Film Jacket 35 Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


Film Jacket 35 is a lo-fi rock band from Athens, Ga. In January, the duo will release a new album, Limbo Mind & Infected Cells, but in the meantime John and Jam D have come together to construct a mix tape just for MAGNET. Check it out below, read along, and be sure to put listening to Limbo Mind & Infected Cells on your new year’s resolution list.

The Knickerbockers, “Lies”
Jam D: The best Beatles tune was never composed by the Beatles. Video

Happy Mondays, “Tart Tart”
John: I agree that the most popular and best-selling album from Happy Mondays is Pills n’ Thrills And Bellyaches, but my personal favourite is their debut. There are only a few albums that take you to the time and place that they were recorded, and this song is the best example. P.S: Shaun Ryder was a genius and I love the way he uses words in his lyrics. Video

Bazooka, “Ravening Trip”
John: One interesting thing about the economical and social unrest in Greece over the last 8 years(!), is the fact that many great artists/bands came out in the underground scene. Bazooka is one of them and I’m glad we belong in the same scene with such bands. Killer tune! Video

Black Lips, “Not A Problem”
Jam D: I’m just proud this music comes from my generation! Video

Velvet Underground, “Sister Ray”
John: If we claim that our father was Sister Ray, that automatically makes us brothers with Jon Spencer. That’s a great thought! I love noise. Video

Pink Floyd, “Time”
Jam D: The absolute song musically and lyrically. In seven minutes, your whole life repeats itself through your eyes. Sadness, anxiety, anger, remorse, hope … Video

Half Japanese, “Elevator Boy”
John: Half Japanese was the band that showed me the other side of music and art, generally. A new world showed up in front of me when digging their musical approach. This song is my choice from the LP that Kurt Cobain put on his list of his 50 favourite albums. Video

Opal, “Happy Nightmare Baby”
John: When I’m down for some reason, the only song comes first in my mind is this. The last few weeks I’ve been whispering it almost every day. Guess why. Video

Sleep, “Dragonaut”
Jam D: Watching Gummo was a real experience for me. “Dragonaut” is a major part of this experience. I remember myself repeating the same scene too many times just to hear the song. It’s the song that played the most important role to the evolution of the stoner scene. Video

Nikos Xylouris, “Erotokritos” (1974)
John: I used to listen to this song since I was a small kid because of my grandfather. He was born and raised in the isle of Crete and he was listening to a lot of music from his birthplace. “Erotokritos” is a romance written by Vincent Kornaros in early 17th century in the Cretan dialect. Several Greek musicians have added selected parts of the poem to their music and this specific song is the one I love most. A lot of memories … Video

Allen Clapp Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


Allen Clapp recently graced our website when we featured new track “Friend Collector” on our daily MP3 At 3PM column, but we wanted to make sure you didn’t forget about the approaching November 11 release date of Clapp’s new EP, Six Seasons. So Mr. Clapp has been so kind as to carefully collect a group of songs that will wonderfully soundtrack your transition into autumn. Press play, and read along below.

Into Dorkness: Allen Clapp’s Autumn Mix Tape
Watching Stranger Things this summer has reacquainted me with my 15-year-old, uncool early-’80s self. In a big way. Not in a mopey, Smiths-induced, black-and-white dream sequence, but in a tremendous, Middle-Earth kind of celebration of life. It’s been a chance to rejoice in those awkward early teen years when my friends and I were unfettered by the larger social structure of coolness. Like Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman) tells 15-year-old Rolling Stone writer William Miller in Almost Famous: “The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.”

If that’s true, we built up quite a stock load of currency. It would be a couple years until we discovered R.E.M., the Three O’Clock and Camper Van Beethoven, and we were on a journey into the heart of dorkness.

Like thousands (OK, tens) of other disillusioned ‘80s kids, I had a revelation the first time I heard Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon in its full analog glory. Beaming out of the console stereo in the green-carpeted living room of Dan Jewett’s house, I sat transfixed as a story unfolded and minds were opened.

Sure, it was the music of the previous decade, but hey, that was the point. We were burned out on drum machines and Fairlights, our eyes fatigued by the bright neon blast of MTV. Maybe we were looking for something deeper, less in-your-face, more organic. So here we were gathered for a listening party in preparation for a visit to the laser light show at the planetarium in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

It was the beginning of a period of exploration for all of us. Not one of us ended up in exactly the same place but we started there in that living room that afternoon, and none of us would ever be the same. For me, it was the first step on a path that took me to the roots of the music I loved—discovering what came before, and what came before that—until I finally ended up at the very beginning of music history: Gregorian chant, chanson, madrigals and motets.

But that wouldn’t happen until my college years. Connecting the dots between the modern music we loved and the deep sources of its inspirations is a neverending story. All we knew is that there was a new school year, new friends to make, new experiences to discover, and we felt like the world was at our feet. And we were uncool. So, here’s my autumn mix tape. From my 15-year-old self to you. —Allen Clapp

Genesis, “Dusk”
One of the most fascinating things about the ‘80s was that many of the decade’s biggest hits were made by artists who had lived an entirely separate existence in the experimental ‘70s. Anyone who bothered to scrape just a little below the surface could find strange and unlikely connections and intertwined root systems. Genesis was one of the most bizarre and unlikely bands to have risen to such heights in the ‘80s. Both the Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins-led versions of the band had deep roots in evocative progressive, theatrical rock that bore little resemblance to “Sledgehammer” or “Invisible Touch.” Winding back to the very beginnings of the band catches them weaving a kind of pastoral magic that’s equal parts English folk revival and a foreshadowing of mid-‘70s prog rock. It took hold in my teenage brain, and never let go. Misty, autumnal melancholy has a soundtrack, and it’s this song. Video

