Skip to content

Konversation med The Posies: ”Världen är en trivsam illusion”

THE-POSIES-stairs-01-credit-photo-Dot-Pierson-2016

Av Tommy Juto

Att intervjua två av de senaste decenniernas mest högaktade musiker innebär en hel del att prata om. Bandet har tvingats återuppfinna sig själva efter att deras trummis Darius Minwalla plötsligt dog förra året och nya albumet Solid States låter inte riktigt som deras tidigare skivor, men fingertoppskänslan för minnesvärda melodier är alltjämt intakt.

Det som däremot saknas den här dagen är tid. Resan från Köpenhamn till Stockholm blev drygare än beräknat och Jon Auer konstaterar att en bidragande orsak var de rigorösa passkontrollerna som införts vid Öresundsbron sedan förra gången han besökte Sverige.

Vi får riva av allt så gott det går och jag placeras mitt emellan Auer och radarpartnern Ken Stringfellow vid deras sällskaps stora runda bord i restaurangen på Södra Teatern allt medan Auers fru, sångerskan Tiz Aramini, imponerande nog slevar i sig en torskrygg på mindre än fem minuter. Inte blir jag lugnare av att Stringfellow inleder med en förvisso intressant, men flera minuter lång, utläggning om paranoian som präglar utmärkta singeln Squirrel Vs Snake:

– Den är politisk i ett bredare perspektiv. Ungefär som ”var passar vi in i det stora hela?”. På ett sätt är den lite av en existentiell låt. Som det är nuförtiden är det i många lägen vi måste ta ställning mot existentiella angelägenheter. Nu kommer det här att låta väldigt spejsat, men tekniken finns där ute, telefoner och alla möjliga prylar som gör att vi hela tiden kan observeras och spåras. Just nu är allting ganska öppet och lättsamt, man känner sig inte alltför påpassad, men allt det kan ändras på nolltid. Så det är en existentiell fråga.

Menar du ungefär som George Orwell beskrev det i 1984? Att vi är bevakade?

Ken: – Absolut, det kan definitivt bli så! En del saker de använder just nu är verkligen spejsiga. Så pass att folk inte ens tror att det kan fungera. En sådan sak är det koncept de kallar Sakernas Internet, när din mikro, ditt kylskåp, ditt larm, ditt lås i ytterdörren, allting kommunicerar med ett centralt nätverk. Inte bara åt det ena hållet, utan åt båda. Det övervakar vad du gör. Så om du någon gång kommer att ha fel åsikt om någonting kommer det att vara fullt möjligt att manipulera de sakerna. Och vad gör du då? Allt finns ju redan där. Vi människor åtnjuter en hel del frihet generellt sett i de flesta länder men i några länder har de ingen frihet alls. Här är vi överlag fria men allt är väldigt bräckligt. Det är som om allt som finns omkring oss driver oss åt motsatt håll. Många lagar, som anti-terrorlagarna har haft fritt fram att implementeras. Vad tog det, två dagar att ändra grundlagen i Frankrike efter attackerna mot Le Bataclán? Sådant ska inte underskattas och det går hela tiden i riktning mot mindre rörelsefrihet. Du vet, jag kliver upp på morgonen, jag går till skolan med min dotter, jag ägnar mig åt min musik, jag reser. Jag gör det jag känner för. I den låten menar jag att ”det där är en trivsam illusion jag tillåts vara en del av”.

Rent musikaliskt i låtuppbyggnaden påminner den om Squeeze.

Ken: – Menar du bandet Squeeze? Ja, vi älskar Squeeze. De är en jättestor influens på oss?

Jag menar lite i hur ackorden skiftar mellan dur och moll.

Ken: –Väldigt skarpt observerat av dig. Det bandet ligger djupt i vårt DNA. Redan innan vi hade bildat The Posies, i high school, var Squeeze väldigt viktiga för oss.

Jon: – Vi gillade till och med Squeeze-skivan som ingen annan verkade gilla, Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti. Hur konstigt det än kan låta blev det vår favoritskiva och när man hör den idag är produktionen väldigt daterad, men några av de där låtarna… Jag gjorde en spelning med Glenn Tilbrook en gång där han spelade låten No Place Like Home från den skivan och med bara honom och en akustisk gitarr märks det vilken enastående låt det är när man kan göra den så avskalat.

Ken: – Jag har inte koll på albumen som kom efter…vad heter det med timglaset på?

Jon: – Babylon and On.

Ken: – Just det. De som kom efter den har jag inte koll på.

Oftast handlar det om East Side Story och de tidiga albumen.

Jon: – I början av vår karriär brukade vi göra Separate Beds från den, en kanonlåt.

Hur jobbade ni i studion med Solid States?

Ken: – Inte alls. Det är det som är det sköna. Vi spelade in hemma. Jag jobbar med så många album i studion hemma och Jon pysslar hemma hos sig, så vi använde mer eller mindre samma sorts teknik. Jag har lärt mig att använda all utrustning på rätt sätt och applicerade det på vårt eget material. Meningen med albumet och ändringen av musikalisk inriktning var att när vi nu båda på var sitt håll hade utvecklat det sättet att jobba med andras musik, varför inte dra nytta av det själva? Särskilt trumprogrammering, syntar och sånt som aldrig riktigt har varit någon riktig del av våra album tidigare.

Jon: – Egentligen var det lite lustigt hur vi jobbade med skivan och skickade saker fram och tillbaka till varandra. En av oss påbörjade en låt, exempelvis Squirrel vs Snake som Ken hade och när jag fick den fanns det ingen stämsång på den. Bara en dubblerad leadsång, så all körsång på den är min, jag pratade inte ens med honom om det utan skickade bara tillbaka den så. Och så vice versa, låtarna jag påbörjade fick han göra vad han ville med.

Ken: – Att vi lämnade mycket utrymme åt varandra var fullt naturligt, för om jag sjunger en av mina låtar är det självklart att stämsången ska komma från Jon och vice versa.

Jon: – Samma med kontrapunkterna, Rollercoaster Zen kom till genom dem, eller Scattered med sitt call-and-response (sjunger) “Any time you want me (any time you want)…”, det fanns inte med förrän han skickade mig låten och jag hittade på det. Det är så vi bidrar till varandra.

Men om man som ni och många med er har studion hemma nuförtiden, är det inte väldigt frestande att gå in och lägga på lite för mycket? Inte för att ni har gjort det på Solid States, men generellt sett?

Ken: – Tja, jag tror att all vår erfarenhet från att producera andra har gett oss ganska bra instinkter. Men en sak kan jag säga dig, om du vill höra ett studioalbum med för mycket på så kan du lyssna på Dear 23. Det albumet har 48 kanaler med en massa skit som gjordes i en riktig inspelningsstudio på analoga band med en engelsk producent. Engelska producenter är alltid lite väl hängivna…

Det var John Leckie, eller hur?

Ken: – Ja.

Jon: – Men visst är det möjligt att man lägger på för mycket med all teknik som finns. Om man går tillbaka till Failure så är den gjort med åtta kanaler, väldigt begränsad, men det har också sin charm. Så jag antar att man kan gå för långt men jag vet inte riktigt om vi har gjort det?

Jag tycker att man i viss mån kan höra lite av det okomplicerade i Failure även på Solid States. Inte textmässigt, förstås, men att det är lite glatt och har den där gör-det-själv-atmosfären.

Jon: – Det är verkligen ingen mörk skiva, den har en del glada sidor.

Ken: – Trots att vår trummis Darius bortgång är en stor del av texterna. Det hände mitt i arbetet med albumet. Du har rätt, den är inte särskilt mörk.

Jon: – Det var dock ett medvetet val vi gjorde, vi ville inte vara för melankoliska. Tveklöst är den mest melankoliska låten på skivan The Sound Of Clouds. Den slank liksom igenom ändå och den är supercool.

Jag tyckte direkt när jag hörde den att den lät lite som Rufus Wainwright.

Jon: – Det kan jag köpa, helt klart.

Ken: – Någon annan var också inne på det.

Förra året släppte The Charlatans ett album och de hade också gått igenom en tuff period då även deras trummis gick bort. När jag pratade med Tim Burgess om det berättade han att de kände en sorts lättnad över att Jon var på ett bättre ställe efter åratal av lidande och de kunde se framåt igen precis som han förmodligen hade velat. Var det så för er också?

Jon: – Darius var en obevekligt positiv kille och en av våra bästa vänner. Han var bara bäst. När jag träffade honom var han 21 och spelade på mina soloskivor innan han kom med i The Posies, en naiv ung grabb och om jag ska vara ärlig var hans trumspel ganska naivt också. Men han hade en sorts entusiasm i hjärtat som genomsyrade allt han gjorde. Han hade inte velat att vi skulle gå runt och deppa. Nu kanske det låter lite fånigt att säga det, men han hade velat att vi skulle fortsätta och ha roligt eftersom han själv älskade att ha roligt.

Vi pratar lite om The Posies backkatalog som bara delvis går att streama och jag undrar om det inte är frustrerande när majorbolagen, i deras fall Universal, fortfarande har rättigheterna till deras material och inte ser till att allt blir tillgängligt igen:

Ken: – Dom är inte snabba, det är dom inte. Problemet är att man inte längre har någon personlig relation med någon. Vår publicist från vår tid på BMG hamnade på Universal när de köpte BMG. De äger rättigheterna till hela vår katalog från Failure till och med Success och de ordnade en jättestor TV-exponering åt oss förra året. Det var suveränt. En bra affär ekonomiskt också, vi fick 75% av pengarna efter att deras omkostnader dragits av. Så vi hade en person vi kunde prata med och tänkte att ”det här var ju bra, hoppas det här leder till mera sådant” och så fick den personen plötsligt sparken.

Jon: – Så kan det vara med det skivbolag man ligger på också. Vi låg på Ryko en period och när vi gav ut första skivan hade killen som signade oss åkt ut. Sedan när vi gjorde andra skivan var vi halvvägs genom en USA-turné då vi fick veta att hälften av medarbetarna var uppsagda och de var bara åtta personer eller nåt.  Två år senare försökte vi ta reda på om vi hade rättigheterna att släppa någonting och när Ken provade att ringa Ryko fick han veta att bolaget inte längre fanns.

Så många artister har hamnat i konflikt med skivbolag, som praktexemplet XTC och tusentals andra.

Jon: – Grymt band.

Ken: – Men XTC gick vidare och startade sin egen etikett efter Virgin. Jag vet inte, finns deras album tillgängliga?

Nej, inte de två sista, Wasp Star och Apple Venus, åtminstone inte för streaming. Så för mig som konsument är det väldigt tråkigt.

Jon: – Ja, det är det.

Ken: – Jag vet att Skylarking släpptes i en deluxeutgåva.

Jon: – Det var för att Andy [Partridge, red:s anm.] själv var lite företagsam och gav ut den på hans egna etikett. Ape heter den, va’?

Ja, den heter Ape.

Jon: – Och den där killen från Porcupine Tree mixade om den i 5.1-ljud eller nåt.

Ken: – Det vore intressant.

Jon: – Han skeppade verkligen iväg en hel del där, sålde sina demos och allt…

Fuzzy Warbles-volymerna.

Jon: – Just det, Fuzzy Warbles.

Ken, jag måste bara pratat om Skellefteå innan vi avslutar. En vän nämnde något rykte om en rejäl fest med The Drowners när du var där för många år sedan och producerade Backfish… Ligger det någon sanning i det?

Ken: – Ärligt talat är det nog lite av en myt, de inspelningarna skedde under ganska nyktra omständigheter. Utöver den bra musiken och studion var det för mig intressantast med vinternätterna. Det var dagsljus i kanske en timme om dagen och jag var där under en månad i november-december. I studion fanns en liten lägenhet där jag bodde, så det var nästan som att vara ute i rymden, jag lämnade nästan aldrig studion.

En rolig grej hände, däremot. Vi skulle äta en trevlig familjemiddag hemma hos Katherines (Bergström, sångerska i Backfish, red:s anm.) mamma och hon var jättenervös eftersom en amerikan hade kommit hela vägen för att jobba där och nu var hemma hos henne. Hon ville verkligen laga en god middag. Så där satt vi, hela bandet runt bordet och mamman skulle servera. Första rätten var en jättefin morotssoppa. När hon extremt nervös så går mot bordet för att servera tappar hon ut hela jävla kastrullen med skållhet soppa över min rygg! Du vet, först ”vad vill du ha att…” och sedan skriker jag ”Aaaaarrrgh!” när jag blir skållad av 9000 grader! Ha ha! Det var hysteriskt roligt. Men mycket mer röj än så blev det inte när jag var där.

Och ryggen är okej?

Ken: – Ja, den är okej. Vi festade inte så mycket direkt, men jag minns en sylta där, typ en vodkabar. Jag minns att den låg vid ett stort torg och att där fanns en hög fristående byggnad där. Vi kanske gick dit en gång och jag svär på att en vodkadrink gick på 20 dollar eller nåt redan på den tiden, helt sanslöst dyrt. Jag tror jag beställde en enda.

Solid States släpps 29 April på Lojinx.

Intervju: Joshua Radin – ”Snubbar med akustiska gitarrer och mjuka röster, folk klumpar ihop oss…”

joshradinphoto3

Stockholm var och är ett andra hem för den mjukt sjungande Joshua Radin, även om han numera flyttat åter till USA. Men han trivs här, inte minst accentuerat av välbesökta spelningar två kvällar i rad på Södra Teatern för några veckor sedan då jag träffade honom strax innan spelning nummer två. Första kvällen hade han också sin svenska familj och en rad vänner i publiken:

– De fyllde en hel rad. Men min fru uppskattade inte när jag pratade med henne från scenen, hon tycker det är lite pinsamt.

Radin spelar ofta och gärna live och nyligen förevigade han den atmosfären på en ny skiva som släpps senare i april:

– Jag sitter bokstavligen och lyssnar på masteringen här och nu! [Pekar uppspelt på iMac-datorn på bordet framför honom] Det är upp till mig att godkänna dem, men när det handlar om att mastra förstår jag mig egentligen inte på det. Mixa, det fattar jag, men mastering för mig är att låt två har samma volym som låt tre bara så att det hänger ihop. I och med att det är ett livealbum måste man även säkerställa att applåderna från publiken inte är för höga.

– Titeln är Live from The Village, efter studion i Los Angeles där det spelades in. Riktigt coolt, vi spelade in det i ett rum som byggdes för Fleetwood Mac när de skulle spela in albumet Tusk. Rumours spelades också in där, åtminstone delar av det. Vi ställde in 50 stolar så att publiken kunde sitta runt omkring oss. Jättehäftigt. Har någon gjort något sådant förut? Tack och lov var det i alla fall ingen i publiken som sade något dumt med tanke på att det var helt live som under en konsert.

Under din nuvarande turné har du spelat en ny låt också?

– Ja, det finns två nya låtar på livealbumet. Den jag spelar på turnén heter ”Song For You” och jag skrev den faktiskt här i Stockholm i somras. Vad heter kyrkan som ligger mitt emot saluhallen? [Gissningsvis Hedvig Eleonora Kyrka vid Östermalmstorg, red:s anm] Runt den kyrkan finns några trevliga bänkar att sitta på, nästan som en liten park. Precis där satt jag och skrev den.

Inför ditt senaste album Onward and Sideways spelade du in låten “Beautiful Day” på nytt. Varför?

– Jag har hela tiden känt att den inte kom till sin rätt på albumet innan så vi tänkte att den kanske kunde bli en radiosingel eller något, för den är lite glad. Sedan hörde Subaru av sig och frågade om de fick lov att använda låten i en av sina reklamfilmer, så jag sade ja. De visade den hela året så jag tänkte ”hur skapas en radiosingel nuförtiden?”. Om en låt är med i en reklamfilm för bilar borde den ha en hygglig chans att spelas i radio utan att jag behöver betala en massa pengar till musikläggarna för att de ska spela den! Jag vet inte hur det fungerar här i Sverige, men i USA hävdar man att Payola inte längre existerar, men det gör det visst. Man lär knappast höra en icke-major-artist i radio. Jag tänkte ”varför inte göra om låten som en duett?” eftersom den inte var sådan ursprungligen, så jag frågade Sheryl Crow om hon ville sjunga den med mig och lyckligtvis svarade hon ja och jag tycker att den blev bra. Idag är det som om allt handlar om singlar och jag är mer av en albumartist. Ett par gånger nu har jag tagit en låt som funnits på en skiva och sedan försökt väcka nytt liv i den.

Att göra ett livealbum är en sak, men att spela in ett helt album med låtar man tidigare gett ut är att gå lite för långt, om du frågar mig. Räcker det inte att man redan gjort dem en gång? Hur ser du på det?

– Vet inte, jag har aldrig gjort det på ett helt album. På den här liveskivan har jag dock gjort om tre låtar från mitt första album genom att använda piano istället för gitarr, vilket jag aldrig brukar göra. Jag tänkte väl ”varför inte ge ut dem?”. Folk köper ändå inte album längre på samma sätt. Antingen lyssnar de på Spotify och skippar igenom det eller så köper de låten de vill ha på iTunes. Så visst, vill du inte ha det så vill du inte ha det. Vinyl är förvisso på väg tillbaka men inte som det brukade vara. Naturligtvis planerar man inte sitt skivsläpp utifrån hur många vinyl som kommer att säljas, åtminstone inte jag, för nästan allt jag säljer är digitalt. Hur mycket jag än vill säga att jag tänker göra precis som de gjorde på sjuttiotalet så finns det ingen anledning att göra det längre och affärsmässigt skjuter du dig i foten om du gör på det viset. Sedan kommer det alltid att finnas puritaner som hävdar att ”så har det varit och så ska det alltid vara!”. Okej, låt bli att lyssna på den nya låten då! Det är upp till dig.

Jag är ett stort fan av Michael Penn och hans album March och på Onward and Sideways bidrar både Tony Berg och Patrick Warren som även medverkade på March. Hur kom det sig?

– Det stämmer, Tony Berg producerade och Patrick Warren spelade på det. Jag hade träffat [Berg] genom några vänner som också hade anlitat honom som producent och jag har alltid gillat det han gjort. Edie Brickell, Aimee Mann och så att han spelade med Peter Gabriel. Du vet, han är lite av en guru och jag tror att jag var i en fas i livet där jag sökte efter en musikalisk mentor. Inte bara en producent alltså, utan någon att kunna tala med om livet och han var den personen. Hans studio ligger på baksidan av hans hus i Kalifornien och man får inte ringa och säga ”jag kommer över en sväng”, han vill att man bara ska dyka upp. Du kan föreställa dig en inspelning i en vacker omgivning och någon kliver in genom dörren och plötsligt sitter med och spelar eftersom man ändå hänger tillsammans och snackar ett par timmar. Dörren är alltid öppen så man vet aldrig vem som stiger in genom den. Det är så häftigt, jag älskar den sortens atmosfär. Baksidan av det är förstås att det tar längre att göra ett album än med andra producenter men fördelarna överväger allt sådant. Han är en av mina favoritpersoner.

Du har också arbetat med Roger Joseph Manning från ett av mina favoritband, Jellyfish.

