The Month In Music: August
What Ever Happened? - The Strokes
You know those bands that instantly take you back to when you first listened to them? Room On Fire was pivotal for me. Even though it was largely panned when it was released for being too much like Is This It?, 5th grade me and current me agree that this is a fucking great album. I finally got a copy on vinyl and I think it’s the only thing I listened to for a week straight.
N.S.U. - Cream
Took a trip to Big Bear with my buddy Sadie. This came on while we were flying down the freeway. There’s nothing quite like blasting this with all the windows rolled down. “I’ve been in and out/I’ve been up and down/I don’t want to go until I’ve been all around.” Agreed.
Gotta Get A Hold Of Myself - The Zombies
I’m still on a residual high from my interview with Colin Blunstone last month. This is a deeper cut of theirs that I think everyone can relate to. “Got to get a hold of myself/Got to make believe I don’t care.” and “Got to give it a try/Can’t lay down and die,” are the ultimate mantras if you’re trying to forget about someone. Screaming along to this song at the top of your lungs a couple times will help. Promise.
Blue Mountains - Diamond Rugs
Rediscovered this gem while my phone was on shuffle. Hit the right spot for some reason this month. The cadence of it is pretty damn addictive. “Get it on, babe, get it on.”
Time Will Tell - Bob Marley & The Wailers
Another gift from the Big Bear camping trip. Cruising around the lake, windows down as the sun sets. Pure bliss. I put this on whenever I’m stressed, whenever I need to chill for a second and get my shit together. The audio equivalent of swinging in a hammock on a Jamaican beach.
Nobody Tells My Baby - Nico Yaryan
Nico Yaryan had a residency at The Bootleg in LA this month and I was lucky enough to catch one of his sets. So good. Unfortunately, he didn’t play my favorite song off his album, which is this one here. Pure piano-pop goodness. This’ll get stuck in your head, guaranteed.
This Ain’t Havana - The Ramones
You know when you’re home alone, and you just want to blast something and go crazy? End Of The Century is one of my go-tos. This track in particular, you really have to dance it out for.
Maybe - Jurassic Shark
A perfect song for those last, precious days of summer. “Maybe we can have fun walkin’ around/Maybe we could have fun spending a night on the town/Yeah maybe we could have fun fucking around.”
24 Hour Token - Gap Dream
Had the pleasure of interviewing Gap Dream (aka Gabe Fulvimar), and had so much damn fun I forgot I was actually supposed to be ‘working.’ I thought this song was a shout-out to AA and alcoholics everywhere, but Gabe told me it’s actually about purported military time traveler John Titor. Google that shit ASAP. It’s some Berenstain Bears level-shit.
Berlin Got Blurry - Parquet Courts
Was BEYOND pumped to see Parquet Courts at the Constellation Room this month, jamming out especially to this Elvis Costello/Joe Jackson-flavored gem in preparation. Color me bummed, they never played due to a mystery medical emergency.
Strummin’ - Cloud Nothings
I mean, if this song isn’t the audio equivalent of those last golden hours of sunlight the day before school starts, I don’t know what is.
Is This How You Feel? - The Preatures
Sounds like walking around LA at night.
Slip Slidin’ Away (Demo) - Paul Simon
This came up on my shuffle and god damn it got me. I replayed it the rest of the ride home. Something about the demo version is just so devastating, especially the “A good day ain’t got no rain/She said a bad day’s when I lie in bed and think of things that might have been” bit. Also appropriate for the last days of summer slip slidin’ away.
Takin’ All I Can Get - Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels
I heard this at a bar and made a fool of myself trying to stealthily get as close to a speaker as possible so I could Shazam it. #success
Alternative Ulster - Stiff Little Fingers
Finally got around to watching Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!! I didn’t like it (sorry), but I had to know what the song was that intro’d the main character’s weirdo punk friend.
Statue Of Liberty - XTC
Is this a new-wave/pop-punk song sexualizing the actual Statue of Liberty? Absolutely. Does that make it less of an undeniable jam? Hell no.
Held Up Without A Gun - Bruce Springsteen
The sheer power and palpable energy of this live track from 1980 never fails to put a smile on my face. I mean God damn, it sounds like the stage is about to lift off. This’ll kick you in your ass. End of story.
Living For The City - Stevie Wonder
Rediscovered this essential track thanks to Pitchfork’s ‘200 Greatest Songs of the 70’s.’ If you have a few hours to kill I recommend checking that out. “Her skirt is short/But Lord her legs are sturdy.” God bless Stevie Wonder.
Something On Your Mind - Karen Dalton
Another winner from the Pitchfork list. I had never heard of Karen, but now I’m in deep. Her voice is unlike anything I’ve ever heard. I can’t even describe it. Just listen.
Destroyer - Kevin Morby
FINALLY got around to listening to this album to see what all the fuss was about. The verdict: So good. Believe the hype. This was one of my favorite tracks (but it was damn hard to choose just one).