Category Archives: MIX TAPE

Spider Bags Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

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Spider Bags was formed in 2005 by a group of close friends. After relocating to Chapel Hill, N.C., and going through a few different lineup changes, the band solidified as a three-piece in 2011 during the recording of third album Shake My Head. Now, Spider Bags have made MAGNET a mix tape. Check it out below.

Elvis Presley “Flaming Star”
Hard to do a mix tape without a specific person or occasion in mind, so I figured I’d start with Elvis. “Flaming Star”! Great goddamn song from the movie of the same name. Elvis sings the shit out of this one, and the band is great. This is 1960, and Elvis has not yet totally sold his soul to the Colonel; he was still ambitious and dedicated and new the kind of music he wanted to make. Bunch of Hollywood session guys backing him up; they were all jazz players back then, and you can hear it in the way the guitar and drums swing. I love it. Plus the movie is good, too, directed by Don Siegal, and Elvis’ character is named Pacer Burton. There will only ever be one Elvis Presley. Video

Shin Joong Hyun “Moon Watching”
Whenever I think of the early examples of polished rock ‘n’ roll coming out of Hollywood in the late ’50s and early ’60s, I also think of this song because it’s the exact opposite thing. Mr. Shin himself! Recorded in 1958 at an Army base in South Korea with a bunch of American-soldier musicians, less polished than the Hollywood guys but you can hear the similarities, and holy shit, Shin’s guitar playing. He’s 20 years old and already playing this crazy psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll guitar. In 1958. In a room full of American soldiers. Pretty wild to think about, too: The same Howlin’ Wolf and Elmore James records that inspired Keith Richards also inspired this. Video

The Doors “L.A. Woman”
The same jazz style rhythm but played in 1971 by a bunch of L.A. punks (including Jerry Scheff on electric bass who would later play in Elvis’ TCB band). I know you hate the Doors. I did, too, for a long time, but I happened to accidentally stumble across their Live At The Hollywood Bowl movie a couple years back, and the veil was lifted. The Doors rule. Watch the movie with an open mind and tell me you hate the Doors. I dare ya. Video

Neil Young “L.A.”
I can’t listen to one of these L.A. songs without wanting to listen to the other. From Time Fades Away, recorded live during the 90-day tour following the release of Harvest. Neil Young is drunk on tequila and playing a Flying V. I love it. My buddy Andrew worked at Shangri-La Records in Memphis for a long time, and he said one day this dude came in and asked to see a copy of Time Fades Away. The guy said that a friend had told him he was on the cover. Andrew showed him the record and the dude said, “Yep that’s me,” and then walked out of the store. Andrew said that the he did look a bit like the guy holding up the peace sign on the front. Maybe this sort of things happens in record stores all the time. Who knows? Video

Waylon Jennings “Waymore’s Blues”
Neil Young’s singing sometimes reminds me of Waylon. From Dreaming My Dreams, Waylon’s breakthrough record. He made it with wild man and Memphis native “Cowboy” Jack Clement, who was a producer and engineer for Sun Records during the Million Dollar Quartet heyday. Lots of great songs on this record, but this one blew my mind the first time I heard it. Waylon Jennings is one tough dude, and his voice is amazing. It goes right to the center of my brain. “I got my name painted on my shirt/I ain’t no ordinary dude/I don’t have to work.” Awesome. Video

Sensations Fix “Faux Batard”
Song number six; time to get weird! Someone once put this song on a mix tape for me. The best kind of weird beauty. Franco Falsini lived in Virginia for a time in the late ’60s and brought the Moog back to Italy with him. He sings in English, but you get the impression that he barely understands what he’s saying. File it under garagesynthkrautprogrockAudio

The Walker Brothers “The Electrician”
First time I heard this song was on a mix tape as well, way back in the day. Blew my mind all over my shirt. It’s about as perfect as a song can get. I was listening to this song recently while driving around with my two-year-old daughter, and when the strings kicked in I heard her say in her little voice from the car seat behind me, “It’s beautiful, dadda. Can you make it louder?” Video

