Felsen Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

Felsen‘s new Blood Orange Moon won’t grace your ears until later this month, but we’re getting you amped up about it anyway. We’ve already shared “Vultures On Your Bones,” but that’s not all Felsen’s got for you. Frontman Andrew Griffin has been nice enough to craft a mix tape of songs for MAGNET readers. Says Griffin, “My specially curated mix tape for you dear, dear music lovers: These are some of the songs that inspired me while working on the new Felsen LP. We wanted to write and record songs that were a bit more expansive, perhaps even cinematic in scope. We also wanted songs that were slower in tempo and took more time to unfold. In a frantic, hyper-paced world, it’s good to remind ourselves to slow down a bit and just go back to the music.” Check it out below, and read along while you listen.

Sun Kil Moon, “Duk Koo Kim”
Talk about taking your time … Mark Kozelek is the master. He’s also my spirit animal. I love how this song unfolds and really takes you on a long journey. At about the nine-minute mark (yup), there’s a real mood change in the vibe of the tune, yet he manages to keep it all sewn together. (I assure you, not an easy thing to do.) Tons of acoustic and electric guitars all woven together—very dreamy, woozy, intoxicating and kinda mesmerizing. It takes courage to put out a tune this long. We salute you sir.

Red House Painters, “Long Distance Runaround”
Also a rather lengthy piece of music, from Kozelek’s ’90s band. I bought the CD and was listening in my car while driving around the East Bay. It took a few listens to the album before I realized that this was a cover of a Yes tune. He has a knack for covering tunes, owning and reinventing it so that you barely hear the original tune anymore. There’s a pretty drastic mood change when they break into the instrumental extended outro. (It’s almost like another song.) That section is in the oft-neglected 7/8 time signature, thankyouverymuch. Our buddy Michael Urbano played drums on this album, and his drumming in particular was a huge influence on our new record. Beautiful stuff.

Serge Gainsbourg, “Cargo Culte”
I heard a song I really liked in an episode of Mad Men, and after trolling around online I found that it was by Serge Gainsbourg. I’d only heard about him but had no real previous exposure. That eventually lead me to this album, which I truly love. I think you can pretty much find most of the DNA code in the band Air (another favorite). Beck’s tune “Paper Tigers” owes much to this tune as well—I’m sure he’d admit it. I love the looseness, simplicity and space in the rhythm section: one electric guitar, bass and some funky boogaloo drums. On top of that, they put a really inventive string arrangement, tympani and a choir. It’s got that hypnotic vibe, too—it’s essentially one chord progression over and over again. I, for one, never get tired of it. It builds to a really beautiful triumphant crescendo that keeps you listening all the way to very end. Brilliant.

Beck, “The Golden Age”
Beck is a true musical chameleon with so many different phases to his long career, but I keep coming back to this album in particular. The mood is so perfect on this song. The simplicity of the composition, the tempo and vibe of the band are really very beautiful to my ears. It feels like he’s in no hurry to impress, making it all that much more impressive. (If that makes any sense.) The song form is so simple, too: intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, outro. The overall sound of the recording really draws me in. It’s very, very rich in reverb. Too much ’verb can be kinda dangerous … well, too much of the wrong reverb, that is. But as usual, Beck gets it right. That reverb-y idea was a big inspiration for our new album.

George Harrison, “Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)”
I read an old review of this album, and the reviewer described it as “music for mountaintops.” I liked that and that idea kinda became a mantra for us. This album is a great marriage of producer and artist: Phil Spector’s wall of sound meets George’s beautiful and spiritual music. We listened to this album a bunch touring through the rainy Pacific Northwest. We highly recommend that experience.

The Orange Peels, “The Words Don’t Work”
I’ve known the Orange Peels for a few years now and have always loved their songs and production. I loved it so much that we connected with their mainman, Allen Clapp, to mix Felsen’s new album. This is a such a charming short song—too short perhaps? Hopefully, it’ll make you want to listen to the rest of the album. The Peels are like a modern-day Big Star: simple, catchy, and they wear their musical hearts on their sleeve with zero apologies.

The Eels, “That Look You Give That Guy”
This one really hits me. E writes a very honest, very heartfelt tune. It’s so simple and direct. The recording is like that, too. It sounds like a trio of bass, drums, one electric guitar and not much else. I particularly love the sound of the drums on this one. (What … I’m a recovering drummer.) This one is so good it hurts—perfect for nursing a broken heart.

VanWyck Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

We previously introduced you to VanWyck with her haunting song “An Average Woman.” Her album of the same name isn’t out until later this month, but there’s no reason to sit in the silence until then. VanWyck pulled together some of her favorite songs for your immediate consumption—throw them in a playlist, add in “An Average Woman,” and put that thing on repeat until the LP comes. You’re welcome. Check out VanWyck’s MAGNET mix tape below.

Harry Belafonte, “Jamaica Farewell”
There wasn’t a lot of music in our house when I grew up. I think my parents had two records, maybe three. But my mother was always singing songs. And often those were Harry Belafonte songs. She had always been a phenomenal dancer, and I remember her dancing alone in the kitchen, singing these songs, swaying her hips. I think that was how I first enjoyed rhythms—together with these melodies filled with unrequited longing for different lands, forgotten islands, lost loves. We often moved when I was small, between different countries and different continents, so this feeling of having to leave things behind was always close by. Though I now realize it’s a song about loss, for me it was always the song that represented home.

Prince, “The Ladder”
I learned to play music through Prince—I trained as a classical pianist, but started figuring out his songs on the piano. I think “The Ladder” was the first song I could play. I spent a lot of time thinking about what that song meant, what is was about. And looked up the word “salvation” in the dictionary, I remember. The whole album Around The World In A Day was very inspirational to me. There’s such a richness in everything: the themes, the lyrics, the variety in songs. It had lust and sex and God and politics and colourful people whose hair on one side was swept back. It was a place that seemed so different from everything I knew, and I desperately wanted to get there.

