Category Archives: MIX TAPE

We/Or/Me Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


We/Or/Me, the songwriting name of Bahhaj Taherzadeh, was kind enough to curate a mix tape just for our loyal MAGNET readers. Once you check out a few of Taherzadeh’s favorite songs, be sure to download his wonderful track “The Dusty Roads.” We/Or/Me will release Everything Behind Us Is A Dream on January 29.

“The Dusty Roads” (download):

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Sam Amidon “Way Go Lily”
The dark soul of American folk music lives in Sam Amidon. His music is ancient and of our time all at once. His plaintive voice is raw and unaffected and carries so much history. He takes old songs and bends them to fit his own purposes. It’s a grand old tradition, but he somehow makes it feel as though he is doing something new. It helps that he is surrounded by the likes of Thomas Bartlett and Nico Muhly. I could pick any song from recent records, but this one is a favorite. So simple, so plain-spoken, but so elegant and beautiful. Video

Nina Nastasia “Oh, My Stars”
I worry about artists like Nina Nastasia. I worry that the industry no longer makes it possible for her to carve out a living. She hasn’t made a record in six years. The Blackened Air is one of my favorite records of all time. It is raw and electrifying, but so fragile and delicate at the same time. In the wrong hands, these songs could have been turned into polished, lush recordings, but instead they are kept real, haunted and broken. Video

Nina Simone “To Love Somebody”
If there is a better musician than Nina Simone to have ever lived, I haven’t heard him or her. There is something about this song, this recording, the sound of the drums and the shrill backing singers and the way Nina’s voice glides through it all so effortlessly. They don’t make records like this anymore. People try, but it always sounds contrived and watered down. Nina recorded many far more meaningful songs than this one, but there is something about this recording that, to me, is pure magic. Video

Smog “Rock Bottom Riser”
Bill Callahan is a master craftsman. There is not a single unnecessary word on this record, not a single unnecessary note played. Everything is reduced to its essence, to its core. It is an exercise in minimalism. “Rock Bottom Riser” is a story conveyed in such a way that the pauses in between words and the inflections used convey as much meaning as the words themselves. It is something that demands the full attention of the listener. Video

The War On Drugs “Under The Pressure”
Lost In The Dream is one of the records I have been hooked on in recent years. The atmosphere that runs through it, the songwriting, the spacious arrangements. It transcends the sum of its parts. “Under The Pressure” is such a brilliant song for a headphone walk. It washes over you, but it propels you forward and puts a bounce in your step at the same time. Video

Nick Drake “Blues Run The Game”
I used to have a tape years ago with the home recordings of Nick Drake on it, and it felt like a treasure, a window into the internal life of someone who existed in the shadows. His studio albums are pristine and unapproachable in their perfection, but this was just a guy in his bedroom playing other people’s songs. It was rough and muddy. “Blues Run The Game,” which was originally by Jackson C. Frank, another dark and tragic folk singer, was one of the standout songs for me. It was the atmosphere of those songs and recordings that inspired me to write and record a song of my own called “Time,” which Vashti Bunyan lent her voice to, giving me a tangible link to an era of music that otherwise feels far removed from my life. Video

Angel Olsen “The Tiniest Seed”
Sometimes you hear a voice that just stops you in your tracks. A lot of the time those voices seem to belong to another era, and they come from artists who have risen to mythical status over the years. Angel Olsen is of the here and now. She is an indie kid who started self-releasing cassette tapes on MySpace, but she has a voice that transcends all of that and she writes songs that I return to again and again. This one is a real beauty. Video

The Frames “In The Deep Shade”
It’s a cliche to say that an album changed your life but sometimes cliches come with a little truth. The Frames were the soundtrack to my youth in Dublin, and their album For The Birds was the highpoint of their life as a band. It is gorgeous and pastoral but rendered in the fizz and crackle of electricity. It was a huge inspiration when it came out, and it led to a conversation and subsequent friendship with its chief architect, Glen Hansard, who would become pivotal in encouraging me to forge ahead with my own songs. “In The Deep Shade” is one of the great opening tracks. Video

