Much like the classic mixtape, Tracklisted presents a collection of songs under a selected theme, which you can check out below. Click on the provided Spotify playlist and listen to this week’s arrangement while you read a few words about the selections.
This week, we bring you a special Tracklisted from Tyler Daniel Bean, who had this to say about his choices:
“When I think about the albums and songs that influenced On Days Soon To Pass (his upcoming full length album), how the music influenced my songs comes second to how the music influenced my life and connected me with the world. On Days Soon To Pass is about reconnecting; it’s about progress and choice, suggesting that self-renewal, especially for those dealing with mental health disorders, comes from the recurring epiphany of interacting constructively with the world. These are the songs that connect me to the people I love, and these entries are snapshots of our stories together.”
Playlist: A Break From My Life After The Hardest Year
The One AM Radio — What You Gave Away
Listening to A Name Writ In Water, I’m transported to wherever Matthew Magnuson is — the tea-toting wanderer Longing’s “Rootbeerlington” was written about. We traveled together, alongside Jessica McDermott, to Boston to see a stripped-down The One AM Radio open for Owen in 2009. “What You Gave Away” performed with guitar, violin, accordion and a sparse electronic backing track was a standout. Its meditative, pensive composition seems to lead you along the beach on a Northwest coast, as if putting one foot in front of the other — taking in the experience of being without, but also with a person you love. The mix pulls your ears in multiple directions at once through subtle developments in the arrangement, like lying on a wooden floor listening to the rain, but you never need to follow any piece. The point is for those developments to fade, to make way for the whole.
To make way for the whole is what we strove to do with On Days Soon To Pass. It’s full to the brim with tracks that regularly, subtly change and lead you where you’re going, but you never need to follow any one part to experience the album for what it is.
Mount Eerie – Oh My Heart
Jess McDermott was playing Mount Eerie’s Dawn in the living room of our apartment in 2009. I walked out of my bedroom after hearing “you’re gone” repeated 19 times in “Moon Sequel,” and Jess led me through an introduction to the world of Phil Elverum. While we sat together, listening to all of Dawn and Lost Wisdom, Jess told me that a year prior she went to see Mount Eerie in a small venue in Burlington. Their first show sold out, so the promoter put up tickets to a second show. Jess went to both. The second show, she told me, was Phil sitting on the floor with his guitar, surrounded by candles, playing these songs. Now, years later, when I think about how important Mount Eerie and The Microphones have become for me, about how difficult Wind’s Poem was to get into after Lost Wisdom (but how rewarding a listen it has become), and about how integral it is in my musical life to not get caught up in trying to be one thing, I think about how influential this double set would’ve been. Jess still talks about it, and just thinking about her experience makes me understand her as a person and as a musician a little bit more.
But what’s most influential about Lost Wisdom, aside from the lyrical content and the musical sparseness, is the dynamic built between Phil Elverum and Julie Doiron’s voices. Whenever I think about this record, I think about when Jess and I toured together in 2012. Jess preferred when people sang along to her music (I’d guess she preferred this because it made the songs feel less personal and alone, it gave them life), so I would sing, and I would think about what our version of Lost Wisdom would sound like. I think with this new album we got the closest we’ve ever gotten to Lost Wisdom.
Audrey – The Silver
Audrey’s The Fierce And The Longing came in the mail around the same time that Matt Magnuson first showed me Gregor Samsa’s Rest, and the two albums made me think about what it means to make music. We had the same conversations then that we’ve had in the mixing process of the new LP, noting that the violin and cello, as well as the other accessory instrumentation, change the way you experience these albums. They take on an immediacy, a seriousness, but at the same time, the weight of the songs themselves are lessened by their presence.
When I first talked to Shannon Stott-Rigsbee about recording, I talked about Audrey’s record as a reference, as well as Gregor Samsa’s “Young And Old” from Over Air (their live session from Amsterdam’s VPRO radio station). You can hear a little of the “Young And Old” influence at the end of “When I Think Too Much”—a beautiful melody in an otherwise massive and distorted climax. And you can hear a bit of what I love about Audrey in the rest of the album—violin and the rest of the accompaniment as a central element, an integral puzzle piece to what makes these songs what they are.
Rainer Maria – Rise
I was running sound at 242 Main for their annual Halloween show in 2014 when Slingshot Dakota covered Rainer Maria’s “Rise.” After the first few notes, I screamed “What?!,” and Carly laughed in the middle of the first line. Their cover (along with their entire set) made my night.
