Ahead of the release of their brand new EP 'Your Face Replaces Mine' on February 15th, we spoke with Sean Zearfoss of Atlanta, GA's Small Reactions to put together a special playlist of their favorite songs. Read on below to learn more about their picks and give the playlist a listen here!
Tom Verlaine – “Miss Emily”
Small Reactions have always been huge Television fans. Digging into just a few seconds of almost any of our tracks reveals that we love stark, chimy, intertwined guitars. What we also love though, are Tom Verlaine solo albums. Even before Tom Verlaine died last year, I had been slowly collecting any and all Verlaine solo albums. Although none have been reissued, they’re all easy to come by in the used bins and they’re always cheap. The first solo album is a fan-favorite, the second album Dreamtime is probably his strongest overall. That said, 1984’s Cover is a personal favorite. There is a live version of “Miss Emily” from Madrid in 1984 that is just sublime. It is probably one of Verlaine’s finest performances committed to tape. It’s easy to find if you know where to look.
The Mothers of Invention - "Trouble Every Day"
Freak Out is an awesome album start to finish. This song has an irrepressible groove that seems to push blues to a new place with Zappa’s spoken word-meets-singing on top.
The Fall – “The NWRA”
So many of Mark E. Smith’s lyrics are burned into my brain. The Fall in its many incarnations was a powerful group. The switch in this track from the A to B part is divine. Steve Hanley really carries this one.
Blind Willie Johnson – “The Rain Don’t Fall on Me”
I nearly had to pull the car over when I first heard this song and vocal melody. It is unlike anything else I’ve heard from him. Apparently, in the 40s, his house burned down, and he continued to live in it, which eventually I think led to his death. I think about that a lot.
Atlas Sound – “Flagstaff”
I am picking this one for my son, who is in the throes of listening to everything he can get his hands on. He loves this record, and I thought it was nearly perfect when it came out – the 50s by way of 70s Roxy Music/Eno thing. Flagstaff has an incredible vocal performance, and it’s another example of the A part B part thing I love in songs.
Blonde Redhead - "In Particular"
This song has layers for days.
Mattiel - "Food for Thought"
Reminds me of Freak Out so I like it too.
Nick Lowe - "I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass"
Still going strong over 40 years later
Iggy Pop - "Dog Food"
He's so fun no matter what he does.
The Byrds – “So You Want to Be a Rock ‘N’ Roll Star”
This has to be one of the best album openers of all time. Between the relentless drums, the killer bass, the horn, and percussion, The Byrds squeeze the perfect song. It’s catchy as hell yet slightly left field with the crowd noise and odd structure. Few songs can top this.
Peter Gabriel – “Biko”
Songs should mean something. They should stand for something. By that metric, this song towers. It’s stark, chilling, powerful. Protest music isn’t reserved for folk music—it can (and should) serve the weirdos in the world just the same. I was privileged enough to see Peter Gabriel play this song late last year in Chicago. I was in tears.
Pink Floyd - "Scream Thy Last Scream"
Syd Barrett disassociates from the simplicity of everyday British culture.
Autechre – “Feed1”
I’ve been going through the Live 2022 sets a lot, but I don’t think they are streaming. “Feed1” is the first track off Elseq. It is this menacing, lurching, gnarly piece of music. Like a machine coming alive.
You can pre-order Small Reactions' new EP Your Face Replaces Mine on Bandcamp, and make sure to check out their 2021 full length New Age Soul, available now on color-in-color blue/black vinyl!