Image by Liam Cameron.
A huge thanks to The Laurels for putting together this mixtape for The Lifted Brow. Their second record, Sonicology, is out now.
1. Lothar and the Hand People – Space Hymn This is the closing track on the album of the same name, but I always thought it would make a great start to a mixtape. We actually sampled this way back when the band first started and it was the intro to many a 2006-era set. Damn stoner kids.
2. Alice Coltrane – Journey in Satchidananda Conor’s go-to sound check riff. And can ya blame him? One of the smoothest bass lines you’ll ever hear!
3. Twink – Ten Thousand Words In A Cardboard Box My favourite track from Twink’s record Think Pink. When I first moved out of home with Conor we would listen to this record on repeat while huffing on a hookah. It’s a rework of this version by the Aquarian Age which is also pretty great.
4. The Hooterville Trolley – No Silver Bird We originally heard a sample of this on Deltron 3030’s “Positive Contact” and thought it was one of the illest sounding beats we’d ever heard. A good example of what makes sampling so great—you end up doing your research on the source material and discover fire like this!
5. The Caretakers – East Side Story I found this on a Pebbles compilation and it’s become a staple of any DJ set I do. The song itself was originally written by Bob Seger and has been covered numerous times, but this is my favourite version—excellent fuzz tone!
6. The Outcasts – Loving You Sometimes I originally heard this on DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist’s live record “Product Placement” and it really stood out. For the longest time I thought it was some beautiful soulstress on lead vox until someone pointed out to me that it was actually a teenage boy named Al Collinsworth.
7. The Originals – Suspicion I found this on a Northern Soul compilation in Piers’ collection after my hard drive crashed a few years back and I was trying to rebuild my music library. The Originals are often referred to as “Motown’s best kept-secret”. Maybe that’s because this song was never released as a single and could have pushed them into further popularity, it’s so damn catchy.
8. The Flirtations – Nothing But A Heartache We kinda toyed with the idea of covering this but it’s produced so amazingly and there’s no way we could do the soulful vocals justice so we wisely bailed on it. You will, however, get to hear us butcher The Cult’s “She Sells Sanctuary” on our upcoming tour instead (at least in sound check).
9. LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out Such a hard-hitting track that always goes down a treat when you crank it at a party. A classic beat from Marley Marl—you can’t really go wrong when you combine Sly & the Family Stone with a Funky Drummer breakbeat.
10. Public Enemy – Rebel Without a Pause A testament to the Bomb Squad’s innovative production techniques during that era—interestingly the breakbeat on this is actually being played by Flav on electronic drums. When we saw PE live at the Metro a few years back he also whipped out a mad slap bass solo. It still remains the best live show I’ve ever seen (mainly because it’s the only time I’ve ever seen Conor fist pumping at a gig).
11. Add N to (X) – Robot New York Taken from their third album “Avant Hard” which is always on regular rotation at home. Their lively drums and pulsing bass tones always get heads bopping during DJ sets but the squelching synthesiser noises also seem to make a lot of people wince in confusion.
12. Silver Apples – A Pox On You I’ve always been so envious of Simeon’s synthesiser setup (appropriately named the Simeon) which apparently includes “nine audio oscillators piled on top of each other and eighty-six manual controls to control lead, rhythm and bass pules with hands, feet and elbows”. It certainly aids in giving Silver Apples their distinctive sound!
13. BEAK> – The Meader Portishead’s Geoff Barrow’s krautrock inspired side project is a must; he’s always so inventive with his drumbeats. Very heavy Space Echo use too, which is never a bad thing!
14. Franco Battiato – Beta Conor picked this up on vinyl when he visited Italy to meet his girlfriend’s family last year. Battiato’s back catalogue is certainly eclectic but this track (and the album “Pollution”) quickly became a favourite of mine after he lent me the record for sample sources. Crazy synth sounds galore!
15. Iggy Pop – Mass Production Taken from the ultimate late night driving album, this song has been played in the car on most of the interstate tours we’ve done. I actually started listening to it heavily again when Bowie passed away given his involvement and picked up a lot of his backing vocals that I’d never really noticed before. The droning synth line on this track really does conjure images of crumbling factories in Detroit.
16. Angelo Badalamenti – The Pink Room My favourite Badalamenti moment by far. Conor’s old band Silver Moon actually used to do a grimy post punk cover of this where his brother shouted excitedly over the top for the entire duration of the song—one of my fondest memories of their shows!
17. Ed Kuepper (featuring Tommy Johnson) – Jean Brings Him Gasoline We’ve always loved the Saints but Ed’s solo work is far more experimental in many respects. This smoky instrumental is adorned with a vocal sample of an old Delta blues musician named Tommy Johnson and is an outtake from his album Jean Lee and the Yellow Dog.
The Laurels are a four-piece from Sydney who create luscious, complex and dangerous psychedelic shoegaze bliss. Sonicology, The Laurels’ second record, was released on October 14. Click here for tour dates.