Category Archives: MIX TAPE

Sleepyhead Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


MAGNET fave Sleepyhead formed in a basement of an NYU dorm in 1989. The indie-pop trio released its first single in 1991, followed by four albums. Sleepyhead is releasing long-time-coming fifth LP Wild Sometimes this month. We had the band make us a mix tape. Check it out below.

The Bevis Frond “The Garden Feature”
A friend of mine put the Bevis Frond’s “That’s Why You Need Us,” from 1997’s North Circular, on a mix tape for me some time in the late ’90s, which is the reason Sleepyhead started covering it in the first place. We decided to record it last year for the new album. Each of the last two Bevis Frond albums contains a song that was one of the best new songs I heard that year. On 2011’s The Leaving Of London, is was “Stupid Circle.” On 2013’s White Numbers, it was this track. Video

Deerhunter “The Missing”
Monomania is one of my favorite albums from 2013, and this song just swirls around inside my head every time I hear it. Video

Fairport Convention “Tale In Hard Time”
Is it really possible that What We Did On Our Holidays, Unhalfbricking and Liege & Lief all came out in the same year, 1969? That is just crazy. This song just rocks. Video

Judee Sill “That’s The Spirit”
I really really love Judee Sill’s first two records, released on Asylum in the early ’70s. This is the first track from her “lost” third album, which didn’t see the light of day until three decades after the tracks were originally recorded, and long after her death in 1979. It was released by Water Records as a two-disc set in 2005, including demos and lovely packaging. Jim O’Rourke’s mix is phenomenal. I know many Sill fans will disagree, but if I could only listen to one of her records for the rest of my life, this would be the one. Luckily, I don’t have to choose. Full of beauty, sadness, and joy. Video

Terry Reid “Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace”
The Cheap Trick version is also fabulous, but I’ve really been feeling the original lately. Video

Antietam “Numbered Days”
Tara Key is a brilliant guitarist and songwriter, and Antietam is a fiery live band that everyone should see at least once before they leave this world! This is the first track from the excellent-all-the-way-through Tenth Life, which was released in 2011. We were labelmates on Homestead in the ’90s and are thrilled to be labelmates with them again on Carrot Top in 2014. Tara’s talents extend to the visual arts—she did the cover for the new Sleepyhead album. Video

The Incredible Casuals “Your Sounds Yourself”
The best place to see a band is, without a doubt, The Beachcomber in Wellfleet, Mass. (I was born and raised on Cape Cod, and I will admit some bias here.) It is a former lifeguard station nestled at the top of a sand dune overlooking Cahoon Hollow Beach and the open Atlantic Ocean. On a clear day, you can see Spain, just north of the Portuguese border. Kidding. Since 1980, the Incredible Casuals have played The Beachcomber every Sunday from Memorial Day though Labor Day. Their shows are joyous celebrations of rock ‘n’ roll, loud and full of life. Kooky people dance and sing along. Every song they play sounds like the best song you’ve ever heard. I really don’t know how they do it. This song, written by guitarist Aaron Spade, always seems to bring the house down live. The past few years has seen them pare down their schedule to a handful of summer Sundays at The Beachcomber, but you are in for a treat if you can make it to one of their shows. Video

Otis Redding “The Match Game”
This is from the posthumously released album Tell The Truth. I have always loved this album, and this song in particular. It may be my very favorite Otis Redding recording. The little piano riff is sublime. Video

The Only Ones “Miles From Nowhere”
The studio version from Even Serpents Shine is excellent, but I think I like this version from the Peel Sessions more, if that’s even possible. “I used to reach for the stars, but now I’ve reformed.” Indeed. Video

The Neighborhoods “Prettiest Girl”
Just in case you’ve never heard this. You’re welcome. Video

Pretty Things “Grass”
I am “regifting” here. A friend made me a mix tape (yes, an actual cassette!) some time in the early ’90s that included this song, and I was hooked. Video

Scrawl “Ready”
These Columbus, Ohio, legends were always a band that you would just automatically, without a single second thought, go to see every time they played in your town. If they played in Boston tomorrow, you would find me there. Sleepyhead has covered this song a few times over the years. Video

NRBQ “It Was An Accident”
After “Ready,” it seemed like this mix needed something a little more bouncy. One of my all-time favorite bands. Video

Animal Collective “Applesauce”
Animal Collective has nothing in common with NRBQ, but they also happen to be one of my favorite bands. Album after album, they create rich, gorgeous, exciting music that rewards repeated listening. Video

Gillian Welch “Hard Times”
Every time I see them play, my breath is taken away. The Harrow & The Harvest is a stunning album from beginning to end. Watching David Rawlings play the guitar makes me want to quit my job and play guitar all day. Or just quit playing the guitar altogether and leave it to him. Video

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Cajita Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


Recorded in his home studio in London, Jay Chakravorty (a.k.a. Cajita) is set to release Tiny Ghosts on April 22. The album includes a multi-dimensional sound including synths, banjos and clarinets. We asked Chakravorty to make MAGNET a mix tape, and below is the awesome one he came up with.

