September Songs

Music we like that feels so right.

Each week we’ll be posting reviews by our staff—of music, movies, TV shows, books, blogs, video games, etc. You’ll probably notice that these aren’t all new releases. In fact, most of them are quite old! That’s because we love old stuff as much as new stuff, and appreciate being pointed to anything good from any year. They also aren’t necessarily “reviews,” as much as they are just stuff we like, that happens to fit around our monthly theme. This one is for beginnings, firsts, and back-to-school.

Ladies, Women and Girls
2000, Lookout Records

The classic Bratmobile album Ladies, Women and Girls might as well be called Gents, Men and Boys, as most of the songs on it are about Male Trouble. Guys can be pretty shitty and heartless, but the good news is you get to sing along to this empowering album from 11 years ago. The lyrics are still so insanely relatable it’s like they were written and recorded in nowatimes. How is this possible? Number one: it’s timeless rock ’n’ roll with the brilliant contrast of yell-talk-singing over melodic surf guitar that makes each track catchy without being unsophisticated. Number two: hearts can still break 11 years later. Tracks that will blow away any song sitting next to them on a mixtape: “You’re Fired” (keyboards!), “It’s Common (But We Don’t Talk About It),” “Well You Wanna Know What?” (more keyboards!), “Do You Like Me Like That?” —Olivia Todd

Myrmidons of Melodrama: The Definitive Collection
The Shangri-Las
1994, RPM Records (U.K.)

If long-lost episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210 and My So-Called Life ever emerge from a secret vault, I wouldn’t be surprised if they include scenes of Brenda Walsh and Angela Chase sitting in their rooms, listening to this compilation album on repeat. Songs about falling for bad boys who dress in black and ride their motorcycles too fast would probably hit close to home for the girls who fell for Dylan McKay and Jordan Catalano. The Shangri-Las, who met as teenagers while growing up in Queens, were known as the tough chicks of the 1960s girl-group era. They were most famous for their hit “Leader of the Pack,” but Myrmidons of Melodrama also includes their better gems, such as “Remember (Walking in the Sand),” “Sophisticated Boom Boom,” “I’m Blue,” a cover of the Chantels’ “Maybe” and even a couple of public-service announcements, in which the girls give weird dating-etiquette tips. Myrmidons is a must-have for anyone who has ever felt the torment of star-crossed romance, especially if it was over someone like that Siberian Husky–eyed Jordan Catalano. —Marie

Too Young to Be in Love
Hunx and His Punx
2011, Hardly Art

If the Shangri-Las are too lovey-dovey for you, Hunx and his Punx is a good, grittier take on those dreamy sounds. You will fall in love with bandleader Seth Bogart as he wails about a boy he loved and lost and the pain that is youth, and one of his backup Punx has a twang to her voice that you really just have to hear for yourself. (Look for it on “That’s the Curse of Being Young” especially!) This album is basically a John Waters movie in music form—half poking fun at the wholesome American values and conventions of the ’50s and ’60s, half nostalgic for their simplicity when it came to being a teenager in love. (Sigh, etc.) —Tavi

#1 Record
Big Star
1972, Ardent Records

Falling in love. Feeling invincible. Driving along the back roads on a hot, sunny day with no real destination, your long hair whipping out the car window. The anticipation, on a Friday afternoon, of Friday night. Cigarettes being lit. Quick, excited kisses. The best kind of butterflies in your stomach. The quiet, exhausted feeling you get when you’ve cried or laughed or kissed too hard. The smell of coffee in a car at midnight. A sudden, unshakable need to keep moving. The worst kind of butterflies in your stomach. The final weeks of summer. A lonely ride home. A pair of headphones and a darkened room. Becoming a stranger in a familiar place. Watching the sun come up and feeling the wet grass on your fingertips. The kind of sigh that lets you look back and let go, all at once. This is what the album #1 Record means to me. I’m not sure if it will mean the same things to you, but I hope your ears love it as much as mine do. —Pixie

Olivia Drusin

Let’s was written, performed and produced entirely by Drusin, a 17-year-old singer-songwriter. Her voice is unreal—gorgeously smoky but still able to reach the highest notes—and so malleable that it almost sounds like three different girls sang on this album. Each song has an entirely different vibe, but they aren’t so diverse that Let’s doesn’t come together as a whole. Sometimes romantic, sometimes haunting, this album, which you can listen to and/or buy here, is a collection of beautifully written melodies. —Hazel

Crooked Rain Crooked Rain
1994, Matador

In three words: a perfect record. Lyrically delightful (no one bests Stephen Malkmus), melodically giddy, guitar-twang rock-y and full of sense memory that remains so real for me that when I saw Pavement at Summerstage last fall, my face hurt from smiling and singing. And maybe there was a single tear. Best song for a mix for yr crush: “Gold Soundz.” Best song for shouting along to in your car at top volume: “Unfair.” Song that disses the Smashing Pumpkins and Stone Temple Pilots: “Range Life.” —Elizabeth

Freaks and Geeks: Original Soundtrack and Score
Various Artists
2004, Shout Factory

I just really, strongly, highly recommend listening to songs like “Lindsay’s Theme” and “Geek Hallway” while you’re walking to your next class so you can feel like you are in the show. —Tavi


  • EveyMarrie September 8th, 2011 11:06 PM

    hahaha this is totally brilliant. I love checking out new old bands :) I know how I’m spending my Friiiiiiday <3

  • stephanie4786 September 8th, 2011 11:08 PM

    So perfect. Checking all these out now!

