Tracklisted…with Kali Masi

featured / News / Special Features / Tracklisted / September 13, 2017

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 arrangements while you read a few words about the selections.

Chicago’s Kali Masi was originally known as The Howl. But despite the name change, the ferocious rumble carries through their smoky, vicious punk. Wind Instrument, out October 6th via Take This to Heart Records, is filled with unrelenting power and force, and any sense of calm is offset with a whirlwind of energy, sweat, and brashness. Ahead of the band’s release, check out some selections that inspired it.

The Playlist

The Selections

John Garrison — Drums; James Zarembski — Bass and Vocals; Sam Porter — Guitar and Vocals; Wes Moore — Guitar and Vocals; Chris Bauer — Good Vibes

Slow Mass — Dark Dark Energy

Shoutout to this amazing Chicago band who are going to do great things. Josh Sparks is a fantastic drummer that continues to write really intelligent drum parts that do nothing but rocket boost the song to another level. I’m working on that these days! Things like getting my left hand more involved, thinking outside the box, and hitting harder at the right times. (John Garrison)

Colour Revolt — 8 Years

I discovered Colour Revolt through this song and didn’t stop listening to The Cradle for an entire summer. This song takes so many right turns and has such an awesome rhythm. Seriously, check this band out. I’m so mad that I missed them! Colour Revolt’s runner-up track: “Blood In Your Mouth.” (Sam Porter)

Violent Soho — Covered in Chrome

Okay, how can you not go nuts for this song? I first heard “Covered in Chrome” and of Violent Soho at a time in my life that I needed it most. It got me stoked on life after a period of not feeling so. I’m not even going to try to piece apart what makes it good other than saying the drums are exactly what they need to be. (John Garrison)

A.A. Bondy — Black Rain, Black Rain

“Love, it don’t die, it just goes from girl to girl.” This entire record is gorgeous and Bondy’s guitar work is really special. I take a lot of inspiration from his playing. (Sam Porter)

Pedro the Lion — Magazine

Pedro the Lion really taught me that it’s not a race. It’s not about being the loudest either. “Magazine” is all about the slow burn. It’s my favorite jam on Control, a record with some of my best drum sounds ever. The drums in the final choruses in this song seriously rip. (Sam Porter)

Strand of Oaks — JM

Speaking of the slow burn, this oddball track off of HEAL really illustrates what I love about slow, driving songs. “JM” feels like a freight train destroying a car at 10mph. I love the lyrical repetition and raw delivery. For heavy Neil Young-style jamming or heavy-headed sulking when I’m down, this track is definitely up there for me. (Sam Porter)

Alkaline Trio — Time to Waste

Derek Grant is another one of my favorite drummers. I aspire to this level of smart-as-hell drumming. I think he takes a similar approach to thinking about drums as me. I listen to the guitars and bass and play something really simple the first few times around. Then I purposely complicate the drum parts. But then simplify the complicated part. So simple is > complicated is > trimming the fat. (John Garrison)

Sleater-Kinney — Jumpers

I could rave about this band forever. Carrie Brownstein is my fucking idol both in and out of music. This is my favorite track off of The Woods by far. It’s super dynamic; everyone’s instrument is doing something novel and cool. The bridge in this absolutely rips. In Carrie’s book she talks about playing this song at the last SK show before they reunited… a very intense moment. I get endless inspiration from the SK camp. (Sam Porter)

WHY? — The Hollows

This band is so hard to place in the spectrum of music. They are so incredibly diverse and influential to me lyrically. Yoni Wolf really spins some wicked webs with his words. This song is deep and hollow and hard not to nod your fucking head to. (Sam Porter)

Modest Mouse — Styrofoam Boots/It’s All Nice on Ice, Alright

Jeremiah Green is one of my favorite drummers and Modest Mouse one of my favorite bands. His drums are so creative and interesting without being too showy. He really does whatever he wants and genuinely adds himself to those songs. I love the way that those early records are recorded too: not afraid of those sweet, natural imperfections that make em feel alive. It was hard to pick a single Modest Mouse song, but I chose this one because when those drums come in, like, how can you not get excited? (John Garrison)

Mock Orange — End of the World

This song has possibly one of the best guitar riffs of all time. I have spent literal hours trying to figure out how this is played/recorded. Ryan Grisham, if you’re reading this, hit me up and teach me! We listened to this song at least once a day last tour. I really love songs that start off with lyrics that could easily have been a text message, “Hey, when you get there, call me.” (Sam Porter)

The Exploding Hearts — Throwaway Style

An impossibly great pop band. Whenever this comes on, I’m singing along and full of great memories of going to roller rink shows with my punk friends growing up: a backseat full of teenagers and my belly full of Mad Dog 20/20. (Sam Porter)

Aesop Rock — Daylight

I went to college for design. Whenever I had an illustration or design project to do, I would listen to nothing but Aesop Rock. This is one of my all-time favorite tracks of his. His vocabulary is unmatched and his flow is super inspirational to me. (Sam Porter)

Julien Baker — Rejoice

I’m honestly only putting this one in because Sprained Ankle has been on repeat and making me cry lately. She’s singing from her heart. Nothing to prove. It’s just real and powerful. The song makes me feel differently about myself and my belief system that I was once so confident in. I’m late to the game on that record, I know. But it’s an important one to discover when you can. (John Garrison)

Elliott Smith — Christian Brothers

Where would we be without this man? Elliott Smith is a lyrical and musical inspiration to me. This was one of the first songs of his that I heard and I was mesmerized by the seemingly endless descending chord progression in the beginning. Learning Elliott’s songs on the guitar taught me a lot of new chords and voicing that I never would have thought of. (Sam Porter)

Neil Young — Down by the River

I have a distinct memory of actually learning to play the drums by jamming to this song over and over when I was a little kid. It was the perfect tempo to just repeat any beat until it got comfortable. There’s room to move around and practice fills or anything weird. I’d just play it on a boombox, then switch from hi-hat to ride and practice those 4/4 beats and 16th note fills. Perfect. Love that song. (John Garrison)

Against Me! — Impact

I swear I’m not trying to show off my knowledge of Against Me! deep cuts here. This song is just proof that art doesn’t need to be perfect and polished to make you feel something honest. My brother and I both agreed this song can make us cry. And Sam and I arguably became friends a decade ago over Against Me!, so I think it’s appropriate to throw this in here. (John Garrison)

Dead Moon — Dead Moon Night

It doesn’t have to SOUND good to BE good because this is SO good and sounds kinda terrible. I remember pushing mongo across the town I grew up in to this song! (Editor’s note: Only cops push mongo.) (Sam Porter)

Moving Units — Between & Us

Angular, dance-y, and kind of grimy. I love this shit. (Sam Porter)

Sharks — No Gods

I put this song on every playlist I make. Sharks are one of the greatest punk bands to come out of the oughts. Their discography is packed with impeccable songwriting and a sound that’s really tough to place or mimic. Get into it. (Sam Porter)

The Downtown Struts — Abused

An enigma of a local band, The Downtown Struts just seem to never die for me. This track off their swan song EP hits hard and is some of their best work. Huge place in my heart for these guys and the help they gave Kali Masi early on. (Sam Porter)

Wind Instrument will be released via Take This to Heart Records on October 6th.

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James Cassar
James Cassar is Modern Vinyl's Managing News Editor and a co-host of The Modern Vinyl Podcast. He is also an artist manager, co-owner of the record label Near Mint, and can be found in bed before 9 p.m. James lives in Philadelphia and no, he won't check out your band if you add him on Facebook.

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