Ahead of their debut major-label album release Neptune (out 21st April on iTunes and other services), US progressive folk duo Tall Heights have generously shared some of their favourite tunes. This Fix List from multi-talented singer-songwriters Paul Wright and Tim Harrington is open titled, so sit back and figure out what took them from busking on streets of Boston, to their current status on the brink of super-stardom.
Porches - 'Underwater'
We dig the way Porches combines the digital with the real. It's such a digital and synthetic recording, but it has a tangible, tactile life to it. It's not air-tight in a few ways. That's something we wanted to do in our songs.
The Beach Boys - 'God Only Knows'
While we were recording Neptune, one day we found ourselves chatting about the decision by Brian Williams to replace what was originally a totally serviceable (but less cool) sax solo with what has become the iconic "ahhs" and "bah, bah, bahs" of the bridge/verse section before the last choruses. They released a ton of behind-the-scenes footage on Pet Sounds and you can hear the original sax solo, and it's just not as good. We were lauding that decision to say fuck the instrument solo and fill it with surprising vocal hooks and tones.
Asgeir - 'Higher'
This Icelandic artist, along with Sigur Ros, early sparked our interest in extremely electronic drum sounds. This was the first song of Asgeir's that I heard, so that's the one I'll put forth here.
Feist - 'The Bad in Each Other'
This is a sweet track that we were spinning a lot around that time.
Lucius - 'How Loud Your Heart Gets'
Lucius is a big influence of ours. They were a folky duo in Boston before they became the band they are today, so we see them as an amazing model and musical monsters.
London Grammar - 'Hey Now'
This track manages to be both sparse and epic. There's so much space, and so few things going on, and yet it's larger than life. We're always trying to pull that off, but we usually end up piling sounds up until it's a big (not-sparse) mountain. It takes discipline to stop painting.
Valley Maker - 'By My Side'
We've played some shows with Valley Maker and we like him as a person and as a musician. Although I don't remember ever consciously ripping him off, his songs were in the van as we went to town for drinks and food.
The War on Drugs - 'Under the Pressure'
The War On Drugs' drums sound great. They also stick to a vibe for long periods of time without changing a thing and are able to pull it off. That's also tough and something we try to do now and again.
Don Edwards - 'Coyotes'
In our song ‘The Runaway’ we use Don's "Whoo-yups" to represent the howl of the wild. Don's song is about a lost world before the changes of modernity, longing to again hear the wild coyotes calling in the night undisturbed. ‘The Runaway’'s narrator hears that same ancient call and copes with it in a different way.
Talking Heads - 'This Must Be the Place'
Our song ‘River Wider’ started after we listened to this song and felt inspired by the simplicity of the chord structure and repetition. The song is so long and it just cycles through the same progression over and over and over. ‘River Wider’ does that too.
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Photo credit: Samantha Casolari.