Jim Guthrie – “Dark Flute”

Year: 2011

Album: Sword & Sworcery LP soundtrack

Last week there was a great Verge profile on Sword & Sworcery LP, a mobile game celebrating its five-year anniversary which Andrew Webster fittingly called a weird and beautiful game.

The game, created by Toronto artist and game designer Craig D. Adams, was a blend of pixel art and Zelda-like puzzles that felt like a throwback to old-school console gaming while also embracing the modern, self-aware aesthetic of mobile games that are now being played on devices that are just as, if not more, powerful than your old NES. It’s a game that could have only been made in the Internet age; It even embraced Twitter-like dialogue, with everything delivered in under 140 snarky characters (you could even tweet your progress using the hashtag #sworcery, but that’s a bit overkill).

One of the game’s notable strengths is its original score, composed by musician Jim Guthrie. The music creates a memorable mood for a game that focuses on the feeling of living in another world instead of simply playing through. The standalone soundtrack is great, but the real joy is hearing the music played whenever you interact with the pixel world. Everything you touch, press, hit, etc creates sound that plays along to the backing track of whatever surrounding you’re in. This doesn’t sound like much, but it’s 8-bit melodic beauty that I haven’t encountered in any other gaming experience.

I recommend checking out the game, and right now it’s $2 on the app store.

Friday Mixtape (September 4, 2015)


(GIF by Nolan J. Downs)

Throughout the week I keep track of all the new songs that I hear and love and every friday I put them all here. Most of these songs are brand new, but sometimes I’ll miss a song from before and finally hear it this week.

Shunkan – “The Pink Noise”

Sweet vocals and noisy guitars go well together in this track by New Zealand band Shunkan. They were just featured in Spin and they will likely be making more headlines when their new album comes out November 20th via Art Is Hard.


B.Miles – “Salt”

B. Miles is a Los Angeles musician, which makes sense given that her dark and sultry vocals pair well with the LA sunshine. But “Salt” is a great song, and it even sounds good in NYC or anywhere else. Make sure to check out the rest of her work.


When Nalda became punk – “Song for Carrie Mathison”

This song came out last year, but it still sounds great. I especially love the album cover. Good for Carrie Mathison.


The Flatmates – “When You Were Mine”

Any band that can turn a Prince song into a UK garage sing-a-long is a winner in my book.

Car Seat Headrest – “Something Soon”

I’m hearing a lot of Guided By Voices comparisons with this Will Toledo project, which totally makes sense. However, what I’m hearing here is more of a lo-fi Killers, which to me is even more special.


The Wanda Junes – “River Baby”

Emotional Response calls this Tucson band “country psyche desert darlings”. I would also throw in that they sound like the perfect New Orleans house band.

La Misma – “Kanizadi”

I have no idea what she’s saying, but that’s ok. With loud noises like this, we’ll all be ok.

Jim Guthrie – “So Small”

This is actually the remastered cut from the 10 year anniversary release of Guthrie’s Now, More Than Ever, which is an album that I’m glad I’m hearing even a decade late.


sports. – “Words That Rhyme With Different, etc.”

The vocals and guitars remind me of the many great emocore revival bands dominating 2015, but sports. manages to rise above the cookie-cutter mix by adding actual guitar riffs and a lot more energy.



So I’m actually heading out of town this weekend, so Headphone Nation is off all of next week. Posts will resume September 15th. Enjoy the holiday!