Say 313.

Detroit, in name, has many titles. The D. Motor City. Motown. Detroit Rock City. And of course, “The 313”, referencing our area code. In July 2014, the City of Detroit turns 313 years old. After executing a great Detroit birthday event in 2013, Forward Arts is leading 10 young professional/next generation organizations in celebrating Detroit across our city over 7 days. We are proud of our city, and Detroit Love will be a positive platform in which Detroit’s assets, communities, businesses, and organizations will be showcased.

July 19th-July 25th | With over 20 events taking place over 7 days, more than 10 Detroit neighborhoods/spaces will be part of the birthday celebrations. Locations, programming details, and other partners will be announced at a later date.


Starting this Monday, you can start to submit ideas for the Knight Arts Challenge. Forward Arts got the opportunity to promote the grant last year, and again this year. If you see us in the streets helping get out the word, give us a holler if you have any questions. But really, the grant is super easy. You'll get it.

It's easy, really.

The contest will open March 10 and run through April 7. Once again, there are just three rules:

  • The idea must be about the arts.
  • The project must take place in or benefit Detroit.
  • Grant recipients must find funds to match Knight’s commitment within a year).

The application only requires applicants do one thing: describe the arts project in 150 words or less. The challenge is open to everyone – artists and artist collectives of all types, businesses, established arts institutions, and any individual who has a great idea for the arts.

For more info, check out KNIGHT ARTS. Some cool Detroit stories there too.


Hello FA Friends

This is our the 3rd year of tracking our top songs of the year. We never set out to do a particular number, and every year the number of tracks has grown. We try and listen to as much as we can, across a broad scope of music. This year we got 106.

James Blake came in at the top of two of our lists, Best Track and Best Album. No, it’s not original. It should come to no surprise this is numero uno since many lists had this at the same spot or near. But it’s kind of a good thing, sometimes, that an album is so good that it dominates.

Although the songs are listed in genres for consumption, look for the number before the Artist and Track Name for our ranking within the 106 slots. Here we go...


(12) William Onyeabor | Body and Soul on Who Is William Onyeabor Never before readily available, this 1968 music finally gets it’s proper release. Holy crap is it good. Listen Here.

(24) Kronos Quartet, Kyp Malone, Stuart Bogie & Tunde Adebimpe | Sorrow Tears + Blood on Red Hot + Fela Listen Here.

(28) Rokia Traoré | N Teri on Nonesuch Listen Here.

(53) The Loi-Toki-Tok | Ware Wa on Kenya Special (Selected East African Recordings From the 1970s & '80s) Perfect slice(s) of 70s and 80s African Funk. 1 of 2 tracks on this here, check out the sister comp to this as well. Listen Here.

(73) Nana Vasconcelos | Astronáfrica on 4 Elementos Can you hear this in a movie? We do. Listen Here.

(74) John Wizards | Maria on John Wizards Love how this progresses. Listen Here.

(104) Orchestre Vévé Star | Nitarudia on Kenya Special (Selected East African Recordings From the 1970s & '80s) Listen Here.


(22) Billband | Sparkle on Bill Ryan: Towards Daybreak Combination of saxophone, bass clarinet, violin, cello, piano and glockenspiel. Delicate, haunting and bittersweet. Check out the live performance from Grand Valley State University! Listen Here.

(57) Julia Shammas Holter, Transit & Daniel Wohl | Corpus on Corps Exquis For piano, violin, cello, percussion, bass clarinet, and electronics. Good video too. Listen Here.

(45) Anonymous, Caleb Burhans & Trinity Wall Street Choir | Super Flumina Babylonis on Caleb Burhans: Evensong Could be from Harry Potter or something, but more mature song writing. Dark, magical, and big. Love it. Listen Here.


(11) Jose Manuel | Samsara on It's A Lectric World (ILW-1001) One of our favorite dance tracks all year. “...stakes out a strange ground featuring ritualistic African percussion, jungle bird chirps, slo-mo disco and menacing acid arpeggios. Listen Here.

(13) Koreless | Sun on Yugen EP Listen Here.

