On their new EP, Warma, NYC foursome Darlings have mastered the recipe for stick-in-your-head songs. Their secret? Start with pop melodies, add major guitar riffs, throw in some singalong vocals, and top it all off with lo-fi production for an addictive garage-band feel. Since we can't stop playing the band's new album, we figured it was only appropriate to ask them what music they're currently obsessed with.Maura Lynch (guitar/keyboard/vocals):
Arthur Russell - "Nobody Wants a Lonely Heart"
This summer I got really into Arthur Russell and listened to the "Love is Overtaking Me" compilation on repeat -- on the train to work, walking to practice, lying in my bed at home. I find his voice really comforting. I'd recommend watching "Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell" if only just to realize the sheer volume and quality of work he created in his short lifetime.
Leland - "I've Got Some Happiness"
I heard this psychy 70s gem on my friend Josh's weekly show on East Village Radio and kind of flipped out for it. It's warm and poppy, and makes me feel like I'm floating on a hazy love cloud (a favorite feeling of mine).
Deerhunter - "Wash Off"
While I'm excited to hear the new Deerhunter album, I keep coming back to their older songs. This past August I saw them play on a rainy night by the Hudson River. The setting sun and eerie, threatening weather provided an especially memorable platform for the frenzied end of this song, it was amazing.
Matt Solomon (drums):
Thee Oh Sees - "The Guilded Cunt"
"The Cool Death of Island Raiders" was the first Oh Sees record I got into, when me and Peter were living uptown a couple years ago. Our friend and then-roommate Brian has introduced me to a ton of great music over the years, but this is one we listened to constantly for a few months. It's the perfect mix of dreamy folk, weird droney noise and just straight-up beautiful pop music. Amazing album, great song.
Neil Young - "Walk On"
Sometimes I'll go a month at a time listening to Neil Young and nothing else. This is one of my favorite songs--it's the sound of a guy, beaten-down by critics and drugs and a million other things, trying so hard to write an upbeat pop song. It's not entirely convincing, there are cracks, which is what makes it so affecting.
Rifle Recoil - "I Do"
Rifle Recoil is Jeff Kessel, a friend of mine from high school in Virginia who now lives in Brooklyn. He does a one-man-band type thing with loop pedals and multiple instruments going at once. He has a great voice and a rare sense for dynamics and drama that really comes across live. We like him so much that Joe started a record label just to put out his album.
Peter Rynsky (guitar/vocals):
Beat Happening - "The This Many Boyfriends Club"
This was Calvin Johnson at his most poignant (in my mind) and squealy moment.
Japanther - "Critical"
This song laid the foundation to me for what a good punk song sounds like in the 2000's.
La Dusseldorf - "Viva"
This album contains six incredibly moving songs that sound like the score to an important movie. Germany succeeds here.
Joe Tirabassi (bass):
Joy Division - "No Love Lost"
I idolize this band. I've had the same picture of Ian Curtis on my wall for years now. It's survived several years of moving from apartment to apartment in New York, and it even made it out of an apartment fire unscathed. This is an early song of theirs from their first EP, and it's not really indicative of their later sound, but it's one of those fist-shaking numbers that really gets to an angry young man.
Kanye West - "Paranoid"
We need people like Kanye. We need visionary assholes, we need "monsters," we need people who will piss us off and amaze us at the same time, forcing the audience to gather around digital water coolers with "did you see that" astonishment. Otherwise we're stuck with cookie cutter acts who can't write jams like this. 808s & Heartbreak was a cathartic, soul-wrenching record that never really got its due respect, and this is the dramatic club entrance song that I've always dreamed about.
The Drifters - "Save the Last Dance for Me"
This song was penned by Doc Pomus, a Brill Building songwriter who was confined to a wheelchair and therefore couldn't dance. He was married to a Broadway dancer, though. So the song is for her, reminding her that she can have fun dancing and she can talk to other guys, but at the end of the night, he'll be taking her home. Someone told me once that this song is incredibly misogynistic, but with knowledge of the back story, to me it's incredibly touching.
Hear more of Darlings on their MySpace.