Tommy James “Midnight Train”
Tommy James is my hero. From his self-titled solo record. Great singer and songwriter, engineer and producer. The man did it all. The way he used echo and tape delay is a constant source of inspiration for me. The guitar playing on this song and the album in general is so psychedelic and cool. The story is that he had to make this record in Nashville because the mob put a hit out on him in NYC. God bless you, Tommy James. Video

Creedence Clearwater Revival “Midnight Special”
Two songs about L.A. and two about midnight trains; maybe we do have a theme going. This song is just about everything I love about rock ‘n’ roll; a seemingly simple song played well with all the contagious emotion of four people high on the feeling of reckless abandon that you can only get from playing electric rock ‘n’ roll music as loud and as loose as you want. Plus, it’s the song that plays after the opening scene of that weird-ass Twilight Zone movie from the ’80s. Video

Bread “Look What You’ve Done”
I asked my wife how I should end this virtual mix tape, and this is the song she immediately came up with. It’s perfect. When I was a kid, mix tapes were either for the beginning of a relationship when you want to tell somebody what you’re all about, or the end of a relationship when you want to let someone know what they’re missing out on. This song would definitely fit into the latter category. I actually put John Cale’s “You Know More Than I Know” on a mix tape for a girl who broke my heart when I was 18. Yeah, heavy times. We love Bread in my house. Their records are in constant rotation. From Elvis to Bread in 10 songs, not a bad trip. Thanks for coming along. Video

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Joe Marson Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

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Joe Marson is a singer/guitarist who molds and sculpts his blues with hints of soul, folk, alternative and straight-up rock ‘n’ roll. He’s traveled the country, making stops in Austin, Boston, Arizona and Oregon, only to settle down in Brooklyn. It seems as if it’s there he’s found his musical calling. He’s currently poised to release his next EP, Electric Soul Magic,later this month, and judging by first single “Love You Safely,” there’s reason to be excited. To give you a taste for the type of music that inspires Marson, and what he listens to in his free time, check out this mix tape he made for MAGNET.

Hozier “Work Song”
Honestly, I could fill this list with just his music alone. Hozier is the best new artist I’ve heard in years. The songwriting, the soul, the pure poetry of his lyrics. Just an outstanding young musician who is obviously wise beyond his years. This song is just perfect in my mind. Verses that take you to another place, and then a chorus that you can’t help but sing at the top of your lungs. Video

Superunloader “Twice In Half”
Local legends from my home town of San Diego. Top-five best bands I’ve ever seen live. This song showcases their sort of Soundgarden-meets-Led Zepplin vibe but I’ve seen them blast through five genres in one song jam. Love the dark, hard-hitting groove on this track as well the dissonant licks by guitarist Jimmy Lewis. They will melt your face and blow your mind. Video

Ollabelle “Blue Northern Lights”
Ollabelle has been a favorite of mine for years. A bunch of great NYC musicians who got together to make some of the most beautiful harmonies. This song, written by the group’s keyboard player Glenn Patscha, just hits me so hard. The lyrics. The space between the lyrics. The honest and vulnerable soul of Glenn’s voice. The harmonies. Video

Corey Cambridge “The Heart”
I love hip hop, but the current popular state of the genre really breaks my heart. Luckily there are rising artists like Corey Cambridge, taking it back to intelligent and well-executed rhymes. This is his latest single. You can’t help but smile with him. Video

The Stanley Brothers “Angel Band”
The last track on the O’ Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack. I could list every one of the songs on that soundtrack and write a paragraph about each one. But this takes it home the hardest for me. The raw, live sounding recording is just the epitome of bluegrass harmonies. I’ve sung along to this song, and entire soundtrack in so many different states, modes of transportation, and public places. Video

Red Hot Chili Peppers “Blood Sugar Sex Magik”
Because they are the Red Hot Chili Peppers. In the ’90s, they were one of the most original, hardest hitting rock band of all time. This song, the title track of one of my favorite records ever, is so sexy and cool on the verses and then this explosion of guitars and groove for the chorus. This whole record. Ugh. So good. Get a change of pants and check out this live version. Video

