For this last MailTape before our summer break, we welcome Damon McMahan, songwriter and New York-based founder of Amen Dunes.
In 2006, he locked himself in an isolated trailer and within a month, recorded his first album, “D.I.A“. Since then, critics haven’t seemed to reach a common agreement about how to categorise his music: mutant folk, dark psyche, post-modern soul, cosmic rock… but whatever. It has been consistently exciting to see the band evolve over the years.
In March 2018, Damon McMahan released his 5th LP and was no longer alone. Far away from his beautiful but claustrophobic debut album, “Freedom” is an adventurous and outward record that he produced surrounded with musicians and friends: Chris Coady (Beach House), Panoram, Parker Kindred (Antony and The Johnsons), Delicate Steve…
Amen Dunes’ selection
Beethoven - 6th Symphony
Damon McMahan: “I’d never fully embraced classical music, still haven’t, but this year had my mind blown by Beethoven in particular the 6th. Follows the arc of a summer storm. Insane and magical.“
The Future Sound of London - Just a Fuckin Idiot
Damon McMahan: “Was my soundtrack going to clubs as a kid. Drug music for sure, Sunday mornings when you’ve been up all night.“
Neil Diamond - Cherry Cherry
Damon McMahan: “No one pays attention but he’s like Scott Walker. The piano and bass and drum grooves are so heavy. On my mind this year.“
Amen Dunes - Bedroom Drums
Charlotte: “With my friends we sometimes organize concerts, and each night before I’m so stressed that I could bite my nails down to the bones without noticing it, wondering to myself why I am actually doing this. But there are moments that make the whole mess worth it. And yes, to see Amen Dunes playing ‘Bedroom Drums’ was definitely one of them.“
Tonstartssbandht - 5FT7
Charlotte: “I discovered this track in “Palo Alto” several years ago. I remember I was curious to see it because it was the Gia Coppola’s 1st film (the granddaughter of Francis Ford) as a director. I also remember that I found this song totally fantastic. Actually, this is all that comes to my mind when I try to recall this movie. I’m sorry Gia.“
Sons of Kemet - My Queen Is Harriet Tubman
Charlotte: “There was a time when jazz was mostly for me a snobbish music that I stupidly forced myself to enjoy during my first year of studies, in order to impress an obscure guy (for the record it didn’t work). But musicians like Shabaka Hutchings, virtuoso saxophone player and leader of Sons of Kemet, can make you change your point of view, particularly with this kind of track.“
Lee Hazlewood - Your Sweet Love
Charlotte: “When I listen this song, I feel like Elizabeth Taylor. With brown eyes.“
That’s all for this morning. Thanks for listening and much gratitude to Damon McMahan for being our guest this week and to Pierre-Julien Fieux for this episode’s illustration!