The Pitch’s Infinite Playlist: Round 3: Abby Olcese

Infinite Playlist Header Shelby Phelps

The Pitch’s Infinite Playlist. // Illustration by Shelby Phelps

Welcome to The Pitch’s Infinite Playlist, a forever-growing playlist of songs picked by people in KC. View/follow the full playlist on Spotify and you can always go back and check out the full run of articles.

Playlist Guest #3: Abby Olcese

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m the film editor at The Pitch and a freelance writer. I cover film and pop culture, but write primarily about the intersection of art, politics, and faith. Did you know all art is political? It is!

Where can we follow/support you and your work?

You can follow me on Twitter, @abbyolcese, check out my articles and reviews for The Pitch, and find my freelance work at Sojourners, Crooked Marquee, Rogerebert.com, and Think Christian

What are today’s additions to The Pitch’s Infinite Playlist?

Now that I look at this list, I realize it’s a little aggressive. However, I feel like it’s a good indicator of where my mind (most of our minds, really) have been over the last couple of years. It’s kind of a journey of frustration, empowerment, being fed up and finally learning how to fight back. Also, it’s just some good tunes.

15. Sparks – “Angst In My Pants”

I’ve loved Sparks for years, and 2021 was a big year for them, thanks to a documentary by Edgar Wright and their script and music for Leos Carax’s movie Annette (AKA that movie with Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard, and the creepy child puppet). My favorite Sparks era is their 80s synth-pop phase, which is witty and extremely 80s in a way that appeals to people who love the aesthetic, but get the context and irony behind it better than your average Stranger Things fan. Anyway, I love their album Angst In My Pants, so here’s the title track.

16. CLPPNG – “Body and Blood”

An anthem of female empowerment by way of horror, which is something I’m never gonna say no to. “Body and Blood” has a driving beat, Daveed Diggs’ delivery is relentless, and the lyrics are so vivid. It sets a scene and tells a story. This song is particularly good for setting the vibe around Halloween, but if you’re like me, you celebrate Halloween all year, so there’s never a bad time to listen to this. 

17. Tina Turner – “Typical Male”

Lately Tina is who I turn to (sorry not sorry) when I’m feeling stressed out, or when I’m feeling myself and want to amp up the mood. She is self-care in musical form. “Typical Male” makes me want to hop in a convertible and take a drive somewhere warm and sunny, neither of which describe the weather at the time I’m writing this. Also, I like that it’s a song about having standards and advocating for what you want. Tell ‘em, Tina.

18. IDLES – “Never Fight a Man with a Perm”

If Tina Turner is my musical self-care, IDLES is my musical anger management class. This band is all about vulnerability and standing up for what’s right, but expressed in a way that channels all my righteous rage and energy. They’d be great people to have on your side in a fight. I chose this song because it’s fun to headbang to, and I have fond memories of hearing them play this during a show at recordBar in 2019 with Brock. [Editor’s note: We did, in fact, start punching each other during this performance. Abby is… scrappy. And stronger than you think. Do not fuck around.]

19. Wet Leg – “Chaise Longue”

Wet Leg are a recent discovery (they don’t even have an album out yet), but they’re one of those bands where I hear the track and know immediately that the vibe clicks with mine. “Chaise Longue” is cheeky and assertive, and makes me think of bands I loved in high school and college. This is music for a night when you catch a show and go partying, then wake up hungover to meet your parents for breakfast because they’re in town, but you still feel great because you’re young and awesome, and tonight you’re gonna do it all over again.

20. Neal Francis – “Problems”

Neal Francis was a quarantine comfort for me last year, and I’m enjoying his new album. I really like the varying forms of retro revival happening in indie music at the moment, and Neal Francis sits at a special little intersection of Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Leon Russell, and Harry Nilsson. “Problems” is one of my favorite tracks on In Plain Sight. It’s got a catchy hook and a synthy disco sound, and I identify deeply with the lyrics. Who among us hasn’t got piles of practical and emotional crap to manage right now?

21. Nick Lowe – “Stick It Where the Sun Don’t Shine”

There’s a Nick Lowe song for every situation and every mood out there. Honestly, I could’ve done an infinite playlist contribution that is only Nick Lowe songs. Be grateful I didn’t choose to do that. “Stick It Where the Sun Don’t Shine” is one of his lesser-known songs, off the underrated 1982 album Nick the Knife. In keeping with my sub-theme of being Very Done With Everything, it’s a bright little power-pop ditty about getting one over on jerks whose time is up.

22. Nick Waterhouse – “(If) You Want Trouble”

Of the current rock revivalists out there, Nick Waterhouse may be my favorite. He’s got a classic, jazz-inflected early soul sound that feels like the product of years of loving study. He’s a great showman, too–the next time he’s in town, go to a show. I guarantee it’ll be a good time. “(If) You Want Trouble” is a banger about spoiling for a fight and getting one.

Categories: Music