With their new album Individ out this month (February 10th via Morr Music in Europe, and Polyvinyl in the U.S.), we asked San Francisco duo The Dodos to share some tracks that have influenced them during their career/life for a special Under The Influence playlist.


Meric Long's Choices:

Aerosmith - 'Love in an Elevator'

I played in an Aerosmith cover band for one show and this is one of the tunes we did and it totally took me by surprise. Everyone knows those Joe Perry licks but once you get on the inside of one those songs this one in particular you realize he's really grooving to his own beat, and it's all the little ghost scratches that he does that helps the song swing more. I took that approach with the guitar part to our song 'Competition'.

Lubomyr Melnyk - 'Pockets of Light'

His approach to the piano feels very similar to my approach to guitar on this song, creating drones with lots of rapid notes. It'll just drone on a few intervals for a long time, but when the chord changes occur they hit hard and are very profound. Nothing is rushed, everything is necessary. That's something I'm always trying to get better at, taking time to just sit in a musical place before moving on to something else.

Radiohead - 'Kid A'

This song continues to blow me away, those guys mastered how to make odd time signatures so freaking groovy. It's really something Logan and work hard at, trying to bring in those odd time signatures in a way that it almost goes unnoticed.

Calexico - 'Guero Canelo'

We toured with them before entering the studio for Carrier and Individ, and we would join them on this song for the encore every night. There was a sort of mandolin type instrument they had me play and I had to learn the strumming pattern for it which wasn't that weird, except for there was this one scratch off the beat that I never had played before. Anyways, it stuck with me and in revisiting that pattern while writing the songs for Individ I wrote 'Goodbyes and Endings' which comes from that original pattern but I put it in 5 instead of 4.

Swans - 'Mother of the World'

This song along with a lot of their recent discography just lays it out plain and simple. This is what I aim for. It's funny cause I know objectively there's probably barely an inkling of resemblance between their music and ours, but the aggressiveness with which they come to their instruments I think Logan and I can relate to a lot. It's just articulated so much more clearly with these guys, and it's awesome.

Logan Kroeber's Choices:

Basil Poledouris - 'The Anvil of Crom'

The amazing theme from Conan the Barbarian. I know we listened to this on the Carrier tour while driving through the majestic mountains of Banff, Alberta. I'd like to think its shifting time signatures and epic scope helped inspire some of Individ.

Clifford Brown - 'Sweet Clifford'

The tune is good fun on its own, but the real draw for me is the solo from drummer Max Roach. I love jazz, probably because I'm terrible at playing it, but something about Roach's playing seems accessible as well as virtuosic. I feel like I can follow along with every note, at least mentally, which isn't always the case. This definitely inspired me to work on my double strokes which might be heard on 'The Tide'.

Wye Oak - 'The Tower'

So simple, yet immediately recognizable. I love it when drumbeats take on a singular personality like this one did for me. Add that to the fact that drummer Andy Stack is also playing keyboards while he's drumming and you can see how he's a constant inspiration to work on my own ambidexterity.

Max Roach - 'Nommo'

This one kinda backs up what Meric was saying about 'Kid A'. An odd time signature that feels real groovy. As stated before, Roach's solos are fun to follow along with, and I followed along to this one plenty, hoping that it would rewire my brain like Max's.

Lower Dens - 'Brains'

Meric actually pointed me towards this song during the Carrier sessions, but the song it inspired didn't make the record. Since then it has remained an almost idealized representation of what a drum beat should be. Driving, building intensity, pushing everything around it while remaining minimal. I never learned to play it, but I like it more not as something I can imitate but just lurking in the back of my mind egging me on to do better.