The first season finale of ABC’s hit primetime soap Revenge featured an excellent use of Florence + the Machine’s “Seven Devils,” and that good taste extends to more than just the show’s music supervisor, Season Kent.
Gabriel Mann — a.k.a. the show’s tousle-haired billionaire/amateur trouble-shooter Nolan Ross — and other members of the cast can often be spotted at concerts all around Los Angeles, or trading mixes with each other between takes.
In fact, Mann is one of the most enthusiastic, music-blog-knowledgeable stars ever to talk to EW for our regular On My iPod feature. Check out his impressive list below.
Alt-J, “Slow Dre”
“It’s just a killer. I think it’s the best thing I’ve heard out there recently. That one is getting burned to death on my playlist.”
Bear in Heaven, “Sinful Nature”
“This album is probably top five for me in 2012, maybe even top three. I like the whole record, but particularly the song ‘Sinful Nature,’ which has a very twisted video. It has a Pretty Woman concept behind it, except everyone is melting. Like, Julia Roberts is melting! It’s great.”
Youngblood Hawke, “We Come Running”
“In terms of something a little more poppy, I’m definitely bobbing my head to this one. It mashes up a whole bunch of different kind of sounds: There’s a poppy emo thing with a kind of low-fi bloggy thing. I don’t know, that particular song really feels like a stroke of genius. And it’s just a good name! You don’t even need to listen to the song, just drop the band’s name and you’re good.”
The XX, Coexist
“I find that it is definitely a bookend to their first album, but the simplicity and beauty of the songwriting is incredibly effective. Whatever they have discovered in the way that they like to make music—it’s just the sexiest record ever.”
Lana Del Rey, Born to Die
“To bookend that sexiness, the next one is Lana Del Rey. I was on the Lana Del Rey train back with the whole blog rollout of ‘Video Games.’ Is she the new Nancy Sinatra, but sexier even? At first, people wondered if she was maybe a singles artist, but it’s just such a huge roll out of all these run-off tracks, and all of that ends up leading me back to the record, along with 220 million remixes of every song. Having many years ago been a DJ in New York, that’s something I’m definitely drawn to. I love this bedroom laptop remixing culture.
She describes her sound is ‘Hollywood slowcore,’ whatever you want to make of that, but it kind of makes sense. Everything is very dark, but she has the sweetest voice. I find the juxtaposition of those two things very effective. And I love her cover of ‘Blue Velvet,’ and I’ve got 20 remixes of that too. I am constantly impressed by her, and I think she is single-handedly bringing back the long-form music video. “Ride” is great, and there’s something really fearless about her. In ‘National Anthem,’ she’s got the gangsta nails, but she’s done up like Jackie O. It’s incredible.”
Brad Sucks, “Making Me Nervous”
“You should Hype Machine this immediately! Hype Machine is like a running Facebook timeline of every new song that comes out on every music blog, and it has basically changed my musical landscape, because you get privy to things you would have never had an opportunity to hear, one-off singles, amazing mash-ups, covers.”
Mt. Eden, “Oh That I Had”
“This is my foray into dubstep land. It’s really classy production. I know certain DJs have become disillusioned with dubstep and have started to call it bro-step, but it’s not so much bro-step. It’s a lot more dream-step. It’s that dream-step sound. Let’s go with that.”
School of Seven Bells, “Kiss Them For Me”
“This last record was rocking my world pretty hard, and it was such a treat to get this one-off b-side cover of a song I loved when it first came out, and I’m old enough to remember when Siouxsie and the Banshees first put it out. My buddy and I were saying, ‘Where is Siouxsie Sioux?’ I figure there’s no way she can maintain that spiked up hair and all that make-up. But then again, Robert Smith from the Cure still does the same thing. He’s still at any given show with smeared lipstick and hair straight out of ten days in bed. Wherever you are, Siouxisie Sioux, I sincerely hope you’re doing very well, and thank you for letting School of Seven Bells cover this song.”
Music from Nashville
“It’s been so phenomenal. It’s not a surprise, having T-Bone Burnett as their music producer. The guy is utterly brilliant. I had the good fortune of getting to work with him—he produced a couple of songs I sang in a Wim Wenders movie (Don’t Come Knocking) a couple of years back. He’s truly a genius. That’s an overused cliché word, but that guy is a genius. I find myself downloading all the songs after every episode. It’s not pop-country so much. A lot of it is dark—it has that Handsome Family kind of feel, with a lot of minor chords. But that’s T-Bone. To have that incorporated into this big pop culture moment is pretty great.”
Yeasayer, Fragrant World
“This is definitely top three of 2012 for me. I think it’s their best record. I was talking to [costar] Connor Paolo from our show, and he had been a big Yeasayer fan, and he got the new record. And he was like, ‘Yeah, I guess it’s cool.’ But it bears repeated listening. If you let it play through, you really start to pick up on the complexity and the arrangements. They’re going everywhere with that record! The tonal changes, the chord changes, I just think it’s utterly brilliant. ‘Glass of the Microscope’ is my favorite, but every song is pretty great. For anybody who hasn’t jumped on the Yeasayer train, spin it three times in a row and tell me it isn’t their best record.”
For your listening pleasure, we’ve gone ahead and compiled Mann’s iPod selections into a convenient Spotify playlist below. (Unfortunately, his first Alt-J pick wasn’t available, but we took the liberty of subbing in the Mercury Prize-winning band’s “Breezeblocks” instead.) Enjoy!