The Drowning Men seems like all they’ve been drowning in is Smiths and Twilight Sad records. Although the band is from California rather than the U.K., frontman Nato Bardeen’s songwriting has the same feel as his depressed forefathers. “A Fool’s Campaign,” off All Of The Unknown (Borstal Beat), isn’t too sad, and it’s got a pretty fast tempo. We are proud to premiere it today at magnetmagazine.com. Download it below.
“Glyphs,” off the Sic Alps‘ self-titled fifth album (out September 11 via Drag City), is stomping stop/start jam complete with a string section. It resembles a darker, Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles track, but it’s a bit more disjointed. Download “Glyphs” below.
Seattle’s Jherek Bischoff started making headlines as a member of Grand Theft Orchestra when its Kickstarter page began making waves. An indie veteran who’s played in bands from Xiu Xiu to the Paranthtical Girls, the songrwriter/composer has released a meticulously composed album, appropriately named Composed (Brassland), that features guest spots from David Byrne, Nels Cline and more. Below is a mix tape Bischoff made for MAGNET. Says Bischoff, “Not exactly a ‘summer jams’ mix tape … I didn’t bother trying to make a cohesive mix here. Instead I just wanted to go with the theme of songs/artists that have greatly inspired me lately and in the past. I also for the most part shied away from artist that everyone knows. For instance, one of my favorite artists on the planet is Kate Bush, but everyone knows her tunes by now, so I am going with some more obscure stuff that will hopefully inspire others!”
John Jacob Niles “Go ‘Way From My Window”
I first discovered him while watching No Direction Home (Bob Dylan doc), and there was a little snippet of John Jacob Niles singing this song on there. There was this tall, skeletal man singing heartbreaking and direct lyrics in falsetto into a woman’s eyes … pretty much killed me. I paused the movie and immediately downloaded everything I could find. I have been collecting his LPs ever since. There is a ton of incredible music of his to discover! Video
Magnet “Willows Song” (soundtrack to The Wicker Man)
My friend Chad Raines showed me this movie when we were in Australia working on the new Amanda Palmer record. The movie is so insanely great, but this song and how it works in the movie have been inspiring me a lot lately. This is one of those songs I just put on repeat. Video
Ólöf Arnalds “Surrender”
My girlfriend introduced me to Ólöf Arnalds work. This song is so intimate, and so is the music video. It gives me crazy goose bumps every time. She is fantastic live too! Simplicity! Video
Arvo Pärt “Fratres”
There are many version of this piece; most of them are beautiful, but this one is by far the best. It is probably my favorite piece of music ever created. I was studying jazz at a university for a year and was walking through the music building, and the opening bit was playing in a classroom, and I remember my heart stopped … I walked into the classroom and walked right up to the teacher (who I didn’t know) and asked what it was. They showed me the record cover, and I left the campus right then and walked straight to the record shop and bought it. Put on some headphones and quit jazz! It just blows me away every time. Gil Shaham’s violin playing on this is the best, most emotional playing I may have ever heard. Video
Zbigniew Preisner “Enfer” (from The Double Life Of Veronique)
There were a few pieces of orchestral music that inspired me to start trying to write for orchestra. This was one of them! This is not the best performance of this piece, but it is the only one I could find on YouTube. There is another one that is even more epic. Video
Deerhoof “This Magnificent Bird Will Rise”
This song was my introduction to Deerhoof. I heard it the day it came out, and the music, the sound, everything was and is so perfect. The sound of this record is something that continually inspires me. Video
Mina “Se Telefonando”
I love this song because it is basically one extremely bangin’ chorus for the entire song, and it keeps lifting and lifting. The woman’s chorus in the background with the violins is one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard. Video
Caetano Veloso “Cucurrucucu Paloma”
His voice is one of the best ever. The orchestration for this was something new for me to hear and inspired me a lot. It sounds like it was written on guitar and then arranged for string orchestra, which is something that I do a lot with my ukulele. I love the minimalism and space. It leaves a lot of room for his amazing performance. Video
Charlotte Dada “Don’t Let Me Down”
From Ghana in 1971. I discovered this song also while in Australia. I was at this magical rehearsal space in Melbourne and the woman at the front desk was listening to it. When I was a teenager, I was introduced to African music through Paul Simon’s Graceland, especially the bass playing. (Bass is my main instrument.) I found a lot of inspiration digging deep into African music. For the bass stuff I became most familiar with South and West African music. This song has such a great vibe! Video
Miles Davis/Wayne Shorter “Nefertiti”
I spent about four or so years really studying jazz. I got more and more deep into the way-out-there stuff, but years later, instead, I have found myself back listening to this tune the most. It could be that I have had a hard time listening to jazz for a while because it started to feel like a bunch of people just showing off or flexing a muscle or something. But this song has a different approach. The horn players are the rhythm section in a way, and the rest of the group plays all around it. All of the playing here feels very honest, and they are really working together. It’s super hypnotic. I also was raised in a household of two drummers who were big Tony Williams fans, and his drumming is always untouchable. Video
Soft Machine “A Certain Kind”
I was raised on Soft Machine, and Robert Wyatt is one of my favorite singers and musicians. This song is a great mixture of styles. I spent many nights on headphones listening to this. Video
Ottawa’s White Wires deliver your standard power-pop fare. “All Night Long” is a love ballad of juvenile frustration that asks the question, “Why you gotta be like that?” It’s off the band’s third album, WWIII (out July 31 via Dirtnap). Listen below.
Buffalo Killers sound just as American as their name. Brothers Zachary and Andrew Gabbard, plus Joseph Sebaali, bring the full-force blues rock. “Get It,” off Dig. Sow. Love. Grow. (out August 7 via Alive Naturalsound), is gritty, loud and will no doubt beg the comparison to a handful of contemporary blues-rock bands like former tourmates the Black Keys and the North Mississippi Allstars. Download “Get It” below.