Bristol based ‘The Shimmer Band’ talk us through five albums that shaped their soon. Check out their psychedelic new track ‘Shoot Me (Baby)’ that blends garage guitars and post punk vibes equating in big noise.
The album is obviously best known for spawning ‘Hey Ya’ now and a million bad pub cover versions have diminished its greatness a little but there is way more to the album than that… ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ and ‘Roses’, the swirling strings on ‘Intro’. The piano on ‘Love Hater’, ‘Dracula’s Wedding’, ‘Spread’, pure filth but what great sounding filth. The skits don’t necessarily stand up to the test of time but the music really does.
1.The Execution of All things – Rilo Kiley
Rilo Kiley is a band we both grew up with. They continue to be a staple in both of our musical diets and though everyone of their albums has certainly shaped us, “The Execution of All Things” is, in our minds, the best of a fine bunch. It’s one of their earliest albums and like so many other bands in their infancy they suggest in it a willingness to be peculiar and to experiment, to be raw and to be intimate. One thing that draws us so closely towards Rilo Kiley is their lyrics. They are dark yet hopeful, always thoughtful and tinged with sadness. They taste bitter sweet and yet accompany in such stark contrast simple, joyous, blissful and even cheerful melodies. ‘A Better Son/Daughter’, which both of us agree to be one of the most hopeful and uplifting songs that we know, is pretty much an anthem to us. It is, in our opinion, a must listen to; especially when you’re having one of those particularly bad days for no good reason at all. Actually, Rilo Kiley is one of the reasons I (Holly) started writing music. I wanted to write songs and to tell stories that resembled the weaving narratives and shifting moods and subject matters of this album. It moves so effortlessly amongst the personal, even mundane observations of the daily grind and yet also rises above it towards the profound and the philosophical.
2.The Con – Tegan & Sara
Although we don’t listen to Tegan & Sarah as much now ‘The Con’ was definitely an album that I (Coco) remember listening to as a teenager on repeat and it certainly influenced our early sound. Being sisters and singing such synchronized harmonies Tegan & Sara inspired us to incorporate more harmonies into our own music, as initially I (Coco) was a little hesitant and shy about singing. It did not come as naturally to me as it seemed to do for my sister. Listening to their sound inspired us to make the most of the similarities of our voices. I think what was really cool about Tegan and Sara and what I love about this album is their piercing and I would say androgynous vocals and also their angsty lyrics. It was cool to hear female singers who were so distinct and different to other female artists I was listening to at the time and that I could relate to. Tegan & Sara was one of the first big concerts I went to, actually on their U.K tour of The Con in 2008, and I remember thinking to myself after the show wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to do that.
3.Pastel Blues – Nina Simone
There is no disputing that Nina Simone is one of the greatest musicians of all time. Everything about her her voice, the way she played the keys, her lyricism and the way she interpreted covers was beautiful. Easily, I (Holly) could have picked any of her albums but decided to stick with Pastel Blues, as it includes some of my favorites and probably her most iconic renditions; “Strange fruit”, “Sinnerman” & “Nobody knows you when you’re down and out”. What I love most about this album and all of her music is her soulfulness you can feel the passion pouring out of her. Her songs have a sense of grandeur about them; she commands your attention and guides you through her songs with a firm and almost tidal urgency. Musicians like her don’t exist anymore, at least not in our generation, she exudes an emotional honesty and intensity which seems to have been lost in this time. ‘Strange Fruit’ is by far the most intense, an amazing song in it’s own right. I’ve never been drawn to Billie Holiday’s version as much. Nina’s is so much darker, so much more understated and so soaked in injustice and pain and anger. If you haven’t already listened to it you should…it’ll send shivers down your spine.
4. Elliot Smith – Either/Or
Between the Bars is definitely one of my (Coco) favorite songs ever and to be honest one of my go to songs when I’m drowning my sorrows; which is probably true in terms of my relationship with Elliott Smith’s music in general and for that I am extremely grateful. What I love about this album and Elliot’s music is the understated unapologetic raw production of it. What I really respect about Elliot Smith is his music, at least to me, doesn’t feel like entertainment or a performance but an outpouring and even sometimes a rambling therapy. His music is sincere and humble and seemed like it was for him more than it was for anyone else’s sake.