(27) The Mole | Lockdown Party (DJ Sprinkles' Crossfaderama) “...the equivalent of letting Terre Thaemlitz man the decks for a dozen minutes, cutting and grooving and engendering hysterics.” Listen Here.

(29) Joy Orbison | Big Room Tech House DJ Tool - TIP! Joy just doing his thang, making his sound - Womp! Listen Here.

(30) Mount Kimbie | Made To Stray on Cold Spring Fault Less Youth Monster. Listen Here.

(34) Jimpster | These Times (Dixon's Retouch) [feat. Simon Jinadu] on These Times Single (Dixon & Manuel Tur Remixes) Listen Here.

(36) Moire & Lessons featuring Heidi Vogel | Lose It on Never Sleep - EP Work it out now... Listen Here.

(37) Tigran Hamasyan | Road Song (LV Remix) on The Poet - EP Shades of Jazzanove, circa 2004ish, with this Tigran Hamasyn remix by LV. Listen Here.

(46) Troumaca | The Grace (Kyodai Remix) on The Grace (Single) Listen Here.

(50) Matthew Herbert | It's Only (DJ Koze remix) Listen Here.

(63) Olaf Stuut | Siren (Dauwd Remix) on Siren - EP Listen Here.

(66) Chad Valley | I Owe You This feat. Twin Shadow (Bwana Remix) Listen Here.

(75) Romare | Your Love (You Give Me Fever) on Love Songs, Pt. 1 EP Listen Here.

(82) Todd Terje | Strandbar (Samba) on Strandbar Single Listen Here.

(94) Andras Fox | Erskine Falls on Erskine Falls EP Thanks Scott Z.! Listen Here.

(103) Archie Pelago | Avocado Roller (feat. Becca Stevens) on Sly Gazabo EP Listen Here.


(21) Jaimeo Brown feat. JD Allen and Chris Sholar | Power Of God on Trancendence Detroit pianist Geri Allen warms it down after the delicate, beautiful start. Listen Here.


(3) Pusha T | Numbers On the Boards Numbers Makes us hype in the office. Gangsta productivity. Listen Here.

(14) Captain Murphy | Between Villains (Ft Viktor Vaughn & Earl Sweatshirt) on Free Download One of the more intriguing releases of the year. Excited to hear what’s next under the new moniker. Listen Here.

(31) Fat Tony feat. Kool A.D. and Despot | Hood Party on Smart Ass Black Boy Listen Here.

(32) James Blake featuring RZA | Take a Fall For Me on Overgrown (Deluxe Edition) So, so good. Listen Here.

(35) Kool & Kass | Peaceful Solutions (Prod. Amaze 88) on Peaceful Solutions We hear some Beastie Boy influence here. Listen Here.

(39) Earl Sweatshirt | Hive (feat. Vince Staples & Casey Veggies) on Doris Listen Here.

(60) Phony Ppl | Troublin'. on 53,000. Listen Here.

(65) JAY Z | Picasso Baby on Magna Carta... Holy Grail Listen Here.

(66) Earl Sweatshirt | Centurion (feat. Vince Staples) on Doris Listen Here.

(70) J. Cole feat. Miguel | Power Trip on Born Sinner Listen Here.

(77) Kanye West | Bound 2 on Yeezus Listen Here.

(79) Tyler, The Creator featuring Coco O & Erykah Badu) | Treehome95 on Wolf Listen Here.

(90) Onoe Caponoe | Milkyway (Djrum Remix) Vibed out remix of this 2011 track, will only be out on vinyl for the forseeable future. Cop it. Listen Here.

(96) Jonwayne | Black Magic on Rap Album One Listen Here.

(100) Phony Ppl | Yesterday's Lips. on 53,000. Listen Here.


(9) José James featuring Hindi Zahra | Sword + Gun on No Beginning No End Loving the feel of this one. Blue Note Records Represent!

(15) Winston McAnuff & Fixi | Garden of Love on Garden of Love EP Really beautiful. Can’t wait for the full length that will include the track You and I with Tony Allen. Listen Here.