Jeff Buckley “Strange Fruit”
One of my favorite artists of all time. This song from his Live At Sine deluxe set is so influential to me as a solo artist, not to mention a guitar player. The way he could hypnotize with nothing but his voice and a Telecaster is something I think about every time before I get onstage. Also, as a guitar player, his feel was incredible. Those licks in the beginning of the song just cut to the core of me … and that voice. Oh god, that voice. Video

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White Arrows Make MAGNET A Mix Tape

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White Arrows are an indie-rock band hailing from L.A. The five-piece plays a cheery style of music that ranges from aggressive to completely relaxed. Once formed, the group almost immediately set out on tour and did festivals such as Coachella and Sasquatch. These fine fellows just made MAGNET a mix tape. Check it out below.

Phil Lynott “One Wish”
Thin Lizzy is one of the best bands ever, and this was a lost recording that Huey Lewis recorded in ’86 that was never released because Phil Lynott passed away that year and the album was never finished. This song is emotions to me. Video

Them “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”
I think Van Morrison has one of the best voices of all time. It’s weird how you can cite other singers in music now, and relate them to singers in the past, but no one I’ve heard has ever reminded me or sounded like Van Morrison. Video

Young Thug “Stoner”
“Drugs help me think, but they aren’t the reason why I think.” Video

Jai Paul “Str8 Outta Mumba”
I like this British guy. He’s like a funky James Blake with Middle-Eastern rhythms. You can hear his influences in all of his songs, and they’re usually next level. Video

Mac DeMarco “Chamber Of Reflection”
His personality comes across in all of his music, and his songwriting reminds me a bit like John Lennon’s solo stuff. I like how he re-appropriated a Chinese melody, and made it his own. (See.) Video

Alice Cooper “Teenage Lament ’74″
Alice Cooper is very badass, and he captures what it feels like to be an angsty teen. Video

La Bionda “I Wanna Be Your Lover”
For anyone who has wanted to be someone’s lover and not their friend can definitely relate to this song. Same. Video

Boney M “Rasputin”
Dance legends, and this video is inspiring. Video

Guards “Silver Lining”
They family. My sister is in the band with her husband, and she also directed this amazing clip. Video

Phantogram “Fall In Love”
They have a unique sound that is modern and timeless at the same time. I like how they have heavy low end, and write catchy melodies. Video

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Lovelife Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

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Earlier this year, London/Los Angeles band Lovelife released fourth EP Feel. The quartet is currently in an L.A. studio to record its debut LP. In the meantime, check out the mix tape we asked Lovelife to make us below. It’s pretty awesome.

Broken Bells “Holding On For Life”
We’ve been fans of BB for a while and got really into the new record while on the road with Ellie Goulding. It’s been a while since I’ve put on a record and felt engaged front to back. Every song is great, and it’s over before you know it. Never dragging, gorgeous piece of work. We love Danger Mouse as a producer, too; his style is right up our street. The record he did with Electric Guest is great, and the Beck record, too. Video

Chela “Romanticize”
Chela is an Australian singer that Frank got us listening to last year. I think he came across her at SXSW. Shes not got a lot of material out there, but what she does have we’ve been really enjoying. Its got this ’80s electronic-pop energy that we all dig, and she’s got a dead cool voice. The video for this song is pretty kooky, but I like it. Looks like a ’90s educational video or something. Video

The Dandy Warhols “You Were The Last High”
The Dandys are one of those bands that should be way bigger than they are. Obviously, they blew up in the ’90s, but we saw them in London a couple of years ago, and I couldn’t help but think, “Why isn’t this happening in the o2 arena?” I love the production on this song, and it’s not really a million miles away from what we do in Lovelife. The synth bass line sounds like something Ally might do, and that little jangly guitar is very cool. The vocals in the chorus sound so great, too. Totally fabulous jam, y’all. Video is a trip. Video