– Ja, han spelade på de två skivorna innan min senaste samt på “Beautiful Day”. Han är ett geni. Stämsången i Jellyfish! Han är en av de där personerna som kan… Jag tänker inte säga Brian Wilson här, för ingen är som Brian Wilson när det handlar om stämsång, men Roger har lite av det där i sig. Han kan tala om exakt hur vi ska sjunga, han är som ett galet geni.

När du spelar live, har det någon gång hänt att någon i publiken av misstag har önskat en låt som de trodde var din men i själva verket var någon annan artists?

– Det har hänt inträffat ett par gånger men inte under en konsert. En gång när jag var i London satt jag i hotellobbyn med en massa folk och vi började snacka och tog några glas ihop när någon fick veta att jag var musiker och undrade om jag kunde ta fram gitarren och spela. Klockan var väl runt tre på natten och vi var de enda där, så jag sa ”visst, jag går upp på rummet och hämtar den”. Sedan när jag kom ner ville de att jag skulle spela min mest välkända låt eftersom de inte kände till mig. Jag började spela ”I’d Rather Be With You” eftersom den hördes mycket i radio i Europa då och de kanske skulle känna igen den. När jag hade spelat den sade de ”ja, den låten gillar vi, men det är Jack Johnson” och jag svarade ”ehm, nej…det är faktiskt jag, det är min låt”. ”Nej, nej, nej, det är ju Jack Johnson!”, envisades de. Jag fick verkligen insistera, ”jo, jag lovar, det är min!”. Till slut gav de med sig: ”åh, är det din låt? Jag lyssnar på den i bilen hela tiden!”.

– Om Jack Johnson hade gjort en cover på den hade jag säkert tjänat en massa mer pengar! Snubbar med akustiska gitarrer och mjuka röster, folk klumpar ihop oss till en enda person. Men vad ska man göra? Det är okej med mig så länge de lyssnar.

Och streamar…

– Jag föredrar att de köper den! Men här i Sverige streamar man. Kanske de fem personer här i Stockholm som fortfarande köper skivor går ner till Pet Sounds! Men det är som det är. Jag äger inte ens en CD-spelare och även fast jag har en gammal bil funkar Bluetooth. Jag kör Spotify eller någon app i min iPhone och hemma lyssnar jag på vinyl. Om jag ska sitta ner och lyssna på ett av mina favoritalbum gör jag det helst på vinyl.

Okej, innan vi rundar av: man kan konstatera att du är en artist med många kvinnliga fans…

– Jo, mina låtar handlar ju mycket om kärlek.

Men varför är det så, tror du? Är det bara det?

– Jag vet inte. Kanske är det lite genant att uttrycka det så här, men om man gör en analogi med mig bredvid en filmgenre så skulle jag vara en romantisk komedi. Förstår du vad jag menar? Jag skulle vara den där filmen som maken eller pojkvännen följer med på. Men jag gillar romantiska komedier om de är välgjorda, Annie Hall är min favoritfilm genom alla tider. Jag älskar kärlek! Det är vad jag tänker på. Jag har aldrig varit ute i krig och jag är inte extremt politisk av mig. Jag försöker se saker och ting från andras synvinkel och försöker att inte vara alltför dömande, så det blir vad som oftast snurrar i skallen, vilket är kärlek och annat jag går igenom. Sedan är det nog för att jag har en ganska mjuk, viskande röst. Det är så oerhört långt ifrån metal. Det kunde inte vara längre ifrån metal! På min Facebook-sida är säkert 75% av mina följare kvinnor.

Live from The Village släpps 22 April

Interview: Anderson .Paak – ”Right now, there’s not a lot of people that are giving you soul”

ANDERSON .PAAK 2 cr Jabri Jacobs copy

Unedited transcription of interview in part previously published(in Swedish) in Gaffa magazine.

The whole album Malibu is based on solid basslines and drumming.

– Drum and bass are huge for me, it became very clear that it was more of a sound I wanted, especially after a few collaborations I did, like with Dre. I did a collaboration with a producer named Jonwayne that is literally just drums and bass. That opened up a whole new world to me, like the vocals can play the variable. If you have that constant drum groove, bass is the melody and your vocals can live on top and really cut through, so I really wanted it on this album.

If you compare the vocals on Venice with Malibu they sound completely different. Personally I’m not too fond of Autotune so I feel you’ve made better use of your voice on Malibu. How did you see this through?

– Well, I think it was a trial and error thing. There was some time of exploration and I feel like Malibu was one of the more cohesive projects of mine and vocally is probably the main reason for that. Even though we travelled along different elements of funk, soul, hip-hop, house and disco, the vocals are what I think ties everything together. That’s what I found with this project. On Venice we were exploring range and dynamics to keep it broad, we were finding our sound having fun with it, you know. So we played with Autotune, we played with different things and that was part of the fun with that album. With Malibu I definitely wanted to find something more consistent on it as far as vocally. I had created a lot of music and I got to work with a lot of people since Venice. Some of the tunes I had already even prior to Venice but I held on to ‘em. I was able to construct Malibu around a few tunes that had these more concrete vocals to ‘em and everything came together towards the end, especially after working with Dre, Knxwledge and other people. I had a clear vision vocally of where I should be.

Working with experienced people like Dre must have been very rewarding, but don’t you also think they must have felt it was revitalizing working with you?

– It was very refreshing for them, revitalizing.  It was exciting for them to work with an artist like me that had a little bit of both, that could grab from the old but also was part of the new situation. I felt like I’m part of that last generation that still really respects what people like Dre, 9th Wonder and Hi-Tek have done for the game and it was still important for me to be able to work with him. I was so glad I was able to get them on this project. I had a lot of access after working with Dre, but when I was working with them I saw and from what I was told, like you said, it was revitalizing and refreshing for them to work with someone who had a lot of range, that could both spit and at the same time be really soulful. That’s what DJ Premier told me, “you can do a lot of things but you’re funky, man, you’ve got a lot of soul and funk to you and that’s what I really love and makes me excited to work with you”, and him telling me that got me real excited too. Those were the dudes that was giving me the guts of what I needed, like these drum and bass grooves but still keeping it based in hip-hop which was important to me. It was filling a void that I felt like really few were handling at the time.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned from Dre?

– Not to settle for less. Don’t ever settle. Get what you want and work ‘til the very end. And Hendrick’s Gin, I didn’t really know about gin until I met him and it’s a pretty good gin, I like it. (Laughs)

The Weeknd has been very successful lately, BJ The Chicago Kid and yourself are both currently releasing great albums. Is there a growing scene with artists crossing over from hip-hop to soul, that can both rap and sing, or has it always been there but not as much to the fore?

– I feel like when there’s a void then some people are prepared to fill that void and I don’t feel like people really rise their expectations, they are just people who are prepared for these moments that come about. Right now, there’s not a lot of people that are giving you soul, and I’m not talking in the sense of a genre, I’m talking about just music from the gut, that’s not drenched in tune, that’s not sounding like the same four or five characters. There used to be a big conversation about the wide array of textures and that’s missing right now, so when you have people that can actually sing…first off, singing’s gonna make you shine, and let alone someone who can write and sing personal music from the soul then you’re really gonna shine for some people. So many people sound identical to each other, so if you can come out and just do something different that’s just gonna shed light on different things. That’s what’s happening now.

I felt like there was a bit of a reaction against contemporary R&B when Dap-Tone came across about 10-15 years ago doing their retro soul. You are incorporating parts of both.

Yeah, absolutely. I remember when D’Angelo came out it fucking hit me like a ton of bricks. Everybody was making this cheesy R&B and then he comes and just smacks you in the head with some super soul shit, laid back, and I just felt like everything comes full circle and when people are ready for it it will hit. BJ[The Chicago Kid], myself, we’ve all been doing this shit for a while. I can say as far as myself, I’ve been dibblin’ and dabblin’, doing a lot of different shit and like I said before, Malibu was when everything became streamlined and I’m very grateful for that. I was able to continue making music, finding what I wanted to do and people are now at a point where they’re paying attention. Some people even think I’m brand new, that every album I make is my first album. That’s awesome, like every album you make is your debut. It seems like every year I’m new to some people, I love it that they’re finding this album very soulful and I’m excited to make more music too.

The songs on the Malibu album are labelled “Explicit”, but somehow I don’t hear that much cursing, especially if you compare it to what you did on the Dre album or other things. What’s your take on this?

– It’s not something I was avidly thinking about, I think it was just a natural progression. There’s a couple of people that I always keep in my head who make me try to find different words. My mum used to tell me “if you’ve got to curse that means you don’t have enough vocabulary” and even my production dude L0_def was always pushing for some higher level to not close anybody out. Some people turn the song off as soon as they hear explicit words or if they’ve got kids, you know what I’m sayin’? So you’ve got to give a chance for everybody to enjoy your stuff. At the same time I’m making art and I try not to compromise. It’s good to set parameters and boundaries, you can still find genius within those, but with lyrics I just like to go off the cuff and sometimes yes, I’ll search for a better word. Sometimes the syllable is just too good to not use it. But this one has a little less, I didn’t think it was as necessary.

I was thinking about how you started going to church when you were around eleven and then later on as a young adult you were working at a marijuana farm. Isn’t that a bit contradictory?

– There’s a lot of musicians in the church staff that has smoked a lot of weed, there’s pastors that have smoked weed. The church thing is like “whatever works for you”. At the end of the day that’s how I feel, I’m glad I grew up in the church because that gave me a moral compass, I got to grow up within the music and I got a great schooling from playing drums in church. That was everything. I got such good musical intuition and reflexes and it’s hard to go out and get that formally, the training I got within church was just priceless and invaluable. But life is life and I went through a lot of different things and tried to find my way to just stay afloat, and there was a time when I was pretty upset with my church and what I had gone through. I felt some type of way about a situation that had happened and I didn’t care about what they thought or whatever contradictions which you were supposed to do as a Christian. I was just trying to live my life, trying to stay afloat and provide for my family and that was most important for me. You know, as you live life you’re gonna do some crazy stuff that might not go hand in hand with other things. It’s about surviving out here and making a mark and when you have a family it’s about providing. There are two types of people, the type of person that’s gonna run away from that situation and the type of person that’s gonna stay and provide, and I’m the second one. I grew up with some great examples and I’m not built like the type who would flee from something that I started, so I was doing everything I could to make it happen. I got into some different avenues in order to do that but I’m not ashamed of any of that.

Interview: Basia Bulat – ”If you only let yourself be sad, then you’re denying the full range of what you’re going through”

Basia_Bulat_Good_Advice_Pack_Shot

Unedited transcription of interview previously published(in Swedish) at Kulturbloggen.com.

How come Jim James helped you out with the album?

– Because he’s awesome! I opened for him for a week of shows. I’d been a huge admirer of his work for a long time and years before this I had nervously given him a vinyl of my second album just telling him he’s a favourite and hoping he would listen to my record. So it’s a dream come true working with him.

If you compare your last album Tall Tall Shadow to this one, what would you say has been the biggest change?

– I think there’s a lot. I mean, I’m always writing from a personal place, I’m still a singer/songwriter and that will always be what I do. The last record, I was in the middle of recording an album and one of my dearest friends passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly. I had to stop everything and didn’t play music for a while. It really affected me and I wanted to make something that would honour and really be for her, so that record is really like a kind of mixtape for her, whereas this record is all about me (laughs). The last one is also me, but you never know where the songs are coming from, you just catch them.

The new album is also a sad affair. Having said that, it sounds like you’re looking for an older and wiser self, as well.

– Yeah, it’s very much a break-up record, it’s a little dark. I think I’m more and more comfortable with the two sides of my personality which are very bright and silly but then kind of honest. Everybody’s going through tough things, you know, so it’s about how you embrace those two sides of yourself, how you honour them.

Are you trying to get the music also to mirror this image of how you look at yourself, or is it more in the words?

– It’s not something I consciously sought out to do, it just happens. I love songs that are a little more complex, there are lots of songs that I love that are straight up one thing, but definitely I feel compelled a lot of the time by one of the oldest tricks in the books like Motown and all these classic tracks. ‘Tracks Of My Tears’ is like this triumphant song singing about very broken hearted souls, so it’s a very good trick and it never really loses its power over me. With the new record I wrote a lot of the songs on the guitar or on the keyboard with this organ sound. Then I sent them to Jim and went down to Kentucky where we sped them up and brought them to a new world, which was really cool.

The organ is featured more prominently on Good Advice, but the Rhodes electric piano as well as the charango and the autoharp are scaled down.

– Yes, there are less strings. I just don’t want to do the same thing over and over. My first records were just documentary style, very acoustic an folky. It’s nice to know that even though I wrote the songs one way they can translate into different forms. I wrote a lot on organ at home and actually used this little Swedish organ that I found on tour in Sweden after my second album Heart Of My Own. It’s called Bergman, a very small one but it’s tall, the coolest little organ which runs on tubes. Kind of sixties psychedelic. Actually, I was working on some songs on Gotland where I had a show and during a few days off I got to stay at a Place where they had an organ and I was really feeling it.

I guess it’s a natural development for you as an artist to expand your sound and how you do things?

– Yeah. It’s funny ’cause I grew up playing piano and I spent many years avoiding it in my own music. There’s some of course, but on these last two it’s been fun for me to get back to that. I think I really missed it and I don’t know why I stopped for so long. Probably because I was tired of taking the lessons, the classical discipline can be really bad!

Are you doing all the vocals on the album?

– A lot of the backing vocals are done by me, then there are Lacey Guthrie and Maryliz Bender from the Louisville based band Twin Limb, Katie Toupin from Houndmouth as well as an incredible singer called Cher Von. So I was really lucky to have these amazing women singing on it.

Tell me about the song ”Fool”.

– That one I wrote on the guitar when I was really sad, it was very slow. I was feeling very down and then I sent that to Jim who said we should try it the opposite way just to see and we all fell in love with that direction. It was really cool putting the power behind it. It gives it another dimension, for sure.

Is that charango you play on it?

– You mean at the end? It’s actually a Gibson guitar tuned up high. There’s definitely both charango and autoharp on the record, like on ‘Someday Soon’ and ‘Time’. Infamous has the charango and the guitar as well. We just decided to push myself into something I hadn’t done before, to just not repeat myself.

Overall on the album there aren’t many downtempo songs.

– No, I think it’s pretty loud for me. When you’re writing a ‘breakup album’ it’s a full range of emotions there, and it’s like you feel really sad but realize a change is necessary in your life and it gives you a sense of freedom, you know, there’s a powerful side to your sadness and a power to honour what you had and feel happy about it. There’s a little bit of anger on the record, but there’s no regret. I think that’s the thing. Maybe there’s a little bit, but mostly we wanted to push in the direction of that complexity of… I don’t know, we were talking a lot about the Fourth of July and Canada Day with all the fireworks where there’s this darkness and then suddenly these big bright lights. They’re beautiful but terrifying too. That’s kind of what we were going for. Otherwise, if you only let yourself only be sad, then you’re denying the full range of what you’re going through.

You’ve made two consecutive albums that sprung out of tough periods in life. Misery is often a catalyst for writing music, but then again it’s often out of happiness as well. What’s your take on this?

– I don’t really see it as happy and sad. With those albums it was both at the same time. There’s this really good quote I love from a book by Kahlil Gibran called The Prophet, it goes something like ‘Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears’. Like, you need and can’t live without both. During these years with the two records I’ve had both and I hope that comes through on them as well. I wanted to have love and understanding and something positive too. I hope I’m sending those moments of light out to the world also.

At the same time people feel better by listening to music and taking comfort in that their not the only ones feeling in a certain way.

– That’s definitely one of the ways I feel connected to the world. Just knowing I have a place and that I’m not alone, music has a real power that I can’t explain. Also I feel like part of me is responsible for the songs and part of me has no control over what comes out.

But do you have a sort of quality filter to sift through your songs and choose what should be released or not?

– It becomes evident what belongs together on an album and it’s definitely important to me to put out something that feels real to me, I guess. Like I have to believe myself when I’m singing it and believe my own words, especially singing songs I wrote when I was younger. If I find a way and a place to sing them that still feels true, then that’s the filter, basically. A song like Let Me In is a bit silly, but at the same time being dark. It’s supposed to be a little bit playful, I hope it comes across. Life is never just one thing, you can’t just reduce it even in a pop song as that simple.

Like ”La La Lie” that opens your new album. ‘La la’ is mostly connected to something happy and then you’ve added ‘lie’ which makes it a real contradiction.

– Speaking of truth! Yeah, it’s a little twist.

I remember you playing the Scandic Grand Central Hotel last year and I was a bit annoyed by afterworkers chatting loudly during your show. Seeing as some of your songs are a bit quiet, isn’t that annoying to you as well?

– There are so many reasons why people go to shows and it depends on the venue and so many things, but at the end of the day I try hard not to take it that way. Everybody has their good days and bad days. People go there to see their friends, they get excited.

Probably it’s not personal, anyway?

– I hope not. And if it is, then I need to be better!

 

If you were to recommend one song from Good Advice to somebody who had never heard you, which one would you suggest?

– Maybe in a weird way I would pick ‘The Garden’, that’s the one that’s so different from the rest of them. That song is so free. I’d pick that one, even though it’s so different from the rest of the record.

Where does the title Good Advice come from?

– I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and the song itself and the record is about reason vs emotion. It’s like a multi-faceted thing, it sums up the record, and the cover reflects that too. ‘No apologies’, kind of.

Do you tend to seek advice when you’re going through tough times?

– I love the culture of advice. Advice columns, people being able to talk about things, I think they’re really interesting. Because I think people are afraid to say what they really feel, they’re always conflicted when they really know the answer. When people are looking for advice they already know what they need.

Like they need confirmation?

– Yeah, either confirmation or a sounding board. Most of the time you don’t need advice from anyone else, you already know. That song means if you don’t ask for it, it’s not going to be good. It’s a little bit coy in that way! It’s something you can’t logically explain. You have in your heart what it is. There’s no right or wrong and I think that’s the whole thing. I do think I’ve been given great advice and I’ve been given terrible advice, but usually the great advice has already resoluted with what I already knew!

Have you ever written to an advice column?

– No! Ha ha! I’ve always wanted to, but I do love the culture of them. I find that people are very vulnerable. They’re often anonymous, they’re often silly, they’re always an element of fun to it but they’re very serious topics all the time. Everything is like that right now, the Internet is like a giant advice column, people writing in the Youtube comments looking for connection in some way and I just find it very interesting culturally. But I haven’t done it myself! I should! Do you remember a few years ago when there was a leak of AOL searches from different users? People use search engines because they are really looking for answers and I love it!

The Bucket List, Vecka 10, 2016

2016 ser hittills ut att bli ett rasande bra musikår. Trots längden på den här utgåvan av spellistan har det varit svårt att gallra bort låtar. Läs gärna lite om några artister, men glöm för guds skull inte att höra resten också!

Trevlig åktur!


nao

NAO “Fool To Love”(singel)

Ibland undrar jag hur hon bär sig åt, den brittiska soulsångerskan. Varenda låt hon släpper är kandidat till årsbästalistan, så även senaste singeln som har både hook, ordentligt tryck i beats och basgång och givetvis rösten. Men det är så med vissa, de bara har det. Om hon så snubblade i studion, landade på mixerbordet och skrek efter hjälp skulle det bli hur bra som helst. Ett album nu, tack.