Anthony Phillips, “God, If I Saw Her Now”
It took a while to sort through all the personnel changes, arrivals and departures of early Genesis. But once I fell in love with “Dusk,” I got really fascinated by why the band kind of stopped sounding like that after its first record. Then I found out that one of the driving forces behind Genesis had been Anthony Phillips. He was there from the start, along with Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks, and he was responsible for the immaculate 12-string acoustic guitars that graced the Trespass album. When I first heard Phillips’ solo work, it was like finding the missing link. It made me so happy to discover a whole world of this kind of music, but it also made me wish for an alternate universe in which he never left the band, and they just continued making dreamy, wistful songs like this one here. In another strange connection, Phillips had become good friends with Phil Collins even though the two had never played together in a version of Genesis. So early Phil does a guest vocal here (and on a handful of other Phillips songs), duetting with the amazing Viv McCaulffe. Listening to this song, I could imagine myself being an adult. With a girlfriend. Oh, the drama. Video

Pink Floyd, “The Scarecrow”
When I first heard the Syd Barrett-led Pink Floyd, my first impression was disbelief. How could this possibly be the same band that made Dark Side Of The Moon? It wasn’t too long before this became my preferred version of the Floyd. Even in the context of swinging ’60s London, the band makes very little sense. Aside from the psychedelic freakouts of “Interstellar Overdrive” and “Astronomy Domine,” their debut album offers up a surprisingly sparse and imaginative take on British folk-song melody and mythology. The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn soon became one of my favorite albums of all time. There’s a raw, fiery will o’ the wisp creativity on display here that is as courageous as it is brilliant. The album also came out the same day I did: Aug. 5, 1967. Video link to archival video footage with no sound.

Yes, “And You And I”
All you really had to do was turn the radio dial a couple times to find another example of this prog-rock-to-top-40 transformation. One of the most surprising was Yes. “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” was such a huge smash in the ‘80s. It was literally everywhere. Ice-skating rinks. Video-game arcades. Mervyn’s. Miller’s Outpost. But this was not the Yes of yesterday, or the Yes of really anybody. It was a flukey, technology driven hit produced and polished to high degree by Trevor Horn who had not only produced mega albums by ABC and his own band the Buggles, but had been a member of Yes on the transitional Drama album a few years earlier. Strange bedfellows. Again, delving back into the past, you find this same band at the height of its creative powers on 1972’s Close To The Edge. If you even give this stuff half a chance, it could sweep you away into fantasy dream realms to accompany the most extended D&D campaign. 12-string magic courtesy of Steve Howe, Moogs and Mellotrons via Rick Wakeman, and angelic Jon Anderson vocals are anchored by the late Chris Squire on bass and the simultaneously tight-and-loose Bill Bruford on drums. Video

The Moody Blues, “Candle Of Life”
So there was a thing that started happening when all these rejuvenated prog-rock bands with huge hits on the ‘80s charts came around on tour. Of course, they’d play their hits, but since this new ‘80s hit thing was such a recent development, their new-wavey electronic catalogs were pretty darn shallow. So it became known that if you wanted to see a band like Genesis or Yes or Peter Gabriel, they were still gonna do a whole lot of stuff you actually wanted to hear. So, the thing that started happening, was that you could go to these concerts and actually see people your own age who you could tell were probably not there to see the band play their big hit. You could tell because they’d be wearing concert T-shirts from all the other bands you liked. This was kind of an early dork internet: communication via T-shirt. This meant you could potentially meet girls who would actually like the music that you had to kind of secretly like. Of course, this never actually occurred. But there was the possibility, and at age 15, that was good enough. There was a girl in a Moody Blues T-shirt that I saw at a Yes concert … Even the Moody Blues were able to lurch into the ‘80s with a substantial top-40 presence. First with “The Voice,” and “Gemini Dream” from Long Distance Voyager, and then with the enormo “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere,” type stuff they did in the middle of the decade. I just wanted to hear them play space rock from To Our Children’s Children’s Children. Thank God for Justin Hayward. In the journey to the roots of my favorite music, the discovery of the early Moodies’ catalog was one of the most surprising things. Many think they created not just the concept album, but progressive rock itself on second album Days Of Future Passed. Half orchestral, half band-driven, the record is a childlike psychedelic romp through a day—dawn to dusk. The song I’m putting on my mix tape is an example of the quintessential orchestral, choral rock sound they pioneered. Melancholia has never sounded so pretty. I discovered this stuff when my friend Mike Winther gave me To Our Children’s Children’s Children and On The Threshold Of A Dream one day after school. He presented the albums with the explanation: “Hey Allen, I got these thinking I might like them, but I think you’d like them more.” Thanks Mike. I’ll never forget that day. Video

King Crimson, “The Court Of The Crimson King”
So, if the Moody Blues didn’t invent prog rock, it was King Crimson. Ominous, stately, brooding, melancholic and too pretentious for words, they embodied for many the transition from the ‘60s to the ‘70s. This album was the end of flower power. It was music about death, treachery and corrosion. And it was beautiful. Even Crimson put together a hit song or two in the ’80s. So you could conceivably see the “Sleepless” video on MTV and then go to the used record store and pick up a copy of Larks Tongues In Aspic in the same afternoon and wonder aloud at what the hell was going on. The more I learned about KC driving force Robert Fripp, the deeper into the whole journey I went. His connections with prog rock, electronic music and ambient music just took me further into the web of music I was discovering. This song has it all. Blasts of acoustic guitars the size of Helm’s Deep, freak-jazz drumming, purple pipers, fire witches and glorious Mellotrons that were most likely recorded in the darkest depths of Mordor. It sounds like it’s sung by subterranean monks who, upon realizing their civilization is doomed, rally the troops for one last party. And oh, how they danced. Video

