Track by Track series: The Strokes, The Velvet Underground among SGA Attorney General's picksBy Ellen Johnson | 09/12/2017 11:46pm
"Track by Track" is a new series where students share their daily musical diets in a Spotify playlist. This is the first feature in the series.
For Lance McCaskey, Attorney General of the SGA and a senior majoring in economics, music is all about self expression.
"For me music that sticks out to me is music that is intentionally being very thoughtful, and it’s all about self expression and trying to convey an artistic idea," McCaskey said. "And that's exactly what Parquet Courts does."
Parquet Courts is just one of the bands that influences McCaskey in his day-to-day listening habits. His Spotify playlist includes sounds from all across the board: from LCD Soundsystem to Frankie Cosmos to B.B. King, a myriad of stylings have found their way into his repertoire.
McCaskey, who also plays guitar, seeks out intentionally expressive music. Here's what he said about some of his favorite tracks from his Track by Track playlist.
"Barely Legal" - The Strokes
"The Strokes were really important to me as a music fan and as a musician as well, because up until I heard 'Is This It' for the first time as a kid, I just listened to pop music and classic rock, whatever was on the radio and my parents were listening to. I never really thought of music as like an artistic expression kind of a thing. I just thought of it as something that plays in the background when you’re driving somewhere. I had an uncle that was a musician, and he gave me a guitar and I started learning how to play guitar, and then I heard 'Is This It' for the first time. And that’s when it started to kind of click for me, that just hearing Julian Casablancas and The Strokes and what they were doing musically was such a impactful kind of experience for me. So The Strokes have always been my favorite band because of that."
"This is my favorite song they’ve ever made because on that first album they had so many hits – they had like four or five singles that were just huge. And this one was always kind of a 'deep' track, but to me it was the most beautiful lyrically that they had on that first album."
"Ceremony" - New Order
"The first I heard of this was a cover actually by Day Wave. I went to a Day Wave show and I heard them play this, and I thought it was one of the most beautiful bass lines I’d ever heard. I looked it up and found out it was actually a New Order song and, obviously it’s a great song and the lyrics are really impactful and meaningful, but to me it was kind of more about getting into New Order and seeing kind of the music that they have."
"It’s kind of one of those songs where I heard it the first time it just haunted me for a while. I couldn’t get it out of my head. I just listened to it on repeat when I found it on Spotify. It really is a song I probably listen to most days just because it, for whatever reason, it just grabs a hold of you whenever you listen to it."
"The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth" - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
"Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is a really interesting band in that Alec Ounsworth, who is like the guy behind it, has done so much over the course of his musical career but he was really one of the first, like the pioneers of like the new music of post like record label kind of a thing. He really does things his own way and I’ve really respected that. Also he’s just an incredibly unique artist."
"This song, when I play it for people the first time, I always ask them ‘Where do you think he’s from?’ And they say something like West Virginia or like backwoods kind of area. And I say ‘Well he’s from Philadelphia,’ which is not something you’d expect. He’s just incredibly unique and it’s an incredible song. It’s really catchy and weirdly as well similar to 'Barely Legal.' It’s something that the first time I heard it I was having kind of a bad day, and I heard it and it got me fired up. It was something that I really connected with when I heard it the first time. Just the fact that it is so different and unique really stands out to me as something that’s important."
"Instant Disassembly" - Parquet Courts
"Parquet Courts are a really interesting band in that after a while, post punk kind of devolved into just a bunch of bands who were making the same sound. And Parquet Courts was a band that really came out of that and made something new and kind of exciting and kind of revitalized that scene."
"It goes from him saying a really low point in his life when everything fell apart because it’s ‘instant disassembly’ to him trying to rebuild from that and discover how to move on and rebuild. That’s something I think everyone can relate to. For me Parquet Courts is a really great band because of that."
"I'm Waiting For The Man" - The Velvet Underground
"When people ask me what’s the best band ever, I always say, people always think it’s like the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, I always say Velvet Underground is. Because they were the first band to really push the envelope as far as what people were comfortable with when it came to music. Because before them people were not willing to take risks, musically."
"And it’s like, that’s, when you listen to it you wouldn’t expect that because it sounds like a song that’s upbeat and happy, but he’s singing about real struggles which to me was important because that’s when it shifted from music that was just trying to make people feel good versus music that was that kind of artistic expression that was 'This is what’s actually happening and what’s going on.'”