Welcome to #TBT Mixtape, Billboard‘s series that showcases artists’ very own throwback-themed playlists exclusive to Billboard‘s Spotify account. The curated set features the artists’ favorite tracks from their youth and childhood.
This week’s edition comes from Cheerleader. The Philadelphia indie rockers — comprised of Joseph Haller, Paul Impellizeri, Joshua Pannepacker, and Sean Donaghy — are set to drop their sophomore album, Almost Forever, on Friday via Bright Antenna (The Wombats, Sports Team). The release was preceded by early singles including “Bang, Bang,” and “Chimera,” which earned support from XPN and SiriusXM’s Alt Nation. The album was recorded alongside producer Chris Coady (Beach House, Future Islands) at Panoramic Studio in Stinson Beach, California and Sunset Sound in Los Angeles and follows their 2015 debut LP The Sunshine of Your Youth.
The band’s new video for the record’s next radio single, “Things We Regret,” premieres today, exclusively via Billboard.
“To hear this album fully realized, let alone released — I couldn’t have imagined it four years ago,” says singer Joseph Haller, who nearly quit the project during the interim between records. “I had hit a wall, just physically and mentally exhausted, and I was at a point where I could not continue to tour. And even if I could, I was not in a state where I would have been able to do the songs from Sunshine any justice.”
After two full years of writing/recording, the band is in the midst of a sonic rebirth. “I think this record will surprise a lot of people who only know us from our older songs,” he adds. “I can still hardly believe the album exists given everything we’ve been through — and I feel incredibly fortunate that it does.”
To help usher in their new era, Cheerleader curated this week’s #TBT Mixtape to give fans a taste of their shared influences and music discovery. The set includes cuts by The Pixies, Nirvana, Cream, Ween and others. Give the playlist a spin and check out some throwback pics of the band, plus an exclusive reflection by frontman Joe Haller, below.
“I wanted to kick this playlist off with a song from a band that loomed particularly large in my life at Cheerleader’s inception: The Pixies. I really fell hard for “Doolittle” during my first year of college. Frank Black’s oddball lyrics and smart but quirky song-writing, Joey Santiago’s face-melting guitar-work, Kim Deal’s haunting harmony, and David Lovering’s trashy blown out drums — to me, they had it all. This band really opened my eyes to the weird and wonderful world of indie-rock. If any one thing inspired me to take song-writing seriously, it was The Pixies.
Of course, any musician that has been playing long enough likely has influences that span decades and genres. Cheerleader didn’t get together until we were all in our 20s, and at that point we had all developed our own tastes and predispositions. Growing up in different parts of the country, and having a number of years age-gap between our youngest and oldest members, we all bring something different to the table in terms of influences.
As this playlist makes obvious, we’re all big fans of guitar driven rock music – this influence unites us. Though there is a significant amount of crossover in terms of big influences (The Beatles, Nirvana, The Strokes), we felt this list gave a broad understanding of where we’re all coming from musically. Of course, this list could go on and on, and we’re sure we’re forgetting bands that have been very influential or important to us. Hope you enjoy this window into our world.”