Mississippi John Hurt “Monday Morning Blues”
Mississippi John Hurt is one of the all-time greats. He will soothe and blow your mind at the same time. He will make you think you are listening to two guitar players when there is only one. He was “discovered” in the ‘20s, lost to time, then discovered again in the ‘60s. They took him to New York, put a microphone in front of him, and he played them everything he had. After that, everyone had to relearn how to play the guitar. Video

Niall Connolly “Places I Promised I’d Go”
Niall Connolly is a real warrior of the road. I have shared a few stages with him, and I am always bowled over by his beautifully crafted songs. There is something about this one that gets me every time. The reference to yhe National, the imagery of weary travel, the line, “Hey, Gav, are you awake, man/I’m afraid to go home.” So, so good. Video

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Reuben Hollebon Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


We featured Reuben Hollebon’s “Faces” earlier in the year—a dark and quavering tune that showcases Hollebon’s unique, breathy falsetto. Now, Hollebon has created a mix tape of his favorite songs just for your listening ears, which you can peruse below. His new record will be out early next year.

Arvo Pärt “Fratres”
It’s odd how compelling this track is. The chaotic cello quickly becomes calming to the ear. Video

Leftfield “Phat Planet”
Simple strong hooks and beat. Video

Brian Eno “Fullness Of Wind” (variation on “The Canon in D Major” by Johann Pachelbel)
Great combination of a man with a song that gets lessened by frequent use in weddings. Video

Captain Beefheart “Observatory Crest”
A more conventional track from music’s finest. Video

Floex “Prenatal Hunters (Floex Revision)”
Don’t know much about this record, but it gives great vibes from the outset. Video

Can “Thief”
About as dark as it comes. Can were never conventional and rarely cohesive. Video

Alabama Shakes “Sound & Colour”
Good album. A band likely to continue getting better. Video

King Creosote & Jon Hopkins “John Taylor’s Month Away”
Sad, intriguing, uplifting and very British. Video

Jon Brion “Here We Go”
A man who fulfills every criteria of genius. His records are on every week. Video

BC Camplight “Should Have Gone To School”
Nicely subtle. Video

Tom Waits “Kommenizspaudt”
Bizarre mix of real and fake German language, and an amazing groove. Video

Kendrick Lamar “I”
Good words with intent and hope. A great tune from the best man in popular music at the moment. Video

Aphex Twin “hat5c 0001 rec-4″
Closing track from an odd record, perverted and unnatural and an uncomfortable listen. Audio

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Hezekiah Jones Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


After MAGNET featured his wonderful baroque indie tunes “Borrowed Heart” and “The Dark Heart’s Out,” Hezekiah Jones has been so kind as to craft a mix tape of some of his favorite songs. His new record is called In Loving Memory Of Oosi Lockjaw and will be out November 13. Check out his mix tape below.

Chris Bathgate “Creek, Cure, Dawn”
Around the time we put out Hezekiah Says You’re A-OK, Morgan King of Yer Bird Records sent me a large cache of CDs including Elephant Micah, Beruit and Chris Bathgate among many others. This is the opener from Bathgate’s Throat/Sleep album. One of my favorite LPs to listen to. I can’t get enough of it. This was the first song I heard of his, and fell immediately in love with his songs, poetry, arrangements and him. Video

Cast Spells “Glamorous Glowing”
This is from Bright Works And Baton. A fantastic EP all around, it was hard to pick just one track from this collection. Like Bathgate’s work, I find Dave Davidson’s music instantly compelling. He is more well known for Maps & Atlases, but this is the album from him that really hit home for me. We had the honor of doing some shows on the road with him and Good Old War a number of years back, and he would play these songs, mostly solo, each night to a captivated audience. We were amongst those swooning people each night. Video

Fugazi “Waiting Room”
The most generally accessible song of Fugazi’s catalog. This song brings me back to all of my teenage angst in an enjoyably energetic way. That bass line just gets my blood pumping. Video

Akron/Family “Raising The Sparks”
This song hypnotizes me. It’s a bit rough around the edges, but those guitar lines just draw me in. There is something here that I can’t quite put my finger on that a part of me finds innately profound for some reason. I become slacked jawed, start drooling, and find myself staring blankly into space while listening. Video

