Zappagram Turns Two

New, improved, and lemon-scented!

Zappagram Turns Two
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 / Unsplash


Hey everyone,

I hope that everybody who celebrated (read: shopped on) Record Store Day had a fruitful one and that the lines were much shorter than the bathroom lines at Coachella. I also hope that everyone in attendance at Coachella 2024 had a good time despite reports that this year’s crowd was the lowest energy crowd of all time. Y’all really pissed off Blur!

So! Last month I published the 100th issue of Zappagram which officially turns two years old this week! You know what they say: time flies when you’re busy writing the mother of all music newsletters.

In an effort to keep things fresh for both you and me, I’m changing things up a bit. I’ve simplified the design, and I want to work a more conversational angle into the news and recommendations, as opposed to a basic linked headline approach.

My goal has always been to gather everything happening in the world of music into one convenient place, making it effortless for music fans to keep up with the latest news, new releases, and so on. However, I realize that while it’s a time-saver to compile that all here in one place, it’s still possible for readers to find this new information every week on their own. Instead, what I hope to deliver is a unique approach—my own commentary—which is something you cannot get anywhere else but here on Zappagram.

Is this the right move? Will my valued readers end up loving, hating, or being indifferent to the changes? We’ll see how it goes. Tune in next week to find out whether or not I’ve lost all my subscribers. But for now…

Ground control to reader: Take your protein pills. Put your helmet on. This newsletter ain’t gonna read itself.


Zappagram #104 featuring: Tom Waits, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats, Grace Cummings, Jonathan Wilson, Taylor Swift & Post Malone, Georgia Parker, weathrhead, Khruangbin, and The Allman Brothers Band.

Listen to Zappagram #104 on Spotify or Apple Music.

Listen to Zappagram playlist (all music from past) on Spotify or Apple Music.


» Dickey Betts, legendary guitarist and founding member of The Allman Brothers Band, died this past Thursday morning at the age of 80 after a battle with cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This means that as of this writing drummer Jai Johanny "Jaimoe" Johanson is the only remaining living member of the band. Betts officially left the band in 2000, claiming that he had essentially been 'forced out' by the other members; though publicly, the reasons for his departure were never clear. By some accounts, Betts quit. We may never know the full story. Perhaps best known as the songwriter responsible for one of the band’s biggest hits, “Ramblin’ Man,” Betts was an amazing melodic guitarist and for proof of that one need look no further than the incredible six-string work on “Blue Sky” or “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” (both on this week’s playlist.)

» It’s no secret that Metallica’s James Hetfield was hugely influcened by Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister, and now Lemmy will forever be part of Hetfield since he recently had Lemmy’s cremated remains mixed with ink and tattooed, fittingly, on his middle finger. According to the Metallica frontman, “Now he [Lemmy] is still able to fly the bird at the world.”

» Many albums were released on Friday (see new releases below) and while Pearl Jam fans were creaming their jeans over Dark Matter, the band’s 12th studio album, and I was most excited for But I’ll Wait For You, Local Natives’ sixth full-length LP, it goes without sayiing that every new music release was wholly overshadowed by Taylor Swift’s The Tortured Poet’s Department which has been covered elsewhere extensively. Shockingly though, not all the coverage has been positive. However, out of the volumes that have already been written about this album in the 24 hours since its release, the best comes, unsurprisingly, from New Yorker columnist Amanda Petrusich. (If Amanda writes about something, no other writer need bother because she is, hands down, the most gifted, eloquent, and compelling music writer working today. I confess that she—and the amazing cartoons—are the primary reasons I maintain a New Yorker subscription.)

» Stereogum published a piece asserting that the new Amy Winehouse biopic “simplifies and misrepresents” her story.

» Kate Pierson of The B-52s is selling her airstream compound in the California desert if anyone is interested. Funky little shack, indeed. I’d totally live there.

» Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats can do no wrong, and so in an effort to continue doing right, they’ve announced the release of their fourth studio album, South Of Here, on June 28. They will also be co-headlining a North American tour this fall with My Morning Jacket.

» Ray LaMontagne and Gergory Alan Isakov are also co-headlining a 17-date North American tour this coming fall. The dynamic duo’s shows kick off in September.

» There are fewer than ten known copies of a Velvet Underground & Nico 7” single, “All Tomorrow’s Parties” in existence. One of them recently sold on Discogs for a record-setting price of $30k. Might be time to dig through your basements and attics, kids!

» Portland-based Menomena hasn’t released new music in over a decade but that’s now changed with the release of their new surprise EP, The Insulation.

» I know we’ve talked a lot (too much?) about Taylor Swift lately, but this story is more about Courtney Love than anything—specifically about how Love doesn’t think that Swift is either important nor interesting. Ouch! Do I smell bad blood?

» Billy Joel fans are pissed after CBS cut Joel’s MSG concert feed last Sunday night right in the middle of “Piano Man” which makes me laugh at something I read earlier this week—a tweet that said, “For a song called Piano Man, the dude with the harmonica won’t shut the fuck up.”

» Sade announced a reissue of all six studio albums due out later this year. The first three will be released June 21st and the final three arrive September 20th.

» Hey now, hey now, don’t dream it’s over because it’s not! Crowded House, one of my favorite bands from my childhood, are touring across America from late August through the end of September.


Phish began their sold-out run at the Las Vegas Sphere. Taylor Swift’s new album holds its place in music history as being the most streamed album in a single day on both Spotify and Apple Music. In poetic form, Patti Smith thanks Taylor Swift for name-dropping her alongside Dylan Thomas. Weyes Blood released a spacey new video for “Andromeda” to celebrate the fifth anniversary of her masterpiece album Titanic Rising. Angel Olson announced a 2024 North American solo tour. And Live Nation has been slapped with an anti-trust lawsuit from the justice department to which I say: good, burn it to the ground. Lastly, Spin covers the best, the mess, and the rest of Coachella 2024.


