The problem with trying to compile a playlist for Thor Harris is that he’s on a ton of records by bands that have put out a ton of records. I have put some of my favorite tracks on here, but you should know that there are a thousand more out there.
1. “Praise Your Name” – Angels of Light: The first collaboration between Thor and Michael Gira from the Swans. After the Swans split up, Thor travelled to Atlanta in a rented minivan that he had jammed full of drums and homemade instruments. Angels of Light made this sullen and thoughtful masterpiece of a record.
2. “Louisiana 1927” – Jolie Holland w/Thor and Friends: There are no Thor and Friends records on Spotify other than this, a collaboration with Jolie Holland done as part of the Hummingbirds and Helicopters hurricane benefit for South Texas. You can check out more Thor and Friends via their label’s Bandcamp page.
3. “Noplace 1” – The Noplace Trio: A band based mostly out of Berlin, Thor plays drums and percussion for this high-flying improvisational trio.
4. “One Horse Town” – The Smoking Flowers: Pinky Doodle Poodle played a show with this duo from Nashville. It would be perfectly understandable if you saw this band and hyperfocused on singer/drummer/accordionist Kim Collins’ cigarettes and bourbon brown sugar contralto, but don’t miss Scott Collins’ incredibly tasteful and perfect guitar work. Scott is currently my favorite guitar player, full stop. Their live show feels to me like what would happen if Phil Spector had produced X.
5. “Sold You Out” – Small Awesome: My personal hero, Faiz Razi (Episode 4: Imposter Syndrome) and his compatriot Jim MacGregor are a duo from Chicago, making sparse, lovely tunes about existential dread and elemental, primal fear. Enjoy!
6. “The Roundabout” – Ryley Walker: Ryley Walker deserves more than a paragraph trying to describe the dozen or so different things he does exceedingly well. I have an interview scheduled with him that will hopefully be out soon. in the meantime, enjoy this Richard Thompson-esque meditation on the origins of the universe and heavy drinking.
7. “Blank” – The Gary: The Gary is one of my favorite bands of all time. They’re from Austin and they’re playing with us when Pinky Doodle Poodle plays there on the 11th of July. I love the brooding, solemn quality of this song, right up to the point that it explodes.
8. “Heavenly She Comes” – King Nun: Almost completely by accident, PDP ended up on a bill with King Nun at the Basement in Nashville, after another show we were scheduled to play fell through. King Nun are a bunch of absolutely lovely, rakish young outlaws from London. They played two sets at Bonnaroo, this summer, and are currently gearing up to take over the world. Just being in the room with them filled me with a tremendous nostalgia for a time in my life when anything seemed possible. I wish them all the success in the world.
9. “Heavy Flow” – The Cell Phones: Friends from the PRF BBQ and the Chicago post-hardcore scene that is so near to my heart, the Cell Phones are a ferocious trio of diabolically talented players. Fronted by Lindsey Charles, an emotive and vocally agile singer, their shows manically shift gears from girl-pop to blast beats to cheeky nods to classic rock.
10. “The Pfister” – Nonagon: Speaking of Chicago post-hardcore, Nonagon are fantastic. Yep. They “love to play shows but have no idea how to dress for them.” Besides being a great band, they are also lovely people.
11. “Your Fear is Showing” – Friendship Commanders: It’s my podcast playlist, and if I want to keep putting my new favorite band on it, well, you’ll just have to be ok with that. As I said, last week: This is a band with whom PDP has played recently, and they are frankly amazing. A duo who somehow manages to create a wall of sound equivalent to being run over by an alcohol-fueled funny car, singer Buick Audra’s raw, elemental wail stabbed me right in the heart. This band is life-changing.