1. Felt | Sunlight Bathed The Golden Glow
For me this is the perfect pop tune. Felt are due a reunion. Lawrence is the greatest pop star that never was. There are many different versions of this song - you need the one with the girl backing singers on it, from the best of, Stains On A Decade. Everything about it fits, from the bassline to the way he accentuates every word, and the shimmering guitar riff. This is where I got the name for my solo project, Golden Glow from. It’s a tribute.
2. Janet Kay | Silly Games
When I was growing up, this is the kind of stuff I would always hear being played by my mum. This is a lovers-rock classic and so so beautiful, and lilting. I love the drums, and the lyrics are so tender and wistful. There’s something about songs you hear from that age - they seep into your consciousness forever, and make up part of your composition. My mum has passed away now, but every time I hear this, I hear her too.
3. Prefab Sprout | Bonny
I’ve only really discovered this recently. Prefab Sprout seems to be an act that provoke an extreme reaction. People seem to either love or hate them. I’ve only really heard Steve McQueen but I think it's genius. It’s all about the build up in this tune, I love it. It has great pace and is epic while still being understated. It reminds me of driving at night, down empty motorways, the flickers of lights as you pass. It also just reminds me of the 80s. The good parts at least.
4. The Drums | Submarine
I love this band. Jacob from the band puts out my stuff on his own digital imprint, Holiday Records. They’re such nice guys. This is the kind of tune you dream of writing, an instant pop classic. So likeable. It takes the best parts of The Cure, The Shangri-Las and Sarah Records and puts their own stamp on it. It's just cool as fuck, as soon as it starts. His voice, the drum machine, and then the guitar line kicking in. I love the fact a band like this can just come along with no real intention of doing anything apart from making great music and get everyone dead excited and as a result turn all these kids onto bands they never heard before, The Wake, Orange Juice, The Field Mice. It’s great.
5. Egyptian Hip Hop | Rad Pitt
Love the title. Love his voice...Love the production. Love the lyrics. Love the melody. Love the spacing. LOVE LOVE LOVE this tune. I know everyone is talking about this band at the moment, and it's fashionable to say they’re cool, but for me this is everything about what is great about being in band. Young kids, with talent, recording on shit equipment, producing genuinely staggering songs. It’ll be interesting to see what happens now the hype machines kicked in, but it really doesn’t matter, as there will always be this, and I genuinely love it more each time I hear it. Great that they’re local too, it's exactly what Manchester needs to be doing in order to distance itself from the MADchester legacy to show its still evolving, still moving and still producing genuinely exciting music.
6. Kindness | Swinging Party
It’s a cover of a Replacements tune. I just love it. It’s so simple and minimal but really effective. You’re waiting for the big kick-in, but it never comes, it just, remains. It reminds me of a kinda modern last-dance-at-the-prom-in-Back-To-The-Future kind of tune. It could definitely soundtrack the credits to a film. There’s something quite mysterious and child-like about Kindness. The choice of tunes, and the way they’re covered, its like flicking through an old photo album.
7. Real Estate | Beach Comber
This is a great tune from a great band. I love a lot of bands from America at the moment like these, and Desolation Wilderness that are doing this kinda lo-fi thing that sounds like they’re playing underwater. It’s the sound of the beach, or driving along the coast in an open-top car with the wind blowing through your hair. There are echoes of Pavement too; the drums are great and the two guitars work so well together, all the little riffs overlapping each other at the right time, clean and jangly but also rocky too, as I discovered when I saw them live, they were almost quite Lemonheads-y in parts. They played a lot of instrumentals too, which was great, just building up the layers. They should be huge.
8. The Shangri-Las | Sophisticated Boom Boom
I love the quintessential teenage melodramas they sung about. It’s so easy to follow and the groove is infectious. It has the feel of a classic, and the production is great, it just works. It’s funny how they influenced such a huge body of people, from the New York 70’s-ish punk acts like Blondie and the New York Dolls to Sonic Youth, Vivian Girls and The Horrors, and everything in between. That says a lot about the strength of the songs. Listening to this reminds me of going down into a smoky jazz club late at night, maybe 2/3am – thinking the party is over, and then opening the door to see a crowd of people of all races all getting down to this, grinding until the early hours, absorbed in the music. Kinda like something outta Hairspray meets Bugsy Malone.
9. Blur | Sweet Song
One of my favourite bands. It could have been this, or No Distance Left To Run or Out Of Time. It’s just so emotional, so heartfelt and genuine. It just pulls you inside out. When Albarn feels like this he can’t help but getting through to you, and the melody and the lyrics are just so naked and natural, you know he’s not making any of it up. It’s the sound of feeling alone. And we’ve all been there...
10. Electrelane | Film Music
Again, a band I am only just recently discovering, but am already head over heels for. This builds up in just the best way and is just so cool. It reminds me of Paris, film-noir, and that point on a night out after you’ve come home from the club and everything is starting to go crazy at home or at a party or something. That's the best part of a night as far as I’m concerned. It's druggy, and psychedelic in a modern way. You can hear all the best bands in it, The Doors, The Velvet Underground as well as being quite kraut-y. Not bad for a bunch of girls from Brighton.