With everyone sequestered and self-quarantining due to the coronavirus, we’ve asked our favorite artists to come up with playlists that keep you entertained. Here’s Jonah Ray:
Hi! My name is Jonah Ray, I used to do a thing historians refer to as “comedy”. But this is now gone. So, I’ve been spending my time listening to music. All kinds of music. New stuff to keep my brain active, old stuff to comfort me, and oddly enough TONS of Eastern European industrial? But mostly, I’ve been watching live Pavement shows on YouTube while I drink myself to sleep. ANNNYYYYYWWWWAAAAAY, SPIN asked me to make a playlist and talk about the songs. I don’t think there is a theme the whole way through, but whatever, it’s good stuff.
Worriers – “End Of The World”
Starting off a little on the nose, I know. This new album is INCREDIBLE and the song talks about the fears of living in a world that may not be long for this…uh…world. It’s a banger.
Jeffrey Lewis – “My Girlfriend Doesn’t Worry”
My wife and I oscillate between her freaking out and me comforting her THEN the other way around (mostly her comforting me). I have a feeling that’s the situation for a lot of couples right now. This song reminds me that we have to be there for EACH OTHER, DEANNA!
John Prine (feat. Iris DeMent) – “In Spite Of Ourselves”
Honestly, I have a huge blindspot for a lot of “country” and “Americana” stuff. I like it a lot, just don’t know much about it. So, when everybody started to mourn John Prine…I did that square move of grabbing a “greatest hits” and doing a crash course in an artist. This song came on and my wife knew every word. I now love John Prine and my wife equally.
Langhorne Slim – “Life Is Confusing”
“Life is confusing and people are insane.”
Yes, it is. Yes, they are.
Trace Mountains – “Fallin’ Rain”
Right when we all had to start isolating, Los Angeles became rainy and gloomy. Angelenos get made fun of for not being able to handle what everybody calls “We-ah-thur” (spelling?) but it’s true. We like the sun. So, It added an extra eeriness to our new reality. Then I heard one of the members of the band LVL UP had a new project and this song jumped out and comforted me.
Clem Snide – “Roger Ebert”
I heard this for the first time during isolation too. Lyrics: “Did you know that these were Roger Ebert’s final words: “It’s all an elaborate hoax.” They go on to describe with such soft and beautiful singing more of what he wrote: “He described it as a vastness you can’t even imagine. It was a place where the past, present, and future were happening all at once.”
It made me feel scared and good at the same time.
Little Joy – “Don’t Watch Me Dancing”
A new Strokes record came out recently and that made me remember that one of my favorite things about The Strokes was this side project from Fabrizio Moretti.
Silver – “Transmissions”
I got this EP in the early 2000s from a bartender I knew from a place called the M Bar. The M Bar was where Comedy Bang Bang originally started. I wanted to hate it because this guy was really handsome. But here I am…still listening to it.
Pigeon John – “Eviction Notice”
This is one of my all-time favorite songs. And now it’s something me and a lot of my friends in the entertainment industry might get.
Apollo Ghosts – “Things You Go Through”
One of the things that, oddly, makes me feel better about this scary situation: ALMOST EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD IS GOING THROUGH IT.
That Dog. – “Minneapolis”
Being unsure of what my industry will look like from here on out, I’ve started to think about where I might move to? Los Angeles is restrictively expensive. I was talking to Har Mar Superstar and he said to just move out to Minneapolis. I told him “I’ve thought about that ever since I was a MST3K fan who was OBSESSED with a That Dog song.” We’ll see. I’d love to bartend at Grumpy’s with the guys from Dillinger Four for the rest of my life.
Sean Na Na – “We’ve Been Here Before”
Speaking of Har Mar, here’s one of my favorite songs of his. Though he talks about cold weather in MPLS and that makes me uncomfortable (see above joke about the weather).
Sore Thumb – “Cold Comfort”
LOOK AT THAT TRANSITION! Talking about cold weather and then a song called “COLD comfort”?! I’m terrible at this! Anyway, I have a music podcast called Jonah Raydio and we take band submissions and this Bay Area group submitted and they have become one of my favorites.
Kurt Vile – “Walkin’ On A Pretty Day”
Enough of this cold talk, I HATE IT (see above “jokes”). I’m gonna play my walking around with a face mask in the warm California sun song. This song is long and isn’t that what we all need right now? Stuff that takes up more time?
Mort Garson – “Plantasia”
It’s so beautiful right now in L.A. because of the rain and lack of traffic getting rid of all the smog usually caking our city. This is the song I hear in my head as I scream at all the jasmine in bloom “YES MY DARLINGS! GROW! GROOOOOOOOW!” Then I sneeze because of my allergies and everybody thinks I have “the virus.”
Tops – “Feel Alive”
Please….let’s all continue to stay inside so we can ALL “Feel Alive.”
Man Man – “Cloud Nein”
“Nothing ever lasts, you should know that by now.” Let’s hope Man Man….let’s hope.
Die Sterne – “Was hat dich bloß so ruiniert”
Doing a deep dive into eastern block musical offerings I came across this great track from Die Sterne. It straight-up lifts “House of the Rising Sun” and does its own thing. I didn’t translate what it means or what the lyrics are….oh god…I hope they aren’t bad….I hope this doesn’t get me canceled….
Dios (Malos) – “All Is Said And Done”
“That’s all I have to say about that.” – Forrest Gump.