The five things that inspired The Head & The Heart's Let's Be Still

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From ELO to Cass McCombs, here's what influenced The Head & The Heart's second LP.

Seattle indie-rockers The Head & The Heart released their second album Let's Be Still late last year. Karen Leng caught up with the band when they were in town last week and asked them what records were most influential on the new record.

They ended up giving us three albums, a movie and a song, but that just made it more interesting. 

It's like, you don't tell Kirk Hammett that guitar solos are out of style. It's his thing!

Phosphorescent – Muchacho

"His songwriting comes from that kind of country, old-time songwriter feel. But the sounds on the record, the synths and that swirling thing, just have a really modern sounds. It's a really great way to point out your influences but still sound modern and current," vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist Josiah Johnson says.

"There is one version of 'Fire/Fear' that we recorded that didn't end up on the album, but that bass thing on 'Song For Zula', we were just like 'That's what it's supposed to [sound like]'."

Cass McCombs – Catacombs

"The instrumentation on that was very sparse, the drums were very pared back," drummer Tyler Williams says. "I think that was an inspiration, the organic minimalism.

"He's super mysterious, I don't really know much about him and it's kinda hard to find information about him. I think his lyrics are amazing, they're kinda off-kilter a little bit but it all adds up to a very universal message."

The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds

"I revisited it, just thinking about our approach the production of this album. I wanted to get back to the basics and knowing, us being such a live band, I wanted to get back to the idea of trying to record live – as many people playing an instrument all at once," vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Charity Thielen says.

Metallica – Some Kind Of Monster

"That was kind of scary and kind of painful to watch," Williams says. "It was a good reminder to maybe not take yourself so seriously in the studio.

"But, also, pay attention to drum tones," Thielen adds.

"My favourite part in that DVD," Williams recalls, "is Kirk Hammett's talking about how he wants to keep doing guitar solos and they're like 'No man, they're out of style'. It's like, you don't tell Kirk Hammett that guitar solos are out of style – it's his thing! Then you look at the bottom of the screen and it says "Day 754". Jesus, really?"

Electric Light Orchestra – 'Telephone Line'

"I love ELO. The song 'Telephone Line' – it's incredibly good," Williams admits.

"I love Jeff Lynne's production. Everything sounded so modern in almost a sci-fi kind of way, which nobody does anymore. Also, the string arrangements are immaculate and the vocal melodies are kind of Motown, almost Temptations melodies or Four Seasons. It's really good."