1. Talk Talk | After The Flood
As I put this playlist I am on tour with my pals Slow Magic and Giraffage in Europe — most of the travel on this particular tour has been by train, so consequently there is a lot of time devoted to putting on headphones and going through records you are ashamed to have not heard yet start-to-finish. I first put on Laughing Stock about a week ago on a train between London and Edinburgh and was immediately fascinated by the way it synched up with the view outside the window. The English countryside is greener than the Windows desktop background and the arrangements on this track in particular really help that to flourish. Also, you can never go wrong with a subtle B3 organ.
2. Majical Cloudz | Silver Rings
Each time I've seen my friend Devon Welsh (a Quality human being, I should mention) perform Live in the past year, it's as if he's creating a new kind of Theatre for the audience. He stares directly into audience members eyes almost as if everything he sings is a confession. The result is at once uncomfortable, but incredibly gorgeous, the same quality I admire about Scott Walker's Music – Tenacity defined. If there's any record you hear or band you see Live this year, this should be it without a doubt.
3. Baths | No Eyes
Here is another album I've been listening to a lot on this particular tour. I'd say that it has been wonderful to see a project like Baths develop into what it has become. Also, I didn't think anybody could write a brashly honest song about Anonymous Intimacy as well as Xiu Xiu — and then I heard this song. It's rare to find a Queer musician who not only can craft brutally honest Homoerotic lyrics, but can them bring them to a place that can be relatable regardless of Orientation or Sexual Experience. This can be an anthem for anyone, really.
4. RP Boo | The Opponent
Ever since Chicago became my stomping grounds three years ago, I have been exposed to a vast amount of Rhythmic possibilities via Juke. This is a new track by one of the founding fathers of the Chicago Footwork scene and it has the most impeccable flip of an Aaliyah sample I've probably ever heard. I've always told people that Footwork can and WILL be the next hot topic after Dubstep and Trap — Boo is living proof of its humble beginnings.
5. suicideyear | Do
As of late, top-notch Beat Music is hard to find. This kid's Japan album is hidden treasure on Bandcamp, however – I was introduced to this guy through my friend Rafa (Different Sleep) who put this tape on after a late-night smoke session. Upon first listen these beats are dark slappers — the fork in the road between a Tri Angle Records or Hippos In Tanks release, like a boss level in Donkey Kong Country gone to Hell. Whenever people refer to me as a prodigy, I like point out that the mean age of Excellence in Production is only getting younger and James is probably the first example I turn to. His future is very bright, no doubt.
6. Keith Jarrett | Encores: Tokyo (Sun Bear Concerts)
I go in and out of Jazz phases constantly, but for some reason I always find myself coming back to Jarrett. When Keith Jarrett sits in front of a piano, it either feels like the audience in front of him isn’t there or he isn’t there. The Piano becomes an extension of his body and he chooses to speak, IMPROVISE through it as opposed to just playing run-of-the-mill Piano pieces. If that’s not Artistry than I don’t know what is.
7. Grouper | Moon Is Sharp
Liz Harris makes Musical Medicine in its most simple form. Prior to the release of my first full-length I had come down with a bad case of Mono and was suffering Depression brought on (almost always) by the Chicago winter and Alien Observer was the record that helped me plow through the bad vibes. When her voice lands in the front of the mix towards the end of the song, I melt right into it — it's one of very few moments in her Music where I feel like I'm right there in the room amidst all the Distant Atmosphere she constantly conjures up.
8. American Football | Never Meant
This song makes me think of home a lot. Of course growing up in the DIY scene in Connecticut, this band was very important band to me that I recently rediscovered. It specifically reminds me of second-semester Senior year of High School in Connecticut, mentally checked out, constantly cruising through the mist of the Spring with a bunch of friends. Super Cinematic. It’s been strange reconnecting with them ever since moving to Chicago and my recent success with Mister Lies, but those who have stuck around have made me realize who my genuine friends are.
9. Oneohtrix Point Never | Up
Musical equivalent to Astral Projection in my eyes. I try to avoid listening to Electronic Music when recording, but for whatever reason Replica was one of the only records that I listened to when I was making Mowgli. It’s unlike any album I’ve heard before. Saw him open up for Sigur Rós recently in Chicago and it was saddening that no one seemed to understand his set, but my friends and I were super into it. Daniel Lopatin’s use of Sampling is Unparalleled and I will always consider him a strong influence of mine.
10. Genesis | Hold On My Heart
For new Mister Lies material I have been attempting to explore a much more Nostalgic side of my music – not necessarily in the Traditional sense, but having grown up on Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel, Genesis’ Music is Super Important to me. Most of the tropes of 80s Soft Rock can still be used in the Future Tense in 2013 and this song is a definite example. A Touching Love song in the Purest Sense, a Musical take my hand and come with me moment.