Verst took some time to make up a playlist of their influences and why they picked each song. They released David Slain in November 2017. The album brings a nice blend of indie and space rock. You’ll definitely want to check it out if you’re looking for some laid-back, but rock driven music to listen to. Check out the playlist and the album below.
The Stooges – “Search and Destroy”
This song is here for James Williamson’s guitar sound, for the full throttle mode and “fuck you” attitude of his delivery. When making David Slain with a Les Paul Custom and Marshall amp, I wanted very much to get a guitar sound as overwhelming and snarly as this. The way the leads come in and push everything out of the way, their abrupt exits. That is rock and roll.
Echo & the Bunnymen – “Show of Strength”
It’s difficult to pull one song from their catalog, but this one has everything I love about them. The dark cold war menace, Will Sergeant’s extremely cool Fender tones, the angular, arty simplicity and the way those guitar notes slowly bloom into feedback in the ending. And Ian’s voice, holy shit. I saw them many times back in the day, and I can say that NO ONE pushes a PA system like Ian did back in the day. His sound was just towering.
David Bowie – “Joe the Lion”
The Berlin era Bowie and Iggy stuff is at the very top of my list, always. The obviously volcanic eruption of creativity and innovation, the coldness and sense of place. This track is art rock at its best, replete with Fripp’s ever-violent playing, Bowie’s oblique and dystopic lyrics, his over the top vocal delivery that’s so typical of this era. A track like this reminds me not to try to be pretty or sensical. Fuck all that. Nail me to my car!
Judas Priest – “Dissident Aggressor”
This is their most arty track. The high vocal dubs are just insane. There is just zero bullshit at all in those menacing riffs, and the drumming is so propulsive. It has moments and corners. God, it’s good.
Queens of the Stone Age – “How to Handle a Rope”
This is another band with a vast catalog of bitchin tracks, so this is just an example. Their pummeling robotics, croony yet emotionally unavailable vocals, and darkly bristling guitar tones are a constant touchstone. We don’t play like this or make these sounds, really, but it’s a constant source of inspiration.
Slayer – “Jesus Saves”
This is my favorite track from my favorite Slayer album. I love the sections it has, and the fact that it starts “slow” by Slayer standards. When I hear it in my car, it makes me want to punch my dashboard. We aren’t a metal band, but I’m a metal fan. Usually ur-metal, but Slayer is an exception. I admire their purity of vision.
Black Flag – “Depression”
This tune is a hardcore masterpiece, especially the live version from The Decline of Western Civilization. There’s this little hitch in Ginn’s riff that just levers the whole song like a fucking trebuchet. Do you hear it? You can tell that the impulse behind it is pure childhood tantrum. It’s the same impulse that leads one to vandalize shit. Only a boy could make that kind of thing up. I’d love to sound this awake, is how I’d describe it.
Queen – “Dead on Time”
Here are some arty prog dudes playing their uniquely fruity brand of speed metal! Like all their fast ones, this track is so viciously happy and ADD. Sometimes I realize that all we’re doing with a tune is verse chorus verse chorus big ending, with all the same number of repeats of everything. Queen is the opposite of that. They deliberately subvert structure and repetition, so they remind me to tweak things. And then there’s the heavy-handed, hyperactive mixing. All of a sudden Brian May’s guitar pushes everything out of the way. There are no rules in rock, and these guys prove it.
Pavement – “Baptiss Blacktick”
What glee there is in a tossed-off song like this. The first couple Pavement albums were full of these blithely written, casually executed gems. But Malkmus was on fire and he just couldn’t miss. This song is like flaming snot, so droll and smart in a stupid way that doesn’t even study but gets an A anyway.
Slowdive – “Erik’s Song”
How many times can I try to approximate the feeling of this track? I think I try on every album. But there’s nothing like the original. It’s probably just new age music, but the parallax of sounds and melancholic mood are so cool. I could stare at a grey sky and listen to this for hours.
PJ Harvey – “50 foot Queenie”
This song kicks such major ass in so many ways. I loved how cold and violent she was on Rid of Me. And the obviously live sound of it. The lyrics are just crass and menacing. But funny! So good.
Liz Phair – “Flower”
This is the track that changed my world when I first heard it. And to this day, it reminds me to be real and to be myself. And to say shocking stuff when I can.