Fingertips playlists are a curated flow of music exclusively featuring free and legal MP3s from both past and present, all of which are still available to download, and all of which were originally featured on Fingertips. You can listen by clicking arrow next to the playlist title, or simply clicking the arrow next to the first song and let the built-in media player do the rest. If you’d like to read the original review, click on the date next to the song. You can also pick and choose and play the songs you’d like to play but remember, this is a playlist, and was designed to be heard from beginning to end.

(For more about Fingertips Playlists, see below.)


A new season is in the process of arriving—it’s a gradual thing, a transitional thing—and with it a new playlist. Unlike the season itself, the seasonal playlist arrives in one sudden moment, which is, if you’re reading this, right now. (If you’re not reading this, never mind.)

This is a fall playlist, or autumn if you prefer, and yet I’m not sure at all that any of these songs mention either fall or autumn. There are some allusions that may or may not actually allude. (For instance, I don’t think the “Orange Yellow” the Spires sing about refers to leaves.) What I’m going for here, as always, is a mood, a sensibility, that puts one (or, me, anyway) in the mind of autumn. Which I should probably note is my favorite time of year, even if the faint melancholy coursing through these songs does not suggest it. The melancholy is not of a dire, wintry variety; it’s more the cozy melancholy of crisp days, shortening, with leaves crunching underfoot.

This time around most are from the last year or two. Total play time is about 46 minutes.

Fall 2011

Playlist #6 – Fall 2011: “The World is Ringing”

“All I Want” – Sarah Blasko   May 2010
“Orange Yellow” – The Spires    June 2010
“Why Did We Have to Part” – Marianne Faithfull   April 2011
“Winding Roads” – Reed KD   June 2009
“Remember” – Lali Puna   February 2010
“Queen of Hearts” – The Unthanks   March 2011
“Ghost Maps” – The Minor Leagues   August 2011
“Seeds We Sow” – Lindsey Buckingham  September 2011
“Little Bird Courage” – Old Canes   October 2009
“Aching Sarah” – Erik Friedlander    July 2010
“Clutching Stems” – The Ladybug Transistor  March 2011
“Hold But Let Go” – Six Organs of Admittance    February 2011

* * * * * *


August is odd. It is surely, still, undeniably summertime. And yet by mid-August, the approach of September is so palpable that it can already feel as if it’s not-summer even while it’s 85 degrees and all your friends are on vacation.

So here’s a summer playlist that celebrates not the onset of summer but the persistence of summer, partially in lyrics but mostly in musical mood. It’s still summer but it’s almost not-summer; this moment in partly wistful, partly defiant time has a distinct feel and vibe. Now it has a playlist.

Total play time this time around is about 42 minutes.

Playlist #5 – Summer 2011: “Nearly Flying”

“Get Going” – Headlights   October 2009
“Gigante” – Remate    December 2010
“Wouldn’t Believe It” – The Get Up Kids   March 2004
“Walk Around the Lake” – Lost in the Trees   July 2010
“Décider” – Prototypes   November 2006
“Sadie and Andy” – Princeton   November 2009
“Airstream” – Low-Beam   June 2004
“The Best Things in Life” – Silver Seas  April 2010
“Faster Than Cars Drive” – Kate Tucker & the Sons of Sweden   November 2007
“Headin’ Inside” – Surf City    December 2008
“Zorbing” – Stornoway  July 2010
“Habite Em Mim” – Arto Lindsay    July 2004

* * * * * *


Spring is both a time of year and a state of mind. While popularly seen as a time of renewal—which it surely is—I think sometimes we forget how wild it can get, this renewing. The latest Fingertips playlist is an attempt to capture the feel of spring as a time both wonderful and a little bit untamed, a little bit unsure about where it’s all going. But one thing is clear: to experience spring, you have to go outside. Get out of your house, see what happens.

Playlist #4 – Spring 2011: “Get Out Of Your House”

“When Water Comes to Life” – Cloud Cult   March 2008
“Gold Rush” – Basia Bulat    September 2009
“Parachute” – Shugo Tokumaru   July 2008
“April and May” – David Fridlund   April 2005
“Driver Education” – Amy Ray   April 2005
“I Wonder Who We Are” – The Clientele   July 2009
“Three More Springs” – Ghostkeeper   August 2008
“Doris” – DIrty Three  October 2005
“Boy With a Coin” – Iron & Wine   August 2007
“I Can Try” – Sambassadeur    June 2010
“Springtime Can Kill You” – Jolie Holland  April 2006
“Circles” – Porter Block    October 2006

* * * * * *


It’s getting harder and harder to ignore the fact that the South By Southwest music festival is about to descend upon us—a fact which itself ignores the reality that most people, even most music fans, even (really? yes really!) a whole lot of music bloggers are not actually going, for any number of logical enough reasons.

