Harp Samuels wears all the hats on forthcoming album Breathe (out September 14): singer, songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist. So we thought the Melbourne-born Samuels—who’s also a filmmaker and photographer—would be able to turn us on to some cool tunes. And we were right. You can do a lot worse than checking out his killer MAGNET mix tape right now.
Damien Rice, “Delicate”
Whatever I’m working on, I keep coming back to this song. The rawness, the storytelling, the delivery. It’s proof that there’s so much perfection inside imperfection. Damien Rice is one of the great troubadours, and he inspires me in the way that he boldly bares his soul. There’s no hindrance, shame or sense of consumerism in his music or approach to music. I draw from that and am grateful for him.
James Vincent McMorrow, “Red Dust”
I consider Post Tropical by James Vincent McMorow to be a perfect album. It has a beautiful and similar feel through the whole thing, ebbs and flows as one piece, but it still gives you the sense that each song is individual. When I stumbled upon this song years ago, I almost broke the “repeat” button. The melodic hook, “Sometimes my hands/They don’t feel like my own/I need someone to love/I need someone to hold,” wrecks me every time I hear it. Amazing vocals, too.
Asgier, “King And Cross”
I first heard this song on the radio, driving through Melbourne in peak-hour traffic. It’s refreshing, original, unique and totally thoughtful. This song means a lot to me because it reminds me to innovate and break the mold. The twisted harmonies and bizarre solos call me to mess with chords a little more and to be less conventional with harmonies and sounds.
Jónsi And Alex, “Happiness”
Recently, as I was mixing my upcoming album, I sat with my sound engineer in the SSL room of Sing Sing studios in Melbourne, and we blasted this track through the most incredible speakers to get in the mood of the song we were working on. It’s just sounds—sounds and nothing but. It simply is. It does what it wants. The dynamics are amazing. It’s the kinda thing you want to listen to when you want to feel but not think.
Sufjan Stevens, “Should Have Known Better”
I’m a massive Sufjan Stevens fan. This track, from his record Carrie And Lowell, set the tone for my debut album, Wanting. The simplicity and stripped-back nature of the song really grabs me. There’s this little instrumental part toward the end that I simply adore. Love the mix, the vocal performance and the flow.
Foy Vance, “Guiding Light”
I was introduced to Foy Vance by a couple of Irish lads who I was kicking it with the first time I ever visited California. I pretty much slammed his records and got stuck on this track. “The road is wide, waters run on either side/My shadow in the fading light, stretches out toward the night.” One of the most beautiful lyrics ever. This song is like an anthem for me.
Man, this guy can sing. This song is new old school. They sure nailed this one. It was on mainstream radio in Australia, and people loved it. It’s dee and beautiful, and it desires to connect and succeeds. I especially love the bridge. As a musician who plays by ear, it’s exciting to hear something that you can’t instantly figure out.
The Last Dinosaur, “All My Faith”
This band is my latest musical crush. It’s simple and complicated at the same time. There are few words and many layers. The vocals are perfect, the mix is full, and it’s overall warm-and-cozy vibe takes you to a different place. I often read about tracks that I love, to find out what they’re about, but with “All My Faith,” I want it to remain a beautiful mystery.