Thelonius Monk “Blue Monk”
I grew up studying jazz piano, so players like Thelonius Monk and Chic Corea were constantly being listened to. I, and I’m sure many others, would count Monk as one the more unique jazz piano players, composers and soloists. This is a great version of a relatively young Monk playing one of his classics in 1958. The look on the announcer’s face when they cut back to him about halfway through is priceless as well; it might have been the most confusing three minutes of his life. Video

The Black Heart Procession “A Cry For Love”
My older brother, Gabriel, has always been able to find books, movies and music to turn me on to that I fall in love with without exception. This is one of those bands he turned me on to years ago, and their mood and delivery are just about perfect for me. Video

West Philadelphia Orchestra “Zla S’dba”
One of my favorite Philadelphia acts to see live. There is something about Balkan music that lights up my heart like no other kind of music, and these ladies and gentlemen are the best around. I have had the pleasure of seeing them perform many times, and it never does/will get old for me. Go see them live if you have the chance. Video

The Spent Poets “You Can’t Kill Michael Malloy”
This is the instrumental track from one of my favorite albums from growing up. Probably the most influential album for me as a songwriter. The characters that haunt the album are wonderful, including a song about Syd Barret called “He’s Living With His Mother Now.” I really love the driving and macabre melodic theme on this track. Nice and sharp. A beautiful ode to the indestructible Michael Malloy. Video

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Chris DuPont Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


Chris DuPont is inching ever closer to the release of new record Outlier. After featuring his beautiful track “Forgiveness” a while back, MAGNET has got a nice glimpse into a songwriter’s personal favorites, all collected nicely together in Mix Tape fashion below. Be sure to check out Outlier on November 13.

London Grammar “High Life”
London Grammar is my favorite recent pop act. Their entire debut record hits that perfect mark between minimalist restraint and indulgent anthemic pay-offs. “High Life” is loaded with simple-yet-memorable hooks, painted into a lush arrangement in which every element has its own comfortable pocket in the frequency spectrum. I love the unusual and almost counterintuitive rhythm of the bass line, and the play on words in the bridge: “We own everything, we owe (/own?) nothing.” Video

S. Carey “Glass/Film”
S. Carey’s compositions are beautifully composed and textured, and make me feel like I’m being caught in a tidal wave. I can say with no hesitation that Sean and CO. gave me the best live concert experience I’ve ever had. I saw them at the Hope College Theatre in Holland on the “Range Of Light” tour and was overtaken. Each band member went far above the multi-instrumentalist call of duty, with most players being highly proficient on drums, marimba, pedal steel and tight vocal parts. The show set the bar so high for what a live music experience can be. Video

Ben Howard “Depth Over Distance”
Ben has somehow managed to push the limits and possibilities of the guitar without merely being another gimmicky “tappy guitar guy.” It’s such a fine line. His technique is bizarre, broken, unusual, but undeniably musical. His guitar lines are loaded with melodic, timbral, and rhythmic hooks. And that voice astounds me. He tells micro-stories in the ways he delivers his words and lines. Every inflection begs us to look for a deeper layer. “Depth Over Distance” hasn’t stopped playing through my head since I first gave it a spin. Video

Ryan Adams “I See Monsters”
I’m a huge fan of the prolific, devastating, slightly goofy Ryan Adams. It’s abundantly clear that he is obsessed with the craft of songwriting, but not necessarily with pleasing anyone but himself. His nonchalance is something that a lot of self-conscious artists could learn from. “I See Monsters” is one of those tunes that feels like it’s been around for a long time. The chord turns and melodic twists are masterful and effortless, and the minimalist but ethereal approach to the recording makes this one stick for me. Video

James Taylor “Never Die Young”
I have no shame for my love of all eras of James Taylor’s music. This song’s indulgently crisp production has the late ’80s all over it. But the song’s structure, guitar arrangements and lyrics pack a great punch. I think this is one of his best-crafted gems. James has inspired me greatly as an artist, not only as a great guitarist, vocalist and writer, but also as someone who is always gracious, considerate and thankful to his loyal audience. Video

Brendan James “Constellations”
Brendan is one of my favorite living songwriters. He has a one-of-a-kind tenor that grabs my attention with its immediacy and reedy clarity. This song captures that expansive melancholy that comes with growing older and watching dreams fade. The imagery in the lyrics is remarkably vivid. I also love that this song wasn’t over manufactured. This tune, like most tunes on James’ Simplify album, was recorded rawly, with the vocal performance practically untouched. He sounds just like this at a live show. Video

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Pelicans And Their Allies Make MAGNET A Mix Tape


To build up the hype for the new EP from Pelicans And Their Allies, Robert Higgs has created a mix tape just for our MAGNET readers. Since the band just released a music video for “Just Like July,” Higgs has compiled a list of his favorite music videos for his mix tape. Check it out below. Pelicans And Their Allies will be out November 11. Says Higgs, “I am a video editor by day, and I made the video for our single, ‘Just Like July,’ so it seemed fitting to make a mix tape of fun songs that have great videos.”