» Tom Waits is just about the baddest motherfucker alive. Want proof? Just watch his Glitter and Doom concert. The video quality is kinda shit. Doesn’t even matter. #

» One of my favorite musician-producers working today is Jonathan Wilson. Have a listen to the positively sublime opening track “Marzipan”—one of my favorite opening tracks of any album ever—from his 2023 release Eat The Worm. Wilson has recently produced albums for Father John Misty, Angel Olson, and Margo Price. I just became aware that he produced Ramona, the new album for Australian singer/songwriter Grace Cummings. I decided to give it a listen and that’s when my jaw hit the floor. In summary, the album is a thing of beauty; the songs are moody masterpieces, and because Wilson produced it, the production quality is top-notch, but what stands above it all is the voice of Grace Cummings—a voice that could shake mountains and strike fear into the heart of God herself. Said Wilson of working with Grace, “She is one of the most powerful singers I have ever recorded,” Wilson shared. “Her emotional delivery of music is just stunning, a once in a lifetime thing. I remember first hearing her music and being completely blown away, which hasn’t happened in a long lonely time.” Click here to listen to Ramona on your streaming platform of choice. Both Grace Cummings and Jonathan Wilson are on this week’s playlist. Be sure to listen! #

» Last week my friend Matt Pinfield posted a meme on Instagram that rang true for me as I’m sure it will for many of you. The meme said, “It’s incredible when I think about all the people that are in my life because of music.” This makes me think of my dear friend Warren Wind who came into my life because of music—because of Zappagram actually. Warren runs a fantastic podcast called Sh!t My Dad Says in which a very opinionated dad & his adult son discuss life, the universe, and just about anything else that dad wants to talk about. He’s leaving a legacy for his friends and family to know what he thinks about everything…whether they want to or not. Warren is good people and I’m glad he’s my friend. He also hates Donald Trump as much as I do. Do yourself a favor and give his podcast a follow and a listen. #

» And speaking of really great friends who’ve come into my life because of music, I’ve talked about my buddies Ryan and Abby and their uniquely funny and highly entertaining podcast Bothering The Band many times, but I’m going to talk about them again. On their show, they pose sometimes wacky, sometimes real-world questions that dive into the minds of your favorite musicians, all with the goal to elicit fun tales and hilarious anecdotes from the most talented bands and musicians from all over the world. Bothering the Band is the perfect podcast when you're waiting for an airplane, tuning out your coworkers, or sitting on the toilet. Theirs is one of my favorite podcasts of all time, and if you listen once, you’ll be hooked for life. #


  • Bruce Springsteen: Best of Bruce Springsteen (Expanded Edition)
  • Hozier: Wasteland, Baby! (Vinyl Reissue)
  • Local Natives: But I’ll Wait For You
  • The Melvins: Tarantula Heart
  • Pearl Jam: Dark Matter
  • Pink Floyd: The Dark Side Of The Moon (Remastered Collector’s Edition)
  • Taylor Swift: The Tortured Poets Department


APR 26
  • Iron & Wine: Light Verse
  • Justice: Hyperdrama
  • Laufey: Bewitched: The Goddess Edition
  • Neil Young & Crazy Horse: Fu##in’ Up
  • Pet Shop Boys: Nonetheless
  • St. Vincent: All Born Screaming


  • Better Than Ezra: Super Magick
  • Frank Turner: Undefeated
  • The Lemon Twigs: A Dream Is All We Know
  • Mdou Moctar: Funeral for Justice

MAY 10

  • Dehd: Poetry
  • Incubus: Morning View XXIII
  • Keane: Hopes and Fears (20th Anniversary Edition)
  • Kings of Leon: Can We Please Have Fun
  • Rainbow Kitten Surprise: Love Hate Music Box
  • Shannon and the Clams: The Moon is in the Wrong Place
  • Victoria Bigelow: Songs For No One Vol. 2 EP

MAY 17

  • Ani DiFranco: Unprecedented Sh!t
  • The Avett Brothers: The Avett Brothers
  • Beth Gibbons: Lives Outgrown
  • Billie Eilish: Hit Me Hard and Soft
  • Blitzen Trapper: 100’s of 1000’s, Millions of Billions
  • The Mavericks: Moon & Stars
  • Of Montreal: Lady on the Cusp
  • Pink Floyd: Animals 2018 Dolby Atmos Remix


  • Richie Havens, the folk singer who opened the legendary 1969 Woodstock rock festival, died of a heart attack at 72 at his home in Jersey City, New Jersey, on April 22, 2013.
  • Ramones released their eponymous debut album on April 23, 1976.
  • David Bowie married Somali-born supermodel and actress Iman in Lausanne, Switzerland, on April 24, 1992.
  • Harry Belafonte died from congestive heart failure at the age of 96 in New York City on April 25, 2023.
  • Chris Mars, painter and drummer for The Replacements was born in Minneapolis on April 26, 1961.
  • On April 27, 2009, Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament was the victim of a robbery outside Southern Tracks Recording studios in Atlanta, where the band were recording.
  • Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth was born on April 28, 1953, in Rochester, New York.


Zappagram is growing, but it needs your help. Yes, you! Please consider supporting my efforts by sharing the newsletter with your friends, enemies, dental hygienists, mother-in-laws, auto mechanics, and next door neighbors, or simply lend your support with an affordable paid subscription. For less than the price of a dozen eggs, you can be a monthly Zappagram patron. In exchange, you’ll have my undying gratitude, and you’ll feel good about yourself because you’re supporting independent music journalism. Think of it like buying vinyl. That supports the artist. This supports me.

May all your albums play without any skips,

-CZ 🤘🏻🖤