3cp

3 Cutting Principles ”Break aWay”(från 3 Cutting Principles)

Denna trio har existerat i flera år redan, men först nu kommer alltså första albumet. Sång och sånger från Nicolai Dunger, produktion från Manne von Ahn Öberg och arrangemang från Jonas Nyström. Alla dessa likvärdigt viktiga komponenter bidrar till den grandiosa och vackra ”Break aWay” och till ett album med smäktande, filmiska orkesterarrangemang.

Antony-Cleopatra

Antony & Cleopatra “Love Is A Lonely Dancer”(singel)

Älskade Inner City och Kevin Saunderson när det begav sig. Älskar Antony & Cleopatra. Älskar ”Love Is A Lonely Dancer”. Älskar gammelhouse.

floracasg

flora cash ”Pharaoh”(från kommande albumet Can Summer Love Last Forever?)

Den fascinerande historien om hur amerikanske Cole Randall och svenska Shpresa Lleshaj-Randall fick kontakt via Soundcloud, började göra musik tillsammans över nätet och sedermera blev kära och gifte sig vore nästan tillräckligt bara den. Men när den nu Stockholmsbaserade duon dessutom gör ljuvlig folkpop blir den ännu bättre.

pbj-compressed

Peter Bjorn And John “What You Talking About?”(från kommande albumet Breakin’ Point)

2011 kom Gimme Some och därefter har det varit en lång period av diverse projekt, men allt annat än PBJ. Men nu är de tillbaka med en riktig dänga till singel, komplett med handklapp, gnisslande keybordslinga, gladlynt basgång och allt.

posies

The Posies “Squirrel vs Snake”(från kommande albumet Solid States)

Ständigt unga veteranpowerpopparna Ken Stringfellow och Jon Auer släpper äntligen nytt inför Sverigebesöket i april. För den som är förtjust i XTC-albumet Nonsuch från 1992 är detta väl så tilltalande. ”Squirrel vs Snake” bärs fram av en Squeeze-besläktad melodi, fyllig ljudbild, stämsången och ackordföljderna vi aldrig tröttnar på.

sirsly

Sir Sly ”Expectations”(singel)

Nya släppet från Los Angeles stora electrolöften Sir Sly är en berg-och-dalbana till låt, en sju minuters nöjesåkning med toppar och dalar, en upptäcktsfärd i konsten att göra stora saker med små medel så länge man har bollkänsla och en fantastisk sångare. En trumloop som om vartannat förses med stora gester och viskningar. Ett dramaturgiskt måste.

emma

Emma Pollock “Intermission”(från In Search Of Harperfield)

Hon visade redan i The Delgados prov på en förkärlek för folkrock med traditionella instrument. ”Intermission”, intrikat arrangerad för stråkkvartett, är ett av det finaste spåren från senaste soloalbumet.

tigertown

Tigertown ”Make It Real”(från Lonely Cities EP)

När tre syskon och en svägerska från Sydney gör supersnygg pop i stil med Haim och Marina And The Diamonds.

cfm

CFM ”Clearly Confusion”(från Still Life Of Citrus And Slime)

Charles Moothart är mest känd som samarbetspartner och kompis till Ty Segall och Mikal Cronin. Han har även egna bandet CFM, vilket inte behöver någon större presentation sett till namnen jag just nämnde.

maria

Maria ”End Of Conversation”(från kommande albumet Succession)

Sahara Hotnights-Marias första solosingel är förvånansvärt luftig och smäktande jämfört med hur hon tidigare lät med bandet, men föga förvånande måstelyssning. Tvärflöjten. Trummorna. Enastående vackert.

Take-me-To-The-Alley-Cover_08f0b9b0-66f8-46a3-a423-76d40e10e5fc

Gregory Porter ”Don’t Lose Your Steam”(från kommande albumet Take Me To The Alley)

Sånger till sina egna barn är inga garantier för kvalitet, men gör man det till sin 3-årige son på det där soulbluesiga Bill Withers-sättet blir det väl så bra.

lindstr

Lindstrøm ”Closing Shot”(singel)

Han skämmer inte bort oss med nya släpp, Hans-Peter Lindstrøm, men när de kommer är de värda all väntan. I juli kommer en ny EP och den softa pooldiscon i ”Closing Shot” får oss att längta efter sommaren.

melvins-basses-loaded-album-new-2016

Melvins ”War Pussy”(från kommande albumet Basses Loaded)

Albumtiteln indikerar det faktum att veteranerna i Melvins har anlitat hela sex olika basister på sitt nästnästa album – innan dess släpper man ett outgivet album som påbörjades redan 1999 – och på två nysläppta låtar är det Redd Kross Steve MacDonald som hjälper till. Även Krist Novoselic finns med på plattan, tydligen något som uppstod när han och Dave Grohl skulle lira Nirvana-låtar med Melvins och Grohl aldrig dök upp. Då spelade helt enkelt Novoselic in lite nytt med bandet när de ändå stod i studion, allt enligt frontmannen Buzz Osborne.

catseyes

Cat’s Eyes “Drag”(från kommande albumet Treasure House)

Duon Cat’s Eyes, bestående av klassiskt skolade singer/songwritern Rachel Zeffira(som också figurerat i The Bucket List för ett par år sedan) och The Horrors-frontmannen Faris Badwan, vann i slutet av förra året ett pris för symfonifilmmusiken till The Duke Of Burgundy. Snart kommer ett ”ordentligt” album och försmaken ”Drag” bådar gott.

lindaperhacs

Linda Perhacs “The Dancer”(singel)

Kultsångerskan från Topanga Valley släppte ett album 1970 och försvann sedan ut i dunklet där hon försörjde sig som tandtekniker i 44 år. Efter den stora återkomsten 2014 pågår nu en Kickstarter-kampanj för att finansiera nästa album som delvis produceras av Pat Sansone från Wilco. Bland gästerna noteras Julia Holter, Devendra Banhart och Jonathan Wilson.

chin

Chin Of Britain “Feel It”(från The Weasel Is At The Bridge)

Chin Keeler är ursprungligen trummis och har spelat i en rad Londonbaserade band tills han 2013 gav ut första soloalbumet under namnet Chin Of Britain. På uppföljaren har han gjort precis allt själv och får det att låta som Mercury Rev, Ride, Stone Roses och gammal psykedelia.

irisgold

Iris Gold “Steve McQueen”(singel)

Född i London, uppvuxen i bohemiska Christiania i Köpenhamn och återflyttad till London har Iris Gold börjat göra sig ett namn genom att öppna för Taylor Swift, Blur och Robbie Williams. Tillbakalutad hip-hop-pop med oemotståndliga oldschoolvibbar, smäktande elpianon och sprittande rapsång.

methyl

Methyl Ethel ”Everything Is As It Should Be”(från Oh Inhuman Spectacle)

Det här albumet släpptes redan i somras i hemlandet Australien men först nu i Europa tack vare att 4AD såg potentialen i Jake Webbs androgyna sångröst och de lätt psykedeliska indiepopsångerna. ”Twilight Driving” var en av fjolårets absolut bästa låtar, men här finns gott om andra spår att upptäcka.

drowners

Drowners “Cruel Ways”(från kommande albumet On Desire)

Drowners självbetitlade debut från 2014 blev ordentligt uppmärksammad och uppföljaren On Desire tycks upprätthålla samma stadiga nivå av kraftfull indiepop.

JMSN-It-Is.-2016-2480x2480

JMSN ”Cruel Intentions”(från kommande albumet It Is)

Christian Berishaj växte upp i Detroitförorten Eastpointe med sin mamma där de levde på socialbidrag. När hans frånvarande far återupptog kontakten med Berishaj i yngre tonåren köpte han musikutrustning för att sonen skulle kunna ägna sig åt sitt stora intresse. Tidigt i karriären blev han också signad under artistnamnet Christian TV av Universal Motown efter att ha flyttat till Los Angeles, men när bolaget lades ner efter ett par år flyttade Berishaj hem till Detroit igen och startade egna etiketten White Room Records och antog istället namnet JMSN. Första singeln från tredje albumet är en ordentligt själfull midnattsballad, mycket smakfullt producerad.

petermatthewbauer

Peter Matthew Bauer ”You Always Look For Someone Lost”(singel)

När The Walkmen tog paus för tre år sedan började både Hamilton Leithauser och Peter Matthew Bauer ta tag i sina egna idéer. Bauer gjorde det mesta själv på albumet Liberation! från 2014 men kände till slut att han ville ha sällskap av ett band och på inspelningen av fristående singeln ”You Always Look For Someone Lost” medverkar bl.a. Skyler Skjelset från Fleet Foxes och Matt Oliver som senast jobbade med White Denims James Petralli på den sistnämndes lyckade Bop English-album förra året.

Yuna-Chapters-2016-2480x2480

Yuna feat. DJ Premier ”Places To Go”(från kommande albumet Chapters)

Malaysiska sångerskan och låtskrivaren Yuna är en favorit här på Songs for Whoever. Nu är hon tillbaka igen med ”Places To Go”, en singel med stadiga beats från legendariske DJ Premier.

dmas

DMA’s ”Straight Dimensions”(från Hills End)

Det har tagit ett par år från det att fullödiga singeln ”Delete” släpptes fram till att debutalbumet släppts, men nu är det här och den Oasis-ekande Sydneytrion har trots ett par vingliga uppföljare till ”Delete” ändå visat att den inte bara var en lyckträff.

gallant

Gallant ”Bourbon”(från kommande albumet Ology)

Först blir man kär bara i den där falsettrösten, men den här fantastiska alt-R&B-balladen har en 80-talsproduktion som tydligt avslöjar Chris Gallants förebilder Jimmy Jam och Terry Lewis III. Jhene Aiko medverkade på förra singeln ”Skipping Stones” som Adrian Younge hade producerat. Det här albumet kan verkligen bli något i hästväg.

shitrobot

Shit Robot feat. Alexis Taylor ”End Of The Trail”(från kommande albumet What Follows)

Vi gillade irländaren Marcus Lambkins förra skiva och blir inte mindre glada över att självaste Alexis Taylor från Hot Chip är gästvokalist på nya singeln.

frightened-rabbit-painting-of-a-panic-attack

Frightened Rabbit ”Get Out”(från kommande albumet Painting Of A Panic Attack)

Efter sidospåret med Owl John är skottarna tillbaka igen med sitt femte album, producerat av Aaron Dessner från The National.

The Suffers, The Suffers</em

The Suffers ”Midtown”(från The Suffers)

De är varken neo- eller retrosoul, 10-mannabandet från Houston, de är ”Gulf Coast soul”. Med flera olika etniciteter bland medlemmarna vill de inte specificera sig mer än så, men tveklöst lär deras sound locka till sig anhängare av Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings och Amy Winehouse, inte minst tack vare karismatiska sångerskan Kam Franklin.

andrew_bird_are_you_serious_sq-e746a31652ded504b74ba17273c8c50b20ae059d-s300-c85

Andrew Bird “Roma Fade”(från kommande albumet Are You Serious)

Violinisten Andrew Bird har gjort en upptempolåt om hur han på fester längtansfullt brukade betrakta sin fru på håll innan de till slut träffades på riktigt och blev ett par. Fint så.

magicpotion

Magic Potion “Milk”(från kommande albumet Pink Gum)

Stockholmsetiketten PNKSLM har haft den goda smaken att plocka åt sig en rad intressanta band med fäbless för suddig, gitarrbaserad pop, inte sällan rotad i reverbens 60-talspsych. Albumet de gav ut med HOLY förra året var fantastiskt och i Magic Potion finns både delar av retro liksom 90-talets nonchalanta lo-fi.


Följande låtar bör heller inte, under några omständigheter, missas:

Desert Mountain Tribe ”Enos In Space”(från Either That Or The Moon)

Trixie Whitley ”Closer”(från Porta Bohemica)

Will Joseph Cook ”Girls Like Me”(singel)

ANOHNI ”Drone Bomb Me”(från kommande albumet HOPELESSNESS)

Fear Of Men ”Island”(från kommande albumet Fall Forever)

Heron Oblivion ”Sudden Lament”(från Heron Oblivion)

Willa ”Swan”(från kommande albumet Criminals + Dreamers)

Julianna Barwick ”Nebula”(från kommande albumet Will)

Shields ”HowCanWeFixThis?”(från How Can We Fix This?)

VITAMIN ”This Isn’t Love”(singel)

bob hund ”Brooklyn Salsa”(singel)

Death By Unga Bunga ”Make Up Your Mind”(från Pineapple Pizza)

Woods ”Can’t See At All”(från kommande albumet City Sun Eater In The River Of Light)

LUH ”Lost Under Heaven”(från kommande albumet Spiritual Songs For Lovers To Sing)

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down ”The Evening”(från)

Wynonna & The Big Noise feat. Jason Isbell ”Things That I Lean On”(från Wynonna & The Big Noise)

Hannah Lou Clark ”It’s Your Love”(singel)

Vera Vinter “Norrmalmstorg”(från Monsterland)

Waco Brothers ”Devil’s Day”(från Going Down In History)

Anthony Hamilton ”Save Me”(från kommande albumet What I’m Feelin’)

Eagulls ”Skipping”(från kommande albumet Ullages)

Laura Gibson ”Not Harmless”(från kommande albumet Empire Builder)

Skogsrå ”Out Of Time”(singel)

Yeti Lane ”Crystal Sky”(från L’Aurore)

Animal Collective ”Bagels In Kiev”(från Painting With)

Bag Raiders feat. Benjamin Joseph “Checkmate”(singel)

The Family Rain “Every So Often”(från kommande EP:n Every So Often)

Ulrika Spacek ”Porcelain”(från The Album Paranoia)

Holy Esque ”St.”(från At Hope’s Ravine)

The Sharp Things “Daphne’s Coming Over”(från EverybodyEverybody)

Beacon ”Escapements”(från Escapements)

Fakear feat. Rae Morris ”Silver”(singel)

Julia Jacklin ”Pool Party”(singel)

Summer Flake ”Wine Won’t Wash Away”(singel)

Tiga “Make Me Fall In Love”(från No Fantasy Required)

The Last Shadow Puppets “Everything You’ve Come To Expect”(från kommande albumet Everything You’ve Come To Expect)

La Sera “Nineties”(från Music For Listening To Music To)

Rae Sremmurd ”By Chance”(singel)

Sennen “Frances”(från First Light)

Yeasayer “Silly Me”(från kommande albumet Amen & Goodbye)

High Highs ”Catch The Wind”(från Cascades)

Jordan Klassen ”Light In The Evening”(från Javelin)

Mark Mills ”Mrs.”(från 1.6.16)

The Pines ”Where Something Wild Still Grows”(från Above The Prairie)

Zhu ”In The Morning”(singel)

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard ”Gamma Knife”(från kommande albumet Nonagon Infinity)

Living Hour ”Summer Smog”(från Living Hour)

Demi Louise ”Taxi Driver”(singel)

The Jayhawks ”Quiet Corners & Empty Spaces”(från kommande albumet Paging Mr. Proust)

Mayer Hawthorne ”Love Like That”(från kommande albumet Man About Town)

Postiljonen ”Go!”(från Reverie)

Rome Fortune “Dance”(från Jerome Raheem Fortune)

Junior Boys ”C’Mon Baby”(från Big Black Coat)

Kill County ”Neighbor Dogs”(från Broken Glass In The Sun)

Mount Moriah ”Precita”(från How To Dance)

STRFKR “Never Ever”(singel)

Carter Tanton ”Fresh Faced Claire”(från Jettison The Valley)

Dream Wife ”Kids”(från Dream Wife EP)

Eerie Wanda “The Reason”(från Hum)

Kidnap Kid feat. Leo Stannard “Moments”(singel)

Cate Le Bon ”Wonderful”(från kommande albumet Crab Day)

Natalie McCool ”Fortress”(singel)

SAFIA “Counting Sheep”(från Embracing Me EP)

Jack Garratt ”Far Cry”(från Phase)

KING ”The Greatest”(från We Are King)

The O’s ”Burning Red”(från Honeycomb)

School Of Seven Bells ”Music Takes Me”(från SVIIB)

White Lung ”Hungry”(från kommande albumet Paradise)

Bat For Lashes ”In God’s House”(från kommande albumet The Bride)

Hein Cooper “Overflow”(från kommande albumet The Art Of Escape)

Laurel “Life Worth Living”(singel)

Sage “August In Paris”(från SAGE)

Brett Dennen “What’s The Secret?”(från kommande albumet Por Favor)

Rogue Wave “California Bride”(från kommande albumet Delusions Of Grand Fur)

Antwon “Double Ecstasy”(från kommande albumet Double Ecstasy)

Rukhsana Merrise ”Money”(singel)

Sofi Tukker “Hey Lion”(singel)

Blu & 45 King ”Pocket Full Of Miracles”(singel)

Holy Wave ”Air Wolf”(från Freaks Of Nurture)

The Wild Feathers ”Overnight”(från Lonely Is A Lifetime)

Autograf feat. Patrick Baker ”Future Soup”(från Future Soup EP)

Treetop Flyers ”Sleepless Nights”(från Palomino)

Beau ”Roam”(från That Thing Really)

Fruit Bats ”From A Soon-To-Be Ghost Town”(från kommande albumet Absolute Loser)

HXLT feat. Kathleen Hanna ”Together”(från HXLT)

Tangerines ”You Look Like Something I Killed”(singel)

Bibio feat. Gotye ”The Way You Talk”(från kommande albumet A Mineral Love)

The Derevolutions ”The One”(singel)

Marissa Nadler ”Janie In Love”(från kommande albumet Strangers)

Teleman ”Düsseldorf”(från kommande albumet Brilliant Sanity)

The Bucket List, Vecka 4, 2016

Er favorit bland spellistor med ny musik är tillbaka! Och den har massor med godsaker: shoegaze, funk, soul, synthpop, singer-songwriter, garagepsych, alt-R&B, electronica, country, indiefolk, drömpop, punkblues, chillwave, lo-fi. Kör listan på random, det är allra bästa sättet att upptäcka nya favoriter!

Vi hörs!


Chairlift_-__Moth__Album_Art_0

Chairlift ”Crying In Public”(från kommande albumet MOTH)

Samarbetet med danske Robin Hannibal(Rhye, Quadron) på förra singeln ”Ch-Ching” kunde ha haft sin naturliga fortsättning i nya ”Crying In Public”, men trots dragen av electrosoul har Brooklynduon själva stått för produktionen.

Alissia ”Take Off”(från kommande EP:n Back To The Funkture)

Lite av en världsmedborgare är hon, 24-åriga funkbasisten Alissia Benveniste. Född i Geneve, uppvuxen i Milano och London men nu baserad i New York. Och hon är bland det coolaste som kommer att hända i år. Hör bara och njut av Minneapolis-vibbarna i ”Take Off”, ett arv i rakt nedåtstigande led från Prince, The Time och Sheila E.

Ben Hemming ”Black Heart”(singel)

Alternativbluesen har hittat ett hem i London.

Emily Wolfe ”Atta Blues”(singel)

Mäktig rock med bluesiga inslag och distad sång.

