WARMER MIXTAPES #1497 | by Adam Turner-Heffer (Maths, Gdansk, Great Cop, Ice, Sea, Dead People, Spoilers) and Robbie Stern (Cajun Dance Party) of Post Louis

SIDE A | by Robbie Stern

It is so hard to know how to go about a selection process. Do you pick all-time favourites or songs that you’re particularly excited about at the time of writing? I shortlisted 300 songs from my iTunes and basically chose the 10 that seem something like songs that I consistently feel the most strongly about. They’re listed in no particular order. I tried not to artificially tailor the selection too much. While I wish that my selection looked like the end product of crate-digging weekends, and that it was full of undiscovered Soul classics, I realise it just looks like any old NPR-reading Indie boy’s go-to Spotify playlist. The only real limitation I imposed for this list was no Classical, Jazz or Dance Music.

1. Low | Words
When I was 15, my then best friend rang me to tell me he’d bought a beautiful record with only snare and cymbals. I Could Live In Hope has been one of my favourite albums ever since he played it to me later that day. Somehow more than any other record, it's one I’ve enjoyed sharing myself. I got a text a couple of years ago from Daniel, the singer in my previous band. He wanted to let me know that he was on tour supporting Low and that he’d been reminiscing about the first time I’d played them to him. An amazing message to receive out the ether. Words is devastating. Each time Mimi Parker’s harmony comes in for the chorus, I don’t know whether I’m getting a sense of Hope stretching out or of Sadness crumpling in on itself.

2. Björk | Undo
That same friend sent me this song as a low quality .mp3 over MSN Messenger, telling me he’d been listening to it every day. I also became addicted as soon as I had listened. I’d never heard anything like it and I’m not sure I have since, even within Björk’s own back catalogue. I find this song overwhelming: listening to Undo is like slowly turning your head until you’re looking straight at the Sun.

3. Broken Social Scene | Cause=Time
This for me is the perfect Modern Rock song, with just the right balance of Tension and Release. It also has my favourite guitar riff. The way they delay its entry the second time round is so effective and cathartic. In the book This Book Is Broken, Andrew Whiteman, who plays that part, confides in Stuart Berman his hope that BSS are still playing The Cause when they're old. [A]nd it will sound like 20 Sonic Youths coming at you.

4. Joanna Newsom | Only Skin
No words necessary/adequate.

5. Bob Dylan | Idiot Wind
I had initially thought that Tangled Up In Blue would make this list. But Idiot Wind is richer and surprises with every listen. It’s also the apex of that record. The lyrics are a masterpiece. I love how the words tug in all kinds of unexpected directions. And how each time the chorus comes around, it’s re-contextualised in light of the verse that has come before.

6. Arcade Fire | Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
This song has such galvanising intensity. That rhythm: I can’t really think of a song that drives forward in quite the same way. But it’s the inflections in Win Butler’s vocal that really get me. The response Neighborhood #3 elicits is hard to pin down, but it's something like Pure Passion. I’ve never felt as completely involved in a show as I did at their headline Primavera set in 2014. A big group of my friends were there, shouting every single word to every song. It was probably pretty obnoxious. But Funeral - and this song in particular - have that generation-defining, tribal quality. I’m not sure whether there was an alternative response.

7. The Velvet Underground | Candy Says (Closet Mix) 
When I was 14, my uncle leant me the Peel Slowly And See box set, which I dutifully uploaded onto a first-generation iPod. I remember listening to it late one night on a family holiday, totally submerged in a sleeping bag. I was haunted by the dark beauty of this alternate Closet Mix and still prefer it to the album version. It all seemed very adult: I remember the feeling that I was chancing on something slightly illicit and highly nuanced. It is a song I enjoy attempting to play. My old band covered it at Union Chapel with a string quintet and two trumpets, although that was more like a cover of Antony Hegarty’s cover. Steph and I played it in Berlin the night that Lou Reed died, when Post Louis were on tour supporting Porcelain Raft.

8. Deerhunter | Helicopter
Maybe a strange choice for a favourite-songs-of-all-time list: it has a very 2010’s aesthetic. But to me it ultimately sounds like a Pop group hitting the top of their game. I love that sense of Confidence Helicopter exudes - confidence that exists in tension with the melancholia of the lyrics. The song is beautiful and very moving. The drum fill at 3.29, and the omission of the kick drum on the first beat of the next bar, make you feel like your stomach has hit the floor.

