QTY: What Are You Listening To?
TIDAL Rising group QTY has been grinding in New York City for the past few years, playing shows, forming/disbanding other groups and, ultimately, growing up in the city (the band members met at 14).
As the group nears the release of their record, QTY, on December 8 (on Dirty Hit Records), lead vocalist Dan Lardner, lead guitarist Alex Niemetz and drummer Alan Yuch each share a list of tracks on rotation and on their minds. Stay tuned for more from this impressive group on their rise.
Spiritualized, “Don’t Just Do Something”
This is our song of the tour, in my mind. It’s hauntingly relatable with a really beautiful melody and arrangement. After driving straight to San Fransisco from New York, we had this playing as loud as we could get it while crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. After four days of driving straight through the day and night, it sounded like pure bliss upon arrival.
Gram Parsons, “She”
I’ve been reading the most goddamn in-depth and thorough Parsons biography in the back row of the van over these last few weeks. I, along with the rest of the band, love Gram Parsons, and ‘She’ has become my go-to headphones song.
The Lemonheads, “My Drug Buddy”
To me, this is the defining song about friendship, and with one of my favorite lyrical phrases of all time: ‘I’m too much with myself, I wanna be someone else.’
Prince, “Raspberry Beret”
There has been a lot of Prince in our lives these past few weeks. This song is one of the better songs ever written, but it’s extra special on this tour. On three different occasions in three different states, while we pulled into gas stations with it playing off our phone in the van, it was playing on whatever local radio show. Pretty sure Prince is watching over us on the road. Thanks, Prince!
The Fall, “Oh! Brother”
This is a song I have literally not stopped listening to and have had on every mix I’ve ever made for anyone. Since first discovering it while raiding my dad’s records when I was 14. There was a moment when our friend-tour manager Joe put it on while he was driving and I wanted to force him to the side of the road so I could dramatically explain to him how amazing it was that he had it on a mix of his own, and how we should call Dirty Hit to arrange a raise and benefits.
Graham Nash, “Military Madness”
Alan [drummer in QTY] re-introduced me to this song a few months back and it took on a whole new life for me. It’s one of Alan’s go-to songs, whether at my apartment or in the van. It feels like it has grown with us along the way. The song’s too good to ever get old, too.
David Bowie, “Changes”
Bowie was a life-changing event for me when I was a teenager and this song, being the first on Hunky Dory, was how it all began. It’s not a deep cut or anyone’s first time hearing it, but it is a perfect song, which we were reminded of while driving through some truly horrifying, heavily wooded, narrow and twisting roads while it rained in heavy bursts of five-minute intervals. When ‘Changes’ came on, there was a full minute minutes when we were able to sing along and forget about the most anxiety-inducing road I’ve ever been on.
Husker Du, “Books About UFOs”
Another song that’s stuck with me and my mixes since my teenage years. Years ago, our last band opened for Grant Hart at the Cake Shop. Being around him felt like you were in the presence of an underdog candidate for a seat in Senate as the representative for guttural, melodic, hard-hitting rock. He had on red cowboy boots and was handing out Grant Hart pins. R.I.P. Grant! Everything you’ve been a part of has played a significant role in fucking up my hearing.
The Magnetic Fields, “Papa Was a Rodeo”
A great story told over a nice melody, with a message I’ve always taken as finding hope in a hopeless world. I’ve listened to this song walking in the rain so many damn times that I’m determined to have it playing off in the distance when I dramatically meet the love of my life. Or listening loudly on my headphones in the rain when I get hit by a Lexus crossing Bowery and Houston.
Roxy Music, “Beauty Queen”
Quintessential Roxy Music with Eno still in the picture making a masterpiece with Ferry. When I tell people about my love of glam rock, this is what I’m referring to. I’ve yet to go through a period of my life without For Your Pleasure providing the soundtrack to some aspect of it.
Archers of Loaf, “Web in Front”
Even more so than just a great van song, this reminds me so much of hanging out with Dan at his apartment or hanging at the bar I work at.
Roy Orbison, “In Dreams”
This song is ‘around 3 a.m., the absolute middle of nowhere.’
Swervedriver, “Last Train to Satansville”
This reminds me of driving through long stretches of desert.
Black Flag, “My War”
Have listened to this song and record on every tour I’ve ever been on since I was 14.
Slayer, “Abolish the Government”
I always forget that whenever I plug in my phone this is the first song that comes on immediately no matter what. When you aren’t expecting it it can be pretty startling to a van full of sleeping people.
Pharaoh Sanders, “The Creator has a Master Plan”
The crescendo throughout this song gets me every time. The beginning starts off minimally and quietly. The song gradually builds and different instruments begin to layer each other. The most exhilarating part to me is how he uses the vocal melody to command the listener. The song almost feels meditative.
Arthur Russell, “Don’t Forget About Me”
Arthur Russell is one of my favorite songwriters. His ability to write out all of his compositions and create such lush vocals make him one of the most respected songwriters. Unfortunately, he never experienced much commercial success, but he is widely respected.
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