Long Island’s Cloud (aka Tyler Taormina and friends) makes music filled with quiet optimism and greying nostalgia, mixing the wide-eyed naïveté of Jonathan Richman with the cold-weather pop of Yo La Tengo and the fractured soundscapes of Galaxie 500.

On March 9th the follow up their lauded debut, Comfort Songs, with Plays With Fire; nine songs and 32 minutes of delicate dream pop. Ahead of that we got Tyler to choose the five records that have influenced their direction.

Owen – No Good For No One Now

I love the arrangements on these Owen records. And the way that they’re recorded is a real treat too. This album means so much to me because when I was 14 years old and began collecting vinyl records, this was one of the first in my collection. But not only that, No Good For No One Now was the go-to album on my turntable when I would have romantic teenage nights with the several girlfriends that floated in and out of my teenage life.

I associate it with innocent times laying down and laughing. But anyway, by way of inspiration, how can you not care to emulate Mike Kinsella’s lovely instrumental excursions here. So wonderfully downtempo and dreamy.

Slowdive – Pygmalion

The first time that I ever heard Pygmalion was during the ending credits of The Doom Generation by Gregg Araki. It was my introduction to both Araki and Slowdive. I wasn’t sure if I’d liked either. But when those credits began rolling to “Blue Skied n’ Clear” I was truly taken aback. It left me in complete wonder. It was a kind of song that I knew existed, somehow, but never heard it until that moment.

This album is totally the Victorialand of this band’s career and it’s such a delight. I’d like to make music that can transport me into a different world like those albums can.

Joni Mitchell – Hejira

No regrets, Coyote. This album feels like a hidden treasure. I don’t often meet people who share the love for it… but maybe that’s just because I don’t often meet people? There’s something inimitable about the way Joni tells the story that is “Furry Sings The Blues.” The song comes in like a gust of wind and leaves a playful air of mystery.

The lyrics in Hejira on the whole are extremely personal. She really does invite you into her head during this long journey that is her early days as a touring musician. I appreciate her honesty. This album inspires me in so many ways. “Blue Motel Room” is another favorite.

Mary Margaret O’Hara – Miss America

Criminally unknown but excellently pitched with the fun fact: “It’s the sister of the mom from Home Alone!” I’m not entirely sure why, but I confidently feel like Mary Margaret O’Hara and I are a kindred pair. I love listening to her shyly yelp the phrases she does like, “joy is the aim!” as these amazing The Smiths-esque guitar licks, slide guitars and bongos jam out in repetition.

The musical approach here is so free form and so loose, marks of inspired work. “When You Know Why You’re Happy” has always been the stand out track for me on this one. Just listen to that bass-line!

Ibrahim Ferrer – Buena Vista Social Club Presents Ibrahim Ferrer

Ibrahim Ferrer is truly a magician. We should all write to Ry Cooder with a tremendous thanks for capturing perfect recordings of this brilliant work. This was my introduction into bolero and I’ll never forget it. A friend who had broken up with me had called for us to meet again. It was bitter sweet, we dreamt of a time years down the line when the heartache would finally subside and we could enjoy our friendship once again.

It was in this daydream that she put on “Aquellos Ojos Verdes.” Wow. What a tune. But somehow “Herido De Sombras” has surpassed it and become not only my favorite song on the record, but a favorite of all time. This music is so rich and sweet. The arrangements can only be described as lush. When the album seeps into a dream, I seep into a dream, when the album is buzzing with life, I am too. It’s perfect.

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