Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists determined by our favorite artists. This week: Tindersticks and Bill Fox.
Listed: Tindersticks + Bill Fox
Tindersticks were one of the great British bands of the 1990s. Vocalist Stuart Staples and his chamber-pop cohorts spent must of the decade on top of critics’ year-end lists. The band split for five years during the aughts, but reconvened for 2008’s The Hungry Saw. The band’s ninth album, The Something Rain, was released last month on their own label, Lucky Dog. Dusted’s Emerson Dameron wrote that “Although the band has been working with American R&B tropes more or less full-time since the late ‘90s, it has rarely driven this far into erotic and romantic anguish.” Co-founder Dave Boulter took part in this week’s Listed.
1. Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood - Nancy & Lee
I was about six or seven when my dad got this album. It became our Sunday morning record for the next few years. I completely forgot about it until about 10 years later. I loved that light/dark thing. The deep voice, light voice. Lee’s dark features, Nancy’s blonde beauty. I understood something in the music that was special too. I wanted to be Lee. I wanted his voice, his songs, his mustache. And most of all, I wanted Nancy.
2. The Beatles - The Beatles [White Album]
I wish I could avoid them, but it’s so hard. They were fab! The Beatles were the first music that belonged to me. My sister was into soul and reggae. My dad preferred The Stones. I’d tape some albums from friends. This was the first I owned. And I loved every moment on it, even "Revolution 9." And the photos, poster and gatefold sleeve with top opening. Black inners. Definitely an influence on the way to make something desirable.
3. Magazine - Real Life
I missed punk — just. I picked up the pieces soon after. The great thing about punk was the explosion of music that followed. Manchester was the heart of it. The Buzzcocks, The Fall. Magazine took it a step further. They weren’t a bunch just banging out a noise (I don’t think many were). They were great musicians. The landscape of their songs felt slightly alien. But still beautiful.
4. Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
I should probably choose Closer. It’s the one that really got me. But this is the first I heard, and the music that really made me want to be in a band. People go on about Martin Hannett. But the sound the four of them made was just so complete. Simple, but beautiful. And it said everything about my life. Being a Joy Division fan made me feel like I found some special secret. There were a thousand kids at my school. About five of them understood.
5. John Barry - C90 compilation
I lost interest in new music in the mid-’80s. Everything seemed to sound the same. Nobody seemed to be saying anything. There was another Nottingham band I loved called The Dream. I worshipped their keyboard player, Ian Rockley. He gave me a tape of John Barry music. Some of it I knew. But lots I didn’t. I became hooked. The beauty and emotion it gave, without words. Ian and I started our own little instrumental group, just the two of us. And my love of music was rekindled.
6. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Kicking Against the Pricks
As I said, new music seemed boring. Then I heard this. The sound was familiar. Barry Adamson’s bass (formally of Magazine). I’d heard of Nick Cave, but just dismissed him as a goth. It was so against all that polished, over produced glossy shit that everyone was doing. And they were such an amazing band live, too.
7. Isaac Hayes - Hot Buttered Soul
This was a big album when I first moved to London. A great piece of vinyl. I suppose a lot of soul albums I had still worked around the hit pop song format. These six long, sparse, lush arrangements blew me away. I knew the songs, and I’d heard the album before. But it just seemed to pass me by until that point.
8. Jake Thackray - Bantam Cock
We knew Jake from childhood television. He’d sing these little witty songs. But I didn’t really think much about it. I heard Bantam Cock around Stuart’s house one evening. I instantly recognized the voice, but I’d never understood the great joy and dark humor before. All his albums are great. He’s a true genius. A great shame he was never to be rewarded for this in his life. One day I hope.
9. The Velvet Underground
In general, a massive influence. The mold for any band that might claim to be alternative. Without them, most the music I’ve loved for the past forty years probably wouldn’t exist.
10. Nina Simone - Wild is the Wind
I always hated the question "If you could be any other musician, who would you be?" But if I did answer, I’d be Nina Simone. At various stages in my life, I’ve wished to be everything she is. Black, a woman and a great musician. And an inspiration.
The enigmatic Bill Fox was the lead singer of Cleveland garage band The Mice, which released a few cherished recordings between 1985 and 1988. Fox left the group and went on hiatus for almost 10 years before releasing two solo albums on SpinArt Records at the end of the ’90s. Almost immediately after the release of the second, Transit Byzantium, Fox disappeared again for another decade. It took an article in San Franciso’s The Believer subtitled “With his amazing talent for pop hooks and heartbreaking, sepia-toned songs, why did Bill Fox stop playing music?” to coax him out of early retirement. Since 2008, Fox has released two albums, including last month’s One Thought Revealed on Jar Note Records.
1. Frank Sinatra - Columbia Years 1943¬¬-1952
Still sounds fresh and vibrant, yet astoundingly haunting.
2. Mose Allison - The Way of the World
I was thrilled to see Mose live a year ago November. There’s a good Cheap Trick song with the same title.
3. John Coltrane - Olantunji Concert: The Last Live Recording
The most frenetic, discontenting jazz I’ve ever heard. Recorded in the Summer of ‘67. Is it a plea or a warning?
4. Field Music - Tones of Town
Played this through just once so far. But it pleased and reminded me of English Settlement by XTC.
5. Wire Train - In a Chamber
A timeless record from 1984, I think. One of my all-time favorites.
6. Joseph Spence - The Complete Folkway Recordings: 1958
Great record for an outdoors summertime party. Docked one point for the disclusion of “No Grave to Hold God’s Body Down.” This might be unfair though, cuz I think that included The Pinder Family. Different session.
7. Neil Young - Harvest Moon
I have a neighbor buddy and whenever you’re drinking beers with him and his wife, you’re bound to hear this eventually. Other than anything by U2, this is his favorite. I appreciate it too.
8. Woolly Bullies - S/T
Recent cassette LP by a Cleveland band. Reminds me of that Australian group who sing “Man With the Golden Helmet.” [ed. That would be Radio Birdman.]
9. Prisoners - Pass the Stone
Another local release. Although the title strikes fear into my kidneys, I really dig the production sound.
10. Prison Songs Historical Recordings From Parchman Farm 1947¬1948: Volume 1, Murderous Home - The Alan Lomax Collection
Coincidental to my selection above. Got this out of the library I don’t know when. It has risen much in my esteem in recent months.
By Dusted Magazine