Category Archives: MIX TAPE

The Qualia Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

TheQualia

Recently, we featured the Qualia’s latest track “Out For Blood,” which comes from their August 12 album Cotillion Knives. Today, we’re keeping the Qualia hype train going with a new mix tape, a collaborative effort between all of the members of the band. They’ve all worked hard to put together an immersive, cohesive and enjoyable listening experience for you all. Check it out below, and listen on Apple Music or Spotify. Be sure to give “Out For Blood” another few spins once this playlist runs out.

“This mix tape was put together by the members of our band, and it’s a real mix tape,” says Qualia singer Lars. “We didn’t want this just to be a top-down view of ‘these are the artists we want you to compare our band to’ that the reader could browse through, form an opinion about, then forget. It was important to us that this be a strong representation of the music that we each individually love to listen to, but also something you could actually enjoy. So what that means is that we’ve got a bunch of tracks from all sorts of different music worlds that we’ve tried to find common ground between, and this mix tape should hopefully be something you could toss onto your stereo to have a fun and surprising 40 minutes while you’re walking to work or fixing dinner or whatever else it is that you do in your life when you decide … it’s music time.”

Casiotone For The Painfully Alone, “New Year’s Kiss”
Chvad: There’s a somber tone to all of the material from Casiotone For The Painfully Alone that really strikes a nerve with me. “New Year’s Kiss” sounds tired. Worn out. That’s how I feel. All that being said, I have no idea what the hell this song is talking about. Clearly written by a madman. Video

Beach House, “All Your Yeahs”
Lars: One of the things I love about a lot of Beach House’s songs is that they’ll establish such a thick sense of atmosphere and place with the beginning of the song, and then the last half or third will be a surprise evolution that takes that atmosphere to a different emotional place. A lot of my contributions to this mix tape are songs that I love that are also songs that can work as connective tissue. The way this track goes from melancholy and ethereal to redemptive and forceful is really moving for me as a listener, and for this mix tape, it accomplishes the preposterous task of connecting Chvad’s depressing Casiotone song into Rossen’s celebratory New Orleans track. Video

Jon Batiste & Stay Human, “Express Yourself (Say Yes)”
Rossen: This song has a great message and very addictive groove build over a jazzy saxophone phrase. It’s also a really good example of Jon Batiste’s idea of social music. The band seamlessly combines jazz, funk, blues, rhythm & blues and pop music while keeping their sound fresh and contemporary. If you have a chance, check them out live. The energy of the band is amazing. Video

The Adverts, “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes”
Chvad: I first heard this song being covered by German punk band Die Toten Hosen. I listened to their version for years prior to seeking out the original, which is a real shame because the original really kicks ass. Creepy, catchy, simple, rocks out. Love it. Video

Takeshi Terauchi & The Bunnys, “Kanjinchou”
Lars: I obsessively read guitar magazines, and I loved reading this interview in Premier Guitar with Shana Cleveland from the (totally killer) band La Luz, in which she mentioned that she has been digging deep into the music of Takeshi Terauchi & The Bunnys, a mid-’60s surf band from Japan. So, I checked them out, and she’s right. They’re so much fun. I put this record on sometimes when I’m running my weekly Dungeons And Dragons game to underscore tense battle scenes, and it always gets an enthusiastic, positive response. Plus, it pushes the energy of our mix tape sidewise in a way that helps set up Chvad’s next track. Video

Surgical Meth Machine, “I’m Invisible”
Chvad: I’m an Al Jourgenson fan. What that means is that I buy everything the man produces for better or for worse. Not everything he releases is golden, and anyone familiar with his career arc and lifestyle will know why. That being said, the last record to really resonate with me that Jourgenson produced was Ministry’s Filth Pig. At least that was the case until Jourgenson released the self-titled Surgical Meth Machine album earlier this year. Hilarious, noisy, loud, fast and then this track: “I’m Invisible.” Jourgenson pushing melodies out into the front and letting his voice ease back from the meter-beating high-decibel barking he’s become known for to give us some chiller melodic verses that just hit all the right spots. Groove, chill, hooks. An absolutely cool track. Video

Black Dub, “I Believe In You”
Rossen: Music to me is about feel and groove. This song has a lot of both. The simplicity of the beat combined with the melodic bass line and the singing in the lower register makes “I Believe in You” one of my favorite tunes. Also there is so much space in everybody’s performance. Pretty rare thing to hear in a recording these days. Video

John Coltrane, “A Love Supreme, Pt. 2: Resolution”
Rossen: “You see, one thing about that music is that it showed you that we had reached a level where you could move the music around. John had a very wonderful way of being flexible with the music, flexing it, stretching it. You know, we reflected that kind of thing. He gave us the freedom to do that. We thought of something, ‘Oh, then we’ll play it,’ you know? And he said, ‘Yeah, I have a feeling’—you know? And all that freedom just came together when we did that record.” —McCoy Tyner Video

