We first introduced you to Daniel Ellsworth + The Great Lakes four years ago via “Sun Goes Out,” off the band’s excellent sophomore album Kid Tiger. Now the Nashville quartet is back with a new LP, Fashion, out this fall. But you can get it before then, though in two separate parts: Chapter One (released January 19) and Chapter Two (out April 27). Fashion is a pretty ambitious project, so it got us thinking about what kinds of music influences these guys. So we asked them—vocalist/keyboardist Ellsworth, guitarist Timon Lance and bassist Marshall Skinner (drummer Joel Wren sat this one out)—to make us a mix tape. Here’s what they sent us. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do. And if you’re near Music City, catch DE + TGL at 3rd And Lindsley the day Chapter Two is released.
Robyn “Call Your Girlfriend”
Daniel: Lately, we’ve been covering this in our live show. I think it might be one of the best pop songs of all time. It’s timeless. The production is amazing and the melody is so infectious. If you put this on and don’t dance around the room like a crazy person, are you even a human? The whole album, Body Talk, is incredible, but this song in particular gets me every time.
Mura Masa “Messy Love”
Daniel: The self-titled Mura Masa debut was probably my most-listened to album of 2017. If you haven’t yet, do yourself a favor. It’s super diverse, and the production all sounds amazing. It’s electronic, it’s pop, it’s hip hop, it’s soulful, and the entire thing is filled with great keyboard playing. “Messy Love” is the first track, and it sucked me in immediately the first time I heard it. As a keys player, I love the use of real piano in the song. That juxtaposed with the electronic elements gives it a unique vibe. And then when the bass comes in, it sounds so damn good. How did he get that synth bass to sound so good? Tell me right now, please—I have to know.
Spoon “Do I Have To Talk You Into It”
Daniel: This is my favorite track from the new Spoon album. I feel like on every new Spoon record, they push the boundaries a little bit more with their production, and Hot Thoughts is no different. I love how everything on this track is distorted to hell and pretty aggressive, but it still retains this pop sensibility and infectious groove the whole time. Their recent amazing performance of this on Fallon sealed the deal and made me a Spoon fan for life.
Tek.Lun “Sleepy People”
Marshall: So I’ve been listening to a bunch of lo-fi hip-hop beats lately. I don’t know why, and I don’t question it. As far as hip-hop beats go, I absolutely love this daydream of a track by Tek.Lun. It’s everything I’m looking for in an instrumental track. It has a badass groove, a hypnotic feel and a subtle melody. The rest of Allow It! is just as good as this very short instrumental song. It’s a great listen if you just want to tune out the world and dial in some focus.
Billy Lemos (Feat. Juto & Rei So La) “High/Free”
Marshall: Keeping with the two-minute song theme, I’ll throw in a scratchy, dreamy, lo-fi pop and R&B track by Billy Lemos with Juto and Rei So La. This song has a fabulous floating melody with a laid-back beat and a scattered guitar line. I don’t know much about the artists—I just know that it feels right.
Ryan Adams And The Cardinals “Magnolia Mountain” (Live)
Timon: I love this song as an opener to Cold Roses. The version on the album compared to this live session is pretty different, both in terms of arrangement and energy. The fact that both versions are so incredible on their own speaks to Ryan’s ability to write dynamic songs with depth and room for exploration. I think he’s one of the greatest of our time. Also, this live version has some of the best-sounding electric guitars I’ve ever heard.
LCD Soundsystem “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House”
Timon: This is one of those songs with lyrics where you can’t help but listen to every single word because the content is so unexpected. On the first few listens, you can’t really predict what lyrics are coming next. Musically speaking, it’s all built around one repetitive riff, so it’s kind of the opposite of what you get from the vocals. It’s also describing something that you’d never forget: that time that you threw this incredible house party with a huge band. But it’s relatable; all DIY and all your friends are helping you make it happen. It’s hypnotic, inventive and absolutely incredible.