I believe the music you listen intensely between say 7 to 16 years old will always inform and inspire the music you make, whether you aim at it or not. It forms your musical backbone, melodic sense and language and from there you can go on and encounter new, exciting, frighting and different musical landscapes and broaden you taste. But the backbone will still be there and you can always go back to it.
Blasts From The Past!
1. Electric Light Orchestra | Turns To Stone
One of the first records in my dad's pretty small collection which caught my attention was ELO's Out Of The Blue, mainly I think because of the amazing cover. A big spaceship! And this was glorious vinyl of course!! I fantasized about how the members of the group might actually live in it and went home after kindergarden and sat with these huge headphones and just looked at the fold-out-cover numbstruck! The music was larger than life too. Overproduced maybe, but rich in melodies and perfect for the start of a deeper investigation of popmusic. I still dj this song! And oh, I also was into ABBA. I am swedish remember and born in the 70's.
2. The Beatles | I'll Be Back
I have to be honest and say I owe them everything. If one band changed my life it was them. Because of them I started playing guitar and write songs. Through them I got interested in Dylan, Beach Boys, Byrds, Motown, Stax, Kinks, rockabilly, indian music, folk and much more music in different styles. They spurred my broader interest in music so too speak. I wanted to play the same guitars as them (still do) and look like them (still kind of do)... And whether you like it or not, Beatles is the start of what you call guitarpop... (Or is that Buddy Holly??)... But I've known their music too well to actually listen to them much the last 10-15 years. But recently someone put on Abbey Road in the van during a tour. And I did'nt like it at all apart from 2-3 songs!! And I'm not very fond of Sgt. Pepper either. So I had to check up some other albums again. The early stuff like A Hard Day's Night and For Sale still feels superfresh and not overplayed. It's more pop and rock'n'roll and less boringly pretentious like some of the later stuff. And even though they put out a lot of crap they also put out a lot of b-sides and album tracks that actually holds up better than some of their hits. Like this beauty. The way they go from major to minor is just like heaven!
3. The Housemartins | Think For A Minute
When I was around 10 years old I basically only listened to Beatles and other 60's music. Then I saw a tv-documentary about a goofy, nerdish fourpiece from the northern english city of Hull. They had the same haircut as I had at the time and like me their faces were full of pimples. So of course I liked them straight ahead! But the music was pretty decent too and still is (check out their videos, wonderful dancesteps!!)... And it was exciting to like a current group, so you could pop out and buy their singles when they where brand new! I saved up my pocketmoney so I would always have enough when a new one was due. Their lyrics was full of socially conscious discussions politically situated to the left. And even though I just had started to learn english, I think they influenced my thinking. Thanks!
4. Elvis Costello & The Attractions | Man Out Of Time
Maybe because he looked like the guitarplayer in The Housemartins or maybe because
he had written songs with Paul McCartney. In any case I started collecting Elvis Costello-records when I was around 13. When I was 24 (I think) he released a terrible record with Ann Sophie Von Otter and since then I haven't payed him any attention at all. But together with Beatles and Dylan, he might be the artist who have influenced my writing the most. And especially the stuff he made between 1977-82 is still pretty flawless, inventive and classic at the same time... The Attractions was an awesome back-up-band. And I love his knowledge and passion and love of all kinds of music. I guess if The Beatles are my Elvis and The Go-Betweens are my Smiths, Costello is my Springsteen. Does that make sense? And this is his Like A rolling Stone.
5. Teenage Fanclub | The Past
In my early teens I started catching blurry psychedelic videos on tv of young boys with guitars and a long fringe in front of their eyes. I started checking up Stone Roses, Ride, funky drumming etc. and more often distorted my guitar. My mother's cousin came home from London and brought a copy of Bandwagonesque with her. And Teenage Fanclub became my new favourites pretty quick. Still today if they put out a new record I'll go and buy it. Generally I prefer my favourites to change and evolve. With the Fanclub I rather just wish they stay exactly like they are, just refining and confirming what they already do so well. Because every fifth year you need a welcoming warm familiar hug from an old friend!
6. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles | I Second That Emotion
I remember when I was 14 years old and Nirvana had just released Nevermind. It was a big thing at the youthclub I used to hang around at after school. I had a couple of alternative looking friends who blasted the record on full volume and we all headbanged our way through the whole thing. I quite liked it. Then the guys asked me what kind of music I listened to and I took out my best of-cd of The Miracles and sang Tracks Of My Tears for them. They quite liked that too. And I have kept on listening to Smokey quite often ever since. A lot more so than Nirvana. But that goes without saying.
7. The House Of Love | Girl With The Loneliest Eyes
In high school I had a crush on a girl who loved this band. So I bought one of their records. I quickly forgot her, but I still love this song. Perfectly hazy, foggy, dreamy, melancholy pop. Great guitars!
8. Eggstone | Wrong Heaven
In the early 90's in Sweden we had our first wave of swedish indie bands
of which Wannadies and Cardigans became the most famous. They called it swindie. Eggstone didn't quite fit in. They still really don't. For me they were the perfect band. They were like a summary of everything I had listened to up until then. In technicolor! Without caring if things really fitted together or not. Playful and all over the place. It took a while to warm up to that first record In San Diego with its rough-round-the-edges-soft-in-the-middle-sound. But after a while I understood I had seen the light! It was also inspirational that they were just a three-piece, rocking with straight away energy and loud guitar on stage and then being smoother and more experimental with all kinds of weird overdubs in the studio. That sowed a seed for PBJ I'm pretty sure! And now Per (the singer) is producing our new record in their studio. Full circle! Wrong Heaven is a raindrenched bittersweet dream of a popballad and might be one of the most perfect things ever produced in Sweden.