I’m not going. I’ve never in fact been, for a lot of logical enough reasons. Each year I watch the online onslaught of SXSW publicity with a certain amount of curiosity, and, certainly, a fair amount of feeling-left-out-edness. But this year, none of that. I’m not going. And neither, perhaps, are you. And, as it turns out, neither are a whole lot of still very worthwhile musicians.

Leading us to the latest Fingertips Playlist: the Not At SXSW playlist, more formally entitled the I’m Not At SXSW and Neither Are These Guys and Neither Probably Are You mix. As usual, the playlist is constructed of free and legal MP3s that remain available online. This time, I feature only artists who will not be at SXSW this year.

Also note that this time, I am creating one large MP3 file containing the playlist, complete with spiffy segues and (fingers crossed) equalized playback levels. You can listen to the mix by clicking the play button next to the words “Full mix.” Or you can download the whole thing. If you’d rather pick and choose, you can, alternatively, listen to and/or download individual songs. Whatever works.


Playlist #3 – March 2011: “Not At SXSW”
Full mix (46:51)
[for smoother playback, hit play then pause, wait about 10 seconds, then hit play again]

“Postcards From Italy” – Beirut   July 2006
“Why Can’t I” – Big Eyes   January 2011
“Popstar Researching Oblivion” – Flotation Toy Warning   October 2005
“Eurydice” – Anais Mitchell   February 2010
“The Engine Driver” – The Decemberists   March 2005
“Repeaterbeater” – Mew   July 2009
“Miracle” – Sally Shapiro   May 2009
“Reflecting Light” – Sam Phillips   December 2006
“My Maudlin Career” – Camera Obscura   March 2009
“Automatic” – Gramercy Arms   December 2008
“Verandi” – Bjork   August 2004
“Been Here Before” – Jeremy Enigk   October 2006

* * * * * *


Playlist #2 – Valentine’s Day 2011: “Embrace the Mystery”

“My Heart is a Drummer” – Allo Darlin’   October 2010
“Sweet Heart Said” – Shelley Short    February 2006
“Someday” – Ceremony   March 2010
“Fearful” – Beat Radio   Dec. 2010
“Speed of Light” – Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion   March 2010
“The Love I Make” – Tim Chad and Sherry   July 2010
“Lovesick” – The Arrogants   June 2005
“The Kiss” – Pallers   May 2010
“My Heart” – Wildbirds & Peacedrums   September 2009
“Come Up” – Devics    January 2006

* * * * * *


The first Fingertips Playlist features songs mostly from the last couple of years. Subsequent playlists may range further into the past, as the spirit moves.

Question Marks

Playlist #1 – February 2011: “Question Marks”

“She Comes to Me” – Adam Arcuragi   August 2009
“Boyfriend” – Colleen Brown   April 2010
“Rio” – Hey Marseilles   May 2010
“A Word From Our Sponsor” – the Heligoats   Dec. 2010
“Oh, the Divorces!” – Tracey Thorn   March 2010
“Scandanavian Warfare” – Champagne Riot   Nov. 2008
“Resilient Bastard” – ShellShag   Dec. 2009
“The Horizon” – Stina Stjern   Feb. 2009
“Song For Dreaming” – Judson Claiborne   March 2010
“Hardships (Gospel Version)” – Jenny Wilson   Sept. 2010

* * * * * * *

About Fingertips Playlists:

Hundreds of songs that have been featured on Fingertips over the years are still available online as free and legal MP3s. One way to find them is to poke through the Artist Index—but, because that remains a work in progress in terms of cleaning out dead links, and in any case is a bulky list of hundreds of names, this isn’t necessarily the best way to unearth the hidden gems very quickly.

The intermittent Flashback feature (click on the “flashback” category in the sidebar to check those out) is another way to source older MP3s—but this too lacks a certain immediacy, as the Fingertips Flashback appears maybe once a month.

So here, then, is the Fingertips Playlist. Every now and then—probably once a season or so—I’ll go back through Fingertips-featured MP3s and make a 10- or 12- song playlist out of songs that are still available freely and legally online. The playlists are purposefully designed as an interesting and engaging flow of songs. These are not random collections.

Check it out for yourself—all you need to do is click on the play button and off you go. (If you want to see the original review and/or download any song individually, click on the date next to the song.)

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