Gillian Welch, “Tennessee”
I remember the time this album came out and all of my guitar friends were sharing stories about how they listened to it. One said he was housesitting an apartment in Rotterdam, a penthouse on the top floor of a high building overlooking the river and the harbour with a phenomenal sound system. He waited all day to for the sun to set and the city lights to come up, and then put on the album. Alone, with a glass of bourbon. And he still shone as he said, “Me and Gillian, alone, looking out over the river, one of the best moments in my life.” I understood then that I needed to find myself a good place to listen to this album. I kept putting it off, like something that’s too good to consume. Finally on a long drive to France, I let myself submerge into it. The monotony of the French autoroute, the kids sleeping in the back, and Gillian singing about going back to Tennessee—it was one of the happiest moments in my life. These are songs that latch onto your soul forever. Where you keep them safe, like precious gems.

Nick Drake, “River Man”
Sometimes you find songs that immediately spur you into writing something. It’s like you have to respond to it, you have to answer to them somehow. I had it strongly with this song. I was discussing string arrangements with someone who let me listen to this one as an example, and I was transcended in a way. It’s like the strings move on their own rhythm through the song, becoming the river itself, bending and twisting and slowly flowing along. I wrote “Red River Girl” partly as a response to it. It’s one of the songs on my upcoming album that I am happiest about. Especially because Reyer Zwart wrote such a wonderful string arrangement for it, which also bends and flows and twists, but in a darker way.

Laura Marling, “Made By Maid”
“How come the papers aren’t filled with articles about this amazing talent?” I wondered when I first heard Laura Marling. I think she’s singlehandedly surpassing the legacies of Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell put together. I am really confident that 20 years from now she will have built up an amazing body of work. We were here to witness its fruition. It feels like a privilege.

Jara, “Lost Your Number”
It’s not often that you walk into a tiny bar and are completely blown away by the artist performing on the small dark stage in the back, but with Jara I totally was. There’s this cafe in Amsterdam called De Koe (Yes, that’s “The Cow”), where there are open-mic nights and I happened to walk in once and heard her sing this song. It felt like an instant classic to me. This video is of her performing it at a house concert with Sofar Sounds in Amsterdam, also showing some great footage of the Amsterdam canals, which is where I live. The song has not been put out yet; up to now she has only put out an EP, but I hope she gets the chance to soon.

Leonard Cohen, “Treaty”
For me, a lot of things start and end with Leonard Cohen. Days, for instance, funerals sometimes, a few love affairs, learning how to write songs, finding out more about the meaning of existence. He’s an endless source of inspiration in so many ways—his harmonies, his humor, his humbleness and gentleness, and the way he kept at it. I think that would be my ultimate goal to release a record at 82. In an article in The New York Times Magazine, Wyatt Mason wrote this beautiful interpretation of the last interview with Cohen. It has come to mean a lot to me: “At critical moments, from our depths, out of an impulse not for glory, not for wealth, not for fame, not for power, but out of an appetite to serve—serve something larger than ourselves, however one might define it—the emergency inside us finally speaks.”

Three For Silver Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

Three For Silver makes very interesting music. We have a theory that people who make interesting music probably listen to interesting music. We wanted to get to the bottom of this, so we asked the trio to send us a list of their favorite songs—and it turns out that they’ve confirmed our theory. Ranging from classical to avant garde to theatrical, the members of Three For Silver—Lucas Warford, Willo Sertain and Greg Allison—have provided for your enjoyment a mix tape of the highest quality. But there’s more! They’ve also written some beautiful words about these songs, so read along while you listen, and check out their The Way We Burn when you’re finished.

Colin Stetson, “To See More Light”
Lucas: At this moment in my life, Stetson is my primary inspiration as an instrumentalist. I picked this track because I think it is thus far his greatest achievement, a magnum opus in the classic sense. I connect with Stetson’s music like I might with a great love of my life, and it is similarly difficult to speak about logically or coherently. As a lifelong performer and general stage addict, I tend to be very analytical toward the performances and art of others. How are they doing what they’re doing? How is it succeeding? How is it failing? But Stetson’s music always bypasses my conscious mind. It’s as raw and visceral to me as a natural phenomenon. You may as well ask me how I feel about watching a thunderstorm. He has made recordings that are more heavy, more rhythmic, more delicate, more melodic and more beautiful—but “To See More Light” balances all of these forces while sacrificing none of them. Most importantly, it isn’t over-produced, it all sounds like its one person in a room with a saxophone. His approach to the saxophone, the physical demands on his body and his “more is more” aesthetic all resonate deeply with my own journey of radical self-expression through instruments, though the final product is totally different. If the instrument is truly an extension of yourself, then you will inherently discover a style that seems impossible to others, as you are the only one can speak with your own voice. Sidenote: I first became obsessed with this song (and the attendant album) while reading Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy, and I forever imagine this as the trilogy’s soundtrack. I worry that Alex Garland isn’t going to get the memo.

The Caretaker, “Misplaced In Time”
Lucas: I wouldn’t describe this song or the Caretaker as music, but rather as a serotonin pump indirectly connected to my pineal gland. It’s well documented that when the Caretaker comes on, I smile like an idiot for the duration. I often don’t like to have music on, but I am always glad to hear the Caretaker. It is a disturbingly intimate experience, having this stranger give form to the imaginary soundtrack inside of my head. The Caretaker—who has always been the Caretaker (watch that scene from The Shining)—distresses, slows, twists and delays old swing recordings till they sound the way they should have had the good sense to sound from the get-go. In other words, seeping through the halls of an abandoned hotel from a New Year’s Eve party that never ends. The Caretaker is a masterclass in how you say something being much more important than what you are saying. The raw musical notes are never enough. The Caretaker’s renditions become a story that you can get lost in. This particular tune is a warped rendition of George Olsen’s take on “Lullaby Of The Leaves,” which is one of my all-time favorite standards. However, I recommend Roy Smeck’s rendition if you want to hear it in its non-Caretaker form.

Meredith Willson, “Ya Got Trouble”
Lucas: I definitely needed to include some form of show tune, or movie musical number, maybe something from an old Disney movie. I went with this because I’ve been obsessed with it since I recently rewatched The Music Man. I’ve always loved certain types of musical numbers, the way the characters leap out of the songs and drag you into a world that seems much bigger than the confines of a four-minute tune. Most of my tunes are written from a character’s perspective working through some (typically difficult) moment, and I think a lot of that comes directly from my early love for this kind of music. I find a real wealth of inspiration in old musicals and Disney films. This song creates such a ridiculously vivid portrait of a time and place that probably never even existed. Antiquated words and mannerisms and weird vocal rhythms charge my mind like a magnetic field. It’s a summertime, ragtime, boater-hatted monologue delivered by the devil himself, and every goddamn word of it is a lie, which doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

Enya, “Na Laitha Gael M’oige”
Willo: Enya was always a big influence to my music, primarily due to the dreamlike qualities of her compositions and polyglottal lyricism. I chose “Na Laetha Gael M’oige” because it’s often stuck in my head. It’s a song that has been with me since childhood, and I still feel affected by it.

