If you’re like us here at Live For Live Music, your listening habits go through cycles. One week, it’s nothing but throwback jams. The next, a strange new single catches your ear. One day, you need a good driving tune. The next, a pandemic forces you into quarantine and you need something soothing to help you contemplate your isolation. It’s all about how you’re feeling, 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 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.

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 May 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 – May 2020


Khruangbin – “Time (You and I)”

What’s good: Khruangbin with words? What kind of world has quarantine made this? –Michael Broerman

Lettuce, Indrajit – “Moksha”

What’s good: Indian funk fusion of the highest caliber combining the sweet sounds of the sitar with an Indian bhangra beat in the best way possible, from Lettuce’s new record, Resonate. –Kunj Shah

Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Aeroplane”

What’s good: Get down with the Chili Peppers! –Gideon Plotnicki

The Isley Brothers (Stephen Stills) – “Love The One You’re With”

What’s good: This one’s for everyone quarantining with a less-than-ideal team but still making the best of it. If you like this CSN/Isley crossover, check out the combo cover of “Ohio” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Machine Gun” from the same album, 1971’s Givin’ It Back–Andrew O’Brien

Steely Dan – “Peg”

What’s good: This is one of my favorite Steely Dan songs and brings back way too many memories of some epic late-night dance parties. –Kunj Shah

Little Richard– “Long Tall Sally (The Thing)”

What’s good: Without Little Richard, there would be no rock ‘n’ roll. Rest in peace to the pioneer–Andrew O’Brien

Shira Elias – “NAH”

What’s good: Turkuaz’s own Shira Elias has come out of quarantine with some fire solo tracks, and I’m all for it! This funky disco groove is a great playlist addition for any at-home dance party. –Mikala Lugen

Lawrence – “Try (Anomalie Remix)”

What’s good: Lawrence and Anomalie are two of my favorite artists/bands right now. This collab is awesome. Can’t wait to see them both at Quarantine Comes Alive. –Kunj Shah

Zero 7, Jem Cooke – “Swimmers”

What’s good: “Swimmers” submerges the listener in an ethereal headspace right from the get-go thanks to the song’s floating bass groove. Guest vocalist Jem Cooke delivers an entrancing performance and the experience as a whole is nothing short of another Zero 7 classic. Contemporary zen at its best. –Tom Shackleford

Alt-J – “The Gospel Of John Hurt”

What’s good: It’s been four years since this track came out, but the harmonizing spiritual chorus at the end still sends chills down my spine. It’s been a daily repeat of mine all month. –Mikala Lugen

Medeski, Martin & Wood – “I Wanna Ride You”

What’s good: MMW were one of my first loves, and seeing them on Halloween in high school changed me forever. –Kunj Shah

Johnny Jenkins – “Bad News”

What’s good: Bad news never sounded so good. –Michael Broerman

SPAGA – “Wild Bill”

What’s good: With the uptempo groove of “Wild Bill”, SPAGA continues to inspire hope that one day, dreadlock-laden festival kids will get into jazz. –Michael Broerman

Talking Heads – “The Great Curve”

What’s good: “The Great Curve” is perhaps the most underappreciated song in the Talking Heads catalog. –Gideon Plotnicki

Robert Glasper Ft. Erykah Badu (John Coltrane) – “Afro Blue” 

What’s good: The Robert Glasper Experiment is one of the most underrated bands of their generation. This band is where Glasper really fine-tuned his sound—a combination of jazz, neo-soul, and hip hop—and his album Black Radio is a result of the genre-bending open-mindedness that band inspired. This track, a smooth take on John Coltrane’s classic “Afro Blue”, features Glasper at his jazziest, with neo-soul goddess Erykah Badu hitting the spot as the guest vocalist. –Gideon Plotnicki

Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young – “Ohio”

What’s good: This month, we passed the 50th anniversary of the historical tragedy of the May 4th, 1970 shootings at Kent State University. As an alumna of the Kent State, this will always be an important date and prominent song in my life. –Mikala Lugen

Dirtwire – “A OK”

What’s good: If you don’t give a f– you’re gonna be alright. Do your thing, and I’ll do mine. Everything’s gonna be “a ok”. –Mikala Lugen

The Infamous Stringdusters (John Hartford) – “Gentle On My Mind”

What’s good: The Infamous Stringdusters are one of the best bluegrass bands out there. This recently released John Hartford cover is pretty amazing. We’re excited to have them on Quarantine Comes Alive. Also, this song relaxes me. –Kunj Shah

Kevin Morby – “Beautiful Strangers”

What’s good: We’re all beautiful strangers in our masks.  –Jimmy

Old Crow Medicine Show – “Quarantined!”