9. Prince | Uptown
I love Dirty Mind and this track in particular. It crams so much in, but still manages to remain lean and tight. A real showcase for Prince’s genius - he recorded every part on the record except the synth solos. But there’s more than Virtuosity: Uptown is a particularly egalitarian, inclusive celebration of Urban Hedonism. I particularly like the duelling guitars in the outro.

10. The Beatles | Here, There And Everywhere
This was my favourite song for years and I’ve always thought of it as the perfect Pop song. Maybe that feeling of certainty was the reason that when I gave it a listen for the purpose of compiling this list, I was a little disappointed. It treads the border between the Saccharine and the Deeply Profound. But perhaps that is true of much of the best (Pop?) Music. Those Beach Boys-aping backing vocals - and the modulation going into the bridge section - still kill me.

SIDE B | by Adam Turner-Heffer

I've tried to pick a track per loose genre to give a spectrum of my tastes, in chronological order.

1. The Beatles | A Day In The Life 
The 60's was an incredible decade for Music throughout, the amount of truly amazing bands and songs that came out of it is kinda unbelievable (Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, The Stooges, The Spenser Davis Group to name a few), but there's a reason The Beatles consistently stand out as the greatest band of all time and for me it's because they had the gall to end their most popular album at their creative peaks with this untouchable song. A Day In The Life always stands out because it's the first song I was really truly fascinated by, as my parents used to play The Beatles' Greatest Hits (Blue Album) a lot in the car on long journeys and it blew my, then tiny, mind that a song could shift about so much in 4 minutes and still be so catchy and memorable.

2. David Bowie | Heroes
David Bowie gets credited with this song, but Brian Eno's contribution to this song (and Popular/Electronic Music generally) cannot go unacknowledged. Without Eno, the song wouldn't be so timelessly effective as it is still to this day approaching 40 years later. In a year where Punk reached its peak and Bruce Springsteen had perfected the Rock Anthem, Bowie and Eno went to Berlin along with Iggy Pop and Lou Reed and produced a song that still gives me the shivers every time I hear it.

3. Sonic Youth | Schizophrenia
The 80's was a time of great Musical transition, much of which still has it's roots today (perhaps more now than ever). One of the most influential books I've read in regards of Music or Literature is Michael Azerrad's book Our Band Could Be Your Life (because it details the precedents that American Indie Music took in the years leading up to the scene's boiling point in 1991). What I love about the book is that it happens in the years after or Post Punk, which for me were effectively the years America took over from the UK as the far more influential and creative Music scene. From 1978, when a young Greg Ginn wrote Nervous Breakdown and thus created an entirely new, American, sound, through to Fugazi's pushing Hardcore into the Next Level 10 years later, we see how Americans re-appropriated Punk Music throughout the 80's and 90's and did fascinating things with it. One of the best examples being of course, Sonic Youth. SY were much more artier than their peers, being very much a New York band, channelling Punk Music into a place that really could go anywhere. No better do they do this than on the lead track off, for my money their best album, Sister. Schizophrenia is a deceptively simple song, starting with only a drum-beat, but it grows into a wondrous, narrative-voice shifting 4 minute opus. It's a song that would inspire and launch countless young Art students upon their guitars and lead to the explosion of popularity of the genre in the 90's. Sonic Youth, along with the (at that point) far more popular R.E.M. and Pixies, lead the way to the point where Nirvana could briefly (and tragically) become the biggest band in the World, but also lead an incredible Underground scene to flourish, especially in Northwestern America, where bands like Unwound, Beat Happening and Bikini Kill (and later Modest Mouse and ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead) could create the Riot Girrrl/K Records movement or in the Southeastern College Rock lands where bands like Pavement and Archers Of Loaf would benefit. I realise I'm covering a lot of ground here, and can make a playlist just based on this amazing era alone, but for me, Sonic Youth stand up as the most important and influential.