St. Vincent, “Cruel”
Lars: I feel like a super-genius for thinking to put this track on the mix tape. This is off of St. Vincent’s Strange Mercy record, which I find myself returning to constantly—I just love it. Wait—why am I so proud of myself for putting this on the mix tape? Because the intro with its sort of gauzy, damaged, blue feel works really well to dovetail out of Rossen’s elongated jazz pick, and then it shifts gears into a high energy, hooky-as-hell, heartbreaking pop track. I love everything about this song. Video

Sparks, “Bon Voyage”
Lars: Speaking of loving things, Sparks’s Propaganda is something I only discovered maybe five years ago, and it’s become maybe my all-time favorite record. When I first heard it, the constant shifts in feel, tempo and melody were shocking and alienating, but then as I kept digging into the record in subsequent listens, it all started feeling comfortable, like home. This is the final track on that record, and it does everything I love about Sparks as a band. The song has a ridiculous premise for a rock song—it seems to be about an animal left behind by Noah in the Book of Genesis. But then, through the music, the band tracks the bittersweet process of coming to accept true failure, showcasing a universal, relatable sense of longing—somehow transforming that ridiculous premise into a song that, to me, is entirely beautiful, approachable and real. Video

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Todd Lewis Kramer Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

ToddLewisKramer

Brooklyn Americana songwriter Todd Lewis Kramer is fresh off the release of brand new album Fairground. He’s been so kind as to compose a special mix tape of his favorites and influences for our loyal MAGNET readers, which you can peruse below. Keep the music loud once you finish, and check out Fairground.

Donovan Woods “Leaving Nashville”
I just discovered Donovan Woods recently, and a few of his songs stopped me in my tracks—and this one stood out. As someone who follows the Nashville scene a little from afar, it was interesting for me to hear a song this honest about just what it’s like to be a writer down there. I just think it’s a beautiful, poignant tune. Video

Jill Andrews “My Love Is For”
Speaking of getting stopped in my tracks, I stumbled upon a Jill Andrews show in New York City last year, and she had the whole room in the palm of her hand. It was just her and her guitar, and the audience was dead silent for the whole set (which is, ya know, a little rare for NYC). I made sure to catch her the next time she came through the city as well. Video

Rayland Baxter “Yellow Eyes” (specifically from Soho EP)
I’ve been a fan of Rayland Baxter for a few years now and really dug his latest album—and specifically this tune. As someone who will play a song I like on repeat until it’s no longer socially acceptable, this tune may have set the record for most re-plays. This stripped-down version is a beauty. Video

Ben Rector “Beautiful”
This one’s pretty simple—I just really like good pop tunes, and this, in my opinion, is one. It’s got an added layer of nostalgia that I’m a sucker for as well. I stumbled upon Ben Rector pretty organically when he was just starting out and have followed his rise as a performer and songwriter, and it looks like he’s starting to take off, deservedly. Video

Sara Bareilles “Basket Case”
Like I said, I just like good pop tunes and writers, and Sara Bareilles is one of the best out there, in my opinion. I could have picked any song from her album Kaleidoscope Heart–I think it’s an amazing record. But I’ll go with “Basket Case” because of the emotion and honesty in there. Love it. Video

Matt Sucich “Dog Eared Page”
Matt has that special skill of combining very strong lyrics with equally strong melodies. I’m a little biased because Matt has become a good friend of mine over the years, but this is an undeniably rockin’ tune. Video

Oh Wonder “Plans”
I’ve started to get into this electronic, mellow-pop sound (don’t really know how to describe it), and I was turned onto Oh Wonder by a few people when they came through New York City and played some shows a few months ago. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to those, but I checked out the album. And it’s great! This is the last track on the record, and I must say, it’s a real mood-setter. Video

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Vérité Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

Vérité

Vérité just released her brand new Living EP, and to celebrate, she’s made a mix tape just for you MAGNET readers. Full of her favorites and inspirations, this eclectic mix is the perfect warm-up for Living.

Daughter “Numbers”
I love this song because it’s so still and beautiful. She seems so dissociated, even as layers build and swell around her. Honestly, listening to this and the rest of Not To Disappear leaves me sad and questioning existence: my favorite post-album feelings. Video

Flume “Smoke & Retribution”
Flume programs drums like no other. From the very beginning, the track hits hard, and Vince Staples matches the intensity, and is as jarring as the percussion stops. This is so much more dynamic than a typical Flume track. Video

Kehlani “Did I”
I fell in love with Kehlani’s You Should Be Here and spent a lot of time listening to it. I love that this is what’s she’s following the album up with. She’s lyrically transparent and has such a natural flow.  Video

Jai Paul “BTSTU”
I keep coming back to Jai Paul. Nothing and no one sounds like him, and he’s so shrouded in mystique and mystery. Definitely makes me want to build tracks that are as original. Video

A-Trak Featuring Phantogram “Parallel Lines”
As a huge Phantogram fan, this definitely seems like a stretch and a good segue into their next LP. I just love how this shows their versatility and shows that they’re going to come back and dominate with whatever they’re working on. Video