What’s good: Self-explanatory. –Kunj Shah

Neil Young – “Try”

What’s good: “Try”, from the soon-to-be-released 1975 “Lost” Neil album, Homegrown. Hell yes. –Andrew O’Brien

Tim Heidecker – “Work From Home”

What’s good: We’re all working from home right now. –Kunj Shah

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – “Overseas”

What’s good: Reunions shows Isbell’s maturation not only as a lyricist but as a musician as well. The opening guitar solo comes roaring in like this was a Tom Petty song. Read my full review of the new Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit album here. –Michael Broerman

Kurt Vile – “Pretty Pimpin'”

What’s good: Somehow, I’m just discovering this guy. I heard it while driving through the mountains with my friend after a 10-mile hike last weekend. I love the rhythm in this song, and I think a lot of us can relate to Vile’s lyrics about not recognizing yourself in the mirror at some point in your life. –Mikala Lugen

Tycho (ODESZA Ft. Leon Bridges) – “Across The Room”

What’s good: The Tycho remix of the 2017 ODESZA track featuring vocals from Leon Bridges is a warm and captivating listening experience that’s perfect for setting the right summer vibes. I recently re-discovered this 2018 remix from Tycho, which delivers as well on a leisurely bike ride as well as it does while getting ready for a night out. –Tom Shackleford

Lianne La Havas – “Paper Thin”

What’s good: One of the newly-shared singles from Lianne La Havas’ highly-anticipated forthcoming studio effort, “Paper Thin” grooves along with the relaxed coolness for which La Havas is widely adored. Lianne delivers a five-minute listening experience led by her trademark subtle guitar lines which, when paired with lofi-esque rhythm track and vocals, instantly ease any anxiety still lingering from this whole corona conundrum. –Tom Shackleford

Beck – “Go It Alone”

What’s good: Beck’s album Guero is a masterpiece for an artist whose career is filled with them, and “Go It Alone” remains as a groovy remnant of this high point in his catalog. –Gideon Plotnicki

Rose City Band – “Wee Hours > Wildflowers”

What’s good: Jam band fans will appreciate this one. “Wee Hours” and “Wildflowers”, the two closing tracks for a brand new album from Rose City Band (led by Wooden Shjips/Moon Duo guitarist Ripley Johnson) pull a page right out of the traditional jam playbook as the first bleeds right into the next with a perfect transition, as if one were listening to the band perform it live. The uptempo flow of “Wee Hours” showcases Johnson’s exploratory and atmospheric guitar lines and vocals before charging smoothly into “Wildflowers”. The rare studio album song combination results in quite a wonderful listening experience. –Tom Shackleford

The Deltaz – “Creek Bed”

What’s good: Is it bluegrass? Salsa? Rock n’ roll? I don’t know, but I’m dancing! Shoutout to Slugzilla for turning me on to this duo. –Andrew O’Brien

The California Honeydrops – “In The Air”

What’s good: Lyrics like “there was music all in the air” feel reminiscent of a simpler time, but not without a little hope for a brighter future. Catch The California Honeydrops at Quarantine Comes Alive on May 30th. –Sara Shah

Method Man Ft. D’Angelo – “Break Ups 2 Make Ups”

What’s good: Take Meth (you know what I mean, hopefully), sprinkle in some D’Angelo, and you got yourself one smoove-ass, heavenly R&B Hip-Hop collab. You simply can’t go wrong with that equation. Just nod your head and enjoy. –Chris Meyer

Chicano Batman – “Blank State”

What’s good: The catchy disco riff of “Blank Slate” and familiar refrain of “I just want to love you,” make me a little more comfortable with the poppy direction Chicano Batman is going. A little more. –Michael Broerman

Beastie Boys – “The Update”

What’s good: Man, I miss MCA. Such a positive light in a fucked up world. –Chris Meyer

The Growlers – “Dream World”

What’s good: The Growlers craft an alternate universe in this poppy new tune that serves as a juxtaposition to—and departure from—our current reality. –Sara Shah

Melt – “Sour Candy”

What’s good: Gotta love when Spotify feeds you something you love by a band you’ve never heard of that formed down the block from where you live. Pop-jazz espresso in song form. Thank you, almighty algorithm. And thank you to my roommate for blasting this all day and getting it stuck in my head.  –Andrew O’Brien

Incubus – “The Warmth”

What’s good: I’ve been enjoying some music I haven’t listened to in a long time during the pandemic, and have been on a bit of an Incubus kick. –Gideon Plotnicki

Phish – “Dirt”

What’s good: I watched Phish’s ‘Dinner and a Movie’ this past week, from 1997, and they played “Dirt” early on in the first set. It was actually the American debut of that song. Anyway, it’s always been a favorite of mine, but seeing it played with such vigor and energy for the first time in front of a big American audience was pretty great, and reminded me of the power of this song. –Gideon Plotnicki

Thundercat – “Them Changes”

What’s good: This song just hits in all the right places. –Kunj Shah

Jerry Garcia Band– “Mission In The Rain (Live)”

What’s good: Three months ago I went to shows, my dreams were riding tall. Tonight I would be thankful, Lord, for any show at all. –Andrew O’Brien

Jarrod Dickenson – “Way Past Midnight”

What’s good: I want this song as the soundtrack for all my daily errands. Makes me feel like a long-haul trucker or something. –Jimmy

Tenacious D – “The Government Totally Sucks”

