Jeff Rosenstock’s 21-Song Mix CD

Long Island indie-rock hero Jeff Rosenstock kicked off 2018 in the most awesome way possible: With a surprise album, POST-, released on January 1 to Bandcamp through his own Quote Unquote label. (Polyvinyl Records followed the next day with a widespread digital release before issuing it on vinyl in March.) The new record sees Rosenstock pushing his patented shout-along underdog-punk anthems to thrilling new levels of emotional intensity and instrumental extravagance. (Seriously, “USA” should be America’s new national anthem.) And after dropping the first great album of 2018, he gives us the first great playlist!  

“Hey you over there! It’s Jeff Rosenstock over here! I didn’t go super high-concept with my playlist like ’10 Songs To Break Up With Your Lover Over Lunch To’ or make, like, a playlist with songs from animated movies that would be great to listen to on a long drive and call it ‘Car Tunes.’ I tried to just make a playlist like I would have made a mix tape or CD when I was a kid——just as many songs I like that could fit onto a CD-R.”—Jeff Rosenstock

1. PARQUET COURTS, “SUNBATHING ANIMAL”: Parquet Courts are one of my favorite bands, and this song is SO FUCKIN’ SICK! Just listen to it!

2. CYNDI LAUPER, “MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING”: Not that long ago, I found out that Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual was a record stacked with great pop jams. It plays like a greatest hits record, not a debut album.

3. BLACK SABBATH, “SYMPTOM OF THE UNIVERSE (REMASTERED VERSION)”: Wow! Remastered for my listening pleasure! Thanks, someone! I like playing this riff at soundcheck ’cause it’s so thiiiiick and I can think of Beavis and Butthead singing it. Also the shift in the middle of this song is a good example of later-Ozzy-era Black Sabbath taking weird risks! The four records they did after Paranoid are epic and amazing, check ’em out.

4. ALVVAYS, “THE AGENCY GROUP”: You know that guy at the party who is drunk and talking too loud about some band that you’ve heard of and haven’t heard and you just want him to go away? Well, that is me any time anyone brings up Alvvays, ’cause I cannot stop listening to their records. I picked this song because it’s fun to sing at soundcheck, and a love song titled after a booking agency is good bit.

5. LIL MAMA, “LIP GLOSS”: This song is the banger to end all bangers, and I think we can all get behind the universal truth that Lil Mama’s lip gloss is poppin’.

6. CAKE, “ROCK ‘N’ ROLL LIFESTYLE”: Haaaaaaaa… I heard this song on the radio the other day and thought it was funny. Cake is a cool band, but I don’t know much about ’em.

7. CHAI, “SOUND & STOMACH”: Heard this band at a listening station in the Shibuya Tower Records. I really like J-Pop, J-Rock, whatever this is. I kinda thought, “Whoa, I discovered a new hip underground band!” and then I saw ads for their new album lining the streets later on. I’m down with any song that has speak-sing rapping a la “There Was a Door” by Crying.

8. LABRADORS, “ALL I HAVE IS MY HEART”: We played with the Labradors when we were on tour in Italy and they were so good. I had this song stuck in my head for months after we returned and it always makes me think of good times in Italy.

9. ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA, “ACROSS THE BORDER”: Okay, so if you like ELO, but you only know the hits, I’m here to give you a HARD 10/10 RECOMMENDATION to check out their albums from Eldorado up until Discovery. They are great! Maybe start with A New World Record or Discovery. Anyway, this song’s not on either of those two records.

10. SCARED OF CHAKA, “WHY ARE YOU WEIRD?”: I have woken up with this song stuck in my head for the last 15 years.

11. P.O.S, “PUREXED”: I’ve known Stef for a while and it’s been really fun to watch him turn into such a great creative rapper. This song is next level and totally caught me off guard the first time I heard it.

12. SONIC YOUTH, “BULL IN THE HEATHER”: I just basically always want to listen to this song. There’s also a sick Go! Team cover of this

13. KENDRICK LAMAR, “FEAR.”: I really liked this record, every song is a jam, and it was hard to choose. I picked this one because I love the verses which, from what I read somewhere, are from the perspective of him as at ages seven, 17, and 27. Kendrick Lamar makes cool shit, have you heard of him?

14. THE VANDALS, “I HAVE A DATE”: I heard this song late at night on the radio when I was like 13 or 14 and scrambled to find a blank tape and record as much of it as possible to listen to over and over. Warren Fitzgerald has been a guitar hero of mine forever. He doesn’t do any wild ‘n’ crazy shit on this one, but he does sing on it and it’s a lot of fun.

15. SCATMAN JOHN, “SCATMAN’S WORLD”: Oh man, have you heard this song? Have you seen this video? Have you looked into the history of Scatman John, who started scatting to embrace a stutter that he was always self-conscious about? BA BO BAYY BO BOPPITY.

16. THE THERMALS, “HEY YOU”: I’m guessing you like The Thermals, but maybe you forgot that they put out a great record in 2016 that had this perfect pop-punk song on it.

17. FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE, “SURVIVAL CAR”: I never really liked the song “Stacy’s Mom” and assumed this band would be annoying until my wife played me this perfect power-pop record. It was hard to pick a song on it, but this song is just such a feel-good classic. Roll the windows down! Do the thingy with your hand and the wind! Oh no, roll the window back up, it’s freezing!

18. KIM MITCHELL, “GO FOR A SODA”: This past summer, we had the pleasure of having Zack Mykula of PUP play drums for us in Canada, and his partner Julia rode with us for a few days as well. We made a playlist of Canadian songs we knew and they were like, “yo, you don’t know shit about Canada” and we were like “fair enough.” They introduced us to a LOT of pub-rock anthems, but this one just takes the cake. “Might as well go for a soda/ Nobody hurts/ And nobody cries” over arena-rock drums? It’s so fun to me finding out about a big hit song in another country that just never made it over to me. Anyway, that’s what I have to say about Kim Mitchell. Also, if you wanna listen to more, I suggest checking out “I Am A Wild Party”——there’s only a live version and it’s an insane song.

19. SHIT PRESENT, “SHIT TALK”: I love Iona’s songs and I love Shit Present. I saw her play this on her own the last time we were in the UK and it made me very happy. It’s no “My Fruit Bowl” but I can’t find that one on Spotify.

20. SQUEEZE, “ANOTHER NAIL IN MY HEART”: Squeeze is another band, like ELO, that I think people have heard are good, but might only know “Tempted” and been like, “Yeah, I guess they’re okay.” Well, guess what: Squeeze rocks! Fast, wordy power-pop. I listen to Squeeze all the damn time. Also, “Tempted” is sick too, back off!

21. THE SIDEKICKS, “DAISY”: If listening to The Sidekicks is not part of your life, NOW IS THE TIME TO GET IN. This record is a great place to start, and then you’ll get stoked ’cause their next record is going to be amazing, and then you’re gonna go back to Runners and Weight of Air and be like, “Wow, these are great too, how is this band so good?” And then you’ll be like me every time I see The Sidekicks. BE LIKE ME only this one time.