15 Songs Bear Hands Listened to in the Studio

Bear Hands is the kind of band that defies easy categorization. They make music that takes from so many influences and sounds that it’s as hard to pin down as it is totally intoxicating. The band is getting ready for the release of their newest album You’ll Pay For This on 4/15 and to get us ready they made an amazing and diverse playlist of songs they listened to in the studio while recording the album. It’s a wild mix of songs that shows just how electric the band really is – check it below and be sure to pre-order the album now.


1. Young Thug – “Constantly Hating”

Thug’s voice always sounds like a lullaby to me even when he is thugging to the max. –Dylan Rau

2. Geggy Tah – “Whoever You Are”

Cars are one of the best places in the world to listen to music and this song was made for it. –Dylan Rau

3. Graham Nash – “I Used To Be King”

Reminds me of sad ballads sung by travelling minstrels. Prescient line about computers. –Dylan Rau

4. Mark Ronson + Kevin Parker – “Daffodils”

One of the meanest grooves I’ve heard in a long time. Guaranteed head nodder. –Dylan Rau

5. Arthur Russell – “I Couldn’t Say It To Your Face”

I realized recently that I love break-up songs. Don’t know why. But this is one I keep coming back to. Internal monologue post-ghosting. Kinda cold. – Ted Feldman

6. Cornershop – “Brimful of Asha”

Big song from my youth – both the original and the amped up Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim) remix. Simple, insistent guitar riff,  and the winner, “everybody needs a bosom for a pillow.”- Ted Feldman

7. Luke Temple – “Florida”

Minimal bass/drum groove gracefully gliding through changes in measures-per-phrase. And just a gorgeous chorus, transcendent vocal harmonies. This dude and his band Here We Go Magic with the consistently solid output. – Ted Feldman

8. Kanye West – “Black Skinhead”

Yeezus is pretty much the only album my whole band can agree on. The production is so minimal, so powerful. This tune with an amazing collection of percussive low-register thrusts, and a truly badass shuffle (how rare is that!). Classic Kanye bravura+braggadocio. GOD. – Ted Feldman

9. Paul Simon – “Run that Body Down”

Val gets pissed every time this comes up because for a while it was the first song I played whenever I picked up a guitar. Fuck him, this song is great.

Love the feel, the paced out vocals over casual-quick chord changes, the clever trading of perspectives in each verse, the 3 beat descending guitar hook that leads into the chorus… And after years of touring, the message certainly hits home. – Ted Feldman

10. Michael Jackson – “P.Y.T.”

Big fan of Quincy Jones production and arrangements. Looked to this song for lessons in punchy backing vocals, and efficient turnarounds. Probably not my favorite song on Thriller, but who cares. Still top of the game. – Ted Feldman

11. Beck – “The New Pollution”

I think people remember the opening sample to this song more than the following 3.5 minutes. It’s such a bizarre non-sequitur…Different key, different time signature… But emerging from that makes a real impression, and “bizarre non-sequitur” is highly appropriate to the lyrical style. Anyway, I’m into songs having a sort of musical title card. – Ted Feldman

12. Warpaint – “Love is to Die”

I just think this record sounds beautiful, haunted. Bonus for wacky key change into the chorus. – Ted Feldman

13. Soul Coughing – “Rolling”

Dylan and I bonded early on over this band. This is the first song off their swan song “El Oso” and it hits hard. Cryptic, biting lyrics over a relentless groove. We’ve been compared to Soul Coughing a few times and it’s always a major compliment. –Val Loper

14. Ratking – “So Sick Stories”

I love rap music. I love New York rap music. Ratking is New York rap music. Bold, smart, heady, with all the right reference points…coupled with a hook by another fave, King Krule, this song can do no wrong.  –Val Loper

15. The War on Drugs – “Red Eyes”

This song, and the entirety of Lost in the Dream, was the soundtrack to touring in 2014 and 2015 for me. “Red Eyes” has an undeniable groove that brings back all of the bittersweet memories of grueling drives and long nights where great tunes were the only reprieve. – TJ Orscher

Thanks Squarespace!