Clara Rockmore, Tchaikovsky’s “Berceuse”
Willo: I became aware of Clara Rockmore’s pioneering work with the theremin in my 20s. I have always enjoyed learning more about obscure instruments, and although the theremin was known to me, it was before only in the context of noise and sci-fi soundscapes. Rockmore’s inventive techniques allowed for the passion of such emotive pieces as Tchaikovsky’s “Berceuse” to be fully realized on what was before simply a new and novel instrument, not worthy of respect from the world of classical music.

The Ex And Tom Cora, “Hidegen Fui Nak a Szelek”
Willo: This song is an old, traditional Hungarian tune that I first heard performed by Hungarian folk band Muzikas. I love the original version to no end, but I chose this version because I really appreciate the way in which an old song was taken and conveyed through a more modern medium. I believe that the absorption and re-expression of traditions is key to cultural preservation and the maintaining of relevancy. I’ve endeavored to do this through my music, both by studying and learning traditional folk songs from many cultures and through using that knowledge and influence in the composition of original material.

Philip Glass, Einstein On The Beach
Greg: I first was introduced to Philip Glass through the movie Koyannisqatsi and was hooked immediately. As a composition major in college, I was strongly discouraged by my professors to write in a minimalist style. I felt rebellious at the time, but I can now empathize with their sentiment. It is really really easy when writing “minimalism” to revert to sounding like Philip Glass. His music is all over the place and is so influential that it is has seeped into our collective musical unconscious. There are a million film composers who go for that sound and totally miss the point, composing “Philip Glass-ian” music that is just awful. Really, really awful. His music has strongly impacted my playing, writing and my thoughts about simplicity, repetition and personal style in music. This opera can hardly be described as “minimalist.” It is opera in the grandest and most complex form. The piece “Spaceship” tears through the depths of outer space at an unforgiving pace (the speed of light?), refusing to yield to anything that is put in front of it. “Knee Play 5” is the emotional climax of the opera. It brings together themes that have been developing through the course of the narrative in a way that hits me so hard every time I hear it.

Glenn Gould, Bach: The Goldberg Variations (1981)
Greg: Classical music is generated through a curious collaboration between composers, who create with ink and paper an intellectual road map of their vision, and artists, who must interpret the notes and become the medium through which the composers’ vision takes form. Lots of ambiguities arise in this type of collaboration. What did the composer actually desire? How much artistic interpretation is too much? Should the artist stay true to the time period in which the piece was composed—or modernize it to help it be digested by an audience today? For me, this recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations is the ultimate and timeless synthesis of composer’s and performer’s visions. Bach’s melodies, rhythms, counterpoint and polyphony soothe the desires of my active intellectual mind enough to allow me to feel sweeping energetic waves of raw and primal emotion emerge from every cell in my body. Gould knows that Bach is creating dance music and perfectly executes and emotes the multiple layers that are going on in the written music. There are characters in this music who come in and out of focus, who dance with each other, who push off of each other, who twist and morph and change with the times. This story runs in parallel with Gould’s personal story: He made two recordings of the piece, one in 1955 as a young, fiery virtuoso and one in 1981 as a seasoned performer and recording artist. I have often found myself going to this recording first thing in the morning as a way for me to acquaint myself in a visceral way with the emotions and characters within me.

Tin Hat, “Old World”
Greg: This is my perfect music for a wet and overcast Portland day: I’m sitting in my studio, looking out the window into the grayness and listening to the rain on the sidewalk accompany the melancholic and nostalgic tones of the violin and clarinet weave in and out of the subtle and steady fingerpicking of the guitar. This is the first song from the album that, for me, flows as one complete gesture. The group that started as a trio has been a huge inspiration in understanding how wide a sonic pallet can be created with just three acoustic instruments. My violin playing would not be the same without the hours I spent trying to sound like Carla Kihlstedt. Her tone is soft and delicate, and she plays with sounds and effects that are playful, whimsical and seem effortless.

*Repeat Repeat Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

*Repeat Repeat released Floral Canyon last year, and it’s our duty to make sure you’re aware before you put the finishing touches on your album-of-the-year list for 2017. When you’re done checking out the LP, we went ahead and picked the duo’s brains to create a mix tape of their favorite songs for you. Listen while you read along below.

Broncho, ”I Know You”
Broncho is the type of rarity band that puts out consistently great records. Their sound has evolved a bit from early punk garage to a more dreamy space garage. This song just feels like a long drive with the windows down. It’s equal parts grunge and chill at the same time.

Now, Now, ”SGL”
This song, in our minds, is the perfect pop song. There’s a kinetic energy throughout the track that’s so cool and groovy and isn’t trying too hard. When the bass kicks in at the chorus, it hits us right in the chest. Also Cacie’s vocals are so in-the-pocket and push just above the instruments with a subtly that lacks in so many pop songs right now.

Andy Shauf, ”Alexander All Alone”
This was the song that turned us on to Andy Shauf. We have a special place in our hearts for any song that has a spooky element to it, and the continuous piano/shaker combo turns the track into some ghost in the attic. We immediately fell in love with it. His record The Party is in Jared’s top 100 records of all time, and every track on it is absolutely perfect. Also he’s Canadian, which we can really get behind.

Mother Mother, ”Monkey Tree”
More Canadians! This is the only band Kristyn has ever literally fan-girled over. Mother Mother was a big inspiration in the beginnings of our band. And their older albums mix a level of intricate melodies and theatrics. On “Monkey Tree,” the band went straight down the middle and added an electro aspect to this single. We love it so much. The guy/girl vocals are so unique.

Dante Elephante, ”Never Trust A Junkie”
This band is out of California. There are a lot of bands doing the jangly lo-fi indie thing right now. These guys do it the right way. This song is just a ’50s-style chord progression played over and over again, and it’s just so fucking catchy.

