A Lily is a band (comprised of James Vella and a few nice mates) that are virtually impossible to find on Facebook - what with all those girls called Lily around, and you know - Lily Allen and what not.

Still, they're worth a good, grand search. They're no frills and authentic - something that's very hard to find in a generation that's obsessed - to the point of detriment - with precision.

This is the music that James Vella listens to. Filled with classics and forgotten gems, it's worthy of listen as it works as reference point to earlier forgotten times and an education too.

1. Neal Morgan - 'Father's Day' & 'I Stand on a Roof'
I would love to work with Neal. His music is boundless. I'm a big fan of self-imposed creative restraints, operating within a set of defined rules to stretch capabilities and explore limitations. That Neal writes such beautiful pieces without using a single chord is utterly demonstrative of his abilities as a composer. Fairly quickly into the track, I stop noticing that there's no guitars involved.

2. Haircut 100 - 'Love Plus One'
My little sister's favourite song. One of the reasons this piece of music makes me so happy is that it throws me into such vivid memories of dancing in the living room to Haircut 100. Another is that it's fantastically written pop track. It seems so effortless, but it's a real and subtle skill to get intricate music to sound so carefree. Fairly recently I wrote to Nick Heyward and asked him to sign a copy of this 45 for my sister. He drew a picture of himself standing next to a lighthouse holding a flower on the sleeve.

3. Asa Chang & Jun Ray - 'Hana'
A breathtakingly beautiful track. It's almost completely structureless and so textually sparse, but it carries me along in its own isolated little world without needing verses or choruses. It sounds like nothing else I know. I find it totally mesmerising. The song finishing is like waking up from a dream.

4. Antipop Consortium - 'Ghostlawns'
Characteristically dark and surreal hip-hop from Antipop Consortium. I'm always astonished at how well they can fit groove and ghostliness so neatly into each other. I'd love to be able to hit that same middle ground with my music. Something that makes heads nod and feet tap, but taps into the same kind of creepiness as horror movie score or Twin Peaks or something.

5. Boris - 'Ganbou-Ki'
Longform exploration of distorted textures and heavy rhythms. I like percussive and rhythmic music a huge amount. And distortion. Even when Boris are playing slowly, it still feels rhythmic. Even when they're playing full on doom riffs, it still feels out-there and bizarre. An amazing use of timbres too. Eastern percussion over distorted bass guitar and synth noises. I'd be happy with somebody describing A Lily with that phrase.

6. The Lunchtime Sardine Club - 'Rumours'
Olly has been my closest friend and band-mate and football team-mate for fifteen years. We met when we were children. He released a fantastic record earlier in the year. His music and mine played alongside each other sounds to me just like a conversation between us, which of course makes me happy.

7. The Ronettes - 'Be My Baby'
My favourite pop song. Sadness bound into joy, dense textures woven into a pop structure, beautiful orchestration underpinning close vocal harmonies and counterpoint parts, fantastic drums, an amazing chorus. Everything about this track is compositional prowess exercised precisely, except the emotional value of the song disguises all of that as pop simplicity. Brian Wilson wrote about this: "I was flipping out. I really did flip out...In a way it wasn't like having your mind blown, it was like having your mind revamped. It's like, once you've heard that record, you're a fan forever."

8. Ayshay - 'WARN-U'
A Kuwaiti ex-pat living in NYC. And her music sounds like it. Somewhere in these weird vocal refrains and monastic drones is a really colourful Middle Eastern melody pattern and the ghost of true dance music. What grabs me here is how experimental music can be made from such everyday ingredients. The textures and timbres are so unusual, but they're essentially just created from vocals and programmed drums.

9. John Coltrane - 'My Favourite Things'
I will read anything about Trane I can get my hands on. His philosophy and approach to music as an extension of the soul, as a spiritual journey to a universal truth and understanding emotional meaning, is quite mind-blowing. He was a totally omnivorous composer; it shouldn't be any surprise that he turned this 50s showtune into sheets of Turkish-style soprano sax and modal block chords and a throbbing bass line.

10. Josquin des Prez - 'La Déploration sur la Mort d'Ockeghem'
My ma is a soprano singer. I used to have to sit in on her choir rehearsals and concerts when I was a kid, and the whole thing washed over me without me really noticing. But now choral music grips me in a way that nothing else does. It's such purity of expression and unification of performance. I'd love to write straight choral music. I try to get as much of it into A Lily as I can.

11. Lonnie Holley - 'Looking For All Rendered Truth'
Simplicity and beauty and wonder, as recorded by a 63-year old Alabama outsider-artist and sculptor with fifteen children. Holley's music is like an upturned version of storytelling in which the narrative is expressed by instruments and the human voice is a connective module of sound. Like a strange sound-poem made of otherworldly shimmer. Just stunning.