Jagwar Ma's Eclectic, Decades-Spanning Playlist
From Chuck Berry to Aphex Twin, the Aussie psych-dance outfit shares some of their favorite jams.
The opener from one of my all-time favorites. Stereolab build on live loops and grooves until everything feels like it's floating. The vibraphone arrangements on this and all over [1997's] 'Dots and Loops' chime throughout every composition. Very peaceful. —JF
Last month I went to see Björk at London's Hammersmith Eventim Apollo. An orchestra filed on stage, tuned their instruments, and waited with us in silence and darkness. Moments later, a bioluminescent jellyfish floated through the darkness [and] launched into a beatless, symphonic version of "Stonemilker." Just when I thought my love for Bjork was beginning to wane, she opened her latest record with this track and all was forgiven. —JM
Paul McCartney, "Check My Machine"
It’s almost too easy to get a party started with this tune. What becomes difficult, though, is trying to explain to people that this IS Paul McCartney. —JF
Pastor T.L. Barrett and the Youth For Christ Choir, "Like A Ship"
I’m not a religious man, but the verse of this gospel soul jam is almost enough to convert me. —JM
Chuck Berry, "Maybellene"
Chuck Berry is all time. I write this on the day of his 90th birthday. Coincidentally, my father was born the same day — some thirty years later nonetheless! One of the first songs I learnt to play was "Johnny B. Goode," a fact I share with many a guitarist. He will be releasing a new album next year, titled 'Chuck.' What a hero. More than that, you're many of my heroes' hero. Keep Rocking Mr. Berry... rock and roll is your empire and I'm your faithful squire. —GW
Beastie Boys, "Hold It Now, Hit It"
To be honest, any tune by the Beastie Boys would have worked. There’s just something about the video for "Hold It Now, Hit It" that makes me want hit the replay button every time. It’s a classic formula: Three dudes losing their shit through a fisheye lens, a big 808 beat, and Rick Rubin sitting somewhere close by fondling prayer beads. —JF
Suicide, "Ghost Rider"
If rock ever got gangster, this was it. Alan Vega described his music as being "gangster rock," and I totally get it. I recently went to see Death Grips perform in London at the Village Underground, and although neither artist needs affirmation via comparison, I couldn't help but think that watching Suicide in the late '70s may have felt similar. Suicide created a nightmare of to-the-point rhythm and blues with an organ drum machine and vocals that could be described as proto-rapping. Alan Vega, in my daydreams I see you riding your motorcycle in the clouds. —GW
Aphex Twin, "180db_ "
An absolute banger. Richard D. James prodigious manipulation of synths is on par with Hendrix' clairvoyant ability with a guitar. He is, simply put, a modern day Jimi Hendrix. And yet, like Hendrix, his skill is not limited to just pulling sounds — he's also an incredible melodymaker and songwriter. Any Aphex Twin album is a vast narrative, often going the macabre direction of a Poe novel, yet also supremely aware of the divine, like Ambrose Pierce. Though I sometimes get the feeling Aphex Twin creates his masterpieces sarcastically, as if to say, "You didn't think I could do that?" —GW
Jamie xx, "Hold Tight"
Early on our journey we had the pleasure of touring with the xx in our homeland Australia and I got to know the enigma that is Jamie xx. His music, much like his personality, exists in a world of its own. I first heard this track driving back from a surf in Sydney — it’s one of those tracks so epic that you have to stop, pull over and catch your breath. —JM
Bill Evans, "Peace Piece"
Miles Davis once said, “I’ve sure learned a lot from Bill Evans. He plays the piano the way it should be played." Many will actually recognize "Peace Piece" as the basis for the 'Kind of Blue' masterpiece "Flamenco Sketches." A little unrehearsed recording from Bill Evans' 1958 LP, 'Everybody Digs Bill Evans,' "Peace Piece" is built around a couple of changes found somewhere deep in Bill’s soul, while he lets his right hand do the rest of the talking. —JF
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