It's the 2023 ToB presented by Field Notes!

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Mood Music for the Old-Fashioned Set

I have a soft spot for mood music, particularly songs that can be played quietly and help me focus on work instead of on the sounds of two construction projects down the street. Jack Blackfelt, “your generation X-Y JaZz Guy,” has a great early-to-mid 20th century jazz show on East Village Radio you can grab on podcast. A crackly record player in your living room without Phil Schaap’s history lessons.

» Listen to “Jack Blackfelt’s ‘Generation X Y JaZz’ show” on East Village Radio

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For more mood, my favorite moment in Crash was when Ryan Philippe sat in his car and listened to country radio (what song was it?) on a dark road somewhere above Los Angeles. Carrying the lonely car cowboy theme a little further into contemporary territory is Richard Buckner’s “Figure”—a song that deserves better than singing back-up for Friday Night Lights.

» Listen to “Figure” by Richard Buckner at So Much Silence

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Love Mazzy Star, love Ray Price and Dolly Parton, love Luna and Carl Smith. Love that slide guitar. Love Beach House? Rarely do I love precocity, pretension, precisely designed vamp lounges. But listen to “Apple Orchard” and imagine they’re not trying so hard.

» Listen to “Apple Orchard” by Beach House at Gorilla vs. Bear

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For all the strugglers, for the dedicated and determined, for the vying early risers, for those who compete with themselves to get things done, for self-mitred but still-anxious types, for worker bees and aspiring queens, for the lonely and desiring, for the serious paradise seekers, for the pompadours, for the sentimental wallflowers, for the second-string quarterbacks, for anyone who’s fighting, for the poor and fair, for anyone running, waking up or reconsidering the right angles, for the never satisfied, for those with stick-to-it-ness, for anyone who lights a candle in church: as much “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” as I’ve ever seen.

» Listen to “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” by the Smiths and many others at My Old Kentucky Home


Rosecrans Baldwin co-founded TMN with publisher Andrew Womack in 1999. His latest book is Everything Now: Lessons From the City-State of Los Angeles. More information can be found at More by Rosecrans Baldwin

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