This is our take on a collection of songs that reaches deep into our collective history and memory both as friends and as a band.
Back in January 2005, 16-year old Michael made a mix cd for his high school art class to listen to (Dave was in the class too). Labeled “1/31,” the mix offered some much-needed creative inspiration as we painted, but it also became a hit outside the art room as burned copies of the CD were passed around the Hopkins Academy hallways in our hometown of Hadley, MA. Brett remembers it being his introduction to most of the artists on the mix – and he still has his original copy! Over the years, January 31 has become a quasi-holiday for us, always wishing each other a “Happy 1/31” and independently listening to the mix wherever we are on that day each year.
16 years on, we’ve decided to revisit and cover the 1/31 mix in its entirety. These songs – in this particular order – hold a lot of meaning for us. Even though we’ve all moved around the country and are rarely in the same room together, 1/31 continues to serve as a sort of sonic and psychic roadmap connecting us together back to where we come from. We wanted to put our thumbprint on that map. A global pandemic and impending civil war seemed like as good a time as any to get to work.
We recorded it remotely across the country in December 2020 and January 2021 – with Dave in Pittsburgh, Brett in Santa Barbara, and Michael in Los Angeles. Our dear high school buds Kyle Milardo and Adam Pipczynski also grace us with contributions throughout. The tracklist remains the same as the original mix, as do the tempos and keys of the songs, but we do mess around with the arrangements and whatnot.
To us, this collection is a testament to the importance – and endurance – of collaboration, creativity, and friendship, even in the most uncertain and isolating times. We hope you’ll find something here that resonates with you in some way.
Download it for free, and if you feel moved, please consider donating to this fantastic organization in Springfield, MA called Gardening the Community. They are a youth-based food justice, leadership development, and sustainable living non-profit working to build healthy and equitable communities. We think their mission is really important and worth supporting, especially right now as their community continues to be hit so hard by COVID. Thank you to another one of our dear high school friends, Kristen, for introducing us to them <3. You can read more and donate here: www.gardeningthecommunity.org/youth-leadership--development.html
& please support the artists whose songs we are covering here.
Listen alone, listen with friends, listen with family, listen with your dog and cat. If you want a burned CD of this, let us know and we will send you one. Oh, and the cover art is a painting that Michael and Dave made together in that art class back in 2005.
Happy 1/31 with love,
Here is a link to the Spotify playlist of 1/31:
released January 31, 2021
David Skelly - vocals, electric bass, upright bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, banjo, piano, Yamaha PSS-270 , Nord-otron, talking drum, harmonica, percussion
Michael Sokol - vocals, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, found sounds
Brett Long - vocals, drums, Wurlitzer, piano, Roland HS-60, Rheem organ, Casio MT-65, Baldwin Discoverer, mandolin, acoustic guitar, percussion, drum machines
Adam Pipczynski - "father" vocals on 'Father and Son' and vocals on 'I Need You'
Kyle Milardo - vocals and harmonica on 'A Minor Incident'
House sounds by Madeleine Lempereur
Cover art by David Skelly and Michael Sokol circa 2005
Cover photo by Janis Sokol