Lucius “Born Again Teen”
Lucius is perfect. Everything from the aesthetic to the performances are so perfectly coordinated and choreographed. I love seeing them grow into a sound that is more percussive and upbeat. Video

Rihanna “Needed Me”
This is by far my favorite song on Anti. The chorus melody is so good, and the track is classic DJ Mustard in the best possible way. Video

James Blake “I Need A Forest Fire”
Bon Iver and James Blake couldn’t really go wrong if they tried. The vocal harmonies are perfect, and while this doesn’t hit me hard, it’s meditative in nature and has these perfect, beautiful moments I keep coming back to. Video

Radiohead “Daydreaming”
I haven’t listened to this whole album yet, and am honestly still unsure about it. But there’s something oddly meditative-yet-uplifting about this track with the visuals. Video

Sufjan Stevens “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.”
This is my all-time favorite Sufjan song. I really admire people who are storytellers, and this song paints such a vivid picture and leaves me dead. Video

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Skinny Blonde Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

SkinnyBlonde

We recently featured Skinny Blonde‘s new song “King” for our daily MP3 At 3PM, and today we’ve got a specially compiled mix tape from the songwriter. Michael Turzilli, the mastermind behind Skinny Blonde, is getting ready for a big summer. His new EP, City Girls, comes out June 3. Take a peep below to get a glimpse into his songwriting inspirations.

Pavement “Transport Is Arranged”
My music taste is constantly changing, but Pavement is one of those bands that I constantly find myself going back to. I love Malkmus’ writing. There’s a line on this track where he says, “A voice coach taught me to sing but couldn’t teach me to love,” and he delivers “voice coach” slightly off-key. It’s brilliant. I get self-conscious about my voice from time to time, and when I do, I refer to this interview with Malkmus where he talks about his voice being the way it is and learning to just sing his own way; I’m paraphrasing, but it’s great. I also just love this song instrumentally. What is that instrument in the beginning? A pan flute? It’s great. Video

UGK “Ridin’ Dirty”
I think I listened to this entire album every day for like a year. I had this period where I became so fascinated with Southern rap, specifically from Houston. I fell in love with DJ Screw, Screwed Up Click and UGK. I ended up getting a DJ Screw tattoo. I knew I wanted to include something from that area on this list, but it was hard to pick just one song. “Ridin’ Dirty” is so great because I feel like it perfectly transmits what life in Houston was like for them. The song is gritty, but beautiful. There is this minute-long speech that is backed by these screeching synths, and it cuts off and falls into that amazing guitar riff that I’ve tried to replicate too many times. R.I.P. Pimp C. Video

Colleen Green “Deeper Than Love”
First off, I have a huge crush on Colleen Green. As for the song, I love the simplicity of the instrumental components of this track. It allows me to focus on her songwriting, which is incredibly straightforward and honest. She has no problem exposing her fears to us, which is something I sometimes struggle with in my own writing. There is a song on my upcoming EP that was very much inspired by this song. It doesn’t sound the same, but the writing is similar. Video

Elliott Smith “Speed Trials”
This is another scenario where I could have picked any song from the album and it would have been just as good/meaningful. I love Elliott Smith so much. I used to have arguments with people when we discussed his music. People seem to think Elliott Smith makes sad music, I don’t think that. I feel like his songwriting has this tone of acceptance and honesty that negate the sadness. Almost as if he is saying, “The way things are aren’t great, but that’s how they are.” I get chills when I hear the line, “You little child, what makes you think you’re tough?” When I was just getting sober from my heroin addiction, I had this mentality of “I’m a badass, don’t mess with me.” But as I started to learn more about myself, I discovered that I was basically just a baby who had no idea how to live life. Video

Ween “Mutilated Lips”
Ween is the band that got me interested in recording my own music. The first album I ever recorded was essentially structured the same way their earlier albums were. I love “Mutilated Lips” because it uses this guitar tuning that I started to use in my own music. I remember watching this tutorial that was made by Dean Ween where he taught the viewers how to play this song. When I tuned the guitar the way he demonstrated, I fell in love and started messing around. I also love the quirkiness of the song. It’s just great. Video

Butthole Surfers “Who Was In My Room Last Night?”
This song has such incredible energy. I want to cover this in a live setting. I love that guitar riff that carries through the intro and the chorus; even more than that, I love that brief noise section toward the end. Noise rock is one of my favorite genres. I wish I was better at controlling my guitar feedback. I should work on that. Video

Decker “Our Values Are Under Attack”
I just love Tim Heidecker. He has had a huge influence on me as a comedian. I suppose this song is strange taken out of context, but to me this is satire at it’s finest. I admire Tim’s ability to create genuine music while still maintaining his sense of humour. Tim, if you’re reading this, I am looking forward to the LP! Video

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Fallon Cush Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

FallonCrush

Last month, we featured Fallon Cush’s new song “Useless Friend,” but we simply can’t have you forgetting about Steve Smith’s stellar songwriting project. Below is a special mix tape, put together by Smith to show off some of the songs that influenced his new album, Bee In Your Bonnet, which comes out on May 20. Check it out below, and don’t forget to add “Useless Friend” to your own mix tapes.

