When we asked Summer Flake to make us a playlist of songs that they listened to when they were recording, we were told that they would come up with a crazy great playlist. With their brand of dreamy pop melodies with crunchy guitars, we knew that their influences would be diverse and interesting but we weren’t prepared for quite how amazing the playlist turned out. With a great mix of old pop and indie classics, what’s the most amazing is just how deep the songs and knowledge goes. There are some amazing cuts on this playlist, from b-side gems to new discoveries. But what’s really amazing are the explanations that go along with all the songs and exactly how they fit in with the aesthetic that Summer Flake does so well. Check out what could be one of the favorite playlists in a while below and be sure to check out the Australia band’s newest album Hello, Friend out on 4/8.
1. White Fire – Angel Olsen
Embarrassingly, I don’t really listen to a whole heap of other music while I’m recording. I do podcasts and I listen to Summer Flake album mixes. I isolate myself! Geoff O’Connor originally asked me for some sonic references so he could have a starting point and I remember that scared me and I didn’t give him much, but i did say “ANGEL OLSEN/ REVERB!” It’s a bloody haunting song though.
2. Tears Are In Your Eyes – Yo La Tengo
I also suggested anything Yo La Tengo as a reference for Geoff. Georgia’s voice sounds so naturally soft and reedy, I’ve always been a fan.
3. Just For You – Dump
I learnt to play a whole bunch of songs off the album Superpowerless by Dump, which is an early project of Yo La Tengo’s James McNew. I like the tremolo, the home-recorded warm hisses, the buried vocals, the soft harmonies. I saw him play a couple songs solo and in a little band supporting Daniel Johnston in Dublin years ago with Mark Linkous, Scout Niblett, Norman Blake and Jad Fair. The whole thing was lovely and heartbreaking.
4. Fire Up The Batmobile – Liz Phair
The Girly Sounds early cassettes and demos by Liz Phair are the best, and this song is in the “Dirty Girls” short film which I was introduced to around the time we were recording.
5. Baby – Divine Rip
The vocals and guitars and verby drums and everything here is really up my alley, really swoony. These guys played for a short period in Adelaide and recorded at the house where Summer Flake used to practice.
6. In Line – Sharon Van Etten
I went nuts on this song when Tramp came out. Her style of harmonising is really different to mine, going for different chords notes, and I like how loose and layered this song is. There are heaps of layers but also heaps of space. I perhaps had this song in mind when i came to record “Look How Far We’ve Come”, which I had demoed years earlier, but hadn’t come up with much past the skeleton chords and main vocals. One of my other fav SVE songs is this one called “Sycophant”, apparently from an EP called Psychajealous that i’ve never heard or seen before. As far as I’m aware this song only exists on youtube, uploaded by a fan, there are 450 plays and I reckon 200 of them are me.
7. Cliffs – Mirroring
It’s not so much the sound or delivery, maybe not even an inspiration in terms of writing or recording for me, but that tone of Liz Harris‘ songs is just pitch the perfect kind of ambiguity and melancholy that appeals to me.
8. I Think Of You – Old Mate
I used to run away from really dry drums and vocals in Summer Flake songs, crank the verb! It’s partly an aesthetic preference and partly a nice limitations thing – finding tones I like using with the primitive tools at hand the way I recorded at home. But then knowing for Hello Friends that Geoff (mega skills) was helping record it, and we were going to Head Gap to track the instruments and be using actually decent microphones (not just one Sure58 hanging from the ceiling), and with the extremely competent James Mannix on drums – I knew that I wouldn’t have to lean on fog and washes of effects if i didn’t want to. Mannix plays drums in Old Mate, and you can hear all the nice phase-y double tracked vocals and sax, and dry small room sounding drums. These guys have done lots of their own recording, and recording with Adelaide guys Pat Lockwood and Tom Spall. I know it has to be one of those guys that did this recording.
9. Iris – The Breeders
Super unparalleled. Always inspirational.
10. Dressed In Black – The Shangri-Las
Confusion, alienation, loneliness, defiance, death – this is what I’m all about. Even their love songs are kind of sinister and sad. The music goes from catchy and melodic to dread in a second, it’s like all the scenes of a teen melodrama in under 2 minutes.