Scott Walker “It’s Raining Today”
Scott Walker has a beautiful, “Sunday afternoon” type of voice. This was the first song of his I ever heard, and it’s still my favourite. Wally Stott’s orchestration and arrangement here are incredible—the hanging strings and sudden glissando going into the middle section give me shivers every time. Video

Sufjan Stevens “The Predatory Wasp Of The Palisades Is Out To Get Us!”
Honestly, I don’t know how anyone could not love this. The beautiful soft vocals, the melodies, the counterpoint, the little nod to Steve Reich in the breakdowns. So good. Video

Baths “Lovely Bloodflow”
I came across Baths a few years ago on a YouTube trawl, so I feel like he is my personal discovery (even though that’s clearly not true). Insanely inventive beats, some classically influenced piano, a vocal line that’s funkier than it has any right to be and a video featuring a dying samurai and some white-faced weirdos in a forest. Pretty much perfect. Video

Ólafur Arnalds “Near Light”
This is taken from Ólafur Arnalds’ live album, Living Room Songs, which is, as the title implies, a collection of live songs recorded in the Icelandic composer’s living room. This tune features, alongside a string section, Arnalds’ mother and sister on synths and drum loops, because, why not? Video

Peter Broderick “And It’s Alright (Nils Frahm Remix)”
The original version of this song is featured on Efterklan collaborator and all-around awe-inspiringly talented musician Peter Broderick’s 2008 acoustic album, Home. This remix, by modern-classical pianist (and amazing electronica producer) Nils Frahm, strips away the original’s guitars and replaces them with twitchy beats and a glitched out Rhodes. The constantly building, swirling analogue synth line at the end is one of the most blissful noises I’ve ever heard. Video

Dusty Springfield “Breakfast In Bed”
“Sad” and “sexy” are two emotions that you would think are impossible to combine in a song. But this manages to meld the melancholy of a broken heart with the lusty appeal of the titular “Breakfast In Bed.” Oh, and check out the ride cymbal toward the end. It’s pure funk. Video

Sean Carey “In The Stream”
So, Bon Iver’s percussionist came out with a solo album a few years ago, and it’s incredible. The vocal melody in this tune, over the sparsest of accompaniments, is a constant source of envy to me. Video

King Creosote & Jon Hopkins “Bats In The Attic”
Jon Hopkins is a classically trained pianist and producer who writes some of my favourite electronic music. His use of reverb alone makes me green with envy. King Creosote is an absurdly prolific Scottish singer/songwriter with a penchant for melancholia. In 2011, they put out a collaborative album that is beautiful, subtle and altogether quite lovely. Video

Elbow “Scattered Black And Whites
Elbow singer Guy Garvey writes the best lyrics in modern pop/rock. That’s a bold statement, but I think it’s true. He builds up lyrical snapshots of times and places by picking the perfect moments—a seemingly oblique memory or turn of phrase—to hone in on. This song is the closer on Elbow’s debut album Asleep In The Back, and it’s a beautiful paean to home. The line about “disjointed tales that flit between short trousers and a full dress uniform” gets me every time. Video

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The Valery Trails Make MAGNET A Mix Tape


“Starsong” is the latest single from Houston (by way of Australia) trio the Valery Trails. The song is off the band’s upcoming album, Buffalo Speedway, out April 29. We asked frontman Andrew Bower to make us a mix tape, which you can check out below. Says Bower, “Let’s call this mix tape Then And Now. It focuses on some bands that have been influential to me throughout the years, not least because most of them are still making new music and not just resting on past glories.”

“Starsong” (download):

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Superchunk Me & You & Jackie Mittoo
A mix tape has to start strong, and this track does it for me. Back in the day, I used to wonder how the music (and the bands) I was listening to would age. While some bands are content to stick with the nostalgia show, essentially becoming their own tribute bands, Superchunk are doing it right—their music is as exuberant as ever, while the lyrics are tempered with the inevitable accumulation of experience. Video

Buffalo Tom Arise Watch
Not sure if it’s good mix tape etiquette or mild OCD that compels me to thematically link or group songs, but for whatever reason, here’s another new(ish) song from a favorite band from back in the day who is still (albeit sporadically) recording and performing. This song kicks off Buffalo Tom’s 2011 album Skins, which has enough trademark moments to satisfy long-term fans, but addresses subject matter that resonates with those who have grown older (and hopefully wiser) with them. Video

Sebadoh Skull
Sebadoh is another band still making great records, although Lou Barlow’s songs in particular have always had the kind of introspective vibe that other bands have grown into. However, if I’m going to include only one Sebadoh song, it has to be “Skull.” Lou at his Lou-est, Sebadoh at their best. Video

The Blue Aeroplanes Jacket Hangs
Another of my all-time favorite songs from the superb Swagger album. Half-spoken, half-sung beat poetry over guitars that jangle and crunch. I finally saw them live a few years back in a tiny club in Austin at SXSW, and they did not disappoint. Video

Throwing Muses Bright Yellow Gun
Another band that is sporadically active (with a new album released a few months ago), although Kristen Hersh keeps herself busy with solo and other projects between Muses albums). I have to admit I came a bit late to this band, and the University album that this song is from is the one that first really caught my attention. Video

Died Pretty Godbless
Now we come to the part of the mix tape where I throw in some Aussie bands that never made an impact the U.S. but have been a big influence on me. Each of these bands was on our minds to some extent as we recorded the new Valery Trails album. First, Died Pretty: a band who flirted with mainstream success in Australia but never quite crossed the line like some of their contemporaries. Exceptionally strong songwriting and an epic, moody grandiosity that was all of their own; it’s hard to pick from their lengthy catalogue, but this track is a very good representation. Video