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin “Sink/Let It Sway”
I love this song so much, especially the opening line: “Pretty girls don’t just park where they want to/They gotta look around in circles like we all do.” Great power pop that’s smart lyrically and musically. And the Point Break music video with the band running all over town is so much fun and really matches the energy of the song. Video

Tegan And Sara “Closer”
See them live if you can—they are delightful and hilarious and charming as hell. This is a great dancey pop song, and the video will make you want to throw your own karaoke slumber party. Video

The Barr Brothers “Beggar In The Morning”
A gorgeous song and a beautiful video that is as much a great piece of art as it is a music video. The puppets and the photography and lighting are so great—hypnotic and mesmerizing, spinning and drifting in and out of focus. Plus I really love Rube Goldberg-type contraptions and mechanisms that look and feel hand-made. My favorite is the puppet that plays the harp. (By the way, there is a full time harp player in the band, although you can’t really hear her on this particular tune). Video

Dr. Dog “Shadow People”
For a while, this was my go-to “have you seen this?” video that I would show to anyone who came to my house. I love the song so much. I think it’s only two chords, but the great and the ever-changing arrangement makes it so lush and elaborate. The video is beautifully shot and edited, and the senior-citizen skaters are so good. Video

Jónsi “Animal Arithmetic”
If you don’t know him, Jónsi is the lead singer from Sigur Rós. He made a great record called Go Do that is superb. I could have picked any song from the album. This video really captures and reinforces the energy of the frenetic drums and the pure joy of the song. I watched this video without knowing who he was and immediately bought a ticket to his show. It remains one of the best concert experiences I’ve ever had. If you like this, rent or buy Jonsi Live At The Wiltern to see the mind-blowing show. Video

Mates Of State “My Only Offer”
Great song, catchy as hell. Fun video. I love them, and this is my favorite song from what I consider to be their best album. I love watching her play glockenspiel and piano simultaneously. Video

Generationals “Put A Light On”
I know New Orleans is the jazz city. I get it. And I love jazz. But Generationals are my favorite New Orleans music. In fact, when I first heard that David Simon was making a TV show about the New Orleans music scene (the great HBO show Treme), my first thought was, “Oh, maybe the Generationals will be on it.” Turns out, the show is about jazz, though. But I love this song (and all their songs, really) and the video gives you some New Orleans eye candy. Video

Tokyo Police Club “Wait Up (Boots Of Danger)”
The title alone is enticing enough for me. But the song is so catchy and fun and rocking and filled with ooh-oohs. I love this band more and more all the time. And the video of dogs jumping into a swimming pool is the greatest. The greatest, I tell you. The shot from underwater of the dog swimming with its mouth open to drink like a whale gets me every time. Watch this over and over. I do. Video

Stars “Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It”
The best way to find new music is to hear something you’ve never heard before on a mix tape that someone makes for you. With that in mind, I figured I should include a song that I found on a mix tape someone gave to me. My friend Christine (who made the beautiful tinfoil owl in our “Just Like July” video) makes a Valentine’s Day mix most years. This song was on one of those mixes. Great bittersweet power pop. I’m obsessed with the line: “Take the weakest thing in you/And then beat the bastards with it.” That’s the kind of line you’re always hoping to hear in a song. And the drag-queen fashion show video is fantastic. Enjoy. Video

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Lymbyc Systym Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


Lymbyc Systym is celebrating the impending release of its new record by making a specially curated mix tape for our loyal MAGNET readers. Brothers Jared and Mike Bell create intricate and danceable instrumental music with a refreshing production atmosphere. Their new record is called Split Stones and will be released October 16. Check out their mix tape below.