Dawes “Time Spent In Los Angeles”
Our drummer Josh Schuberth put me onto these guys while we were recording. Often when someone recommends a band to you, they turn out to be a bit of a disappointment. But I really liked these guys from the first song I listened to, which was this one. They played Sydney last year shortly after they’d parted ways with keyboard player Tay Strathairn. They were excellent, and (taking nothing away from new guitarist Duane Betts, who plays great and has awesome tone), I would’ve loved to have heard the band with Strathairn in it. Still, they were great in a relatively small room. Video

The Decemberists “Make You Better”
Off What A Terrible World … What A Beautiful World. I bought a vinyl copy of this album last year and was shocked by the amount of stuff that came with it. I mean, I really like the record but is that what people buy albums for these days, packaging and stuff? I don’t really get it, maybe it’s a “collector’s item” or something, but I always thought it was the music people were interested in buying. But, presumably the market is demanding more. Regardless, the album’s very good and this clip’s “butter” than most. This album and Dawes latest, All Your Favorite Bands, were both mastered by Stephen Marcussen, who also did ours. Video

Dan Parsons “It’s Not Like I Need Somebody’s Help”
An Australian and, I believe, one of those clever dudes who can play just about everything. He released a great album called Valleywood toward the end of last year. His bio namechecks Neil Young, James Taylor and Jackson Browne amongst others. Names that conjure up a certain time and feel. This track, my favourite from the album, and the clip capture that vibe perfectly. Check him out. Video

Wilco “Muzzle Of Bees”
I read some guy saying recently that Jeff Tweedy only wrote good songs, not great ones. Like writing a good song’s some sort of failure. Having seen Tweedy do a number of songs solo last week, I’d say whoever that writer was, they’re way wide of the mark. You can’t hold an audience’s attention like that for that length of time unless your songs are first rate. Once Nels Cline joined Wilco, his playing quite understandably became a feature. But, before that, Jeff Tweedy’s guitar was already heading in what might be considered Cline’s direction. I rediscovered the A Ghost Is Born album having got it on vinyl last year. This track illustrates where they were heading before Cline came on board and maybe why he ended up being such a good fit. I played this track over and over when the record was originally released and still can’t get enough of it. Video

George Harrison “All Things Must Pass”
George gets mentioned a lot when people try to describe our sound, as does Bob Dylan. So, I thought we’d go with George singing a Bob song, “If Not For You” off All Things Must Pass, but the title track leaves “If Not For You” for dead. Like so many great records made in the early’ 70s, All Things Must Pass was a bit of a transatlantic collaboration, recorded in the U.K. with with people from both sides of the Atlantic playing key roles. Several of the same names appearing on All Things Must Pass played on lots of iconic recordings from the time, including Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain,” which has to be the gold standard as far as acoustic rock/pop is concerned. Jim Gordon, what a drummer. Video

My Morning Jacket “Big Decisions”
I’ve really listened to this track a lot since it was released last year, and I still can’t quite get a grip on it. I don’t know why, but I feel like there’s something “tricky” going on. It’s conventional and unconventional at the same time. It doesn’t really sound like anything else, but it does, and the arrangement feels kind of weird but probably isn’t. Who cares, it’s damn addictive. Definite traces of George here. Video

Beck “Heart Is A Drum”
Beck’s Morning Phase is a complete album rather than just a collection of songs and hangs together so well as a result. Maybe that’s why it won that Grammy for album of the year. It sounds great to my ears and especially on vinyl. From the first bar, the record seems to create its own atmosphere and has some really beautiful music on it. There’s not really a stand-out track for me; it’s all good, but this one has a clip to go with it. Video

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Lauren Marsh Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

LaurenMarsh

Lauren Marsh started off 2016 in the best way possible by unleashing her brand new EP, (available via iTunes). Check out “Promise” here. Get to know some of Marsh’s influences and favorites below via this mix tape she made for MAGNET readers.

