If you’re like us here at Live For Live Music, your listening habits go through cycles. One week, a spiritual from a Ken Burns doc catches your ear. The next, your favorite producer releases a new album stacked with gems. One day, you need some rock and roll catharsis. The next, some contemplative hip-hop draws you in.

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 September 2020 edition of the L4LM Monthly Mix below and subscribe on Spotify to make sure you don’t miss any new L4LM Monthly Mixes.

L4LM Monthly Mix – September 2020


Sudan Archives – “Confessions”

What’s good: I’ve become obsessed with this girl’s looping violin beats and sultry voice. She produces all her own music, so there’s a solid win for women in the music industry. –Mikala Lugen

Parov Stelar – “Red Cat”

What’s good: Austria’s most successful international artist and the founder of “electro swing,” Parov Stelar, recently released a brand new album, titled Voodoo Sonic (The Trilogy, Pt. 3). Following 2017’s The Burning Spider, his latest album highlights the swing influences that have defined his career while also exploring some new territory. The album’s sixth track, “Red Cat”, exemplifies these qualities perfectly. The swing influences are prevalent throughout the electro track, but Parov manages to infuse some cinematic flavors during the breakdowns, bringing the song to new heights. This album is a must-listen, for sure. –Kel Kawas

Flamingosis – “Wild Summer”

What’s good: It’s been a wild summer, to say the least, but Flamingosis is here to end it on a high note with his latest summer banger. –Sara Shah

Circles Around The Sun, Neal Casal – “Ship Of Fools” (Grateful Dead)

What’s good: Have your tissues handy. Those who attended Neal Casal’s emotional memorial service at The Capitol Theatre heard some of Neal’s closest friends and collaborators perform a live backing track under Casal’s vocals on the Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter ballad. So glad they recorded and released this (along with another Neal-sung Grateful Dead cover, “Mountains of the Moon). It’s perfect. We miss you, Neal. –Andrew O’Brien

Dumpstaphunk – “Where Do We Go From Here”

What’s good: The hopeful new funk anthem that will serve as the title track to Dumpstaphunk’s new album. There’s not guarantees in this thing called life—except the guarantee that Dumpstaphunk will get you moving. It all comes down to love. –Andrew O’Brien

Leo Kottke, Mike Gordon – “How Many People Are You”

What’s good: Love this new Mike Gordon/Leo Kottke album, Noon. Super cool to hear this older Mike tune get reimagined for acoustic guitar and bass. –Kunj Shah

The Ghost Of Paul Revere – “Good At Losing Everything”

What’s good: The title track off of The Ghost of Paul Revere’s new album addresses the ebb and flow of life through themes of love and loss, heartbreak and hope. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned about life, my friend / You get good at losing everything” sums up 2020 pretty accurately. –Sara Shah

Tejon Street Corner Thieves – “Never Meant To Be”

What’s good: I just heard about these guys for the first time this week, and my curiosity is definitely piqued. The “outlaw blues/trash-grass pioneers” from the Colorado Rockies mix heavy themes with light-hearted charisma in a fun and unique way. –Andrew O’Brien

Moonpools & Catepillars – “Hear”

What’s good: Moonpools & Caterpillars’ 1995 Lucky Dumpling album carried and assortment of songs that encapsulated their place within the Los Angeles alt-rock scene. Their big choruses and bubbly energy from singer Kimmy Ward (not to mention a tasty opening bass riff) keep thing song alive for me all these years later. –Tom Shackleford

The Avett Brothers – “Prison To Heaven”

What’s good: This song features the perfect balance of the witticism and meaningful lyrics in addition to the acoustic roots approach that The Avett Brothers promised to deliver on The Third Gleam. –Michael Broerman

Cake – “The Distance”

What’s good: I know I’m about 25 years late to the party on this one, but I’ve recently jumped headfirst onto the Cake train and realized how much of an influence they had on so much of the music I grew up knowing and loving. –Sara Shah

Karina Rykman – “City Kids”

What’s good: Because you haven’t lived in the City until you’ve seen a lady walk twelve chinchillas on a leash on Park Avenue. –Andrew O’Brien