Glide Something
Glorious guitars, alternately chiming and grinding behind the distinctive voice and songs of frontman William Arthur, whose untimely demise cut off the band’s career in their prime. These guys are relatively unknown even in Australia, but there’s been a bit of a revival of interest lately, with talk of a tribute concert next year. Video

GB3 And Steve Kilbey Nectarine”
To finish things off on a more chilled-out note, a sublime collaboration between Glenn Bennie from beloved Aussie shoegaze/dreampoppers the Underground Lovers and Steve Kilbey, frontman from the Church (a band who definitely did make their mark here in the U.S.). The song is gorgeous, and the animated video is something special, too. Video

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Cillie Barnes Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


Cillie Barnes lives in the Happy Valley neighborhood of Los Angeles. Happy Valley is also the title of Barnes’ new EP, out now via Loma Vista. We just asked to make a mix tape, and she came up a good one. Check it out below.

The Roots “You Got Me” (Featuring Erykah Badu)
If this ain’t a love song, I don’t know what is. Erykah Badu always slays me, and this a prime example of a collaboration gone severely right. Video

Scarface “Girl You Know” (Featuring Trey Songz)
I listen to this when I’m feeling freaky. Video

Lovage “Strangers On A Train”
I used to just drive my jeep around in high school blasting everything Lovage and Elysian Fields. This is the first time I experienced trip hop, and her voice … Jesus Christ. This is just straight up sexy music. Video

Joni Mitchell “I Had A King”
Best lyricist ever. She has an incredible way of putting things. She talks about the nuances, rather than the large picture. She has a way of describing the tiny details in such a way that when the story hits you, it sneaks up and hits you hard. This is one of those songs for me. The moment you know it’s time to get out of town … your lover has changed. Video

Tinariwen “Islegh Taghram Tifhamam”
They’re from Mali and make the sickest music. They’re one of the few current bands that makes L.A. traffic less shitty. Great de-stressers and makes me want to make better music. Video

Blonde Redhead “Misery Is A Butterfly”
Oh, Blonde Redhead. They have yet to do anything I dislike. Have stood the test of time. I once wrote a screenplay while just listening to Blonde Redhead on repeat. They create one of my favorite moods of all time. Video

Bright Eyes “Arienette”
Another of the greats. This was one of the first Bright Eyes songs I heard, and I loved the mood of it. The way his lyrics create tension … everything just works so right in this song. I’m a fan of haunting music, and this one still gets me every time. Video

Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory “Boat Scene”
The best character of all time. The best scene the best character of all time has done. This has taught me a lot about what I want to do artistically. If I told you much more than that, I’d give away my secrets. But big, big inspiration this one. Video

Seu Jorge “The Model”
What a life. This is just part one, but watch it all please. So beautiful. So cool. The epitome of being a chill dude. Video

Etta James “Trust In Me”
My favorite singer ever. She has my favorite voice of all time. And this song hits all the good parts. Video

The Little Mermaid “Poor Unfortunate Souls”
My favorite Disney character of all time. Represents a lot of things to me. Just listen and watch. Video

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The Appleseed Collective Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


Folk band the Appleseed Collective debuted new album Young Love at the 37th Annual Ann Arbor Folk Festival on January 31. The band’s Katie Lee and Brandon Smith also recently made MAGNET a mix tape. Check it out below.

Snarky Puppy Featuring Lalah Hathaway “Something”
Holy cow. I just went to see Snarky Puppy live in Detroit after only ever hearing this song. I ended up on the stage with them (it was a ridiculously small venue), and my mind was continually more blown with each note. Jazz, funk, R&B … it’s just all too tasty. And Lalah Hathaway does things I can’t even explain. And they just won a Grammy for this performance. Get real. Video

The Punch Brothers “Movement And Location”
Smith: The Punch Brothers are amazing. Virtuosos on acoustic instruments traditionally considered only fit for bluegrass, crushing genre boundaries like Godzilla on a white picket fence. Also fantastic are their covers of Radiohead. This band is pretty much who I wish I was. Video

The Soil & The Sun “Are You?”
Lee: I have never seen musicians feeling their performance as hard as these amazing people do. I cry with them when they play, when they sing, when they give so much of their souls away. It’s all love. It seems strangely appropriate for them to be playing this song in this beautiful, natural setting, because they are so naturally beautiful. Watch this for the benefit of your soul. Video

Ray Charles “Georgia On My Mind”
Smith: This particular recording of Ray Charles singing “Georgia” slays me. I think I listened to it about 100 times in a week one time in my life. A Man And His Soul. Damn right. Video

Vulfpeck “Beastly”
Lee: These are a bunch of friends of mine from college who are killing it all over the map. Joe Dart is about to be the best bass player you don’t know about. Theo Katzman just toured opening for Darren Criss (with these guys in his band) and has more pop sensibility than any musician I know. Jack Stratton is horribly unassuming and is so bursting with creativity that I don’t even know how to handle it. The University of Michigan. Leaders and best. Video