5.Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman
Tracy Chapman is an another artist that we grew up with as her debut album was a routine pick from our parents CD collection. I (Holly) remember listening to the songs on that album over and over again. I loved every one of them and still do today. Tracy Chapman is the kind of musician that is not afraid to be serious and political or to tackle controversial and somber subject matter. She tells human stories with an unromantic realism delving hard into domestic violence in “Behind the wall” or the racial tensions and segregation that still pervades the “Backstreets of America.” In this album she shows how she is not afraid to make her audience feel uncomfortable or to make them think. I reckon her music influenced the subject matter of our songs quite a bit, especially her serious tone. However, despite this seriousness her music is also uplifting and empowering, it is earthy, humble and raw. There is a whole lot of hope and love in songs such as “Talkin bout a revolution” or “Baby can I hold you Tonight.” Her voice is also incredibly distinct and somewhat androgynous. The uniqueness of her voice makes a Tracy Chapman song instantly recognisable. Like her voice, this album is certainly one of a kind, a diamond in the rough.
Mixing guitar pop, soulful vocals and an R&B edge, Lucky T Jackson are certainly making an impression with they stunningly cool style and retro sound. Front man Josh Goddard takes us through some of the albums that shaped his sound.
Otis Redding -Otis blue
This Album I think is one of the best of all time. Otis Redding is one of my favourite singers – he sounds like he’s crying when he’s singing (in a good way) which makes you feel like he means every single word. This album in particular has a few covers which I think are as good or maybe even better than the originals. He sings two Sam Cooke songs (another inspiration) ‘Wonderful World’ and ‘Change Is Gonna Come’. He puts his own take on these slowing them down and adding vocal ad libs and runs everywhere. He also covers ‘My Girl’ made famous by ‘The Temptations’ which in my opinion is better than the original. Not only does he smash these songs other people have already made famous he had plenty of his own on the album that are some of the best songs of all time – ‘I’ve been loving you too long’ for example. The soul man – gone too soon
Oasis – Definitely Maybe
This was the album that got me into being in a band. My older brother used to play it and I used to sing along pretending to play my electric guitar. Eventually I learnt to play loads of Oasis songs, I think everyone in Manchester learns to play guitar covering oasis tunes. although soul and Motown is my passion, when an Oasis song comes on it makes me smile – reminiscing of 18 year old me in 42s with two doubles vodka Redbulls with my best mates going mental to rock and roll star.
Graceland – Paul Simon
This is a massive inspiration to all of us in the band… I grew up being forced to listen to Paul Simon in the car by my dad and back then I didn’t understand it and just wanted to hear Shaggy and Ja Rule – what an idiot. Graceland in particular has some great tunes on it – Graceland itself has one of my favourite lyrics of all time in there “loosing love is like a window in your heart, everybody sees your blown apart, everyone sees the wind blow” being made even better by an out of this world melody. The fact Paul Simon got the band he did to record and tour with the album makes it all even better – it just shows there are amazing musicians out there that haven’t been noticed and have never made a career out of music when they deserve nothing less. There are lots of examples like this around Manchester, people who I have played with that are mind blowingly talented and need to be 10 million times more recognised.
Spencer Davis group – Their first LP
Stevie Winwood is probably my main inspiration – white guy with so much soul. People who don’t know think some of the songs are sang by an old black guy from America but no it’s a white boy from Birmingham. His voice is amazing and he plays piano/organ like Ray Charles and guitar like Clapton. ‘My Babe’ comes in with an amazing guitar lick then sweet harmonies from the band followed by an outrageous screaming soul vocal from Winwood which really shows he’s got one of the best soul voices of all time. ‘Dimples’ – wrote by John Lee Hooker another song that Winwood made his own and the band changed it to a jangly blues. I went to see him recently and he’s still got it.
The Beach boys – The Beach Boys Today!
Today this is my summer driving album. Me and my mate used to just drive around with all the windows down in my Morris Minor thinking we were surfers from the 60s. Everyone song makes you smile and wanna go talk to pretty girls. Not only does this album have the massive dance hits like ‘Help Me Rhonda’ and ‘When I Grow Up To Be a Man’ but it’s got slower more intricate tracks like ‘I’m so young’ and ‘she knows me to well’, which in a hungover state my make you shed a tear. The sound they managed to get on the guitars by doubling up the same riffs was so original and never been done before and that I think with the harmonies makes the beach boys.