I think about Look Now, Look Again a lot — about how a friend and I covered “Breakfast Of Champions” at a high school coffee house, or how Kate Grube and I talked about our mutual love for the album when TDB played shows with Kittyhawk earlier in 2014. I remember watching Kittyhawk play for the first time, Kate smiling while she sang behind her keyboard, and after their set, I said, “Please tell me you love Rainer Maria.”
When I think about Rainer Maria, I think about how little information you gain from just listening to the lyrics. I still pull up the words to read along, sit with them, trying to take in the meaning, to understand how the music develops new meaning for the words on the page. I gain so much more from listening while paying attention to what’s happening, from digging below what’s immediately presented, and I wrote the songs on this new record with that in mind. You can come to it and take it for what is presented to you on the surface, or you can dig and find connections and themes and a different timeline than the physical order of the record. Maybe it’s not as minimal as Rainer Maria can be, but they inspired me to try something similar, something new.
S – This Is Love
Jess and I were neck deep in Lake Michigan in 2012, talking about the songs that would make up her late 2012 LP House Fires Of The Modern Age. She was talking about her experiences with S and how influential Jenn Champion had been to her songwriting. It reminded me of when Jess and I met Dan Anderson of Kat Kat Records in 2009. Dan’s band at the time, Trunks and Tales, was playing Radio Bean, and they covered “Wait” from i’m not as good at it as you. Jess couldn’t believe that someone would cover that, or even knew who S was.
In Lake Michigan, Jess spent some time talking about the new songs I was playing, songs that would eventually turn into what are on both the Everything You Do Scares Me EP and this new LP. She’s always been my biggest supporter. But in my head I was thinking that I wouldn’t be anything without her influence. Jess’s body of work as The New & Very Welcome is daunting and stunning as a record of her experience and her viewpoint. You could go over my work with a fine-toothed comb and easily find remnants of what Jess has done, of what Jess made me think about, made me think to try.
I look at S and I think about what Jenn Champion has done as one framework for listening to Jess’s music. And in a way, you could look at it as a deep influence for what I’ve done, one step removed.
Des Ark — Street Woods
Des Ark’s Everything Dies was real late-in-the-game for this record, coming out only a few weeks before Ryan, Joe, Jess, and I started recording, but its influence spread beyond these songs (although you can see it poke its head in songs like “All At Once” or “On Days Soon To Pass” in both the instrumentation and how artfully they’re mixed). I listened to this record the first day I walked to my job at the now defunct Burlington College. This is monumental to point out, because I spent the year prior to this walk in and out of casts, having destroyed my ankle falling off a set of stairs while loading out of a venue. In that year, Willow passed away just before my surgery, and Chris Parmelee passed away just after. By the time I was walking again, I needed to hear someone else say the lines “And all that I wanted here/Was a break from my life/After the hardest year” coupled with “If I don’t learn to love/I’m going to die of fear.”
The Weakerthans – Left & Leaving
Lauren and I were eating ice cream sandwiches on a bench overlooking Mill Pond in Manchester Center, VT, when she was living there for a few years at the start of our relationship. We had spent three years as weekend warriors. I was about to leave for a long U.S. tour, and when I got home, Lauren was moving to Burlington. While we were eating, an older couple walked behind us, holding hands, and I thought about Lauren, about where we came from and where we were going.
It made me think about visiting Marko Kurtovic in 2010, the trip that inspired Longing’s “Lake Eola.” Marko had just started seeing someone, and we all hung out almost every night. Marko’s partner had just gotten a Weakerthans tattoo, of the nurse and the man in a bear suit on the cover of Reconstruction Site, and she played me songs off Reconstruction Site for the first time. I remember listening to Left & Leaving on the plane ride home, thinking that it would be cool to meet someone who seemed to complement me as much as Marko did his partner. The day after getting home, I met Lauren.
It’s wild to think that it’s been six years, and that the inscription on this new LP acted as the first half of a proposal, but here we are, engaged and still listening to Left & Leaving regularly, still talking about John K. Samson’s lyrics, about the subtle movements of the bass guitar. Life seems like a dream sometimes.
If you listen to “Left & Leaving,” you’re immediately presented with a plodding guitar pattern that lasts the entire song. It’s forgettable, but necessary; it allows everything to happen around it. I used this idea in several tracks on the new album, most notably “Archibald Street” and “On Days Soon To Pass.” Funny enough, the second movement of “On Days…” is so full with parts, that we tried cutting the plodding guitar to make some room, but the movement felt like something was missing without it. It’s funny how important small, forgettable things can be.
