If you’re like us here at Live For Live Music, your listening habits go through cycles. One week, you’re all about that new single you can’t get enough of. The next, you watch a documentary that sends you down a ’60s gospel rabbit hole. One day, you’re feeling pensive. The next, you just want to dance. It’s all about how you’re feeling, what’s on your mind, what’s happening in your life.

Enter the L4LM Monthly Mix, a serial playlist curated with care by our staff, a small group of dedicated music lovers with unique and varied tastes. Each month, we’ll bring you a new mix of tracks—from the old to the new, the beloved to the obscure, the silly to the sentimental. There’s no particular overarching rhyme or reason to the L4LM Monthly Mix. This is just the music that’s on our minds, the music we’re excited to share with you right now. Next month, we’ll be feeling something different, and we hope you’ll subscribe and continue to listen along with us as that journey unfolds.

This article serves as your listening guide for the L4LM Monthly Mix—your liner notes, your peek inside our brains. Hear a song you like as you listen through? Scroll down (or “cmnd + f” search) and find out “what’s good” with the selection—why that music moved us this month. We hope we can help you discover something that moves you, too.

Dive into the January edition of the L4LM Monthly Mix below and subscribe on Spotify to make sure you don’t miss any new Monthly Mixes.

L4LM Monthly Mix – January 2020


Dr. John – “Right Place, Wrong Time”

What’s good: Between the tribute to Dr. John with Ivan Neville, Jon Cleary, etc. at Denver Comes Alive and Jazz Fest coming up, I had to show some love to one of the all-time greatest tunes to come out of New Orleans. –Kunj Shah

The Tesky Brothers – “So Caught Up”

What’s good: My girl Hilary Gleason sent me this track and I’ve had it on repeat since! –Kunj Shah

Mac Miller – “Complicated”

What’s good: Mac Miller’s passing left his family and peers with hours upon hours of unreleased material to dig through and the difficult decision of what to do with it. His recent posthumous album, Circles, is a tragically beautiful inside look into what he was going through prior to his death. I picked this particular song, in part, because it features MonoNeon (Prince, Ghost-Note) on bass. –Sara Shah

Black Pumas – “Fire”

What’s good: Had to give love to Black Pumas. Their record is phenomenal. Seeing them on the Suwannee Rising and the LOCKN’ Festival lineups make me extremely happy. –Kunj Shah

Orchestra Baobab – “Clementine Jam” [Grateful Dead]

What’s good: I’ve been obsessed with Orchestra Baobab ever since Dave Matthews and Trey Anastasio made that trip to Africa to go meet and play with them. Their take on this is early Grateful Dead deep cut is fresh and makes me feel like I’m on an island or beach somewhere. –Kunj Shah

The Geek x Vrv, Hi Levelz – “Roller Disco 1980”

What’s good: On the verge of releasing their first-ever full-length album, The Geek x Vrv just dropped this funky-fresh track that feels like a throwback to an ’80s roller disco, topped off with vocals from rapper Hi Levelz. –Sara Shah

Talking Heads – “Take Me to the River”

What’s good: With Turkuaz announcing their Talking Heads tour, I’ve been listening to everything David Byrne nonstop. –Kunj Shah

James Brown – “The Boss”

What’s good: Wintertime is the perfect time to revisit the warmth of old school soul music, and who better to lead the way into the dark part of the year than James Brown. “The Boss” has always been one of my favorite Brown songs—its rhythm pocket is perfect, that horn riff is inescapable, and the rest of the song’s minimal instrumentation allows Brown to take center stage to belt out those perfect lyrics, “Look at me, you know what you see?/You see a bad mutha.” –Tom Shackleford

Thumpasaurus – “I’m Too Funky”

What’s good: After seeing/experiencing Thumpasaurus for the first time during an epic dance party aboard Jam Cruise 18, I’m certain this band is one which music fans have to know about. “I’m Too Funky” is the perfect feel-good song and a must-add selection to one’s winter playlist. It’ll have you feeling too funky for the f*ckin pastrami. –Tom Shackleford

Ghost-Note, Justin Stanton – “Shrill Tones”

What’s good: After watching Ghost-Note crush this year’s Jam Cruise with so many musicians, I had to throw them on this playlist with one of their most intricate tunes. –Kunj Shah

Turkuaz – “Digitonium”

What’s good: I just went on Jam Cruise, and Turkuaz was on fire throughout, with two awesome sets that showed just how much of a powerhouse they are as a live band. I was particularly impressed by a their performance of “Digitonium” from their album of the same name, a song that showcases the funky grooves, excellent musicianship, and thoughtful vocal arrangements that make Turkuaz such a great band. –Gideon Plotnicki