David Bowie “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)”
It was such a treat to get a new Bowie record last year. I didn’t know what to think of it at first, but now I love it. I struggled to choose between this and Valentine’s Day, but this is my favourite. I love the idea of celebrities following the lives of ordinary people, which is what’s going on in the video. Someone should start a gossip magazine for celebrities who want to know what normal people are up to. Call it Civilian Banter or something. Video

Friends “I’m His Girl”
Friends are a band from Brooklyn that popped up a few years back. My friend Dan played it to me first, and I loved it. Very cool band. Samantha Urbani’s voice is haunting, and you’ll fall in love with her without even seeing her face, then you’ll fall more in love with her when you actually see her. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen them live but have only heard good things. Video

James Blake “Life Round Here”
Lovely Blakey. We’ve listened to his records and mixes on the road a lot, and I think Overgrown is probably in my top-three records of the last three years. I actually had a hard time choosing a JB track to put in here, but this one is certainly up there. They’re all good. The production is magical on this; I reckon it would be a good track to play to someone who’s never heard JB. Video

The Flaming Lips “Race For The Prize”
This is such a euphoric song and is stunning live. We saw them at the Osheaga festival in Montreal a few years back. They blew me away. Wayne was running around on top of the crowd in one of those huge inflatable balls. Between the music, the visuals, the confetti and the dozens of dancers onstage made it feel like what I can only imagine an acid trip feels like. Video

M.I.A. “Bad Girls”
I really admire MIA’s attitude; she seems to literally do whatever she wants whenever she wants and isn’t afraid to offend. I’m a big, big fan of her videos, especially the one for “Bad Girls.” It looks so expensive. How are they driving on two wheels?! The beat is cool. I’m a big fan of those really roomy drum sounds alongside the electronic sounds, and that sort of Middle Eastern synth riff is brilliant. I saw her at Brixton Academy a while back, and it blew me away. It was so loud it made me sick. Video

Kitten “Like A Stranger”
Kitten are a young band from L.A. we’ve been fans of for a while. This song in particular. Its got a really cool middl-eight that makes me shiver a bit. Chloe is absolutely wild live; we saw them at the Jubilee festival in downtown L.A. last summer and she was absolutely out of control, but sang really well. Very cool band. Cool video, too; it’s got a panther in it. Cheers. Video

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Preston Lovinggood Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

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On February 25, Alabama native Preston Lovinggood issued his new album, Shadow Songs. It’s a sibling to his first LP, Sun Songs, which was released early last year. Download Shadow Songs track “Natural” below, and check out the awesome mix tape Lovinggood made for MAGNET.

“Natural” (download):

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Leonard Cohen “Show Me The Place”
This is off his most recent record, Old Ideas. How does he do it? How does he still do it? Or the question is, “How did he ever do it???” I don’t want to know!!! I just want to listen to this clenched-jaw spiritual for the rest of my life. Tell me where to go, Leonard!!! Video

Through The Sparks “Squares”
I was at SXSW in 2011, sitting next to this guy at the bar. He was telling me he had moved to Austin a while ago. I don’t remember why. Then really all I remember is crying my eyes out when these Birmingham, Ala., beauties started singing, “Make round ones for the square ones/Make round ones for the square ones” I felt like I was trying to do that in my life. At that moment. Video

The Kernal “Green, Green Sky”
I have known Joe for awhile. and couldnt be more proud of the Kern. And who can put the lyric “But he still got his M&Ms” in a country song? The Kern can! And only the Kern can!!! Video

Dreams “You’ve Got Mail”
This scene changed me. Deeply changed me and opened my mind to a new style. Of life. And of music. And, of course, to Nora Ephron. Video

Louis “The Future Is Now”
I was texting Louis during a very hard time in life. He helped me through a bad time of writer’s block. This song is beautiful, and I cant wait to hear his new record!!!! “I use to love this time of year.” Gosh, give me a break. So good! Video

Paul McCartney “Junk”
This song to me is like instant coffee. It really gets me going. Great song to get your Saturday started in a relaxing manner. I always feel like it’s the last Beatles song every written. Video