Blake Mills, ”Hey Lover”
Jared’s parents did this thing where every girl in the family had a “K” name and every boy had a “J” name. I thought it was ridiculous. Until Jared met and fell in love with Kristyn and continued the tradition. When he heard the lyric “I want to raise with you, and watch our younglings hatch/Fuckin’ make the first letters of their first names match,” he was sold.

Charlotte Gainsbourg, ”Trick Pony”
We are obsessed with French pop and the Ye Ye Girls. Charlotte Gainsbourg is basically like the new wave of French pop. This album was produced by Beck, and this track specifically is so haunting and simple.

Cage The Elephant, ”Mess Around”
Sweetest humans. What a banger of a song.

The Raveonettes, ”Summer Ends”
The Raveonettes capture a dynamic that we try to emulate of often as possible. They add an element of film-noir style drama to every track on this record, and “Summer Ends” finds them creating a huge noise wall juxtaposed against incredibly washed-out vocals. It feels like you could listen to this song and literally watch the seasons change.

Jordan Klassen Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

Jordan Klassen‘s Big Intruder (Nevado) is out now, and you should probably give it a listen before you finalize your best-albums-of-2017 list. When you’re done doing that, check out Klassen’s shiny new MAGNET mix tape, a playlist of songs selected for your listening pleasure, giving a little bit of insight into his favorite music. Check it out below.

Harry Nilsson, “Without Her”
When I was writing Big Intruder, I was really reflecting on the idea of the heritage of the “singer/songwriter.” Nilsson was a guy I had to keep coming back to during this process. He is a legend of a storyteller and a master of doing more with less. This song is a perfect example—just a bass carrying the rhythm, a cello playfully weaving around the melody, clear and concise lyrics that never feel stale.

Sufjan Stevens, “John My Beloved”
My life has been pretty happy lately—I get to write songs for a job, I’m a newlywed, and I love where I live and the community I have. For some reason, these are the times when I find myself drawn to sad songs. I think maybe when life is dark there’s just something too on the nose about them or something. “John My Beloved” is one of my favorite sad songs, and it’s in heavy rotation for me. It’s so honest and unsentimental and perfectly metaphorical. Stevens has this wonderful quality where he can be extremely specific and insider, but there always arises a supernatural ability for the listener to feel like they know exactly what he’s talking about.

Husky, “History’s Door”
I’m about to head out on a Europe tour with these guys, and it’s one of those occasions where I’m genuinely looking forward to getting to hear them every night. This summer, my wife and I went to Italy for a belated honeymoon, and I think this tune ended up being the anthem of our trip.

The Tourist Company, “Pedestals”
Full disclosure: This song may be cheating a bit because I actually produced this record and am pretty close pals with these guys. Regardless, this is an excellent pop tune, and the whole record gets regular play at my apartment. Taylor knows how to combine hooky sensibilities with weirdness, and he does it with ease. One of my favourite Vancouver bands for sure.

Kate Bush, “Wuthering Heights”
Another big inspiration behind Big Intruder, Kate Bush is a great example of a singer/songwriter who turns the genre a bit on its head—her songs are personal and honest but also really odd and jarring at times. Whenever I listen to “Wuthering Heights,” I never doubt its sincerity despite its weirdness. This is, I think, at the heart of what successful experimental art achieves. “Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Cathy/I’ve come home, I’m so cold/Let me in through your window.” The story feels true but also other-worldly. Also, this is really perfect dance-alone-in-your-living-room music.

Gregory Alan Isakov, “Second Chances”
Of all the records I’ve dug into the past few years, this one has probably been played the most. The songwriting is really so wonderful. Isakov’s lyrics are convincing enough to punch you in the gut, and abstract enough to avoid ever feeling preachy. This track is a great example of this. “If it weren’t for second chances, we’d all be alone.” He’s the antagonist in the story, he’s the one expressing his need, and you want to come along and repent with him.

Low Roar, “Nobody Loves Me Like You”
These guys are on my label, and I’ve just been loving everything they’ve been doing. The songs are at the same time cozy and creepy, uneasy and seamless. At first glance, this track seems like a sweet love song, but when you dig into the story a little more, shit gets dark.

The Shades Make MAGNET A Mix Tape

The Shades put out the Miles Made Of Inches EP earlier this year, and if you’re doing your MAGNET homework every night, you’d remember that we featured their sunny tune “Only For A Moment” a while back. Today, we’re bringing you a mix tape made by the band that gives some insight into the music that influenced the creation of their EP. So listen and read along below, and check out Miles Made Of Inches when you’re through.

Bernhoft, “Come Around”
Phil: Bernhoft doesn’t travel to Chicago often, but when he does, you can nearly guarantee we’ll be in the audience singing along (in full harmony) throughout his set. He is without question one of the most gifted and creative artists of this generation. This tune’s feel-good vibe and catchy hook make it an excellent opening track for this mix tape. We were listening to a lot of Bernhoft at the time we recorded, and his influence on our overall sound is significant.

Lake Street Dive, “Seventeen”
Andrew: If the crunchy opening guitar line doesn’t hook you, the first lyric definitely will: “Look at those eyes behind the trees,” Rachael Price sings, “don’t the highway sound like an ocean?” This is one of our favorite Lake Street Dive tunes because it’s so manic—featuring completely different tempos, as well as a male-and-female lead vocal throughout—it almost sounds like two songs in one. But that’s who Lake Street Dive is as a songwriting team: They force you to pay attention, by any means necessary.

Brandi Carlile, “The Eye”
Mark: The three of us were heavy into Brandi Carlile at different points while writing and recording this record. What we love about this song, aside from the heart-achingly beautiful lyrics, is that it’s sung almost entirely in three-part harmony, start to finish.

Allen Stone, “Say So”
Mark: This love song is as insanely catchy as it is simple. It’s the type of song that exudes joy and will leave you involuntarily grinning and tapping your feet (but, like, not in a creepy way). It’s a reminder to us, as songwriters, that not every lyric we write needs to carry some deeper meaning.

John Mayer, “Born And Raised”
Phil: This record was definitely in rotation throughout the creation of our EP. “Born And Raised” is a song about growing older and coming to terms with where you are in life—with the hope that there’s still time to save face and become who you see yourself becoming. We love the way the verses are crafted, and supporting harmonies by David Crosby and Graham Nash are right up our alley in terms of vocal blend. It may have also inspired the Dylan-esqe harmonica featured on our album.