Cory Wong – “Winslow”

What’s good: The beginning sounds like you’re being introduced on a late-night talk show. By the end, it’s a watery slow burn with hints of Vulf. Fun tune from Cory’s latest. –Andrew O’Brien

Marcus King – “Say You Will”

What’s good: This new Marcus King song rips. One of the best tracks to come out of the King/Dan Auerbach collaboration on El Dorado. –Kunj Shah

Kyle Hollingsworth – “Tufnel’s Retreat”

What’s good: The driving organ and breakneck builds of Kyle’s first single off his forthcoming 2020 EP sound like they could be on a Boston record—in all the best ways. –Michael Broerman

Sofi Tukker, NERVO, The Knocks, ALISA UENO – “Best Friend”

What’s good: As I prepare for the worldwide celebration of music and spirituality at Envision Festival next month, it’s only fitting to blast this funky techno dance track that has been gaining hits in clubs around the world. Sofi’s colorful pop vocals over the gritty jungle melody are a must-listen. –Mikala Lugen

GoldFish, Cat Dealers, VIZE – “Colours & Lights (VIZE Remix)”

What’s good: The latest GoldFish banger is an instantly infectious hit, and this remix just gives it a little extra “oomph.” –Sara Shah

Tank and The Bangas – “Spaceships”

What’s good: I was reminded of Tank and the Bangas’ powerful stage presence on Jam Cruise, where their two sets were the talk of the boat. Seeing Tank live is a spiritual experience, complete with over-the-top costumes and Broadway-level theatrics. With a Grammy nod for Best New Artist and an upcoming support slot touring with The Revivalists, this is their year! –Sara Shah

Tame Impala – “Lost In Yesterday”

What’s good: Tame Impala always manages to take me to that place—somewhere between a lucid dream and a cruise down the freeway with the top down. The Slow Rush can’t come soon enough. Oh yeah, and can we please get some of that Tame Impala/Khruangbin tour over in the states? Pretty please? –Andrew O’Brien

Michigander – “Misery”

What’s good: A relative newcomer to the scene, Michigander’s debut EP is gaining acclaim and this single is already making waves in radio. –Kunj Shah

Khruangbin, Leon Bridges – “C-Side”

What’s good: Khruangbin and Leon Bridges’ collaborative EP, Texas Sun, will be released early next month (Feb. 7th). This track has an awesome groove and showcases the talents of each member wonderfully. It’s a great measuring stick of how good this EP can be. –Kel Kawas

Rush – “2112: Overture / The Temples Of Syrinx / Discovery / Presentation / Oracle / Soliloquy / Grand Finale”

What’s good: Rather than trying to pick one Rush song to pay tribute to Neil Peart, I decided to pick seven. –Michael Broerman

The Claypool Lennon Delirium – “Blood and Rockets: Movement I, Saga Of Jack Parsons – Movement II, Too The Moon”

What’s goodI f*cking love this band. Their set on Jam Cruise only confirmed it. Sean Lennon + Les Claypool is one helluva speedball. If the Magical Mystery Tour-era Beatles read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and listened to Pink Floyd on their way to a show in outer space, this is what the gig would sound like. –Andrew O’Brien

The Doors – “Break On Through (To The Other Side)”

What’s good: With the announcement that The Doors’ drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger will perform a one-off reunion concert with former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, it’s time to break on through to 2020 with yet another reunion show—one of many band reunions taking place this year. –Mikala Lugen

Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Eme Alfonso – “Keep Your Head Up”

What’s good: Preservation Hall Jazz Band has been passionately outspoken about Cuba since their trip in 2015, highlighted in the documentary, A Tuba to Cuba. With the corresponding soundtrack, the band continues celebrating the triumph of the human spirit through the universal language of music, encouraging us to build bridges rather than walls at a time when this message is more important than ever. –Sara Shah

The Revivalists – “Got Love”

What’s good: I heard this song on SiriusXM JamOn the other day and it really spoke to me. –Kunj Shah

The Meters – “People Say”

What’s good: R.I.P. Art Neville. We hope to put on a proper tribute at Denver Comes Alive. –Kunj Shah

Garage A Trois – “Omar”

What’s good: Charlie Hunter, man… That guy is something else. Another pick that serves as an ode to Jam Cruise, where he consistently stole the show throughout the journey. –Kunj Shah

Cut Chemist, Chali 2na, Hymnal – “Work My Mind”

What’s good: Cut Chemist and Chali 2na absolutely were a highlight for me on Jam Cruise this year. I had to show them love by throwing this track up there. Untouchable beats, unparalleled flow. You can tell these two have been best friends for decades. –Kunj Shah