Ron Sexsmith “Secret Heart”
This song has been heard. A lot. And in a lot of different ways. But one night I stumbled upon a live version of at, like, 3 a.m., and out of nowhere, had many many refreshing tears. Video

Harper Simon “Berkeley Girl”
There is nothing I can say except, “Does this song not express exactly how it feels when you are first starting to like someone?” Video

Stevie Nicks “Wild Heart”
If there was ever a melody I wish I could copy while I was putting on my makeup or pretending to put on my make up. It’s this one. I mean, how can she come up with something this effortlessly and honest?! Video

Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers “Refugee” (Live Aid 1985)
Watch and learn, young lads!!!! I mean look at his eyes! And his suit. I used to watch this like 10 times a day. All I ever needed to learn about stage presence I learned from this clip!!! So perfect. Nothing better. Video

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Stagnant Pools Make MAGNET A Mix Tape

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Stagnant Pools‘ sophomore album Geist is out later this month via Polyvinyl. The Indiana-based duo is made up of brothers Bryan (guitar/vocals) and Douglass Enas (drums). We really asked Stagnant Pools to make MAGNET a mix tape. Check it out below.

Simon And Garfunkel “I Am A Rock”
In honor of Paul Simon’s recent arrest, I thought I would start with this. I have this CD in my car, and when I am having a slow morning, I crank this. I usually almost immediately feel better! Video

Cotton Jones Basket Ride “Somehow Keep it Going”
Stagnant Pools is managed by Undertow Music Collective, which also manages Cotton Jones Basket Ride. Adam at Undertow gave me this CD, and it has been in my car stereo for close to a year. The whole album is great, I listen to it quite often. Really hope we can play with them sometime. Video

School Of Seven Bells “Half Asleep”
We got a chance to tour a little bit with SVIIB in 2012. Guitar player Benjamin Curtis very sadly passed away due to cancer late last year. This song was one they would play during their encore. This is a really beautiful song, and I think about our short time getting to know them often. Video

Mike Adams At His Honest Weight “I’m Worried”
Mike Adams is a great guy and has become a good friend of ours over the past few years. It’s not often you meet someone so personable who also puts everything into making, as well as promoting great music. He has a new record coming out soon on Flannelgraph Records, and it’s really good! This song is from his new album. Video

Serge Gainsbourg “Daisy Temple”
One time Serge Gainsbourg made a dub reggae album that is equal parts weird as it is sexy. I really like this song because every so often he says something like “Poo Poo,” and I think it’s funny. Also, who doesn’t like a little dub? Crank this at your local neighborhood pool. Video

Chubby Checker “The Rub”
This is probably the sexiest song I have ever heard. A real gentleman’s deep cut. Video

Built To Spill “In The Morning”
A friend gave us There’s Nothing Wrong With Love, and it has become one we return to a lot in the van. I love the part in this song (1:36) where the big guitars come in. The lead singer of this band is also named Doug. I take that personally. Video

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Armand Margjeka Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

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Armand Margjeka was born in northern Albania and seduced by American rock ‘n’ roll at a young age. “I spent all summer watching MTV Europe in the ’90s, fascinated by a combination of the West and pop culture,” he says. “I dreamed about going to America.” The dream became a reality when he moved to Birmingham, Ala., to pursue a career in music. On June 10, Margjeka will release sophomore solo album Hummingbird. In anticipation of the LP, we asked him to make us a mix tape. Check it out below.