Here are a few of our favorite tracks that served as inspiration for Split Stones:

Michael Andrews “Mirror”
Jared: Michael Andrew’s score for Me And You And Everyone We Know is so subtle and thoughtful. The main synth on the soundtrack—a Casio SK-1—is basically a beginner’s keyboard from the late ’80s, but with a simple sampler built in. A major theme on Split Stones is disparate halves coming together to form a unique whole, and I love how this Casio sounds both human and mechanical. I use it all over our new record. On “Mirror,” the keyboard amplifies the breathiness of the sampled voices. It sounds distorted but strangely intimate, like the wind blowing into a cell phone. Video

Drake Featuring Majid Jordan ”Hold On, We’re Going Home”
Mike: I’m not a huge Drake fan, but I love this song! There is an element to the production that reminds me of the ’80s, specifically the beat and the tom fill at the turnaround. I tend to fall back on hip-hop production techniques when I’m making beats. Although not a direct influence on our new LP, I definitely copped the roundhouse tom fill to add to my production repertoire. I also love the snare … I might have subtly snagged that sound, too. Video

Steve Reich “Six Marimbas”
Jared: “Six Marimbas” is one of those rare cases where a very intellectual idea actually results in something beautifully fluid and organic. Though I can’t really speak to the technical aspects of the composition, I really like the overarching idea of a moving texture where the rhythm becomes the melody. The warmth of the pulsating marimbas starts to sound like a synth and is reminiscent of interlocking keyboard arpeggiators. I’m completely hooked on the rhythmic marimba sound, and though heavily processed, you can hear a lot of it throughout Split Stones. Video

Two Door Cinema Club “Sleep Alone”
Mike: I was very inspired by the dance feel on this song, and generally speaking, the whole record, Beacon. This song is super uptempo and danceable. Most of our previous albums have a downtempo, half-time, ambient feel. But when we began work on the new Lymbyc Systym record, the dance influence crept in immediately despite never really discussing it. This Two Door Cinema Club album was on repeat for me during the writing process, so I’m not surprised that its influence naturally seeped in. Video

Tortoise “It’s All Around You”
Jared: This track is built around the premise of trading melodies. One instrument picks up the melody where the other leaves off, and at just the right moments, they play together in unison. It has a very humanizing effect. The vibraphone, electric piano and guitars become sentient entities conversing with each other. This idea directly inspired the bridge section of the title track on Split Stones. Video

Mungolian Jet Set “Smells Like Gasoline”
Mike: I’m totally in love with house music from Scandinavia. Mungolian Jet Set’s take on disco house is wonderful. The bubbly, happy sound vibes right with me. Compared to some of the icy, sterile Berlin techno, the Scandinavians bring a more airy, cartoonish feeling to their productions. Todd Terje is another big influence from up north. These guys really know how to crank out feel-good dance tunes. Video

Brad Fiedel “Main Theme From The Terminator”
Jared: I read that Brad Fiedel was having a hard time harnessing the various percussive loops and synths for this theme. He couldn’t get them to automatically sync together with MIDI, so he triggered them manually. It creates an unintentionally odd time signature that also feels very elastic and natural. I was really inspired by this idea. On our new album, all of the synth arpeggiators were recorded freely with countless variations, then edited together manually. It creates these very dynamic and organic rhythms that defy their clinical nature. Video

Brandy & Monica “The Boy Is Mine”
Mike: I’m not sure who produced this, but there is one particular element to this track that I love: the shaker. I’ve been into programming syncopated shakers for some time now, and this song is a guide into that world. There is something sexy about the shaker. It kind of tugs at the beat. I played live shaker on most of our new record, but thanks to this song, I ended up chopping up the parts and syncopating them against the beat. Video

Phoenix “Rome”
Jared: This and many of the other songs on Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix have these really precise eighth-note guitar chords chugging through the entire track. It’s repetitious and exacting and takes on a synth-like quality. I was inspired to try the reverse—use a precise, chugging synth rhythm throughout a whole song that evokes a guitar. You can hear this on “Pulses.” Video

Purity Ring “Belispeak”
Mike: Basically, this whole record has sweet drum programming. The hi-hat parts in particular have a wonderful sense of rhythm. The side-chain compression on this album speaks to me as well. It gives the song a more epic feeling. I definitely used a lot of this compression technique in my drum production for Split Stones. It really helps to make the beat pop. Video

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Merry Ellen Kirk Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


Merry Ellen Kirk will release We Are The Dreamers on October 23. In conjunction with her LP, Kirk has compiled a mix tape especially for MAGNET readers, which can be perused below. You can check out her single “Lovers & Liars,” which we featured earlier in the year, over here.

