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Panic! Pandemic!: Quarantine and non-quarantine tracks to check out

So, we are on what, day 50-whatever of the apocalypse? And all the hot shows coming up are remarkably similar to last month: CANCELLED! I’m stoked, looking forward to seeing everyone and pouring a few back with ya.  

Since I somehow … still have a little space left over after all those shows, let’s talk about some new jams and EPs that have been rocking my world.  Before I get to them, I also recommend following your favorite bands because there are tons of cool livestreams to check out while quarantined.  Let’s share that with our friends and on social media to keep us somewhat connected till we’re able to get back together. Thank you for tuning into this column now or hanging in there anytime for the past 15 years.  

Quarantine Singles


Electric Six — “Panic! Panic!”

The pandemic might have become real to most when all your favorite clubs, bars and restaurants closed but for me, it wasn’t real ’til Dick Valentine weighed in. “Panic! Panic!” has a chorus that says “Wash your hands till you love me” and it made me pause writing this column in a combination of procrastination and/or just a need to hit my bedroom dance floor. The tune continues the upward trend that Electric Six has been on with their most recent album, Bride of The Devil. Check it out at — I give it a 7.4.

 The Dirty Knobs — “Lockdown”

Tom Petty’s right-hand man, guitarist Mike Campbell, has a new number to rock the quarantine called “Lockdown.” It’s an enjoyable rocking take on un-rocking times with lines like, “I got a face mask and some rubber gloves, I’m washing my clothes in an old bathtub.” Check it out at I give it a solid 6.7, but by August it might be an 8.2 — who the hell knows?

Non-Quarantine-Related Singles

Scott Janovitz — “The One Below” / “Over The Wire”

Scott Janovitz is one of my favorite songwriters from the late ’90s and early 2000s. Back then I tried to hit every one of his shows with his bands, Rhino and Dragstrip Courage. I distinguished myself by being the one non-girlfriend or wife there back then. I saw them everywhere from playing on what is now PC’s soccer field to Mama Kin in Boston — back when Aerosmith decided they should have their own club on Boston’s Lansdowne Street. I still listen to those cassettes sometimes to hear the non-album shit “Screaming Gun Blues” and “I Feel Alright.” Anyways, my man Janovitz is back with two new jams. The first tune, “One Below,” is a gazing Brit-Pop love letter to the mid- to later-era Beatles. It’s infectious as fuck. The B-side, if you can call it that on a digital release, is a less rock but more groove straight shot. I give this a 7.1. Check out Scott Janovitz on Bandcamp.

Jesse Malin — “Backstabbers” / Crawling Back To You”

After the boom of his Lucinda Williams-produced Sunset Kids record, Jesse Malin is back with a new single, “Backstabbers,” that was recently named the coolest song of the week by Little Steven’s Underground Garage. To be fair, it is his record label, but Malin also cleaned up with three awards at the Independent Music Awards last week. It was a well-deserved honor as Sunset Kids is a great record and also a long time coming for one of my favorite modern day songwriters. On “Backstabbers,” Malin reminisces about his youth growing up in New York City where “the dealer and the doctor were charging the same price.” “Backstabbers” is a sneaky track that grows on you. It’s tough to rate. Today it might be a 6.1 and tomorrow it might be an 8.3. The B-side is a faithful cover of Tom Petty’s “Crawling Back To You.” Malin has talked about how the last verse really struck a chord with him. The lyrics of “it  was me and my sidekick, he was drunk and I was sick, we’ve got caught up in a barroom fight, till an Indian shot out the light, I’m so tired of being tired, sure as night will follow day, most things that I worry about, never happen anyway.” 

Thinking back, it’s just amazing how stacked Petty’s Wildflowers was. That was track 14 and still … straight-up fire. Malin doesn’t really add anything, but does it justice. I give the single a 6.6, and look for Malin’s new album, Lust For Love coming in 2021, the year we all make contact … allegedly.  

Check out his Saturday livestreams on YouTube at 4pm and his interview show, “Meet Me At The End of The World,” on YouTube on Wednesdays at 5pm. 

123 Astronaut — “Cry Baby Cry” 

One of my favorite local bands, 123 Astronaut, released a new jam that is completely different from the rocking stomp that is their usual calling card.  At first, I was like, ‘I don’t know, Jeff,’ but the guitar riff is just so hypnotic that it spreads like love. I can’t wait to see it live. It started as a 4.1 on my scale, but it’s a 6.7 now. It’ll probably be an 11 by the time this all ends.  Check it out on 123 Astronaut’s Bandcamp page and check out their lyric video on their social media page.

Okay, I’m halfway through so this means I will do at least one more column. Till next time, stay safe, stay healthy, stay positive and email me shit at Time to vamos!