Music

Top image: Arcade Fire / photography by Guy Aroch

Few bands know how to whip up a frenzy quite like Montreal’s Arcade Fire. Following a rampant UK tour this month which left us all shook and praying to the feet of Win Butler and co, we – like that last person at a party who defiantly chooses to ignore that a night is finished – wanted more, so recruited Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry to mix a special playlist full of songs currently clocking up the numbers on the band’s tour bus playlist.

From Jarvis Cocker’s brilliantly satirical – and so horrifyingly true – anthem for the shitstorm, Cunts Are Still Running the World, to The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band classic I Won’t Hurt You (as heard in Wes Anderson’s latest movie), there’s a whole lot here to get your teeth stuck into. And when that final note fades out, there’s always Arcade Fire’s expansive back catalogue to keep you more than entertained. 

Wild Mountain Thyme by The McPeake Family
“We started this tour in Dublin and after the first show we went out to a pub afterwards with some of the U2 guys and there was an Irish folk singer there named Lisa O’Neill who led a few songs that we joined in on, just sitting around singing in the back of the pub, not on stage or anything. We were chatting about which old traditional songs we both knew and could sing together and decided on this one. She had the most incredible, haunting voice and I’m truly sad not to be able to hang out around there and sing regularly. Ireland is a wonderful, deeply musical place.”

Cunts Are Still Running the World by Jarvis Cocker
“We played this song with Jarvis last week in London at Wembley and it was insanely fun. Such a great song, very, very funny and depressingly, horribly true. Jarvis is an excellent writer, and the consummate showman. “

Mad by Preservation Hall Jazz Band
“I was in New Orleans for the last couple of months and was going to see this incredible, timeless band regularly – they play three shows a night many nights of the week at Preservation Hall, and I never get tired of hearing and watching them play.  Which is good because now they’ve left the comforts of their home turf to join Arcade Fire on our entire European/UK tour and we are so eternally happy about it. This song sounds like it could be a classic from 50 years ago. It lifts me up every night listening to them play it.”

Boys, You’re Welcome by Mississippi John Hurt
“I also discovered his wonderful music while in New Orleans this winter, delving through blues records at Euclid Records. After playing a lot of big shows in a row I can become exhausted and feel like a total train-wreck of tour fatigue but this song immediately softens me right up again and makes me feel quiet and thankful to be alive, playing music for people.”

You Want it Darker by Leonard Cohen
“Doesn’t need much explaining. From the final album he made, as he was dying. I love hearing him very clearly putting his house in order and getting ready for what’s next.”

I Won’t Hurt You by The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
“This is one of my top ten favourite recordings of all time (although plz don’t ever ask me to actually narrow my list down to ten), it was on a mix tape my friend Ian gave me when I was eighteen and I’ve adored it ever since.  I was just re-reminded of its peculiar brilliance because it features in the new Wes Anderson movie Isle of Dogs.  At least I think it does, they used it as the soundtrack of the trailer but I haven’t seen the movie yet. But it’s on my to-do list whilst on tour.”

Burned Out by The Field
“I don’t listen to much house music ever, but have gotten addicted to listening to this when I work out on tour. Really beautiful and gentle and hypnotic with a quite immersive feel to it, yet basically never loses the four on the floor house beat. Which is, y’know, great for working out to. I love to spin/cycle but I can’t stand the loud abrasive nature of typical spin classes and all the yelling and blaring electronic music they seem to favour. The Field manages to keep me focused and sweating but keeps my mind calm at the same time.”

Money Jungle by Duke Ellington w/ Charles Mingus and Max Roach
“A recent discovery and one that I can’t stop listening to – these fellows were such, such incredible musicians – so united in what they’re doing collectively but each of them totally doing their own super individual thing. It almost feels like they are musically at odds with each other sometimes, yet the whole thing holds together in such a unique way. Also the overall energy of the song and the entire album (Money Jungle) somehow manages to be extremely calm and raging at the same time, and I’m not at all sure how they managed to do that.” 

Bacalao Con Pan by Irakere
“Blazing hot jam from this amazing Cuban band. This song often gets played backstage in our dressing room before we go onstage.”

Green by Hiroshi Yoshimura
“Currently listening to this as I go to sleep on the bus, as I write this. Super beautiful soft electronic music from Japan in the mid 80s. Full of bird sounds and all sorts of gentle meanderings on synthesiser. Extremely pleasant. Recommended if you like: trees, swimming, soft friendly animals, not being around people too much.”

Catch Arcade Fire currently on tour throughout Europe.