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OPB Presents: Katherine Paul's Pandemic Playlist

Multi-instrumentalist Katherine Paul is the frontwoman of Black Belt Eagle Scout.
Eleanor Petry
Courtesy of the artist
Multi-instrumentalist Katherine Paul is the frontwoman of Black Belt Eagle Scout.

The talented multi-instrumentalist Katherine Paul formed the songwriting vehicle Black Belt Eagle Scout in 2018 and released two impressive albums in rapid succession. The rock band was founded in Portland, where Paul has spent most of her adult life as a musician. But when the pandemic hit, the Indigenous artist decided to move closer to family in the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community northwest of Seattle. It was something she'd always planned to do, but the tumultuous year sped up her timeline considerably.

In this special guest playlist created for Oregon Public Broadcasting, Paul shares new music that she discovered during the past year while moving, unpacking and reconnecting with loved ones.

Adrianne Lenker, "forwards beckon rebound"

"It's just really pretty, and I think that the whole album that she put out is just really beautiful. ... It's a comforting thing to be able to put on when you're just hanging out or when you're making food or something like that. So that's what I used it for — to be able to find comfort in the calmness of the songs.

I hear so many people saying that this past year anxiety has been at an all-time high and certain things about our mental health having big challenges. So, to be able to have music that's soothing, I think is helpful."

Divide and Dissolve, "Oblique"

"I feel like the songs that I chose [for this playlist] bring out emotions for me. It's a very empowering song. I was so excited when I first heard this song. ... It [has] these really beautiful sounds — these woodwind sounds [at the beginning]. And then all of a sudden there's this thrash of just metal guitar and metal drums, and it was just so perfect to just have that sound happen in that moment."

Land Of Talk, "Diaphanous"

"This song just makes me feel good. I feel like I'm entranced by some sort of spell or something [when I listen], and it just puts me in a good mood. It feels romantic even. That's also a song I like to drive around to and listen [to] at top volume. And I think a lot of these are songs that I would honestly listen to on repeat. I feel like when I get really into a song, I just want to listen to it over and over again."

Floating Room, "Held Open Door"

"Maya [Stoner] from Floating Room — she's one of my really good friends. [This song] has really good guitar licks in it and what she's saying is really interesting. I haven't asked her what it's about but it's one where you've just got to listen to the lyrics. She uses this [guitar] pedal that sounds so twinkly, and I feel like it's becoming her sound that she has in her band, which is so cool."

Palehound, "Killer"

"I was late to the party on listening to Palehound's record. I have to come clean. When I finally listened to it, I had just moved back to where I grew up in Swinomish, and I was doing the whole setting up where I live situation. I've never heard a song like that. And I've never heard somebody be so vulnerable and so honest about how they feel about wanting to honor women, I guess. I think that's what they're trying to do."

Waxahatchee, "Ruby Falls"

"So, this is one of those songs where you listen to it and then all of a sudden there's this change — something is added in the instrumentation that I think really makes the song just so full and so wholesome. There's this part [near the end] where it goes into this kind of slow jam, and it melts my heart every time I hear it. It's so good."

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