Bonsai Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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