What’s good: Tenacious D released a quarantine song titled “5 Needs” earlier this month and it reminded me of how much I appreciate their body of work. Given the current crisis, I thought this was a fitting song. Regardless of where you lie on the political spectrum, I feel like most people can relate to this song’s sentiment. –Kel Kawas

Paul Cauthen – “Cocaine Country Dancing”

What’s good: Paul Cuathen continues to perplex me, as it sounds like he is almost mocking the country genre despite having mastered it so earnestly. –Michael Broerman

Gangstagrass – “Nickel And Dime Blues”

What’s good: I hadn’t heard Gangstagrass until recently and I was pleasantly surprised at how well they mixed hip-hop with bluegrass. This is the band’s latest single, which serves as a prelude to their forthcoming album, No Time For Enemies, set for release on July 24th via AntiFragile Music–Kel Kawas

Kayne West, Talib Kweli, Common – “Get Em High”

What’s good: Kanye has been in the news for all the wrong reasons over the past few years. I think it’s important to remind people why so many still appreciate him. As far as hip-hop is concerned, there aren’t many who can keep up with him. –Kel Kawas

Castanea, Rising Appachalia – “Resilient (Remix)”

What’s good: This song’s message is more pertinent than ever in this time of disruption, isolation, and uncertainty. Love this new take on this uplifting track with Castanea’s added instrumentation and harmony. –Mikala Lugen

Gorillaz Ft. Tony Allen, Skepta – “How Far?

What’s good: The latest installment in Gorillaz’s ‘Song Machine’ series features the legendary Tony Allen on drums, just days after his passing, complete with vocals from Skepta. –Sara Shah

Betty Wright – “Clean up Woman”

What’s good: Betty Wright passed away earlier this month at the age of 66. What better way to celebrate her life than by listening to “Clean Up Woman”? This track has been sampled countless times and was released when she was just 17 years old. –Kel Kawas

Iration Ft. Eric Rachmany, Stick Figure – “Right Here, Right Now”

What’s good: This marks the first recorded original collaboration between the three acclaimed acts, and is a great reggae tune to chill out to in the sun. Can’t wait for Iration’s new album, Coastin’ to come out in July for more summer jams. –Mikala Lugen

Mihali, Iya Terra – “All Day”

What’s good: After watching him perform playing all the instruments and looping them during our Sugarshack Sessions, I decided to check out some of the Twiddle guitarist’s other solo stuff. This one is great! –Jimmy

Eggy– “Watercolor Days”

What’s good: Eggy recently released a live drone video of them performing “Watercolor Days”, which they filmed on a farm and dedicated to the band’s late namesake, Edward “Eggy” Torrence. The New Haven, CT-based jam quartet has been recently featured on 11E1even Group‘s Live From Out There virtual festival and is quickly turning heads nationwide with their regular full-band live streams from their CT home. –Kel Kawas

Vacationer – “Being Here”

What’s good: Vacationer’s 2018 Mindset album was themed around modern psychedelia, and “Being Here” might be its highlight track. Some of the song’s lyrics almost act like a musical mantra as singer Kenny Vasoli guides the listener with a Ram Dass-like chorus line of, “Being here means seeing clearly/Being here now means calming down, sincerely.” –Tom Shackleford

Crazy Penis – “Real Nice (Original Mix)”

What’s good: We were at a party and kept hearing these awesome beats and songs and had no idea who it was, and my friend was like, “Dude… It’s Crazy Penis.” We all started laughing at the name, but the music was great, so when I got home I tried googling him. Let me tell you upfront—don’t ever google crazy penis. –Tom Shackleford

Indeep – “Last Night a D.J. Saved My Life”

What’s good: Sometimes, when you’re down, you just have to go to the club and let the DJ save your life (when the clubs open back up, that is). It feels good. What else is there say? –Chris Meyer

Break Science Ft. Bishop Nehru & Rhia – “Fadeaway”

What’s good: This song makes me want to get the funk down in the basement of a sweaty club. File previous statement under “things I never thought I’d miss.” –Sara Shah

The New Deal – “Technobeam”

What’s good: Been listening to Jamie and Dan’s quarantine shows recently and hearing the backstory on some of these tracks is such a fun trip. Whenever the New Deal dropped into this track, in particular, the club would just fucking erupt. I remember many times back from 2002-ish (the days of Darren) until just a year or two ago, and just going bonkers when they definitively dropped into “Technobeam”. It is a song that simply delivers. Right around that 6:20 mark, my brain explodes, the feet don’t stop, and sweat drips from everywhere on my body. –Chris Meyer

SunSquabi – “Squabcat”

What’s good: An older Squabi joint but a good one! Can’t wait to see their set for Quarantine Comes Alive. –Kunj Shah

Prince – “Purple Rain – Live in Syracuse, NY 3/30/85”

What’s good: This is from the Prince and the Revolution show that they released last weekend that raised $15 million for COVID-19 Relief. It was by far the greatest concert I’ve ever watched from home in my entire life. Prince is the GOAT. Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, and Michael Jackson as one person. –Kunj Shah

L4LM Monthly Mix – May 2020