CocktailsPhoto: Jenn Dorn Heard

Cocktails’ Adult Life is one of my favorite releases of the year, and in my recent interview with frontman Patrick Clos, he mentioned some interesting influences. Since he’s such a nice guy, Pat compiled a Spotify playlist of tracks he “found somewhat influential or even just dig in some cases, and obviously don’t represent everyone’s taste in the band.” The list is below followed by Pat’s thoughts on some of the tracks, along with Cocktails’ latest video for the track “Adult Life”, which premiered on Spin last week. Cocktails performs Friday Night at the Hemlock with Zodiac Death Valley and O Presidente.

“Almost Saturday Night” – Dave Edmunds: This one is Edmunds on Fogerty. He’s a monster guitar player and a great vocalist. I love how tight his harmony with himself is throughout, and this is also just a cool ass song about going to the rodeo. Total jam. We covered it for a minute.

“Pine Away” – Superdrag: This is a great Teenage Fanclub-esque mid-tempo burner. The album as a whole is pretty underrated, as they’re known mostly as a one-hit-wonder band, but they have some great tunes that hold up for me.

“Do It Again” – The Beach Boys: For awhile I thought there was this connotation that post-Pet Sounds Beach Boys was generally garbage and not respected by rock critics. I think now with the internet sort of telling people what to like and such, that’s no longer the case, but anyway, there’s plenty of gems to be discovered when you dig deep into Smiley-Smile through Surfs-Up.. This one is Mike Love enforcing his will to do a throw-back style BB’s jam on 20/20 – but it was 1969, and probably didn’t make any sense. Brian Wilson was all over that perfect bridge though, and it makes me feel like I’m on whatever they were on at the time in like Brothers Studio when I hear it. “No Blondes” is sort of a play on the kind of idealized California they’re singing about here.

“Survival Car” – Fountains of Wayne: Another band that wrote some great pop jams in the 90s. I spun this disc a lot. “Radiation Vibe,” “Sink To The Bottom,” all these are hits. They make you want to bop around – and that’s the way to do it if you’re playing in a pop band.

“They Call Me Leaves” – Wolfie: I loved the first couple records by this obscure (and super dorky) late ’90s / early ’00s pop band. You don’t have to be great musicians to write great tunes. They embodied that, and it rules! Girl / Boy vocals, cheap synths, sloppy pop songs. I emailed one of their songwriters for fun and was like, “Yo, I love your old band. Check out this jam I wrote with you guys in mind.” I didn’t think he’d respond, but he did and was a super cool (at least via email at least) and was really stoked that I hit him up to tell him that. I’m also pretty sure I’m the ONLY person that’s ever listed Wolfie as an influence, lol, that’s a shame.

“Beers Ago” – Toby Keith: There’s always been a strong connection between power pop and country twang (see Edmunds), but something got weird with modern country at some point not too long ago, when I realized there’s a lot of songs that are basically power pop jams but with glossy Nashville production and a country-bumpkin accent. The lyrical content is obviously different in that they’re usually singing about being country and such, but this one is something more relatable – measuring time by how many beers you’ve chugged over the years. It’s brilliant, and it’s got that workin’-man “we don’t got much, but we got this, so we’re happy” Springsteen quality to it.

“Living Around” – The Promise Ring: I’m not really into the idea of an emo-revival, as most of the stuff is probably better left on any midwest college campus, but I do bust this Promise Ring record out occasionally, and for more than just nostalgic purposes – I think these are smart, rockin, pop jams.

Zodiac Death Valley, Cocktails, O Presidente
Hemlock Tavern
August 22, 2014
9pm, $7