Johnnyswim, “Diamonds”
Phil: Johnnyswim is another group we were inspired by while writing and recording our EP. The title track to the 2014 album Diamonds is an incredible arrangement. There may be no stronger vocal blend than that of husband and wife (well, except maybe for brother and brother), and we love the lyrical quality and instrumentation choices on this record.

Blind Faith, “Can’t Find My Way Home”
Andrew: The truth is, a ton of classic music influenced our writing on Miles Made Of Inches, but it’s songs like this one—the not-quite-rock, not-quite-pop, not-quite-folk-or-country sound—that made us feel excited to put “Take You Home,” “Some & Others” and “The Path Without” on the same record. The deliberate, contemplative acoustic sound is really where the Shades started, and where we hope to continue to grow from.

Gabe Dixon Band, “Sirens”
Mark: Really, any Gabe Dixon song could have made our mix tape. We’ve always been in awe of Gabe’s songwriting and piano virtuosity. And the mythological reference in this song to sirens—something so mesmerizing that you can’t help but return to again and again—really encapsulates our relationship to Gabe’s music. He has, and always will be, a huge influence to the Shades, lyrically and melodically. As a bonus, there’s some masterful harmony work happening here—particularly in the last chorus.

Chance The Rapper, “Blessings (Reprise)”
Andrew: There are a million reasons to highlight who Chance The Rapper is as an artist, humanitarian and Chicagoan, but mainly, we felt strongly that the closing track for our mix tape should come from, well, an actual mix tape. A beautiful, poetic reminder to stay humble, hungry and ready. Because your blessing is coming.

Wes Youssi Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

We previously brought Wes Youssi to your attention with “Down Low.” Today we’re bringing the singer/songwriter back into your orbit with his specially curated new MAGNET mix tape. Listen and read along below, and be sure to check out Down Low in January.

George Jones & Tammy Wynette, “Livin’ On Easy Street”
Country is so many things, but it often comes back to similar subject matter. Love, loss and hitting the bottle too hard. One of the things I’ve always loved about this particular tune is that the focus is on a relatively new topic—“welfare”—and though I’m sure the songwriter was in a tough spot, the song makes you look at all the bright spots and humor of having to sacrifice for your art. “Living’ On Easy Street” always brightens my day, and I like that it’s a song that addresses circumstances in the present time and with symbology every listener is familiar with.

The Kinks, “Strange Effect”
Everybody has energy, but some people trigger a powerful, almost primitive attraction for us that can be hard to control. While it happens instantly, the feeling is very slow, almost like a drug. I have always loved the way this song conceptually ties that emotional attraction into such a simple tune.

Marty Stuart, “Paint The Town”
The thing I love about country music is that it’s deceptively simple. Often times our human emotions feel complex, but the circumstances are relatively simple when taking a step back to analyze. “Paint The Town” is a term from an older generation, but Marty lets us know how it feels today and why it will always be relevant to a man’s heart. The significance to Marty’s artistry lies in a firm foundation of the history of country music, and at the same time bringing new artistry, emotion and skill to people today. That makes his music extremely important to me. It’s like a lighthouse for those making new music today.


Doug Sahm, “Anybody Going To San Antone”
I have always loved lo-fi music because it feels more “raw.” By no means is Doug’s music considered lo-fi, but for whatever reason, his expression, vocal and presentation always brings the energy of a real honky-tonk bar to the stage. This song was made popular by Charlie Pride, and that version is amazing. What I love is that Doug was able to bring something different and carve out a fresh perspective within the same storyline. As a songwriter and performer, I love examples like this to remind me what is possible with a tune when it connects with an artist. I can feel the Texas air blowing when he describes the “wind whipping down the neck of my shirt.”

KORT, “She Came Around Last Night”
For me, this duo is the modern version of a what I believe the music industry used to produce. A combination of artistry, matched with thoughtful songs, and the experience and street time to earn their stripes. There is no pretense on this album, no nudie suits, just heartfelt stories sung by artists I can believe in. I keep this near at all times.

Harry Nilsson, “Let The Good Times Roll”
Nilsson Schmilsson is an album everyone should own. The songs are great, the production level is best of class, and you get warm feelings after you finish listening. “Let The Good Times Roll” is just pure fun, and when Harry is singing you get a sense by his expression that he is long overdue for some. Simple songs can be undone, when the artist isn’t present in the emotion, so I love this song as an example of how great it can be when someone is in perfect synergy with the music.

Mississippi Fred McDowell, “White Lighting”
Mississippi Fred McDowell is country blues for me. His songs are straight from the heart. His playing is rhythmic, alive and expressive. But to the ear it seems simple (and gives your mind space). I feel like we’re given the real story about why one washes their troubled heart with “White Lighting.” No cute tales of making whiskey in the woods here, or quick hooks. This is the dark side of a heavy mind, and it’s both chilling and beautiful.

John Trudell, “Devil And Me”
I like artists who begin with the words and say what they truly feel. When they get backed into a corner in life, it’s powerful to feel with them through their words. John Trudell is an example how much power words can have. “Devil And Me” gets me lost, wandering and in and out of consciousness much like I feel the songwriter is. I like being in the same place or sharing the same mind for four minutes. This song is where mainstream music cannot go. I find the words to be a genuinely refreshing expression of one’s life in this country.

Reigning Sound, “As Long”
I first heard about Greg Cartwright from a double-disc album called Root Damage. It’s one of those “everyone must own this” albums. Before it was trendy, these guys were down in Memphis writing and singing genuine country and roots songs that feel like something Alan Lomax would have captured. I look for the heart in things, and there’s no shortage of it in this song. It’s raw, it’s straightforward, and for me it’s our country music.

Soledad Brothers, “Mysterious Ways”
When I lived in Detroit I went to see this band every time they played locally. To be in the same room with them was so good that it was practically spiritual. When I bought the album I quickly fell under the influence of “Mysterious Ways” for its tempo, blazing slide guitar and restless vocals. It captures those days where modern industrial life goes into slow motion, and you fall out of time, aware of both past and present histories at the same time. You get the feeling that you might get stuck forever, but the song rocks you back into cognition.

