Indie songs produced for fashion lines are as common as Converse sneakers these days, but Ray-Ban's "Raw Sounds" project landed a legend: Johnny Marr.
According to Spin, the former Smiths guitarist was asked to pick four younger acts and provide them with five pieces of inspiration. The result? New tracks from Best Coast, Au Revoir Simone, Tom Vek and Mona that draw upon an original poem, a photograph, an instumental piece, a vintage map of New York and a Friedrich Schiller quote, "Keep true to the dreams of your youth."
"I just looked around my studio and life and took the parts of my world that are of interest to me, and then rolled with it," Marr told Spin.
He tried to stay similarly diverse with the artists he chose.
"Because I picked Au Revoir and Best Coast, I thought Mona would represent the other side," he said. "Mona provide something that wasn't East Coast vs. West Coast, and there's no mistaking that they're boys. They've got a good mix of manliness and poetic style."
As for Best Coast, now heading back to the studio with producer Jon Brion for the band's sophomore LP, Marr said, "I like good pop songs wrapped up in a garage sound."
Marr's own good pop songs got the reissue treatment earlier this month with the release of "The Smiths Complete - Deluxe Collectors Box Set" on Rhino Records, which included remastered editions of the departed band's full discography. Less expansive CD and vinyl sets were also made available.
The guitarist, who also designed a pair of sunglasses with Ray-Ban, celebrated the collaboration with a New York party last Thursday.
Hear the four Ray-Ban songs at Spin.