The Beach Boys song “God Only Knows” isn’t just one of Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, it’s one of the most heartfelt expressions of loss and grief ever recorded. For Bayonne, the song taught him the power of vulnerability and openness and how to embrace it in his own music. As Bayonne says, it allows the listener to get a “crystal clear understanding of things” and while this moment is “fleeting”, it is worthwhile. Bayonne is KUTX’s Artist of the Month for February.
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Miles Francis, who has played with Antibalas and backed up Arcade Fire’s Will Butler, just released his first solo EP Swimmers along with a companion visual album directed by Charles Billot. Listen as he describes how two very different songs — Prince’s “Let’s Pretend We’re Married” and The Beach Boys “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)”– showed him how music can convey a range 0f feelings, and helped serve as a template for his own work.
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Sundara Karma released their debut record “Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect” in January of this year. Listen as lead singer and songwriter Oscar Pollock describes how his new found love of Nick Drake’s second record Bryter Later has been pushing his writing into more vulnerable and authentic territory. Then bliss out as drummer Haydn Evans delves into his enduring love for the Beach Boy’s “Pet Sounds.”
Listen to Songs from Episode 79 of This Song
Inspiration can come from anywhere. For Brooklyn-based Sunflower Bean the source of that inspiration spans four decades: Brian Wilson (“He’s as good as Mozart”), Devo (“The perfect band”), Beach Fossils (“The punk home-recording CD), and Tonstartssbanht (“It’s impossible to describe”) all help to form this band’s direction and sound. Hear the band tell Elizabeth tales of musical discovery, club scenes with a social conscience, what makes a perfect combination of art and commerce, and the attraction of listening to a musical genius’ decent into darkness.
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Songs can serve as musical touchstones that we return to when we want to remind ourselves what we want music to be. For White Denim’s James Petralli, that song is the Grateful Dead’s “That’s It For the Other One,” which helped him realize how he wanted to approach both the guitar and recording. With the song as a starting point, Petralli goes on to explain why drummers are the most important members of the band, why all musical expression is valid and what it was like to record the bands’s new record “Stiff” with Ethan Johns.
Then Bayonne explores how The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” showed him how powerful openness and vulnerability in music could be and explains how he approached his new record “Primitives” with that same openness.
Listen to the songs featured in episode 33 of This Song.