Marie Hines “Stars”
Marie and I toured together a couple years ago and wrote a song “Heart In Your Hands” together for my new album. Her newest three-song release, Endless, is absolutely gorgeous, and “Stars” is my favorite. Video

Aaron Krause “Racing In Your Heart”
Aaron has been such a privilege to work with over the years as a creative mind, songwriter and producer. This instrumental piece from his record Holding On to Love gives me chill bumps. Video

Joy Williams “Till Forever”
Joy has been one of my favorites since I was a teenager jamming out to “We” on Christian radio. It was so exciting to see the Civil Wars receive such critical acclaim, and sad that they are not making music together anymore—but it’s so beautiful to see her coming into her own skin again as an artist. “Till Forever” is my favorite from her new record. Video

Holley Maher “Whispered Words”
Holley is one of my favorite voices and a truly unique songwriter. “Whispered Words” is one of my favorites from her. Fun fact: We learned on tour together a couple years ago that we are both INFJs. Video

Max Richter “November”
I ran across this song a couple of years ago, and it keeps bringing me back. I love how he builds that tiny high-pitched theme into this moving orchestral piece that makes your heart soar. “Last Days” is a beautiful complement song from that same project, MemoryhouseVideo

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Strange & Primitive Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


To celebrate the release of its brand new self-titled LP, Toronto’s Strange & Primitive has compiled a list of songs that helped inspire its own music. Strange And Primitive features intricately wrought pop songs like “Difficulties Be Damned.” Check out the duo’s mix tape below.

For our mixtape we selected six tracks (all from artists that we love) that were more or less vertical compositions. These songs all build, evolve and develop over a repeating groove or riff that’s held for the song’s entirety.

Talking Heads “Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)”
Talking Heads’s Remain In Light album really makes great use of the vertical composition. This album and Eno & Byrne’s My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts were really ahead of their time in regards to working with loops and samples. “Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)” is the opening track and it’s one of our favourite album openers of all time. Therefore, it only makes sense that it starts off this mix tape list. Video

Talk Talk “Life’s What You Make It”
We absolutely can’t get enough of the piano hook running through this song. It’s definitely an interesting contrast to Talk Talk’s later works. The single stands as a bridge between their early synthetic pop and their later earthy textured improvisational sounding albums (the not to be missed Spirit Of Eden and Laughing Stock). Video

Kate Bush “King Of The Mountain”
“King Of The Mountain” is built upon ghostly rhythms that are juxtaposed with traditional guitars and drums that arrive later in the song. We really love songs that feel like they have arcs to them, and this is a perfect example, despite being built upon repetition. Video

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds “Mercy Seat”
We went with the live version from Live Seeds for “Mercy Seat,” since it’s turned up and accelerated the fierceness and desperation of the original. The live setting gives the recording a more natural space that makes the piece sound much larger than life compared to the studio recording. Video

Wye Oak “Logic Of Color”
“Logic Of Color” is melodically complex in both the underlying bass synth line and the vocal. The track manages to transport you to very emotionally different places all the while still staying true to its form of a vertical composition. The entire album is so well written and produced, so go listen to it. Shriek was our favourite album from 2014. Video

Peter Gabriel “San Jacinto”
Peter Gabriel’s fourth album really showed off what the Fairlight CMI could do creating many samples to create such original sounds. The use of the technology really made the album stand out from a sound design perspective, and it still sounds unlike any album. “San Jacinto” is perhaps the most interesting to us on the album since it’s so textural. The track hauntingly unfolds over this exotic sounding soundscape that’s pretty difficult to describe. The result was one of Gabriel’s most emotionally powerful recorded moments of his career and an amazing vehicle for his vocal talents. Note: This song technically breaks vertically for the outro, but we had to include it because we like it so much. Video

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Jesse Payne Make MAGNET A Mix Tape


Jesse Payne is commemorating the release of new full-length record Heirloom by making a mix tape for MAGNET. This hard-working singer/songwriter has been so kind as to handpick 12 of his favorite songs that influenced the writing of his latest LP. Check it out below, and don’t forget to give Heirloom a listen.