Majid Jordan ”Every Step Every Way”(från kommande albumet Majid Jordan)

Torontoduon var medproducenter till Drake-hiten ”Hold On, We’re Going Home” och släpper sitt självbetitlade debutalbum om en vecka. Drake medverkade på deras första singel ”My Love” som kom i slutet av 2015. Smäktande alt-R&B med ett fint groove kantat av några ”fulljud” som gör det precis så där intressant som det ska vara.

The I Don’t Cares ”Love Out Loud”(från Wild Stab)

Paul Westerberg och Juliana Hatfield har gjort ett fantastiskt rock’n’rollalbum som har svettiga barer i sitt DNA. Givet för den som saknar The Replacements och The Georgia Satellites.

Matt Kivel ”Violets”(singel)

Los Angeles-baserade Kivel är kompis med Martin Courtney från Real Estate. No shit.

Rostam ”EOS”(singel)

Sedan senaste Vampire Weekend-albumet Modern Vampires Of The City kom ut 2013 har medlemmarna ägnat sig åt egna projekt. Häromdagen meddelade producenten, låtskrivaren och multiinstrumentalisten Rostam Batmanglij att han lämnar bandet för att helt och hållet skriva och producera åt andra artister, men även åt sig själv. ”EOS” har elementen av världsmusik som varit bandets signum, element som möjligen bottnar i Batmanglijs iranska rötter.

Steve Mason ”Planet Sizes”(från kommande albumet Meet The Humans)

Tredje soloalbumet från Beta Band-sångaren kommer i slutet av februari och första singeln är alldeles förträfflig folkpop med ljusa akustiska gitarrer och luftiga keyboardslingor.

The Arcs ”Lake Superior”(singel)

Dan Auerbach, Richard Swift & Co har släppt en singel vars intäkter går till en organisation som arbetar för oskyldigt dömdas återupprättelse och frigivning.

Toads Of The Short Forest ”The Wind Up Bird”(singel)

Jag kan bara inte förvägra er den här garagepsychpärlan som kunde ha legat med i Nuggets-boxen och gjorts av The Standells eller Strawberry Alarm Clock men i själva verket är helt svensk och nysläppt.

Anderson .Paak ”Put Me Thru”(från Malibu)

30-åringen från Oxnard i södra Kalifornien har flimrat förbi på en rad andra artisters låtar, däribland Dr Dre och The Game. Nu har han gett ut sitt andra egna album och visar upp konstarten i att behärska både rap och sång till fullo, detta över styggt funkiga basgångar.

Big Head Todd & The Monsters ”Wipeout Turn”(singel)

Det tog Todd Park Mohr inte mindre än sex år att skriva nya singeln. Efter att ha sett ett Florence & The Machine-framträdande i Saturday Night Live lossnade märkligt nog allt och en halvtimme senare var låten klar. En ”Wild Night”-svängig sak med Mohrs varma soulröst inbäddad i lite mer bredbent Americanarock.

hermajesty ”Mariana(I’ll Find You)”(från EP:n My Body Your Mind)

Ej att förväxla med göteborgarna som hette nästan likadant. Det här art-indiebandet bildades i New York för några år sedan och har precis släppt en 5-spårs EP väl värd att lägga öronen på. Till min glädje upptäckte jag dessutom att Fountains Of Wayne-gitarristen Jody Porter medverkar på spåret ”Crystals”.

The Winstons ”She’s My Face”(från The Winstons)

Ej att förväxla med det gamla funkbandet som låg bakom tidernas mest samplade trumbreak, det s.k. ”Amen, Brother”-breaket. Inte mycket är dock känt kring denna mystiska italienska psych/prog/poptrio som antagit(?) varsitt alias med efternamnet Winston i sann Ramones-anda. John Lennon frontar The Doors, typ.

BJ The Chicago Kid ”Turnin’ Me Up”(från kommande albumet In My Mind)

Den perfekta kombinationen av modern soul och gammelsoul. Ligger för övrigt på Motown och den här bär sina Marvin Gaye-influenser på utsidan av kavajslagen.

Nina Nesbitt ”Chewing Gum”(från kommande EP:n Modern Love)

Jag har hyllat henne förr och fortsätter: få skriver så personligt och med sting om sina egna(?) trasselflörtar och tillkortakommanden ute i nattlivet som Nina Nesbitt.

St. Lucia ”Help Me Run Away”(från Matter)

Tre år efter fenomenala singeln ”Elevate” är New York-baserade sydafrikanen Jean-Philip Grobler tillbaka med sitt andra album fyllt till brädden med synthpop.


Följande låtar bör heller inte, under några omständigheter, missas:

exmagician ”Job Done”(från kommande albumet Scan The Blue)

Massive Attack feat. Azekel ”Ritual”(från Ritual EP)

Fort Frances ”Building A Wall”(från kommande albumet Alio)

Great Lakes ”Blood On My Tooth”(från Wild Vision)

Laura Mvula feat. Nile Rodgers ”Overcome”(singel)

Feral Conservatives ”Round The Corner”(från Here’s To Almost)

Public Access TV ”On Location”(singel)

Them Swoops ”Into The Atmosphere”(singel)

Wild Nothing ”Life Of Pause”(från kommande albumet Life Of Pause)

Lust For Youth ”Stardom”(från kommande albumet Compassion)

NZCA Lines ”Two Hearts”(från Infinite Summer)

Starwalker ”Everybody’s Got Their Own Way”(från kommande albumet Starwalker)

Conrad Keely ””(från Original Machines)

moodblanc ”Good Things In Life”(från Faith)

POLIÇA ”Wedding”(från kommande albumet United Crushers)

Attic Light ”Exile”(singel)

King Charles ”St Peter’s Gate”(från Gamble For A Rose)

Operators ”Cold Light”(singel)

Bibio ”Feeling”(från kommande albumet A Mineral Love)

JF Robitaille feat. Julie Doiron ”Missing You”(singel)

Katy B. feat. Kaytranada ”Honey”(från kommande albumet Honey)

Night Beats ”Burn To Breathe”(från Who Sold My Generation)

Tacocat ”I Hate The Weekend”(från kommande albumet Lost Time)

Charlie Hilton ”Long Goodbye”(från Palana)

Lunar Springs ”Travel Light”(från Music For Prisoners)

Rachel Platten ”Speechless”(från Wildfire)

Tiggs Da Author feat. Lady Leshurr ”Run”(singel)

The Crookes ”The Lucky Ones”(från Lucky Ones)

Field Music ”Disappointed”(från kommande albumet Commontime)

LNZNDRF ”Kind Things”(från kommande albumet LNZNDRF)

Quilt ”Eliot St.”(från kommande albumet Plaza)

Suuns ”Translate”(från kommande albumet Hold/Still)

AlunaGeorge feat. Popcaan ”I’m In Control”(singel)

Beach Baby ”Sleeperhead”(singel)

RJD2 feat. Jordan Brown ”Peace Of What”(från kommande albumet Dame Fortune)

Woods ”Sun City Creeps”(från kommande albumet City Sun Eater In The River Of Light)

The Anchoress ”Bury Me”(från Confessions Of A Romance Novelist)

Meilyr Jones ”How To Recognise A Work Of Art”(singel)

RÜFÜS ”Hypnotised”(från Bloom)

Seafret ”Breathe”(från Tell Me It’s Real)

Prince Rama ”Now Is The Time Of Emotion”(från kommande albumet Xtreme Now)

School Of Seven Bells ”Ablaze”(från kommande albumet SVIIB)

The Thermals ”Hey You”(från kommande albumet We Disappear)

M. Ward ”Temptation”(från kommande albumet More Rain)

Yuck ”Hearts In Motion”(från kommande albumet Stranger Things)

Ben Watt ”Gradually”(från kommande albumet Fever Dream)

Captain Supernova feat. Laura Mace ”Leaving The Past Behind”(från kommande albumet Doors Of Perception)

Fossil Collective ”I Remember It Now”(från Flux)

Fat White Family ”Tinfoil Deathstar”(från Songs For Our Mothers)

The Hunna ”We Could Be”(singel)

Slum Sociable ”Apartment”(singel)

Wyldest ”Stalking Moon”(singel)

Eric Bachmann ”Mercy”(från kommande albumet Eric Bachmann)

Holy Esque ”Tear”(från kommande albumet At Hope’s Ravine)

Lewis Watson ”Maybe We’re Home”(singel)

Work Drugs ”American Fool”(singel)

Day Wave ”Gone”(från kommande EP:n Hard To Read)

Spookyland ”God’s Eyes”(singel)

Saturday, Monday feat. Brolin ”Pilgrim”(från kommande EP:n Superset)

Misun feat. Gil The Kid ”June”(singel)

Bleached ”Keep On Keepin’ On”(från kommande albumet Welcome The Worms)

SNBRN feat. Nate Dogg ”Gangsta Walk”(singel)

Black Twig ”1998”(från kommande albumet Blaze On A Plain)

Liima ”Amerika”(från kommande albumet ii)

Send Medicine ”Way To The Sea”(från Scary Aquarius Daughter)

Young Elk ”Debts”(från Minor Keys EP)

The Cactus Blossoms ”Queen Of Them All”(från You’re Dreaming)

Keren Ann ”Where Did You Go?”(från kommande albumet You’re Gonna Get Love)

Savages ”Evil”(från Adore Life)

Feels ”If You’d Meet Me Tonight”(singel)

PJ Harvey ”The Wheel”(från kommande albumet The Hope Six Demoilition Project)

Porches ”Be Apart”(från kommande albumet Pool)

The Saint Johns ”Lost The Feeling”(från kommande albumet Dead Of Night)

Saul Williams ”Think Like They Book Say”(från MartyrLoserKing)

Cullen Omori ”Cinnamon”(från kommande albumet New Misery)

Dawn Landes and Piers Faccini ”We Come And Go”(från Desert Songs)

Glass ”Broken Bones”(singel)

Nicky Blitz ”House”(singel)

HAERTS ”Turn It Around”(från Power/Land)

Lissie ”Wild West”(från kommande albumet My Wild West)

The She-Devils ”Come”(från She-Devils EP)

Turin Brakes ”Keep Me Around”(från Lost Property)

Chappo ”Celebrate”(från Future Former Self)

Mass Gothic ”Every Night You’ve Got To Save Me”(från kommande albumet Mass Gothic)

Whitney ”No Woman”(singel)

Black Peaches ”Fire & A Water Sign”(från Get Down You Dirty Rascals)

Ed Tullett ”Malignant”(singel)

Parker Lewis ”Visa Mig Himlen”(singel)

Amanda Bergman ”Falcon”(singel)

Daughter ”How”(från Not To Disappear)

Laura Doggett ”Mr David”(singel)

Sarah Dashew ”Free Ride”(från Roll Like A Wheel)

Frankie Cosmos ”Sinister”(från kommande albumet Next Thing)

Syvia ”Anxious Animil”(singel)

Teen Brains ”Wash Away”(singel)

Little Jinder ”Puzzel”(från Allting Suger)

MMOTHS ”Eva”(från kommande albumet Luneworks)

DIIV ”Is The Is Are”(från kommande albumet Is The Is Are)

Class of 2015 – The 100 greatest songs of the year!

Once asked in pre-school about my favourite Christmas tradition, the first thing I came to think about was how we always stopped for burgers at a certain restaurant half way into our snowy 10 hour drives up north for the holidays. Maybe not the most logical answer coming from my seven-year-old self considering how long the wishlist posted to Santa Claus was, but obviously what goes on in the mind of a child isn’t always what you expect. These days, much as I still won’t turn down a juicy burger when offered one, I’ve moved on somewhat although my favourite traditions may still be at odds with those of other people. The compiling of the year end list has the past few years slowly grown to become my favourite Christmas tradition. The ever-changing shortlist. The twisting and turning of the running order. The hunt for variation. The risk of leaving something out. Most of all, though, reading what really went on there when magic was made.

Back in the late nineties, when I plowed through Ian MacDonald’s extensive account of The Beatles’ every recorded song, little did I know it would spark this near-obsessive interest in getting acquainted with the way my favourite songs came to be. When I decided to start writing about music some years ago it was clear to me that I needed some sort of input from artists and musicians, not least for the list including the very best songs from the past year. So here we are, closing 2015 before our eyes begin to look forward to 2016. I’m sure we’ll be looking forward to closing 2016 just as much as we loved it this time.

Below you have the 100 songs I just couldn’t get enough of the past 12 months. More than 40 of these performers have been kind enough to exclusively for you and Songs for Whoever tell the tale of how they did it. How they brought to life what tickled my most tender spots. So let yourself sink deeply into their personal accounts of how their songs were created while you listen carefully to the tracks. Don’t rush things, because you’ve got a lot of exciting reading and listening to joyfully combine here. All you have to do is just give in and let it all tickle your tender spots too.

N.B. My deepest gratitude(and apologies for the stalking…) to all the artists and musicians for taking time to contribute the stories told in this list by giving their songs a personal touch, additional dimension and even a new life. You are all number one.

LISTEN TO THE PLAYLIST VIA TIDAL HIFI

100. Julia Holter ”Sea Calls Me Home”(from Have You In My Wilderness)

99. Blood Orange ”Sandra’s Smile”(single)

98. Chromatics ”I Can Never Be Myself When You’re Around”(single)

97. NAO ”Bad Blood”(single)

96. Disclosure feat. Lorde ”Magnets”(from Caracal)

travellanes

citattecken ”I swear the first verse happened as soon as he picked up the guitar. The song is in G and the rest is history.”

95. Travel Lanes ”Little Outta Love”(from Let’s Begin To Start Again)

”I was listening to a whole bunch of tunes a friend had sent. His name is Gerry McGoldrick (Napalm Sunday, Solid For Sixty). The majority of them were great and complete. But, he had this one tune that seemed to be in need of a chorus and lyrics. The only thing I could make out was ‘Felt a Little Outta Love’. I told him that I wanted to work on it. It came really easy……the lyrics, the chorus, the bridge. I was really happy with it. I played it to Gerry and he didn’t share my enthusiasm. He had other plans for it……which I truly understand. And yet, I wanted it for the record. It seemed effortless, and I generally go with those kinds of songs.

Recording it was a whole lotta fun. We recorded the basic track for the song as a three piece (John Bicer, Mitch Cojocairu) at Mitch‘s house with no idea who would be playing lead on it. Our guitarist, Derek Feinberg, was on leave and we weren’t sure when, or if, he was coming back. Surprise, surprise, he did come back. And his guitar playing was among the most natural on the record. I swear the first verse happened as soon as he picked up the guitar. The song is in G and the rest is history.”

Frank Brown

94. MONEY ”I’ll Be The Night”(single)

93. ANOHNI ”4 Degrees”(single)

92. John Grant feat. Tracey Thorn ”Disappointing”(from Grey Tickles, Black Pressure)

91. Mikal Cronin ”iii) Control”(from MCIII)

90. Courtney Barnett ”Pedestrian At Best”(from Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit)

89. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats ”I Need Never Get Old”(from Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats)

88. The Tallest Man On Earth ”Little Nowhere Towns”(from Dark Bird Is Home)

87. CHVRCHES ”Clearest Blue”(from Every Open Eye)

86. Tobias Jesso Jr. ”Without You”(from Goon)

citattecken ”Getting Samantha involved is a pretty simple task for Small Houses. She sings with me whenever we get the chance.”

85. Small Houses feat. Samantha Crain ”Seventeen in Roselore”(from Still Talk; Second City)

”A fun thing I like to tell people about this song cites the 3rd verse. ‘Now the ferry way back 88, while John sang Crain and Hearst’. The ‘Ferry’ is in reference to my car, The Cripple Creek Ferry, which comes from a Neil Young song. 88 is a highway that cuts through Illinois. John Davey, a fella that sings on my record, is humming along with songs by Samantha Crain and Cary Ann Hearst (Shovels & Rope). Sort of a loaded couple of lines!

I wrote the song in the wake of moving out of a town in Michigan called Kalamazoo. There are references to places around the area like Water St., and Scio county. Getting Samantha involved is a pretty simple task for Small Houses. She sings with me whenever we get the chance. When we were still recording, Samantha was on her way overseas to do a string of shows with Neutral Milk Hotel. I told her to make sure her layover was in Atlanta so we could fit in a day of catching up. I picked her up from the airport, we went straight to the studio, sang some songs, and within a few hours I was driving back towards the plane.”

Jeremy Quentin

briana

citattecken ”There was something with the Casio keyboard beat that I liked.”

84. Briana Marela ”Take Care Of Me”(from All Around Us)

”I started out that song with just the chorus, ‘you take care of me like I’m the only one’. I had written the first verse for it, then I felt that I wanted a song with a beat and I had a little Casio keyboard with beats on it. I’d recorded different beats and put them in a computer, then I panned one left and the other right before I put them together and slowed it down a bit. There was something with the beat that I liked. From there I just recorded the vocals I had over it and then started writing chords. There was an earlier demo version that was on a cassette compilation in a magazine called The Believer, a very early version of the song when I just had recorded it. This guy Calvin Johnson from K Records had asked me to put it on the compilation, and I was like ‘okay, it’s not really done yet but I’ll put it out”.

I wrote it about the person I was dating at the time. I’ve really only had two big relationships in my life, I’m kind of flick, I don’t really date people that much. I’m kind of shy and weird. So it was my second big relationship and it was a lot different than my first where I felt like I was the one nurturing the other person a lot, trying to help take care of him. Making sure things were okay for him, he was an artist and kind of unstable. Then the second was almost the opposite, I was the unstable one, frantic and weird and he was always helping me. I felt it was so nice to be helped and have someone who made things right when you were just feeling helpless and distraught.”

– Briana Marela

83. Låpsley ”Brownlow”(from Understudy EP)

82. Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge feat. Vince Staples ”Get The Money”(from Twelve Reasons To Die II)

81. Ezra Furman ”Restless Year”(from Perpetual Motion People)

80. Beach House ”10:37″(from Depression Cherry)

79. Father John Misty ”Strange Encounter”(from I Love You, Honeybear)

78. Protomartyr ”Pontiac 87″(from The Agent Intellect)

77. Two Gallants ”Some Trouble”(from We Are Undone)

76. The White Buffalo ”Last Call To Heaven”(from Love And The Death Of Damnation)

75. Drenge ”We Can Do What We Want”(from Undertow)

74. Metric ”The Shade”(from Pagans In Vegas)

73. Lady Lamb ”Billions Of Eyes”(from After)

72. Ghostpoet feat. Nadine Shah ”X Marks The Spot”(from Shedding Skin)

71. Years & Years ”King”(from Communion)

70. SOAK ”Sea Creatures”(from Before We Forgot How To Dream)

69. Vetiver ”Loose Ends”(from Complete Strangers)

68. Novo Amor ”Anchor”(single)

67. Empress Of ”Water Water”(from Me)

66. Petite Noir ”Just Breathe”(from La Vie Est Belle/Life Is Beautiful)

65. Peace ”Lost On Me”(from Happy People)

big data

citattecken ”We envisioned a character that becomes fed up with all the technology that consumes his life, and his ‘perfect holiday’ is to disconnect completely…”

64. Big Data feat. Twin Shadow ”Perfect Holiday”(from 2.0)

”With ‘Perfect Holiday’, as with most of my songs, I wrote the instrumental parts first before getting together with George (Twin Shadow) to work on the vocals. I started with the bassline first, and then built the track around it. Musically, I wanted it to feel menacing but also trancelike in its repetition, and I wanted the drums to punch as hard as possible. Lyrically, we wrote the song around the idea of unplugging. We envisioned a character that becomes fed up with all the technology that consumes his life, and his ‘perfect holiday’ is to disconnect completely and return to his roots.”

