10 Best

10 Best: James Tillman’s Dream Festival Line-Up

Singapore-originated, globally-based label Darker Than Wax continue their mission of being one step ahead of the game with their new Various Channels project. A selector-led compilation series, its aim is to push diversity in sound while capturing connections which keep people together.

This first instalment brings the spotlight onto New York City. Various Channels Vol 1: NYC highlights a new wave of artists spearheading their own sounds united by ethos, and is curated by Marco Weibel – appearances include Jitwam, Toribio, Ensemble Entendu, David Marston and Tristan Arp.

A key figure from the comp is James Tillman – a uniquely fresh voice whose songwriting is set to stand the test of time, and whose song Arizona kicks off the six-track EP.

We asked James to select a 10 Best (there’s a bonus one in there, too, counting fans!) for us, and as festivals go virtual, minimal or on hiatus this summer it’s a suitable subject.

“My dream festival lineup. These songs encapsulate the start of a new season for me. Mixing the new with the old, these songs are currently in heavy rotation.”


James Tillman portraits by Denzel Golatt. Keep up with James on Bandcamp, Twitter and Instagram


Thundercat – Black Qualls

Straight up groove, with the lyrics as an added bonus. “No more living in fear” feels like a good mantra for the times.

WONK – Sweeter, More Bitter

My good friends from Japan dropped another nice album, EYES. This is one of my favorites from that project. I hope we can tour Japan again soon.

Khruangbin – Dearest Alfred

One of my favorite bands expressing sentiments tied to sending and receiving a love letter. What more do you need?

James Tillman – Arizona

So long to the old roads behind us. So long to the burdens of the past.

Drake – Time Flies

A nostalgic treat for this quarantine period.

Toro y Moi ft The Mattson 2 – Ordinary Guy

Honest and soulful. The Mattson 2 are good friends, and it’s nice to hear them link up with Chaz again.

Baby Rose – Pressure

Baby Rose is one of the more unique voices I’ve heard in recent years. Excited for her rise.

Byron the Aquarius – Song for a Friend

This song is essential for dancing around the house first thing in the morning.

Lianne La Havas – Paper Thin

Lianne returns with such depth and beauty.

Guilty – Lady Wray

Listen to Black women. This is a modern classic.

Diggs Duke – Beyond the Years

Diggs is a friend and collaborator. This song always makes me stop and think about life.

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