Duke Ellington “On A Turquoise Cloud”
Smith: This song.. I heard on the college radio station one day while driving through one of those crisp blue fall afternoons. It made me cry, and I can’t tell you why. It just sounds so hopeful I guess. I spent about a year trying to find a copy of the album its on (Duke Ellington Rarest Of The Rare Vol. 2, apparently), and then inexplicably it showed up one day on YouTube. God bless the internet! Video

Graham Parsons “When I Go”
Lee: GP is one of my closest friends and one of the most wonderful musicians and humans I know. If I had to pick one thing to accompany me on a deserted island, it would be his voice. So full of truth and pain and beauty, it moves me to tears almost every time. He could sing anything, and I would listen. It’s difficult to find videos of Graham on his own since he’s involved with so many talented folks, so this one is a rarity. Video

The Books “Of The Word God”
Smith: This is a strange choice, I’ll be the first to admit it. But you know that feeling you get at that one part of a certain song where your spine tingles and that little piece of your brain lights up going, “Ya, that’s it!” That is how I feel at the climax of this weird little number. This whole album by the Books is full of these weird little segments, essentially soundscapes. I think it’s total genius. Video

Lake Street Dive “I Want You Back”
Lee: I’m a huge Michael Jackson fan, and one day someone showed me this video. Rachael Price is now one of my favorite vocalists, and she’s got a great band. It’s hard to define them by genre, which is something I like. Jazz, soul, folk, pop … they’re starting to make waves, too! Touring Europe, releasing a new record, all the good things. You’ll be glad you know about them. Video

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Rigbi Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


On February 18, New Jersey’s Rigbi will release the Visionary EP. Says singer/guitarist Jon Irizarry of the record, “Patience was a big theme in the writing process. After releasing the first album, we were very anxious to get something new down and get it out to everyone. As the songs began forming we realized that if we wanted to do this the right way, we would have to slow down and take our time.” We asked Irizarry and bandmates Randy Sabo, Brian Cornish and Pat Maloney to make us a mix tape. Check it out below.

Rilo Kiley American Wife”
Irizarry: Jenny Lewis has always been a personal hero of mine when it comes to songwriting. Her lyrics bleed sincerity, and she pours her heart out into every song. “American Wife,” which was originally a b-side from the band’s More Adventurous album, is a perfect example of her and the band’s ability to capture and express mood. Their songs just take you there. The recording of this song blows me away with the different parts that appear and disappear. From taunting children to a faint whistle, the instruments take you on an emotional trip. It is the essence of subtlety, beautifully executed. I think I would go so far as to say that they are my favorite band. To me, Jenny Lewis is this generation’s Bob Dylan. Video

White Rabbits Heavy Metal
Irizarry: Don’t let the title of this song fool you. White Rabbits are not a metal band. I accidentally got into this group during my tenure of working at my school’s radio station. I was immediately drawn in by their raw energy. They have a knack for coming up with simple, yet quirky melodies amped up by their two drummers. “Heavy Metal” has one hell of a groove to it. I challenge anyone to listen to this song and not bob their head! Video

Steely Dan Only A Fool Would Say That
Sabo: I really could have picked anything from Steely Dan and would have been happy with my choice. This duo is the pinnacle of perfectionism to me, representing years of toiling around with the same song until everything is just right. You only want people to hear the best that you can offer because you can never go back to change it after it’s out. “Only A Fool Would Say That” speaks to me for it’s sweet simplicity. Video

Ratatat Wildcat
Sabo: Another duo who have inspired me in a few ways. Their choice to play vocal-less groovy electronica beats is one of the boldest things I’ve heard. Occasionally, instrumental bands can be on the boring side, but not with Ratatat. Every song of theirs represents pure creativity and hooks around every corner. I chose “Wildcat” because it shows how far timbre and mood can go. Video

Dave Matthews Band The Stone
Cornish: The Dave Matthews Band has always been one of my favorite groups. I find their music to be very inspiring and thought-provoking, with the intricacies of the music and lyrics. The band obviously draws influence from jazz music. Although it may take some time to “warm-up” to the Dave Matthews Band, the more you listen, the more hooked you will become to their music. “The Stone” is an amazing composition and worth taking a listen or two. Video

Ellie Goulding Figure 8
Cornish: I have recently been hooked on Ellie Goulding and all of her music. Her range and vocal ability blows my mind. She has such a unique way of singing, something I’ve never heard before. Ellie’s music is a combination of pop and hip-hop music with an indie twist. I find myself watching her live performance at Troubadour, Los Angeles, 2012 on YouTube over and over again because her music is so catchy. This live version of “Figure 8” is taken from that concert. It is definitely worth listening to that entire concert! Video

Caveman A Country’s King Of Dreams
Maloney: I came across Caveman in early 2012. Their sound is a mix of tribal beats and mesmerizing melodies unlike anything I’ve heard before. I chose the song “A Country’s King Of Dreams” because it is simple and charming in nature. Caveman craft their songs very well, and they challenge me to think in different ways during my own internal songwriting process. This band is a necessity for any playlist; whether you’re on a long road trip or enjoying a nice Sunday afternoon respite on your front porch, stoop or lawn. Video

The Virgins Prima Materia
Maloney: I had the chance to see the Virgins live in early 2013. They’ve since disbanded, but their song “Prima Materia” will make you want to dance. They have a clever sound–similar to that of a synergy of Dire Straits and the Talking Heads. Their upbeat mentality has a large effect on how I play. Video

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Qiet Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


Qiet’s latest offering doesn’t quite live up to the band’s name, but that’s not such a bad thing. Aptly titled “The Indie Song,” the track evokes the vaudevillian atmosphere of fellow genre darlings Gogol Bordello and Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeroes. Download the song below, and check out the mix tape the band made us.