This Way To The Egress Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

This Way To The Egress just released Onward! Up A Frightening Creek. While you’re getting acquainted with that record, it might behoove you to check out this mix tape, curated by Sarah Shown and Taylor Galassi, to get to know the band on an even deeper level. Read and listen/watch below.

Jain, “Makeba”
Sarah: I love the fact that this really fresh, new, young artist has found a way to pay homage to such a monumental figure in music and civil rights. I like when I see an artist play a role in social consciousness, honoring musicians that have paved the way before us. Miriam Makeba has always been a woman I look up to and admire, and I think this was a great homage piece. I hope it introduces her to some folks who aren’t familiar. It is also a really great dance song.

The Dead Brothers, “St Dympha”
Sarah: This song is a bit of a deliverance from the Dead Brothers’ typical haunting, death country vibe. Although I love their typical stuff, this song strikes a nerve. The harmonies and guitar parts are, at times, reminiscent of Paul Simon—whom I love. It is a spiritual song done by a band who usually embraces the dark side of humanity. It’s super pretty.

Honus Honus, “Heavy Jesus”
Sarah: This song is super fun. Honus, in whatever incarnation he is releasing music under, always seems to blur the lines between completely bizarre and super catchy, poppy earworms. This song is a complete earworm, but I felt like I could totally relate. The only religion I have ever known is rock ‘n’ roll.

Duke Ellington, “Creole Love Call”
Sarah: If I only had one song I could listen to the rest of my life, this would be it. It encompasses the absolute longing for life, love and tranquility that was present during that time. Musicianship of this era was seriously epic; there has been nothing like it since. Adelaide Hall’s vocals are everything, and the screaming clarinets and sopranos pull the last of my heart strings.

Tom Waits “Way Down In A Hole”
Sarah: Tom Waits is by far my favorite artist and storyteller of my time. A friend of mine said to me once, “There are two people in this world Sarah: people who get Tom Waits and people who don’t.” Tom does such a good job in this song of reflecting intentions of the church—the fear of the devil with which many religions oppress folks—but in a completely sexy way. This song is like a whiskey on the rocks in a dank, smoking bar. It is neon lights and seedy underbellies.

Spike Jones & His City Slickers, “You Always Hurt The One You Love”
Taylor: When I was growing up, my grandfather used to play old Spike Jones records on his stereo. Spike Jones was a jazz musician who decided he wanted to start doing renditions of old classics with car horns, gun shots, whistles, anvils, cow bells and the like. That morphed into Spike Jones & His City Slickers. They toured the world spreading their satirical arrangements of popular songs and classical music. They also composed songs based on the current events at the time, which was in the 1940s.

Vitas, “Opera #2”
Taylor: Vitas is a Latvian singer who sings in Russian and Ukrainian. He is known for his unique head voice and boasts a five-octave vocal range. His live show consists of props, lavish costumes and dancers. I really enjoy this artist’s music. It’s completely different than any of the mainstream music you might hear, even in other countries. His popularity continues to grow. He has not yet toured in the U.S., but I’m sure that will change in the future. Give a listen to his other works, and check out his other videos. You won’t be sorry!

Ford Theatre Reunion, “Road Dogs”
Taylor: Love this band and love this song. The chord progression, lyrics and musical changes just grab me. We know this band personally, and they’re out there doing it DIY style. Their live show is insanely energetic, complete with witty stage banter and unexpected musical time signatures. They’ve got a growing fan base in the Lexington, K.Y., music scene, and their sludgefunk circuspunk music is something you need to hear.

Death, “Scavenger Of Human Sorrow”
Taylor: Whenever people ask me about my favorite music, I have to mention my death-metal roots from when I was younger. I was a drummer for many death-metal bands in my teens and early 20s, so I’ve still got that soft spot for that style. Death was a band that was lead by the late Chuck Schuldiner, “The Godfather Of Deathmetal.” His music changed the way people looked at death metal. These were not your run-of-the-mill guitar riffs. He utilized music theory and polyrhythmic styles that just weren’t being done as much at the time. I still listen to Death, and I continue to be impressed with the onslaught of guitar riffs, drumming skills and overall orchestrations of all the musicians involved.

Squirrel Nut Zippers, “Ghost Of Stephen Foster”
Taylor: I’m pretty much in love with this band. They have been going on and off since 1993. A swing revival band formed by Jimbo Mathus. This song is filled with contagious melodies and gets you up out of your chair. You’re robbing yourself if you don’t go out and catch their live show!

My Little Hum Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

My Little Hum recently put out Remembering Houses, if you’ll recall from when we brought you “Rise Over Run.” Well, it turns out these musicians like music! Who would’ve expected that? Anyway, you can check out a few of their favorite songs below—after you’re finished reading and listening, make sure you check out Remembering Houses. Says the duo of Dan and Yuri Jewett, “When we’re not making music, we like to listen to it. Here we trade off picks that would be perfect at any late-night DJ session. This MAGNET mix tape celebrates that love of music.”

Crowded House, “Four Seasons In One Day”
Yuri: Those Finn brothers really know how to craft a good song. This one resonates right now as it eerily reflects what our country is experiencing today, even though it was written 25 years ago.

The Beatles, “Hey Bulldog”
Dan: Well, seeing Paul and John sharing a mic and a lyric sheet and just delivering is always thrilling. This song rocks and shows the Beatles just having a ton of fun. And who else has found a way to work the word “wigwam” into their lyrics? Hoooowwwllllll.

The Sundays, “Summertime”
Yuri: This song makes us instantly happy when we listen to it. A few people have mentioned that we have a little bit of this band’s vibe in our own music, and that’s a huge compliment. We play this pretty much every year when summer rolls around.

Mark Eitzel, “The Last Ten Years”
Dan: We have this on vinyl and love putting it on during home DJ sessions. It’s moody and really exceptional, and some of the lyric concepts really stay with you. “I’ve spent the last 10 years trying to waste half an hour.”

Tricky, “Hell Is Round The Corner”
Yuri: I used to work as a bartender in San Francisco and every time the DJ played this song, I would witness a room full of strangers collectively shift into a sexy, groovy mood. I’ve always admired this song for its ability to cast a spell like that.

