Anatomy of a Sound: Garcia Peoples

These are the songs fueling one of the best new jam bands around

October 10, 2020 7:56 am
Anatomy of a Sound: Garcia Peoples
Lily Shea

One of the greatest joys in music (and life) is finding an artist or band whose sound references a multitude of different artists you love. In the spirit of that, we’ve begun a new feature “Anatomy of a Sound,” where we ask some of our favorite artists about the songs and groups that have inspired their music. Up today is Garcia Peoples.

New Jersey’s Garcia Peoples are damn good at getting trippy. Their music hits a kind of jammy rock vibe not unlike what Grateful Dead or Flying Burrito Brothers were putting out in their prime. But Garcia Peoples make the genre their own, focusing in on pure songwriting and not resting on the laurels of weirdness. Their new record Nightcap at Wits’ End is perfect for anyone willing to take a psychedelic trip through all rock has to offer. Check out the playlist they put together for us below, as well as the reasoning for some of their picks. You can preorder their new album here.

Sonic Youth – Shadow of a Doubt

“I’ve always loved the simplicity of this video. Beautiful and mysterious. I often get transported back to a memory listening to this song during a late-night drive up the West Side Highway during a snowstorm in my friend Rob’s truck. It was after going to a gig at the Cooler on West 14th St. To me, the visuals perfectly match the minimalist guitar patterns and textures.”

Trees – Nothing Special

“I love the way one guitar player repeats the same simple part for almost the whole song even as everything else changes around it, and the other one is counterbalancing that simplicity by just constantly soloing. It’s a weird ramshackle feel that could easily get annoying, but the way Trees play it you could let it wash over you forever.”

Sonny Sharrock – “Dick Dogs (Live in Prague 1990)” 

“Sonny Sharrock made plenty of tasteful, beautifully understated music in his life, but here he’s letting it all hang out, in full maximalist-noise-synth-cheese-fusion mode. On the one hand it feels thoroughly tied to its era, and on the other it’s so alien it feels out of time entirely. I love how Sonny is playing some of the freakiest music of all time while looking like a high school substitute teacher. Appearances are deceiving!”

Van Halen – Live Bass Solo
“This live solo from Van Halen’s bassist, which involves almost as much slugging Jack Daniels as it does actually playing, is one of the most outrageous and weirdly inspiring performances of all time — a reminder that the line between drunken fucking around and avant-garde high art is razor thin.”

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu – Furisodation

“This song and video are crazy. I don’t know what it’s about but it’s a really catchy tune. I like to put it on when I have no energy cuz it’s a jolt to the system.”

Marc Benno – Speak Your Mind

“I’ve only known this song for a few days but I keep listening to it over and over since my friend Rob Smith showed it to me. Deep classic tune, everything is locked in here.”

Keith Cross and Peter Ross – Pastels

“This track is very barebones and I love it for that reason. A sweet vocal harmony and finger-picked guitar take up a majority of the runtime. The beat doesn’t kick in until two minutes in but when it does it’s pretty moving. I don’t necessarily practice this less-is-more approach in my playing with GP but I definitely think about it a lot.”

The Chemical Brothers – Let Forever Be

“I feel like this song lies somewhere on the opposite end of the vibe spectrum. It’s crazy. It’s a perfect blend of contemporary music (glossy production quality + use of a sampling) and ’60s psychrock. The music video is sick.”

Royal Trux – Stevie (for Steven S) 

“This is an all-time favorite, one that I always come back to for inspiration. The feel of this song has a kind of heroic carelessness that brings me endless joy.”

Neil Young – Rockin’ In The Free World on SNL (September 30, 1989)

“This video rocked my world at 18, and made me reimagine my entire approach to playing music. I love the high punky energy, the explosive guitar tone, the gnarly extended solo. Also a treat to see Neil and the band moshing, playfully knocking each other around.”

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