Foundations: Boy Scouts
Boy Scouts – the moniker used by Oakland, California singer-songwriter Taylor Vick – tends to rely on moments of inspiration, sparks of creative joy.
Working within elements of revelation, she’s able to transplant these within her songwriting, resulting in a string of revelatory experiences.
New album ‘Wayfinder’ is out now, and the title comes from Sallie Tisdale’s book Advice for Future Corpses (and Those Who Love Them): A Practical Perspective on Death and Dying.
Lyrically devastating, Boy Scouts is able to draw on an increasingly broad sonic palette, weaving together aspects of slide guitar, organ, and strings amid her empathetic vocal. Unafraid to tackle The Big Subjects, ‘Wayfinder’ charts a path for others to follow.
An intensely musical experiences, Boy Scouts dug down into her songwriting bedrock for Foundations – the albums that truly matter to her.
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Death Cab For Cutie – ‘Transatlanticism’
It’s really hard to choose which album of Death Cab’s was the most influential for me, but I think this was the one that really blew me away. Growing up I would blast this album on my iPod while riding my bike around town, usually landing somewhere to sit and write in my journal and be an emo teen. This was the soundtrack of that period of my life.
I absolutely love these songs with my whole being, it was exactly the amount of rock I wanted in indie rock… kind of poppy (‘The Sound Of Settling’), super catchy guitar riffs (‘Title And Registration’), slow songs that are also hard hitters (‘Tiny Vessels’).
I will never forget when I got to see them live, right around whenever they released Plans – I was in the very front row at the Warfield and passed out for a few minutes because I’d been standing for so long and didn’t have enough food or water or something. Still one of my favourite shows ever.
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Carole King – ‘Tapestry’
I love this record so much – it brings me so much comfort to listen to. It’s like the musical equivalent of warm soup and a blanket when I’m sick. My mom used to play it on the stereo system in the house when I was pretty young, when the first track came on it felt like an energetic cleansing of the whole house. Big mood booster.
The rest of the record is equally great, I love Carole’s melodies and how personal her songs feel. I love that her character comes through her songwriting, when I hear her songs I just feel that she has a heart of gold.
‘You’ve Got A Friend’?! What a song. She shares these sweetly earnest messages in her songs and it never feels cheesy – she’s a legend.
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Elliott Smith – ‘Either/Or’
It’s super hard to choose only one of Elliott Smith’s albums, they were all super impactful and still are. There wasn’t one album that I dug into first, I kind of shuffled through his discography when I first started listening to him. But being young and just beginning to write and record songs, the discovery of Elliott’s music was beyond inspiring.
You can hear his influence in so many artists’ music today, but no one does it like he did it. Totally in a category of his own. He wrote the most interesting chord progressions and the most beautiful lyrics. I think he was one of the best songwriters ever and I have so much respect and admiration for him.
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The Chicks – ‘Fly’
I was pretty young when I started listening to The Chicks and just loved them. I think I learned how to harmonise by listening to their music, or at least began to understand (and later became kinda obsessed with) three-part harmonies through listening to them. I thought it was cool that they played instruments and that definitely inspired me to pick up guitar. I always loved the storytelling that you find in country music.
Really it’s a tie between their album ‘Wide Open Spaces’ and this one… but the storytelling in songs like ‘Cowboy Take Me Away’ and ‘Goodbye Earl’ are everything.
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WHY? – ‘Elephant Eyelash’
The first time I heard these songs I was in the car with my brother. One of his friends had made a mix CD of this album as well as other songs from a side project of Yoni Wolf’s called Hymie’s Basement. I had never heard anything like it before, had absolutely no idea what I was hearing but I was incredibly intrigued and couldn’t focus on anything else but what I was hearing. The music felt obscure but incredibly cool. I was captivated by the dizzyingly odd and poetic lyrics sung over hip-hop beats.
WHY? was all I listened to for a few years, and I always come back to this record. It’s incredibly nostalgic for me, reminds me of being a weird teenager who inspired to feel empowered by her weirdness. Some lyrics of theirs sound like lines out of a journal entry, the weird shit you might think but would never say out loud. Always respected that, even if it made me feel uncomfortable sometimes. Just fascinating.
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Photo Credit: Tonje Thilesen
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