The Lemon Twigs talk great sibling-based acts!
The family that plays together, stays together. As long as music has graced our ears, there have been siblings that have united to create some of the most memorable songs and albums of all time. One of the latest acts in this long, long line is The Lemon Twigs – a psych-pop outfit fronted by the D’Addario brothers, Brian and Michael. When The Lemon Twigs were in town for Splendour in the Grass and some special sideshows we asked Brian to pick out some of his favourite familial songs for a playlist of great sibling-based acts.
The Beach Boys – We’re Together Again
I’ve been through so many Beach Boys phases. Because they have such a large body of work, every phase means I get into more and more albums that I hadn’t heard before. In the latest one, I got into some of the lesser-known ones – the ones without any hits or anything like that. A lot of them weren’t great overall, but there were so many great songs spread across them. People talk a lot about that vocal blend that comes with them having brothers and cousins in the mix. I don’t know if anyone has a more perfect blend than The Beach Boys. They’re huge for me and for Michael. I’ve seen Brian Wilson live twice before, and it was really fun. It was in the middle of my third huge Beach Boys phase. He had Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin with him, and his band is great.
The Louvin Brothers – There’s a Higher Power
Obviously, they had a big influence on the Everley Brothers. Those close kind of harmonies were a big part of the music that Michael and I listened to growing up – The Beatles is an obvious reference there. We’ve been trying to work that into a lot of our songs. I really like this song – they were the first country act that I’ve gotten into pretty heavily. It’d be nice to explore those sounds and those ideas a little bit more on the next album.
Bee Gees – Voices
My dad always liked the early Bee Gees – after the Beatles broke up, he wanted to find music that was as close to them as possible. I like all of their eras, and this is a track from a pretty transitional period for them. It’s the album before Main Course, which had a lot of their comeback hits on it. This record [Life in a Tin Can] was done with the same producer, and they’re starting to do more rnb, soul-influenced stuff. There’s also a lot of ballads on there, too. Michael and I think this one’s kind of influenced by Simon and Garfunkel. I love this song – Barry Gibb sings really well on it.
The Kinks – This Time Tomorrow
This song is just amazing. It seemed like it was written about being on the road, and the repetetive nature of it. The album [Lola vs. Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part 1] is a concept album about the music industry – getting ripped off and stuff like that. I was listening to it a lot when we were signing contracts and stuff, so I was kind of expecting to get ripped off at some point. There’s some incredible piano playing on this song. The arrangement is really pretty. Dave Davies sings a really powerful harmony on it, too – he’s a fantastic musician.
AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
This one is for Michael. He loves AC/DC. I like them, too; and I really like this song. Angus Young is a great guitar player. His stage presence is amazing. Bon Scott had the best voice for AC/DC – Michael and I both agree on that – but, of course, the guy that everybody knows is Brian Johnson. [pauses] He’s fine, though. I don’t wanna be putting any negativity out into the world.
Sparks – Falling in Love with Myself Again
We got into them pretty recently, so we don’t know all of their stuff. The albums we have heard, though – the early-to-mid-period stuff – are all records we really like. This one [Kimono My House] is probably the first one people get into when they’re discovering Sparks. I discovered it after we made our first record, and I definitely noticed a lot of similarities between the two of us. The way they infuse classical music into their work, turning them into pop songs… I think that’s really cool. It doesn’t come off as very proggy – it’s still very song-oriented. There’s a nice balance where the songs are complicated, but not too complicated. This song has a really interesting feel. It sounds really sinister, but it’s not trying too hard to be so.
Radiohead – A Wolf at the Door
It’s such a cool song – I don’t think I could write anything like it. Thom Yorke is almost rapping in this song. The arpeggios on the guitar sound really, really cool. The lyrics are amazing. It’s a really powerful closing song – it wraps up at the end beautifully when Thom goes into the falsetto. It’s a darker one, which is where I think Radiohead are at their best.
The Everly Brothers – Sigh, Cry, Almost Die
I picked this for similar reasons that I picked the last two tracks. You don’t really think of the Everly Brothers in this way… it’s kind of dark. It’s got haunting lyrics, and the song is in a minor key. I like this song a lot. They always had a really special way of matching the music exactly to the lyrics, and this is one of the best examples of that.
American Spring – Sweet Mountain
They were made up of two members of The Honeys: Marilyn [Wilson], who was Brian Wilson’s ex-wife; and her sister Diane [Rovell]. Brian produced them with a couple of other people, and he wrote some songs for them. He even reworked some of his songs for them, and he played on the record – you can hear him singing at the end here. Marilyn Wilson has a really nice voice – I think she’s featured on a Beach Boys song, but that’s sadly not on Spotify. Thankfully, I was able to pick that other Beach Boys song and share this one, as well.
The Clancy Brothers with Tommy Makem – William Bloat
My dad used to play with Tommy. He used to work at this restaurant and bar that Tommy owned, and that’s actually how our mum and him met – she was a waitress there. The Clancy Brothers were a band that were revered by all the folk singers – Dylan was a huge fan. I heard about them because of my dad, and they’re relaly good. This is a favourite song of Michael’s to sing. It’s one of our dad’s favourite songs, too. We played in Dublin recently, and we were gonna cover it; but Michael couldn’t remember all of the words in time for the show. We’re gonna practice it and play it the next time we’re there.
Listen via Spotify here