FEELS are a capitalised quartet hailing from Los Angeles. They caught the attention of many with their Ty Segall-produced debut album back in 2016, and are set to return later this month with their second offering, Post Earth.
Produced by Tim Green, known for his work with acts as diverse as Bikini Kill and Joanna Newsom, FEELS have described Post Earth as, “a call to arms, interspersed with frustration and hope”. The album was introduced to the world via the politically charged single Car, a snarling piece of garage-rock, tackling political liars, the fading American dream and the temptation to shy away from injustice and let ignorance become your bliss. Perhaps even more exciting was the most recent single, Awful Needs, a jagged angular slice of post-punk, all rapid tumbles of bass, snap-cracking snare and gorgeously entwined vocal harmonies.
Post Earth is the sound of FEELS, intentionally or otherwise taking a stand, using the platform their music has given them to try, in some small way to make a difference. In Laura from the band’s own words, “if our wildest dreams came true, the album would sound exciting to people while also inspiring awareness and action against hate, prejudice, greed, the destruction of our environment…apathy’s not cool and toppling oppression could be fun if we do it together!” As 2019’s musical manifesto’s go Post Earth might take some beating.
Today the band have made us a mixtape featuring some of the tracks that inspire them to make music, featuring the likes of Bikini Kill, Television and Harry Nilsson.
1. Sonic Youth – “‘Cross the Breeze” (- Album version)
We are big Sonic Youth fans! Most of us since discovering them (and having our minds blown) as teens. Dissonant, noisey guitars playing pretty melodies, songs within songs within songs, a feeling like you’re alive and it’s exciting but also fully acknowledging that things aren’t really alright… feelin’ fine in the midst of chaos? Something like that. This track is really fun to dance to and when it gets to the super heavy part, ahhh it’s so good.
2. Bikini Kill – “Double Dare Ya”
This song is such an epic anthem of empowerment for girls- but really for anyone who feels repressed by societal standards. When I was a teen this band really helped me cope with my anger and frustration, and Kathleen taught me to use my voice as an outlet for all of that, and not be afraid of sounding scary! Amy, Mike and I played together in a short-lived punk band as teens where I really ran with that and just screamed my head off haha. We actually recorded Post Earth with Tim Green, who did all of Bikini Kill’s first recordings. There’s a song on the album called “Tollbooth” where, after I tracked the vocals, I jokingly asked Tim if he thought Kathleen might sue. He said he’d put in a good word for me 😉
3. The Stooges – “Search And Destroy” (- Iggy Pop Mix)
As far as I’m concerned, Iggy Pop is the embodiment of just pure, authentic unbridled energy- dangerous and unpredictable… Punk’s first born, kicking and screaming! The Stooges just as a band too were insane- behind the noise those guys were amazing musicians, and they wrote some of the most exciting and interesting music ever recorded. I love listening to their albums in full- there’s all these quieter, slower songs interspersed between the more classic adrenaline-inducing tracks that most people don’t even know exist.
4. X “Los Angeles”
All four of us were born and raised in the outskirts of Los Angeles, and we love our city! And we love X. We got to play a show last year opening for Exene and John and it was such a dream come true. Their vocal melodies + harmonies are so interesting and always on-point, and we love their slightly more intellectualized brand of punk- throwing in intentionally weird timings and stuff to keep you on your toes.
5. Faust “Giggy Smile”
This song just rules. There’s a lot of really interesting changes and soundscape sections that allow you to drift off into something like a movie scene in your head, and then it snaps you into some new place, and then you sail out from there… like going on a trip. We like when music takes you on an adventure. This whole album (Faust IV) is highly recommended!
6. Television – “Marquee Moon”
Speaking of albums, this one is in the top 10 stranded-on-an-island list, and in the van it’s guaranteed-sing-along-to-the-guitar-solos-good-times. Interweaving, noisy but pretty feeling guitars, catchy cool vocal melodies, great lyrics, bass that’s super groovy but not what you’d expect, interesting rhythms in the drums… It’s got it all! This song feels like living a day, walking around, complete with that breakdown where you take a moment and just watch the birds and the clouds go by for a bit before you get back to doing whatever you’re doing.
7. Neil Young – “Down By The River”
Such a great feel to this song, so in the pocket. Love the anthemic harmonies on the chorus. Neil Young is quality tour van listening too, especially when driving through dryer parts of the country. We love keeping our music real and being in the moment, leaving space in our songs to allow them to be a little different each time they’re played live. Neil Young lives and breathes that approach.
8. Cate Le Bon – “Are You With Me Now”
This song is SO good, and brings me back to early FEELS days when we stumbled upon her music and all got so excited. This tune’s a bit more classic-pop than most of her work but let that stand to say that Cate is one of the most interesting artists of our modern times. If you aren’t familiar with her music please do yourself a favor and check it out! She’s super experimental but her voice is so soothing that it never leaves you feeling alienated.
9. The Velvet Underground – “I Found A Reason”
Ever need a reason to keep living? How about this song, and the fact that music this warm and fuzzy exists and can wrap it’s sonic arms around you, holding you so tight? Works for us!
“I do believe – You are what you perceive – What comes is better than what came before”…
The Velvet Underground is one of the most influential bands ever, and the crazy thing is that in their time they weren’t well-known or praised at all, outside of the NY art scene. May we all take a moment to express our massive gratitude to them for creating so much good music just for the sake of it.
10. Harry Nilsson – “Jump Into The Fire”
Let’s close this out with one of the most fun and satisfying songs to sing and jump around to! And that bass line is FIRE. Enjoy it! And thanks for listening, we love you!
Post Earth is out February 22nd via Wichita Recordings. Click HERE for more information on FEELS.