1. Jay-Z | Heart Of The City (Ain't No Love)
In 2000, I mostly listened to hip-hop. Anything being produced by the Neptunes (aka, anything that had a melodic beat behind it) was cool in my books. I had always had a love of electronic music, so I gravitated closer to hip-hop music that had more of an electronic touch. That being said, I also couldn't deny the unbelievable music that was coming out of the Nas/Jay-Z beef. While some of my friends took a hard-line stance against Jay-Z, I thought that The Blueprint was one of the best hip-hop albums of all time. I still do actually. This song especially hit hard; an unbelivable beat and ridiculously good rhymes. I think Jay-Z hit his stride here.
2. Rage Against The Machine | Guerrilla Radio
As I went throughout High School, I found myself leaning closer to heavier sounds, and moving further from standard forms of hip-hop. So when my older cousin showed me Rage Against The Machine, my life was changed. One thing that I've always been attracted to in music is energy. When I watched The Battle Of Mexico City for the first time, and witnessed the thousands of people there all not only experiencing the energy, but influencing the band, I was completely changed. The Battle Of Los Angeles is still such a powerful record, and the energy on it is undeniable.
3. Daft Punk | One More Time
Like I said earlier, electronic music has always affected me, and one of the reasons for that has been my intense love for Daft Punk. I saw the video for Da Funk on Much Music (Canada's version of MTV), and I was hooked. I was also like ten years old, and the weirdness and newness of it all was incredibly interesting. Fast-forward a few years, to where my friend Shaun asked me if I'd heard the new Daft Punk track. I replied that I hadn't, and he told me that it sounded like if disco was still cool. I bought Discovery the next day, and my life was changed. The positivity that that record instilled in me still affects me; I realized that music doesn't need to be angry in order to convey energy. Once again, my love for electronic music increased.
4. Radiohead | Everything In Its Right Place
I think everyone discovers Radiohead their first year of university. I lived in a small town throughout my teen years, and I didn't get the chance to go to shows, or peruse record stores. So when I lived in dorms my first year of college, I was met by a community of people that were coming from all sorts of different places, and bringing with them different tastes and experiences. I can still remember a good friend had leant me four records, and said, these are your new favourite records. He gave me Grace by Jeff Buckley, Lost Souls by Doves, and ( ) by Sigur Rós, and Kid A by Radiohead. Though Jeff Buckley and Doves (though great, obviously) didn't become some of my favourites, Sigur Rós and Radiohead definitely did. I immersed myself in all the music of the late 90s that I had missed out on, and Kid A was the one record that seemed to intensely resonate with me. The weirdness of it; the electronic touch, mixing with Thom Yorke's voice; the fact that this was, essentially, electronic music that didn't give me the urge to dance, but rather the urge to lie on the floor. I feel like one of the reasons this record connected with me so intensely is because both Radiohead and I were changing, finding out more about ourselves. I as a person, and them as artists.
5. The Arcade Fire | Une Année Sans Lumière
My second year of college, I fell further into indie rock. I discovered Pitchfork, and began to use the internet to it's full music discover potential. The Arcade Fire soundtracked my incredibly snowy year at school, and I can still remember taking freezing walks around town, listening to Funeral, wishing I was someplace warmer, yet feeling completely at home.
6. The Album Leaf | Another Day (Revisited)
The Album Leaf were one of the first electronic bands I heard that didn't necessarily make dance music. I first heard In A Safe Place in 2005, and it was only the tip of the iceberg; I started to discover artists on the Ninja Tune record label, and all sorts of other downtempo music. I tried to emulate this style in a lot of my earlier music, and I think the same mentality of songwriting still comes out in my Teen stuff.
7. Bloc Party | Kreuzberg
I know that A LOT of people really didn't like A Weekend In The City, but when I first heard it, it struck a very serious chord in me. I felt like Kele was really nailing the feeling of the times, the zeitgeist if you will. Though this record polarized a lot of people, I still think that it speaks so prophetically into our generation. This song specifically really says a lot about our generation's constant search for love, looking for it in lust, and usually coming up empty handed.
8. LCD Soundsystem | All My Friends
I spent the first half of 2008 traveling Western Europe, and in my travels, I found that listening to Sound Of Silver on trains was a spiritual experience. While everyone sat bored, pensively staring out the windows at the beautiful landscapes, I was dancing my ass off in my mind. My eyes must have shown it. Again, this track was a stand out for me; a HUGE song, and easily the best song of the year.
9. Sigur Rós | Gobbledigook
I have always been a big Sigur Rós fan, and again, where most people might have been polarized by their latest record, I think it might be one of my favourites. The energy that this song has is a perfect example of what being young should feel like. I try to encapsulate that feeling with my Teen Daze songs (hence the name), and I think this song is a huge inspiration for me, in that aspect.
10. Washed Out | New Theory
I've been making electronic music for the last 5 or 6 years, and I have always found a lot of inspiration in the music I'm listening to. Washed Out has become a HUGE inspiration for me; the reverb-drenched, delayed vocals, the hazy synths, and the overall feeling of summer living play a huge role in how I create music for Teen Daze. Ernest, if you ever read this, my sincerest thanks for creating such beautiful music. Maybe someday, we can play a show together, and I can buy you a beer.