Welcome to the Flavorwire Artist Playlist, a new monthly series in which we ask musical personalities to curate playlists on any topic of their choosing. We kick things off with 12 songs from Alec Ounsworth, the leader of longtime indie rock staples Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, who release their fourth album, Only Run, this week. Ounsworth offers up tracks from albums that inspired his band’s new LP, ranging from icons like Brian Eno and Sly and the Family Stone to the modern psych-rock of Tame Impala and MGMT (thanks in part to a shared producer in Dave Fridmann).
Paul Simon — “The Coast”
I rewrote the song “Blameless” several times trying to achieve that sing-speak fluidity that Paul Simon does so well, and (I think) arrived at on Graceland. It’s not really a new concept, of course (Joni Mitchell, Elvis Costello, etc.), but I imagine I borrowed more from Mr. Simon than I did from the others on this one.
Nick Cave — “Brompton Oratory”
I first heard this album about 15 years ago. Like Sly and the Family Stone (and maybe Prince), for some songs on the new album I wanted to use the drum machine as a static guide and let the vocals drift atop this and synths with the occasional guitar, piano, etc. cutting through.
Tindersticks — “Harmony Around My Table”
I have always appreciated Tindersticks but hadn’t heard this album (Falling Down a Mountain) until a recent driving tour I took alone through Europe. I listened on the Autobahn traveling at about 90 mph. When this one came on, I hit 94!
MGMT — “Cool Song No.2”
This is a great song from a band that Dave Fridmann [who produced Only Run] works with. Before going up to Dave’s (for the second album and this one, the fourth), I do my homework to see where his head might be and what new toys he might have in his arsenal. I think this was what he did shortly before we got up there and is my favorite album of the three that these guys have put together. I like the name too. Fuck it. It is a cool song.