The Playlist: Foals

Photo (above): Nabil Elderkin

The british indie Rockband THE FOALS just released their fourth album WHAT WENT DOWN. Here, Frontman Yannis Philippakis reveals five songs that have influenced his songwriting

If there’s one young band that deserves comparison with Talking Heads, it’s Foals. Just like David Byrne’s legendary group, this British five-piece skilfully blend leftfield styles such as post-punk, disco funk and math rock with soaring indie-pop melodies.

Following the success of 2013’s Holy Fire, which peaked at number two in the UK and topped the Australian album chart, the band have unveiled the follow-up, What Went Down, with a heavier, guitar-driven element added to the mix. 

Majical Cloudz: “Bugs Don’t Buzz”

“The first time I listened to this song [from the 2013 album Impersonator] was on New Year’s Day last year. It was like I had an intimate companion in my head, helping me through my hangover. The tune is sparse – it’s all about the vocals. They make you feel like you’re in a poetic Alcoholics Anonymous meeting with someone telling you his innermost fears. It’s a dark, deep record, and I’ll love it for ever.”

© Majical Cloudz // YouTube

Iggy Pop: “The Passenger”

“I discovered this song when I was 15. A girl I had a crush on made me a mix cassette with this tune on it. My parents didn’t listen to rock music, so it was the first time I realised that classic rock hits are classics for a reason. The Passenger is so amazing and timeless because it’s such a simple song – there’s no trickery. That honesty is exactly what I crave when I write music.”

© yurksemesh // YouTube

Darkside: “Golden Arrow”

“I love this electronic duo, because every decision they make is the opposite of what I’d do musically. Take this track [from the 2013 album Psychic]: there are so many moments when I’d expect something to kick in, but they reverse it and create more negative space. There’s a lot of space in Darkside’s psychedelic cosmos and yet it feels natural, which I enjoy a lot.”

© Tune Safari // YouTube

B. B. & Group: “Old Alabama”

“This song is on an album called Prison Songs Volume One: Murderous Home, a compilation of US recordings from the 1940s. The way those incarcerated men sing is so touching. It’s like they’re channelling their souls through this song, drumming the rhythm with pickaxes. It’s haunting, and it reminds you that the most powerful music in the world is just a voice and a beat. You don’t need anything else.”

© monQsurlaKomod // YouTube

Dean Blunt: “War Report”

“This elusive producer does modern London like nobody else, and in his voice and lyrics, he captures a kind of fractured Britishness. War Report [from the recent EP Babyfather] is a weirdly appealing song that feels like he wrote it in half an hour in a hotel room. It’s thin and unadorned, which makes it sound very human. It’s surely not everybody’s cup of tea, but I’m a big fan of his.”

© Selectop! // YouTube

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