Listen In: Orenda Fink Made You A Playlist

July 13, 2015 | Aymann Ismail

For “Listen In,” we ask musicians to curate a mixtape-length playlist of songs they’re currently digging. Click the big play button above to hear the whole playlist or scroll down to see and hear individual tracks.

Orenda Fink has been part of Omaha’s tight-knit Saddle Creek Records community for years. Both solo and with groups including Azure Ray and Art In Manila, Fink makes soft, dreamy indie pop that manages to have a slightly spooky edge. Check out her The Shining-inspired video for “This Is a Part of Something Greater,” from last year’s Blue Dream.

Dr. John – “Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya”

“Dr. John is one of my all time favorite musical artists. Psychedelic New Orleans Vodou Rock. Yes, please. The Night Tripper is required listening for all of my friends. Everyone needs a little Gris-Gris in their lives!”

Now It’s Overhead – “Blackout Curtain”

“I actually sing on this track, along with Maria Taylor, and was in the band for a short stint. I work with Andy LeMaster quite a bit. He is one of my favorite producer/engineers. His song, “Blackout Curtain,” is pure heartbreaking genius. A favorite in the Saddle Creek canon”

Whispertown – “Get Happy”

“Morgan Nagler of Whispertown is also a friend of mine. I feel like this song release was kind of under the radar, but it’s one of my favorite songs of hers. She plays it live with a big ol’ smile, and it pulls at my heartstrings every time.”

Big Star – “Big Black Car”

“Big Star is also another one of my favorite bands. I love so many of their songs, it was hard to choose, but I’m feeling “Big Black Car” today.”

Nina Simone – “Ne Me Quitte Pas”

“I’m so fortunate that I got to see Nina Simone live at Chastain Park before she died. It was singlehandedly the best live music experience I’ve ever had. I wept through the whole thing. Most of the audience did. Here she is singing the heart-wrenching “Ne Me Quitte Pas.” You don’t need to understand the words to feel them.”

Exuma – “Dambala”

“Speaking of Vodou-rock, this spooky and powerful song by Exuma frequently makes my playlists. Nina Simone also does a version of this song.”

Chet Baker – “I Get Along Without You Very Well”

“Chet Baker can really do no wrong in my book, but this particular song is just one of my favorite lost love songs. Those lyrics really get me.”

Guided By Voices – “As We Go Up, We Go Down”

“GBV’s Alien Lanes was basically the musical bible to me and a lot of my friends in our early Athens, GA days. My first band, Little Red Rocket covered several songs from the record, including this one and “Motor Away”.”

Smog – “Teenage Spaceship”

“I am a big fan of Bill Callahan’s work. Knock Knock is one of my favorite driving records. Especially on tour. I can’t really describe it, but it transports me to another place and time. I really love it.”

Curtis Mayfield – “If There’s a Hell Below We’re All Going to Go”

“This song always puts me in a good mood. In Harouki Zombi, my DJ/VJ performance art project with Nina Barnes, we would play this at shows as our exit song after we basically attacked the club with feathers and glitter in a true celebration of dionysian decadence.”