Sun Kil Moon “Salvador Sanchez”
Mark Kozelek’s voice is one that seems to bring me home every time I hear it. From the Red House Painters to his solo stuff, it all blows my mind. Sun Kil Moon album Ghosts Of The Great Highway has influenced my music heavily through the years. The song “Salvador Sanchez” is one of those that I listen to on repeat. Video

Duquette Johnston “Dancing Song”
Not only is Duq a great songwriter/musician, but he’s a good friend from my hometown. I’ve been a fan of his since before I knew him. His album Rabbit Runs A Destiny is a flawless piece of art. “Dancing Song” takes me to a peaceful place. I think the best way to listen to this album is on vinyl through headphones. Absolutely beautiful! Video

Helvetia “Old New Bicycle”
In 2011, while on tour for the Buffalo EP, Thomas Warren introduced me to Helvetia’s music. Their vibe is like no other. Their sound is chill with sharp teeth. We listened to their album The Acrobats for the entire tour. I’ve since gone back and dug through their catalogue. Really great stuff! “Old New Bicycle” is one of my favorite songs of theirs. Video

Joe Fletcher “Ambulances”
We’ve been fortunate enough through the last few years to play some shows with this amazing wordsmith. The first time I met him, we both opened for great songwriter Leslie Sisson. I fell in love with his sound. I am truly honored to call this man a friend. Whenever I get the opportunity to see him perform, I take it. “Ambulances” is a song that I cannot get enough of. It’s edgy, yet vulnerable. He just recently released his latest album, You’ve Got The Wrong Man. Great songs, great vibe, check it out! Video

The Middle East “The Darkest Side”
I came across their Recordings of The Middle East EP in late 2010. I immediately fell in love with their songs and sound. “The Darkest Side” has some of the most beautiful melodies I have ever heard. Video

Junip “Chickens”
José González is a songwriter who has the ability to transport me to worlds unknown. I first started listening to him when he released In Our Nature. That led me to finding the band he plays with, Junip. Whenever I’m in need of a mental vacation, I escape with the song “Chickens.” Video

Akron/Family “Many Ghosts”
This band has such a range musically. Their lyrics and harmonies are beautiful and their music is absolutely brilliant. The hypnotic nature of “Many Ghosts” keeps me coming back for repeated listening. Video

Jesse Woods “Gold In The Air”
A while back, I read an article on this guy who covered the Neon Indian song “Mind, Drips.” I downloaded the song after finishing the article and ended up buying everything he had released up to that point. He then released his second full-length album, Get Your Burdens Lifted, in 2013. It contains an LP version of one of my favorite songs he does, “Gold In The Air.” Truly fantastic! Video

Nick Drake “Road”
I equate Nick Drake’s album Pink Moon to Leaves Of Grass by Walt Whitman. I return to them both annually for a spiritual cleansing. The song “Road” fills my mind with hopeful anticipation. Video

Megafaun “Where We Belong”
While on tour in 2010, my friends at Team Clermont introduced me to Megafaun’s music. I immediately became a huge fan. The songs on Bury The Square spoke to me. I couldn’t stop listening. The music, lyrics and harmonies are gorgeous. Video

A.A. Bondy “Killed Myself When I Was Young”
I have been a huge Bondy fan ever since I heard him with Verbena. When he released American Hearts, I couldn’t stop listening to it. I had the chance to catch a show while he was touring for this album. To date, it is still the best show I have ever seen. It was to a sold-out crowd at Bottletree in Birmingham, Ala. He was alone onstage with his guitar and harmonica beneath a single spotlight. You could have heard a pin drop. He performed the entire album. Every time I hear “Killed Myself When I Was Young,” it’s like I’m hearing it for the first time. Video

Wilco “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart”
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot destroyed every thought that I had ever had. Everything that I thought about music was different. Everything that I thought about love had changed, and every thought that I had about life was wrong. I didn’t know if I hated it or loved it, but I knew, after the first time I heard it, that everything had changed. “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” was the track that began my new journey. It is impossible for me to imagine my life without the music of Wilco. Video

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Stevie B. Wolf Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


Singer/songwriter Stevie B. Wolf is working up to the release of his new EP, Alone+Alive (which features the bombastic “Nothing But A Name”), with a specially curated MAGNET mix tape. Alone+Alive won’t be out until November 6, but Wolf has provided eight song recommendations to help kill the time. Check it out below.

