The actor, 38, wrote, directed, and stars in Liberal Arts, in theaters now, and returns to How I Met Your Mother on Sept. 24 (CBS, 8 p.m.). Read on to find out what’s been in his earbuds lately.
• LOST IN THE TREES, A CHURCH THAT FITS OUR NEEDS
“A friend turned me on to this band from Chapel Hill called Lost in the Trees. You know them? I’ve been listening to both of their last two albums. Their last one is called A Church that Fits Our Needs, which I think is an amazing title, and the other one’s called All Alone in an Empty House. The later one is about the lead singer’s mother’s suicide, so I would say, don’t listen if you’re in a fragile mood.
“The music is just gorgeous and tragic and also somehow so beautiful, and kind of weirdly invigorating all at the same time. And it’s very lush and there’s a lot of orchestral flourishes, there’s a lot of strings in it, which I really love. And on the earlier album, All Alone, there are these two movements that just feel like modern-day classical, if that’s a term that one could use. But clearly the guy knows classical music, and I just think both of these albums are really worth a listen.”
• MICHAEL KIWANUKA, HOME AGAIN
“I’m really liking this Michael Kiwanuka record. I think it’s fantastic. I always go to this song called “I’ll Get Along” which puts me in a great mood immediately. But the whole album’s fantastic. It feels like you can clearly hear his influences, Otis Redding and stuff like that, and it feels both kind of old and new at once. It’s been a really nice record to kind of put on at the house and kind of go on with your day as it’s playing.”
• FATHER JOHN MISTY, FEAR FUN
“I’ve been totally loving Father John Misty. I saw him last week play a short set in LA. I love the opening track “Funtimes in Babylon,” although the whole album’s great. But there’s that lyric that’s really odd where he says ‘I would like to abuse my lungs, smoke everything in sight with every girl I’ve ever loved.’ Just musically what he’s doing there is incredible. You hear ‘the drummer for Fleet Foxes’ but he’s just got an incredible voice and is a great songwriter. He’s also just a really strange, fun character to watch on stage.”
• ÓLAFUR ARNALDS, …AND THEY HAVE ESCAPED THE WEIGHT OF DARKNESS
“He’s an Icelandic composer. If you like Sigur Rós, I suspect you would like this — it’s very lush and orchestral… It’s one of my favorite albums to write to, because it’s all instrumental, there’s no lyrics. It’s just really beautiful, haunting. I actually find Scandinavia to be turning out some of the best music.”
• CLOUD CULT, THE MEANING OF 8 AND FEEL GOOD GHOSTS
“They’re amazing, probably my favorite American band. I put a song of theirs in my first movie, Happythankyoumoreplease. What I love about them is they’re just incredibly optimistic, there’s a kind of seriously transcendent quality to their music — something kind of triumphant. They have a bunch of amazing records, and they’re also incredible live. But yeah, that’s a band that if people are looking to be turned on to something new, I always steer them there.”