Talk Talk, “Life’s What You Make It”
Dan: I remembered seeing these guys on MTV back in the day but didn’t really pay a lot of attention then. After reading Phill Brown’s account of working with them (“We don’t have any songs ready, how about we just start recording drums”) in his book Are We Still Rolling? I just had to hear more. So glad I did. This song is a good place to start.

R.E.M., “Wolves, Lower”
Yuri: The first we heard from an amazing band that not only wrote great songs but created an entire genre of music. When I was a nerd in high school wrapping my head around global problems and what “little me” could do to change things, R.E.M. was constantly streaming through my headphones. I’m very thankful for that!

Robyn Hitchcock, “I Want To Tell You About What I Want”
Dan: We’ll take Robyn any way we can get him: acoustic, electric, talking about buckets. But it was good to see him back with a full-band sound this year. This song will help you understand what Robyn wants.

Patti Smith, “Birdland”
Yuri: The reason I got into music is because I like to write words. There are so many great Patti Smith songs worth mentioning, but this one showcases how transcendent words can become when you put them to music. She is just so untouchable here.

The Orange Peels, “Bicentennial Bridge”
Dan: Our favorite band, our favorite people. A few of them—really all of them—helped us make our album. When I first heard this song, I absolutely loved it. It has an indisputable forward momentum and grabs you from the opening guitar riff. What I hadn’t realized was that it was about jumping off those crazy little bridges in aquatic Foster City —where Allen Clapp and I both grew up. Once I learned that, I loved it even more.

MAGNET Feedback With Joseph Arthur (The Director’s Cut)

Each issue, we ask a different artist who we feel has good, insightful taste in music for their feedback on 10 or so songs we choose for them. It’s a generally straightforward, two-page feature that we feel people enjoy reading. We asked longtime MAGNET fave Joseph Arthur to do one for issue #143, and below is what he sent in. It’s a really good piece, but in order to make it fit into our print format, we had to do quite a bit of editing on it before we ran it. Needless to say, Mr. Arthur liked his original version better than our edited version, which ran on the site earlier today. (Check it out here.) So we told him we’d run this original piece online, as well as the very cool piece of art he supplied with it. Consider this The Joseph Arthur Director’s Cut. Enjoy.

Brian Eno’s tin foil hat or how I tried and failed to write a piece for Magnet by Joseph Arthur
My manager said “hey I need that piece for Magnet by monday. ” we were having our Friday wrap up conversation, you know the one, where you are both looking at the weekend and so everything is a little lighter. Life doesn’t seem impossible at all. This was no Tuesday. It was Friday. But you have to be careful in Friday’s because that free and easy feeling can lead you to say yes to something you perhaps should say no too. In other words your ass may write a check that your dreams can’t cash? How does that phrase go? I’m pretty sure that’s not it and I’m gonna pretend it’s 1979 and so there’s no google. I’m gonna go with God on this one.
I said to my manager
In that overly confident and quick to get off the phone way. ” what is it ?”
“Oh I sent you the email”
“Oh cool ” I went on “Ill knock it out, as long as I don’t have to write a Shakespearean play I can’t imagine having a problem with what ever it is”
We were loose it was Friday
I quipped
” well actually even if it was a Shakespearean play I could probably do that” my Friday over confidence had gotten its grips on me to near pathology at that point. You know the feeling. Monday seems like a million years away. Almost like it will never be monday again.
Here’s what an outbreak of the disease looks like. You go into a kind of zone in which if anyone asks you to anything at that time which will be do monday you will without even understanding why just automatically say yes.
So sure you are that monday is practically years away. But here’s the thing. It’s not. It never is. So we set up an organization called OCFA
The only requirement is a desire to stop making proclamations on Friday afternoons about things you’ll need to deal with monday morning.

But I missed my meetings. I said yes to a monday obligation right in the zone of the Friday eternities
The Friday eternities are what we aim to be sober from. The Friday eternities are similar to what alcohol would be in AA. I e “the feeling that Friday will never ever end and if it does it will just be Saturday forever. And if god forbid that ended well then Sunday is just fine for eternity. But when monday does come and you come too with all the fog of your grand proclamations of achievement. The activity around your head like a cartoon mix up with keystone cops a mouse in a suit and a dandelion tree that two orphans are trying to light ablaze with a wet pack of Ohio blue tips.

It was monday morning the guilt shame and remorse for knowing I had relapsed with a bad case of the Friday eternities
And remembered the good natured and affable conversation with my manager and how I had boldly said yes to lengthy writing assignment sight unseen and it was do today!
The voices flooded in “why did you say yes!?”
The toxic shame like an expert archer on high peek taking aim to the center of my skull as I opened the email of what I had said yes too.

And here’s what came up

This piece will run online and in the actual print publication. Can you work on this, this week?

Here’s a sample of what they would like you to write about.. The intro should be about Redemption’s Son 15th. After that, it’s your thoughts on these 10 or 15 tracks:
(Note – Magnet picked all of these tracks)


Here’s 15. We only need 10, but we can run the rest online if he wants to do all of them. They are alphabetical, but he can do in any order he wants.

The Afghan Whigs “Gentleman”
The Band “The Weight”
The Black Keys “Tighten Up”
Blondie “Rapture”
Coldplay “Viva La Vida”
Bob Dylan “As Time Goes By”
Brian Eno “Needles In The Camel’s Eye”
Genesis “Back In N.Y.C.”
George Harrison “Isn’t It A Pity”
Diana Krall “Glad Rag Doll”
The National “Bloodbuzz Ohio”
Liz Phair “Never Said”
Lou Reed “Romeo Had Juliette”
The Rolling Stones “Rocks Off”
Suzanne Vega “Tom’s Diner”

Well at least I can do any order I want.
My palms got sweaty. My heart raced. A lifetime flashed before me. I got a case of the hiccups and peed my pants a little. I looked over the list
Oh no.. please don’t say it’s one of these things where I gotta say how much I like this or that. Oh no!

I mean I like The Weight as much as the next guy but how am I gonna come up with a paragraph on it?