4. Slint | Washer
Without realising it or meaning to, 4 kids from middle-America, Louisville, Kentucky invented an entire genre. Post Rock is a name which is frowned upon to anyone a part of it, and only tenuously links bands in some cases, but there is a lot of followers to this largely Instrumental, often euphoric genre. One of my favourite bands from my spiritual home of Glasgow, Mogwai, for instance, spent years of their career battling and disassociating the label, while simultaneously acknowledging that, without Slint, they'd probably be an entirely different band. While I love Mogwai dearly and there are loads of their songs I could submit for your consideration, it doesn't seem appropriate when they openly state that Slint's endlessly influential record Spiderland remains a touchstone for this certain sound (whatever it is) and, in particular, it's centre-piece song remains a breathtaking and unsurpassed example of the genre. While Mogwai effectively had a go at the same song in their also brilliant Hunted By A Freak and capturing their mood in their darkest album Come On Die Young, and the Canadian, more Orchestral/Jazz inflected scene of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Do Make Say Think would push the sound on to great distances, nothing is as haunting as the song that started it all, especially when you're reminded that they were teenagers at the time of conception.

5. Jawbreaker | Kiss The Bottle
As the 90's came of age and Grunge mutated into Pop Punk or Post-Hardcore, the groundwork set from the DIY Indie scene in the 80's and the inconsistently titled Emo became apparent. One of the biggest purveyors of this sort-of scene, were the Kinsella bothers and friends gave the Midwest a voice previously occupied by Steve Albini. The earliest example, Cap'n Jazz are a perfect example of their scatterbrain nature and in Little League they wrote an anthem to bind the whole thing together. Members of that band would go on to many influential acts including the heart-wrenching American Football and the anthemic The Promise Ring, who's influence on Jimmy Eat World became very prevalent in the early Noughties. Along with NOFX, Blink-182 and Green Day, you have a huge amount of my Musical appreciation of the melodic Punk song later to be solidified by the brilliant Fucked Up and Titus Andronicus. The one that started it all though is San Francisco's Jawbreaker. While I was quite late to fully appreciating Jawbreaker, this I think largely is because they're such a mature, World-Weary band that you have to see a few things to really get Blake Schwarzenbach's pained, insightful lyrics and gruff voice. Jawbreaker quietly influenced a whole generation, most importantly giving Green Day their edge when it came to writing/producing Dookie and were using the spirit of Bruce Springsteen's storytelling technique long before many other Punk acts were caught doing it. Kiss The Bottle is the band at their most fragile; coming after their best album but days before Schwarzenbach's throat operation which would change the band's sound significantly on their, unfairly panned, major label debut Dear You. But it invokes such a strong image of the Mission district of their home (the song was written for a compilation celebrating the area) and remains the band's crowning achievement.

6. Aphex Twin | Girl/Boy Song
I originally had Idioteque by Radiohead here as my Electronic example. Electronic Music is something I've always been fascinated by and had at hand for inspiration, and that Radiohead song is a big reason for it. A lot of people at the time criticised the band for going "weird" (re: Electronic) on what is now often considered their masterpiece, Kid A, after the World-conquering success of OK Computer. But it still didn't seem right that they should be my example of the genre, so instead I've gone with the guy who Radiohead and countless others took an immesasurable amount of influence from, Richard D. James, better known as Aphex Twin. Everyone knows Aphex Twin largely because of Chris Cunningham. His nightmarish Music videos/short films brought James' music to Life in the still incredible videos for Come To Daddy and Windowlicker. Their constant, like James' artwork, is his creepy face super-imposed everywhere. Those images stick with everyone who has seen them, and lead many to explore the rest of his long and illustrious career and realise not all his Music is for the purpose of scaring the shit out of you. For me, the best example is Girl/Boy Song which arrives towards the end of his self-titled album, because the way it manages both to lightly jab at cheesy movie soundtracks and re-appropriate them into something fresh and mind-warping in James' signature Drum 'N' Bass inflected style. It's pretty hard just choosing one of his songs, there are so many that could be here as his imagination is just that impressive, but I think this sums him up beautifully, leading me to, in more recent times, also love Flying Lotus, Thundercat and Pantha Du Prince, amongst many others.