Serge Gainsbourg “Je Suis Vue Te Dire Que Je M’en Vais”
Monsieur Gainsbourg is, among many other things, a guidance of sorts for me musically. This is one of my most crucial tracks to listen to when in doubt of creativity; there’s an amazing balance rhythmically and a vibe that doesn’t necessarily require lingual interpretation in order to be understood. Gainsbourg’s massive repertoire at such an early age of popular music has set a bar for other artists who are always interested in exploring through genres. Video

William Onyeabor “Atomic bomb”
This is a great record altogether. It can find its way in any mix-tape combination for me. The loud tambourine never gets in the way; if anything, it’s a constant reminder of effortless swag. In the studio, mixing fuzz, synth and organic fat drums, whether it’s a funk staple or not, is something I always find myself trying to apply. Video

Darkstar “Timeaway”
This London-based electronic band have put a couple of great records out in the last few years. This song translates melody and beat in such a transparent way without being easily digestible. These guys keep reaching for different angles, and they’re successful at finding them. Video

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds “Wonderful Life”
Slow, haunting and liberating. Nick Cave and crew sit alone on a hill disregarding expectation. They lay back the beat when they want and plunge forward as they please. Nocturama has to be on everybody’s digital or vinyl shelf. The relationship Cave has with song is one I’ll always strive to build for myself. Video

Ron Sexsmith “God Loves Everyone”
A close friend gave me Ron Sexsmith’s Cobblestone Runway, and I fell in love within the first word he sang on that record. Safe to say Sexsmith is one of the best songwriters of all time for me. The lyrical content in this song in particular is, in essence, classic. It’s a song for all, and it bears timelessness. Video

Beck “Earthquake Weather”
Working with some of the people who work on Beck records has made me even a bigger fan of his. There’s an outstanding type of creative discipline and work ethic that it must take in order to bring these records to life, and he’s always achieved it in an impeccable way. Video

Dead Snares “Blood”
Jeffrey Cain (Remy Zero, Isidore) put together what I can simply describe as a gorgeous record a few years back. I’m gently haunted by the picture this song paints every time I listen. It reminds me of the curiosity I sometimes have for ghosts or spirits … not scared of them, just intrigued enough to want to see one. Video

Ultraista “Smalltalk”
Atoms For Peace featured amazing work involving Nigel Godrich and Joey Waronker and now on this project. There’s more digging into other sonic sphere, and just when I think a beat had taken every color or shape it could, I listen to this and I stand corrected. Video

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Bonsai Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

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Bonsai‘s five-track, self-titled EP seamlessly brings together multiple genres, so we thought she would be the perfect musician to make us a mix tape. Check out what she sent below. We’re sure you’re gonna love it.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young “Feel Your Love”
You know how you have those songs that every time you hear them you’re right back there? This is definitely one of those for me. I was a teenager on a road trip with my folks. My pops was waking up every morning at exactly 4:14 a.m., so he was getting no sleep and was exhausted. (He thought it was a ghost, but it was really his watch alarm.) When we stopped at the Grand Canyon, he stayed in the car and eventually made it out to call it “a hole in the ground” before he turned around and headed right back to the car. I loved and hated that trip. This song played constantly in my headphones, driving through long expanses of Arizona. I love the sparse percussion, the floating melodies, and the lyrics are so honest and painfully vulnerable. As an angst-ridden teen it was definitely a go to, and I can still identify with that kid. Video

Tina Turner “Better Be Good To Me”
Oh wow, this lady. Man, this is one of those “I’m gonna dance by myself for about half an hour or so” tunes. She is such a badass. Her vocals are so pointed and clear while simultaneously being raspy and rough. Tina always has been and always will be an inspiration to me. She’s just so many things at once. I want to take a karate class with her and then go to karaoke afterward, followed by a long talk over hot toddies. The link is a live version, and she is just something to behold. Video

Reggie Watts “Fuck Shit Stack”
This song came out in 2010, and I saw him perform it at Pianos in NYC. I was flabbergasted. Musicians/comics aren’t exactly running rampant. I find it so hard to even attempt any kind of social commentary in my music, and he does it with a biting intelligence and humor without coming off as a dick to even the people he’s making fun of. I tried social commentary once and it was like, “Don’t go to Starbucks/Make your coffee at home.” I sang it real angry. Truth is, Starbucks gives its employees healthcare and a decent wage. That’s what they spend their money on instead of purchasing good coffee beans. Video

