catchy chorus with thickly textured effects that transition into an introspective, cavernous quiet section and then return to uptempo rhythms.

“By Your Side” by Vandelux and Tailor. Singer-songwriter Tailor grew up as Melanie LeRoux in Cape Town, South Africa. Her harmonic talents contribute to beautiful vocals. Check out the creative video for this track.

Aldous Harding (Facebook)

“The Barrel (Edit)” by Aldous Harding. Aldous is an indie-folk musician from New Zealand with charming vocal nuances, who describes “the barrel” as a “vessel of potential love and potential danger floating in a sea of potential pain” (as published in a review on FlyingNun.co.nz). Harding’s soft, feminine, velvety voice entices us into her exotic, hidden world. Unusual arrangements produce additional colors from bass clarinet, piano, and a male voice an octave lower than Harding’s.

“Listen to the Radio” by Billy Strings & Molly Tuttle. Bluegrass   guitar legend Billy Strings and Americana singer and banjo player Molly Tuttle honor the prolific songwriter Nanci Griffith, who performed many times on Austin City Limits and passed away in 2021. Dual picking on acoustic guitars sets the pace for Tuttle’s solo voice. Listen for each artist’s guitar solo in the middle and in the outro, both delightfully understated and subordinate to the spirit of Griffith’s song.

“Days Can Turn Around” by Sarah Jarosz. From her 2024 album Polaroid Lovers, Americana legend Sarah Jarosz collaborated with producer Daniel Tashian in writing this song. Check your intellect at the door and let your heart absorb this gorgeously evocative ballad. Sarah’s recent move to Nashville from New York City is all over this uplifting song:

Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down
Sometimes your heart’s in the lost and found
Your mind’s in the clouds but you’re stuck on the ground
When you least expect it, days can turn around
Days can turn around

“Taking Things for Granted” by Joy Oladokun. The 31-year-old singer-songwriter from Arizona has released four albums in folk and R&B styles. She has a knack for masterful melodies and lyrics. Pay attention to how Joy’s voice stays at the top of this rhythmic melody, while a fast, three-chord descending pattern gets you up and dancing to a steady R&R backbeat. Distorted power chords delineate ending phrases, and a distorted lead guitar solo pays homage to this genre.

“Breathe In” by Praana, Klur, and Kuala. Enjoy this splendid first-time music from DJ-producer-musician duo Praana, consisting of Chad Cisneros and Dave Reed. They collaborate here with melodic, mesmerizing Swedish producer Klur (a.k.a. Patrik Kindvall). The lushly atmospheric opening moves into Kuala’s soft, airy vocals, which ride on top, while gyrating rhythms unfold beneath a superbly crafted mix. The lyrical message oozes from Kuala’s carefully coaxed soaring vocals:

Ravenous, been wading through the water
Drifting down into the cold dark sea
Forever tried to find some sort of guidance
But all I need, is already here . . .

“Suspicious Luna” by Potlatch. From the 2020 album Return, the Korean downtempo instrumental duo known as Potlatch (Jun Kim and DJ S-min) weave their magic of swirling electronic keyboards, slightly echoed and distant trumpet, and electric guitar, along with measured acoustic drums.

We can easily imagine a lunar voyage, perhaps on the mysterious dark side of our celestial neighbor. Within the first 30 seconds, we are treated to a gorgeously engineered production with warm timbral coloring. Soon the snare drum steadies our focus as upper electronics weave in and out of a sonically rich instrumental atmosphere.

Holen (a.k.a. Heard Right)

“Lonely Road” by Holen. This single by Belarusian musician-producer Holen (a.k.a. Heard Right) comes from his current home in Vancouver, Canada. A fitting conclusion to this spring playlist, “Lonely Road” takes us on a darkening highway along the water during the golden hour between day and night. Notice the contrasting colors of a short, concise upper-register synth pattern along with creative, non-backbeat drumming. Within the mix are synthesized celesta sounds that mimic the orchestral instrumentation and darker synth sounds that wrap around us.