“The Indie Song” (download):

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Leonard Cohen “Sisters Of Mercy”
Christopher Vincent: Leonard is a classic, whose prose and poetry could tittilate the dead. He didn’t start playing music until 35, which makes me want to quit and pick it back up in 30 years. In this particular piece, he makes me feel like I’m the only one who knows what he’s talking about. That’s a real accomplishment, because I don’t ever understand what anyone is talking about. He’s just a sexy, sexy man. Broke or not. Video

The Debauchees “I’ve Got Energy”
James Maddox & Christopher Vincent: I’ve never hated a band for being ultra-talented, but these little bastards… Barely out of their teens, the Debauchees have quickly carved out a coveted spot in Qiet’s mainstay playlists. For Maddox, there are four bands that he’ll listen to on a continuous loop, but if he’s singing a tune under his breath or goofing off on the bass during practice, odds are very high that the song in question is a Debauchees riff. Their pop sensibilities are undeniable and their knack for catchy hooks and upbeat melodies make each new debut a pleasure. Thus far, the Debauchees seem to raise the bar of how good a three-piece can be. Video

Bach “Concerto For Two Violins” In D Minor BWV1043
Alasha Al Qudwah: It wasn’t until after playing the violin for three years that I fell in love with the great master that is Johann Sebastian Bach. When I first heard this piece, at age 12, I knew the way I heard music had changed forever. The fierce counterpoint that made these two violins shred with and against each other showed me that there is much more to playing the violin than sitting quietly in an orchestra, anticipating ones next musical entrance. This piece proved to me how much of a rock-star instrument the violin is, and it was then I realized I found my life calling: to be a rock star violinist. Now, granted the term rock star is very superficial, but at 12 years old, it created a whole world of dreams for me. (It was rare in my town that you met someone insanely obsessed with classical music that also rocked out to Nirvana every night before bedtime.) There are many pieces from Bach that continue to inspire me in the same way, but none as monumental as this specific piece. To this day, specific points of my improvisation come from the diligent practicing of “Bach runs” (continuous, rhythmic, melodic licks he is known for in his music). The track “Rumba,” from Qiet’s new album Pet Driftwood, is a prime example of this influence. Video

Edith Piaf “J N`En Connais Pas La Fi”
Christopher Vincent: Edith Piaf is the pinnacle of standards for a vocalist. She was unusual, spirited, and in her voice, you can hear the darkness of her past without knowing a thing about her. She transcended the other singers in her domain nearly immediately, because those who heard her felt she filled a part of them that was missing; something I could feel nearly 70 years later. I’m happy to have never known her, because we would’ve commiserated until neither of us cared to leave our rooms. Bon Appétit! Video

Mr. Special “The Fall”
Max Venoy: Once after a show, a good friend of mine told me, “You’re my second favorite trumpet player.” I was very curious about whom he had in mind, if not a little jealous. Happily, he gladly shared with me as I will share with you: Mr. Special. This two-man electronic/acoustic band from Portland, Ore., was disbanded before I’d even heard of them, but I fell in love with their work all the same. They demonstrated how symphony and technology can blend together in unique and interesting ways. If you dig a little deeper, their songs get downright industrial, yet beautifully haunting. Of course, the style of Pace Rubadeau, the trumpet player, influenced me and still does today. The amount of expression you hear in his tone is almost concrete, and the melodies he creates will be stuck in your head all day. Give “The Fall” a try, and you might have a new favorite trumpet player. Video

The Beach Boys “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”
Russell Snyder: It is hard to narrow my musical influence down to one song, but I’ve picked “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by the Beach Boys. I’ve always had an attraction to harmony, and not just in a musical sense. Long before I ever played music, I was fascinated by how their voices blended and rang together. When I was six, my brother and I yelled for our dog at the same time, hit a harmony note accidently, and I could hear it ringing in the hills of our rural home. I’ve chased that sensation ever since, and Brian Wilson-produced Beach Boys songs tickle my brain like no other sound. That’s why I play music. It doesn’t happen every time, but I love the feeling when the band feeds off of each other, then the crowd feeds off the band, the band feeds off the crowd, and the whole building transcends the moment. It is like yelling for my dog and feeling the unquantifiable again. Video

Warpaint “Composure”
James Maddox: A rough demo of this band was found way back in 2005 on some random site, and it wasn’t until their 2007 release of Exquisite Corpse that the interest in Warpaint became a full-blown obsession. Apparently, my ears aren’t the only ones listening. Since Exquisite Corpse, Warpaint has gone on to deliver quality music at every stage of its development, and with a new album coming in January, there’s a lot to be excited about from this band. Video