“Lauren Marsh-mallow MAGNET Mix Tape”

Coldplay “Us Against The World”
I’ve always been a big fan of Coldplay, but there’s something about seeing a band live, especially a band like Coldplay. I saw them live in Boston during their 2012 tour, and their true essence hit me. The overall intimacy of “Us Against The World” is a factor that I can’t escape; most songs that I’m absolutely in love with have a raw mixture of heart and honesty. The build of this song combined with the rough-yet-smooth nature of Chris Martin’s voice creates a sonic world I’d love to live in. “Through chaos as it swirls, it’s us against the world”—lyrics that will never lose their impact no matter how many times I listen to this song. There are many songwriters who inspire me to write songs that create immeasurable impact on audiences, and Coldplay is definitely one of them. Video

Dave Matthews “Some Devil”
I’m just going to say it: I love heartbreaking music. I love when you can feel artists laying down all they have and tearing out their heart for their music. “Some Devil” is a song that I deeply needed during a dark time in my life. I lost sight of who I was, and Dave Matthew’s performance of this song made me feel like I wasn’t alone, I wasn’t the only one in this world with a pain that I didn’t know how to see through. This is what I hope to accomplish with my own music, like a hand reaching out through the sound, “You’re not alone.” Video

James Bay “Need The Sun To Break”
On that note, I also love songs where artists lay down all they have for love. It’s heart-wrenching, but there’s so much hope; there’s a chance their love might be reciprocated. I’m definitely a hopeless romantic; I believe in the whole “running through city streets to tell someone for the first time you love them” thing. It’s heart-pumping, and the story doesn’t have a conclusion. You’re simply lost in your feelings, floating and waiting for the person you love to either ground you or let you go. James Bay is an amazing artist; he lives in his performances and gives us his all. It’s something that I have so much respect for. Video

The Beatles “Blackbird”
“Blackbird” was written in response to racial tensions escalating during the civil rights movement in America. It’s the kind of song where you press play and you’re caught in it. I love how raw the texture of this song is between the vocals and acoustic guitar, it bares such honesty. “Blackbird” has a lot of personal meanings for me, but as Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters once said, “That’s one of the great things about music. You can sing a song to 85,000 people and they’ll sing it back for 85,000 different reasons,” and within those 85,000 different reasons, the original intent lives on, and as soon as I press play, I’m caught in it. Video

Ryn Weaver “Here Is Home”
Ryn Weaver is one of my favorite new artists to hit the scene. She has such a unique sound and many great up-tempo songs, but I love “Here Is Home” for how downtempo and delicate it is. Weaver’s voice also has a delicacy of its own, and the mixture is magic. “And if we’re still living when the earth stops spinning, you can fall into my arms” are lyrics that captured me as soon as I heard them. There’s such a carefree nature to this song, and yet strong promises are being made: a combination that has made this song of hers my favorite. Video

Sara Bareilles “Basket Case”
Once “Basket Case” starts playing, everything else goes quiet. Sara Bareilles will forever go down in history as one of my favorite and most influential artists, not only in my music, but in the way I live life. Bareilles lets down her walls in her music. She has such an out-of-this-world way of saying something simple and yet so poetically. I catch myself saying, “Damn right,” during her songs. Her lyrics have always inspired me to live more honestly than I thought I could. As soon as I say to myself, “I can’t say that … out loud … to that person,” I make myself say it. I’d rather be living fully and honestly than to save things for when it’s over and too late. Video

Led Zeppelin “Thank You”
Robert Plant wrote this song for his wife, and it’s the first Led Zeppelin song for which he wrote all the lyrics. Led Zeppelin has been one of my favorite bands since middle school. I don’t think there’s a song of theirs that I wouldn’t be excited to listen to, but “Thank You” has such a unique tone in comparison to much of their work. To me, it’s a whole other side to the band, and it has such sincere heart to it. (I’m like a moth to the flame when it comes to these kinds of songs, as this mix tape is making very clear.) I wanted to end this mix tape with “Thank You” because it’s very close to where I started my journey in music as a performer and as a writer. Listening to songs like “Thank You” and the ones on this mix tape made me realize what I wanted to do with my life: write songs that impact people—songs that reach out and give more to this life. Video

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Garden City Movement Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

GardenCityMovement

Garden City Movement is an electronic group from Tel Aviv that creates enveloping and enchanting ambient tunes. The group has been nice enough to put together a mix tape for our loyal MAGNET readers. Check it out below, and get a taste of the band’s music with “The Best Of Times?” over here.

Admas “Kalatashe Waga”
We are vinyl lovers. Every new city we go to, our first day is dedicated to finding the best shops. We were introduced to this gem via ghost capital blog and were in the endless search for this record ever since. Super futuristic Ethiopian boogie and jazz that can be played at any time. Video

Al Dobson Jr. “Santiago Black (Ptaki Version)”
There is no DJ set without us playing this track, and it works like magic—the girl asks, “If you’re in the mood,” and you can see on the crowd’s faces that the answer is, “Hell, yeah.” Big shout out to Bradley Zero and The Rhythm Section label that we love. Video

Quirke “Break A Mirrored Leg”
This track is just too intense. We all heard it for the first time when we were on a break during a mixing session in the studio, and agreed it’s one of the best songs we’ve heard over the last year. Usually each one of us hears music differently, and when we listen to new stuff most of the time someone will have something to say, but this time Quirke left us speechless. Video

Item “Hajja”
One of our favorite tracks comes from DJ Izem. We don’t know a lot about him but the “Tropical Lunatics Edits” release he did on GAMM is pretty much amazing, especially “Hajja.” It’s a killer track. Audio

