This Saturday is Heights Music Hop in Cleveland Heights and what better way to get jazzed for that than with a playlist from one of the bands featured? This playlist comes courtesy of folk-rockers Oldboy, which comprises Shawn Brewster (vocals/guitar), Mike Kinsella (bass), Pete Simon (guitar) and Shelby Sangdahl (cello). Check it out before you come see them–and a bunch of Cleveland’s best musicians on Saturday. Bonus? The Hop is free!


1. “Isobel” – Bjork

Shawn says: “I’ve had a love affair with Bjork since I heard “Human Behavior” in 1993 and even some older Sugarcubes songs. But this one has it all—the rhythm, the haunting backdrop, the layered cryptic lyrics. I believe out of all the records I’ve been obsessed with, Post has the record for most replays. And this song is the top one. I even named my guitar Isobel.”

2. “Don’t Worry Baby” – The Beach Boys

Shawn says: “I would love to say I had Pet Sounds or Endless Summer growing up. What I had were many “greatest hits” albums. The Beach Boys were the first “album” I bought as a kid. I would listen to them under my pillow at night. Years of hearing the surf rock may have watered them down for me now, but this song breaks my heart in an oddly uplifting way. You don’t say “don’t worry baby” unless you have to. Their harmonies will always be tops for me and why I love blending vocals in our music.”

3. “So. Central Rain” – REM

Mike says: “My brother brought this single home and I remember the world stopped spinning for a few moments. I thought, what is this? It’s Southern, yet it’s strangely cool; it’s haunting and beautiful and cryptic and cathartic, all in one, like a beautiful piece of visual art that was left for the viewer to interpret/embrace. I then listened to the whole record and the mood covered the whole album—dark and beautiful.”

4. “The Recluse” – Cursive

Shelby says: “Being a heavier band, one wouldn’t expect cello to fit so well. I really think the cello brings out the emotion of lyrics in this band which is what try to do for Oldboy. I also love how there’s another cellist playing cello-rock.”

5. “E-Bow the Letter” – REM

Shawn says: “Mike and I share a love of REM. I came late to the party and this is not considered their best song, but I will never forget standing in my bedroom as I heard this song on the radio for the first time. This wasn’t just a song, it was love, mourning of death, the haunting sound of the e-bow…his cadence and visual lyrics absolutely stay with me still. I stared at the dial for all 5 minutes and 22 seconds. I knew then that I had music in me that had to get out.”

6. “Eleanor Rigby” – The Beatles

Mike says: “My mom bought this for my brother and me and it’s funny because she has zero taste in music, but she nailed it with this one! Experimental, cryptic, dynamic and filled with haunting yet beautiful vocal harmonies…My taste for bittersweet music and outside-of-the-box songwriting started then and continues to this day.”

7. “Falling Through the Roof” – Horse Feathers 

Shelby says: “I love the strings in band but I particularly love how the cello adds dissonance and emotion in this song. The cello can be very pretty, but also a bit on the aggressive side. I try to add a good mix to our band.”

8. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” – The Beatles

Pete says: “You have the song writing genius of the Beatles and the phenomenal musicianship of Eric Clapton pouring all his emotion into every note.”

9. “Saeglopur” – Sigur Ros

Shawn says: “For me, this is what I consider the perfect song. Nothing is better than when drums are perfect in a song. Like John Bonham’s drums in Kashmir. But without the beginning—the tension, the swell—they wouldn’t lift you off the ground when they hit. When they stop, you feel as if you are jumping off a cliff surrounded by layers and layers of music and you have never felt more safe as you fall. Every note of this song fills me with emotion.”

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