Shudder To Think “Hit Liquor”
Raphael Godfrey: It would be difficult to overstate the impact that Pony Express Record had upon me. I was completely unprepared for rock music that sounded at once so alien and so accessible, so unsettlingly dissonant and yet so satisfyingly gorgeous and deep.
 And listening to it is quite an experience; Nathan Larson’s lead work, a harrowing mix of jagged edges and velvet licks, comes alive with otherworldly swagger. Stuart Hill’s bass lines play off the guitars in a way that is wholly unique in all of rock music. Adam Wade’s drumming is, simply, perfect: never present, never absent. And Craig Wedren’s abstract lyrics, overflowing with fantastic, bizarre imagery, are brought to life by a voice of extraordinary range and power. Twenty years after its release, it has not soured. I find it holds no less sway over me, no less potency. I have heard nothing else that sounds remotely like it, before or since. Hit Liquor perfectly illustrates this record’s strange peaks and lush valleys. Video

Ozric Tentacles “Curious Corn”
Raphael Godfrey: The Ozrics opened my eyes to instrumental rock, and showed me that it doesn’t have to be boring, predictable or pompously self-conscious; rather, it can instead be expansive and genre-bending, and can speak with a voice as lyrical and eloquent as the best vocal-driven music. Curious Corn’s title track, in particular, showcases the extraordinary aural palate from which the Ozrics draw, and the phenomenal effects achieved through their dense unguent of tonal color and texture. An off-kilter synth bass line slowly transforms into an intricate, seething mass of synths, bass and drums before Ed Wynne’s virtuosic guitar bursts into the mix. This ingot is thrust into a blissful, but dark ambient break, spinning and accreting around itself a massive, driving psychedelic riff that, at its apex, seamlessly shifts into an all-out refrain of the original theme. This tangled wave breaks on the shore of a delicate drone-based outro from which unfurls wispy tendrils of synth and synthetic percussion. A wholly original display of absolute mastery. Video

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Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons Make MAGNET A Mix Tape


The magnetic and electric sound of Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons is about to hit you full-force with new album Hey Kid, which is due out in January via Vital Music. To celebrate the upcoming release, we recently asked Perley to make a mix tape for us.

Holly Golightly “You Ain’t No Big Thing”
The first time I heard Holly’s voice I fell in love. This song is off Holly’s record Laugh It Up, and I didn’t get turned onto Holly until high school when I heard her sing with Jack White on White Stripes song “Well It’s True That We Love One Another.” As soon as I heard her voice I was drawn to her style of songwriting and singing—very rootsy and sassy with a garage rock and R&B vibe that is timeless to me. I remember blasting this song and record in my car pretty much every day and still listen to it a lot. She just moved to the U.S. a few years ago, which made me really happy because I have been able to catch several of her live shows. We opened up for her in 2010 when she came through Columbus, and it was literally a dream come true. I was so giddy and nervous to meet her. Video

Michael Hurley “Blue Driver”
I love Michael Hurley’s colorful folk songs and the artwork that he makes for all his records, which he sells at shows along with his boots and other personal items to get him town to town. This fella is the real deal: a poet, a rambler and a true and honest artist who I think will be looked back and studied years from now. Heck, his first collection of songs was released on Smithsonian Folkways in 1964, and he has been traveling and playing music since he was 17 and has always been on the outer circle of folk music. Something gets captured in his music and even if it is a quirky or funny song there is always this bittersweet and sad quality to it that I really connect with—beautiful music. Not to mention I think we share similar love for trains, the moon and wolves … Video

Wanda Jackson “Hard Headed Woman”
Wanda kicks some serious butt. And she is still rocking and a-rolling! I love the new records she has done with Jack White and Justin Townes Earle just as much as her old country and rockabilly classics back in the day, but I think this was the first song and live video of Wanda that reeled me in as a lifelong fan. She commands and charms her crowd and just radiates talent onstage and in her recordings. Video

The Heartless Bastards “Only For You”
This song is the Howlin’ Moons’ driving anthem song. We play it driving to shows and/or driving back from shows. Cruising on the highway late at night is probably our favorite time to listen to it when the roads are fairly clear and even better when there are crickets and some deer eyes flashing and visible along the side of the road. No matter the distance, this song will come on and we will all cheer and sing along at the top of our lungs. Video

Patsy Cline “She’s Got You”
One of my favorite Patsy Cline songs, and I always cry when I hear it. Can a voice get any more classic than Patsy Cline? Patsy’s music and singing made a huge impact on me because she was what you may call my “gateway drug” to country music. When I heard Patsy Cline, I started learning more about country music and other artists and then started getting into bluegrass, old-time country and folk recordings and progressing to Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, etc. I really feel like I owe a lot of my roots-influenced beginnings to Patsy for pulling me in. Video

Chuck Berry “Maybellene”
Pretty sure that Chuck Berry’s music was the first rock ‘n’ roll music I listened to when I was little and it always made me go crazy and dance super fast and break small objects (on accident, of course!). I was always that kid on the school bus asking the driver to keep it on the solid gold oldies station and listening to Chuck Berry makes me very happy. Also perfect driving music … Video

The Runaways “Cherry Bomb”
I have always had a soft spot for girl rock groups and the Runaways’ ’70s era is one of my favorite guilty pleasures. Is it wrong that I had this song on cassette tape and would roller skate to it in my garage when I was in elementary school? Epic and catchy; I have to admit that our new single “Hurricane” was super inspired by this band and Joan Jett in general. Video