7. Madvillain | Monkey Suite
Hip Hop and Rap has been important to me since religiously listening to Tim Westwood's show on Saturday nights in my earlier years, I always felt there was an amazing energy to listening to particularly well executed Rap, something that still comes across from Wu-Tang Clan's now 20 year old debut. For me though nothing comes close to Daniel Dumile, better known as DOOM, and, specifically, his incredible work with Madlib on the album Madvillainy. Funnily enough, my favourite track of that project, Monkey Suite, isn't actually on that album but on a Stones Throw compilation/collaboration with Adult Swim: Chrome Children. I love how the limits are potentially endless with Hip Hop, something particularly displayed by Anticon Records roster, especially cLOUDDEAD and Why?, and more recently with Shabazz Palaces and Young Fathers. Madvillainy stands as the crowning achievement however because of it's seamless energy. Songs are short sketches, but, between Madlib's brilliant sampling and DOOM's endlessly witty, clever word-play, it remains an incredible work, and only shows their strength that they could leave of their best off the album and save it for a great compilation by an excellent label.

8. Converge | First Light
+ Last Light... In my teens when I was bored and frustrated and living in a small city, Punk was for a while at least pretty much everything. This is partly because to it's credit, my home-town of Norwich has/had an excellent DIY Punk scene for such a small city. Most of my weekends were spent at The Ferryboat (RIP) or Marquee (now Owl Sanctuary after a hiatus) and just about any space who would have us. Due to a few passionate individuals, Norwich had a fairly healthy and productive scene through a shared appreciation of Hardcore Punk in bands such as American Nightmare and Swing Kids, with my peers, which was highly inspirational as an adolescent, and is where starting my first (proper) band Maths comes from. Though I moved on to more mellower sounds as I aged, I've never forgotten the energy and passion Punk runs on to bring its Music to Life, a spirit that can be applied to any genre.

9. Joanna Newsom | Sawdust & Diamonds 
While it may seem everything I listen to is pure bombast, there are times (Winter, usually) where I tend to go to more delicate intricacies. There are so much incredible (mostly solo) singer-songwriter/Folk Music that I go to when I want to be transported to another place going all the way back to Bob Dylan. More recently, artists such as Bon Iver, Elliot Smith, The Microphones and Sun Kil Moon, all at their peak have this amazing ability to create atmospheres and stories in their World-views. The one that stands out for me though is Joanna Newsom. I feel a large reason for this is having seen her perform live a couple years ago at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (an incredible venue if you ever get to go), because at that time she was still fairly new to me. There was something about seeing her expressions, really feeling her songs come to Life. While it is truly inspiring to see such a crafter of songs as well as an exceptional harpist and pianist, her songs took a whole new life seeing her bring them together either solo or with her accompanying band. Of that set, this song was simply put, utterly breathtaking and heartbreaking. There is an Existential quality to most Music which is primarily a lone voice and instrument and here Newsom questions the very fibre of our being while equally advising that there's no point in getting upset when Life is precious. While it's tough to choose a single one of her songs to highlight, such is the strength of her back catalogue, there is something about this song that touches an entirely different astral plane, both as a composed piece of Music and with its stunning Lyricism, and for me sums up the genre as a whole.

10. TV On The Radio | Wolf Like Me 
For my final choice, there were so many songs I wanted to choose. In the mid-to-late Noughties, American Indie was in such an unbelievable bill of health that so many bands were coming over and showing us how it was done. If this were an albums list it would look rather different, for instance Interpol's debut Turn On The Bight Lights would be up top. However, while I love that album dearly, there isn't a single song I could choose that quite summarises this pocket of Music. Similarly The National, Arcade Fire and Deerhunter have all released some of my favourite records of the last few years and certain songs by more underrated bands Meneguar, Constantines and The Walkmen came so close to being my final choice. Ultimately though, the song I chose to represent for this final set was TV On The Radio's Wolf Like Me purely because no other song from this time pushes me further or higher. TV On The Radio were such an exciting act when they first emerged with the wondrous Young Liars and later Staring At The Sun singles, but nothing they did could quite touch this one. I think what Wolf Like Me encapsulates so well, both of the band and the genre's flexibility, is that, for the most part, it is a Punk song (which, let's not forget, is where Indie's roots truly come from), with those thunderous drums. But with Tunde Adebimpe & Kyp Malone's soulful vocals recall Blues melodies and even Hip Hop and Funk during the half-time middle eight, meanwhile Dave Sitek's guitars soar very much like David Bowie (who would collaborate with the band on the very same record) and Brian Eno's aforementioned timeless, classic song. While it's too early to say whether any of these bands will have a legacy, songs like these will go down as defining songs of their time.