– Alan Wilkis

citattecken ”To me this song has a vibe to it. It always makes me happy and it is so fun to do live.”

63. OMVR ”Up In The Air”(single)

”The song was originally written by Dag and Halvor (also known as the duo Skinny Days). It was our first time meeting and the start of a great relation both musically and on a personal level. We rewrote a little bit of the song and changed some of the structure and just recorded it. Had so much fun doing this track with them and the audience always responded to this song when we did our live shows. 

To me this song has a vibe to it. It always makes me happy and it is so fun to do live. It’s a little bit outside what I normally would do, but I guess that’s what I love about the track. It’s just a fun song!”

– Omar Mohamed Ahmed

62. Ducktails ”Surreal Exposure”(from St. Catherine)

61. Birdy + Rhodes ”Let It All Go”(from Wishes)

60. Toro Y Moi ”Spell It Out”(from What For?)

59. Bop English ”Struck Matches”(from Constant Bop)

58. Julien Baker ”Everybody Does”(from Sprained Ankle)

57. Van Hunt ”Emotional Criminal”(from The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets)

56. Everything Everything ”Regret”(from Get To Heaven)

55. The Japanese House ”Cool Blue”(from Clean)

54. Elohim ”She Talks Too Much”(single)

53. Astronauts, Etc ”Eye To Eye”(from Mind Out Wandering)

52. Ben Khan ”1000”(from 1000 EP)

ivan

citattecken ”…we view those who are smiling all the time, as the most trustworthy. But I have found the opposite to be true.”

51. Ivan & Alyosha  ”It’s All Just Pretend”(from It’s All Just Pretend)

”In a nut shell, the song is about letting your true colors show. Being completely transparent to those who are observing your life. So many times we view those who are smiling all the time, as the most trustworthy. But I have found the opposite to be true. The people who have inspired me most, are the ones who are well aware of the troubles in life.”

– Pete Wilson

LISTEN TO THE PLAYLIST VIA TIDAL HIFI

Golden Ticket

citattecken ”…the boogie down funk feel made sense. Definitely one of our favorite records to perform live.”

50. Golden Rules ”Down South Boogie”(from Golden Ticket)

”‘Down South Boogie’ was one of the last songs we recorded for the album, after we already assumed it was finished. The beat was infectious from the beginning before there was any lyrics or idea meant for it. We both live on the South end of our cities and just representing that with the boogie down funk feel made sense. Definitely one of our favorite records to perform live. The crowd’s reaction as soon as the beat drop is always a gratifying feeling.”

– Eric Biddines

The Charlatans Modern Nature

citattecken ”After all, Jon had brain cancer. After he died, there was a real kind of lightness. In some ways everyone felt that he was in a better place.”

49. The Charlatans ”Come Home Baby”(from Modern Nature)

”We hadn’t made an album in five years, though we all wanted to, but with Jon‘s illness it was difficult to start. He wanted to, but everyone else thought it wasn’t a good idea for him as he was in no shape. He really wanted to be involved, so we did some jams and stuff like that to keep him as busy as we could but there was never gonna be an album made in that situation. It was just too dark. After all, Jon had brain cancer. After he died, there was a real kind of lightness. In some ways everyone felt that he was in a better place. He was suffering, not having any real medication during chemotherapy and radiation for three years, then the cancer was in remission before coming back twice as much. After his funeral in August we did a concert in October and felt we’d been through it all and went back to the studio to see what could happen. There, we all sat down on sofas, pretty much put a microphone in the middle and started singing and it just came out. It was beautiful and positive and even though it was in the middle of winter it sounded like summer. Like it was recorded in the Caribbean with rays of sunshine, and it was amazing.

‘Come Home Baby’ was an instrumental that Tony brought in, it sounded like a traditional Charlatans song to me and I didn’t take notice at it too much until I was in the car driving from Manchester to Northwitch to go and see my family. I sat there listening to it and suddenly just thought ‘there’s something really good about this’, something that just transcends the traditional us, something a bit more spiritual and I just got the lyrics trying to write about my little boy. As with most of my lyrics they could mean more than one thing, quite dreamy I suppose, and I think a lot of people thought it was about Jon. It’s kind of bizarre. There’s only one song on the album that makes me think about Jon and that’s ‘Trouble Understanding’, but that’s just a song about nature, really. But it’s good with double meanings, isn’t it? Half the time I don’t know what the songs are about, I’m the kind of writer that lets things unfold and if I let it be like that naturally it seems to give more. If you try to rush it or crump its style it’s like nurturing something, really.”

Tim Burgess

lp

citattecken ”I was at a place in my personal relationship where we hadn’t broken up but I knew something was off.”

48. LP ”Muddy Waters”(single)

”This song came about like a storm really. It was all written in one quick day (except for the bridge) with Josh Record, an amazing British singer/songwriter. We met at a sorta crappy recording studio in the middle of London and talked about wanting it to have an old field recording vibe as far as the tempo and the sadness. We were searching for some good sounds and a vibe but were coming up short at the studio so we took a cab to his house out in Crystal Palace and had a few beers and it popped out pretty quick. I was at a place in my personal relationship where we hadn’t broken up but I knew something was off. That song kind of leapt out of my subconscious onto the page. Like any good collaborator, Josh was right there with me and we built the track with that mood in the room. I had the title Muddy Waters in my phone and knew it would be cool if I could get it right. Not to mention impossible to google!! Well done!

Then Mike Del Rio who later produced it fleshed it out with even more moodiness and when we put some amazing gospel singer friends of mine on it and it really just came together.”

– LP

The-Slow-Show-White-Water

citattecken ”…performing the song live I’ve realised it’s an incredibly sad song about a very unhappy time.”

47. The Slow Show ”Paint You Like A Rose”(from White Water)

”‘Paint you like a rose’ is a personal account of a tired relationship. It’s a song about taking things for granted and how time can change a perspective, weather an identity. I think the central line in the song sums up it’s meaning perfectly, in a very straight forward way:

‘I’ll paint you like a rose if you’d just stand still
Just like you used to
All those things you know
About me are true
But they’re wasted on you’

I wrote the song in Manchester, in one sitting, very quickly. I didn’t spend much time giving it any meaning or thinking about it’s origin or inspiration. Listening back and performing the song live I’ve realised it’s an incredibly sad song about a very unhappy time. Strangely, I still enjoy performing the song. It’s very cathartic and it still feels very honest. I hope people can relate to this song or at least take something from it.”

– Rob Goodwin

darrenhanlon

citattecken ”The day it was recorded, in an old Church in New Orleans, was the first time it was played through properly. I found the double bass player in a club the night before…”

46. Darren Hanlon ”Halley’s Comet, 1986″(from Where Did You Come From?)

”This song came whilst I was holed up in the suburbs of Nashville trying to write other songs. The couple upstairs would fight a lot so I’d go out walking the streets in the steaming heat feeling homesick. At night when I feel like this I tend to look at the stars, knowing they link us all, and that if my family looks up in the night sky they might see the same ones as me (the American sky overlaps with the Australian sky at the edges). That’s when the idea for the song hit me.

To attempt to see Halley’s Comet back in 1986 one had to locate the Pleiades constellation. It’s the one I can most easily identify now, mainly because of those cold nights in the front yard. I was heartened to discover it also perches in the American sky like an old friend, albeit in the early morning as the horizon starts to lighten with the sunrise.

This song might be one of the longest on the album but it’s the one that came to me the quickest, fully formed. These are always the most magical for the writer. The day it was recorded, in an old Church in New Orleans, was the first time it was played through properly. I found the double bass player in a club the night before and asked if he wanted to play. Due to such haste I neglected to fact-check and therefore screwed up my astral navigational instructions. I sang, “to the right of the Hyades, to the left of the Pleiades,” when in fact it is the opposite. I realized too late and now, I guess, I’ve lost any Astronomer fans I once had.

The only thing that was added later was the accordion as I was mixing it in Portland, by my good friend Jenee Conlee. Now sometimes when I play it I get tears in my eyes. My parents still live in the same house, and the lady still lives next door. I’ll be seeing them all when I go home for Christmas.”

– Darren Hanlon

billie

citattecken ”…it sort of turned into this super sad song I guess about how words can really affect people, and not for the right reasons…”

45. Billie Marten ”Bird”(from As Long As EP)

”‘Bird’ was written with Olivia Broadfield and was a last resort sort of song. We hadn’t come up with anything all day until we switched from guitars to piano and I started singing nonsense words way up high and it sort of turned into this super sad song I guess about how words can really affect people, and not for the right reasons; how you can feel kind of trapped/caught in your own space all the time even when no-one is actually with you.”

– Billie Marten

44. Dornik ”Drive”(from Dornik)

43. Eliot Sumner ”After Dark”(single)

42. The Helio Sequence ”Upward Mobility”(from The Helio Sequence)

ALBERTACROSS_ALBERTACROSS-500PIX

citattecken ”…earlier on it was more electronic. We used a lot of old 70/80s synthesizers…”

41. Alberta Cross ”Isolation”(from Alberta Cross)

”‘Isolation’ was one of the first songs I wrote for the new record. It went through a lot of phases. At one point earlier on it was more electronic. We used a lot of old 70/80s synthesizers etc. We ended up rerecording it again pretty live up in the studio Dreamland in Upstate New York where the whole record was recorded. Dreamland is an old Church that they converted into a music studio. I feel like the room there really captured the vibe of the song and the live vibe mixed with us adding some more modern sounds back in Midtown a few weeks later made the tune what it is. Lyrically it kinda talks for itself. It’s mostly about the feeling of isolation and escapism.”

Petter Ericson Stakee

cduncanarchitect_1437940242

citattecken ”…I was listening to a lot of Fever Ray, which definitely influenced the track.”

40. C. Duncan ”Say”(from Architect)

”When I wrote ‘Say’ I was listening to a lot of Fever Ray, which definitely influenced the track. I wrote and recorded it in my home studio. I wanted to keep the chord sequence simple and have more rhythmically driven vibe, whilst maintaining the melodic and choral elements used in my other songs. ‘Say’ is about escaping from the city and running away to a distant (almost utopian) place.”

Chris Duncan

django

citattecken ”The drum beat is made of live drums mixed with chopped samples.”

39. Django Django ”First Light”(from Born Under Saturn)

”‘First Light’ was the first song we finished from the new album. It seemed appropriate to use it first given the title! So it was the first single. The lyrics are all about new beginnings and fresh starts but it has a darker undertone to it. It started with a synth hook that Tommy wrote then the chorus came much later. The drum beat is made of live drums mixed with chopped samples. The vocals are sometimes tracked four times and split. I like 1960s and 70s vocal recording methods to try to emulate that.”

Dave Maclean

surferblood

citattecken ”…I was sick with a fever and sleeping out on the couch. I woke up delirious and wandered into the kitchen where I got into a conversation with my father…”

38. Surfer Blood ”Island”(from 1000 Palms)

”‘Island’ is one of the songs that’s been in the back of our mind for years, and was considered for our Warner Bros album Pythons. We’ve always liked the chorus and the eerie, dream-like quality, but couldn’t fit the pieces together in the right way. When we started writing for our newest record: 1000 Palms, we decided to use the song in its very first incarnation, the version we preferred before any producers/ label people heard it and started moving things around. In hindsight, I’m glad we waited to record this song on our own terms.

I wrote the lyrics about coming home to my parents house after a long tour, I was sick with a fever and sleeping out on the couch. I woke up delirious and wandered into the kitchen where I got into a conversation with my father, I don’t remember what we were talking about exactly, but it was a very strange experience. I went and jotted down some lyrics afterwards, and didn’t look at them again until weeks later. It was just a few verses, but they ended up becoming the foundation of the song.”

– John Paul Pitts

cyril

citattecken ”…she hopped in her car and spent a majority of the day driving between Santa Monica and Ventura. The melody and lyrics clicked in her head while she was driving.”

37. Cyril Hahn feat. Kotomi ”Grace”(from Begin EP)

”The song started out as an instrumental early this year. I knew that I would want somebody to sing over it from the start and layed out the song in a pop structure with verse, chorus, bridge etc. I sent it over to Kotomi along with a couple of other demos but she was instantly drawn to Grace. Kotomi told me that when she first heard the demo, she hopped in her car and went for a drive along the Pacific Coast Highway and spent a majority of the day driving between Santa Monica and Ventura. The melody and lyrics clicked in her head while she was driving. With a voice Memo and a notepad by her side, she’d pull over and jot down words as she thought of them. She then recorded the vocals in her living room at home later on.

When I asked Kotomi about the lyrics, she told me the following: ‘I think everyone naturally gets attached to their plans and expectations for their lives, and also to their perception of themselves…and the more attached you are, the more difficult it is to adjust when change inevitably comes our way. So just move…embrace change, and enjoy the process. Maybe the short version of that would be it’s about being fluide, embracing change, and enjoying the process.'”

– Cyril Hahn

sonlux

citattecken ”We invited Moses Sumney into the studio to emulate the manipulated flute parts with his voice.”

36. Son Lux ”You Don’t Know Me”(from Bones)

”‘You Don’t Know Me’ emerged from a sketch I started on the very first day of work on the record. Playing back a recording of a Japanese flute at different speeds, then layering the takes, I built a series of chords. Later, we invited Moses Sumney into the studio to emulate the manipulated flute parts with his voice. After this, I recorded the lead vocal (while developing laryngitis). Hanna Benn swooped in at the last minute, channeled Mariah Carey, Palestrina and Schoenberg, and wrote and sung all the amazing stuff that closes the song.”

– Ryan Lott

stevenaclark

citattecken ”I wanted the song to have a classic soulful rock feel to it, like something from the 70s.”

35. Steven A. Clark ”Lonely Roller”(from The Lonely Roller)

”The song started with the beat idea. It was a very simple four on the floor rhythm, then I added the fake guitar melody. The line ‘flew out to Vegas for the weekend’ just randomly popped into my head and the lyrics and melodies developed from there. I was thinking about if I could be anywhere and go crazy where would that be? Vegas was the answer.

I wanted the song to have a classic soulful rock feel to it, like something from the 70s. The song is pretty old and has been reproduced a couple times but once we decided to add the song to the album we took in into to the studio to add more elements. My friend Albert Vargas, who is a great bass player, completely changed the dynamic of the song with the bass line he added. The bass makes the song great.”

– Steven A. Clark

34. The Wombats ”Be Your Shadow”(from Glitterbug)

33. Kurt Vile ”Pretty Pimpin”(from b’lieve i’m goin down…)

32. Bully ”Trying”(from Feels Like)

vvbrown

citattecken ”The song is about the gay rights movement centered around the vogueing scene, which took place in Brooklyn, New York.”

31. V V ”Shift”(from Glitch)

”‘Shift’ was written in 6 hours and produced in 2 days. It was a very natural process. The song is about the gay rights movement centered around the vogueing scene, which took place in Brooklyn, New York. The song is about empowerment and shifting perceptions whilst eradicating discrimination and homophobia. The song lyrics are about fighting for those rights and empowerment as a collective. This doesn’t have to be directed just at homophobia but at human rights in general. The vogueing scene was very much dipped in house music and we wanted to personify that in the beat and the feel of the track. It needed to feel like a club in the 80’s/90’s of underground New York.

Brutal, aggressive, but powerful but still feminine. It opens with ‘I will be the girl that you will dream about’ – The dream after all is true equality where no one judges anyone and you can be free to be truly yourself. We kept the structure open, but wanted the verses to have an almost medieval quality to the arrangement of the melodies. There needed to be a consistency with the operatic vocal tones very much like the last album but needed to make you feel like you were vogueing and feeling fabulous like the political statement made by the vogueing dancer. Nearly native and I have a lot of musical chemistry and this song was the last song on the album, we didn’t know where it came from but on a Tuesday afternoon it just did. ”

– V V Brown

beachslang

citattecken ”This was me listening to way too much Jesus & Mary Chain and having a go at writing a loud pop song.”

30. Beach Slang ”Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas”(from The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us)

”This song is for a friend who really needed to hear it. It’s strange how really brilliant some people can be and just never know it. I wanted to remind her. I don’t know, Stephen Merritt said this thing once about there only being two types of Music that matter – pop and avant garde. This was me listening to way too much Jesus & Mary Chain and having a go at writing a loud pop song. I think maybe I even got some of it right. Who knows?”

– James Alex

ghostculture

citattecken ”Since the release of Depeche Mode’s song ‘Get The Balance Right’, Detroit artists have been influenced by the more European sound that they had pioneered. I felt inspired to follow…”

29. Ghost Culture ”Arms”(from Ghost Culture)

”‘Arms’ came about after listening to Omar S. and other artists on his FXHE label based in Detroit, some tracks of which I like to DJ. Since the release of Depeche Mode’s song ‘Get The Balance Right’, Detroit artists have been influenced by the more European sound that they had pioneered. I felt inspired to follow these footsteps and try to create something with a good middle ground between the two; a strong but ‘bouncy’ and spacious rhythm section, a held but flowing bass line, and a vocal centre-piece.

The bass line and the top line came first, followed by the vocal melody and then the lyrics last. This is a process I used for the whole album, it did make it fairly difficult, in that I then had to fit lyrics into a pre written melody syllable by syllable. Luckily, I had only managed to write one line of melody for this track, but I liked that limitation and felt that the song didn’t need any more than that.

The production took many forms over the course of making the track, I even tried one version with live drums and bass. The end section is a chance for the song to work well live, this moment always works on stage because it is a break from concentrating on the melody and a chance to dance a bit. The lyrics are about a person who you trust and is never wrong, but also who you are unnervingly fixated on, and can’t shake it. The end result works well for me and was worth the experimenting”

– James Greenwood

lowerdens

citattecken ”It’s a scenario that’s played out time and time again in my life, as I love quite a few self-destructive, stubborn people.”

28. Lower Dens ”Ondine”(from Escape From Evil)

”Ondine is unique in that the whole band wrote it together in a single day’s writing session (except for the lyrics.) In the demo version we recorded that day, it’s entirely intact. When we worked together on those early sessions, someone would write a bass line (in this case it was me), then Nate added drums, then Will or Walker (in this case, Walker) added guitar, and finally I added my complimentary guitar part. When Geoff played the bass line on his synth, the preset he loaded already had a delay on it. The delay for whatever reason added a kind of timeless melancholy, and from there, it was very easy to complete the song. It was one of those things that feels like it’s writing itself. I wrote the lyrics and recorded them the next day. I still don’t really know what it’s about exactly, but I’ve come to understand that it has something to do with feeling a deep concern for a loved one, trying desperately to help them, and realizing with a kind of futile frustration that they can’t or won’t accept your help. It’s a scenario that’s played out time and time again in my life, as I love quite a few self-destructive, stubborn people.

