Crushed Stars Make MAGNET A Mix Tape

In 2008, Crushed Stars released Gossamer Days after taking a break to work on frontman Todd Gautreau’s solo Sonogram, which had a cool electronic feel. Gautreau then partnered with Grammy-nominated producer/mixer John Congleton to issue 2010’s Concalescing In Braille. Well, Crushed Stars are back and ready for Simulacra Records to release the latest form of the band’s musical genius, In The Bright Rain, tomorrow. Stuart Sikes has teamed up with Crushed Stars to produce the album, which features guests Jeff Ryan (War On Drugs), Howard Draper (Okkervil River, Shearwater) and Buffi Jacobs (Polyphonic Spree). In The Bright Rain has eight original tracks and a cover of “House On The Hill” (by British luminary Epic Soundtracks), and the album was Gautreau’s attempt to create a more optimistic record while removing some of his own personal baggage and seek out his ability to construct songs that are more universally pop. Download “Brighter Now” and check out the mix tape Crushed Stars created for MAGNET below.

“Brighter Now” (download):

Kim Milford “Justice”
From Ciao Manhattan, this video features rare shots of Edie and some by Nat Finkelstein, one of which was used for the cover of my Obsolescence CD. As far as I know this song was never officially released. Since it could not be purchased I went to great lengths to create a copy in the studio. The first half of the song in the movie has dialogue over it so I took the first half from this YouTube video and spliced the second half from the DVD, which has better quality. A devastating track used very effectively in the end of the film. Video

Boys Next Door “Shivers”
Written by Rowland S. Howard, this is my favorite thing Nick Cave has ever done. Video

Daniel Johnston “Surely You Don’t Work All Night”
One of his lesser-known songs, this one is heartbreaking. Video

Epic Soundtracks “I Feel Good”
For some reason I have always identified strongly with Epic. Particularly the trajectory of his career where he started out with darker, edgier material (Swell Maps, Crime And The City Solution, These Immortal Souls), then eventually found his own voice and became more of a balladeer. Epic thought, and I agree, that he would have sold more records had he made his solo albums sooner. His death has left a void. Video

Steve Kilbey “Heliopolis”
From the excellent, otherworldly Unearthed. The soundtrack to my freshman year in college, which showed me I didn’t need to form a band to make records. Video

The Blue Nile “A Walk Across The Rooftops”
When I bought this record as a teenager, I was reading Norman Mailer’s Marilyn and a book on the Warren Commission. This seemed the perfect soundtrack, as though I had walked into the past and the future at the same time. A reviewer described it as Eno meets Sinatra. I had never heard anything like it. When people ask, “What’s my favorite record?” I usually say this one. Video

David Bowie “Letter To Hermione” (Demo Version)
Due to the lack of Bowie material for the past several years, I went looking for things I might have missed and found this. I strongly prefer this demo version to the more polished version that appeared on Space Oddity, which seems drained of emotion. Video

The Replacements “Answering Machine”
The first thing I ever heard on college radio was “Sixteen Blue” and “Answering Machine” back to back. Nothing was ever the same. Video

Miracle Legion “Sailors And Animals”
From their acoustic and most enduring record, Me And Mr. Ray. Previously considered an R.E.M. soundalike, this record showed there was more going on than that. Their best songs seem to have a childlike quality. When the vocals soar near the end it’s enough to make you cry. Video

Lloyd Cole And The Commotions “Forest Fire”
Great track from the excellent Rattlesnakes LP. It opened my eyes to a better way of songwriting. The razor sharp lyrics and Johnny Marr-ish guitars, this is one of those life-changing records. Video

Bobby Womack “Harry Hippie”
An underrated soul man. This song is one of my earliest childhood memories. A guy named Mel Mitchell came over to our house and brought this 45 with him. The b-side was a cover of “Sweet Caroline.” The adults danced and drank Budweiser. Mel passed away years ago. I still have the 45. This may perhaps be my favorite song of all time. Video

Irma Thomas “Yours Until Tomorrow”
Listen to how her vocals just saturate the tape and tell me she wasn’t feeling it. It sounds great sober, incredible after a few beers. Video