Last month, Lost Film released their third full-length Keep It Together. It’s a taut, sprightly collection of jangle pop songs meant to be listened to loud with an iced tea in hand, surrounded by friends. They’re simple songs made for simple times, but they hit hard and they never let go.
Bandleader Jim Hewitt stopped by to discuss ten songs that inspired the writing of Keep It Together, along with a Spotify playlist compiling them. Some make sense – R.E.M.’s early college rock has clear fingerprints all over the album, and Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s lovable dream pop is a great comparison point for Lost Film – but others are more fascinating deep cuts.
R.E.M. – “9-9”
I only really got into R.E.M. a few years ago after seeing Built to Spill cover them at a show. I obviously knew the hits but had no idea the how good and ahead of their time the first couple records were. I typically rely on basslines to stay on root notes for my songs but am such a sucker for bass parts like the one on 9-9 where it’s the star of the song. A lot of ’80s music is so focused on having a smash hit chorus that you almost want to skip the verses – but that’s definitely not the case here.
Ivy – “The Best Thing”
I cannot believe I never heard this band til a couple of years ago. I’ve listened to Ivy more than any other band the past 2 years. The way this song from 1997 holds up so well is wild. And I didn’t even realize right away this was Adam from Fountains of Wayne’s main focus until Fountains blew up. My favorite band growing up was/is Rilo Kiley and this feels like a more 90’s/radio friendly version of that. The way more rockin’ chorus surprises you on this one is such a fun part no matter how may times you hear it.
The American Analog Set – “The Only One”
It’s funny I put this list together a few months ago but they just announced their first album in 18 years is on its way. I first heard this band in college I think. The patchwork of different sounds they blend behind their songs that could easily be simple pop rock makes the American Analog Set so memorable. You can tell songwriting probably comes easy to them so they experiment with layers and atmosphere textures to the songs that really help them breathe.
Fountains of Wayne – “Hackensack”
You can show this song to anyone and they’ll like it. I was really going for a FoW timeless radio friendly feel on “Little Things Forever” especially. Which is funny because there’s a great independent radio station here called the River that’s been kind enough to put Little Things on their heavy rotation for a bit – had a real That Thing You Do! moment in the kitchen the first time that happened. I tend to have the lead guitar do the heavy lifting on hooks but the ’90s way of letting the vocal carry the hook is undeniable sometimes. Chris from Fountains lives in the town next door and I’m determined to bump into him at some point.
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – “Heart In Your Heartbreak”
We opened for Sweeping Promises recently and a writer afterwords said we sounded like Pains. Feel like I’ve been going for that sound forever but never got the comparison so glad it finally showed through. The idea of a soft boy with a big muff pedal is very much my brand. Belong is an all-timer no-skip album for me. Such a fun album that must have been such a joy to see and play live. I think I was going for that sound most on “Big Talk.” Power-pop but without the power.
Alvvays – “Pharmacist”
Alvvays are the best band making this type of guitar music – maybe the Beths are close. They ride that line with the production where it was clearly made in a hi-fidelity studio but with touches of lo-fi to stop it from being too polished. I’m a big fan of vintage drum machines and used to collect them – partly because I love the big bulky wood housing and partly because I could never figure out how to just get samples from the computer and program them in Logic. At the start of the pandemic, Reverb put out all these free sample packs of all the old drum machines so I finally learned how to do it in the computer and sold most of my real ones. So on “Stay” and “Forgive” and maybe a couple other tracks there’s breaks and the live drums cut out or blend together with a Linn drum or CR78. That’s an Alvvays move too.
Miracle Legion – “All For the Best”
I’ve only recorded 2 covers – one was a Field Mice song and one was this one. I sign all my emails with All the Best and think of Miracle Legion every time. Another song that has held up incredibly well. Everyone says they could/should have been as big as R.E.M. and they’re not wrong. Late ’80s earnest guitar pop with that Replacements quality recording – simply the best. Mark from ML lives nearby as well and I’d love to get to meet him at some point.
Slow Pulp – “Slugs”
Yard by Slow Pulp will probably my favorite record of year. The musicianship across the board and the way Emily bends her vocals during a hook really sinks in. I purposefully had Greg Obis master my record not only because he’s a great musician and mastering engineer – but also because he masters Slow Pulp’s stuff and I wanted to have some connection to it ha. I was definitely inspired by them on “Forgive” – the slow song on the record.
Dazy – “Rollercoaster Ride”
Someone needs to let Dazy soundtrack a coming of age summer movie – or if he’s not already, co-write for pop stars. Just undeniable hook after hook but through the DIY power pop lens. I’ve never been good at making my guitar feedback like all the Dazy songs have – but while recording it was so freeing and fun being in the middle of nowhere in a snowy cabin at 11pm trying to get my guitar to squeal just the right way to stack layers of feedback under the songs. Most of the Dazy stuff I think is mixed down the street at Sonelab by Justin Pizzoferrato so another local connection to the inspiration list.
Sweat Enzo – “Second Chance”
With all the power-pop talk the last couple years, I don’t know how more people haven’t found this record – or all of Elliot’s other work yet. Perfect songwriting and I think all 4-track recorded so really cool production too. The layers of vocal harmonies on the Sweat Enzo and Musical Chairs stuff is what I gravitate towards most. We played a show together last year and when Elliot showed up and saw a grand piano on stage, he put his bass down and decided to play the whole set last minute on piano instead. Hands down one of the coolest things I’ve seen at a gig and pulled it off perfectly.
Keep It Together is out now.
Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison
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