Songs: Ohia – Just Be Simple
I was on crutches for the majority of the 10 months between my ankle injury and walking again, and for the first few months, I wasn’t able to do much beyond move myself from one sitting position to another. It was frustrating, asking everyone around me to help me, but I eventually learned how to carry a glass of water or a plate of food from one place to another; how to adapt. But in the meantime, I had to push forward with writing the poems that would become this album.
I was listening to Songs: Ohia a lot at this point, thinking about the mythology and the imagery Jason Molina pieced together over the years to sing about his experience of the world. William Schaff, the artist who painted the cover for On Days Soon To Pass and the Dead Air split I did with Au Revoir (who also did the cover of Magnolia Electric Company), even drew a map for Molina, which involved a number of the animals and scenes Molina sang about.
When I think about songs that influenced this album, I’m drawn to tracks like “The Big Game Is Every Night” or “Blue Factory Flame,” among others, but something about “Just Be Simple” seems to capture what I was going for with this record in a way I couldn’t put it. To say that “I’m not looking for an easy way out/This whole life it’s been about/Try and try and try/And try and try and try/To be simple again.” What does it mean to be simple? Does it mean to accept and adapt to the world as it is before you so you can build something meaningful with what you’ve got? That’s what this song says to me, and it’s what I was trying to find my own way of saying with this LP.
Raein — 5 di 6
Watching Raein play their six-movement song in Amherst, MA, in 2009 along with a number of other, older tracks was eye opening. In part, because with three guitars, Raein put together their songs with such ease — nothing ever felt forced or like it was fighting for space — but also because when Raein went back to their early material and played “Tiger Suit,” my roommate ripped off his shirt and lost his mind. As we all bobbed along, singing, “This is my tiger suit,” I just laughed at his glistening, sweaty body in the distance.
It stuck with me, that set, and whenever I think about Ogni Nuovo Inizio, I think about the space each instrument inhabits. About how nothing is hidden by the mix, even the band’s multiple voices in the chaotic moments. I can’t say that it worked in a similar way for On Days Soon To Pass, but this record was an influence on how instruments work together to make a whole, how music should come together before you spend too much time thinking about how to make it fuller or more cohesive.
Raein is also one of the few screamo or hardcore bands that still resonate with me. Some of the other bands that have stuck with me are Envy, Ruiner, Ampere, Daïtro, Loma Prieta, and Suis La Lune. You can look to them alongside the softer side of my listening life to understand more of the playbook I use when writing songs.
My Disco – With Age
After My Disco played their set in a small bar in Winooski, the town over from Burlington, I went over to talk to bassist/vocalist Liam Andrews about their setlist and the way they approach music. I was curious, since they had only recently released Little Joy, why they didn’t play anything from Paradise or Cancer, or even older material like “Travelling On Circuit” from their Collapse Of An Erratic Lung 7” — the first song Matt Magnuson showed me. Andrews explained that while they’ll break out “Travelling on Circuit” from time to time on more obscure tours, they focus on what’s new and now.
I often think about this band (Paradise is still, years later, on something like a weekly or biweekly rotation for me) and wonder if when they’re thinking about what’s new and now, they bring certain musical ideas forward with them to a true end. If you listen to “Travelling on Circuit,” you see similar arrangements and ideas pop up in “Administer A Prosthetic Dream” from Cancer, “A Christ Pendant Comfort Her Neck” from Paradise, and “With Age” from Little Joy. It’s almost as the feel of the song, or the emotion behind it held on beyond the first attempt at grappling with it, or that the structure was too cool to mess with.
“With Age” presents an interesting close to the series, which is why I chose it here. It’s unexpectedly subdued for the majority of the track, until is unfurls into more familiar territory with crashing, held notes and a floating line that ends “Farewell Little Joy” — one of their more poignant, curious lines. It sticks with me in the same way that Paradise’s “Land” sticks with me: “It flew until it fell.”
Listening to “With Age,” and thinking about my short conversation with Liam Andrews makes me consider what I’m still contending with musically. You could look at “FFFA” as a continuation of the musical ideas behind Longing’s “Heather Lane,” and you could see “When I Think Too Much” as a continuation of “To Give Up Hope At Twenty Years,” but at the same time, to hold On Days Soon To Pass up to Longing is to hold Paradise up to Cancer, or Little Joy up to Paradise — aside from these continuations, they barely resemble one another. To focus on the new and now is to not worry about how your past efforts define you, it is to always be searching, and to always be in the act of finding.
“On Days Soon To Pass” will be released on Nov. 18, and can be pre-ordered via the Skeletal Lightning webstore. It’s also a co-release with Tor Johnson Records. You can check out the tracks Willow II and FFFA now.
Photo: Lauren Mazzotta