Six years after dropping their debut EP, vocalist Sedona Schat and producer Noah Yoo dropped their debut full-length collection of dreamy indie-pop tracks last summer as Cafuné, with Running building upon the foundation set by Love Songs for Other People while taking influence from more contemporary pop sounds. In fact, that blend of modern sheen and 2000s electronic pop a la Frou Frou seems to have landed at the perfect moment—over the past year, the duo’s single “Tek It” was certified gold by the RIAA leading to a signing with Elektra Records and an opening slot on tour for CHVRCHES.
In the midst of those dates, and before releasing new material through their new label home, we asked the duo to reflect on their pristine songcraft by creating a playlist of tracks that perfectly combine the task of songwriting with the creative process of putting a record together. “Songwriting and record-making are one and the same in the same way that the mixing process begins at the arrangement,” the duo explains. “These are tracks in our current rotation that blur that creative line in inspirational ways.”
Check out their picks below along with words from both Yoo and Schat, and find their remaining tour dates with CHVRCHES here.
Porter Robinson, “Everything Goes On”
This feels like one of the most straightforward songs Porter Robinson's ever put out in the best way. It’s just as detailed as any of his past work while emphasizing vocal melody and chord progression first and foremost; definitely one of my favorite things he's ever written.
Frou Frou, “A New Kind of Love (Demo)”
Frou Frou songs are so well-defined that this demo feels so listenable and complete, even in its relatively unvarnished state. It’s got those classic Imogen vocal layers, swelling pads, and glitchy drums. Please, Imogen and Guy, a new full-length!
Shirley Horn, “Here’s to Life”
We recently spent some time just listening to this recording and marveling at it, wondering what it must have been like putting it together. Johnny Mandel, the arranger, was one of the greatest of the 20th century; a true legend.
Charlie Puth and Jung Kook of BTS, “Left and Right”
Puth brings a lot of confidence to his writing, and that translates into genuinely interesting and whimsical decisions. The defining characteristic of this track is that the vocal pans left and right with the corresponding lyric—the type of thing that might inspire some kid to learn about mono vs. stereo, about recording, about writing songs.
John Carroll Kirby and Laraaji, “Dawn of New Day”
This is one of those instances where the instrumentation really sets the stage for the (relatively minimal) song within. JCK’s solo work has this free-flowing, pastoral vibe to it, and his sound pairs with Laraaji's voice so brilliantly.
Remi Wolf, “Michael”
Sedona put me on to this one and it's just become one of those songs I listen to all of the time. The punchy production is doing a lot of heavy lifting, but there’s also this earnest longing to Remi's manic lyrics that keep me coming back.
Steve Lacy and Fousheé, “Sunshine”
This song sounds like floating in the air. Each new section swells and sprawls in such a satisfying way, and it never drags. Love the guitar tone at the end, the Rhodes and keys, the vocal stacks, all of it.
altopalo, “love that 4 u”
Rahm's vocal treatment and Haldeman's guitar timbre feel so sonically glued together. All of the sounds are crystal clear and thrumming with life. Always in awe of this band.
Soccer Mommy, “Shotgun”
Everything on this track sounds dirty and lived-in, from the drums and the riff to how Sophie's vocals are pressed. I love tangible, sensual details—“Coffee and menthol on your breath”—and a good ol’ metaphor (“I'm a bullet in your shotgun”).
Yves Tumor, “Secrecy Is Incredibly Important to the Both of Them”
What is there to say about this beyond: huge tune. The noise, the atmospherics, the scale, everything about the recording is just perfect. “How can I miss you if you won’t go away” is also an amazing line.
Rayvn Lenae and Steve Lacy, “Skin Tight”
The. Vocal. Arrangement. There are so many moments in this song that are created by emphasizing specific words with the backing vocals. The sly 6/8 time signature is the best.
Both of us just love this band. The riffs sound like they could have come from any of their eras, and the commitment to the entire outro section is sublime. “Go off like the go off like the go off like a hydrogen bomb / And I do radiate a certain glow / You have to look at it from all angles, says the cubist judge from cubist jail.” A perfect marriage of absurdity and poetry.