Peter Gabriel, “The Intruder”
Peter was one of the few prog-rock gods to transition into the 1980s with grace and style. His outsider perspective, continuous musical experimentation and relentless creativity actually can be said to have contributed greatly the ‘80s sound. Having left his Genesis bandmates after the Lamb Lies Down On Broadway tour in 1975, Peter began a five-year push into the future. The third of his solo albums titled Peter Gabriel (the one with the melting face) came out in May 1980 and introduced the world to a dystopian electronic world with an enormous drum sound (courtesy of former bandmate Phil Collins and producer Steve Lillywhite). This was my first clue that music could be new and interesting. Who knew? Video

Genesis, “It”
As much as I was digging the new Peter Gabriel (and, by now, Ultravox, Devo, Flock Of Seagulls, Tears For Fears, Prince and U2), I was still captivated by the eclecticism of the ‘70s. I mean, you could have anything happening on an album. By the ‘80s, everything was being codified, streamlined, digitized and market-researched. The Peter Gabriel of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway is painting with a broad brush. Nothing is off limits. He’s writing pop songs about Freudian complexes, and he’s just killing it. I have a feeling other people like this song too, but just a vague sense. Teenage Fanclub closes out Bandwagonesque with an instrumental called “Is This Music?” that has a very similar guitar hook, and the same kind of feel, even going so far as to use harmonized guitars that could have been played by Steve Hackett. “It” is the last song on the double album, closing out the Peter Gabriel era of Genesis. It’s full of witty wordplay and this tangible, elusive Maslowian hope. It is hope for the dope. It is only knock and know-all, but I like it. Video

David Bowie, “Moss Garden”
Not long after discovering the Robert Fripp/Brian Eno connection, I started listening to some of their collaborations and found myself increasingly drawn to ambient sounsdscapes. Maybe it was because it was good background music for reading geeky fantasy novels? Whatever the reason, I read about Eno and Bowie and had to find out what that all sounded like. I went to my favorite used record store on 25th Avenue in San Mateo and dug up a copy of Heroes. I went home and skipped all the bombastic art rock and went straight to “Moss Garden.” I was hooked. From that moment on, anything with Eno involved rose to a special level of importance for me. Luckily, just around the corner was one of my favorite collaborations of that decade: Eno and Daniel Lanois producing U2 on The Unforgettable Fire. Around this time, it also occurred that my older brother’s friend Marvin gave me an old analog synthesizer and a tape delay unit in which he’d lost interest or patience. I was never the same. The Yamaha CS-50 and the Roland Space Echo RE 201 have been with me ever since. Video

U2, “Elvis Presley And America”
So, armed with a synthesizer, a Space Echo and a mission, my transition out of dorkdom was beginning to seem possible. I could suddenly see a place for myself in the outside world. I would make music—hopefully—and that would be my lifeline. The next school year started, and I made a bold move. I signed up to be on the high-school newspaper. Over the course of the next academic year, I would write concert and album reviews as well as pen an advice column of dubious value: “Ask Al.” But it was the music writing that really helped me form my ideas about the music I liked, and how I thought it all historically intertwined with current trends. I think the first piece of music writing I ever did was a review of U2’s fourth album, The Unforgettable Fire. It had everything I wanted in a collection of songs: bold exploration, anthemic pop songs and an undeniable ambient feel. To me, it wasn’t all that far removed from the music I’d spent the last couple years getting into. In fact, it seemed like a natural extension of it. All of a sudden, I wasn’t living in the past anymore. I was in the here and now, and music had brought me there. Video

Miss Geo Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


Miss Geo has just released new album Connection, and the band is celebrating in a way that should be of direct interest to you—by way of a specially curated mix tape. Paz, Abby and Alex have all laid out some great tracks for you to listen to. Check it out below, and make sure to pick up Connection.

Years And Years, “Shine”
Paz: I randomly discovered Years And Years on Spotify. I soon became obsessed by the English pop trio. The songs are pretty and uplifting, the vocals and the production approach perfection. Their songs drive emotions really high to the point where you fear you’re the falling when music ends. Video

Dum Dum Girls, “Coming Down”
Paz: Within the next few seconds of listening to this song, my mind shifts attention and tears appear. The vocals and the delayed guitars are the foundation of the intensity and the beauty of the song. There are obvious similarities to “Fade Into You” (Mazzy Star), but this resemblance doesn’t remove any power from the song. Video

Goldroom, “Embrace”
Paz: Goldroom is an incredible synth/pop producer and collaborates with a great vocalist. “Embrace” is one example of his successful collaborations. The vocals are sexy. The construction of the song is detailed oriented and on point. Video

Joanna Newsom, “Leaving The City”
Paz: I discovered Joanna Newsom in France and was amazed by the quality and the beauty of her songs. I then moved to Boston and forgot about her. A few months ago, a friend made me rediscover her and I will never forget her beautiful music! Angelic vocals, and the accompaniments are beautiful. Every instance in Newsom’s music is beautiful. Video

Ladytron, “Playgirl”
Abby: I remember seeing them perform this live at the Paradise sometime after 604 came out, and I was way in the back of the room and it still hit me like a ton of bricks. They have a big dark presence and were my first exposure to electropop. Video

Club 8, “Stay By My Side”
Abby: This song has a certain ambience, and it reminds me of a period of exploration in my life. It’s dream pop and nostalgic, and I always associate it with smoking cigarettes, four-track tape decks and sitting on carpets. Video

Life Without Buildings, “Juno”
Abby: I revel in the way Sue Tompkins expresses her internal monologue with lyrics. They’re so raw to the point where it feels like an intimate conversation with the listener. And the guitar parts on the album are so clever. They were only around a few years but made an impact on me. Video

