Magazine – The Correct Use of Soap
Jake: I got really into Magazine a couple of years ago, when I used to commute around London a lot, and The Correct Use of Soap is definitely my favorite thing they’ve done. There’s a track called The Light Pours Out of Me that has one of the best basslines ever recorded, and the album name is extremely relevant for the times as well! – Jake
The Replacements – Tim
Jake: The Replacements are one of those bands that deserved to be much bigger than they were. Tim is a fantastic album though, managing to sound scrappy and wild, whilst also giving off vibes of Springstein and more poppy acts of the era. Swingin Party has this chorus that I haven’t quite ever been able to get out of my head since I first heard it. You should definitely check them out if you haven’t heard them yet.
The Maccabees – Given to the Wild
Jake: Given to the Wild might be as close to a perfect album as you can get. When it released, indie was winding down, and many bands were going in a more poppy or dancey direction to cash in before things fell apart. The Maccabees doubled down on smart, carefully constructed indie, and the result sounds unlike anything the band or any of their peers had put out to date. I can never just listen to one track on it, I always end up blasting through the whole thing every time.
Wire – 154
Jake: Wire are such an influential band to me, and it’s mad that they’re still going after almost 50 years as a band. They’re the band that got me interested in punk as a genre, which is weird because they actually draw from a much wider pool of sounds. They have this way of mixing up their sound with each album, cherry-picking sounds from the era each one releases in. 154 is one of their best, with jagged punk guitars and the lightning-fast ‘Map Ref. 41°N 93°W.’ Wire’s back-catalogue is pretty dense, but 154 is a really good place to start, and I’m pretty sure the first album of theirs I heard.
Japanese Breakfast – Psychopomp
Ed: A couple of years ago, I was working a soul-destroying job in a data entry centre. We were allowed to listen to music with headphones in – I had this album on repeat. There have been so many really amazing North American indie bands releasing amazing albums over the last few years – TOPS, Mild High Club, SALES, Big Thief, Part Time, Jay Som, Weyes Blood. This album represents the moment I really got into ‘new-ish’ music, after wallowing in the older stuff
for years. It was a time I started asking for help – from friends, through meds and by starting therapy. So, this album for me represents loss and new beginnings. It’s a completely mesmerising album – ‘In Heaven’ and ‘Heft’ in particular.
The Clash – Give ‘Em Enough Rope
Ed: When I was around 15, my friend lent me this album. It opened the door for me into punk, post-punk, indie, shoegaze… I’m not from a musical family, so being able to hear these decades-old albums for the first time was brilliant. The Cure, Joy Division, My Bloody Valentine, the Smiths, Jesus and Mary Chain, Wire, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Slowdive, New Order, Gang of Four… it felt like I’d just found a treasure trove of amazing songs, like someone had let me into a secret. A kid in a sweet shop. I’m not the type to say “music was better before”, because there was rubbish back then too. And there’s more to choose from. But there’s nothing I love more than ‘discovering’ an well-known older band I’ve somehow managed to not hear before.
Weyes Blood – Titanic Rising
Ed: An instant classic. I’d been listening to Weyes Blood’s earlier stuff for a few years – so when Titanic Rising came out, I made sure I sat down and listened to it all the way through. Usually, it takes me a few listens to really get into an album. But I loved this one from the first time I heard it. For me, it’s probably the best album of the last few years.
The Smiths – The Queen is Dead (Deluxe Edition)
Darrell: When I first heard the Smiths, I didn’t like them as I was 9 and listening to trance music and Craig David. When I heard the Queen is Dead, specifically the live recordings, I was blown away by how perfect (to my ears) a live band could sound. Intricate, melodic, and let’s face it some of the best guitar lines ever played, flawlessly spot-on drums, bass and sonics to match. When rehearsing, this is often what we aim for.
The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Darrell: I love how this record sounds in headphones. I can’t help but intensely listen to every single detail in the encapsulating soundscape, it’s definitely not background music for me. The first time I heard it, I was trying to sleep in a room full of friends after a heavy night out. Everyone else seemingly in a blissful state of sleep, me having my first (beautifully scored) anxiety attack. It was horrible but amazing and if I’m honest completely indescribable all at the same time. A journey I’ll never forget riding the quirky-yet-classic electronic acoustic soundscape roller coaster.
St. Vincent – St. Vincent
Darrell: Fantastically catchy and weird, this record brings together so many elements of music I love. Quirky, interesting beats, immediate but sometimes haunting melodies, synths, melodic guitars the list goes on. I think St. Vincent has carved something really special, music that is really unique and out there but also so familiar. Again, this record holds a special place for me as I listened to it alongside her live performances every night in a pretty dark chapter in my life, Cheers St. V.