The countdown has officially begun! Who’s been listening to the Cali Roots playlist and getting ready for Memorial Day Weekend in Monterey? I know I’ve been planning outfits, checking the lineup, looking at photos from years’ past, getting hyped about seeing everyone’s faces and doing it all while listening to the official California Roots playlist on Spotify!
It’s chock full of bangers — I guarantee you will find some faves.
I love listening to new music prior to a festival, so when that band comes on I know at least one of their songs! It’s the courteous thing to do as a professional festival-goer, like I know you are 🙂
Here is a list of my 15 favorite songs from the official California Roots playlist: some are new and some are classics, but they all slap! I chose songs that speak to my soul and make me feel something and I hope you love them as much as I do.
Brendan Clemente — “Later In June”
The former Hill Kid blogger’s comforting downtempo melody — produced by Stick FIgure’s own Johnny Cosmic — is a warm blanket on a crisp autumn night. NGL, it kinda makes me wanna cry? We love you, Brendan Clemente!
Through The Roots — “At Peace (Squeeda Remix)”, feat. Lutan Fyah
This gentle, ambient track lives up to its namesake, lo-fi-ified by Squeeda (aka, Scott Curtis). Play this while you take a bath.
The Elovaters — “Gardenia”, feat. Stick Figure
This song is about one thing and one thing only… and it’s sexy AF.
Iya Terra — “We All Walk Our Own Roads”, feat. Trevor Hall
A gorgeous chorus, punctuated by Hall’s smoky vocals and gut-punching songwriting, this easy-listening jam by Iya Terra will stay on repeat.
The Green — “Feelings”, feat. J Boog & Gyptian
If you’re trying to listen to this song and not dance, you’re not going to succeed! The Green serves a deliciously fun mix of dancehall, R&B and pop in “Feelings”.
DENM — “Blow It Up”
This is by far one of my favorite songs from DENM‘s critically-acclaimed and wildly intoxicating 2021 LP, Slum Beach Denny. I have listened to this album at least 500 times. I am not joking or exaggerating.
The Expendables — “Surfman Cometh”
A musical constellation, this shimmering piece of work will take you to the stars in six minutes or less. Psychedelics optional.
J Boog — “Let’s Do It Again”
No explanation required for this crowd pleaser! It’s the uber-catchy hookup song you can’t get enough of, no matter how many times you’ve heard it.
Mike Love — “These Are My Roots”
Incredible music came out of the Cali Roots Riddim projects and this one by Mike Love, produced by Collie Buddz is no exception. Chosen by my five-year-old daughter, Mahealani.
Chronixx — “Here Comes Trouble“
“Here Comes Trouble” is a timeless contemporary reggae classic, which will always remind me of Reggae On The River 2015 (aka, the most magical weekend ever). Did you go? Drop a comment and tell me your wildest moment!
Natural Vibrations — “Put a Little Love”
This group from Hawai’i is absolutely legendary. If you know, you know. DO NOT miss their set!
KBong — “Livin’ Easy (Live At Sugarshack Sessions)”, feat. Johnny Cosmic
This song has a special place in my heart! It’s so wholesome — a great child-appropriate option.
Little Stranger — “Sunburn”, feat. Tropidelic
I love this song so much, because it totally reminds me of Beck in his Guero-era, crossed with a couple squeaky-clean rap verses. It’s a vibe, believe me. Play this on your portable speaker at the beach, lake, park or wherever you lay in the sun.
The Movement — “Mountain”, feat. Clinton Fearon
This sunny, upbeat ditty is very quintessentially ‘The Movement‘, complete with tinkly keys and quick drum fills. Josh and Clinton’s banter in the beginning is so charming, too.
Rebelution — “Celebrate”
Very apropos in last place, this track from 2018’s Free Rein perfectly sums up the Cali Roots community, whether intentionally or not, and I think that’s really beautiful.
That’s all of them, now it’s time for everyone to argue about which ones that do or don’t belong! Think I missed a no-brainer? Leave a compelling argument in the comments and we can discuss. See you in Monterey!