On Another Note: Pulse Playlists

Wow, do we love Door County music. There’s something special about the folk, country, bluegrass, blues, singer/songwriter and performance tunes that are inspired by the icons and landscapes we love.

While we hold that music dear, we’d like to give a slot to the music not often heard on the peninsula, like rap, punk, EDM, hip-hop and more. Without further ado, we’d like to debut a new bi-weekly playlist column dedicated to music outside of Door County, called “On Another Note.” We will update this post with new playlists as they come. They will also be found in our weekly music preview, sent to your email every Tuesday. All you need to do is turn the volume up and press play!

Smilin’ 4 You

by Celeste Benzschawel, July 2

Welcome to the first bi-weekly playlist, made by Reporter and Social Media Editor Celeste Benzschawel. She curated this playlist during a really busy work-week, so she needed some fun, motivating tunes to stay on track. These songs had the power to change her outlook from slow typer to speed writer. They make her smile, and she hopes they make you smile, too.

Vibe: happy, upbeat
Genre mix: indie, indie-electro, pop, electronic

Chill Summer Tunes

by Grace Johnson, July 2

Sometimes when on vacation we forget to take a moment to breathe and relax. This is especially true for a place like Door County where there are so many things to do and see. To avoid turning your vacation into a chore, try and take 30 minutes every day to reflect and enjoy the simple things in life. For me, this is sitting outside to enjoy the warmth of the sun, the tickle of a summer breeze, and seeing all of the life around me. This playlist really reflects that idea for me, as all songs on this list are upbeat, without the heavy bass of the pop and rap songs of today. The light and airy tunes are perfect for reflecting on a summer day.

Vibe: uplifting, relaxing
Genre mix: California folk-pop ala the 1960s, sunshine pop

HEIST’s Carefully Crafted Playlist

Presented by Aleah Kidd, July 2

Knowing the attention to detail Ryan Castelaz gives to his bar program, I wasn’t surprised to learn that the playlist that is heard in the background at HEIST in Sturgeon Bay took around 3-4 months for him to cultivate. The playlist features a mix of classic songs from the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s, plus songs the staff really enjoys in the present, making a blend of new and old.

“It fits with the personality of the building, this post-modern situation … a modern blend of hip-hop and old jazz that brings together our intent to use both modern and traditional food preparation,” said partner Kindred DeGutis.

Heatin’ Up

By Celeste Benzschawel, July 16

We’ve finally hit the heat here in Wisconsin, and I’ve come across some fire music in the past week or two. It fits. I’ve concocted a collection of songs with guitar-heavy, rhythmic vibes. It’s gritty, it’s grungy, it’s dirty, it’s loud, it’s hot.

Vibe: gritty, moody
Genre mix: blues, rock, folk, soul


by Celeste Benzschawel, July 30

I’ve always had a tendency to enter into the deep spells of a daydream. On the particular Monday I made this playlist, I could feel myself slipping into the familiar abyss, so I thought I’d compile some songs to reflect the mood I was in. It’s a lot of soft, wavy sounds that are good for staring out a window or resting your head on a plush pillow.

Vibe: soft, wavy, fluid
Genre: dream pop, indie pop, indie rock

Deep and Dark

by Celeste Benzschawel, Aug. 13

These songs are weird. They’re dark. They’re slithery. They’re good for listening to if you’re in a mood that says, “I’m melancholy!” or a mood where you’d like to wrap up in an oversized blanket and sit in a darkened room. Perhaps even a mood where you could slither into a dark tunnel and start a quiet, underground revolution. It’s versatile.

Vibe: Dark, stormy, deep
Genre: Alternative, soft rock, indie

Labor Day Tunes 2019

by Grace Johnson, Aug. 27

Labor Day is on the horizon. It’s the time of year we recognize the hard work of the American workforce. While many get to have long weekends to spend with the family, some folks in Door County will be picking up extra shifts to cover the busy weekend. No matter if you are working or vacationing this weekend, we have collected some great work-themed tunes across a variety of genres to pump you up for the busy weekend and celebrate! *Please note, some songs contain explicit language

Vibe: Upbeat, humorous, celebratory
Genre: Anything and everything

Rap Beat$

by Celeste Benzschawel and Sam Kersebet, Sept. 10

Rap and hip hop. Neither of these genres have been a part of the live music scene in the two summers I’ve spent here. I’ll just leave it at that. Video editor Sam Kersebet helped supply his favorites. Enjoy tracks from DJ Lucas, Tyler the Creator, Princess Nokia and more. *Please note, some songs contain explicit language

Vibe: moody, dance, rhythm
Genre: Rap, hip hop, grime

What the Folk

by Celeste Benzschawel, Sept. 24

Door County is no stranger to folk music, but I thought I’d provide some more mainstream, modern choices. Settle in for some acoustic, finger-picking bangers that might bring tears to your eyes. There’s guitar, there’s banjo, there’s harmonies. To help you transition to fall, imagine listening to these songs while on a nice, brisk walk in the woods. Or better yet, listen to these songs while on a nice, brisk walk in the woods.