Talking Heads – Remain in Light:
Manchester trio False Advertising have a lot of people making a lot of noise in the build up to their debut due out in September, but they took the to talk about what albums influenced them and the creative process. From what these albums taught them to how they shaped the band, check out five albums that shaped false advertising.
Carry On Up The Charts – The Beautiful South (1994 Go! Discs)
This album was my first exposure to music, my sisters and I would sit for hours watching the VHS version with all the videos and the CD the soundtrack to all my lifts as a child. I initially loved it as the songs were very memorable and as most of the tracks have a distinct theme or story My Book being a reflective satire on celebrity culture and exaggeration and Old Red Eyes Is Backweaving you through a tale of an old drunk who’s story runs a little deeper than first imagined, a great example of judgment. When I revisited the album I realised that not only the structure of the tracks was brilliant but also the lyrics, so much so that it led to a family sing-song whenever it was played. As a singer songwriter, this album has examples of a wide variety of songs from piano ballads like Let Love Speak Up Itself and I’ll Sail This Ship Alone, to rock fueled guitar tracks 36D and slower folk based songs with gentle guitar melodies such as Prettiest Eyes and Little Time. My Favourite song on the album is the opening track Song For Whoever it evokes great memories of knowing every single word and beat with my family. This album showed me the importance of memorable and catchy music through honest and intelligent lyrics.
The Bends – Radiohead (1995 Parlophone)
My Mum used to play this album so often that we had 3 different copies so wherever she was she could listen to it! It’s a fantastic piece of work and one of my first pieces of exposure to electric guitars and overdrive being used. Just, My Iron Lung, Bones and Street Spirit all are fantastic tracks and I find them to be totally unique. It’s loud, archaic and bold at times but charming all the while. Then High and Dry, Nice Dream, Fake Plastic Trees and Bullet Proof all helped in my understanding of the acoustic guitar and also of how it fits into a band and what band arrangements work well. This album provides escapism. Whenever I hear it I get lost in it and Thom Yorke is just incredible, some of the vocals on the album are extraordinary as well as Johnny Greenwood’s versatility and invention.
Blue – Joni Mitchell (Reprise, 1971)
I was first struck by the artwork of this album and I found it very intriguing. I first listened to it when my Mum and I were tackling traffic in Lancaster on our way to Scotland. We ended up being stuck in traffic for hours and listened to the whole album 3 times. Listening to this was one of the first times I remember being struck by lyrics and turn of phrase. The expressive nature of each song takes you in and you want to hear what’s next after every line. Old Man and All I Want are the two opening tracks and 2 of my favourites, Joni Mitchell writes love songs which are very honest and their content rings true that is why they are even more engaging than most. River is a fantastic song and has a Christmassy feel to it, her soaring vocals rise and fall through every possible range with ease and her guitar playing is totally unique and this makes her instantly recognisable. My favourite song on the album is A Case Of You, a warm and sentimental love song that expresses so clearly and so obviously how we all have felt about infatuation and desire. It makes me wish I had written it every single time I hear it.
An Awesome Wave – Alt-J (Infections Records, 2012)
This album was the soundtrack to my time at University. I first heard the album from Spotify, it completely blew me away. A totally new sound which was more addictive than anything else I had ever heard, so much so that by now I have listened to each track well over 100 times. It is a fantastically innovative album using samples and effects which I have never heard in anything else before. Joe Newman has a brilliantly unique vocal sound which lilts and crashes through every song. Breezeblocks was the first love of the album, but Tesselate, Taro, Something Good, Ms, Dissolve Me I could list them all, really captured me and I couldn’t listen to anything else. It’s so diverse making you want to dance, shout, cry, laugh there are brilliantly soaring sections of happiness and sombre reflective almost psychedelic songs. When I was listening to this song I had first decided to give music a real go and the way this album is bold, charismatic innovative, nonconformist but still popular and successful has proved hugely inspiring for me to do things my way and to feel confident in your own creations. My Favourite track, Ripe and ruin, is really basic as a duet but the harmonies are so intriguing and encapsulating I just cannot help but sing along. The lack of instrumentation on the track gives it a hauntingly atmospheric feel that provides even more impetuous on the importance of the lyrics and what they are.