The song was difficult to record precisely because we already had a demo version of it that felt perfect. We made a more or less faithful studio version of it with our recording engineer, Chris Freeland, and our mixing engineer/co-producer Chris Coady, and finally sent it to Ariel Rechtshaid. He’d liked the song from the beginning and tried adding a lot of rich, dark elements to it to help it keep the feeling from the demo. Maybe he intended for us to just use a couple of things, but we ended up keeping almost all of it. It put the song in a slightly different, parallel universe. I took the recordings Ariel sent, edited them, sent them back to Chris C., and he mixed it.

It’s one of my favorite songs because so much of the band and our favorite producers and engineers all had a hand in it, but it remained a very solid, focused piece of work. To me that says that we were all silently agreed on what it should be, and working together toward the same thing. It’s a rare and precious thing for me for that reason.”

Jana Hunter

moonduo

citattecken ”The album Shadow of the Sun was heavily influenced by a lot of dystopian literature that I was reading at the time.”

27. Moon Duo ”Zero”(from Shadow Of The Sun)

”I don’t tend to analyze our songs, or think too hard about what they mean until we’re done with a record. The album Shadow of the Sun was heavily influenced by a lot of dystopian literature that I was reading at the time. (The song ‘Ice’ was named directly after the novel by Ana Kavan, for example). So that fed into the lyrics of the album and also the sounds, as we were playing with mixing computer, synthesized, future sounds, with regular old fashioned rock instrumentation. (In good dystopian sci-fi there’s often the old, the ruins, mixed with the new.) The song ‘Zero’ contains all of these elements, with a dash of nihilism thrown in for good measure. I’ll let the listeners interpret the song’s meaning as they will, but listening to it now I hear that I was trying to balance this sense of despair that can be overwhelming at times, with a sort of nonchalance about the whole thing (life, existence). It’s pretty dark, I guess.

Likewise, sonically we were trying to balance a lot of disparate elements that were pulling the song in different directions. We had a hard time mixing this song in particular, getting the groove to balance just right. We wanted it to flow well despite the herky-jerkyness of some of the parts. It has an awkwardness to it that we didn’t want obscured.”

– Ripley Johnson

ryley

citattecken ”We had to edit out that jam section in the end. It went on forever…”

26. Ryley Walker ”Sweet Satisfaction”(from Primrose Green)

”I came up with that in the middle of winter in a desolate Chicago last year, it gets really cold there, way below zero, three feet of snow, dangerous to go outside. I think it’s kind of a cover poet drunk song, a desperate song. You have seven or eight drinks and all of a sudden you think you’re this poet and can reach into a woman’s heart with this poem. It comes from that standing point. A drunk leaning against the wall poet. We had to cut that song down, because originally it was like fifteen minutes long. Maybe in the box set in twenty years! I like that version better but the label thought there was no room left on the record. We had to edit out that jam section in the end. It went on forever, not in a bad way, I thought it was pretty cool with the strings and that bit that sounded like Terry Riley.”

Ryley Walker

25. Luke Sital-Singh ”I Was Low”(from The Breakneck Speed Of Tomorrow)

24. Shearwater ”Quiet Americans”(single)

23. Benjamin Clementine ”The People And I”(from At Least For Now)

22. Car Seat Headrest ”Something Soon”(from Teens Of Style)

21. Amason ”Flygplatsen”(från Flygplatsen EP)

bluerosecode

citattecken ”…I had been in rehab in Bournemouth, homeless, at the end of a relationship, spiritually bankrupt, without a pot to piss in…”

20. Blue Rose Code ”Grateful”(single)

”In the final stages of a six month recording process, deep in the Scottish Borders at Gran’s House Studio, I had driven nearly five hundred miles from Dorset, in England, to prepare for a session with Nashville Gospel legends, The McCrary Sisters. I’d taken a punt and speculatively asked their UK agent, Andy Shearer, whether they’d be available during the Summer to sing on my new record. I knew they were over touring and for the festivals. In truth, I never really expected anything to come from my asking but I’ve learned that if you never ask, you’ll never know. Anyway, I had maybe six songs that I wanted to try with the Sisters and I was very excited to have them in the studio following day. I’d never met them but knew their reputation, having worked with the likes of Stevie Wonder and Mary J Blige.

I was exhausted after spending the whole day driving but, finally, in the studio alone at midnight, in the peak of Summer in the Scottish countryside, I sat and reflected on how lucky I was. Only a short while before, I had been in rehab in Bournemouth, homeless, at the end of a relationship, spiritually bankrupt, without a pot to piss in and now, here I was sat at the piano and at the end of recording an album that I loved with the best musicians I’d ever worked with.

Truly, I was grateful.

I opened the piano and played a refrain, the lyrics and melody just fell out of me, ‘When I wake in the morning, now I try to be thankful. Did you know that I almost died? From a fire that’s in my blood, now I just try to be peaceful. I’ve been burning up endlessly’.

The notion that I’ve continued to write and record in spite of the industry is something that I feel strongly. The live and online support that I receive, the radio play, that’s what sustains me. It’s the listeners with whom I have a love and connection, not the people that make value judgements based on aesthetic saleability, for whom I write. ‘I’ll never be cool, I’ll never be good looking. I’ll never be rich, I know, but, Lord, I am grateful’. A hymn of defiance to the labels and management companies who have the final say on ‘success’. To be honest, it’s a broad theme, one of acceptance and taking comfort in the blessings we have.

I continued writing on for an hour, or so. The song was written almost entirely in that one session. It very rarely happens like that but, when it does, it really is something special. It was the last song written for the record and hadn’t existed at all when we started but it summed up all that I was feeling in that moment. I’m a lucky dog. I put the pen down and went to bed and, in fact, even as the ladies were being driven down from Edinburgh to the studio the next morning, I was emailing a rough demo over to the band and still fine tuning the lyrics. It was quite extraordinary.

The final cut features Angus Lyon on keys, Euan Burton on bass, John Lowrie on drums and MG Boulter on pedal steel. Believe it or not, we recorded the ladies’ backs to the rough demo and then when we got the band in to record a few days later I said to them, ‘I want a D’Angelo vibe’, you know, that minimal rhythm section, and a hard kick. The last song written became the first single released and, actually, the song only appears in an abridged form as an intro to the album. I love it.

As a foot note, I feel like I need to address the use of Christian language in the the song. Appropriately, I tried to write my own Scots Gospel song for the ladies to sing. I wasn’t raised with religion and I’m not religious. I would, however, respect and argue for an individual’s right to worship and, frankly, it’s really none of my business.

Following the single’s release, I had a message from a guy who told me he was ‘put off by the use of the word ‘Lord’. He asked me ‘why must being grateful be connected to God’. For me, he was looking for problems where there are none. It’s artistic license and it’s my prerogative as a songwriter to write the song as I feel it.

No offence intended or ought to be taken. Maybe just take a few deep breaths and count to ten. And relax.”

– Ross Wilson

alltvvins

citattecken ”…I had about 100 loops all doing different things, it was a bit of a mess really.”

19. All Tvvins ”Thank You”(single)

”The bones of ‘Thank You’ was written pretty much in two hours in my house in Dublin, it started from a crazy project in Ableton where I had about 100 loops all doing different things, it was a bit of a mess really. Conor called into my place and had a look through the loops, straight away he picked out one loop and we got working.

I programmed a rough beat to the loop and Conor sat with a bass and microphone, he pretty much sketched out the whole track the way it is now in a couple of runs and had most of the lyrics as well. At the time we wrote ‘Thank You’ we were writing a couple of songs a week. I remember when it was finished we looked at each other and said ‘Cool, see you tomorrow’.

I spent rest of the day doing some additional production ideas on the track and guitar. I think once we both had that version and spent some time with it we both knew we had a good song. We played it live over the next few weeks and tweaked some things but it never really went too far from the original demo. For recording we tracked it in Oxford with Jim Abbiss producing the track.”

– Lar Kaye

haelos

citattecken ”…the classic James Brown ‘Funky Drummer’ break suited the mood we were going for. It was raw against the melancholy of the chords and added a touch of nostalgia…”

18. Hælos ”Earth Not Above”(from Earth Not Above EP)

”‘Earth Not Above’ was one of the first tracks we wrote together while we were still working in Dom‘s flat. Dom was playing around with some chords on the Fender Rhodes we had just bought and came upon the descending chord line that lies underneath the verses. We did some sample hunting and decided that the classic James Brown ‘Funky Drummer’ break suited the mood we were going for. It was raw against the melancholy of the chords and added a touch of nostalgia which we liked. Those two elements really provided the main body of the tune that we built out from. Dom played around a fair bit with a stripped back version of the groove so we could bring the break in on the chorus for impact. I think the melody for the verses also came pretty early, they have a disco feel which was what we were playing around with a lot at the time. I think a few of the lyrics started to come out around then and an early theme of return and redemption started to emerge. Dom played in some of the synths and strings and we worked in the chorus hook line which now sits at the end of the track: ‘Some people need healing / Some people need love/ Some light for that feeling / From earth not above’. Its about feeling totally alone in the universe with no faith, no love: utterly broken and then being shown a way back from that.

After living with what we had done for a couple of weeks we decided the song needed a new chorus and the soaring melody ‘Oh is this what we have become?’ was added by in Lotti. It was one of those moments in the studio where she just came out with this lick and we all instantly jumped on it. Dom stripped out the drum track underneath so it felt like more of a drop and I wrote in that introspective questioning lyric that spins the whole song into an elegy to coming back from the edge. After Dom and Lotti tracked the chorus Lotti wrote in her diving harmony on the verses over our vocals. We added in the string break before the end as part of the general rearrangement / distilling process each of our songs goes through. We worked hard on the arrangement of the outro gradually reintroducing each element of the song over the blaring arps. We added in the ‘Some people need healing’ vocal over that which turned it into this epic conclusion to everything that the song is about.”

– Arthur Delaney

thelegends

citattecken ”Skillnaden den här gången var att jag spelade in allt på väldigt kort tid och skrev texterna samtidigt som jag gjorde låtarna, dessutom sjöng jag in dem samtidigt vilket gjorde att det blev mer känsla.”

17. The Legends ”Keep Him”(from It’s Love)

”Hela skivan är ju nästan samma tema, en kärleksskiva. Skillnaden den här gången var att jag spelade in allt på väldigt kort tid och skrev texterna samtidigt som jag gjorde låtarna, dessutom sjöng jag in dem samtidigt vilket gjorde att det blev mer känsla. Ofta när man sitter och skriver en låt är det just då man har grundkänslan. Man mumlar några ord, lägger några ackord och en melodi. Även om man inte har de orden så är det något man vill förmedla just i den stunden och det känns som att man lyckas bättre när man kan göra klart allt på en gång och sätta känslan direkt på pränt. Jag tycker det är ganska svårt att få till sång men den här gången gick det enklare, det kom bara ut så som jag ville att det skulle låta. Annars brukar det vara ett rysligt filande. Egentligen skulle ‘Keep Him’ ha varit en duett med Erika Forster från Au Revoir Simone, något som skivbolaget föreslog, men den versionen ströks av olika anledningar.”

Johan Angergård

natalieprass

citattecken ”…the strings, Trey really knocked that out of the park… We referenced Gal Costa and her version of “Baby”, the[Caetano Veloso] song on her 1969 self titled album.”

16. Natalie Prass ”Violently”(from Natalie Prass)

”I wrote that song so fast. That’s the only song I wrote by myself in class, I was at college at the time and I wrote the lyrics and the melody in my head. So I had to take a bathroom break and sneak off down the hallway! For some reason I like the echo-y sound in the bathroom when I’m alone, that’s when all the ideas come! Kind of weird, ha ha! Basically it’s about longing and wanting somebody but you can’t have them, you’re tired of pretending that you’re just a friend. There’s just all these reasons why you can’t be with that person. The recording was moving, quite a heavy one. 

Regarding the strings, Trey really knocked that out of the park… We referenced Gal Costa and her version of “Baby”, the[Caetano Veloso] song on her 1969 self titled album. The songs sound nothing like eachother, but the only thing we wanted to capture was the swelling, the building of that song and how the strings kept getting bigger and bigger with this huge release at the end. We were all obsessed with that album. The piano is played by Daniel Clarke who’s in Ryan Adams‘ band. What’s pretty weird with Daniel and me is I didn’t think I knew him when he came in to play on the record. Then I started playing in Jenny Lewis’ band and Ryan and Jenny did a tour together when I found that Daniel was there, he who played on my record. Then it turned into me telling my sister about him and how crazy it was that he was in Ryan’s band, and she said ‘Daniel Clarke? I know him, I had a huge crush on him when he was at your thirteenth birthday party!’, I was like ‘What??’!!! So I have pictures of me, him and my sister from when I was thirteen in my old photo albums! And now we’re sitting here together on tour! Really freaky.”

– Natalie Prass

!!!

citattecken ”A disco odyssey of sorts, in the way that only disco songs can odyssize. starting as a ballad and ending as a full on disco jam session.”

15. !!! ”Freedom ’15″(from As If)

”A disco odyssey of sorts, in the way that only disco songs can odyssize. starting as a ballad and ending as a full on disco jam session. It references the days when disco session groups could stretch out and lay in the pocket for the whole sides of disco 12″ singles. We really stretched out on this one in fact and cut it down to as much as we could possibly bare. A shining example of what we can do live.”

– Nic Offer

torres

citattecken ”…Adrian Utley added some blue light saber energy magic.”

14. Torres ”Ferris Wheel”(from Sprinter)

”‘Ferris Wheel’ is a song I wrote when I was in college. It’s the only one on the new record (Sprinter) that was written before my debut was even recorded. I recorded it to tape with the intention of putting it on my self-titled record, but it was out of place with the rest of the songs and I shelved it. Then when I was writing my second album, I ended up reimagining the sonic palette of the song and falling in love with it all over again. It took on some space-western, John Carpenter-esque characteristics when I re-recorded it, especially when Adrian Utley added some blue light saber energy magic. The new direction resulted in the song being a surprisingly cohesive choice for Sprinter.”

– Mackenzie Scott

crocodiles

citattecken ”We wanted the rhythm to sound like Tito Puente playing with Einsteurzende Neubaten.”

13. Crocodiles ”Crybaby Demon”(from Boys)

”‘Crybaby Demon’ was our first experimentation with latin rhythms. We took a percussion sample from a salsa record and basically wrote the song around it. The title was pinched from a Charles Plymell poem and the words were sort of stream of consciousness, although a story eventually took shape. The demo of it had much more traditional latin percussion on it but when we got to Mexico City to record the album for real our producer Martin Thulin challenged us come up with something more unorthodox. What we eventually came up with was replacing the congas with trashcans. We wanted the rhythm to sound like Tito Puente playing with Einsteurzende Neubaten. We were trying to write our ‘lowrider’ and this is probably the closest we’ll get.”

Brandon Melchez

onlyyou

citattecken ”‘Let me burn’ is sort of my way of accepting that I was losing my grip.”

12. Only You ”Let Me Burn”(single)

”‘Let Me Burn’ was written after a fall out with a band I was in at the time. I’d moved from Oakland to Los Angeles wounded and wound up. I’d just been turned onto Charles Bradley, I really wanted to pour some soul into my own music, so I started writing a batch of heavy songs that conveyed what I was going through. This song in particular is about being so down and out there with my depression, I turned to smoking a lot of wax for a while. I had fallen in love with this nice guy, he was leading me on, I was looking for a way to erase wanting him, erase missing my old band. I didn’t want to feel what I was feeling, I knew things were kind of falling apart etc. ‘Let me burn’ is sort of my way of accepting that I was losing my grip.

Originally I recorded it with Tim Green [Fucking Champs] in Grass Valley, we had a stellar line up, but that recording never got picked up so I tracked it again in Los Angeles with John Alagia [producer to John Mayer, Dave Matthews]. Eventually I asked friends here in LA if they would release it, my friend Mark Roe helped me direct my own video for the song, it was super cathartic.”

– Rachel Fannan

nodisco

citattecken ”We broke up in her car, and this song tells the story…”

11. No! Disco ”Your Orange Car”(from Just Visiting)

”We wrote this song about a year and a half ago. The song is mostly autobiographical about a relationship I had with a girl. We broke up in her car, and this song tells the story of the break up. The break-up was mostly amicable, but the line ‘i know, you know and we know our best is not enough, when it comes down to being us’ tells of how we tried to make it work but it wasn’t meant to be.

We wanted it to be the first single because its really catchy and really good fun to play. We felt it showed off a number of styles and were glad that people like it.”

– Jack Cross

laurastevenson

citattecken ”…I decided to confront those feelings and kick my own ass about it…”

10. Laura Stevenson ”Jellyfish”(from Cocksure)

”This song came out of a time in the past year when I was full of anxiety about what I was doing, I was getting really caught up in measuring my own achievements up against those of my peers and it was fueling this depressive spell. First of all, it was really shameful to even do that in the first place and that was making me feel so bad that it was keeping me from making anything and I was just really becoming a waste of space in my own home. So, I decided to confront those feelings and kick my own ass about it and, even though I continue to struggle with it, writing the song definitely helped me a lot. Also it’s really fun to play.”

Laura Stevenson

baio

citattecken ”It was a test for me to do something catchy but still sounded exciting. I came up with phrases like ‘it is what it is until it was what it was’.”

9. Baio ”Sister of Pearl”(from The Names)

”I just wanted there to be a throw-back, old-school pop song, sort of an exercise trying to write one. It’s one of those things when a turn of phrase pops into your head. Something simple, with three words, like ‘sister of pearl’. This can be some sort of character. A reference to ‘Mother of Pearl’ by Roxy Music, which is one of my favourite songs of all time. And I thought ‘that could be a title of a song from 1963 or the late fifties’, I think it’s evocative in that way. Then I tried to write throw-back lyrics, the opening line was ‘Think I might forget it, gonna write it down’, that was like something from another era. Whenever I try to remember stuff I never write it down, I put it in my phone. I wanted there to be more organic instruments, I played acoustic guitar on it, I wanted it to have very straight-forward lyrics basically saying ‘be who you want to be, don’t let other people get you down’. That’s a classic songwriting trope, I think.

It was also meant to have modern production flourishes but that could have been a song in the sixties or the seventies. It was a test for me to do something catchy but still sounded exciting. I came up with phrases like ‘it is what it is until it was what it was’. What I’m trying to say there is that you can try to accept your situation, time will pass and that’ll be that, or you can do what you want to do or be who you want to be if you don’t have that attitude of ‘it is what it is’. Be yourself.  This was a little pop nugget in the middle of the first half of the album to not make it too dark, I wanted it to feel a bit romantic in the delivery. It’s weard, some songs are like a wrestling match, but ‘Sister of Pearl’ came about really quickly, I wrote it in a day. It would be cool if I could write a song like that every day, but so far that’s the only one in my whole life!”

Chris Baio

flomorrissey

citattecken ”…it is about my first time away from home on my own when I went to California, I had just turned 18.”

8. Flo Morrissey ”Wildflower”(from Tomorrow Will Be Beautiful)

”I had the guitar part, slightly Spanish influenced and then put the lyrics to this. I guess it is about my first time away from home on my own when I went to California, I had just turned 18. It was for a new/old friend I had made there and then had to say ‘farewell’. I was thankful for the experience as it taught me how ‘through the pain we emerge, with so much more power’. It is nice because this one is about someone else from the rest of the record, ha ha!”

