8track: Jonah Matranga

Picture the scene: you've just stepped out of the Hercules Moments DeLorean and you find yourself in the 90s. MC Hammer pants and Walkmen are all the rage. Deciding to ignore the fashion of the day, you pick up a Walkman and head home to 2012...

Over the past few months, we've been getting in touch with bands, celebrities and more to ask them to create eight-song-long mixtapes for YOU. So crack out your Walkman and enjoy...

Jonah Matranga, based in San Francisco, is a singer-songwriter, musician and all-round great guy who has worked under various monikers (onelinedrawing, Far, New End Original...) producing great tunes and amassing cult followings. The likes of Frank Turner and Dave McPherson have played with him. Fun fact: if you catch him playing live on his own, it's just him and a guitar, and the crowd can shout out any song from any band he's ever been in and he will play it. Amazing. Let's see what he likes to listen to!

Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Love (Live)
Just to clarify, I’m one of those people that if I’m listing 8 songs, I’m going with the shit that’s really lasted. Even the more recent stuff on here will be stuff I have a feeling will still be on lists in years. So... if there was an all-­time rock band showdown and I could only pick one Zeppelin tune to represent them in the battle, this would be it. All of them are completely on point. It’s like watching something get born, or a storm hitting, or anything that timeless and palpable. So many moments: 1:22 Bonham, 1:45 Jones/Bonham, 2:04 Page/Jones, 3:00­ 4:50 Jones/Bonham, 4:58 Page, 6:28­ 8:27 Plant/Page... from there on out, it’s just madness. Just deal with the whole thing. Deal with the fact that those are human beings, playing something they wrote, on regular instruments. That is a fucking rock band. Matter of fact, this whole list could be Zeppelin and it would be sincere and complete. That said, I’ll shake it up a little, for fun.

Public Enemy - Night Of The Living Baseheads
This is the zenith of hip­hop. Smart, tough, interesting sonically, just firing on all pistons. I don’t have the track with me, but the ‘123456...’ breakdown a few minutes in is just perfect. The whole thing is. The video is sick, too, and Questlove’s intro for it says it well.

Neil Young - Don’t Cry
This whole album (Freedom), along with Sleeps With Angels, is my favorite era of Neil Young. He’s just on fire, doing whatever the fuck he wants as well as he ever has. This song is just terrifying. The next one on the album is one of the most tender duets ever, which makes both tunes that much better.

Rickie Lee Jones - We Belong Together
The production on this is pretty dorky, but if you give in, it’s like a John Hughes movie or something. Besides, it’s just too good a tune to be denied. The lyric is pretty much a short story, and the vocal is so daring. It’s my favorite sort of ambitious pop songwriting. The whole album (Pirates) is staggering.

SinĂ©ad O’Connor - Last Day Of Our Acquaintance
This record and her singing in particular are as big an influence on me making stuff as anything else has been. As vulnerable and real as it gets. Oh, and a timeless voice. Magic.

Deva Premal - Aad Guray
This is a total new­agey thing, but it just gets me. I love hypnotic stuff. They’re a couple, too, which is crazy cute. It’s like Mates Of State on really good drugs. My friend Gavin showed it to me and it’s become a big part of our sickeningly sweet friendship. So there.

Dirty Projectors - Stillness Is The Move
Full disclosure: I’m friends with the woman who sings this, but I love it anyway. More great vox, super­smart artpop, yup. Also, them performing for Questlove backstage at Fallon is really great.

Keyshia Cole - Love
The way her voice breaks in the chorus gets me every time. I like the moments that keep being surprising. That’s kinda what pop is all about for me. Dumb and silly, yet somehow transcendent. I was gonna put Halo by BeyoncĂ© in this spot, but this is less famous, so there you go. Contrary to what the old shitty sitcom says, eight isn’t enough. Still, fun to play around. Viva rockgeekness.

Check out Jonah Matranga's cool website, like him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter, or listen to some of his tunes on Bandcamp.

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