Sweet Baby James – James Taylor (Warner Bros 1969)
After buying a record player in my second year of University, I found this album in a charity shop. From the moment the needle dropped I was totally taken in and would play the album over and over, switching from side 1 to side 2. When I was listening to this I was writing the songs that went on to feature on my first EP How and the chords used and the finger picking style opened up a brand new area of writing. I find that this album provides the perfect mix of relaxing but melodic music. You can sing along at the top of your voice or have in gently on in the background. I love the various elements of different genres which crop up through the album, Steamroller is a satire on the huge boom of blues songs in London at the time that Taylor arrived and it’s a fantastic song. Sunny Skies and Country Road are well structured and are really easy on the ear with a fantastic verse and chorus. Fire and Rain and Sweet Baby James are the two biggest tracks on the LP and they provide a wonderful narrative into parental relationships and a feeling of heartache respectively, My favourite track is Country Road
Weezer | The Blue Album
Sometimes it’s hard to gauge an albums greatness when it’s first released. Staying power and classic status need time to be revealed. Will those hooks still get you ten years later? 20? So many albums fall from favor over time, but this is an album I knew the moment I first heard it that it was something I needed. It was geeks kicking ass, getting the hot girl and weirding out the jocks, and it’s as catchy and powerful as pop as ever been – Elliot
Broken Social Scene | You Forgot It In People
What a record. I could ramble on about production, diverse songwriting, and artistry for days, but I won’t. Instead I’ll tell you how this album transformed my friends van (had the best sound) into a place where new sounds and genres were being invented, and there were no limits to creativity. I can recall Kid A changing my ear in the same way, but with less human connection. On You Forgot It In People, I could feel all 12+ band members breathing life into the material, and with Newfeld’s masterful hand at the production wheel it all blended together to create an experience that won’t be repeated for me. Who knows if I heard it for the first time today if it would strike with the same impact, but I do know that the experience this album gave me is one that I would like to give to a younger generation – Elliot
Belle and Sebastian | If You’re Feeling Sinister
I heard this record six years after it was made because the coolest girl at my high school played it for me. I had developed a very obvious crush on her, and she finally asked me to help her take some of her larger art pieces home. At her house she suggests we get ice cream and so she needs to change into a sundress. She puts this record on while i wait. It could be that it was the perfect soundtrack to having a high school crush, or that i had never really heard this side of indie rock before, but If You’re Feeling Sinister is what i want the rest of my life to sound like – Ish
Oasis | (What’s The Story) Morning Glory
1996 was a great year for music pop, grunge, r&b but Oasis was the band that just blew me away. It was right around the time I was really discovering music on my own. The volume and power and shear attitude of this record against everything else that was popular at the time completely molded my idea of what music could be and the transformational power it can hold. Standing in front of a mirror pretending to be Noel on guitar, sauntering around my bedroom & striking Liam’s signature pose, belting out Morning Glory. I find myself coming back to this record when I need a pick me up or a bit of inspiration – Wade
The Strokes | Is This It
If you’re in an indie rock group, old enough to remember 2001, and you don’t name this record as one of the main reasons you’ve dedicated yourself to being a musician, you’re lying. It was more than a record, it was a movement. The growl, the wildly tight rhythm section, the aggressive guitar interplay all shrouded in pop sensibilities. This record hit when the world was obsessed with Limp Bizkit, Korn, and N*SNYC. The first time I heard it, I thought my friend was crazy. I was definitely a late bloomer with this one, but this record slowly crept up on me until I was completely overcome with obsession. It was about the time I started teaching myself guitar I learned every riff I could from this record. I wrote ripoff songs that, I wanted to be the Strokes. You either loved the band or loathed them, and I definitely dove in headfirst – Wade
When Shoplifters Union asked me to compile a list of 5 albums that ‘shaped’ me, I was more than up to the challenge. I began to rack my brain and delve into my iTunes library, and beyond, to try and whittle it down to just 5 and this list is the outcome. Some of these albums weren’t made by my favourite bands, some of them aren’t even my favourite albums, hell, one of them I don’t even listen to anymore, but they all played a huge part in my life whether it be inspiring my own song writing with Landmarks or just opening my ears to a whole new world of music. I hope you enjoy my choices, some of them may even surprise you, and find something you might have missed when it was first released. Thanks for reading!
