#PlaylistsThatHeal 07 x Ian Bremner from Old Rookie

SoSlists is a monthly playlist curated by select humans that work in and/or love music who acknowledge its healing powers.  This month's list is by Ian Bremner from the site Old Rookie.

The right song at the right time can do more for the soul than any of the 5 senses. Well, if you count hearing, then the other 4 senses. Certain emotions can wash over and totally overcome you when that right song hits. Maybe you played it on purpose. Maybe it came on randomly at a bar. Maybe you had to whip out your phone and quickly find the Shazam app when you’re strolling through the record shop. Maybe you are watching a sad movie by yourself and as some crushing scene hits the crescendo, a song you’ve never heard comes on and puts it all over the top. Some folks may have a go-to song in a time of need, but often times that special feeling happens unexpectedly and out of the blue.

Whenever it happens, a wave of affirmation hits and as cliche as it sounds, you feel alive. Music has that unique power to change your mood on a dime. Sad music can make you happy and happy music can make you sad. The same song can sound different depending on your current setting and mindset.

 Hearing anything off Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” record will immediately transcend me back to my childhood, eating corn on the Cobb in the backyard. The smell of the summer air and the smoke from the barbecue comes flooding back. Having such a strong nostalgic connection to a specific album, sets the tone for music in the future too. It all becomes more important. You don’t realize it at the time, but the right song at the right time can have that effect on someone else. Of course, there’s no telling until years into the future, but the wait is worth it.

Below is a playlist of favorite songs at one point or another. What makes these songs special is that indescribable feeling I tried to explain above. Immediately upon hearing them for the very first time, I knew they would be in my life for long time. Some have specific memories attached to them. Some I just knew I liked from the first note.

 -Ian Bremner

Ian Bremner is a lifelong Pacific Northwesterner and founder of Seattle-based music blog, Old Rookie. The idea for Old Rookie is simply to prop up good music and avoid the rat race for content, which leads to some TMZ-shit real quick. Ian writes about music, presents shows around town, DJs and talks about music a lot. Genre knows no bounds. All good music is soul music.

SoSLists #5 Dewey Saunders x Ashley Boone Pierce

SoSlists is a monthly playlist curated by select humans that work in and/or love music who acknowledge its healing powers.  This month's list is by Dewey Saunders x Ashley Boone Pierce in conjunction with their Super Crucial series.  


Super Crucial is a collaboration between me and my cousin Ashley Boone Pierce.

We believe that music is a transformative force, a universal language that dissolves

boundaries and has the power to lift our spirits. Ash and I have both experienced 

childhood traumas and painful experiences which have always been alleviated by

the healing power of music. We stitched together a playlist with the intention to uplift

and soothe anybody going through a rough patch. The main message we tried to get

across is that nothing is permanent and "this too shall pass." We hope these songs

can be of service to anyone that needs a little light and act as a reminder that life

is a beautiful journey with the ups and downs to be celebrated and embraced. 

We are thankful to all the musicians that have lightened our spirits and given us a renewed joy of life.

-Dewey Saunders 

Dewey Bryan Saunders one of today’s most innovative and established graphic designers who often operates within the niche world of cover art. He has worked alongside figures such as Anderson .Paak, Lil Uzi Vert and Chronixx. As a rapper himself, he is also known by his stage name Dewey Decibel.  He is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Ashley Boone Pierce is an illustrator and graphic designer based in Highland Park, Los Angeles. Born in Boynton Beach, Florida and raised in bucolic Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Ash has created a world of his own by developing his draftsmanship and imaginative narratives and story lines for his illustrative renderings.His work ranges from graphic novel to editorial and portraiture and his signature style combines with an effortless creativity to create a truly unique way of looking at our world and our future worlds.

SoSlist #4 by Matt Gross

SoSlists is a monthly playlist curated by select humans that work in and/or love music who acknowledge its healing powers.  This month's list is by Matt Gross.  

Probably the most difficult moment of my adult life took place a little over three years ago when my dog Cooper passed on a frigid, snowy January evening. I didn't really grow up with dogs. My family always had pets but mostly the non-furry kind, i.e. fish, iguanas, birds, oh and hermit crabs (!). I adopted Cooper in my mid-20s and he totally changed my world. A brown-and-white, happy-go-lucky pit bull who spent the first few years of his life in an assortment of undesirable situations, he was nearly 80 pounds and had the warmest, most loving personality. He changed my perception of pretty much everything, all the while grounding and teaching me every single day. I miss him waking me up at 4am for the early bird special by jumping up and down repeatedly until he was fed. I miss his body sprawled out on top of mine while we slept and he snored - loudly, so incredibly loudly. I miss his incessant, wet, sloppy kisses. I miss walking around the park with him. I miss it all. Some days I try to brush away the sadness, some days I have no choice but to cave. Here are some songs that have helped me along the journey. 

-Matt Gross

Matt Gross is a music publicist, former blogger, current DJ and influencer living in NYC. 