Vibe: Mellow, cheerful, thoughtful
Genre: folk, indie-folk, folk-rock

Fall Feels

by Celeste Benzschawel, Grace Johnson, contributors, Oct. 1

Fall is coming to the county and what better way to transition into the new season than to make another playlist? Welcome to the Pulse’s 2019 Fall Playlist, concocted by members of our staff. The playlist consists of 50 songs from a variety of artists including Vance Joy, Vampire Weekend, Portugal. The Man, Rod Stewart, Grateful Dead, Patsy Cline and more. Read here for a full description.

Vibe: FALL
Genre: Rock, indie, alternative, folk

Feelin’ Classy

by Celeste Benzschawel, Oct. 15

The classical music I listen to is inspired by the pieces we’d sing in my high school choir, by movies or found on a mad scramble for something that will help me focus while I’m working. When not an expert in the classical realm, it may be daunting to figure out what you like. Do you like symphonies? Piano? Strings? Vocals or no vocals? I don’t really care what it is as long as it moves me. So, here are the classical songs that I find to be the most beautiful (and sometimes the most motivating)!

Vibe: classy, motivated, focused, fancy
Genre: classical, symphony, piano, strings

Halloween Chillz

by Peninsula Pulse staff, Oct. 22

The Halloween season is in full swing and the Pulse staff is thinking all things spooky! This week we bring you a list of great songs to get into that creepy vibe or provide the perfect backdrop for your Halloween festivities. The songs run the gamut of chilling beats, lyrics derived from true-crime happenings, and some Halloween standards. No matter the content, all of these picks are sure to send a shiver down your spine! *Please note that some songs contain explicit language and graphic content

Vibe: Chilling, spine-tingling
Genre: Rock, alternative, pop & more!

Movie Music Magic

by Grace Johnson, Nov. 5

I’m a movie buff thanks to my father. Family time consisted of sitting down together and watching a movie. Not just staring at the screen, but enjoying and consuming all of the components that go into movie making. My dad would sit through entire credit reels just to see the various jobs and people involved in making his favorites. For me, I soaked up the music. Each song is so carefully crafted that the music becomes a character itself. For some of my favorite movies, I can listen to the music alone and know what part of the movie we are in. Movie scores are great background music for reading, studying or trying to sleep. Music doesn’t need lyrics to be powerful.

Vibe: Restorative, invigorating, relaxing
Genre: Movie soundtracks, instrumental

Obscurities, Oddities, Oldies

by Celeste Benzschawel, Nov. 20

Welcome to Celeste’s middle school and high school iPod songs. These are some of the most obscure indie/alternative songs (plus a few other randos) she had that she could’t remember the names of unless she spent an obscene amount of time digging through all 2,159 of them. (She did). Meet Celeste before she got her hands on an iPhone and enjoyed the wonders of Spotify.

Vibe: nostalgic, obscure, chill, jammin’ tunes
Genre: alternative, indie, folk, rock, dance

Korean Bops

by Grace Johnson, Dec. 5

You don’t have to understand the lyrics to enjoy the music. At least that’s the case for me. The song could have the best lyrics in the world, but if the beat is off, you couldn’t get me to listen to it. However, I can be drawn to music with a good beat. Korean music – K-Pop primarily – is starting to become more mainstream with artists like BTS making it big in the American music industry. While K-Pop is what got me to listen to Korean-made music, I have since spread my wings to enjoy some other great artists that come from Korea. You can find a musician for any genre you want! One of my personal favorite groups, Hyukoh, actually plays stuff more along the indie rock vibe, and the lead singer has an amazing voice. My philosophy is don’t knock it till you try it when it comes to music. Hopefully, you dear readers out there, will take a moment to jump out of your comfort zone and give some of these tunes a listen! *Please note some songs contain explicit language

Vibe: songs to get your toes tappin’
Genre: Kpop, hip-hop, indie rock, and more

Only Sort of Christmas Music

By Celeste Benzschawel, Dec. 19

It’s true. I put off making this playlist until the last minute. Let’s just say that I’m not a fan of Christmas music. When you grow up singing in various choirs, you’re singing holiday music from Oct. to Dec. every year. That’s a long time to be listening to it, let alone singing it. But, this 25-song playlist isn’t meant to squash your holiday cheer. In fact, it’s still quite nice (if I do say so myself). I decided to include Christmas songs and holiday tunes that feature artists I’d listen to on a regular basis like The Growlers, LCD Soundsystem, Fleet Foxes and Pearl Jam. I’ll probably never listen to this playlist again, but having artists I like on it definitely makes it easier. Either way, enjoy the holidays, Merry Krampus and bah humbug!

