The Month In Music: December
Magic In The Moonlight // Magic Tramps
I think I heard this on a “What’s In My Bag?” but I can’t be totally sure. Doesn’t the beginning of December always feel 8 trillion miles away? Christmas lasts seven fucking weeks and I can’t remember shit about the beginning of the month. Anyways, as the name explains, this is pretty magical.
Pet Shop Eyes // The Growlers
I caught one of their Christmas shows at the Wiltern with my pal Sadie, and we had the time of our goddamn lives. I used to listen to this song all the time in high school, thinking I was hot shit as I drove up PCH—that’s the Pacific Coast Highway for all you non west-coast weirdos—and was reminded of how great of a song this is when it popped up in the middle of the setlist.
No Hope // The Vaccines
I took a further trip down memory lane when I listened to The Vaccines entire discography this month (Can they hurry up and make another album already?). This track had new and devastating relevancy for me. Lines like “When you’re 24/And young and bored/And don’t know who you are no more,” seem ripped from my diary…except for the fact that I definitely don’t have a diary. Since turning 24 myself this month I’ve been wallowing in these sentiments, but in typical Vaccines fashion, this song yanks you out of the groggy bullshit by being so much fun.
Homesickness // Emahoy Tseque-Maryam Guebrou
This is a gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous 1960s piano piece from an Ethiopian musician that I couldn’t stop playing all month. A must listen if you’re looking for a little exotic escape while you’re doing the dishes or having a bath.
Anthony // Margaret Glaspy
This whole album is aces—and on my short list of albums of the year—but this track in particular hit me hard. That moment of realization, bittersweet and regretful, that you cared about someone more than they ever cared about you, is something we’ve all felt. The way she sings, “but Anthony never chose me,” tells you everything you need to know.
Honey Sweet // Blossoms
Blossoms continue the long tradition of British electro-pop that you can both dance to and cry to; slick, sexy, and emotional. The whole album is pretty good, but I always call people “honey,” and am therefore drawn to any song that has that in the title.
Square Pegs // The Waitresses
I’ve been obsessed with The Waitresses all month—thanks in no small part to their infectious-as-hell Christmas song—and this song just never gets old. I’ll be honest, I’ve always felt a kinship to it. I consider myself a “square peg,” and it’s not just because people tell me I look like Sarah Jessica Parker.
Age Of Consent // New Order
Ok so, we’ve all heard this song. We all love this song. I’ll tell you what, this came on my shuffle one day and I dropped everything I was doing and just fucking danced. If you’re ever in a funk, ever feeling out of sorts, I recommend you play this on the loudest stereo you can find and do exactly what I did. Game-changer.
Me And Your Mama // Childish Gambino
Speaking of game-changers, holy shit. Believe the hype. This blew my mind. Fast-forward to the2-minute mark if you don’t believe me.
Love Forever // The Babe Rainbow
I don’t know much about this band, except that they have an awesome name, and are purveyors of lo-fi, psych-tinged surf-y pop goodness.
Senior Service // Elvis Costello & The Attractions
So Elvis Costello came into my work this month, and I about lost my mind. As someone who, on more than one occasion, has changed “Allison” to “Madison” to feel the thrill of having Costello sing to me, I was SHOOK. The weirdest part was I listened to this album all day that day; like I conjured him up with my sheer fanaticism. AMAZING.
Always See Your Face // Love
A 60’s gem that broke my heart with the first verse, “Won’t somebody please/Help me with my miseries/Can’t somebody see/What this world has done to me.”
After The Lights Go Out // The Walker Brothers
Dramatic, thrilling, and really paints a scene. 60’s baroque-pop at its absolute best.
Not For Me // Bobby Darin
Wow, I guess I was in a masochistic mood all month. If you want to feel sorry for yourself, this’ll do the trick. There’s nothing wrong with indulging your inner drama queen every once in a while.
I Am Not Willing // Moby Grape
This is a great driving song. Make sure the windows are down.
The Mending Of The Gown // Sunset Rubdown
You know when you hear a song that you haven’t heard in forever that used to be your absolute JAM? I heard this back in junior high on an Urban Outfitters mixtape they were passing out for free. Wow. I can feel the greasy skin and insecurity coming back to haunt me. Anyways, this song is just cranked to 10 on all fronts. It’s got universes inside of it. Like, you’re gonna be out of breath when this is over.
Last Caress // Misfits
Will I ever feel totally comfortable singing along to lines like, “I raped your mother today?” No. I think that’s a sign of my moral fiber and general sanity. Will I do it from the comfort of my own vehicle when no one is around for me to offend? Hell yes. This is a killer.
Can’t Keep My Cool // Durand Jones & The Indications
The spirit of sultry, sexy, soul is alive and well with Mr. Jones. Put this on and fall in love.
I Love Hot Nights // Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers
Yes, I know it’s December, and there aren’t a lot of “hot nights” going down, but I saw Mr. Richman in concert this month and it was on of the highlights of my year. It was just as whimsical, unique, and charming as I expected. See him immediately.
Plastic // Moses Sumney
I binge-watched Insecure on HBO in two days—I highly recommend—and was really impressed with the music. This heavenly track caught my ear immediately.
Warned You // Good Morning
For me, this is the sound of those limbo days, right around Christmas, when all you’re doing is eating, being lazy, and doing a whole lot of nothing.
The Dream Synopsis // The Last Shadow Puppets
My favorite track off their new EP, this places you right in that dreamy place that Alex Turner is describing so bewitchingly. Love the lazy sax.
What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? // King Curtis
Picture this. You’re walking down a deserted, rainy, metropolitan street, arm in arm with a lovely man. It’s after midnight, you’re walking slow, you don’t have anywhere you need to get to, but you’re not ready to go home. You can smell the last cigarette he smoked on his jacket, and you’re still a little woozy from the glass of champagne you had before you left the party. He looks at you. You both smile. This is that in a song.