(16) Dawn of Midi | Ymir on Dysnomia Premier track off this great album. It’s almost as if Carl Craig helped write this track. #Detroit Listen Here.

(17) Eric Dolphy | Springtime on Spiritual Jazz 4: Americans In Europe: Esoteric Modal & Deep Jazz From The European Underground 1963-79 Something big here. Listen Here.

(23) Sam Sanders | Summer Mist on Mirror, Mirror EP This, sort of reissue, never really had a proper release since it was recorded by the Detroit saxophone legend. “His most well known group, Sam Sanders and Visions (bassist Ed Pickens and drummer Jimmy Allen) combined bebop with Detroit Blues and made this unique player stand out in the Jazz crowd. He’d also taken part in other music projects with trumpeter Marcus Belgrave such as Creative Profile and big band ensemble the Pioneer Orchestra. His choice to walk a different path in his career resulted in many of his recordings not released widely or released at all.” Listen Here.

(26) Wayne Shorter | Pegasus (Live) on Without a Net (Live) Great album from the 80 year old. “The revered saxophonist and composer's first new album in 8 years, made up of concert recordings. Including The Imani Winds, a five-member chamber group experienced in interpreting Shorter, for ‘Pegasus,’ a whirlwind 23-minute jazz/classical hybrid.” Listen Here.

(41) Snarky Puppy | Amour T'es La (feat Magda Giannikou) on Family Dinner, Vol. 1 Detroit label and SP score with a great record. Listen Here.

(43) Now Vs Now | Ancient Alien on Earth Analog (feat. Jason Lindner, Mark Guiliana & Panagiotis Andreou) Listen Here.

(58) Cécile McLorin Salvant | Nobody on WomanChild Amazing to see live. You should do it at least once in your life. Here’s a sample...Listen Here.

(76) Webster Wraight Ensemble | Nature and Light on No Lucky Days
Listen Here.

(92) Georgia Anne Muldrow as Jyoti | Nit on Denderah Listen Here.


(40) Juaneco Y Su Combo | La Cumbia del Pacurro on Peru Maravilloso: Vintage Latin, Tropical and Cumbia Listen Here.

(42) Lucho Neves y su Orquesta | Mambo de Machaguay on Peru Maravilloso: Vintage Latin, Tropical and Cumbia Listen Here.

Numbers 40 and 42, respectively. Both tracks are off a compilation focussing on ‘60s and ‘70s Latin, Tropical, and Cumboa music from Peru. “Peru Maravilloso owes as much to soul-jazz, Latin-jazz, rock and psychedelic as it does to the traditional styles of Andean, Peruvian criollo and Latin.” Comp is great, check it out.


(1) James Blake | Retrograde on Overgrown Fitting our best song is off our best album. I could say something about haunting vocals, what the future of music will sound like, or swelling synths, and all would be right. But as Mr. Blake has given the nod to, it’s Sam Cooke’s Trouble Blues that deserves some attention too. Listen Here.

(2) Atoms For Peace | Before Your Very Eyes on XL
We know they’ve landed on almost every list of ours, but man their good. Listen Here.

(6) Son Lux | Easy on Lanterns Listen Here.

(38) Jamaican Queens | Water on Wormfood Listen Here.

(55) Atoms for Peace | Ingenue on Amok Numero two on the list from Amak. Love the video. Listen Here.

(56) James Blake | Life Round Here on Overgrown (Deluxe Edition) Listen Here.

(80) Perera Elsewhere | Bizarre on Friends Of Friends Listen Here.

(86) Owiny Sigoma Band | Harpoon Land on Power Punch Listen Here.

(87) Axel Boman | Fantastic Piano on Family Vacation (Bonus Track Version)

(95) Dirty Beaches | Casino Lisboa on Drifters / Love Is the Devil Listen Here.

(101) Toddla T Sound | Worst Enemy on Worst Enemy - EP Listen Here.

(102) Free the Robots | Ophic (feat. Jessie Jones) on The Balance Listen Here.