Taking Back Sunday: Tell All Your Friends/Where You Want to Be (Victory Records, 2002/2004)
It’s not surprise to see these albums on this list because Taking Back Sunday are my favourite band of all time. I love all of their albums (yes, even New Again) and I hope they continue to make records as the years go by. The first TBS album I heard was Louder Now in 2006, which I also love, and the songs on that record left me wanting more, so much more. I went back and listened to their two previous releases which floored me. Everything I loved about Louder Now was present but the raw emotion on Tell All Your Friends really added to their sound whereas, in my opinion, Where You Want to Be features Taking Back Sunday’s best written songs, One Eighty By Summer being my all time favourite. I can’t pick which of these two albums I like more as every song on each of them is incredible and so for that reason I have to credit them both.
Fall Out Boy: From Under the Cork Tree (Island Records, 2005)
When Sugar, We’re Going Down was first released, I wasn’t completely sold on Fall Out Boy. I thought the song was catchy but nothing special and so I wasn’t interested in listening to the album. My sister, however, used to play it almost religiously in our house and as I started to hear the songs more I started to realise what the fuss was about. Now, it’s one of my favourite albums of all time which contains absolutely no filler. Every track is a perfectly crafted pop song at it’s core, even my favourite song I Slept With Someone In Fall Out Boy… which is the albums heaviest moment, and Patrick Stump’s powerhouse voice belting out Pete Wentz fantastic lyrics (which have declined in quality since their comeback) is hard to beat. It’s a must for any fan of pop punk.
The Academy Is…: Almost Here (Fueled by Ramen, 2005)
When I was younger, Fueled by Ramen absolutely killed it with every release. Fall Out Boy’s debut album Take This To Your Grave was released by FBR in 2003, and was equally as brilliant as From Under the Cork Tree, and I could also list Paramore’s All We Know Is Falling and Panic! At The Disco’s A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out as other albums which influenced me while growing up but instead, I chose to include the debut album from The Academy Is… for one simple reason: they were my favourite FBR band. There, I said it. Almost Here is a fantastic album which was overshadowed by the other FBR releases which also came out in 2005 (see above) and that borders on criminal for me. William Beckett may not have had the power in his vocals that Patrick Stump did or the range of Hayley Williams but he had charm and charisma when he sang on songs such as Seasons and Slow Down. They were a young band who unfortunately never lived up to the promise of this album on their later releases (although I do enjoy both Santi and Fast Times at Barrington High) and I think it’s a shame that many younger people these days may have never heard them. The album is 10 tracks and 32 minutes long. Listen to it at least once and realise what you may have missed back then.
My Chemical Romance: Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge (Reprise, 2004)
My Chemical Romance got a lot of hate when they released The Black Parade in 2007 but there was already people shooting them down when they released this gem in 2004. Many thought their songs were controversial, themes of death and even prison rape had people crying out for others to abstain from listening to the band but it was hard to deny the brilliance of Three Cheers. The band had confidence in these 13 tracks and rightly so, each song is a story penned, and brilliantly delivered, by Gerrard Way and they all hold up over 10 years later. I Never Told You What I Do for a Living brings this album to a perfect close, and still stands as my favourite MCR song, as Way delicately sings ‘…they gave us two shots to the back of the head and we’re all, dead now,’ which sums up the emotional weight of the previous 12 tracks perfectly. This album is a masterpiece despite what the naysayers and the bands critics had to say at the time of it’s release.
Evanescence: Fallen (Wind Up/Epic, 2003)
This is a bit of a curveball compared to the other albums on this list. Truth be told, I haven’t listened to this album in a long time but when it was released in 2003 I had it on repeat constantly. I was introduced to Evanescence by the film Daredevil (thankfully erased from my memory by the awesome Netflix TV show) and they were the first rock band I got in to. They took me away from G-Unit (look them up, kids) and rap and set me on a different path. If it wasn’t for this band and this album, I’m not sure I’d even be where I am today in terms of my own attempts to make a career in music. Bring Me to Life was a great first single but the album tracks themselves, such a My Last Breath, were fantastic, atmospheric and almost cinematic in scope. Though the band are no longer a part of my iTunes library, I owe a lot to Evanescence and this album. Say what you will but Amy Lee had a voice that was unrivalled by anyone else in rock at the time and Fallen used that and turned them into one of the biggest bands of the early 2000s. I guess the only thing I can say is thank you, Evanescence, for ensuring that I discovered guitar driven music at a young age and leading me to where I am today.