Lucius “The Two Of Us On The Run”
Lucius is just such an exceptional band. It’s so hard to put just one song on here. I was lucky and saw them early on in smaller clubs, and even smokers didn’t leave to get their fix during their set. And that’s saying something. This tune is not only so heartbreakingly sweet, but it’s actually got that “life affirming” vibe. They would play this song offstage, acoustically, surrounded by people who were so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Video

Talking Heads “Naive Melody (This Must Be The Place)”
I actually hesitated on this one because I thought everyone probably includes it. I think it’s tough to find that perfect part that’s not “the hook,” meaning it has nothing to do with the structure of the song in the sense of melody/verse/chorus/lyrics. That guitar line is a hook, and is stuck in so many heads (pun intended). The lyrics are so universal, soft and blunt, while being attached to a song you can dance to. And the lyrics are perfect: “Love me ‘till my heart stops/Love me ‘till I’m dead.” Or, my favorite, “You’ve got a face with a view.” I just realized I should’ve been using this as a pick-up line for years. Damn. Video

The Cure “Pictures Of You”
The Cure, and this song, will forever be the absolute bomb. The attached video is so beautifully archaic I dare you not to enjoy it. It’s like taking a tour through the dinosaur part of the History Museum in the best way. In all seriousness, though, this song and the band introduced a sound we’d never heard before. How often does that happen? His gorgeous vocals are in no rush at all: “I’ve been looking so long at these pictures of you that I almost believe that they’re real.” My best friend and I used to listen to this late at night while our parents slept, ignoring the fact that we were in love with the same boy. Video

Regina Spektor “Summer In The City”
“Summer in the city/It’s cleavage, cleavage, cleavage/And I start to miss you, baby, sometimes/I’ve been staying up and drinking at late night establishments, telling strangers personal things.” I love this song. She captures not just a city, but relays its habitants lives, including hers, without censorship. That’s rare, I think. When I saw her live the first time, playing solo, the person I was with asked, “Why doesn’t she have a full band?” I said, “She doesn’t need one.” I saw her play again solo, and it was just as magnificent. Personally, I’ve had a hard time writing ballads without them coming off as saccharine or just too damn sad. This is the kind of ballad I would love to be able to write. Video

Crooked Fingers “Twilight Creeps”
Eric Bachmann has such a singular voice. When you see him live he sounds the same, absolutely awesome. His voice has this crazy cool raw/melodious quality. DignityAnd Shame was such an influential record for me; it was my companion for a little while. This particular song is such an amalgamation of sounds. There is punk in the vocals, heavenly horns, acoustic guitar riffs, then some light and airy female vocals coming in to add even more texture. Bachmann comes up with these gems, “Why does everybody always act so tough, when all anybody wants is to find a friend?/Why does everybody try to hide the heart that hidden has no use?” He cuts to the chase. Video

Pretenders “Back On The Chain Gang”
This is such a lucious pop/rockalicious song, with such tight vocal phrases intertwined with these relaxed “oooh”s and “ahhh”s. That’s so hard to do, to just shift gears like that mid-phrasing,at least for me. It’s a song you want to dance to but could also just sit still and hum along to. I also love the chord progression; it feels so familiar but so new at the same time. Video

John Lennon “Oh Yoko!”
Now, I know why this pick might be controversial. There are some serious Yoko haters. If you are one, I ask you to look past that, and fill in “Yoko” with the name of someone you adore. This song is so strangely other-worldly, yet intensely domestic at the same time. He’s madly in love, and to express it, the lyrics are about him shaving or waking up in the middle of the night, simple everyday stuff like that. I also love how it fades out on a harmonica riff; it’s kind of wistful. Video

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Owls Of The Swamp Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

OwlsOfTheSwamp

Owls Of The Swamp (a.k.a. Pete Uhlenbruch) just released Atlas via Labelship Records. To celebrate, we asked Uhlenbruch to make MAGNET a mix tape. Check it out below. It;s pretty great.