Xen “All Of The Sun”
This is an excellent track that we have known for quite a while. The singing of Xen and the superb production of Red Axes is a must for the new/cold-wave lovers who like to dance facing the wall. Xen is part of the new interesting label Malka Tuti. Audio

Paul White “Where You Gonna Go?”
The way he uses his vocals as layers and the special kick-snare sound, along with the faces he makes in the video makes for an amazing song. Video

Domenique Dumont “Comme Ça”
Great new release from a label, Antinote, we really love and who has also released the terrific D.K. When are we collaborating? Video

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Suntrodden Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

Suntrodden

After MAGNET featured Suntrodden’s track “Sunrise to Sunset,” songwriter Erik Stephansson has been nice enough to put together a list of songs for our readers. Suntrodden’s new EP, Suntrodden I, will be out on February 5, so give this mix a listen to hear what inspired it’s creation.

Elliott Smith “Coming Up Roses”
I could’ve picked several of his songs … or done an entire mix tape of just him. He has been a constant vein of creative inspiration for me. I chose “Coming Up Roses” because it’s one of the first songs of Elliott’s that I heard. It captured me instantly. I love the tension between the verses and chorus. The tumult against the resolve. I’ve heard his records hundreds of times and his songs never grow old. Video

Wilco “How To Fight Loneliness”
Summerteeth Wilco is my favorite era of the band. The music was spirited and starting to leap beyond the country-folk tinged stylings of A.M. and Being There. There’s a dark edge that underlies several of the songs on Summerteeth, but it’s more overt on “How To Fight Loneliness.” I go back and forth between whether the repeating line of the coda “just smile all the time” is sinister or scared … maybe both? Video

Beach House “Sparks”
Beach House songs tend to have a hypnotizing quality to them. It’s easy to lose yourself in the slow, deliberate pace of the songs and bask in the bright vocals of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally’s fuzzed-out guitar lines. I got into Beach House when Teen Dream came out. Depression Cherry hasn’t sunk under my skin with the same ferocity as some of their other albums, but every Beach House record is must-hear-music the day it arrives. Video

Iron And Wine “Naked As We Came”
Early Iron And Wine served as somewhat of a creative pillar for the songs originally written for the Suntrodden project. While those songs were ultimately shelved for the time being, this ethos remained in the approach to those tracks that ultimately landed on Suntrodden I. I also think his newer material is under-appreciated, and I love how his sonic-palette has expanded with each album. Video

Father John Misty “I Love You, Honeybear”
Josh Tillman has one of the most interesting and exciting voices in songwriting today. The lyrics are almost dangerous with how in tune they are with what’s going on in socio-political and pop culture today. Plus, his satirical debauched-rock-star shtick is pretty hilarious to watch live. Video

The War On Drugs “Under The Pressure”
I remember talking to a friend about this album when we were first getting hooked on it. I find the albums I get most excited about (and those that ultimately stick with me) are the ones that I can share with other people—these experiences give the music a context. The tone of the album reminds me of a time in college when my friends and I would drive out into the countryside and get lost for a little while beneath the stars. Video

Tame Impala “Let It Happen”
Tame Impala was my biggest obsession of 2015. I love how this band has evolved over time, and it makes me think about how to stretch Suntrodden. Kevin Parker has caught a little heat for his shift away from guitars to electronic elements, but I’m looking forward to exploring that rabbit hole with him—or wherever else he decides to go. Video

Spoon “Do You”
Spoon is one of the most consistent bands out there today. Even the albums that I don’t think I like initially end up becoming favorites years later (i.e., Transference). They Want My Soul has an immediacy to it that grabbed me right away, with “Do You” being a standout track. Video

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Mark Van Hoen Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

MarkVanHoen

Los Angeles-based, U.K.-born electronic pioneer Mark Van Hoen (who you might know from some of his work as Locust, Scala, Black Hearted Brother or one of the other 100 projects over the last 30 years) has released new album Nightvision on Saint Marie Records. Van Hoen compiled a video mix tape of inspirations and a bit of an intro into electronic music. He has never stopped working; he’s always producing new music and videos, performing and DJing.

Cabaret Voltaire “Double Vision VHS”
Cabaret Voltaire are a huge influence on me, both their music and videos. This “Double Vision” videotape was incredible; its creative use of what must have been very limited VHS editing equipment is astounding. It’s pretty damn dark—makes my music sound like the soundtrack to a spring morning—but its depth and intensity is worth the watch. Video

Tarkovsky’s “Stalker”
The final scene from Tarkovsky’s masterpiece Stalker. A revealing end to an astonishing film. If you have never seen it, I hope this inspires you to watch the whole thing. Video

Arthur Rainbow “The Heaven Is A Musical Score”
I don’t know anything about Arthur Rainbow, other than the uploads on his YouTube channel. I know he’s Mexican and makes some wonderful tripped-out music and ‘80s VHS glitchy videos to go with it. Great stuff. Video