  • Suzette September 8th, 2011 11:17 PM

    I checked out Olivia Drusin… This is gold right here, she’s so talented.

  • Jenny September 8th, 2011 11:37 PM

    Ohh! Big Star! They are the soundtrack to all of my life that has been happening since I was 19. Pixie, you’ve described exactly what that album means to me, and now I have an uncontrollable urge to put it on while everyone else in my house is sleeping.

  • VictoryBelle September 8th, 2011 11:38 PM

    Never heard of Big Star before, thanks to your tip and the magic of youtube my ears have been appreciating their gorgeous melodic guitar for the past 10 mins or so. Awesome tip! Cheers for a potential new favourite album xxx

  • junebuglove September 8th, 2011 11:44 PM

    cool, I’ll check these out. I mostly just like Siouxsie and the Banshees right now though!

  • marypee22 September 8th, 2011 11:52 PM

    weekend to-do list!
    loved it!
    not the usual playlist!

  • amythecat September 9th, 2011 12:08 AM

    downloading #1 record as we speak. how it brings all those feelings to me too.

  • nutellacube September 9th, 2011 1:35 AM

    Oh man, SO going to look for a download of “Freaks and Geeks: Original Soundtrack”. Thanks.

  • chelseagirl September 9th, 2011 2:09 AM

    This website is the coolest, I’ve never met anyone who has heard of bratmobile and that album is one of my favorites!

  • stephaniejean September 9th, 2011 2:31 AM

    LOVE LOVE LOVE The Shangri-las! (and Jordan Catalano of course.) I have been listening to that album on repeat for the last few months. youtube them and watch their live tv performances and be jealous of their perfect hair and insane jumpsuits and oversized sweaters.

  • Rita Unicornia September 9th, 2011 4:45 AM

    Thanks for showing us a bit of good tasting music!
    This site is getting better and better every single day… I’m loving it more and more and more… it’s the blog of a teenage girl… with a problem.. face the spelling and technique of amazing bloggers trying to do an international blog :) follow!

  • Sunshine September 9th, 2011 7:18 AM

    I’ve never heard of ANY of these bands but I am so excited to do so! It’s awesome being exposed to all the different types of music.

  • MichyMich September 9th, 2011 8:15 AM

    Man, I love ’90s music! Much my new favorite bands are mainly from that era – like Hole and Babes in Toyland. It’s kinda sad how such cool, obscure-name bands (like Babes in Toyland) are long forgotten in a sea of Auto Tune pop songs. This article really made my day – thanks, Rookie!

    P.S. I have a suggestion that we should also share some of our favorite songs, too!

  • Izzy September 9th, 2011 10:47 AM

    Olivia Drusin has the most intreging voice, it’s utterly wonderful.

  • Chimdi September 9th, 2011 11:56 AM

    YES! (love love love Shangri-las! Walking in the Sand is my favorite!!!)

    This site is so great because it REALLY speaks to our more alternative interests! I will never have to settle for Seventeen again…WOO HOO

    P.S. MichyMich…agreed.
    P.S.S.junebuglove ME TOO!

  • JJ September 9th, 2011 12:55 PM

    Saw Hunx and his Punx! Love them and that song!

  • Sam September 9th, 2011 1:31 PM

    Moloko’s Indigo feels right for me this time of year.

  • Margelo September 9th, 2011 2:30 PM

    great- i sora like the bratmobies….

  • Sydney September 9th, 2011 11:39 PM

    I think the Punx girl you’re thinking of is Shannon, who has a reallyreally great band of her own called Shannon and the Clams. She’s the perfect girl rockstar, and their videos are too much fun.

    • Tavi September 9th, 2011 11:45 PM

      THAT’s shannon from shannon and the clams?! MY WORLD IS CHANGED

  • napalam September 10th, 2011 1:57 PM

    I was so excited when I saw Big Star on this list!

  • TacoFemme66 September 11th, 2011 12:48 AM

    Golden times! Shangri-La’s por la victoria! Hooray!

  • vintage nerd September 11th, 2011 12:56 PM

    love this. so much.

  • hellokatie September 11th, 2011 6:54 PM

    Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain! <3

    Elizabeth is right that record is the epitome of perfection, it never gets old (and I play it to death)

  • Bean September 11th, 2011 9:36 PM

    I feel like my life makes more sense in freaks and geeks sometimes. Now I guess it would be more like undeclared. Although I’m not trying to fit into college, I like being the same old weirdo I’ve always been. [=

  • Genghis Cohen September 12th, 2011 4:25 AM

    This is great. Especially Pavement and Big Star. I think The Modern Lovers would fit in nicely to this list.