the songs next door january 2021

the songs next door isn’t just my monthly playlist, it’s like a musical journal for me. i’ve always loved music and there are songs i associate with certain people or differnt times in my life – songs i can listen to over and over, and even years later can remind me of a specific moment.

this month’s TSND has me going back to some old favorites including a song from “spring awakening” which is a musical i loved and saw more than once (and i’m not much of a musical guy). i’ve also got “try it (i’m in love with a married man)” which i first heard when pet shop boys were releasing their “disco” series and it was on the third installment, which was the best of all of them but can no longer be found.

as far as new music goes, there is one band and album that really stood out to me: “mapping an invisible world” by days away. i heard about this album when i was listening to an interview with circa survice and someone in the band mentioned this album being their favorite. it’s really an incredible album that drew me in quicker than most, and by song 5 or so i was convinced that this was going to be one of my favorite albums, too. turns out it’s one of my “must listen” albums – those rare albums where you have to listen to the whole thing, in order, and every song belongs and is needed to complete the experience – there are no throw away songs, no songs coming at the wrong point in the album.

anyway, please enjoy this month’s installment of the songs next door!

because spotify embeds are sometimes spotty, here’s the url of the playlist in case it doesn’t embed or stops embedding:

circa survive and naming your art

circa survive is a band i like and when i came across this interview with guitarist colin frangicetto i gave it a listen. somewhere around 10 minutes they’re discussing song names and colin says that he thinks naming your art is an overlooked important part of making it

i liked it because i couldn’t agree more. i write stories and poems and make music and i’ve always put a lot of thought into the titles – from the songs to the albums, poems to the collections, even the names of characters. like colin says in the interview it’s like the trojan horse: the thing that makes you look and say “i’ll give that a try.” the title of a work sets a tone and compels you to keep going, and over time i think when you look at a body of work, you start to see a larger artistic statement come into focus which i think is really cool

the songs next door december 2020

on the 8th of every month i finish the playlist i’ve been working on and share it publicly, then start the playlist for the next month. here’s december’s playlist!

for me, the standout track on this list is nina simone’s sinnerman – i just can’t help but get into the feel of it and the POWER!

(for some reason, spotify embeds don’t always work – this one looks like it works on the backend, but it doesn’t display on the front end, so here’s the link)

fsol on mtv 1996

i’ve been a fan of the future sound of london since about 1999 when i heard “dead cities” for the first time and fell in love. “lifeforms” was the next album i bought from them (a double cd!!) and i was hooked.

this video is from when they were on chillout zone (i don’t know what that is/was – i wasn’t watching mtv in 1996) and is really freaking wild visually. the music is all from “dead cities” though most of the songs are abbreviated and/or completely reworked – samples that played together in a series in a song pop up here and there in transitions, or played in a different order or with another song. still, it’s a great chance to have a listen to them and trip out a little

bad education

the first time i heard this song i loved it – super catchy and i thought the percussion was interesting. it felt like a bunch of talented friends playing together like you could just feel their harmony – anyway, i soon found out that “interesting percussion” was a fucking tap dancer!! that made me love them even more.

here’s a video of them on letterman. i didn’t see an “official” video when i looked through youtube though i could swear i saw one years ago, so either i’m making shit up in my head (very probable) or it’s not easy to find/no longer available (also quite probable)

so many colors

i was scrolling through twitter and saw this:

i thought that was a nice way to encourage some nuance and flexibility – to allow room for a range of possibilities. i’ve always found a lot more peace of mind when i get out of rigid black and white thinking and consider “neither” – neither black nor white but somewhere in between

it also made me think of “the beauty of gray” by live from their album mental jewelry – live were popular when i was in high school with their second album throwing copper. i had my very first boyfriend in high school and he and i shared a love of music, and he turned me on to mental jewelry which is definitely their best album (though frankly after throwing copper, they stopped being a band i wanted to listen to)

anyway, here’s that song – it’s really a lovely tune with a nice message about seeing the range between black and white instead of staying rigidly polarized

(i’m sharing the live version because it’s good and it’s fun to think of when mtv unplugged was a thing and really because ed looks cute)

music for a rainy night

it’s rainy here in nyc tonight. it’s also really warm for this time of year and i’ve got the windows open as i’m writing. i’m listening to lifeforms by the future sound of london – one of my favorite albums of all time (from one of my favorite bands of all time) and the perfect music right now.

were the pointer sisters actually sisters?

i have a google home system and it’s hooked to my spotify account so i can just ask it to play a song and it will, so this morning when i was sipping coffee and editing video, i asked it to play “out of touch” by hall and oates.

after that song was over, it just played a selection of related music – i think there was some more hall and oates, edge of 17 (stevie nicks), and then “automatic” from the pointer sisters.

it reminded me of when i lived in boston in the early 2000s and i used to go to fritz (rest in peace) for a drink. one night i met the president of the pointer sisters fan club and took him home and fucked him. i’m sure he talked a lot about the pointer sisters (i remember him telling me the fan club was legit, he had met them) but i didn’t recall if they are actually sisters.

the answer is yes, they are sisters. sadly, june died in 2006 and bonnie died earlier this year.

and just because i’m obviously curious about random tidbits: the doobie brothers were not brothers, the everly brothers were. when it comes to sisters, aside from the pointer sisters of course, i have to mention haim, who don’t call themselves the haim sisters but they are, and they make hooky 80s influenced pop tunes with lots of vocal harmonies – sort of like 80s girl bands with today’s references and studio technology.

the songs next door november 2020

i listen to a lot of music and for a few years now, i’ve been making a monthly playlist as kind of like a musical journal. on the 8th of each month, i share the month’s playlist and start the playlist for the following month. i add whatever songs move me and it tends to be a varied collection of styles and artists.

november’s playlist is on the smaller side because i’ve been spending a lot of time listening to the future sound of london (and their quasi-alter ego band amorphous adrogynous) and haven’t wanted to basically just put half of their songs on a playlist. there are 6 songs from them on this list, along with a couple tunes from woods – a psych-folk band that i absolutely love – and “bird and the berry” from LAKE, a song that showcases their warm, soft sound.