The Rolling Stones “Far Away Eyes”
Have always loved this song and really anything the Rolling Stones have written and performed, but this song just captures everything I love about the Rolling Stones. Ironic, full of swagger and personality and rooted in country and blues. This song always paints a vivid picture for me and has a lot of emotion and story packed in it even though the lyrics are pretty simple and short. I always imagine a beautiful but worn down woman with heavy mascara in the rain smoking a cigarette and wearing some kind of large fur coat and boots. As a band making this new record, we based a lot of our tone and recording inspiration off the Rolling Stone’s 1972 record Exile On Main Street, and questions like “What would the Rolling Stones do?” always seem to pop-up in everyday band conversations. Video

Kitty, Daisy And Lewis “Going Up The Country”
Love this band. Found out about them first through a documentary on BBC3 and have been listening to their tunes ever since. Love that they pull from so many older influences to make some fresh new rockabilly and country/blues tunes. What is also neat about them is that they are a complete family band and their mom learned to play bass to go on the road with them and they do everything to tape in a studio they put together in their house. It takes a lot to even get a hold of the right old recording tools and to keep that stuff working—so I say cheers to them and can’t wait till they release their next record. Video

Nikki Lane “Gone Gone Gone”
I first heard of Nikki when she was performing on the Mountain Stage radio program on NPR and was so enchanted by her voice and tunes that I immediately looked for her music and ended up finding a physical copy of her record by chance when our band was in Nashville at a local record store. The band listens to a lot of Nikki’s songs when we are on the road, and whenever we get the chance to DJ before shows her tunes are always plugged into the pre-concert house mix. I have a feeling that many people will be hearing and seeing more of her this year because her next record is going to produced by Dan Auerbach, she just got signed to New West, and she is also the musician fashion face of Frye Boots right now on their website and in a ton of top notch fashion mags. Nikki Lane is one cool babe. Video

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The Soon-Another Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


The Soon-Another takes a folk/rock sensibility and sets it against a synth-pop backdrop on upcoming debut LP, Autodidact, slated for release in February. The group formed when singer/keyboardist Adele Fournet journeyed to Peru to do research as an ethnomusicologist and met local guitar virtuoso Felipe Wurst. We asked Fournet and Wurst to make us a mix tape, and here’s what they sent us.

tUnE-yArDs Bizness”
Wurst: This girl is so talented; we love her so much. Now about to release a third album. We were always impressed by how she managed to perform with a floor tom, a ukelele, her voice and a looper and sound like a full band playing! Video

J. Viewz Rivers And Homes
Wurst: When we moved to NYC from Peru, we were looking for a drummer on Craigslist. Ofer Levy was the first one to reply, and on his resume said he was currently performing with this artist. When we saw this video, we were were really into it, and since then J. Viewz would be always on my playlists. Video

Aimee Mann Pavlov’s Bell
Fournet: When I was a teenager, living in Arkansas, my dad checked out Aimee Mann’s Lost In Space album from the library and handed it to me. I was already a fan of Mann because of the Magnolia soundtrack, and this album sealed the deal. Her genius lyrics and unique vocal timbre were definitely a huge influence on me as both a songwriter and vocalist. Video

St. Vincent The Apocalypse Song
Fournet: I first heard Annie Clark’s Marry Me album riding in a friend’s car in Florida. He was the lead singer in my band at the time, and he was like, “Adele, you’ve got to hear this. I know you’re going to love it.” And, well, yeah. St. Vincent has definitely been a north star for me as an artist, in terms of musicianship, songwriting and just her impressive career so far. I love all her albums, but the first one holds a special place in my heart. The highlight of this song for me is probably the clap-stomp devolution in the bridge, right before the key change. Brilliant. Video

Michael Jackson Starlight
Wurst: The main reason why I wanted to keep listening to more music from the U.S. when I was a kid, living in Peru, was Michael Jackson. Everybody knows about him already, so here I’m just posting the demo version of Thriller, which was originally called “Starlight.” Later on the song was transformed from day to night. “Starlight! Starlight sun … ” So weird! Video

Sons Of Hippies Rose
Fournet: I got to know Sons Of Hippies in Florida in 2008, back when they were still a guitar/drums power duo. I’m always amazed at leading lady Katherine Kelley’s ability to formulate the catchiest melodies and chord progressions that have this totally pop vibe, and at the same time a hardcore rock aesthetic and mentality. “Rose” is a great song off the Griffons At The Gates Of Heaven, only made better by the killer video. Video

Moldes El Amante
Fournet: “El Amante” might be the song I’ve listened to most in the past few years. Catchy, punchy, flippant, sexy, bloody. Also one of my favorites from the Lima underground. Video

Dirty Projectors Temecula Sunrise
Wurst: I’ve come to think that this is a love-or-hate band. Certainly it wasn’t love at first sight for me. But when it came on at the right time, this song became a unique pop gem that I never expect to find. Lead singer David Longstreth has the weirdest vocal style, African-esque guitars and everything done in such unique way. Video

La Lá “Selva Negra
Fournet: La Lá is the project of Giovanna Nuñez, a Limeñan composer and vocalist who I consider to be one of the best emerging artists from Peru. Her lyrics and melodies are perfectly crafted and always stick with me. I can’t stop listening to this woman’s music, and am excitedly awaiting her first album, due out in 2014. Video

Raul García Zarate “Carnaval
Wurst: After 25 years of working as a lawyer in Peru, guitarist Raul García Zarate started to be recognized as one of the greatest Andean guitarist from our country. He is a humble virtuoso from the city of Ayacucho, beautiful place surrounded by Andean mountains. He tells the story of the music he represents. Video

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Sidney York Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


Sidney York is a Canadian duo consisting of opera singer Brandi Sidoryk and bassoonist Krista Wodelet. <3s, the twosome’s follow-up to 2011′s Apocalyptic Radio Cynic, is out January 14. We recently asked the ladies to make MAGNET a mix tape, and they sent us this, which they dubbed Neighbourly Northerners: An All-Canadian Mix Tape, With Love From Sidney York.

