Listen In: Nick Diamonds Made You a Playlist

June 18, 2015 | Liam Mathews

“Listen In” is a weekly feature in which we ask musicians to curate a mixtape-length YouTube playlist of songs they’re currently digging. Click the big play button above to hear the whole playlist or scroll down to see and hear individual tracks.

Nick Thorburn is a versatile musician. He broke out with the Unicorns, a cult favorite indie rock band, and since then has made more indie rock with Islands, collaborated with El-P, did the theme music for “Serial,” and made synth pop as Nick Diamonds. His new album, City of Quartz, came out out June 16 (check out album highlight “Witch Window).” His playlist is fittingly eclectic.

“Funkier Than A Mosquito’s Tweeter” – Nina Simone
One of my biggest fears is that I am funkier than a Mosquitos tweeter.

“Memorial” – Susanne Sundfør
I just discovered Susanne Sundfør. I don’t know if this is accurate, but it’s fun to say: She sounds like Kate Bush wrote a song for a Beyoncé/Annie Lennox cyborg hybrid, hired Abba as the backing band and the Knife as producer.

“We the People Who Are Darker Than” – Curtis Mayfield
Sad song and stupid how topical.

“War Machine” – Bill Fay
Simple message, on point, sung beautifully. I’ll be lucky if I get to be like Bill Fay when I’m old.

“Me at the Museum, You in the Winter Gardens” – Tiny Ruins
This is my favorite discovery from last year. Tiny Ruins is a tiny woman from New Zealand with songs that make me weep, inconsolaby. This song is beautiful and hits me square in the gut every time. It’s lyrical waxing on time + memory reminds me of Jim Guthrie, a perennial favorite.

“Dolphin” – Linda Perhacs
I love this song. Wish I were a dolphin, too.

“Something On Your Mind” – Karen Dalton
Heavy sadness. Makes me think about all the mistakes I’ve made.

“I Can’t Stand the Rain” – Tina Turner
I have a few blind spots in my listening history, and while I love the Anne Peebles version, I had no idea Tina Turner covered it (even though it was on the “Private Dancer” cassette which was on in my parents’ car all the time as a kid!). Anyway, the beat is incredible and Ms. Turner is the shit.

“Electric High” – Death Valley Girls
Pretty bad ass. Stooge-y, sludgey and swampy. They released this as a 7” last year. It’s great. Band names suck so hard these days, and this is one of the best ones going.