Late Night Radio, Kevin Donohue, Clark Smith – “Fools Gold”

What’s good: This sultry groove is a good reminder that some of the best things in life just aren’t made of paper. –Mikala Lugen

Maddy O’Neal, Dominic Lalli – “After Glow”

What’s good: Maddy O’Neal just tore down Denver’s Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom last weekend alongside The New Deal, Nobide, Ben Silver (Orchard Lounge), and more, and I’m literally still glowing from her amazing set. Women taking over the electronic music scene in 2020! –Mikala Lugen

Doom Flamingo – “Wicked Game”

What’s good: The latest release from rocking synthwave act Doom Flamingo gives singer Kanika Moore the chance to showcase those powerful vocal abilities of hers. The climactic, four-minute cover of the Chris Isaak original is a constant uphill adventure, as it begins softly but quickly gains altitude as Moore leads the listener on an epic journey with dreamy lyrical lines and a thrilling finish. –Tom Shackleford

Umphrey’s McGee – “The Floor”

What’s good: Umphrey’s McGee just leveled New York City with a three-night run for the ages. They finished up their sixth set of the weekend with a raging version of “The Floor”. Try not to headbang your way through this one! –Gideon Plotnicki

Goose – “Wysteria Lane”

What’s good: “Wysteria Lane” is latest single from the Connecticut-based indie-groove quartet. The Trevor Weekz-penned lyrics depict inner growth and enlightenment through tragedy. Rick Mitarotonda‘s echoing vocals sit fittingly atop a steady yet dynamic rhythm section. –Kel Kawas

Bibio – “Petals”

What’s good: Discovered this gem on my Spotify Discover Weekly. Stephen Wilkinson combines folk with echoing, atmospheric synth textures that I can’t stop playing on repeat. –Mikala Lugen

Marcus King – “Beautiful Stranger”

What’s good: Marcus King continues to surprise me with each track I hear off of El Dorado. –Michael Broerman

Jake LeMond – “Illusion”

What’s good: An anthemic indie rollercoaster that takes listeners through both highs and lows of mood, pace, and instrumentation. –Jimmy

Pure Colors – “Crystal City”

What’s good: Right before making his debut in Denver, Joey Tuholski released this completely originally track on Sundae Sauce Presents‘ collaboration album, Butterscotch Drizzle. Excited to see Pure Colors incorporate more layers of pop and funk in today’s electronic music scene. –Mikala Lugen

Mac Miller – “Good News”

What’s good: This is the first single released by Mac Miller’s family from the posthumous Circles album, released on January 17th. The song takes the listener into Miller’s state of mind before his passing. Themes of struggle, depression, and calls for help woven throughout. “All they wanna hear is good news.” –Kel Kawas

Anthony Hamilton – “Do You Feel Me”

What’s good: It’s always struck me how much emotion Hamilton is able to convey on this song. Plus, it’s great to sing along to—especially when no one’s around and you can really lay into it. One of the best R&B tunes of this century. –Andrew O’Brien

Deap Lips (The Flaming Lips, Deap Vally) – “Home Thru Hell”

What’s good: The recent partnership of Deap Vally and The Flaming Lips should have rock fans thrilled for the forthcoming release of their collaborative studio effort. Until then, the latest single from ‘Deap Lips’ opens exactly how one would expect with the heavy guitars of Deap Vally alongside sounds of lasers and other fun sounds from the vast mind of Wayne Coyne. The song is a captivating listen from start to finish. –Tom Shackleford

Elder Island – “Kape Fear”

What’s good: Another amazing artist found on my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist. This track is featured on their 2019 debut album release, The Omnitone Collection. It sweeps you off your feet with its lead vocal melody and catchy indie-pop backbeat. –Mikala Lugen

KOOL A.D., Talib Kweli, Boots Riley – “Hickory”

What’s good: Play this for your next wake-and-bake. You’re welcome. –Andrew O’Brien

Circles Around The Sun – “Babyman”

What’s good: The surviving sound of Circles Around The Sun and their forthcoming self-titled album featurig the last recordings by Neal Casal are a monument to his legacy. –Michael Broerman

Soulive – “Eleanor Rigby” [The Beatles]

What’s good: With the Soulive/Ghost-Note mashup Ghost-Live coming to Denver Comes Alive, I dug into some of records from Soulive’s past. I always loved the Rubber Soulive album that served as a tribute to the Beatles. –Kunj Shah

Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio – “Move on Up (Live)” [Curtis Mayfield]

What’s good: Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio is currently on tour supporting Lettuce. They are hitting a lot of new regions as a band throughout this tour, and will bring their upbeat music to new fans across the country. They are poised for a massive 2020. –Kel Kawas

Sex On Toast – “Oh, Lorretta!”