Phil Lesh & Friends – “Celebration”

What’s good: Finally reading Joel Selvin‘s Fare Thee Well, a detailed account of the two decades between Jerry Garcia’s passing and the Grateful Dead’s monumental reunion shows, unearthed a lot of nuggets for me in a musical river that I thought I had panned pretty sufficiently. –Michael Broerman

SZA Ft. Ty Dolla $ign, The Neptunes – “Hit Different”

What’s good: SZA returned big-time last week with a sexy new single alongside The Neptunes and Ty Dolla $ign. The CTRL singer delivers a treat in the middle of what’s been a sour year and I’m glad to have new music from Solána Rowe. –Tom Shackleford

Brittany Howard – “Goat Head – EARTHGANG Remix”

What’s good: EarthGang has been one of my favorite new discoveries of 2020, so I was instantly curious when I saw Brittany Howard officially release their remix of her Jaimie track, “Goat Head”. It’s a total departure from the original, in the best possible way. –Andrew O’Brien

GRiZ, ProbCause – “Solo”

What’s good: When the world seems lost, at least we can count on GRiZ to come out with a whole new fresh album! –Mikala Lugen

Nobide, Ryan Stasik – “CC01”

What’s good: Nobide’s newest Corona Collab collection features 14 fresh tracks, each with their own notable sit-in musician. The album kicks off with this chillwave beat with Umphrey’s McGee Ryan Stasik, setting the tone for the rest of the album. –Mikala Lugen

Khris Royal & Dark Matter Ft. Nigel Hall – “I Can’t Breathe”

What’s good: Wow. Can’t remember the last time a catchy tune made me squirm so much. The song is as powerful as the lyrics are maddening. It’s the song we all needed to hear right now. “I have both my hands up, can’t tell you my name ‘cus I can’t breathe…Somebody help me, please.” Shit. We need change. –Andrew O’Brien

Dave – “Screwface Capital”

What’s good: The U.K. rapper is blowing up right now—and for very good reason. His whole Psychodrama album is worth multiple back-to-front listens, but this track captures the vibe and flow that’s made him one of hip-hop’s brightest rising stars. Big ups to Kel Kawas for the rec. –Andrew O’Brien

BIG Something – “Dangerous”

What’s good: Some good old rock and roll fire and fury from the new BIG Something album, Escape. –Jimmy

Phish – “Everything’s Right”

What’s good: With the world burning, we’re just holding tight. –Kunj Shah

Andy Frasco – “None Of Those Things”

What’s good: In honor of Andy Frasco “selling out” Red Rocks! –Kunj Shah

Tom Petty – “Wildflowers”

What’s good: The expanded re-release of Wildflowers puts the spotlight on an easily overlooked album from a legendary artist’s expansive catalog. –Michael Broerman

Lotte Kestner – “Halo” (Beyoncé)

What’s good: Lotte Kestner’s acoustic cover of Beyoncé’s “Halo” is so haunting and beautiful that it gives me goosepimples practically every time I hear it. I first noticed this wonderfully-done rendition of the pop hit thanks to its placement in arguably the best episode in season one of HBO’s 2017 series, The Young Pope. –Tom Shackleford

The Wild Feathers – “Blue” (The Jayhawks)

What’s good: The Wild Feathers are back after two years and gearing up for their latest forthcoming album. They step back into the light with this Jayhawks cover, which is a great little taste of what more is to come. –Mikala Lugen

John Lee Hooker, Canned Heat – “Whiskey And Wimmen'”

What’s good: The vinyl re-release of John Lee Hooker’s collaborative album with Canned Heat, Hooker ‘N Heat, was my favorite Record Store Day purchase. –Michael Broerman

Grateful Dead – “Black Muddy River”

What’s good: One of my all-time favorite Grateful Dead songs. –Kunj Shah

Bernice Johnson Reagon – “We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder”