Grimes, “Circumambient”
Alex: Obviously, Grimes. I think Grimes influenced many musicians and performers into thinking everything is what you make of it. If you don’t want electronic-based music to be a boy’s club, then participate and do whatever it takes. Through her production, I learned that technology is not a demon, it is my friend, and that it is a friend I have every right to engage in as much as “the next guy.” I also learned that genres and labels are bullshit in the post-internet world. I could go on forever, but I won’t. This is a great track from one of my favorite albums of all time. Video

Elton Motello, “Jet Boy/Jet Girl”
Alex: For most of my life (so far) I have followed punk, hardcore and garage punk. I actually can’t remember the first time I heard this song (it has been covered by countless punk and indie bands), but I always placed this song on playlists populated by primarily “dance” music. This to me is a dance/pop hit. This song is what I want dance music to be, though I don’t think there are any electronic instruments on this recording, and I am pretty sure it has been catalogued as “punk” or “glam” in the past. But it’s really the content and delivery that spoke to me. Video

Jonas Martin Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


We featured Jonas Martin’s new track “Wannabe” on our MP3 At 3PM series a few weeks ago, but we have more Jonas to give you. Today, we’re bringing you a very special and heavy-hearted mix tape, inspired by the events that took place in Dallas earlier this month. Listen to the mix, and read Jonas’s introduction and explanations below.

“It’s soon after the attack that killed five police officers during a demonstration against police brutality here in Dallas. I was there, taking part in the protest, and I witnessed the chaos first-hand as the initial shots were fired. After running blocks away from the gunfire with my wife, we spent hours locked down in the back-kitchen hallway of a hotel with several dozen others, not knowing what was going on or how much danger we were in. It was a traumatic experience but I don’t regret being there for a minute. I want to make clear that we were protesting injustice and police brutality, not the police themselves. They were extremely supportive during the rally and march and did an amazing job of protecting us when the danger began. Something that has resounded in my mind, after learning what the shooter did, is the thought that I can’t let the conversation be hijacked by the violent events of that night. The moving speeches given about racism and injustice and the positive vibes in the air as we marched through downtown in unity chanting “Black Lives Matter” are the moments that I want people to remember. One of the amazing things about music is how it can change your perspective and give you insight. So I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some songs that have helped to open my eyes to certain things. Songs that, in a way, may have had a role in sending me to the rally that evening.”

Outkast, “Gasoline Dreams”
I got a copy of the album Stankonia from my sister for Christmas in 2000. I was 14 years old, and I would never be the same. Music became a much larger landscape, and they definitely affected the way I would write songs later in life. Thank the universe for Outkast. That album helped to inform a young teenage me that it doesn’t matter if you’re black, white or whatever. All that mattered was that I would never be as cool as these ice-cold dudes. Video

Stevie Wonder, “Big Brother”
Stevie Wonder is one of my first and biggest influences. Everything he writes about is interesting, and he was someone who showed me early on in my songwriting career that you can write about anything you want. Talking Book was the first album that I got of his, and this song has always been one of my favorites. Video

Bob Dylan, “The Death Of Emmett Till”
In my quest for truth through music, I inevitably found Dylan. This haunting story is about as real as it gets. Emmett Till was a 14-year-old boy living in Mississippi in the 1940s. After supposedly flirting with a white woman, he was beaten, tortured, shot and thrown into a river. Video

Mos Def, “Mr. Nigga”
Mos Def is the shit, and he tells it like it is. I’m white, so I have no idea what it’s like to be looked at suspiciously because you have nice things, but I doubt it could be described any better than the way he does it on this track. Video

Bob Marley, “War”
I could probably put any Bob Marley song on this list and it would work with the message I’m presenting, but this one in particular seems appropriate after what happened in Dallas. “Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, everywhere is war.” Video

Randy Newman, “Rednecks”
No one can use satire the way Randy Newman can, and he has become the songwriter who I idolize the most. In this song, he does such an amazing job of making fun of the ignorant white “good old boys” who I’ve met too often living in the south. But more than that, he really makes you see how full of shit people are when they call America, “The land of the free.” Video

Billie Holiday, “Strange Fruit”
I absolutely adore Billie Holiday. No other voice could haunt you in such a way, and this song is disturbing to say the least. Describing something that continued to be a terribly ordinary sight in the south for a century after the end of slavery, it paints an awful picture of what things must have been like in those days. Video

Sam Cooke, “A Change Is Gonna Come”
I’ll end it with the best, Sam Cooke. A sad but still optimistic song about the future of black America. One day, this will all just be something in the history books. As someone said at the Dallas rally (before all the violence), “This started a long time ago and we have a long road ahead, but we will prevail.” Video

Maps & His Mothball Fleet Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


The members of Philadelphia’s Maps & His Mothball Fleet have been so kind as to craft a mix tape for you. The band’s new LP, Fighting Season, is out August 5, so make sure to add “Trust The Treehouse” to your playlist as well. Check out the mix tape, and a note from Maps braintrust Matt Wanamaker, below.