Feist “The Water”
My favourite Feist song. It has quite a raw live sound that works perfectly for this piece. I love the exquisite combination of acoustic instruments, and there’s something in the way Feist vocally hits the chorus that sends shivers down my spine every time. Video

Sufjan Stevens “Enchanting Ghost”
Another indie-folk classic. The waterfall-like acoustic picking and ghostly piano notes add a mysterious quality to this mainly acoustic gem. I don’t know how he does it, but there’s something in the muted electric-guitar melody that evokes a sense of timelessness and suspension from reality. Video

J. Tillman “When I Light Your Darkened Door”
I actually prefer this live version over the album version. This performance stopped me in my tracks when I first heard it. When the band comes in, it’s just sonic bliss, and that pedal-steel part just kills me! Video

Daniel Lanois “Panorama”
Speaking of pedal steel, this ambient piece comes from the album Belladonna. This is another one of those pieces that just catapults me into a pensive and mysterious state. This album was the soundtrack to the period in my early 20s when I discovered Carlos Castaneda. I picked this live version to highlight Lanois’ extraordinary pedal-steel technique. Video

Boards Of Canada “Kid For Today”
There’s something quite peculiar and enchanting about this ambient-electronic track from the mesmerizing In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country EP. If I had the ability to astral project at will, this is how I imagine the experience would sound. Video

Doveman “Breathing Out”
There’s an underlying sense of euphoria and of new beginnings in this spectral piece by Doveman; a stunning combination of poetic lyrics, suspenseful production and subtle instrumentation. It’s far from pop, but catchy as hell. Video

Gillian Welch “I Dream A Highway”
To my personal taste, this is Gillian at her finest. A 15-minute masterpiece of surrealist lyrics, haunting chord progressions and an alchemical bond between Welch’s evocative vocals and David Rawlings’ exquisite guitar accompaniment. Music to transcend to. Video

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Flashlights Make MAGNET A Mix Tape

Flashlights

Florida quartet Flashlights began as the solo acoustic project of Terry Caudill in 2007. Since then, guitarist Tony Oriza, bassist Will Powell and drummer Melissa Hopkins have joined on. Flashlights just finished sophomore record Bummer Summer, so we asked Caudill and Powell to make us a mix tape. Check it out below.

Big Deal “Dream Machines”
I heard their album June Gloom and got hooked! That snare pop gets me nodding my head every time. Video

Anamanaguchi “Meow”
A monster band backing chip pop melodies. The new album is so sugary, it’s just incredible. The glitchy meows in this song are too cute! Video

Lifted Bells “Orphaned”
I love Bob Nanna bands. Frame And Canvas is one of my favorite albums. When I heard Lifted Bells, it blew me away. Nanna jamming with younger musicians! Classic Nanna vocals with math-rock rhythms. I can’t wait to hear more from this band. Video

Joyce Manor “Constant Headache”
Huge anthemic power punk. These guys have so much energy. Video

David Bowie “Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide”
One of my favorite Bowie songs! This live version is great; he just kills it! Video

DJ Kool “Let Me Clear My Throat”
Everything about this track gets me pumped. Have mercy, I spin this hit everytime I wanna get crazy. Break out the fruit punch to this. Video

Sugar Ray “Every Morning”
Yeah, they do have a bro vibe. But, you can’t deny they’re funny guys, and they had multiple hits that you and your mom can sing along to. You can never be too cool for Sugar Ray. Video

Conway Twitty “It’s Only Make Believe”
If this song doesn’t strike a chord inside you, you have no emotional depth and you lack the ablility to feel anything at all. Conway Twitty had an amazing voice and performs this song like a god every single time. The lyrics alone can break your heart. God bless Conway Twitty. Video

The So So Glos “Lost Weekend”
These guys are some of the best people I’ve ever met. I love how you can hear and see their personalities when it comes to this song. Blowout is a very nostalgic record for us. Video

Frightened Rabbit “The Woodpile”
Scott and Andy produced our last album, and it was great to work with them. This song was definitely my favorite off their last album. Scott speaks a whole lot of truth. I love how the chorus parts are heavy. I’m glad to have gotten the experience to know these dudes. Video

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