By: Staff –
To celebrate the release of Left Field Messiah’s latest single “Young Libertine”, the indie band Left Field Messiah, consisting of For Steve Bays (Hot Hot Heat), Jeremy Ruzumna (Fitz and The Tantrums) and Erik Janson (Wildling), curated a brand new Spotify playlist, which you can stream below.
Left Field Messiah is their embrace of their internal calling: a rallying cry to document their impulsive, weird, eclectic and even ugly ideas. Their music teeters between soul and dark funk in one moment, and quickly disintegrates into howling rock on the next. In this age of endless distraction, we need to embrace our moments of internal rebellion and find a lane to express it. For Bays, Ruzumna and Janson, Left Field Messiah is that—their search for a way out.
1. Selda Bagcan – “Yaz Gazeteci”: This song makes me feel like I’m in a film from the 70s and I just got off a transatlantic PanAm flight to Istanbul. It’s summer and the sun is reflecting off the Mediterranean. Besides it being one of the funkiest jams I know of, I can never get over Selda’s vocal delivery and it’s sense of complete pocket and rhythmic freedom at the same time. She was also a total badass producing her music and was imprisoned several times for her political songs.
2. Kali Uchis (feat. Tyler, The Creator & Bootsy Collins) “After The Storm”: This was probably one of my favorite songs for an entire year after it came out and I had to stop myself from listening to it. The bass line, the drum groove, the drum sounds FEEL SO GOOD to me, and as a songwriter when you look under the hood it has some next level moves that were an influence on me while making our record. It also makes sense that BADBADNOTGOOD produced it.
3. Lady Wray – “Storms”: I’ve been a fan of the KCRW DJ Novena Carmel because I love soul music and whenever she’s on air I’m usually reaching for Shazam because of the nuggets she spins that I’m not familiar with. On this song I didn’t have my phone but remembered roughly the time it was on air and found it later. Does anyone else do that detective work for a song? Always worth it. Every time.
4. Radiohead – “Exit Music (For A Film)”: When I was a kid I read a series of books called the Tripod Trilogy that are science fiction/post apocalyptic stories about aliens that inhabit earth in tripods and control humans by implanting chips on their heads. When I first heard this song it was like Radiohead had created the world that felt so connected to the images the books (especially the first one The White Mountains) had created in my head.
5. EJ Worland – “Hard To Find”: This is one of our pals that I work with, Australian artist and soul singer EJ Worland. He was primed to launch his music and career in Los Angeles but the pandemic changed those plans, and he’s now back in his native Sydney but will hopefully return to North America when live music is back. This is his fourth release and I think it’s only a matter of time before the world discovers his records. Honestly some of the best indie soul I’ve heard.
6. Air – “Run”: Air has always been one of my favorites. along with this song, and it reminds me of a surreal L.A. night I had. I was hanging out with a writer/musician I worked with and one of his friends said “hey, I’m friends with Nigel Godrich (music producer of Radiohead, Air, etc.) and we can totally crash a party he’s having.” Turns it out, a) it wasn’t a party, b) there were like 10 people there maybe, and, c) one of them was Thom Yorke. The memory that is lasting from that night is that he was playing Air’s album Talkie Walkie (I think on repeat) that he had produced and mixed. I guess when you work on a record this good you get to play it at your own party?
7. Bruce Springsteen – “Tougher Than The Rest”: This is a song I recently discovered on a long solo pandemic drive and it felt like one of those “wow how have I missed this one for so long.” The opening lines are so vivid it places me in the story and then I drift off on an ocean of 80s Bruce synths.
8. The Rapture – “House of Jealous Lovers”: I haven’t referenced other songs in very many lyrics of songs I’ve been a part of but this one is special in my heart. When hanging with Steve (lead singer of LFM) during our writing and recording sessions we talked about a house he lived in where his previous band Hot Hot Heat formed and rehearsed. They booked shows there and a previous incarnation of The Rapture came through town and played Steve’s basement. Fast forward to working on our song “Young Libertine” and the perfect moment came up to insert a reference to one of our favourite jams of the 2000s (“dancing in your kitchen to the “House of Jealous Lovers”).
9. Amason – “You Don’t Have To Call Me”: Amason’s record Sky City was a soundtrack to a tour I did in my previous band and will always bring up an association to that time way way back in 2015. I lost track of them for years but recently checked back in and I really dig this song off their most recent record. It was a nice companion piece to some of the ponderous moments of 2020.
10. Lou Reed – “Charley’s Girl”: Simple. Funky. Maybe my favorite cowbell song…ever!?! We have a song “Pink Flamingos” on our record that’s coming out this summer that was one of those moments in the studio where I felt a part of something I hadn’t reached artistically before. We had created a really infectious musical groove with some late 60s vibes. When Steve got on the mic, he was just messing around with a stream of conscious delivery. Much of what came out in that first take didn’t make sense lyrically, but we recreated it so it would, and it has shades of this kind of Lou Reed vibe.
11. Gabor Szabo “Ferris Wheel”: I can’t think of many other songs or music that makes me feel as good and transports me to another world as this one does. So much wonder in one piece it’s like I’m watching a grocery bag blowing in the wind and thinking “sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can’t take it, like my heart is just going to cave in.” (Gotta get in at least one 90s reference in)
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