“Rather than make this a simple list by a solo artist, I wanted to include the members of my touring band in this process, since each of them contributed significantly to the final sound of the album. The idea was that each would send me a track or two that represented their own personal experience in helping me with the recording. Much like how I found working with them on the overdubs to my original tracks, each interpreted the concept differently, with a result that was more interesting than I could have hoped for. Kevin Hilyard (bass) submitted one that explained his musical origin story and another that hinted at how he aspires to evolve as a musician. Hayley Richardson (backing vocals, percussion) suggests a great track that she remembered hearing when we first started discussing how to treat the backing vocals. Pat McKay (guitar) from the Silence Kit and Dan Friedberg (guitar, backing vocals) offered windows into their different processes for crafting their guitar sounds. Also considering the studio work that Phil Motley, Avo Trigo, Eric Heidel, Dave Maietta, Scott Herzog, Peter Davis and Will Brock put in, I have some talented friends, and I’ve been happy sharing this experience with them. Enjoy!” —Matt

The Everly Brothers, “Cathy’s Clown”
Matt: This is one of my first musical memories, strapped into my Mom’s old Buick as a kid. It only got AM radio, so I started early with pop hits from the ‘50s and ‘60s and probably didn’t hear much of anything newer until around sixth grade when we got a new car. Growing up with melodies like these must have warped my brain to the point where now I won’t finish writing a song if I don’t think it’ll have a pop hook. Those harmonies, too … I can’t seem to figure out diatonic thirds like Don and Phil can, but I’ll keep trying. Video

Tobin Sprout, “The Last Man Well Known To Kingpin”
Matt: I wore the Carnival Boy CD out in college. At the time, it felt like a ‘90s descendant of All Things Must Pass, just one guy toiling alone at home and then later getting friends to overdub the extras. I openly admit I used that process as the blueprint for my album, mixing my hissy four-track snippets with the fleshed-out stuff. People said that was inconsistent of him to do it that way, but to me that made it more approachable and probably more fun. Video

Mojave 3, “In Love With A View”
Matt: I don’t like many songs more than three minutes long, but even at six-plus, this one is too short. On rough nights in the war, I’d listen to music to come down, just lying in bed sweating in my gear after a shift on watch. I’d always go right to this one to take me away to that room in a Canadian winter where “the romance was hard to ignore.” I love feeling that optimism in the first verse as much as the heartbreak of the last. Video

Fugazi, “Waiting Room”
Kevin: The first time I heard this song I was in ninth grade, and it was being covered by a bunch of upperclassmen in the school cafeteria. I’m sure in retrospect it was terrible, but I ran out to the record store that night and bought my first Fugazi record. Beyond how I play bass, that album had a major influence on how I viewed the world, defined success and made decisions. Video

Tim Barry, “Avoiding Catatonic Surrender”
Kevin: From Tim Barry’s first real solo record, you literally hear him learning to be a folk singer on the songs from this record. He’s telling vivid stories while maybe squeezing too many words into each line. Video

Jackie Shane, “Any Other Way”
Hayley: This song was actually playing in a cafe on the Lower East Side when Matt asked me to sing on his record. It’s astonishing, isn’t it? Jackie took a William Bell country song and slowed it down in this live version with soulful grace. It’s about yearning for something, defiantly and resolutely. I’m such a sucker for songs that plumb the depths of longing, as it seems to be my primary emotional currency. Video

R.E.M., “Feeling Gravity’s Pull”
Pat: The main guitar riff is strange and haunted, but aggressive and angular, more like Gang Of Four than what R.E.M. has always been known for, and with evocative lyrics like “Peel back the mountains, peel back the sky, stomp gravity into the ground,” Michael Stipe pulls you in. The strings floating in and out add to the foreboding, and then at around two minutes in, the song just glides into this bright, sustained part and it feels like the darkness is letting up, the song strips down, falls apart and we go around again. There are more well-known songs on this album, but this one always felt to me like a true statement of intent, and the way it flows from dark to light and back again always felt like perfection to me. Video

Air, “Cherry Blossom Girl”
Dan: I always loved the chord progression of this song. It’s been one of my go-tos whenever I’m just noodling around. If I’m walking in the city on a stressful day, it’s always something I can listen to that has an immediate soothing quality. I don’t do much fingerpicking, but this song definitely makes me want to, and it certainly helped craft a few guitar lines on Fighting Season. Video

Belle & Sebastian, “Asleep On a Sunbeam”
Dan: When I was working out the solo for “A Lot Becomes A Little,” I didn’t want to take away from the vocal melody, but I still wanted to take it somewhere slightly different. There’s a little piece on this track where the guitar just perfectly hugs, then let’s go, then resolves beautifully. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t attempting to channel that. Video

John Vanderslice, “Exodus Damage”
Kevin: I’ve always really liked this song. I just really like the contrast of such catchy, pretty music with the dark lyrics. That juxtaposition attracted me to Matt’s project, too. Video

The Qualia Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


Recently, we featured the Qualia’s latest track “Out For Blood,” which comes from their August 12 album Cotillion Knives. Today, we’re keeping the Qualia hype train going with a new mix tape, a collaborative effort between all of the members of the band. They’ve all worked hard to put together an immersive, cohesive and enjoyable listening experience for you all. Check it out below, and listen on Apple Music or Spotify. Be sure to give “Out For Blood” another few spins once this playlist runs out.

“This mix tape was put together by the members of our band, and it’s a real mix tape,” says Qualia singer Lars. “We didn’t want this just to be a top-down view of ‘these are the artists we want you to compare our band to’ that the reader could browse through, form an opinion about, then forget. It was important to us that this be a strong representation of the music that we each individually love to listen to, but also something you could actually enjoy. So what that means is that we’ve got a bunch of tracks from all sorts of different music worlds that we’ve tried to find common ground between, and this mix tape should hopefully be something you could toss onto your stereo to have a fun and surprising 40 minutes while you’re walking to work or fixing dinner or whatever else it is that you do in your life when you decide … it’s music time.”

