Sick of constantly flicking through radio’s Top 40 dirge? Take your finger off the dial and scroll down, we’ve recruited the musicians featured in HERO 16 to go diving through their record collections and come up covered in hard-hitters. Here, flamboyant brothers The Lemon Twigs take a side each and trace their influences, inspirations and idols via a killer playlist. From Ramones romp to Elvis’ ode to man’s best friend, hear the music blasting out the speakers in the wonderful world of The Lemon Twigs.
“It’s all Beatles songs but really different versions, reinterpreted disco-style with our mum singing,” say The Lemon Twigs of one of their recent projects. Not the standard musical trajectory for a band about to release their hotly awaited debut album. But then again, The Lemon Twigs aren’t your standard band.
Firstly, brothers Brian and Michael’s debut record, Do Hollywood, conjures unpredictable baroque kitsch, capturing the infinite sunshine of 60s AM radio with such originality that they deliver ample evidence for the future of music. Secondly, these two Long Island natives, aged nineteen and seventeen respectively, resemble Wes Anderson’s Royal Tenenbaums kids, had they discovered Big Star and Burt Bacharach instead of tennis and maths – all flares, tassels and sha-la-la’s.
Two weeks after this interview takes place, The Lemon Twigs do London. “You ready for some fun?” Brian teases the sold-out crowd at their debut UK show before unleashing a repertoire of stage tricks and leg kicks higher than Debbie ever did in Dallas. The Lemon Twigs have now done Hollywood and London, and that’s just the beginning.
Mary France by Jean Jacques Perrey
“Love this song. Jean Jacques Perrey is an early electronic musician. But I love his stuff cause it’s super poppy and over the top, with a lot of classical influence as well. Very different from other more avant-garde electronic music of the time. A big influence on me.”
Diamonds in the Mind by Leonard Cohen
“One of the rare Leonard Cohen songs where he really screams towards the end. I love how it sounds coupled with the backing singers and how upbeat the song is.”
I Don’t Have Anything/The Gate by Foxygen
“Really beautiful song. It builds so well and always makes me emotional! One of my favourite Foxygen songs and a great piano outro.”
Wart Hog by Ramones
“A really great Ramones song! Dee dee sings this one and wrote it. His voice sounds insane and this has gotta be one of the heaviest songs they ever did. The whole album’s great.”
Let it Shine by Brian Wilson
“Really amazing Brian Wilson song. The whole record’s great, and has some of his best songs. This one was produced by Jeff Lynne, and it’s really the one song on the record that doesn’t have a sort of dated 80’s production, which is a real testament to our buddy Jeff.”
As Long As We’re Together by The Lemon Twigs
“One of Michael’s songs. One of the first we demoed, and the second we recorded for the record. We did the acoustic guitar and lead vocal first, and added everything on top of it. Upon our producer Rado’s suggestion, we doubled the drums! Takes a good drummer to do that with no metronome and Mike had the stuff!”
Baby Doll by Dee Dee Ramone
“An innocent love song by Dee Dee. He really was a great songwriter and a gentle soul. Brian’s favourite Ramone.”
Old Shep by Elvis Presley
“Another pretty song sung by The King himself. This one’s about a boy and his dog. Elvis!”
Nice Meeting You Again by Ronnie D’Addario
“The perfect introduction to Ronnie D’Addario’s music. He is our father and he’s made some great music in his lifetime. We recommend you listen to all of his albums.”
Success Story by The Who
“A rocker to close out the playlist. This Who track was penned and sung by bass-man John Entwistle. The song nudges at the industry and describes different scenarios that one would encounter when trying to make it (J.E. has a little personal experience in this area!). Great song, great singing, great band, great playlist.”
The Lemon Twigs Do Hollywood is out now via 4AD.