As nearly every one of their press photos contends, the Brooklyn quintet Lucius is a band that's highly interested in crafting a specific aesthetic, with lead vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig even regularly wearing identically matching outfits. The outfits, said Wolfe in an interview, guarantee not only an "automatic uniformity," but also help take "the focus away from one person so you have to visualize them as a unit."
As it happens, Lucius is very good at this, creating nuggets of melodic, rootsy indie pop dressed with '60s girl group harmonies and thumping percussion. It's music that is wonderful to listen to, but becomes truly three-dimensional once you watch the group perform (try this video). While touring on the 2013 release of their debut album, Wildewoman, can get tiring, guitarist Peter Lalish has a secret weapon: a playlist.
"Here's my 'Get Up and Go' mixtape, also known as the 'Push Your Eyebrows Up, Crack Your Neck, and Start The Day Once and For All' Mixtape," Lalish said. Below, six songs that help Lalish get out of bed, get dressed, and get out the door in the morning:
1. Robert Wyatt, "Heaps of Sheep"
"Robert Wyatt is so great. His music is full of wonderful complexities. Sometimes it's very silly, fun, and weird (almost always very weird), sometimes it's quiet and delicate, sometimes it's dark and depressing, and sometimes it's loud and dissonant, but it's always adventurous. This song is about someone who cannot fall asleep, so they decide to close their eyes and try counting sheep. The sheep start coming into view, one-by-one jumping over a fence, however, they never leave picture. They keep coming and coming and pile themselves into a large heap. The sleep-deprived subject quickly realizes this situation is getting out of hand and now every time he tries to close his weary eyes the sheep just keep on piling up. It's kind of funny that this song ends up on a mix that is about waking up and starting your day."
2. Stevie Wonder, "We Can Work it Out"
"Now THIS is how you cover a Beatles song. There are bunch of great renditions of this song by a number of other artists — the Chaka Khan version is awesome as well — but this one just makes me feel so good. Each part just sounds incredible and makes me feel so good when I listen to them. The keyboards, the drums, the bass line, the tambourine, the background vocals (especially every time Stevie yells 'HEY'). Everything comes together so perfectly. There's no way to stay seated when you listen to this song."
3. Here We Go Magic, "How Do I Know"
"This song just builds and builds and builds. One part stacked upon another. By the end it's a giant cacophonous tower of fun. I also really love the line 'How do I know if I know you? When you come out clean from the shower, you squeak to the touch and you smell like a flower.' But at the end of the song there is so much going on with the music and the vocals are just repeating 'how do I know, how do I know, how do I know.' It makes me want to scream, 'JUST MAKE UP YOUR MIND ALREADY!' Great song."
4. Arthur Russell, "Janine"
"So much of Arthur Russell's music is so dreamlike and sensitive and just incredibly beautiful. I love this song, it's so sweet. It puts me in a really good place. A nice way to start the day."
5. Michael Hurley, "Hog of the Forsaken"
"This might be in the longest running for my all-time favorite songs. The melody is so catchy, the vocals are just cracking all over the place, and the lyrics are so strange and funny. So many Michael Hurley songs are about characters that might sound down on their luck and a mess, yet they don't seem to have a care in the world and enjoy taking it easy while the rest of the world is in a big ball of stress. 'The Hog of the Forsaken, he is the pork of crime, the hog of the forsaken, the is the hog for me.'"
6. Cheb i Sabbah, "Toura Toura"
"'Toura Toura' is a remix by the late Cheb i Sabbah of the song 'Tourkoulila' by Hamid El Kasri. Hamid El Kasri is one of the most popular Gimbri players in the world. I really love the remix of this song, it does a really good job of mimicking other Gnawa songs, especially at one point when the music stops for a moment and then returns at a slightly faster tempo. One role that Gnawa music plays is getting people into a trance and then speeding up, faster and faster until people collapse from dancing."
Wildewoman is out now on Mom + Pop.
(This interview was condensed and edited by Samantha Rollins.)
Watch the video for "Turn It Around" below:
More in this series...
* Grouplove's 6 favorite songs for the open road
* Camera Obscura's 6 favorite songs for a drunken cry