Talkhouse Playlist: Thom Sonny Green (alt-J) Celebrates His Debut Solo Record

Check out the alt–J drummer's beat-heavy picks.

While on the road as alt-J’s drummer, Thom Sonny Green spent two years working on his debut solo LP, High Anxiety. To celebrate  its release, he made us this playlist full of artists he admires, songs that influenced his experimental, hip-hop-infused record, and more tracks he discovered along the way. Give it a listen, and check out High Anxiety, out now via Canvasback/Sudden Records.
–Dave Lucas, Talkhouse marketing manager

Death Grips – “Runway J”

I’m so into Death Grips right now. Their last three releases have been of such quality, it’s scary. They continue to innovate electronic music whilst keeping the quality. They way they operate as a band is really inspiring. I don’t even know how they create most of their sounds, but, for me, it’s a great balance of punishing beats with really interesting melodies.

Gojira – “Stranded”

Big fan of the new album, Magma. I will always be a fan of metal and Gojira will always be a go-to for me. This new release feels a little more melodic and less about sheer brutality, but it works. There are even moments that remind me of older grunge/rock guitar playing.

Skrillex and Vic Mensa – “No Chill”

One of the best producers there is. Obviously, Skrillex continues to prove that he’s not only technically brilliant, but also able to write really killer beats. He’s one of the best drummers around, without playing a kit. The gritty vocal from Vic Mensa on this track goes really well with Sonny’s clean production, adding a lot of depth.

Aphex Twin – “2X202 – ST5”

I’m a latecomer to Aphex Twin, but I’m really starting to appreciate his work, especially his latest EP, Cheetah. I like how mellow it is, but still kind of weird.

Dawn of Midi – “Nix”

I heard about this band recently when I saw that they’ll be supporting Radiohead in the U.S. Being a Radiohead fan, I thought I’d better have a listen. I really like this album, Dysnomia. It reminds me of the UK band Portico. It’s very relaxing and emotive music. I feel like there will always be a place for sophisticated songwriting and I’m glad that I now have this band’s music to look to when I need it most.

Clams Casino – “Blast”

This album has been highly anticipated by a lot of people, including me. His three instrumental mixtapes have been hugely influential on my own production. I’m so glad this album is what it is. Clams has remained focused, despite becoming a very popular and sought-after producer. This album is very well-written, the beats are interesting and Clams has pushed his sound in many different directions. It’s a real sign of talent that he’s been able to look at what he’s doing and to question it and improve upon it.

Elon Katz – “The Rhino Powder of New Sensitivity”

This is such a weird track in the best way. It’s so interesting that the sounds are almost organic sounding because they’re so unfamiliar. I don’t know how this was made and that’s why I like it. It is exciting to know that there are people making such new sounds like this. I kind of feel like I’m in the future when I’m listening to Elon Katz; it’s really cool. The video makes me want to curl into a ball on the floor, but that’s cool, too.

Good Sad Happy Bad – “Mash One”

I grew up listening to pretty much exclusively grunge, Nirvana being my main obsession. I’m not sure whether GSHB would consider themselves grunge, but for me this new track is totally grunge and in the best way. It’s very pure and expressive. I was lucky enough to see the band this year in London and it was maybe the best show I’ve ever seen. They were so guttural, playing almost like a metal band, which I don’t think anyone expected. That made for a euphoric experience for me. I think I will always have grunge in my blood, and I’m so into this new sound from GSHB.

Anohni – “4 Degrees”

I remember seeing a lot of people talking about this track on my Twitter feed at the time of its release and thinking, “Who is this?” I gave it a listen and I was pretty blown away. There’s so much power behind Anohni’s voice and so much emotion combined with the quite disturbing lyrics. There isn’t one track on the album that I don’t like.

Brother May – “Favourite Song”

The beat on this track really appealed to me. I ended up listening to it a good ten times in a row, I think. I really love the lo-fi production style from Mica Levi. The EP has a sound that makes me wonder if it was all recorded live in just a few takes. I hope so. I really like the idea of just recording and not overthinking. I’m looking forward to hearing more.