What’s good: An oldie but goodie. This one makes me laugh and dance at the same time. Also, great band name. –Kunj Shah

Desert Dwellers – “One That Shows The Way – MantisMash Remix”

What’s good: Just released today! Following 2019’s Breath, Amani and Treavor released 14 remixed tracks featuring 14 different producers from around the world celebrating cultural and musical heritage. Love the message and tone of this one featuring MantisMash–Mikala Lugen

Bombay Bicycle Club – “Everything Else Has Gone Wrong”

What’s good: My friend Adam Smith showed me this tune and I really loved it. Catchy, new wave vibes. Yes, I found my second wind! –Kunj Shah

Cory Wong – “Team Sports”

What’s good: A great one from Cory’s new album, Elevator Music For An Elevated Mood. Wong is one of the tightest players out there, and his “team” follows suit. Such a great band. –Andrew O’Brien

Rush – “The Spirit Of Radio”

What’s good: Neil Peart just passed away, and his loss is a profound one. He was one of the greatest songwriters (not many know that he wrote the majority of the lyrics in Rush) and he was certainly the most talented and prolific drummer that rock music has ever seen. Rest in peace, Neil Peart! –Gideon Plotnicki

Huey Lewis & The News – “The Power Of Love”

What’s good: This classic track by Huey Lewis & The News from the Back to Future soundtrack just never gets old. The power of love is certainly a curious thing. –Gideon Plotnicki

Sam Cooke – “Chain Gang (Live at The Harlem Square Club, 1963)”

What’s good: Sam Cooke rose to global stardom in the early ’60s as one of the earliest Black artists to consistently play for both White and Black audiences. He used his platform to become an influential civil rights activist until his unfathomable murder at the age of 33 (the story is insane—there’s a great documentary about it on Netflix). It’s been widely noted that Sam tended to play it straight for White audiences and let his real swagger loose for Black crowds. This 1963 live show in Harlem is a fantastic example of the latter. –Andrew O’Brien

Neal Francis – “Don’t Call Me No More”

What’s good: I love this new Neal Francis album so much that I had to put him on the playlist two months in a row! –Kunj Shah

The Beach Boys – “Sail On, Sailor”

What’s good: I was lucky enough to see Brian Wilson recently, and he was just phenomenal. He is such an incredible songwriter and arranger, and his catalog of songs is fantastic. “Sail On, Sailor” from The Beach Boys’ 1973 album, Holland, is not necessarily the first song that comes to mind when you think Beach Boys, but when he performed this song I was blown away by how powerful it was. If you have the chance, go see Brian Wilson before he can’t tour anymore. He is an American treasure. –Gideon Plotnicki

Eve Owen – “She Says”

What’s goodNot much is known about Eve Owen here in the U.S., but the London-based singer-songwriter is certainly gaining attention with her debut single. The hauntingly beautiful melodies of “She Says” matched with Owen’s warm and welcoming vocals make for the perfect wintertime ballad. –Tom Shackleford

Tom Petty – “Time To Move On”

What’s good: I’m starting my first full year out of college. This Tom Petty cut tugs on the heartstrings and serves as a reminder that it’s time to move on and get going in this big ol’ world. –Mikala Lugen

Jason Sees Band – “Make You Smile”

What’s good: A beautiful, reflective tune that’s the perfect soundtrack for a reflective stare out the window on a rainy day. –Jimmy

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong – “High as Five”

What’s good: Off Pigeons’ new album, which drops the same day as this playlist, “High as Five” had been debuted live years ago but finally got the studio treatment it deserved on Presto. –Kel Kawas

The Smiling Eyes – “Sally Brown”

What’s good: Bill Withers vibe, Paul McCartney charisma, Jimmy Page guitar solo. It’s funky. Dig it. –Andrew O’Brien

Caamp – “Vagabond”

What’s goodOne of those perfect Americana songs that wraps itself around you and feels like a sip of whiskey in front of a campfire. –Jimmy

The String Cheese Incident w/ Billy Strings – “Black Clouds (Live in Cumberland, MD 5/24/19)”

What’s goodIf I could just drop a bunch of “fire” emojis here, I would. After Billy Strings sat in with Cheese at DelFest, I probably watched that video 20 times. Glad they put it up on Spotify so we can mix it in here. Billy squared, yo! –Andrew O’Brien

Greensky Bluegrass – “Brokedown Palace (Live at The Caverns 9/25/19)” [Grateful Dead]

What’s good: There may be no more powerful “closing remarks” song than “Brokedown Palace”, and this Greensky version from The Caverns captures that emotion here. ‘Til next month, friends… –Jimmy

L4LM Monthly Mix – January 2020