Playlist: Trying’s Influences

Trying took some time to put together a list of songs that have influenced them over the years. Check out the playlist below and read about why they chose the songs they did. Also, be sure to check out their new EP, 21, over on Spotify or grab it on Bandcamp.

Vampire Weekend – “Walcott”
How the heck does a band make dweeby keyboard lines and sweet string sections sound so huge? Vampire Weekend’s unconventional arrangements were definitely a big point of reference for Trying.

Neutral Milk Hotel – “Holland, 1945”
Neutral Milk Hotel practically slapped me in the face and yelled ‘THINGS DON’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY!’ when I first heard them. This is probably one of the most bombastic acoustic songs I know.

The Smiths – “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out”
The Smiths are my favorite band and the arrangement on this song plays similar to our go-to strummed acoustic guitar, jangly electric, and violin melody approach, plus this is the most romantic song about dying in a car crash.

Nico – “These Days”
I’m not sure if Nico sounds like she’s staring at you with tears in her eyes or just staring blankly, but her delivery and the sweeping strings are hard to match for emotional impact. “21” follows a similar lyrical structure revolving around a recurring line rather than a chorus.

The Cure – “Just Like Heaven”
I will probably dance to this song in my bedroom for the rest of my life.

The Front Bottoms – “The Beers”
The Front Bottoms’ first few releases have this blatant disregard for normal music making, as if the band said ‘what if we put a disco drum beat behind acoustic guitar and then sang about how “I will remember that summer as the summer I was taking steroids cuz you like a man with muscles?”’ I like that a lot.

Dexy’s Midnight Runners – “Come On Eileen”
Okay, yeah, everybody knows this song and it’s a favorite for drunk college kids but these clever goons somehow made banjo, fiddle, and frequent key changes into a hit.

Joyce Manor – “Bride of Usher”
Probably my favorite punk band of my lifetime, I try and find ways to get the same intensity as they have without the big rock guitars, but this almost new wave song from their second albumis probably closer to our sound.

Tegan & Sara – “Back In Your Head”
Before they became popstars (and maybe even now that they are popstars) Tegan & Sara really had a knack for making music that sounded as intimate as if you were listening in the bedroom with them and I’ve totally spent too much time trying to figure out how they do it.

Death Cab For Cutie – “Death of an Interior Decorator”
Like so many other melancholy indie kids, I’ve had Death Cab soundtracking dramatic, emotional moments for half of my life. This song’s poetic lyrics and intertwining guitars really do it for me.

The Smiths  – “Frankly Mr. Shankly”
This is prime Morrissey swagger, so confident and witty yet so uncertain and anxious. Think “21” appeals to a similar personality, but I’m not sure it has a line as great as “I didn’t realize you wrote poetry, I didn’t realize you wrote such bloody awful poetry.”

Tigers Jaw – “The Sun”
The first house show I ever went to was a Tigers Jaw show and I think they still represent some sort of indie dream to me. Some of our music reflects their dynamics, like the contrast between the down-trodden verses and the crashing choruses on this song.

The Violent Femmes – “Kiss Off”
From their unplugged and seemingly incomplete instrumentation to the count-to-ten bridge and “I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record” line, the Violent Femmes almost sound like children, but they capture a youthful energy that’s unbounded and full of passion.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – “The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth”
I don’t know how many singers I want to hear with this yowling voice, but I can’t help but yowl along when Clap Your Hands does it. The two guitars and keyboard arrangement also lines up pretty well with what Trying usually goes for.

The Magnetic Fields – “I Don’t Believe You”
Are those bells or glass bottles chiming in the bridge? I don’t know! The Magnetic Fields are as charming as they are strange, and that’s something I admire.