Category Archives: MIX TAPE

Suntrodden Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


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


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 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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We/Or/Me Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


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

“The Dusty Roads” (download):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Reuben Hollebon Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hezekiah Jones Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Chris DuPont Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pelicans And Their Allies Make MAGNET A Mix Tape


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lymbyc Systym Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Merry Ellen Kirk Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


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

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

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

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

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

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

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