Casiotone For The Painfully Alone, “New Year’s Kiss”
Chvad: There’s a somber tone to all of the material from Casiotone For The Painfully Alone that really strikes a nerve with me. “New Year’s Kiss” sounds tired. Worn out. That’s how I feel. All that being said, I have no idea what the hell this song is talking about. Clearly written by a madman. Video

Beach House, “All Your Yeahs”
Lars: One of the things I love about a lot of Beach House’s songs is that they’ll establish such a thick sense of atmosphere and place with the beginning of the song, and then the last half or third will be a surprise evolution that takes that atmosphere to a different emotional place. A lot of my contributions to this mix tape are songs that I love that are also songs that can work as connective tissue. The way this track goes from melancholy and ethereal to redemptive and forceful is really moving for me as a listener, and for this mix tape, it accomplishes the preposterous task of connecting Chvad’s depressing Casiotone song into Rossen’s celebratory New Orleans track. Video

Jon Batiste & Stay Human, “Express Yourself (Say Yes)”
Rossen: This song has a great message and very addictive groove build over a jazzy saxophone phrase. It’s also a really good example of Jon Batiste’s idea of social music. The band seamlessly combines jazz, funk, blues, rhythm & blues and pop music while keeping their sound fresh and contemporary. If you have a chance, check them out live. The energy of the band is amazing. Video

The Adverts, “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes”
Chvad: I first heard this song being covered by German punk band Die Toten Hosen. I listened to their version for years prior to seeking out the original, which is a real shame because the original really kicks ass. Creepy, catchy, simple, rocks out. Love it. Video

Takeshi Terauchi & The Bunnys, “Kanjinchou”
Lars: I obsessively read guitar magazines, and I loved reading this interview in Premier Guitar with Shana Cleveland from the (totally killer) band La Luz, in which she mentioned that she has been digging deep into the music of Takeshi Terauchi & The Bunnys, a mid-’60s surf band from Japan. So, I checked them out, and she’s right. They’re so much fun. I put this record on sometimes when I’m running my weekly Dungeons And Dragons game to underscore tense battle scenes, and it always gets an enthusiastic, positive response. Plus, it pushes the energy of our mix tape sidewise in a way that helps set up Chvad’s next track. Video

Surgical Meth Machine, “I’m Invisible”
Chvad: I’m an Al Jourgenson fan. What that means is that I buy everything the man produces for better or for worse. Not everything he releases is golden, and anyone familiar with his career arc and lifestyle will know why. That being said, the last record to really resonate with me that Jourgenson produced was Ministry’s Filth Pig. At least that was the case until Jourgenson released the self-titled Surgical Meth Machine album earlier this year. Hilarious, noisy, loud, fast and then this track: “I’m Invisible.” Jourgenson pushing melodies out into the front and letting his voice ease back from the meter-beating high-decibel barking he’s become known for to give us some chiller melodic verses that just hit all the right spots. Groove, chill, hooks. An absolutely cool track. Video

Black Dub, “I Believe In You”
Rossen: Music to me is about feel and groove. This song has a lot of both. The simplicity of the beat combined with the melodic bass line and the singing in the lower register makes “I Believe in You” one of my favorite tunes. Also there is so much space in everybody’s performance. Pretty rare thing to hear in a recording these days. Video

John Coltrane, “A Love Supreme, Pt. 2: Resolution”
Rossen: “You see, one thing about that music is that it showed you that we had reached a level where you could move the music around. John had a very wonderful way of being flexible with the music, flexing it, stretching it. You know, we reflected that kind of thing. He gave us the freedom to do that. We thought of something, ‘Oh, then we’ll play it,’ you know? And he said, ‘Yeah, I have a feeling’—you know? And all that freedom just came together when we did that record.” —McCoy Tyner Video

St. Vincent, “Cruel”
Lars: I feel like a super-genius for thinking to put this track on the mix tape. This is off of St. Vincent’s Strange Mercy record, which I find myself returning to constantly—I just love it. Wait—why am I so proud of myself for putting this on the mix tape? Because the intro with its sort of gauzy, damaged, blue feel works really well to dovetail out of Rossen’s elongated jazz pick, and then it shifts gears into a high energy, hooky-as-hell, heartbreaking pop track. I love everything about this song. Video

Sparks, “Bon Voyage”
Lars: Speaking of loving things, Sparks’s Propaganda is something I only discovered maybe five years ago, and it’s become maybe my all-time favorite record. When I first heard it, the constant shifts in feel, tempo and melody were shocking and alienating, but then as I kept digging into the record in subsequent listens, it all started feeling comfortable, like home. This is the final track on that record, and it does everything I love about Sparks as a band. The song has a ridiculous premise for a rock song—it seems to be about an animal left behind by Noah in the Book of Genesis. But then, through the music, the band tracks the bittersweet process of coming to accept true failure, showcasing a universal, relatable sense of longing—somehow transforming that ridiculous premise into a song that, to me, is entirely beautiful, approachable and real. Video

Todd Lewis Kramer Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


Brooklyn Americana songwriter Todd Lewis Kramer is fresh off the release of brand new album Fairground. He’s been so kind as to compose a special mix tape of his favorites and influences for our loyal MAGNET readers, which you can peruse below. Keep the music loud once you finish, and check out Fairground.

