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100 Cult Albums To Hear Before You Die, Chosen By Your Favourite Rockstars - NME, 30st August 2018

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Title: 100 Cult Albums To Hear Before You Die, Chosen By Your Favourite Rockstars
Publication: NME
Date: Thursday 30st August 2018

James Dean Bradfield

The Bodines - ‘Played’ (Magnet Records)
“They were just a perfect C86 band. They were on the seminal NME tape with ‘Therese’, which is one of THE indie-pop singles of all time. The singer, Michael Ryan, had bee-stung lips and a perfect fringe – there was something going on there. This album, its ambition, drew me and Nicky and Ritchey and Sean in. Back in ’85/’86, for proper indie kids to have the ambition to want to break out of the NME scene was quite brave. They did want it, they didn’t get it. But this album doesn’t matter any less for that.”

Jeffrey Lee Pierce - ‘Wild Weed’ (Megadisc)
“There was something eminently real about The Gun Club. It was on the brink of collapse all the time, but they managed to harness it in the music. So when I read that Jeffrey Lee Pierce was doing a solo album and that it was a bit of a production number, I was intrigued. But it’s just a perfect melding of high production values and a swamp-rock sensibility. It’s dated a tiny bit now, but it’s still fucking brilliant. I hate the idea of people like Kings Of Leon or Fleet Foxes not knowing about this record, because it’s part of their heritage.”

ABC - ‘Beauty Stab’ (Neutron Records)
“There was a review I remember that said, “Don’t expect to love this album” which drew me in, and then the cover, which is of a bull and a matador, drew me in further. And then I listened, and I just thought it was one of the most perfect meldings of pop sensibility and rock, which is the hardest thing to do. You can hear that there’s something in this band where they’re going, ‘You know what? I just want to do this once in my life.’ It’s not a perfect album, but I think there’s something really interesting on there that everyone is missing out on.”

Simple Minds - ‘Real To Real Cacophony’ (Zoom)
“The change that Simple Minds went through from their album to this is as startling as any change a band has been through. The ‘Life In A Day’ version of Simple Minds was a really acceptable version of post-punk, these snotty kids from Glasgow. But this album is utterly embroiled in Neu!, Faust, Cluster, Kraftwerk, ‘Station To Station’… and yet it sounds completely natural and unselfconscious. They never, ever get the credit for being one of the most inventive British bands ever.”

Thomas Dolby - ‘The Flat Earth’ (EMI)
“It was Sean who introduced me to this when we were about 13 or 14. I was right in the middle of my indie/Clash phase. People always go on about how they want to “have a cinemascope in our music” or “be like a film soundtrack”, but this guy was actually doing it, in a full blooded, committed way. It’s an album that is absolutely lost in the middle of a jungle in another world, and not a record that an Englishman like Thomas Dolby should ever have made. It evokes a place that you’ve never been to and you’ll never go to again.”

Nicky Wire

The Cardigans - ‘Long Gone Before Daylight’ (Stockholm Records)
“The minute me, James and Sean heard the lead single ‘For What it’s Worth’, we all phoned each other up within about five minutes and all just felt that everything we’d tried to get on ‘Lifeblood’ had been a complete failure, and that The Cardigans had done it so much better. It wasn’t a commercial success for them, which I find staggering ‘A Good Horse’ is brilliant, ‘Lead Me Into The Night’ makes me cry every time I hear it. There’s something deeply spiritual about this record that is heartbreaking.”

Cluster - ‘Zuckerzeit’ (Brain)
“This is just because of my krautrock obsession. I’m fascinated by that whole era, how so much creativity can come just from an idea. And the way that so many bands can splinter into each other – from Neu! to Harmonia to Cluster – but all of them sound different. I think the whole sound of this record is revolutionary and ahead of its time. There’s a track on here called ‘Caramel’ that I think Damon Albarn might have nicked for the Blur track of the same name.”

60 Ft Dolls - ‘The Big Three’ (Indolent)
“They were truly mental. They were from Newport, and when they came out they really slagged us off saying they were gonna take us out. They were talked up as a kind of Jam/Strokes/Manics hybrid. I still go back to this record now because there’s something about it that’s fearless. They had a track called ‘Hair’ that was very soft and sentimental, that I think could have been a massive hit if it’d been done properly.”

The Prisoners - ‘TheWiserMiserDemelza’ (Big Beat)
“I used to have a friend in college who was massively into them. Sometimes it’s almost too mod, it’s a bit dated, but there’s just something really pure about them. On this album in particular: there’s a song called ‘Hurricane’ that’s amazing; ‘The Dream Is Gone’ is still a record I play millions of times a year; and ‘Coming Home’ has got one of the best drum fills ever. They had James Taylor on Hammond, one of the all-time great Hammond players. They just didn’t bend to any rules. If they’d been around in the ’60s, they would have been huge.”

McCarthy - ‘I Am A Wallet’ (September Records)
“For me, this is the greatest political album ever made. In terms of lyrics, some people might think that it’s awkward, but to me it’s just brilliant. ‘The International Narcotics Traffic’ – brilliant title. In fact, all the titles are brilliant. There’s a brilliant one, ‘Anti-Nature’, that Richey thought was amazing – we wrote a song called ‘Anti-Love’ after that (which never saw the light of day!). They were lumped in with C86, but they were the only Marxist, Communist C86 band, really!”