Noah Brier | August 2, 2022

The Herb Sundays Edition

On SV4, curation, and attention to detail

Noah here. It was recently pointed out to me by an eagle-eyed reader (thanks, Robin!) that they hadn’t seen mention of Sam Valenti’s amazing newsletter Herb Sundays before yesterday’s MMD. While we have called it out a few times in the past, it’s worth a full edition.

Why is this interesting?

I used to listen to a lot of music—enough that I kept lists of my hundred favorite albums of the year. At some point, that stopped. Like most people, my musical taste got a bit stuck, and while a few new things made it into the rotation, I mostly went back to the artists, albums, and labels (Morr Music, Ghostly) I liked best. 

I’ve never cared much for the artist radio of Apple Music or Spotify. I’m not sure if it’s nostalgia, but my preference has always been for albums. I like how they’re put together. There’s just something about hearing a set of songs in the order the musician intended that feels right for me. I listen to music mostly while I’m doing other things, and I like listening to the same albums over and over and the way they seem to eventually intertwine with your other activity. I wrote a bit about this in a 2020 edition about my relationship with the Michael Mayer mix Immer and running.

Herb Sundays is the brainchild of friend of WITI, Sam Valenti. Sam founded Ghostly and cares deeply about music of all kinds. The idea of Herb is simple: Sam asks “world-class music fans, some more famous than others, to make their perfect Sunday mix for ‘when no one is looking.’” While that surely sounds like a familiar idea, this kind of thing is all about execution. Who you ask and how seriously they take the assignment is the difference between something real and some little magazine feature where a famous DJ lists off five songs they listen to on the weekend. There’s a depth and consistency to the series that is worthy of praise. Even the artwork, created by Mike Cina every week, is original and amazing.

As someone pointed out on WITI contributor’s Slack recently, every edition of the newsletter is a humbling reminder of how little you know about music. The tracks these folks choose are the deepest of deep cuts. I’ve complained to Sam more than once that I have no ability to keep up with Herb on a weekly basis because I have a tendency to spend hours going through the back catalog for each artist featured in the mix. That’s a good problem to have, though. In the end, I’m happy to outsource my music taste to Sam and friends. Go subscribe to Herb Sundays. (NRB

Mix of the Day:

All the Herb mixes are fantastic. But I think the one I’ve gone back to the most is #17 from noted DJ, graphic designer, and label boss Trevor Jackson (a true WITI hero). As I said, my measure of how much I like one of these is how many paths it takes me down. I think I’ve now got albums in my library with nearly every song featured on this mix. (NRB)

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Thanks for reading,

Noah (NRB) & Colin (CJN)

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