We decided to list our top ten albums and over the coming weeks we’ll be doing the countdown starting from number 10.
Alex – ‘I Should Coco’ – Supergrass
I was 14 when Supergrass released ‘I Should Coco’, the perfect age to be taken in by big, brash record company marketing campaigns. I was a sucker for the flares, the side-burns and the fact that they looked like a family of monkeys. But as I began to listen to the album I became aware of something much deeper going on beneath the shiny veneer. It felt like an innate understanding of rock music and a songwriting maturity way beyond their years. Gaz Coombes was probably the first rock star of my era that I aspired to emulate.
I particularly remember ‘Caught by the Fuzz’ being highly compelling for me around this age as it is a song about a 16 year old Coombes being caught with some weed and getting in trouble with the police – I imagine that would have embodied one of my worst fears around this time.
I’ve chosen ‘Sofa (of my lethargy)’ because of it’s downright, dreamy beauty but also because it reminds me of late summer afternoons watching the sun go down over the horizon of the English Channel.
Tom – Drawn to the Deep End – Gene
This provided me with the soundtrack to my first year at Uni and also opened up a whole plethora of new music to listen to through the people I met that year. A group of us used to huddle in a small, dank halls-of-residents style room and let this album wash all over our brains. I think nearly every mix tape I’ve made since has featured Gene in some way or another, more often that not with songs off this album.
Before I started writing this I never knew this album was released on Valentines Day in 1997. I never knew also that when it came out it received a pretty poor reception and they were dropped from their label only 3 years later. Originally two music journalists were so excited about this band that they quit their jobs, started a label and helped Gene get their first EP out there. Martin Rossiter’s vocals & guitar on this album are often breathtaking. I point you to the heart wrenching “NOOOOO” in Speak to me Someone, and the distortion kicking in on We Could Be Kings after the line “The shell’s must break so… “. Brilliant. The transition from We Could Be Kings to the next track Why I was born is also a highlight.
Other highlights include the New Amusements (1) and Sub Rosa (12) having a similar sound – Sub Rosa almost being a part 2 to the first song. This is something we did on ‘I am the Tide’ – with 1995 born out of Greatest Story. You can hear the pain, emotion and sometime angers in lead singer Rossiter’s voice with lines such as “It’s time to tell my friends I love them” from We Could Be Kings and “You’re the only one who’ll have me” from Save Me I’m Yours.
Save me I’m yours from a John Peel Session in the late 90′s
Dan – ‘Exit Planet Dust’ – The Chemical Brothers
This album basically reinvented electronic music, and made it popular with the indie crowd for the first time. On its release in the mid nineties, as the acid house explosion was beginning to die out, it was far more important than Oasis or Blur, because it was something entirely new that held appeal right across the board – big fat beats and samples from Kraftwerk and the Beastie Boys for the dancing crowd, Dylan references and Beth Orton vocals for the folk heads, Tim Burgess and heavy guitar samples for those who liked to rock. It also sounds as fresh today as it did then – the production quality is so high and so organic that it hasn’t aged in the same way as other electronic music from the same period. Most importantly of all, it pushed syncopated beats, marking a break with the monotonous 4/4 that characterised the majority of techno music at the time.
The first time I heard this album, it blew my mind. Having grown up on a diet of folk and rock, I had never heard anything like it, and it opened up a whole new musical world to me that I happily dived into. It was the start of a love affair with dance music that drove me to the nightclubs of Brighton and London almost every weekend of my 20s, into ecstasy, DJing and music production, and – for better or worse – shaped the man I’ve turned into. I defy anyone to put this album on at a decent volume and not get at least 90% pumped before the end of the second track. Definitely not one to listen to if you’re attempting to give up raving!