Hawksley Workman “Your Beauty Must Be Rubbing Off”
Brandi: There is no Hawksley Workman record that I don’t own—and that is quite the feat, because this man has released a lot of records. His body of work is incredible; one great record after another. Of all the artists on this mixtape, Hawksley has had the most influence on me. His stunning contrast of light melody and style with dark content is something that we employ in our own songwriting for Sidney York. Plus, there is never a time, when listening to this song in the tour van, that Krista and I don’t triumphantly shout out our favourite line: “Cacophony. Cacophony.” Video

The Weakerthans “Our Retired Explorer”
Krista: If Hawksley Workman is Brandi’s not-so-secret Canadian music crush, the Weakerthans is mine. I’m not generally a history buff, but this song was actually the impetus for three-month-long obsession I held with Sir Ernest Shackleton and Antarctic exploration, which I’m pretty sure is a thing no other pop song has done to anybody, ever. It doesn’t hurt that the video is also utterly charming. Oh, Antarctica! Video

Snowblink “Inner Mini-Mississippi”
Brandi: Former Californians turned Canadians. I saw them at the Winnipeg Folk Festival a few years ago, and they blew my mind. That girl can sing. Video

Coeur De Pirate “Comme Des Enfants”
Krista: No Canadian mix tape is complete without at least one song in our other official language, and Béatrice Martin’s adorably vulnerable voice gets me every time. I’m so grateful my parents made me do most of my schooling in French, if only so I can confidently sing along to Coeur De Pirate. Video

Odds “Wendy Under The Stars”
Brandi: Their album Neapolitan was the soundtrack of my teenage years. I must have listened to that album thousands of times—whether I was lying in bed crying over the boy I had a mad crush on, or cruising around in my not-so-cool-yet-tremendously versatile white minivan. Fast forward to when I was recording the first Sidney York album: Doug Eliot and Pat Steward of the Odds, who were friends of my producer, played on the record. I was in heaven. Further, they wrote and performed the theme song for my favourite Canadian television sitcom Corner Gas, and had a cameo appearance on the show. Seriously, these guys could not be any cooler in my eyes. Video

Bran Van 3000 “Drinking In L.A.”
Krista: Well, as long as we’re taking a little trip down memory lane … The year was 1998. The album: MuchMusic’s Big Shiny Tunes 2. I practically wore out the “back” button on my Discman from playing this song over and over as I walked to and from the bus stop on my way to school. Now imagine how much I freaked out on behalf of 13-year-old me when we posted an (appropriately) wine-fueled cover of this tune on the internet while in L.A. not too long ago, and actually got an email from James Di Salvio, founding member of Bran Van 3000. It was seven words long (including his name) and had the word “amazing” in it. In terms of an overall words-to-happiness ratio, it was the best email of my life. Video

Basia Bulat “In The Night”
Brandi: This song is off of the first record I bought after getting back to Canada from my classical music masters degree overseas—let’s call it my official indoctrination into indie music after years of classical and operatic study. It was this Basia Bulat lo-fi record that made me want to be a part of Canadian indie music. Video

Owen Pallett “Lewis Takes Off His Shirt”
Krista: While Brandi’s busy disguising her operatic past, I live a secret double life as an orchestral bassoon player. Violinist/pianist/musical genius Owen Pallett definitely appeals to the classical nerd part of my brain. When I drag my weirdo instrument into Sidney York songs, I spend a lot of time and effort trying to make it sound like anything but a bassoon. So I have a lot of admiration for anyone who can transplant this kind of lush, traditional orchestral texture so seamlessly and unapologetically into a pop song. And a darn good pop song, at that. Video

The Belle Game “Wait Up For You”
Krista: A couple of years ago, we were part of a project called Tracks On Tracks, which is best described as a cross-country musical adventure aboard a ViaRail train. There were 10 bands aboard the train—sort of a rebooted Festival Express kind of deal, but with Canadian indie bands—and the Belle Game were one of the other bands involved. Not only are they a fun group of people to spend five days aboard a train with, but their music just makes me happy. There’s no better soundtrack for zooming through the Canadian wilderness … or really any situation where you want to feel like you’re doing something totally epic. Video

Alanis Morissette “You Learn”
Brandi: There is no Canadian who was a teenager in the ’90s who can say, be it begrudgingly or proudly, that they didn’t love this record. I grew up in a small country-music-loving town in Alberta, and this was the first pop album I ever owned. Alanis was such an important installation in Canadian music and beyond. Every song on this album rocks, but I chose this song for the mix tape because it’s my choice of tune at the karaoke bar.
Krista: Plus, it is Canadian law that every mix tape must end with Alanis, so here we are. Video

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