What’s good: I’ve been captivated by Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon’s a-cappella recording of “We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder” since first hearing it in Ken Burns: The Civil War many years ago. The slave spiritual which grew out of field hollars sung by Black slaves in the South (note the the call-and-response lyric format) was notably one of the first to be widely sung by white Christians years later. –Tom Shackleford

Michigander – “Let Down”

What’s good: The new single from Michigander focuses on the importance of dreaming big and taking risks but not getting caught up in the unrealistic expectations you set for yourself. The track resonates as we continue the journey through a tumultuous 2020 and reminds us of the mindfulness we must maintain along the way. –Sara Shah

The Dead Weather – “Treat Me Like Your Mother”

What’s good: Perhaps Jack White‘s most overlooked project, The Dead Weather incorporate the same blues and garage rock influences that made The White Stripes internationally acclaimed with the addition of more psychadelic and alternative rock sounds. The vocal work from Alison Mosshart and Jack White throughout “Treat Me Like Your Mother” makes it a true standout from their debut album, Horehound. –Kel Kawas

Outkast – “So Fresh, So Clean”

What’s good: So Fresh. So Clean. ‘Nuff said. –Kel Kawas

Jack Harlow, Problem, Jay Rock – “NOTHIN”

What’s good: Jack Harlow has been on my steady rotation recently. The man just keeps pumping out hit after hit on this nonstop upward trajectory, and I am here for it. –Sara Shah

The Temptations – “Psychedelic Shack”

What’s good: Psychadelic Shack, that’s where it’s at! –Kel Kawas

GRiZ – “Floating”

What’s good: Did we mention we’re really feeling this new GRiZ album? –Jimmy

COFRESI, Flamingosis – “Early Night”

What’s good: You won’t be calling it an early night when you put this song on. –Mikala Lugen

Tropical F*ck Storm – “Heaven” (Talking Heads)

What’s good: The band name piqued my interest, the Talking Heads cover sold me, but the creativity Tropical F*ck Storm shows on the cover is what got it on the Monthly Mix. –Andrew O’Brien

Japanese Breakfast – “Diving Woman”

What’s good: The opening track to Japanese Breakfast’s 2017 Soft Sounds From Another Planet sounds, well, just like that. The easy-going swell set in motion by sturdy bass and distorted guitar lines alongside Michelle Zauner’s dreamy, atmospheric vocals make this a really enjoyable listening experience. –Tom Shackleford

SAVEJ – “One Truth”

What’s good: SAVEJ comes out with his latest album, Solstice today. Inspired by man’s connection to nature and cultural wisdom, the worldly tribal influences throughout this album and particular song are extremely powerful. You may think you’re hearing exotic samples, but it’s actually SAVEJ himself who learned the Kargyraa style of throat singing for the project. Very impressive! –Mikala Lugen

Aesop Rock – “The Gates”

What’s good: Hip-Hop’s most verbose rapper, Aesop Rock, recently released the first single off his forthcoming Spirit World Field Guide album. An 8-bit melody sets the tone for “The Gates”, which contains nearly four minutes of conscious bars and intricate lyrical patterns. You won’t find this one on the playlist at your local club. –Kel Kawas

Marco Benevento – “This Wheel’s On Fire”

What’s good: Like a journey back in time to home videos and vinyl records. –Jimmy

The Werks – “Flatiron”

What’s good: The Werks returned to the stage on September 12th for the first time since February, and it was the best thing to happen in the entire month of September. Not just to me, but anywhere. –Michael Broerman

Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood – “Little Walter Rides Again”

What’s good: Who doens’t love MSMW! –Kunj Shah

Lee Fields & The Expressions – “The One Who’s Hurting Is You”

What’s good: There’s one thing for certain, I won’t be doing the hurtin’. –Kunj Shah

Dave Matthews Band – “Pig”

What’s good: I just re-listened and read the lyrics to this song of this album I used to love back in the day.  –Kunj Shah

Trey Anastasio Band – “First Tube” (Live)

What’s good: Everything’s always better when it ends with “First Tube”. This live version from the new TAB live album, Burn It Down, will more than suffice for this playlist. –Andrew O’Brien

L4LM Monthly Mix – September 2020