Flo Morrissey

basia

citattecken ”Sometimes I think there is a confusion between love and attention.”

7. Basia Bulat ”Infamous”(single)

”That song is about seeing the potential in a relationship and what it could be. Sometimes I think there is a confusion between love and attention. I actually wrote it on the autoharp, tried to play it on guitar and then sent Jim(James) the demo which was very slow. It was one of the first songs we recorded for Good Advice when I went down to Kentucky for a few days to try things out, just me, Jim and the drummer Dave Givan. We started playing it fast and loud, and it was so fun trying to play it in many different ways. I wanted it to be a fun song, it’s almost like an ‘I dare you’ kind of song.”

– Basia Bulat

6. The Chemical Brothers feat. Q-Tip ”Go”(from Born In The Echoes)

5. The Internet feat. KAYTRANADA ”Girl”(from Ego Death)

destroyer

citattecken ”I wrote it as a come pick me up song for a sick generation, ha ha!”

4. Destroyer “Dream Lover”(from Poison Season)

”I think it really stands out and doesn’t sound like a typical Destroyer song. I like it, but I’m not sure of it being much for a song that represents the record, ‘cause it doesn’t feel very indicative of the rest. You’ve got to get past it to see the rest or it draws you in and then exposes you to something quite different. I just wrote it really fast and the band played it once or twice before we just knocked it off very casually in the studio. For some reason it just had it own special sound. The engineers were surprised by how loud we started playing all of a sudden, which I think is the secret to the sound of that song. And then it came down to layering all these squelching saxes and stuff like that. It just came together really easy.

It definitely had this bombast that I wasn’t really expecting it to have, which is cool, I like those kinds of surprises. I wrote it as a come pick me up song for a sick generation, ha ha! All I really remember from writing that song is the middle part that goes ‘You’re sick in bed, you’re sick in the head, you’d love a dog to play dead…’ ha ha! Really boneheaded and simple! First it has that line about the dog playing dead and then it goes ‘oh shit, here comes the sun’. It’s supposed to be a positive reinforcement song for very negative people.”

Dan Bejar

umo

citattecken ”Love isn’t really about the specifics of what people’s race or sexuality is, it’s irrelevant.”

3. Unknown Mortal Orchestra “Multi-Love”(from Multi-Love)

”My brother had this gospel kind of chord change and I was in New Zeeland touring with the band. We were messing around, he had some songs he had been working on for his own record and then he started to play these chords on the piano so I started singing to them. It wasn’t the intro yet, more like plain chords. It was the same chord change as on the record, but we hadn’t stumbled on that yet. I started singing on top of it, like this weird, twisted gospel idea, and then it stuck in my head. So when I flew him out of New Zeeland to play on the record, I was like “do you remember that thing we were doing?”, and he started playing it. We wrote it as a piano and singing kind of song, then I had a chorus for it that I had written earlier. Another thing, a weird mistake, was that as we were getting ready to do the piano and he started playing this weird, and I went “What’s that? That’s it! That’s way better!”. And he was, “What do you mean? What?”! He played something really amazing and didn’t even know what he was doing! I told him he was arpeggiating the chords so he kept doing it and that was it.

I sat on these lyrics and didn’t really know what they meant. It started to become more clear over the year, but I just wanted it to be a modular love song that could apply to a lot of different scenarios but you could rearrange it yourself. ‘Cause I was thinking that a lot of people could be listening to the song, some of them gay, some of them straight, some are in happy relationship and some had broken up. What if I wrote a song that moved around that, so if you were in a bad or a good place in a relationship it could apply to both and you could listen and relate to it in different ways. I wanted it to be about what love’s really about, which doesn’t really have to do with the specifics of what people’s race or sexuality is. Love isn’t really about those things, it’s irrelevant. So I stumbled through trying to say something that I didn’t know how to say.”

Ruban Nielson

susanne

citattecken ”I wanted a femme fatale song for the album…”

2. Susanne Sundfør ”Delirious”(from Ten Love Songs)

”I wrote ‘Delirious’ in bed. I wanted a femme fatale song for the album, and also quite ‘poppy’ lyrics, and also big vocal arrangements. So those were the ideas behind the song. I made most of the arrangement that day, combining very efficient working with laziness!”

Susanne Sundfør

bc

citattecken ”In fact I then scrapped all of the string orchestration in favor for a real sampling mellotron that probably cost my entire budget.”

1. BC Camplight ”Love Isn’t Anybody’s Fault”(from How To Die In The North)

”I have two guidelines for my writing: care only about yourself and never give a shit about what people will like or hate. Pretty much one rule. Sounds pretentious, I know, but I get bored very easily listening to and creating music, so record making for me is a constant game of keeping myself on my toes. That’s probably why many of my songs have that schizophrenic quality, a sense that they could shoot off like a deflating balloon in any random direction whenever I feel they have made their current point. However, with ‘Love Isn’t Anybody’s Fault’ I wanted to keep the format a bit more traditional…..at least for a while. It was originally intended to set up the album as an opener. I wanted the album to start off completely sane and wander from there. It ended up going second. It was recorded over two three month sessions. Because I can’t record anything like a normal person, we recorded the whole song completely dry and then re-recorded the whole song again over the second three months with deep plate reverb. So you actually hear a clean/verb double track of every instrument.

The song had a lyrical theme that I liked, so I wanted that to be the star. Whenever myself or the irreplaceable Hattie Coombe is singing I wanted the music to support us I guess like a Gainsbourg track without ever being distracting. Halfway through the song she and I have a call and response bridge. After I wrote that I thought ‘the song has been normal long enough’ and I tried to think of what I could do that’d be hilarious but not goofy…again something that’d keep me on my toes. In the end I decided on a ridiculously out of place drum solo followed by a soft breakdown which features some soft glissando noodling on an old electric piano. This piano was meant to be a place holder for some orchestral stuff I had written for those bars. When I listened back though the piano part just sounded so amazingly cheesy. So funny. Especially juxtaposed with the earnest lyrics. In fact I then scrapped all of the string orchestration (there was 2 months down the tubes) in favor for a real sampling mellotron that probably cost my entire budget. So in the end we have a good song with production values that set a precedent for the making of the rest of the album. It never made it to being one of the singles but I’m proud of it. If you don’t like it, beat it.”

Brian Christinzio

LISTEN TO THE PLAYLIST VIA TIDAL HIFI

The Bucket List, Vecka 44, 2015

Basia Bulat ”Infamous”(från kommande albumet Good Advice)

OMVR ”Up In The Air”(singel)

Trust Fund ”Football”(från Seems Unfair)

Amason ”Flygplatsen”(från Flygplatsen EP)

Club 8 ”Skin”(från kommande albumet Pleasure)

Eleanor Friedberger ”He Didn’t Mention His Mother”(från kommande albumet New View)

jennylee ”Never”(från kommande albumet Right On!)

Martin Courtney ”Asleep”(från Many Moons)

Treetop Flyers ”Dance Through The Night”(från kommande albumet Palomino)

Adem ”Small Things”(från Seconds Are Acorns)

Car Seat Headrest ”The Drum”(från Teens Of Style)

Dylan LeBlanc ”Cautionary Tale”(från kommande albumet Cautionary Tale)

The Japanese House ”Letter By The Water”(från Clean EP)

RAC feat. Speak ”One House”(singel)

Cage The Elephant ”Mess Around”(från kommande albumet Tell Me I’m Pretty)

Freedy Johnston ”TV In My Arms”(från Neon Repairman)

Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation ”Take Me Beyond”(från Horse Dance)

Ought ”Never Better”(från Sun Coming Down)

Astronauts, etc ”See You”(från Mind Out Wandering)

EL VY ”It’s A Game”(från Return To The Moon)

Red Sleeping Beauty ”Breaking Up Is Easy”(singel)

Sun Club ”Summer Feet”(från The Dongo Durango)

Billie Marten ”As Long As”(från kommande EP:n As Long As)

Laura Stevenson ”Emily In Half”(från Cocksure)

Mo Kolours ”Harvest”(från Texture Like Sun)

The Night Café ”Addicted”(singel)

Skylar Spence ”I Can’t Be Your Superman”(från Prom King)

Stephen Kellogg ”The Wild Heart”(från South)

The 1975 ”Love Me”(från kommande albumet I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It)

Cape Cub ”Keep Me In Mind”(singel)

Deportees ”Hard Rain”(från The Big Sleep)

Kwabs ”Look Over Your Shoulder”(från Love + War)

Lou Doillon ”Nothing”(från Lay Low)

MED, Blu & Madlib feat. Dâm-Funk & DJ Romes ”Peroxide”(från Bad Neighbor)

Niki & The Dove ”Play It On My Radio”(singel)

Son Little ”Real Goodbye”(från Son Little)

The Crookes ”I Wanna Waste My Time On You”(från kommande albumet Lucky Ones)

Dan Croll ”One Of Us”(singel)

Here We Go Magic ”News”(från Be Small)

Mild High Club ”Rollercoaster Baby”(från Timeline)

Painted Palms ”Disintegrate”(från Horizons)

Boy & Bear ”A Thousand Faces”(från Limit Of Love)

Craft Spells ”Our Park By Night”(singel)

Hooton Tennis Club ”Kathleen Sat On The Arm Of Her Favourite Chair”(från Highest Point In Cliff Town)

Samling ”Allt Som Är Vackert”(från Sen Glömmer Jag Hur Du Ser Ut)

St. Lucia ”Dancing On Glass”(singel)

Villagers ”Memoir”(från kommande albumet Where Have You Been All My Life?)

Blood Orange ”Sandra’s Smile”(singel)

Craig Finn ”Sarah Calling From A Hotel”(från Faith In The Future)

Ded Rabbit ”Step Of Your Shoes”(singel)

Frida Selander ”Animal In Jeans”(från I Hear Sunshine)

Kristofer Åström ”Cutthroat”(från The Story Of A Heart’s Decay)

Small Black ”Smoke Around The Bend”(från Best Blues)

Aoife O’Donovan ”Magic Hour”(från kommande albumet In the Magic Hour)

Beach Slang ”Young & Alive”(från The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us)

de Montevert ”Let’s Not Run Away Together”(singel)

J. Viewz feat. Milosh ”Don’t Pull Away”(från kommande albumet The DNA Project)

Nicolas Jaar ”Fight”(singel)

Summer Twins ”Ouja”(från Limbo)

The Besnard Lakes ”Golden Lion”(från kommande EP:n Golden Lion)

Bob Moses ”Days Gone By”(från Days Gone By)

The Game feat. Ab-Soul ”Dollar And A Dream”(från The Documentary 2)

On An On ”You Were So Scared”(från And The Wave Has Two Sides)

Slaughter Beach ”Clear Insight”(från Love/Venice)

The Cat Empire ”Wolves”(singel)

Dustin Tebbutt ”Harvest”(från Home)

Mount Moriah ”Calvander”(singel)

Paper ”Paper Beats Rock”(från We Design The Future)

Raury feat. Key ”Trap Tears”(från All We Need)

Savages ”The Answer”(från kommande albumet Adore Life)

Sundara Karma ”Vivienne”(singel)

The Album Leaf ”New Soul”(singel)

Autograf feat. Janine Kroll ”Metaphysical”(singel)

Fickle Friends ”Say No More”(singel)

Hedge Fund ”Boyfriend”(singel)

Shopping ”Sinking Feeling”(från Why Choose)

The Sweet Serenades ”Fireworks”(från Animals)

Des Ark ”Peace To You Too, Motherfucker”(från Everything Dies)

Half Moon Run ”I Can’t Figure Out What’s Going On”(från Sun Leads Me On)

Protomartyr ”Pontiac 87″(från The Agent Intellect)

BØRNS ”Fool”(från Dopamine)

City And Colour ”Runaway”(från If I Should Go Before You)

Daughter ”Doing The Right Thing”(från kommande albumet Not To Disappear)

No! Disco ”Silhouettes”(singel)

Phoria ”Melatonin”(singel)

Hamilton Leithauser ”My Reward”(singel)

Daniel Norgren ”My Rock Is Crumbling”(från The Green Stone)

Mixtape: Så Jävla B!

Som många kunnat konstatera sedan länge söker jag inte vanligtvis upp artister med anledning av att jag hört deras största hit och därför vill köra just den på repeat. Visst händer det också, men någonstans inom mig finns drivkraften att gräva efter mer. Ofta är lyckan som störst när man finner något man vet att man är relativt ensam om, därmed inte sagt att jag letar udda Dylan– eller Springsteen-bootlegs med den tvåhundrafemtionde liveversionen av ”Idiot Wind” eller ”The River”.

På den tiden man köpte vinylsinglar började jag alltid med att spela B-sidan. A-sidan visste man i regel var man hade, men många gånger var det det okända som var mest spännande, förutsatt att det var en artist som också hade något att komma med. The Beatles(det kanske är ett orättvist exempel jämfört med andra) gjorde knappt en dålig B-sida och var banbrytande med att göra dubbla A-sidor på ”Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever”. Bara för att man återfinner något på baksidan behöver inte det betyda att syftet var att gömma undan något och fylla ut med nånting marginellt mer betydelsefullt än en blank vinylsida utan spår.

Och B-sidorna(notera pluralis) på 90-talet ska vi bara inte tala om. Där handlade det inte om att slänga ihop en baksida till en singel inte. Nänämensan, oftast skulle man ge ut två versioner av CD-singeln, en 7″-singel och, som om inte det räckte, även en kassettsingel. Snabbt överslaget snackar vi minst 4-5 extra låtar, vilket innebar att om man som populär artist gav ut tre hitsinglar från ett album så tvingades man spela in ett helt extra album enbart till singlarna. Detta var naturligtvis helt ohållbart i längden för de flesta artister.

Noel Gallagher ägnade exempelvis inte en tanke åt att guldkorn som ”Round Are Way”, ”Acquiesce”, ”Underneath The Sky” och ”Talk Tonight” nog borde sparas inför inspelningarna av Oasis tredje album, det svulstiga Be Here Now vars titel borde ha varit en uppmaning till dess upphovsmän som skenat iväg i fullständig hybris. Ohållbart blev det till slut även för topplistebossarna som genomskådade taktiken att utnyttja fansens begär för sälja flera utgåvor av samma låt och mot slutet av årtiondet ändrade reglerna.

Målet har varit att inte ta med några låtar som återfunnits på ordinarie album, utan helt enkelt tvättäkta B-sidor. I den här listan återfinns kanske inte världens bästa baksidor. De flesta är inte alls de givna. Ingen ”Yellow Ledbetter”, ingen ”Killing Of A Flashboy”, ingen ”Rain”. Det här är bara en lista. Och några kärleksfulla ord om dess innehåll.

The Stone Roses ”Going Down”(från ”Made Of Stone”, 1989)

Alla vet vi ju att ”Mersey Paradise” är typ den bästa B-sidan någonsin vid sidan av The Beatles ”Rain”, men ”Going Down” refererar i texten till ”Jack The Dripper” Pollock, från vilken omslaget till debutalbumet är inspirerat: ”Passion looks like a painting, Jackson Pollock’s No. 5”.

Led Zeppelin ”Hey Hey, What Can I Do”(från ”Immigrant Song”, 1970)

Ja, vad finns här att säga? Inte bara en av tidernas bästa B-sidor eller folkrocksånger, utan en av tidernas bästa låtar alla kategorier. Inte mycket Led Zep gav ut var undermåligt kring albumet III, men någonstans borde utrymme ha funnits för ”Hey Hey…”.

The Jayhawks ”Tomorrow The Green Grass”(från ”Blue”, 1994)

Om ”Blue” var en av de mest finstämda countryfolksånger som någonsin gjorts var dess komplement dess raka motsats. Titellåten till bandets fjärde album fick inte ens plats på det, till stor del antagligen för att den spretade ut från helheten kopiöst. Powerpop, gitarronani och oemotståndliga Beach Boys-körer gör den dock till den perfekta B-sidan.

The Triffids ”Convent Walls”(från ”You Don’t Miss Your Water”, 1985)

David McComb drog tidigt upp riktlinjerna för Born Sandy Devotional med allt ifrån det vackra vykortsomslaget till låtordningen. Så pass att albumet blev för packat med låtar han ville ha med, så ”Convent Walls” fick helt enkelt inte plats. Istället hamnade den på en maxisingel med en Otis Redding-cover.

Weezer ”I Just Threw Out The Love Of My Dreams”(från ”The Good Life”, 1996)

Songs From The Black Hole var ett rockoperainspirerat konceptalbum berättat genom flera sångares röster, däribland Joan Wasser(aka Joan As Policewoman), som Weezer skulle ha gett ut efter den blå debuten. Projektet övergavs dock och några låtar hamnade på Pinkerton eller som B-sidor. ”I Just Threw Out The Love Of My Dreams” hade lätt kunnat platsa på ett album men petades förmodligen för att den sjungs av basisten Rachel Haden(en gång medlem i The Rentals och syster till Josh Haden i Spain), till dags dato den enda låt bandet gett ut med någon icke-medlem på leadsång. Kuriosa i sammanhanget: några musikaliska fans som hittade varandra på ett internetforum tog upp den tappade tråden och färdigställde sin egen version av Songs From The Black Hole som gavs ut 2012 under namnet Operation Space Opera.

Crowded House ”Recurring Dream”(från ”Now We’re Getting Somewhere”, 1986)

När gitarristen Craig Hooper hoppade av The Mullanes, bandet Neil Finn startade efter att Split Enz splittrades, bytte den kvarvarande trion namn till Crowded House. Debutalbumet var redan under tillverkning, men ”Recurring Dream” utelämnades på grund av att Hooper var medkompositör till låten. Istället parades den ihop med den minst uppmärksammade singeln bandet någonsin gav ut, ”Now We’re Getting Somewhere”. Ett par år senare blev låten pånyttfödd när den inkluderades på soundtracket till tidstypiska åttiotalsdramat Tequila Sunrise med hockeyfrillorna Gibson och Russell mitt emellan Michelle Pfeiffer.

Eddie Cochran ”Cut Across Shorty”(från ”Three Steps To Heaven, 1960)

1960 var begreppet sexpack inget annat än något man kunde dricka, men i alla tider har pojkar hållit på och mätt snopplängd för att imponera på tjejer. Eddie säger inte rakt ut vad ”Shorty” har, men inte är det pengar och utseende i alla fall.

Yazoo ”Situation”(från ”Only You”, 1982)

Om Stevie Wonder hade spelat in ”Superstition” på tidigt 80-tal hade resultatet inte legat långt ifrån det här.

Elvis Costello & The Attractions ”Imperial Bedroom”(från ”Shabby Doll”, 1982)

Okej, ”Shabby Doll” gavs endast ut på singel i Frankrike, men tekniskt sett räknas den.

Pet Shop Boys ”The Ghost Of Myself”(från ”New York City Boy”, 1999)

När det kommer till B-sidor har Neil Tennant och Chris Lowe alltid gjort så mycket mer än alla andra. Elektronisk akt som de är hade de lätt kunnat nöja sig med att breda ut oräkneliga remixer som utfyllnad på sina singlar, vilket de i viss mån också gjorde, men inte utan någon eller några nya låtar. ”The Ghost Of Myself” har inte bara Britney Spears vålnad över sig i beat och pianohook, utan kom till när Tennant läste att människor kan spöka för sig själva. Han påbörjade en berättelse om ett förhållande han hade med en tjej kring skiftet mellan 70- och 80-tal och det blev således hans heterosexuella jag som nu kommit för att spöka för hans nutida, homosexuella dito. Och det här är alltså bara ett alster ur deras stora ocean av ”utfyllnad”. Man blir mållös.