9. Tim Hardin | It'll Never Happen Again
Tim Hardin always works. His two first records are flawless. The way he sings. What he sings. The sound. The vibes (the instrument), the strings, the piano. Works for a dinner party. For staying home alone feeling sorry for yourself. For cuddling up with your better half. Tim always works. And I never tire! Never ever anywhere else have sad music sounded so sad and at the same time so comforting.
10. Little Richard | Send Me Some Lovin'
Cause Little Richard is pure and simple, the shit. Always has been, always will be. When everything else crumbles and falls, Little Richard stands tall.
+11. The Go-Betweens | The Wrong Road
Another perfect popband. And as I said, my The Smiths. An eightes guitar-indie-band with two amazing writers and lyricists. The way they use the words in complete harmony with the music, nothing stands in front of the other, they just help each other on the way to meet the listener and give an everlasting impression. They have so many phrases that linger, creates mystique and atmosphere. Not without humor, but always elegant and melancholic. I discovered them pretty late, in my mid-twenties, but this is grownup stuff so maybe that was just as well.
+12. a-ha | Take On Me
I remembered the first time I saw that cartoon-video. I never was much into synthpop but I did like a-ha secretely. Take On Me might actually be the best popsong ever, but with a pretty terrible lyric. Norway is a weird place but they will always have a-ha! I've covered it live quite a few times, people still go crazy for this!
Some More Current Favorites That Inspires Me Now
Some More Current Favorites That Inspires Me Now
+13. Caribou | Bowls
Their new album is warm and analog while still being electronic. It sounds fantastic! Live they are actually a full on rockband! And it's pretty amazing that a band got me seriously interested in house music! I never thought that would happen! Give them an award!
+14. Papercuts | Future Primitive
Papercuts (really a guy called Sean) is like Cass McCombs in the category of supertalented people and songwriters who not a lot of people have heard about. I take every chance to spread the word. Papercuts latest album You Can Have What You Want I've listened to A LOT since
I got it in the mailbox. It grows on you. And then grows more. The lo-fi-production, the vocals, the organs, the psychedelic flavour and the melodies that slowly unravels in different shades of blue. It's simply mesmerizing. To me this music now is a boattrip, the ferry between the swedish Island Gotland and the main land this summer. To stand outside in the open air, wind blowing, Sun high, tired but happy.
+15. Avi Buffalo | Whats In It For?
Theese kids could be my kids, they are almost young enough you know. But they could also be my spiritual kids. The nasal voice, the melodic touch, the guitars, the eagerness. Classic popmusic.
+16. William Onyeabor | Better Change Your Mind
Sometimes when you dj, you need to go to the bathroom. At least I do. I have the perfect song for that! This anti-colonial-psych-freak-funk nugget from mid 70's Nigeria, go on for ages but it's never dull or boring. Thoose dusty cardboardbox-drums, that GROOVE, that stupid little organ, everything. Music don't get much better than this. Thank you David Byrne and Luaaka Bop for all the music you helped me find over the years.
+17. Jarvis Jackson | Something I Ain't Never Had
I love distorted, passionate old southern soul-ballads where everything is a matter of life and death and everything is bursting at the seems. And it don't get much more intense and in-your-face-real than this screeching chorus.
+18. Amanas | Khala My Friend
...And The Witch - Strange Dream... Stones Throw is an L.A.-label who specializes in experimental hip-hop and reissues of rare funk. Now they have put out some some seventies Zambi-rock classics. African psychedelic rock sung in english. I love when something theoretically is traditional but puts on a fresh twist that makes you hear thoose drums and guitar in a totally new way, like you've never heard them before. Maybe it's a cultural difference. But people just don't play
pop/rock like this in England or the States even though it's really quite similar. And the production holds up so well. How did they do it?
+19. Soul Survivors | Expressway To Your Heart
I just got this box-set of select cuts from the classic soul label Philadelphia International run by producers/writers Gamble & Huff and with Thom Bell as one of the other important collaborators. After I've been digging deep into grittier soul it felt like coming to a lush heaven of crisp production. But it never gets to slick, it's always on the tasty side. It just sounds so good!! These guys and girls invented disco. But on the way there a lot of groovy and heartwrenching music was made. The whole set kicks off with this funky nugget. And I'm down on the floor gasping for air already. Now I have to dance. Excuse me...
+20. Sonny & The Sunsets | Too Young To Burn
Makes me think of my good friend Stephen, an American who moved to Sweden to live with his swedish wife. He is very clever and funny, likes beer and history and has a great taste in music. I've got so many essential tips from him! A band that sounds like my image of Stephen exists; it's Sonny & The Sunsets!
+21. Milton Naschimento | San Vincente
Cause I had to include a Brazilian track. Brazilian music means a lot to me. The instruments, the rhythms, the vibe, the language (even though I don't get it, it sounds great!)... And this classic will always do the job. Such a beautiful melody, arrangement, everything...