1. The Sundays | Goodbye
I remember laying on my stomach on the rug in my father’s house when I was a kid watching MTV waiting for the Sundays' video for Love. I went out and bought the tape. Shortly after that time I moved to Costa Rica. I used to walk around some dingy parts of capital with my yellow Walkman listening to Blind. The whole record reminds of that time. The bright Central American Sun, the chaotic surrounds, and this unusual brand of Brit Pop permeating my headphones. David Gavurin’s production and guitar playing is truly inspiring. As are Harriet Wheeler’s vocals. I just chose Goodbye because it's one of my favorite tracks off of the record.
2. Cocteau Twins | Fifty-Fifty Clown
Considering my love of the Shoegaze genre and my previously mention of the often compared Sundays' Blind, it almost surprises myself that this record was introduced to me so much later in life. It was a dark dark Wisconsin winter night that I went over to my friend and former band mate Franz’s house with the purpose of lending some guitar tracks to his of gorgeous musical project called Single Drift. We ended up drinking wine and till the wee hours while he played me Heaven Or Las Vegas in utter shock that I had never heard it before. I think I was in shock too. Now when I listen to it I usually drift back to cold and dark Wisconsin winters, playing Music with friends and drinking more wine than is probably good for me. Everything about the record is genius. Fifty-Fifty Clown is one of my favorite tracks mostly because of Elizabeth Fraser’s vocals, but that could be said about any track on it.
3. The Beatles | Rocky Raccoon
Though I never really listened to White Album much growing up, my sister was named after Rocky Raccoon, her name was Magill, but she called herself Lil, but everyone knew her as Nancy. When I got into The Beatles I always thought how cool it was she got named after an obscure Beatles reference. When I started doing Music on my own I thought since she wasn’t using her name to its fullest potential I’d borrow it, and that is the reason our band is called Eric & Magill not Eric & Ryan. Also when I listen to this song I think of my parents being young, with their first child on the way and how they must’ve been feeling. I think it’s a pretty unique association with that song.
4. Ruben Hakhverdyan | Yerevani Gishernerum
Though I only lived in Armenia for short time, it's one of my most beloved places in the World. Not much makes the capital city Yerevan more than this song. It also reminds of the time I met my wife, so it really can’t get better than that. I love Ruben’s often skeptical, tongue in cheek lyrics and classical guitar playing.
5. Ryan Adams | My Winding Wheel
Heartbreaker. In my nearly ten years playing and touring with Decibully Heartbreaker was probably one of our most listened to records in our history. To me this song represents riding in a van with my friends off to the next city, off to the next show, the next adventure, the next disappointment, the next wherever; point is we were going somewhere, on the road as long as the van kept going.
6. George Michael | Freedom! '90
Listen Without Prejudice. I had this tape when I was in High School. I’m pretty sure I would dance in my room in front of the mirror to this song. I’ve always dug it, and I don’t really care what people might have to say about that. I must have worn out the cassette because I didn’t have it for the longest time so I downloaded it few years ago. This was around the time I was married. One night also around the same time I played a show down in Chicago. As my wife and I were trying to stay awake on the two-hour drive back to Milwaukee at 4AM she found my newly downloaded George Michael on my iPod. She was a bit surprised to find out I was fan, but turned out so is she. We spent the rest of the night singing along loudly with George trying to stay awake. Now George Michael is kind of our thing, so if you ever stop by our house unannounced don’t be shocked if you find us dancing in the mirror together to Freedom! '90.
7. The Smiths | A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours
When I was 15 I started playing in a Rock band but couldn’t get to band practice, so I relied on my cousin who was about a year older than me and had a car and was fucking cool like that. She never listened to anything ever in the car except The Smiths and would sing along loudly. I can’t listen to The Smiths without warmly remembering those happy moments that I’d ride in her car to band practice. Plus I love The Smiths.
8. Lullaby For The Working Class | Boar’s Nest
This jam is off what might be a fairly underappreciated record by folks that went on to form the backbone of Bright Eyes and other great Omaha bands. Anyway, I lived in London for a spell a gizzilion years ago and these guys came through on tour and played to like 3 people in a bar including myself and they put on such an amazing show they might have been playing to 10,000. I was really into this record back then so it reminds of walking around London in the winter all alone with my thoughts. My path has crossed with a few of the guys from Lullaby since then and it’s always been a pleasure.
9. múm | We Have A Map Of The Piano
When I was touring with The Promise Ring we had a day off in Brussels. We were living on a bus that was parked outside the club and were told we could come see the show that night by a band we hadn’t heard of from Iceland called múm. múm played in nearly pitch black and just played one of the most magical sets ever to a small room. That record became the soundtrack for us while we were touring Europe. It reminds me of hot days in France and looking for a bar to watch the World Cup in Germany or wandering aimlessly with the guys around Amsterdam. I always associate this with that amazing Summer.
10. Pure Bathing Culture | Pendulum
Oh, man, has the Pendulum swing for me the past year... I’ve been loving this song while contemplating the ups and downs of Life. From African village to gardens in Los Angeles to dark basements in winter and finally to high-rise living in Washington, DC. Things can change quick.