The Month In Music: January
I Guess It’s Love // Lee Hazlewood
I put on this album a lot this month. It’s off his concept album Trouble Is A Lonesome Town, which is an underrated gem if I’ve ever heard one. There’s plenty of charmers like this, mixed in with spoken-word interludes that only Lee could make work.
Run That Body Down // Paul Simon
I went to Hawaii with my friend Sadie’s family earlier this month. It was a lovely week spent driving with the windows down, taking in the sweet air and greenery, with a soundtrack consisting of Paul Simon, the Grateful Dead, and the Band. Needless to say, it was paradise.
Tintarella di Luna // Mina
I watched the Golden Globes this month, the most entertaining part being when I heard this in an ad for the Venetian hotel in Vegas. This is a must for when you crack open a bottle of wine and are cooking up some pasta.
Take Me I’m Yours // Mary Clark
Amoeba’s What’s In My Bag? came through once again. This is DJ Spinna’s take on the disco classic (the only version I could find on Spotify) and it’s guaranteed to get your booty shaking.
You Think I Don’t Know (But I Know) // Charles Bradley
One of the best tracks from one of last year’s best albums. His voice is one in a million. Soul, grit, and guts.
Reality // Black Merda!
Sadly, this has kind of been my anthem for Trump’s first month in office. It delivers hard knocks like “Reality will cause your fantasy to die,” wrapped in a dreamy, 70’s soul package. Uplifting and sobering all at once.
Lonely Hours // Ronnie Hawkins
I read Robbie Robertson’s (lead guitarist from The Band and member of the Rock and Roll Hottie Hall Of Fame) book this month and was particularly struck by the chapters dealing with his time as a teenager touring with Ronnie Hawkins. He’s not on this song, but it’s a winner nonetheless.
The Long Black Veil // Lefty Frizzell
One of the great “story songs” from a traditional country legend. It’s got everything, adultery, murder, mistaken identity, and lost love.
The One I Love // The Molochs
The Molochs released a new album this month and it’s a winner. Sunny hooks, a nostalgic pop sound, and romantic ditties like this.
Working My Way To LA // Jim Ford
I don’t know if it was reading Robbie Robertson’s book, but my ears were particularly attuned to roots-inflected rock like this all month. This has got such a groove to it, and as someone who sits in LA traffic quite frequently, this is the perfect thing to take mind off of how badly I have to pee.
Painting Of Blue // Forth Wanderers
Shockingly, it actually rained quite a bit here in sunny SoCal this month. This was one of my go-to’s whenever it got a little gloomy outside.
He’s My Dream // Marie Antoinette
I’m a sucker for girl groups. The huge production, the harmonies, the drama, the expression of love in its most devoted and innocent form. I played this one a whole lot this month.
Christine F // Surf Curse
My favorite off of Surf Curse’s latest. I’m usually very anti-songsthatonlyhavesixwords, but it works here, becoming more of mantra to bang your head to.
You Won’t Do // The Regrettes
If you’re a fan of classic punk and you haven’t heard The Regrettes’ Feel Your Feelings Fool!, please listen immediately. It’s full of anti-patriarchy scorchers and surprisingly mature songwriting from a band full of teenagers. The fact that they are this good and that young makes me very angry, but also very pumped.
Harlem River // Kevin Morby
I heard this in a YouTube video and have become obsessed. It’s slinky, it’s hypnotic, and so spellbinding that I often come out on the other side of its nine-minute length as if out of a trance. Dig it.
When You Awake // The Band
As mentioned, I’ve been pretty submerged in Robbie Robertson and The Band all month. There’s something magical about their music. It’s so worn-in, so comfortable. The more you listen the better it gets.
Fantasy // Mariah Carey
Perhaps an unusual choice for me, but this is an undeniable jam, and probably my favorite sample of Tom Tom Club’s “Genius Of Love.”Oh, and the music video is incredible. She’s roller blading. What more do you need to know?
Shake It // Iain Matthews
Whether you are a subscriber to the idea of New Year’s Resolutions or not, January inevitably becomes a time of reflection, and a time of planning for the new year. I didn’t really make any New Year’s resolutions—other than watching less Real Housewives—but my spiritual resolution is all here in this song. “Shake it baby, shake it all you can tonight/Break him baby/Break him all you can tonight/Cuz it won’t last forever/Do it for worse or for better/Give the boys something to dream on.” Look out, world!
Bobby, King of Boys Town // Cass McCombs
I was watching an old episode of Girls—watching episodes of HBO shows I’ve already seen is an odd habit I’ve developed that I don’t really understand—and was mad at myself that I didn’t pick up on this song the first time around.
Two Sleepy People // Fats Waller
A classic from the jazz age. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything that creates such a mood. You can see the smoke rising from a cigarette butt in the bedside ashtray, the rumpled sheets, the sun creeping in the window., the sleepy eyes. Perfect.
People Everywhere (Still Alive) // Khruangbin
A funky, Bombino-esque instrumental that perfectly reflects the title. It’s uplifting, groovy, and the perfect pick-me-up.
Haenim // Kim Jung Mi
1970’s, South Korean folk? Yes. It’s as good as you’re thinking it is.
Don’t Do It // The Band
A cover of a 1964 Marvin Gaye single that turned into one of their calling cards. This is my favorite version they ever did, off of the essential live album Rock Of Ages. An earth-shaker. Just like it says at the beginning of The Last Waltz, Play this LOUD.