(19) Justin Timberlake | Suit & Tie (feat. Jay-Z) on The 20/20 Experience - The Complete Experience Listen Here.

(20) Lorde | Royals A defining track and album, we think, of our times in a lot of ways. We liked her track Tennis Court better. Listen Here.

(47) Arcade Fire | Reflektor on Reflektor Listen Here.

(72) Pharrell Williams | Happy on Happy (from "Despicable Me 2") Listen Here.

(78) Blood Orange | You're Not Good Enough on Cupid Deluxe Listen Here.

(85) Tuxedo | So Good on Tuxedo EP Listen Here.

(106) The Blow | Make It Up on The Blow Listen Here.


(5) Night Beds | Even If We Try on Country Sleep Beautiful. Listen Here.

(18) Cate Le Bon | Are You With Me Now? on Mug Museum Something about it reminds me of the band Television? Gets better with each listen. Listen Here.

(44) Valerie June | You Can’t Be Told on Pushin' Against a Stone Jack White would enjoy this. Listen Here.

(48) POND | Giant Tortoise on Hobo Rocket Listen Here.

(49) Iron & Wine | Singers and the Endless Song on Ghost On Ghost Listen Here.

(51) Snowden | So Red on No One In Control One of our summer jams. Did you see them at The Loving Touch? Listen Here.

(54) The Orwells | Who Needs You on Who Needs You EP Listen Here.

(59) Joanna Gruesome | Anti-Parent Cowboy Killers on Weird Sister Listen Here.

(71) Night Beds | 22 on Country Sleep Listen Here.

(84) Jacco Gardner | Where Will You Go on Cabinet of Curiosities Listen Here.

(88) Courtney Barnett | Avant Gardener on The Double EP: A Sea of Split Seas Listen Here.

(89) Arctic Monkeys | Do I Wanna Know? on AM Listen Here.

(93) of Montreal | Raindrop in My Skull on Lousy With Sylvianbriar Listen Here.

(97) Foxygen | In the Darkness on We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic Listen Here.

(98) Iron & Wine | Low Light Buddy of Mine on Ghost On Ghost Listen Here.

(105) Robert Wyatt | Chelsa on CUNEIFORM RECORDS Listen Here.


(4) Salaam Remi featuring Corinne Bailey Rae | Makin' It Hard For Me on Flying Buddha So, So Good. Motown flavored. Then it just peaks at 2:24...takes us over the edge. Listen Here.

(7) Rhye | Open on Woman Said to be the “male version of Sade.” Not gonna argue with that, track is great. Sundays in bed, it sounds like to us.

(8) Roman GianArthur | I-69 on I-69 Single Listen Here.

(10) Lion Babe | Treat Me Like Fire on Treat Me Like Fire Single Crazy video (rawr!) for a really good track. Dig it! Listen Here.

(25) Matthew E. White | Hot Hot Hot on Outer Face EP Great EP all around. Get it all. Listen Here.

(29) Thundercat | Oh Sheit It's X on Apocalypse Now that’s a bass line. Crazy video too. Listen Here.

(52) Omar | The Man on Freestyle Listen Here.

(61) Francis and the Lights | Etc on Like a Dream EP Listen Here.

(62) Nautic | Lover Won't You Throw Me A Line on DEEK: Pun For Cover Would Chart this in the top 10 if it weren’t a cover. We all need this in our lives again, regardless. Listen Here.

(64) Typesun | The PL on The PL Single Listen Here.

(67) Ciara | Body Party on Ciara Reminds us of a 90s sex jam. Sweaty and satisfying. Listen Here.

(69) Laura Mvula | Green Garden on Sing to the Moon Listen Here.

(81) Coco O. | Where The Wind Blows on The Great Gatsby Danish Soul! She’s popping up everywhere...Listen Here.

(83) Beyoncé x D'Angelo | Untitled Rocket (A JAYBeatz Mashup) Gonna be a lot of babies made to this...Listen Here.

(91) Alpine | Hands on A Is for Alpine Nice video and track. Listen Here.

(99) The Internet | Red Balloon on Feel Good Listen Here.

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