Playlist: Commander Keen Share Influences For New Album

Commander Keen recently released Dying in the SouthToday, they’re sharing the songs that influenced the album. Check out their picks!

The Nerves – “Hanging on the Telephone”
In my mind this is the perfect song. There’s not a single note out of place, nothing is more complicated than it should be, and the structure is water tight; there’s not a single ounce of fat on this track. This song manages to cover a larger emotional pallet in two minutes than some bands cover in their entire careers. When I think, “How can I write a better song?”, I start here. – Blake

Weezer – “The World Has Turned and Left Me Here”
Weezer’s Blue Album had a big influence on how I wanted this record to sound. The guitars had to be massive, but harmonically rich enough to carry a hook and support the bones of a pop tune. This is one of my favorite songs to blast in the car on a nice day while I’m driving around town. For me, this track gets better the louder you play it. Listening to this record over and over again really hammered Blue Album’s sonic construction into my head. In my opinion, this track captures it best. – Blake

McLusky – “She Will Only Bring You Happiness”
McLusky is a band that, in my opinion, never got its proper accolades. They were sonically unique in the era of Indie-Rock Rides Again (2000-2010), and they were just too mean and too sharp to be generally likeable. This is arguably the most un-McLusky McLusky song, but the bite is still there; there’s a real picture of quiet desperation and mechanical living inside this Pavement-esque slacker stroll. As far as our record is concerned, this track in particular served as a great example of how you can say what you really want to say in a song by dialing things back a bit and letting the track breathe. McLusky was a great band, please listen to them. – Blake

Hawkwind – “Master of the Universe” (Space Ritual Live Version)
Space Ritual and No Sleep til’ Hammersmith are two of my favorite live albums. I think it’s no coincidence they both feature the late, great Lemmy Kilmister. When you break down Hawkwind to its elemental core, they’re a punk-rock band. Their brand of psychedelia is fast, and it would probably scare you a little bit if you were high on LSD at one of their shows. I personally don’t consider us a psychedelic band, but we have a few numbers that reach into that lysergic ether a bit. Hawkwind’s brand of high energy psychedelic rock is something I’ve certainly tried to draw from. – Blake

Joy Division – “Warsaw”
This song, to me, embodies the structure of punk rock and Peter Hook’s tight control of the rhythm was a definite inspiration for the bass parts on this record specifically. – Matt

Alice Cooper – “No More Mr. Nice Guy”
The bass track in this one carries a strong harmony to Alice Coopers main vocal melody and the soaring riffs and solos featured. It inspires me to think about parts in terms of intervals. In my mind I want to play bass like that all the time. – Matt

The High Numbers – “Zoot Suit”
This is one of The Who’s (formerly the High Numbers) earliest singles. Aside from Entwistle being my all time hero, the swagger they put off as a band is palpable in this track. Their early stuff before they embraced the hard rocking sold out arena shows (also great) has this effortless coolness about it that I will probably never attain. – Matt

The Dramatics – “Whatcha See is Whatcha Get”
Stax records was kinda the Southern rival to Motown back in the day. Being based out of TN, I’m partial to it. Anytime I listen to a record produced by this label it undoutably has the best wall of sound vibe you can find. Horns. Strings. It’s all there. Being in a 3 piece band, it’s important to try to play “big.” For me, this song definitely inspires that effort. – Matt

Green Day – “She”
This was the first record I ever remember hearing, and this track is my favorite. I love how Tre Cool drives every song. – Zach

James Gang – “The Bomber”
For me is the epitome of Southern rock and roll. Three piece, loud, and incredible drumming. His style is one of my favorites. – Zach

State Champion – “Don’t Leave Home Without My Love”
These guys are from Louisville and should have way more recognition. The songwriting is fantastic and obviously the drums on this track hook you from the start. – Zach

Cloud Nothings – “Wasted Days”
I basically modeled a lot of my playing on Dying in the South after this dude. I fell in love with the intensity and minimalistic kit setup this guy uses. Despite only one cymbal and one Tom, he is able to push the song that much more. – Zach

Joe Diffie – “John Deere Green”
A solid 75% of what we listen to on the road is country music. A good bulk of pop-country is super corny, but it’s way too catchy. Joe Diffie played a show in Lebanon, TN and we emailed the promoted and begged him to let us open. We made a solid case, but we did not get to play the show. You just can’t deny how good this chorus is! – The band