Donovan Woods “Leaving Nashville”
I just discovered Donovan Woods recently, and a few of his songs stopped me in my tracks—and this one stood out. As someone who follows the Nashville scene a little from afar, it was interesting for me to hear a song this honest about just what it’s like to be a writer down there. I just think it’s a beautiful, poignant tune. Video

Jill Andrews “My Love Is For”
Speaking of getting stopped in my tracks, I stumbled upon a Jill Andrews show in New York City last year, and she had the whole room in the palm of her hand. It was just her and her guitar, and the audience was dead silent for the whole set (which is, ya know, a little rare for NYC). I made sure to catch her the next time she came through the city as well. Video

Rayland Baxter “Yellow Eyes” (specifically from Soho EP)
I’ve been a fan of Rayland Baxter for a few years now and really dug his latest album—and specifically this tune. As someone who will play a song I like on repeat until it’s no longer socially acceptable, this tune may have set the record for most re-plays. This stripped-down version is a beauty. Video

Ben Rector “Beautiful”
This one’s pretty simple—I just really like good pop tunes, and this, in my opinion, is one. It’s got an added layer of nostalgia that I’m a sucker for as well. I stumbled upon Ben Rector pretty organically when he was just starting out and have followed his rise as a performer and songwriter, and it looks like he’s starting to take off, deservedly. Video

Sara Bareilles “Basket Case”
Like I said, I just like good pop tunes and writers, and Sara Bareilles is one of the best out there, in my opinion. I could have picked any song from her album Kaleidoscope Heart–I think it’s an amazing record. But I’ll go with “Basket Case” because of the emotion and honesty in there. Love it. Video

Matt Sucich “Dog Eared Page”
Matt has that special skill of combining very strong lyrics with equally strong melodies. I’m a little biased because Matt has become a good friend of mine over the years, but this is an undeniably rockin’ tune. Video

Oh Wonder “Plans”
I’ve started to get into this electronic, mellow-pop sound (don’t really know how to describe it), and I was turned onto Oh Wonder by a few people when they came through New York City and played some shows a few months ago. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to those, but I checked out the album. And it’s great! This is the last track on the record, and I must say, it’s a real mood-setter. Video

Vérité Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


Vérité just released her brand new Living EP, and to celebrate, she’s made a mix tape just for you MAGNET readers. Full of her favorites and inspirations, this eclectic mix is the perfect warm-up for Living.

Daughter “Numbers”
I love this song because it’s so still and beautiful. She seems so dissociated, even as layers build and swell around her. Honestly, listening to this and the rest of Not To Disappear leaves me sad and questioning existence: my favorite post-album feelings. Video

Flume “Smoke & Retribution”
Flume programs drums like no other. From the very beginning, the track hits hard, and Vince Staples matches the intensity, and is as jarring as the percussion stops. This is so much more dynamic than a typical Flume track. Video

Kehlani “Did I”
I fell in love with Kehlani’s You Should Be Here and spent a lot of time listening to it. I love that this is what’s she’s following the album up with. She’s lyrically transparent and has such a natural flow.  Video

Jai Paul “BTSTU”
I keep coming back to Jai Paul. Nothing and no one sounds like him, and he’s so shrouded in mystique and mystery. Definitely makes me want to build tracks that are as original. Video

A-Trak Featuring Phantogram “Parallel Lines”
As a huge Phantogram fan, this definitely seems like a stretch and a good segue into their next LP. I just love how this shows their versatility and shows that they’re going to come back and dominate with whatever they’re working on. Video

Lucius “Born Again Teen”
Lucius is perfect. Everything from the aesthetic to the performances are so perfectly coordinated and choreographed. I love seeing them grow into a sound that is more percussive and upbeat. Video

Rihanna “Needed Me”
This is by far my favorite song on Anti. The chorus melody is so good, and the track is classic DJ Mustard in the best possible way. Video

James Blake “I Need A Forest Fire”
Bon Iver and James Blake couldn’t really go wrong if they tried. The vocal harmonies are perfect, and while this doesn’t hit me hard, it’s meditative in nature and has these perfect, beautiful moments I keep coming back to. Video

Radiohead “Daydreaming”
I haven’t listened to this whole album yet, and am honestly still unsure about it. But there’s something oddly meditative-yet-uplifting about this track with the visuals. Video

Sufjan Stevens “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.”
This is my all-time favorite Sufjan song. I really admire people who are storytellers, and this song paints such a vivid picture and leaves me dead. Video

Skinny Blonde Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


We recently featured Skinny Blonde‘s new song “King” for our daily MP3 At 3PM, and today we’ve got a specially compiled mix tape from the songwriter. Michael Turzilli, the mastermind behind Skinny Blonde, is getting ready for a big summer. His new EP, City Girls, comes out June 3. Take a peep below to get a glimpse into his songwriting inspirations.

Pavement “Transport Is Arranged”
My music taste is constantly changing, but Pavement is one of those bands that I constantly find myself going back to. I love Malkmus’ writing. There’s a line on this track where he says, “A voice coach taught me to sing but couldn’t teach me to love,” and he delivers “voice coach” slightly off-key. It’s brilliant. I get self-conscious about my voice from time to time, and when I do, I refer to this interview with Malkmus where he talks about his voice being the way it is and learning to just sing his own way; I’m paraphrasing, but it’s great. I also just love this song instrumentally. What is that instrument in the beginning? A pan flute? It’s great. Video

UGK “Ridin’ Dirty”
I think I listened to this entire album every day for like a year. I had this period where I became so fascinated with Southern rap, specifically from Houston. I fell in love with DJ Screw, Screwed Up Click and UGK. I ended up getting a DJ Screw tattoo. I knew I wanted to include something from that area on this list, but it was hard to pick just one song. “Ridin’ Dirty” is so great because I feel like it perfectly transmits what life in Houston was like for them. The song is gritty, but beautiful. There is this minute-long speech that is backed by these screeching synths, and it cuts off and falls into that amazing guitar riff that I’ve tried to replicate too many times. R.I.P. Pimp C. Video

Colleen Green “Deeper Than Love”
First off, I have a huge crush on Colleen Green. As for the song, I love the simplicity of the instrumental components of this track. It allows me to focus on her songwriting, which is incredibly straightforward and honest. She has no problem exposing her fears to us, which is something I sometimes struggle with in my own writing. There is a song on my upcoming EP that was very much inspired by this song. It doesn’t sound the same, but the writing is similar. Video