Vibe: snowy, wintry, Christmas, holiday
Genre: folk, rock, indie

Winter Frolicking

By Celeste Benzschawel, Jan. 2

Warm yourself up this winter with some cozy guitar-based songs. Listen to them while taking a snowy hike or while you’re sipping a hot toddy. The winter season always brings to mind a certain set of artists like Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens and the Fleet Foxes. Their instrumental style and vibe seem closely paralleled to a gentle snowfall and the crunch of a boot. 

Vibe: snowy, wintry, cozy
Genre: folk, indie

Jams on Repeat

by Grace Johnson, Jan. 17

I have a problem with earworms. Once I hear a song I like, it is forever stuck in my head until I play it out of my brain. As I listen to music, mostly while at work, I like to find things that are upbeat to keep me energized but not too distracted. I have found a handful of tunes that have been my go-to jams for the past few weeks. Hopefully by sharing these tunes, the earworms will finally be free and I can move along to some new stuff! *Please note that some songs contain explicit language

Vibe: Foot-tapping, head-bopping
Genre: Indie pop, hip-hop/rap

It’s Winter and I’m Bored

By Celeste Benzschawel, Jan. 30

Truthfully, I’m super busy. Still, here are a bunch of random songs that are currently getting me out of bed in the morning, though I’d very much prefer to stay there and melt away into oblivion instead of braving the outdoors to walk to work. Whoops, I said it.

Vibe: Energetic, angry and sad all at once? I’m not sure how to categorize this one.
Genre: Rock, bluegrass, 80s, psychedelic rock, grunge, indie

MTV Junkie

by Kim Benzschawel, Feb 13

This installment of “On Another Note” was put together by Celeste’s mother, Kim. She became an MTV junkie when it made its debut in the 80s, and she probably still would be if it continued airing music videos. Trust us, she often wears a blue MTV cut-off tank top to concerts. Take a listen to some of her favorite 80s tunes.

Vibe: Danceable, fast-paced, energetic, fun
Genre: 80s, rock


By Celeste Benzschawel, Feb. 27

I’ve been hearing whispers of a punk show in Ephraim this weekend, and I felt inspired to get learnt. I picked a handful of some punk songs I knew and found some others I didn’t. As a result, you get this playlist. Blast it in your car or mosh in your bedroom alone, either thing works. See you this weekend. Bring your mohawk.

Vibe: Dance, mosh, thrash, angst
Genre: Hardcore, punk, pop punk, classic punk


by Solomon Lindenberg, March 10

The following is a collection of songs that don’t necessarily fit into a specific genre. They’re characterized by nuances that make them completely unique and are nothing like anyone has ever heard before them. This playlist features some of my all-time favorite artists – Jeff Buckley, Lou Reed, Tom Waits, Frank Zappa – all of whom were never afraid to refuse conformity to a genre or push the limits of the genres that they had been designated to. Along with being purely original, these songs are raw, expressive and unmanufactured.

Vibe: Angst, individuality, raw
Genre: Alternative, rock

Playlists of Old

Don’t forget about the playlists we’ve made in the past. Here’s a list of some past goodies:

2019 Sound of Summer: Reporter and Social Media Editor Celeste Benzschawel created a list of music found on the peninsula for local and visiting artists.

2018 End of Season Playlist: When Celeste Benzschawel was an Arts and Entertainment intern, she created a playlist of some of the Door County tunes that crossed her desk and infiltrated her ears.

2016 Labor Day Playlist: Contributor Jackson Parr made this playlist to commemorate the working-folks holiday.

2016 Tax Day Playlist: Contributor Alyssa Skiba created this playlist “in honor of this annual day of drudgery.”

2015 Go Pack Go! A Selection From Lambeau Field’s Stadium Playlist: Contributor Alyssa Skiba says it all in the headline.

2015 Back-to-School Playlist: 2015 Arts and Entertainment Intern Abigail Edmonds put together a back-to-school playlist that would keep her spirits high as the study sessions and exams roll in.

2014 Thanksgiving Day Playlists: Contributors Alyssa Skiba and Sharon Grutzmacher offer two Thanksgiving playlists, one dedicated to classical tones, and the other for an all-day turkey adventure.

2014 Back to School Playlist: Events Calendar Manager Grace Johnson curated this list a few years back when she was a Pulse copyediting intern and student at Lawrence University.