13.08.13

The 10 best tracks for the night bus, according to CYMBALS

London-based, rough-around-the-edges art pop band CYMBALS have long been a favourite in the Dummy office, and their scruffy vocals, trotting basslines and erratic synths make their music the stuff of clumsy late-night antics and wayward wanders home. This summer the group released their new single The End, a dancefloor sparkler that dwells, in both French and English, on the looming inevitability of the end of the night, and all the exhaustion, regret and questions that time can bring. To celebrate the release, vocalist Jack Cleverly offered to compile us a list of his musical staples for the night bus home, and we of course complied: scroll on for a peek into a twilight band's twilight influences, and remember this playlist next time you find yourself heading home as the sun peeks out of the sky. 

Jack Cleverly: When I was 16/17, there was a night bus that I used to get home (I could never afford a cab back like some of my friends) from Hotel de Ville in the centre of Paris to where I lived in the 19th Arrondissement, Belleville, that basically zigzagged all the way through town and took ages for what should have been a really short trip. It was kind of a carnival, but I used to put headphones on and replace all the noise with music. Since then, whether walking home or riding London nightbuses home alone after going out and seeing friends, there's always a particular kind of music you want to hear at that time.

  1. John Maus – Do Your Best
    Cleverly: A slightly messed-up anthemic chorus.
  2. Matthew Dear – Deserter
    Cleverly: This is a few years old and I haven't listened to it for a while, but when I was thinking of this list I came across it again and feel like it was written for the walk home.
  3. Crystal Castles – Tell Me What To Swallow
    Cleverly: The song off that album that has lasted for me. There's an amazing slo-mo disco scene featuring this song in Xavier Dolan's J'ai Tue Ma Mere.
  4. Yo La Tengo – Blue Green Arrow
    Cleverly: For me this is one of the things Yo La Tengo do best, these long warm live jams. It could have been a number of tracks (Damage another contender). I guess they're quite cinematic.
  5. Charlotte Gainsbourg – Night-Time Intermission
    Cleverly: Her British (rather than American) French accent just feels familiar. It makes me think of school (by some twist of fate I ended up going to the same school as her, not at the same time of course).This track was produced by Air and co-written with Jarvis Cocker, so you can't really go wrong.  There's a great out-of-sync call and response running through the middle section.
  6. YACHT – Psychic City (Classixx remix)
    Cleverly: Just one of the best remixes of the last decade, of an already great song. It's just that little bit softer and slower than a dance floor beat, perfect to wind down to.
  7. Electrelane – You Make Me Weak At The Knees
    Cleverly: I love simplicity in music. A piano and a drum kit is all you really need. This song just makes me think of my wife and smile.
  8. Jens Lekman – At The Department of Forgotten Songs
    Cleverly: Another romantic one, I don't think the lyrics are too important (although they're actually great), it's more about the tone of this song. This was one of the five CDs we took on honeymoon, so it just contains memories for me, but it's the kind of song that welcomes memories I think.
  9. Cat Power – Manhattan
    Cleverly: Again, super simple but perfect. Especially when she starts talking about a heartbeat and you realise that's what the beat is.
  10. John Talabot (feat. Pional) – So Will Be Now
    Cleverly: I'm more of a fan of Pional, really. I think they just know what a good bass line is and how to tease it in, without you even realising.

Tough Love released The End on the 4th June 2013; hear it here.