Karlheinz Stockhausen Lecture
An old 1972 lecture from Karlheinz Stockhausen. It’s interesting in that quite a large amount of what he says has now become commonplace for many experimental (and even not so experimental) musicians. But there are still a few lessons to be learned from the great man, even from this time. Video

The Human League “The Path Of Least Resistance”
A live performance by the original line-up of The Human League, “The Path Of Least Resistance.” I found this compelling and inspiring when I saw it as a young teenager back in ’79. It still sounds great to me. I met Martyn Ware a few years back, and told him how incredibly inventive the early HL were. He said, “I know.” Video

Iggy Pop Interview
An interview with Iggy Pop on French TV in ’77. It’s just so funny, freakish and insightful into another time that cannot be with us any more. Video

Mark Van Hoen “Bring It Back”
The video to my own track ‘Bring It Back’ from my new record Nightvision. Like the music, the video uses a hybrid of analog and digital techniques, and has been modulated by various elements of the music to increase its close relationship to the audio. Video

Nattymari “Illy Illelle”
Nattymarie is someone else I know very little about, other than the fact he/she is very prolific, sometimes uploading new music videos every day. This is one of my favorites. It’s an insane bit-crushed jam matched with what looks like a recolorized computer gambling website … disturbing and trippy! Video

Lesley Keen “Taking A Line For A Walk”
This is an animation called “Taking A Line For A Walk” by Lesley Keen, which I’ve had on VHS since it was broadcast on U.K. TV in the early ‘80s. It uses traditional cel animation, as well as some early computer animation. I love the soundtrack, too, by Lyell Cresswell performed on an EMS Synthi 100, of which only 40 were made. Video

Seefeel “Industrius”
Seefeel live in Moscow in 1994, performing “Industrious” … a bit of nostalgia for me. I was doing sound for them at the Moscow Youth Palace. Seems like another lifetime now. They were a great live band. I wish that they had released more records and continued touring. Video

Alice Coltrane
Alice Coltrane has been an inspiration to me ever since I bought her record Universal Consciousness back in 1993. I didn’t know who she was. The LP sleeve looked interesting, and I thought it might have something to do with John Coltrane. There’s very little video of her, but this is an interesting clip, and I love the music, too. Video

Miles Davis Live
There’s nothing much to say about Miles Davis in this phase. It just speaks for itself. He’s at the pinnacle of his inventive career here. I only wish that I was old enough to have been able to be present at one of these shows. Video

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SPC ECO Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

SPCECO

SPC ECO is the U.K.-based duo of Dean Garcia (Curve) and Rose Berlin. On their new album Dark Matter, they have left behind a bit of the industrial shoegaze of Garcia’s past and have made a full-length that pulls from grime and trip hop so much you might think it was recorded ages ago in Bristol. Berlin and Garcia both sat down recently to put together a mixtape for MAGNET that wasn’t so much the inspiration behind the new album, but what they consider essential viewing and listening. Dark Matter is currently available from Saint Marie Records.

Björk “All Is Full Of Love”
Because it’s awesome, stylistically speaking way ahead of its time and very accomplished. Chris Cunningham works his magic to great effect here. When you first view this video, it’s clearly one of those benchmark pieces of work that defines a team of people at the top of their game. We haven’t listened or viewed this piece for at least 10 years, and it still stands the test of time as to how you should make visuals for your song; you’d just need the squillion pounds it costs to make it. Regardless of that, it’s just a brilliant piece all round. Video

Aphex Twin “Come To Daddy”
Because it’s scary, scary as fuck, really. Again Chris Cunningham steps up and rolls with one of the most inventive and original electronic artists on the planet. Richard James knows his shit, the depth of sound and attitude within this work is immense. When you consider the early and quite brilliantly timed and placed Ambient Works releases and follow the progress to this work, it spans the alternative electronic genre like no other. Electronica in art; he just follows his heart and mind, which is something you just have to do in order to achieve this kind of effect and tone. Plus, he’s incredibly inventive both musically and scientifically. This video is an amalgamation of it all tuning in and working in exactly the right time and space. Stunning. Video

Daft Punk “Around The World”
Because it’s glorious. When this came out, it had an age and class to it that was undeniably infectious and instantly loveable. Anyone into the early onset of proper club music just jumped to attention with this track. Playing very loud is appropriate here. You could have put any visual to it and it would have been great but they didn’t—they got Michel Gondry involved and came up with this genius repetitive visual expertly choreographed by Blanca Li that can’t fail to make you smile and revel in its marvelousness from beginning to end time after time. Its greatness lies in the fact that it has the same effect no matter how many times you’ve seen it: smiles, good times and eye candy to die for. Groovy AF. Video