In true Stevie form, I’m making this playlist the night before it’s due. Because I’m bad at planning, and I’m always very self-conscious when it comes to any sort of verbal or typed expression, I tend to procrastinate. But fear not, this playlist is going to be sick. I just finished watching Almost Famous for what must be the 203rd time, so let’s make something that screams with growing up, love of music and broken dreams.

Fun. “I Wanna Be The One”
OK, I know when you think “rock,” fun. doesn’t come up. But I’m a huge fun. fan. Like, insanely huge. And not, like some of you, since The Format. To hell with The Format. I picked up Aim And Ignite back in 2009, and it’s never failed me. It’s been there for me when I was sick of British food in Oxford, when I heard myself say “I love you” over the phone for the first time and when I decided to dye my hair silver (so, like, three days ago). While this entire album is stunning sapphire smile sex, this track never gets any credit. But as a songwriter, I definitely want to be the one to put it in a song. So let’s kick off this playlist with an overly optimistic love song. Video

Butch Walker “Afraid Of Ghosts”
There aren’t many artists who can produce Katy Perry, Bowling For Soup and Taylor Swift, and then put out their own music that still has character. This song has a beautiful lilting honesty that few songwriters know how to serve up. Butch will break you down and build you back up. Video

Simon & Garfunkel “America”
If you don’t love this song, we’re not friends. For some reason, Simon & Garfunkel will always mean isolation to me. I don’t know why, but I just can’t listen to them with friends around me—I need to go hide away in my own space and listen to them in my own stark, beautifully lonely world. So let’s all pack our bags and crawl into our hearts and desperately search for America. Video

Big Star “Feel”
And now that we’ve realized that the American dream is sedated, if not dead, we crawl out of our hideaways and rock the hell out to one of the best bands in history that never got rich or famous. I’ll be honest, I have no idea what this song is about, because I’m too busy rocking the fuck out. Video

Tobias Jesso Jr. “Hollywood”
I desperately want to have musical sex with Tobias Jesso Jr. Come on T, let’s put on some ‘70s jams and slip into something a little more comfortable (maybe a slow blues?), before doing the wacky sort of stuff that most people only hear about in hushed tones over too many glasses of wine. And then we’ll record it and put it on Spotify and get paid absolutely no money for it. But until that happens, I guess I’ll just have to listen to how bummed Tobias was in L.A. Video

Elton John “Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters”
If I ever write lyrics like those in this song, please shoot me, because it will mean I’ve achieved a state of pure nirvana. Bernie Taupin paints a fabulous portrait of the insanity of New York society, the heartless juxtaposition of the uber wealthy alongside the homeless. Apparently, Taupin hated NYC when he visited, and his lyrics critique everything about this “trash can dream” of a city. And goddamn if this song isn’t fun to sing along to. Video

Billy Idol “Mony Mony”
Okay, time to kick it up. The day after Billy Idol covered Tommy James And The Shondells, he climbed to the top of the Empire State Building and shot laser beams with his eyes at Richard Nixon, who had then become an evil lizard creature with wings who was terrorizing the city. In the end, the two reconciled over tea and biscotti, and New York was saved yet again from the brink of destruction. Or at least, that could have happened. I don’t know; I wasn’t alive. Anyway, here’s Billy Idol rocking in a black leotard. Mony mony, indeed. This is the live version, which features the best moment in filmed music history at 2:25. Video

Elton John “Tiny Dancer”
I’m getting sleepy now, and I can only have my heart broken and then put back together so many times. So let’s wrap up this playlist with one of the most beautiful love songs ever, a tune that you and your non-existent kids and your grandma and your mechanic and your mom’s childhood boyfriend’s drug dealer and your president and your crush can all get together and sing. This song makes me feel feelings that can neither be described as joy nor sorrow. It’s a song that’s in me, always with me, dancing in my hand. Now let’s all go lay down in sheets of linen. Video

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