Dent May’s catchy orchestral pop has enraptured us for some time. Their newest effort, Across the Multiverse, sounds exactly like its title suggests – a sweeping, sparkling swirl. We asked Dent May to make us a playlist of tracks that he listened to while recording and the playlist he came back with was full of discoveries and sonic wonders. Check out the playlist below as well as the new lyric video for their stand out track, “Picture on a Screen.”
1. Pages – Let It Go
Here’s a track I consistently pulled up while recording the album for sonic inspiration. My friend Pat Jones recorded Anton Hochheim’s drums, and we listened to this repeatedly between takes searching for this kind of dry, very open sounding hi-fi 70s drum sound.
2. Aged In Harmony – You’re A Melody
I’m really thankful this got re-issued last year, because the original record is like $500. Everything about this recording is perfect, and I want to live in this world.
3. Greg Phillanganes – Lazy Nina
This one seems to be a hit among my friend group in Los Angeles. Maybe it’s one of those things where people discover something at the same time due to YouTube recommendation algorithms. Greg Phillanganes is mostly known for his work with Michael Jackson, and this song was written by Donald Fagen. Gotta love the lyrics about being home from tour and easing back into the daily routine.
4. Donna Summer – State Of Independence
I read an excellent book called Recording Michael Jackson by Quincy Jones’s engineer Bruce Swedien. This is from an underrated self-titled Donna Summer album Quincy produced right before he did Thriller in 1982. Still haven’t figured out how to work in the gospel choir yet, but definitely expect that on a future album.
5. Con Funk Shun – Love’s Train
James Ferraro turned me onto this song. I’ve probably listened to it thousands of times and you should too.
6. Byrne & Barnes – Love You Out Of Your Mind
This is a cult classic that was hard to find at one time. It was recorded in Muscle Shoals, AL and originally released in Japan. Robert Byrne recorded another one of my favorites “Blame It On The Night,” and these guys went on to work with Earth, Wind & Fire, Pointer Sisters, Boyz II Men and many more.
7. Alessi Brothers – Seabird
I probably shouldn’t even be revealing my secrets like this, but this recording directly influenced one of the album new tracks. Listen for yourself and decide.
8. Brian Protheroe – Changing My Tune
Alex from Mild High Club showed me this one. I love the self-referential lyrics about songwriting as metaphor for love, and the string arrangements are by Del Newman, who worked with Harry Nilsson, Cat Stevens and many others.
9. The 5th Dimension – Requiem 8:20 Latham
This was written by Jimmy Webb, a fellow Mississippian who wrote the greatest songwriting book of all time, Songsmith. It’s required reading for all my songwriting heads. When Billy Davis, Jr. sings, “Why could I not die then? / warm behind the curtains of your hair” is about when I start sobbing.
10. Sally Oldfield – Woman Of The Night
Here’s one of many songs I learned about through Jimi Hey, who’s played in a bunch of great bands and is my favorite DJ in Los Angeles. All of his Dublab radio shows are on Soundcloud, and everyone needs to check that out.
11. Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers – Islands In The Stream
I’ve been wanting to write a duet forever, and this is my favorite of all time. When I asked Greta to sing on “Across The Multiverse,” I sent this over and was like, “I want to achieve this level of greatness.”