My head started scrambling.
All I could think about is what it must have been like to hang with Martin Scorsese and Robby Robertson when they famously lived in a blacked out party house together where they were always gaked up. And how that’s when Marty made Raging Bull and shit like that. That I could try and write a paragraph about but how am I gonna say something about The Weight?
” I remember that time I sparked up a doobie and it was full moon and it was our summer of love and there was like all these butterflies in the parking lot and we had just dropped acid and it was coming on and we were out in your t windowed corvette. You had the radio on and the dj on the classic rock station we alway listened too said and now this one from Robbie Robertson and The Band. And then that song. That song that’s like everybody’s favorite song at one point or another. Transcends race. Transcends time. A great song has a spirit in it. This one is so identifiable. And profound that it almost feels wrong to speak on it. But it does make me want to take acid and drive around in a vette with tbird windows.

Normally I might call Greg in a time like this. He’s always got a good take on things. Funny and dark and then we just wind up talking about girls we are both in love with on Instagram. (True Hollywood confessions.
What would I write about Greg? I’ve said it all. We’ve laughed we’ve cried.
I remember Gentleman came out and I had it on cd and listened to it on my cd walk man. There were beneficial limitations back then. You know how sometimes you lock a certain memory with a certain album. That album always reminds me of a flight I took because I discovered on a flight and listened to it the whole trip. That was the good thing about not having endless options. Made you focus on one thing. I focused on Greg’s voice and lyrics. I was just starting to write songs at that point so I listened with intention all the time then. I was still forming my own musical identity. If I had to put my feeling about what Greg does in a quip designed for bathroom fodder. It would be this. He’s original. And he’s rock n roll. So. Nuff said.
Ps. Those two things are rarer than diamonds who are also a girls best friend. Plus he’s from Ohio. Which I notice quite a few folks in this list are
Suddenly in my writing assignment I feel like I’m going deep in. Like Magnet has me searching for my inner captain Kurtz “never get out of the boat. Absolutely god damn right! Never get out of the boat. Read this next part in Martin Sheens voice like apocalypse now. “Who put this list together, where did they get their intel. For years this Joseph Arthur was the model soldier of rock and then one day he wrote a song about how there was no song. was no rock. There was no man. There’s was no song. He just blew a gasket. He’s not coming back. I think he’s waiting for me deep in that jungle he’s waiting for me to come make sure there will never be another monday again. Or another case of the Friday eternities. ”

I could tell Magnet was leading me straight into my very own apocalypse now. In which I am both Kurtz and (side note what is the Martin Sheen characters name? Remember this is a period piece so google is not an option) anyway the Martin Sheen character. Side note to the side note. Which song on this list Magnet gave me would be Charlie sheens favorite? That’s a fun article. I could write an article on that.

Anyway I wanted to get out of the boat even tho the voices kept repeating. Never get out of the boat absolutely goddam right. Never get out of the boat.

I texted my manager
I was breaking out all over the place with a case of the PMDM’s

It went like this.
“Hey Keith happy monday. Gimme a shout on that magnet thing. It’s a real pain to write about songs. Can you imagine writing a paragraph about a Coldplay song? Or even about one you like? Think of the adage talking about music is like dancing about architecture. Don’t want to leave you out in the lurch and if you think it’s an important thing to do I will dig deep but doing it will be well… just imagine having to write a paragraph about the band song ‘the weight’ I mean.
Where do you even begin? I remember the first time I heard “the weight’ it was a real good song. The band are amazing. See what I mean? ”

He didn’t and still hasn’t responded. Cheap joke on Coldplay. I don’t actually feel that way. Everyone knows Chris can make melody his bitch in ways that are unique to him and let’s face it endlessly appealing. Besides no ones ever gonna be cooler than The Replacements anyway so who really cares?
It’s the kind of joke you make on a defeated monday
A day when the PMDMs are really getting the better of you. I guess the price of ubiquitous fame and fortune is that you become a punching bag for people in moments like these. I’d take that trade. Haha.
Coldplay should use this on their next ad campaign
“Coldplay! a band that’s easy to slag on a monday
But impossible not to fink are ace on a Friday! ”

Or Coldplay
the band most people hate on monday but oddly love the fuck out of on Saturday night.
Hell that should be the name of their next record. You’re welcome Chris.

My manager never got back to me so I decided to take a few bong hits and go skateboard. I ride my longboard along the promenade in brooklyn over looking the whole of manhattan. From Redhook to dumbo and back again. It’s like heaven in the spring. Always helps me get ideas. So I rip the bong a few times and then grab my phone and my board and my keys. I notice a news alert on my phone. There was a story about certain unnamed news agencies were getting paid laundered money from china to pay off some Russian ambassador who played pranks on the line Chief Justice and gold handed prophet son and sergeant of mexico. The piece went on to say mind control directives were placed in specifically three songs. (And here’s what got my attention). They were Tighten up by the black keys. Rupture by blondie) and isn’t it a pity by george Harrison. I felt a shiver run up my spine. Wait a minute!? What the hell is going on here?! I Dug out the songlist from magnet and just as I had thought. Those three songs were all on my list. I suddenly started connecting dots. Things weren’t what they seemed. Never get out of the boat. Absolutely goddam right. But that was a joke. I had been out of the boat for a long time. I’m not sure there was even a boat at all. For some reason I had the KISS song black diamond in my head. But not their own version. The version that’s on Let It Be by The Replacements. Neither of those bands were even on the list. Which yes I was free to alphabetize but I couldn’t just talk about anyband I want all Willie nilly. There had to be some measure of control in this piece. I looked long and hard at myself in that jungle when another Replacements Song came thru my mind. Unsatisfied. But they aren’t on your list so why won’t this song leave me be?
“Look me in the eye and tell me that I’m satisfied are you satisfied.” Or however it goes. What’s with Minneapolis and the best songwriters in history? Dylan and Westerberg
Dylan’s on the list but Westerbergs not hmm. Pieces are adding up. Things people said. Fragments I had forgotten about. I started picking up things in the street and putting together a cap made out of tin foil. But JUST then a song started blaring as if the tin foil hat had been a finely adjusted radio antenna to only one song and it was screaming now as if it was coming from manhattan itself. Like the buildings were all signing it to me all at once. And it was “needles in the camels eye.”
I love weird rock songs by English geniuses. And this is one of the best. Why is the city singing this one. He’s on the list. I guess it triggered something. Now the Empire State Building is swaying back and forth to the beat. I’m frazzled at this point the way a fighter is who is two rounds beat already but just won’t stay down.
I gotta get out of this.
Need to write my manager and tell him I just can’t think of a creative way to write this piece. “Tell them I said sorry Keith”
Still waiting for a response.