The National and The Beatles Top The Boxer Rebellion's iTunes Q&A"/>
As opposed to our favorite songs, or songs we'd like to think define our listening habits, taking a look at what a person actually listens to can be far more revealing. With that in mind, every Wednesday we ask an artist to take a look at the most-played songs in their iTunes libraries and share with us the results. We do this on the honor system, and we ask our subjects to share a few words about each song.
For a band whose website states that "every band that has ever existed (or not) tends to think they're the reincarnation of The Beatles," four-piece UK-based group The Boxer Rebellion leans away from the mega-group's blisteringly magnetic pop, brandishing instead a brand of melodic indie rock that sounds more like the National. But sure enough, when we asked BR for their top iTunes picks, The National and The Beatles topped the list. Three albums in, the band's latest release The Cold Still is a guitar driven and deeply reflective work, lush with pop-rock anthems, brooding refrains, and introspective lyrics that reflect their influences near and far.
For us, the heady band revealed their most-played iTunes songs through their respective iPods and wrote a little bit about 'em. Here are the results. The Boxer Rebellion play the Crocodile this Friday (5/11) with Canon Blue, and tickets are $15.
Guitarist Todd Howe:
"Impossible Germany," Wilco: Probably goes without saying. An amazing song from the album that made me fall in love with Wilco. Nels Cline is now my favorite guitar player since Frank Zappa. Incredible guitar work on this song.
"Little Prince Town," Gus Black: A dark and beautiful record called Today Is Not The Day To F#@k With Gus Black. Such a hugely underrated and underground singer-songwriter from LA. I recommend everyone try this record on for size. This one is obviously my personal favorite.
"Your Desert's Not A Desert At All," Pela: The former incarnation of We Are Augustines and very close friends of ours. This song is a work of sheer beauty with what is my favorite middle 8 ever written. I was a huge fan before I met them and we've become extremely close friends. I've really enjoyed helping to resurrect their career with my partner, who now manages We Are Augustines. It's great to know Seattle & KEXP (also huge champions) love them as we do. But ultimately it's all about the music and this song is genius!
Drummer Piers Hewitt:
"The Universal," Blur: A track that always, without fail, takes me back to growing up, and falling in love with music for the first time. Parklife and "Song 2" aside, this is Blur at their heart-wrenching best for me.
"Many Ways," Bombay Bicycle Club: Following up a successful album with a new album that is completely different, but without losing people's love for them, is one of the hardest things to do. Their second album did exactly that: going to bed with acoustics rather than electrics, with great results. This track typifies that.
Singer/guitarist Nathan Nicholson:
"Thirteen," Big Star: About six years ago I went through a massive Big Star phase. They were all I listened to and "Thirteen" is one of my all time favorite songs. It captures the innocence of growing up better than anything else I know of and it's a song that's a benchmark for my songwriting.
"Broken Man," Crooked Fingers: It's such a simple song built around a loop, but I've loved it ever since I watched Eric Bachmann perform in live twelve years ago. It's just a beautifully written song with a great lyric.
Bassist Adam Harrison:
"Fake Empire," The National: I love the timeless emotion of this song; it's great for reflection. The knowing lyrics and lovely piano always hit the spot when I need to unwind at the end of a day.
"Red," Elbow: I love Elbow and this track is from my favorite Elbow album, Asleep In The Back. Guy Garvey speaks for the embarrassed and often hidden emotions of modern men, and the band always deliver the perfect atmosphere for each and every word.
"Free As A Bird," The Beatles: Quite how this never made their catalog whilst they were together is beyond me. Having said that, perhaps part of the sadness and joy of this song comes from the very fact that it had been lost for so much of its life... and only saw light after John had passed.