White Stripes “Seven Nation Army”
Because it’s trippy weird and brilliantly conceived and directed by Alex Courtes and Martin Fougerol. The skill and knowhow that goes into something like this is staggeringly disciplined, precise and notoriously difficult to maintain and achieve. Again a brilliant song, simple and original even though you can hear many musical influences from the opening bar, yet somehow it miraculously forms its own original essence and meaning. It also helps a great deal that Meg is the drummer. We’ve always loved the combination and duality of the band, but Meg always shines and delivers a crude and perfect shade and performance redefining cool and playfulness in a very iconic way, which is exactly what the film does. Flick book genius. The Lego one was brilliant too. Video

Radiohead “No Surprises”
Because it’s hard to watch. I’ve read stories of Thom having to struggle above and beyond with this film, and you can sense that throughout this piece. Radiohead are a proper band, they make proper records with all the right elements very much in place. I don’t like all of their records for a reason—that’s because I’m not meant to. They shift and move with their own internal agendas to create something that will push and test your abilities of perception to the max. They are and always will be the best band in the world for this very reason; this video just confirms that being involved with Radiohead is going to be an uncomfortable all-questioning step into the unknown. I’m glad they made this video, because now no one else has to go through it again. Thom can rest easy now. Please don’t try this at home. Video

Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams”
Because it broke the rules. Dave told me as soon as they’d finished and recorded the song that it was one of those defining moments you strive for as a recording artist. He fought tooth and nail with the reluctant record company of the time insisting that it was a big record and to let him have the funds to make the video for it. I’ve always admired Dave for that. His philosophy has always stuck with me. Always be steadfast in your convictions regarding your art, stand up for it at all costs. Needless to say, what happened after its release is iconic ‘80s electro art-pop history. Annie looks amazing in the video. She had recently blurred the male/female gender bending stance with their previous release “Love Is A Stranger,” so the oddly surreal aspect of “Sweet Dreams” was a perfect mind-bending follow-up. This era and piece reflects Dave and Annie in full creative flight, an extraordinary electronic delight and visual masterpiece that will outlive everyone I, and probably you, know. Thank you DNA. Video

Curve “Missing Link”
Because Rose is in it and because it’s a noisy, messy, wet, dangerous, sexy and visually stunning capture. Richard Heslop said, “What about rain and mud?” when we met him and we said, “Yes, please; that sounds good.” The rain machines were huge on this set. The way they are rendered makes it look like some kind of bonkers steel works. Shards of light and filth combine to make the song and visual work as one. You can’t imagine it any other way now and that is always a good sign. I can’t go on too much about how great it is, but I can say it was probably the only video I’ve ever actually enjoyed being part of, and because three-year-old Rose is jumping up and down with a mad smile on her face. Richard said, “Right, let’s shoot the dogs now,” and Rose was like, ‘Oh no, mum, are they are going to kill the dogs?: She managed to bring everyone on set in tune with each other in such a brilliant way, plus the dogs are and were scary as fuck. As Beavis and Butt-head once said: ”Cool …mud … huh, rain … yeah. Huh huh.” Video

The Strokes “Last Nite”
Because we love Julian Casablancas and because this song came at a time where all hope for American music had died as Nirvana were a thing of the past. There will never be another band that will shine as they did and still do. Wrong. This track came out of the blue and floored everyone with an ubercool and fuck-you masterclass. The video isn’t standout in any way other that it has the band in it and they all look fucking perfect. That’s all you want to see, no need for anything else; let’s just swoon as we watch and listen to JC just be JC and sing with that weird fucked-up amp voice and dig the band as they move, love and own everything about being in a band. A life-affirming brilliance just when you needed it. We all (whole family) went to see them at Alley Pally at the height of it all. Rose was perched on a stranger’s shoulders in the middle of the crowd and Julian waved at her and they connected eyes. Rose says it was a moment of supreme and great beauty. That is just one other valid reason why this band and vid are listed. Video

Happy Mondays “Loose Fit”
Of course there are many other sublime Monday moments and songs that hit the mark, but we chose “Loose Fit” because of the combination of all necessary requirements and elements that you must have to make a brilliant song. It’s all there on this track: the roll of it, the head-nodding stoner beat, Shawn Ryder’s swagger, the big fuck-off bass drop, the drug-heavy charms that celebrate the rave and fallout life culture of the day, and then you have Bez off his tits ‘avin it large and loving every moment of it. We like things that stick with you that have a certain and definite stamp of time. This has that. It brings back some great memories of a time filled with youthful creativity that can never be repeated in the same way. This sums up the era, which is exactly what you want from the Mondays. Perfect. Video

Laurie Anderson “O Superman”
Because this is a pure and one-off never-to-be-repeated art-pop masterpiece. It goes against the pop-culture grain in every way. It managed to effortlessly combine a dark menace with a childlike charm of fascination in the world. It takes you away from your world and into Laurie Anderson’s in such a way that you can only be mesmerized by it. The light-up mouth, awesome padded light floor and that O-O-O-O vocoder with that feeling of deep humanity within the delivery is and always will be timeless and out on its own. May this be used as an anthem that unites the world when everything has been completely fucked and broken. It would work for us … every time. Video

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