U2 ”Lady With The Spinning Head”(från ”One”, 1992)

Låg på baksidan till en av tidernas största tårdrypare, den episka ”One”. Den lite psykedeliska ”Lady…” var dock en helt annan historia. Enligt The Edge hade bandet flertalet brottningsmatcher för att få till den, så pass att den spillde över i hela tre andra låtar på Achtung, Baby: ”The Fly”, ”Ultraviolet (Light My Way)” och ”Zoo Station”.

Depeche Mode ”Fools”(från ”Love In Itself”, 1983)

Apropå remixer går det förstås inte att undgå tanken på världens största och världens näst(efter Kraftwerk) viktigaste syntband. Till skillnad från kollegorna i Pet Shop Boys kändes det som att man slöade till efter första decenniet i karriären och slutade tilldela riktigt skarpa låtar till singlarna. En förklaring kan ha varit att den allsmäktige Alan Wilder för varje album ägnade allt mer tid åt studioarbete och arrangemang och fick allt mindre tid över till att komponera. Eller njäe… Så många skrev han inte. Men han skrev ett par av mina favoriter som hamnade på två på varandra följande singlar. ”In Your Memory”, med sina aviga takter och industrisamplingar, låg på baksidan av ”People Are People”. Endast halvåret tidigare backade ”Fools” upp ”Love In Itself”, och även om sampling var det roligaste påfundet någonsin vid den här tiden är låtens ryggrad ett simpelt ploppande Vince Clarke-mönster. Intressant i sammanhanget är det sätt Dave Gahan sjöng på; i likhet med flera andra spår från samma era valde han den mer återhållsamma vägen, en bra bit från den muskulösa rock’n’roll-gud han skulle bli när han släppte lös urkraften senare i karriären. Närmast kommer jag att tänka på Bob Dylan och hur han lät på Nashville Skyline. Inte för att de båda herrarna låter tillnärmelsevis likadant, utan för att skillnaden mellan variablerna är jämförbar.

Lloyd Cole & The Commotions ”Her Last Fling”(från ”Brand New Friend”, 1985)

Under Napster-eran roade sig folk med att rippa sina vinyler och göra egna samlingsalbum. Mycket var förstås både sopig ljudkvalitet och usla låtval, men på något sätt lyckades jag nosa upp en samling svåråtkomliga B-sidor med Lloyd Cole som inkluderade båda solo- och Commotions-åren. Här är en favorit.

Unbelievable Truth ”Revolution”(från ”Higher Than Reason”, 1998)

Inte bara en Yorke gjorde bra grejs som inte fick plats på album. Thoms bror Andy Yorke och bandet Unbelievable Truth väckte ett visst intresse i slutet av 90-talet, men fick finna sig att leva i skuggan av Radioheads skugga, ungefär. Givetvis förminskar inte det deras verk. Du som råkar ha absolut gehör kan för övrigt känna obehag när du lyssnar. Minns jag rätt ligger tonarten en halvton fel.

Del Amitri ”In The Frame”(från ”Roll To Me”, 1995)

Justin Currie är en erkänt begåvad låtskrivare vilket givetvis också lyser igenom i B-sidekatalogen. För ”In The Frame” hade han ambitionen att skriva en låt i stil med Evan Dando eftersom han var en smula besatt av The Lemonheads 1993. Han tog med en DAT-bandspelare till keyboardisten Andy Alston i Glasgow och spelade in den med enbart akustisk gitarr och harmonium(tramporgel) för att därefter lägga på sångstämmor i London. Vad en så förträfflig sångs öde beträffar uttryckte Currie det bäst: ”As was often the case, we threw away one of our best songs on a UK only single format”. Jag kunde inte ha sagt det bättre själv.

Dexy’s Midnight Runners ”Breaking Down The Walls Of Heartache”(från ”Geno”, 1980)

Redan innan filmen The Commitments gjordes på 90-talet fanns det ett band som i verkligheten inte låg alltför långt ifrån det uppdiktade. Dexys som var ett hopkok av vänner, bekanta och annat löst folk i Birmingham var aldrig rädda för att lägga upp sina influenser på bordet. Singeln ”Geno” var, förstås, en hyllning till soulsångaren Geno Washington. Många B-sidecovers var ett nödvändigt ont för att uppfylla kraven från skivbolaget, men den här gamla Northern Soul-favoriten av Johnny Johnson & The Bandwagon från 1968 täckte nog in precis allt Dexys själva ville stå för: tempo, blås, hjärtekross och en axel att gråta ut mot.

Lenny Kravitz ”Someone Like You”(från Are You Gonna Go My Way?, 1993)

Såklart. Såklart att någon skulle göra en B-sida inspirerad av den kanske bästa B-sidan någonsin. Denne någon blev Lenny Kravitz, han som var John Lennon, Stevie Wonder och Led Zeppelin i en och samma skepnad. Ekon från ”Rain” ligger i basgången och trumtakten, om än inte lika yvigt spelade som The Beatles gjorde. Däremot hade jag gärna hört några baklängesgitarrer också, men det kanske hade varit för mycket?

 

Interview: Baio – ”These songs never really seemed like songs that would be on a Vampire Weekend record”

ENGLISH VERSION OF AN INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS BAIO PUBLISHED AT KULTURBLOGGEN

Written by Tommy Juto

If you’re one fourth of one of the most popular indie bands in the world, one might think that would be sufficient, but during the past years Vampire Weekend bassist Chris Baio has been piling up songs that never were contenders for the band’s albums as songwriting duties laid solely on singer Ezra Koenig and multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij. So when they decided to take a break after their 2013 album Modern Vampires Of The City, Baio for the first time was able to concentrate on his own venture into solo work. Now, he’s finally harvesting the result of a five year long process: his first album in his own name entitled…err, The Names. A few weeks ago the man was in Los Angeles and got up early to have a chat with me:

– Yes, I’ve played a couple of shows here, I’m filming something for “Endless Rhythm” tonight, then I fly to New York and the week after on to Europe to do some press. It’s been fun, I’m getting to sing the songs for people for the first time, I’ve done my first ever radio session which was really, really nice.

So, could you tell us a little about how The Names came to be? I heard it was five years in the making?

– I started working on it around 2009 I think, I was starting to have ideas for sounds, basically. You know, I was really just a bass player before that and started having ideas but didn’t know how to translate them, how to take something from inside my head and make it real. So I just started getting into production at that time and learning how to record. It can be a frustrating process having been in a successful band at that point, which is very lucky but not knowing the first thing about recording and not knowing how to make something that I would be happy with as a musician. So in 2009 I was learning how to become a producer and by 2012 I was able to put out my first EP of a bit more electronic music, more housy material. I was a radio DJ when I was in college and it was something I’d always been interested in and always wanted to release something but didn’t know how to record.

But on the album you’re using a broader palate using traditional pop influences?

– That’s right. The next step for me was learning how to use my voice. I have always loved singing but I felt very insecure about my voice and how I could sing and make something with my voice that I liked. So I spent most of 2012 through 2014 going through a similar process as before but with my voice. I moved to London in 2013 and started spending a lot of time thinking, looking back, being a bit more reflective and thinking about where I grew up. What my relationship was to America outside of America. Things like that got me in the mood to write lyrics. I found that writing lyrics was way more enjoyable than I thought it was going to be. 2013-2014 was spent writing songs. I had some chord progressions and little things going back five years, like the title track ”The Names”. It was probably the first one I started and the last that was finished. That song took me about five years to realize. 2014 was spent trying to sing these songs. I found you can have a melody, a chord progression, you can know exactly what the words are, then you’re a third of the way there to having a record. How to make a compelling vocal was the final stage. So it really was a five year process, there are songs and themes there that go all the way back to 2009 for me.

By the sounds of it, early on you had a very specific idea of what you wanted the album to be?

– I always knew what I wanted my record to be. Like a song called ”Scarlett”, the last which is an instrumental one, when I wrote the melody it felt to me that it was definitely going to be the last song on my first album. I just knew that. It’s interesting because you get a little spark in the beginning of working on a track and then it’s really about hard work and figuring it out. But a certain song kind of reveals itself to you. For me it was really easy, if I came to the piano and started work on something. Where it would go kind of always made sense.

Couldn’t some of your songs have gone onto a Vampire Weekend album?

– Within the band I’m not one of the songwriters, though, that’s Ezra and Rostam. I help out by doing arrangements, coming up with bass parts, there’s the occasional chord progression. But really I’m not one of the songwriters in that band so for me this album is me exploring electronic stuff and a lot of techno influences that I like, and finding my voice as a songwriter as well. I wrote a bunch of songs when I was a teenager and then I didn’t write for ten or eleven years. Maybe I had melodies and things like that but not lyrics. So these songs never really seemed like songs that would be on a Vampire Weekend record.

Where does the album title The Names come from?

– I grew up in a square mile town in the outskirts of New York, very small, I had 70 students in my graduating class in high school. It was a nice town, I look back at it fondly but it wasn’t a very musical, artistical town. I tended to go to other places to play music when I was a teenager. In my mid-20’s I found out that the author Don DeLillo, I’d read his novels White Noise and Underworld, he lived and wrote a lot of his books in the town where I grew up. I had no idea I’d been in the same town as this incredible artist and writer and when I found that out in 2009 I read all his books in very rapid succession. The one that stuck with me as a great title for an album is The Names because it’s very evocative, people can kind of get whatever they want out of it. Everyone has a name, right? Everyone has a name before you have a thought. I was pretty shocked that there had never been an album called The Names.

Was that also the idea behind the title track?

– The idea behind that song is a little bit depression, you’ve lived a week without a name, that’s the idea of how you interact with someone. That’s maybe a metaphor for being a recluse or shut-in, a name is a way of… How do I describe it? I haven’t had enough coffee yet! It’s a means of interacting with the outside world, I think. So in the context of that song it’s maybe a little about someone going through a hard time. I think there’s a sense of domestic depression but there’s some lyrics with the backset of maybe a global political relation. Like the idea of how you can be incredibly scared or fear something that is happening thousands of miles away. And it made me think about living in a small town outside New York as a teenager. The book itself is about an American living in Greece. When I was writing the lyrics I just thought it was an evocative title.

That sounds almost autobiographical.

– The lyrics in the first half of the record have a bit to do with me as an American living in London. This is in no way unique to me and in no way unique to Americanism, but when you leave the country you’re from you feel more in touch with your country. I feel much more American outside of America. Whenever I’m out at a party where I live now people start asking me about what the American perspective of something is. No one would ever say that at a party in America. You leave a country but you become in a way a small social ambassador. It’s milky and impressionistic, but these are some ideas behind the lyrics to that song.

The album is very versatile, it’s got both the electronic and the pop sides and a song like “Needs” is followed by the completely different “All The Idiots”. Did you sequence those songs after each other on purpose?

– Yeah, the way it works is the first five songs are like a mini mix. 20 minutes of continuous music. I was really thinking of it as a vinyl, so “Needs” is the end of the first half and “All The Idiots” is the beginning of the second half. I’ve always loved instrumental music, some of my favourite and most evocative, influential tracks have no words to them, and even on my earlier productions I wanted to be able to be extremely evocative without there being any lyrics attached. My model for what I wanted my album to be was seventies art rock records, something like Maggot Brain by Funkadelic. It’s so cool, the first track is a ten minute instrumental, just a guitar solo, incredibly beautiful. Then all of a sudden there are five happy-ish pop songs, very catchy, and then there’s an experimental track at the end. I like these kind of single digit albums around 40 minutes. It’s just a personal preference, but I find that when I listen to an album that’s an hour long I think in my head “this could be a better 40 minute record”. It’s a matter of personal taste, like Sly & The Family Stone, I think those are art rock records. Roxy Music’s middle period albums, like Stranded, that’s one of my favourite records of all time and it’s 40 minutes over eight songs. When you listen to those records, anything can happen. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a pop song, you can drop from an incredible pop song into an instrumental. Or something like Low by David Bowie, another all time favourite of mine, there are some really great pop songs on that record’s first half. “Breaking Glass”, what an incredible song, it’s like a minute fifty-three, so catchy. So really I wanted this thing to be around 40 minutes long where you feel like anything could happen, but at the same time it didn’t feel contrived or forced.

What are your thoughts on the end result?

– I like how in “Sister Of Pearl” there’s a four count and where it normally it would go into a rock song it instead goes into a techno track, then after about two minutes of techno that song basically explodes and comes down to fingerpicked acoustic guitar and a single voice. So for me it just ended up like I was saying earlier, I would just know where stuff was for certain songs. I wrote “Sister of Pearl” fairly early on and said that it would be the third song on the record because there should be a bright, poppy song, especially if the first song is dark and the second is fairly dark. At the same time with “Endless Rhythm” I just knew there had to be one last hooky pop song on the album. That song is a little about just waiting to write a song. It’s about the process of making something and the lyric “I can wait for you” for me, it really is the idea of waiting a song to come and waiting for you to realize something musically. I like the idea that this song can come across as romantic. A song like “All The Idiots”, I love electronic music and wanted there to be a mournful but somewhat banging track. I was thinking a bit of songs like “Snooze 4 Love” by Todd Terje, some Moderat songs, “Maria” by Closer Musik. Mournful banging melodic techno! (Laughs) It just felt right to me and I wanted it to go from something coming out of the darkness, and I think the last three songs are much more lighter and romantic. I realize I am very sprawling as an answer to your question, but this is one of the first interviews I’m doing on it!

Did you play everything yourself?

– Yes, I played every note, programmed all the drums though I had some help along the way. Recording vocals for the first time I worked with an engineer called John Foyle last summer in London, and he really helped me realize what I wanted my voice to be. Then I played my record for some people and they thought my voice reminded them about Matt Johnson from The The, which is someone that I really like. Soul Mining is a record that I really, really loved. I have very specific memories of falling in love with that record during early Vampire Weekend tours. It wasn’t maybe something I was consciously trying to do while working on the record, but when I heard that it made sense. My management found this guy called Bruce Lampcov and he co-produced the last three The The records and he mixed my record. He came out to Los Angeles in November to work with me, and a woman named Emily Lazar mastered it. It was very interesting to work with John Foyle, who is 24, young, a really great engineer, and I think he’s going to have his name on a lot of great records over the next decades. Bruce had kind of retired from mixing records and he liked my record, so he was a veteran coming out of retirement just to mix it for me. He did such an awesome job, and then I got Emily who is in her prime at mastering. So I had three people helping me but I played everything myself.

You mentioned in the beginning that you took some time finding your own voice. There’s a lot of toying around with voices on the album. Is that a way of trying to find the voice you want to hear eventually?

– Yes. I approached singing much more like a producer than a singer. I was trying to find the best possible sound, the best possible character, the best possible performance, in those things. A song like “Sister of Pearl”, even though I’m the only vocalist on it I deliver different parts differently because I wanted it to sound like it could be different singers. From a production standpoint it’s about getting the most compelling way a vocal can sound. So it wasn’t supposed to sound like just the same person singing the whole time. So it comes from experimentation, sitting in front of a computer and grunting into a microphone! (Laughs) Doing that, seeing what you like and keep going with that. I wanted it to be somewhere in between a producer record, a band record and a solo record. If you were to start a minute in, then skip forward five minutes and then another five minutes, it makes no sense. But when you listen to the record in whole from start to finish it makes complete sense, that was another goal.

Why did you put a photo of Reykjavik on the cover of “Sister of Pearl”?

– I realized recently that I love the photography of architecture, and I went in the fall to a show at The Barbican called The History of Photography of Architecture. I saw some very early images of Kiev that I was struck by, they were from a hundred years ago. Early photography looked like it could be a painting. I think it goes back to what I like about Persona, the Ingmar Bergman movie. I like the uncanny, I like images that could be graphic design or could be a photo. That’s why I chose the image I chose for my album cover. Simply I was in Reykjavik, I took that picture and played with it in the computer. To me it looks like it could have been taken a hundred years ago, like early developing photography. I don’t know, there’s always something so powerful about a bunch of buildings, ‘cause I think the next natural thought is ‘OK, so who are the people in these buildings?’. Sometimes it makes sense when you put it all together, the font and the photo, not that they’re necessarily connected in any way, just that it’s nice to look at.

Steve Buscemi and you are of the same family, that’s been confirmed. How much of those famous clips with him and you and your bandmates? All of it?

– Yeah, it was all an act! It was a lot of fun.

Will he help out this time as well, promoting your album?

– I should e-mail him about it! I’m sure he would, he’s very, very nice. He met this guy named Jeffrey the day that we filmed in my old neighbourhood in Brooklyn, we filmed a little bit in my old apartment in New York. Now he has this show on the internet called Park Bench, and it’s with that guy who he met in the street on that day and they film it in the park around the corner from where I used to live. So he still does stuff after that that, he interviews people all the time. I have his e-mail but I haven’t spoken to him for maybe over a year. It was great to be able to do this incredible art project with him, he’s obviously such an iconic actor and a really lovely person.

What’s the current status with Vampire Weekend?

– Nothing is going on with the band right now, there’s no touring at the moment. We just knew there was going to be a bit of a break after the last album, and that’s why I really threw myself into finishing my record since, like I said, I’ve been thinking a lot of the themes for the last five years. I always knew that if I would work on a record and get something I was happy with, I wanted to be able to tour it, so I’m going to tour it for as long as I can.

Vampire Weekend still exists, though?

– Oh yeah, it’s just that bands take breaks. The worst thing you could do as a band is not take a break when you need to take a break. Have you ever seen that movie Westway To The World, the Clash documentary? There’s a part where Joe Strummer, I believe it’s him, he says ‘what broke us up is that we never took a break’, like ‘if we had taken a break we would have lasted so much longer’. So it’s natural. If there’s a sense that you should take a break, then do it.

Any plans for playing Sweden?

– I mean, hopefully I’ll be touring the next year of my life, and I love playing Scandinavia and really do hope I can get over there. It’s definitely a very specific influence on the visual side of my record. The font on the album cover is from watching Persona. In the mid-sixties Bergman’s credits all used this font called Penyae. For me, Persona is such a big influence on my work. It’s my favourite movie ever. What I love about it is that it’s a black and white movie and still the most colourful movie of all time. The way it was shot, how weird it looks, this sense that anything can really happen. There’s this collapse of meaning that happens at the end of that movie. I’d like to think that some of my musical moments… There’s like an explosion in “I Was Born In A Marathon” before it goes down to the singer/songwriter guitar. That’s very much an influence from Bergman and Persona. There’s something very special about him. I call my publishing company Faro Music, because where he lived was the island of Fårö and that’s where he made most of his films. I guess what I’m trying to say – in a very long way – is that I love Sweden and I hope to come and see you! (Laughs) I haven’t been asked yet, but I’d go in a heartbeat. I love Stockholm and Sweden, and if it was up to me I’d go there every year.

%d bloggare gillar detta: