The shuffler: Nick Peill, frontman of the English-Icelandic band Fields. The band's May-release debut full-length, Everything Last Winter, is an energetic, accomplished blur that comfortably grasps acoustic folk, shoegaze, and the unexpected sounds between.
Nick Peill: Here we go, then, let's see what happens. You know, shuffle's always a bit hit or miss. Oh no, how embarrassing. It's actually come up with one of my own songs first. See, you can't always rely on it to give you the best music. But it's brought up a different version of "Brittlesticks" than the one that got released. We recorded at the Chapel, which is a studio in the middle of nowhere, in Lincolnshire, and this was obviously trying to get the mix of it right. This is one of the many mixes. So I shall hastily skip on and see what we have.
Adem, "These Are Your Friends"
NP: From the album Homesongs. Actually, this has been on pretty heavy rotation, even not being on shuffle. I've listened to this quite a lot this year. I think the album's actually a couple years old now—he's released a more recent one, but I've had this on my iPod probably for about a year. I only discovered it by accident through shuffle about six months ago. Also, one of the songs off here was in a film called Dead Man's Shoes. It's like a cult British film. I've seen it a few times and always wondered what the song was. Then I finally heard the album.
The Smiths, "How Soon Is Now?"
NP: I guess they were one of those bands that everyone sort of discovers in their teens, and their songs still stand up. In fact, when we were listening—we've just come back from an American trip, with a lot of drives between shows. And because I have so much Smiths on my iPod, we listened to a lot of Smiths. I'm kind of overdosed on them a bit now.
Animal Collective, "Visiting Friends"
NP: On their album Sung Tongs. I don't know how much people know about Animal Collective, really. They're a pretty interesting band, quite crazy. Not many of my friends seem to know who they are, and I put them on when they come over. They've got this one track in particular, I can't remember what it's called, with basically seven minutes of people just kind of making wailing noises. And that's a big party favorite of mine. [Laughs.] I did get told to turn that off quite recently by my girlfriend. Sometimes we've been compared to Animal Collective. I mean, they're way more weird and sort of crazy than we are. But I can kind of see that, they've got some sort of interesting, sort of folky thing going on in some of their tracks. Yeah, big fan of them.
Mogwai, "Helps Both Ways"
NP: It's from the album Come On Die Young. Yeah, can't go wrong with it, Mogwai. I think Mogwai definitely is one of the most impressive live bands I've ever seen. I remember going to see them play in like a pub venue near Birmingham in England. They were touring with Arab Strap, and both bands were drinking red wine onstage and got really drunk, and Mogwai played for two hours, completely pissed, and I think without a doubt it was the loudest thing I've heard in my life. I thought I was going to throw up at one point, it was so loud. So for that alone, Mogwai is always pretty near my top list of favorite bands. Kind of like when you go see bands and it's so ridiculously extreme live it leaves quite a big impression on you. Mogwai have kind of an offshoot label, they do, and they've got this band, Part Chimp. They have this sort of dubious honor of being the loudest band in Britain at the moment. Their record has been on in the tour bus quite a lot, and they're fantastic. They sound like buildings falling down, just amazing.
NP: Like the coffee percolator. From their album Emperor Tomato Ketchup. I think it's my favorite Stereolab album. I've got quite a few of their things, and I really like the early Stereolab. By the time they got to Emperor Tomato Ketchup, I think they'd moved away from being entirely krautrock-y, and they had more of the kind of weird pop and analog sort of noises going on. But they still wrote great pop songs. I think that was around the time they were critically most acclaimed as well. Oh yeah, it's wicked, this album. Again, this is one that I'd sort of completely forgotten, and then put on my iTunes.
Vince Giordano And The Nighthawks, "You're Just My Type"
NP: The Ghost World soundtrack—oh yeah, this sounds like Sunday-morning music. This is like the sort of music that you might want to listen to if you're reading the Sunday papers, and you're living out your Breakfast At Tiffany's kind of fantasy. You might have a nice, elegant breakfast. [Laughs.] I think soundtracks can be quite good. I haven't got that many, but I've got a few soundtracks on there. It's quite good, the Ghost World one, it's got quite a variety of stuff on it. I like the book as well.
Boards Of Canada, "Turquoise Hexagon Sun"
NP: I always liked the fact that their keyboards sounded sort of out of tune with each other. I spent quite some time in my room making my keyboards sound [like that] in homage to Boards Of Canada. They're definitely one of the starting points, really, of Fields. I was more into experimental electronica when I was first writing songs, they tended to be kind of instrumental, electronic things, and as it developed into songs with words, more guitars crept in. Now it's sort of at the point where the band is guitar-based. But I've still got a lot of love for a lot of this music, and I think when we come to make the next record, we'll probably sort of maybe refer back to the electronic stuff again. It's definitely something I feel I want to rediscover to some extent.
The Cure, "Wailing Wall"
NP: Oh, brilliant. That's a fitting song to end on, actually. From the album The Top. I think The Cure were one of many reasons I picked up the guitar, actually. They were kind of the first band I felt any real loyalty to. I was in my teens. The first band that I bought T-shirts by, and tried to learn how to play their songs. And I like to think that in some senses, they still remain quite big influences, in that they were sort of able to do big atmospheric pieces and slightly frivolous pop songs and a whole mixture of stuff in between, but sort of have that own identity over them. You know, that's something that—when we made the album, we didn't just want to have 10 songs that sounded like they were of the same kind of ilk, we wanted to have this sense of being able to go down certain avenues. Maybe that subconsciously is a result of listening to a lot of records by The Cure while I grew up, and that they were able to do that. And The Top's really good. The Head On The Door is my favorite, but The Top is a good one as well. "Wailing Wall" has kind of got a little Eastern flavor as well.