SoSlist #3 by Alec Bemis (of Brassland Label)

SoSlists is a monthly playlist curated by select humans that work in and/or love music who acknowledge its healing powers.  This month's list is by Alec Hanley Bemis from the label Brassland.    

Last week a friend of my friends, Scott Hutchinson, took his own life. He was found by the waterfront, in a town just outside of Edinburgh, Scotland. Scott was part of my music community. One friend produced the last record by his band, Frightened Rabbit, released in 2016. Scott was also a tourmate to more allies & colleagues than I can count —- and by all accounts, he was a warm & generous one. After he died, someone posted a backstage picture of him spelling out the name of a fan in Cheetos, a virtual gift to be passed along by cell phone pic. 

I've been close to more than one of these kinds of pointless deaths this year — and more still in the timeline that is a life. My own father, maybe. (No one is certain.) When I was a journalist a lifetime ago, the subject of my first cover story — my 'big break' — was Elliott Smith.

"I never think of [my songs] as being particularly dark," Elliott told me, unpacking people's impressions of his music. "I just think of them as being real. I look for songs that are sort of happy and sad at the same time, that have conflicting feelings coexisting." He went on to explain his understanding of the term 'melancholy' — a hint of happiness mixed into a field of sad. "What's the point in a one-dimensional song? There's gotta be a certain amount of darkness so the happy parts pop out. It's like a bright color. It won't look so bright surrounded only by other bright colors. It would just sort of be hard on the eye."

I've been told I like sad songs. But it's that mix of colors that I hope you take from the ones I've collected here. Because I believe music itself is a color. And I think of sad songs as a way to illuminate one's darkest feelings with a brighter shade of expression. 

-Alec Hanley Bemis

Alec Hanley Bemis is a manager and creative producer who lives in Brooklyn, New York — and, in 2001, co-founded the Brassland label with Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National. For these projects he has been covered by The Irish Times, The Guardian, Print Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal. In his first career as a writer & journalist, he was published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Bookforum and LA Weekly on topics ranging from Beck to backyard wrestling.

SoSlist #2 by T. Cole Rachel

SoSlists is a monthly playlist curated by select humans that work in and/or love music.  This month's list is by T. Cole Rachel.  

"As a queer teenager growing up on a farm in Oklahoma during the ‘80s, I lived in a perpetual state of panic and fear. Terrified by my own sexuality and always anxious that I would somehow be outed, music and books became my primary source of solace and escape. Driving a tractor in lazy circles across the sprawling wheat fields behind our house, I’d spend hours listening to a dubbed cassette copy of The Cure’s Head on the Door and daydreaming about a time in my life when I could freely be myself, preferably many many miles away from the dust and dirt of my childhood home. Even after coming out in college, my early twenties were a constant state of emotional upheaval and I struggled with self-loathing and intense suicidal ideation. Now, many years later (and after lots of therapy), it makes sense that I’d eventually become a music journalist for a living. Music has always provided (and still provides) a lifeline that has kept me tethered to this world during moments when nothing else could. I am so grateful for it."

-T. Cole Rachel


T. COLE RACHEL is a writer, teacher and ceramic cat collector who lives in Brooklyn. He creates poems, essays, and all manner of culture-related journalism. His work has appeared in Interview, The FADER, Pitchfork, The New York Times Magazine, Bon, Man Of The World, OUT, Dossier, Maxim and Stereogum. He is a regular contributor to Pitchfork and has served as a Contributing Editor at both V Magazine and Interview. He teaches a recurring poetry workshop, Poetry & Photography, via the Camera Club of NYC. His books include Surviving the Moment of Impact and Bend Don't Shatter. He is currently Senior Editor at The Creative Independent.

SOSlist #1 - by the Mike Raimo Family

Leading up to the launch of our very first episode on March 19th, we would like to present to you: SOSlists, a monthly playlist curated by select non-musicians.  After all, music can heal, even if you don't play an instrument.  

I am honored that our first list was created by Mike Raimo’s widowed wife, Michele, and their four children. To me the project had to start with a contribution by my uncle Mike's family, since they were the inspiration for the whole thing.   Please read and listen to their message below.  


"Stevie Nicks opens a live version of "Landslide" with, “This is for you, Daddy…”

This playlist is for our dad—featuring songs from the track lists of the hundreds of CDs that filled a tall wooden bookcase in our back room. Some of these songs remind our mother of her true love and best friend.  A handful of these songs are printed on Dad's records from when he was teenager—records that he later thought were water-damaged from a basement flood, but that miraculously still work today. The sleeves are wrinkled and stained, but the records still play. We know he's somewhere listening in, happy that they do. 

Dad loved these songs—he played them often…and loudly. This playlist is mostly a soundtrack of our family parties and get-togethers—songs that dad would blast through the speakers, and songs that he would force a niece or a nephew to sing with him during karaoke.

Then, there are songs that he may not have heard during his 50 years physically in this realm, but that help us cope with losing him. We feel his presence through these songs.

This is for you, Daddy."

—Kerri Ann Raimo