Elliott Smith “Speed Trials”
This is another scenario where I could have picked any song from the album and it would have been just as good/meaningful. I love Elliott Smith so much. I used to have arguments with people when we discussed his music. People seem to think Elliott Smith makes sad music, I don’t think that. I feel like his songwriting has this tone of acceptance and honesty that negate the sadness. Almost as if he is saying, “The way things are aren’t great, but that’s how they are.” I get chills when I hear the line, “You little child, what makes you think you’re tough?” When I was just getting sober from my heroin addiction, I had this mentality of “I’m a badass, don’t mess with me.” But as I started to learn more about myself, I discovered that I was basically just a baby who had no idea how to live life. Video

Ween “Mutilated Lips”
Ween is the band that got me interested in recording my own music. The first album I ever recorded was essentially structured the same way their earlier albums were. I love “Mutilated Lips” because it uses this guitar tuning that I started to use in my own music. I remember watching this tutorial that was made by Dean Ween where he taught the viewers how to play this song. When I tuned the guitar the way he demonstrated, I fell in love and started messing around. I also love the quirkiness of the song. It’s just great. Video

Butthole Surfers “Who Was In My Room Last Night?”
This song has such incredible energy. I want to cover this in a live setting. I love that guitar riff that carries through the intro and the chorus; even more than that, I love that brief noise section toward the end. Noise rock is one of my favorite genres. I wish I was better at controlling my guitar feedback. I should work on that. Video

Decker “Our Values Are Under Attack”
I just love Tim Heidecker. He has had a huge influence on me as a comedian. I suppose this song is strange taken out of context, but to me this is satire at it’s finest. I admire Tim’s ability to create genuine music while still maintaining his sense of humour. Tim, if you’re reading this, I am looking forward to the LP! Video

Fallon Cush Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape


Last month, we featured Fallon Cush’s new song “Useless Friend,” but we simply can’t have you forgetting about Steve Smith’s stellar songwriting project. Below is a special mix tape, put together by Smith to show off some of the songs that influenced his new album, Bee In Your Bonnet, which comes out on May 20. Check it out below, and don’t forget to add “Useless Friend” to your own mix tapes.

Dawes “Time Spent In Los Angeles”
Our drummer Josh Schuberth put me onto these guys while we were recording. Often when someone recommends a band to you, they turn out to be a bit of a disappointment. But I really liked these guys from the first song I listened to, which was this one. They played Sydney last year shortly after they’d parted ways with keyboard player Tay Strathairn. They were excellent, and (taking nothing away from new guitarist Duane Betts, who plays great and has awesome tone), I would’ve loved to have heard the band with Strathairn in it. Still, they were great in a relatively small room. Video

The Decemberists “Make You Better”
Off What A Terrible World … What A Beautiful World. I bought a vinyl copy of this album last year and was shocked by the amount of stuff that came with it. I mean, I really like the record but is that what people buy albums for these days, packaging and stuff? I don’t really get it, maybe it’s a “collector’s item” or something, but I always thought it was the music people were interested in buying. But, presumably the market is demanding more. Regardless, the album’s very good and this clip’s “butter” than most. This album and Dawes latest, All Your Favorite Bands, were both mastered by Stephen Marcussen, who also did ours. Video

Dan Parsons “It’s Not Like I Need Somebody’s Help”
An Australian and, I believe, one of those clever dudes who can play just about everything. He released a great album called Valleywood toward the end of last year. His bio namechecks Neil Young, James Taylor and Jackson Browne amongst others. Names that conjure up a certain time and feel. This track, my favourite from the album, and the clip capture that vibe perfectly. Check him out. Video

Wilco “Muzzle Of Bees”
I read some guy saying recently that Jeff Tweedy only wrote good songs, not great ones. Like writing a good song’s some sort of failure. Having seen Tweedy do a number of songs solo last week, I’d say whoever that writer was, they’re way wide of the mark. You can’t hold an audience’s attention like that for that length of time unless your songs are first rate. Once Nels Cline joined Wilco, his playing quite understandably became a feature. But, before that, Jeff Tweedy’s guitar was already heading in what might be considered Cline’s direction. I rediscovered the A Ghost Is Born album having got it on vinyl last year. This track illustrates where they were heading before Cline came on board and maybe why he ended up being such a good fit. I played this track over and over when the record was originally released and still can’t get enough of it. Video

George Harrison “All Things Must Pass”
George gets mentioned a lot when people try to describe our sound, as does Bob Dylan. So, I thought we’d go with George singing a Bob song, “If Not For You” off All Things Must Pass, but the title track leaves “If Not For You” for dead. Like so many great records made in the early’ 70s, All Things Must Pass was a bit of a transatlantic collaboration, recorded in the U.K. with with people from both sides of the Atlantic playing key roles. Several of the same names appearing on All Things Must Pass played on lots of iconic recordings from the time, including Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain,” which has to be the gold standard as far as acoustic rock/pop is concerned. Jim Gordon, what a drummer. Video

My Morning Jacket “Big Decisions”
I’ve really listened to this track a lot since it was released last year, and I still can’t quite get a grip on it. I don’t know why, but I feel like there’s something “tricky” going on. It’s conventional and unconventional at the same time. It doesn’t really sound like anything else, but it does, and the arrangement feels kind of weird but probably isn’t. Who cares, it’s damn addictive. Definite traces of George here. Video

Beck “Heart Is A Drum”
Beck’s Morning Phase is a complete album rather than just a collection of songs and hangs together so well as a result. Maybe that’s why it won that Grammy for album of the year. It sounds great to my ears and especially on vinyl. From the first bar, the record seems to create its own atmosphere and has some really beautiful music on it. There’s not really a stand-out track for me; it’s all good, but this one has a clip to go with it. Video