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100 Greatest Albums You’ve Never Heard - NME, 1st January 2011

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Title: 100 Greatest Albums You’ve Never Heard
Publication: NME
Date: Saturday 1st January 2011
Photos: Dean Chalkley

NME0111 (1).jpg


McCarthy - ‘I Am A Wallet’ (1987)
“For me, this is the greatest political album ever made. 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! This album is one of my most played pieces of vinyl. It's very topical as well, because it's such a dissection of what we're experiencing now in terms of financial institutions. I always go back to it when I think I'm being greedy myself. I love them so much my son's middle name is McCarthy.

The Prisoners - ‘TheWiserMiserDemelza’ (1983)
The Prisoners are complicated because their catalogue is such a mess, but if I have to choose, I'll go for this one. 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.”

60 Ft Dolls - ‘The Big Three’ (1996)
“Just because they were truly mental. They were from Newport, and when they came out we were on our third or fourth record, and they really slagged us off saying they were gonna take us out. I just admired their bravado. I still go back to this record a lot, 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. I heard a version of it that was done in Big Noise Studio where we did 'The Holy Bible' and it was awesome, but it was one of those that when they did it properly it was shit. The one that got away. as it were.

Cluster - ‘Zuckerzeit’ (1974)
“I’m fascinated and obsessed by the whole krautrock 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. You can see why Bowie was listening to so much of this stuff is mid-'70s. There’s a track on here called ‘Caramel’ that I think Damon Albarn might have nicked for the Blur track of the same name on '13'. So many of the drum sounds you can hear on anything on Wrap Records, but the genius of it is that it's all done organically, with people messing around with boxes and wires.

The Cardigans - ‘Long Gone Before Daylight’ (2003)
“This had a huge impact on all of us when it came out. 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. 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.”


Thomas Dolby - ‘The Flat Earth’ (1984)
“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 at this point, but he kept playing it over and over. It was one of the first times that I heard an album on which someone had a vague idea and just committed to it. People always go on about how they want to “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.”

Simple Minds - ‘Real To Real Cacophony’ (1979)
“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, and this album always gets overlooked. People nowadays see them as just this rock behemoth, but they were much more than that.

ABC - ‘Beauty Stab’ (1983)
“I was obsessed with this album, and I don't know why. It's the follow-up to 'Lexicon Of Love' which everyone knows and loves, and it flopped. 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. I've subdued it inside myself, and I just want to do this once and see if people like it.’”

Jeffrey Lee Pierce - ‘Wild Weed’ (1985)
“There was something eminently real about The Gun Club - you knew that that was the real Americana. It was fucked up, 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.”

The Bodines - ‘Played’ (1987)
“They were on the seminal NME tape with ‘Therese’, which is one of the indie-pop singles of all time. It stood out. You could tell that this band had a bit more ambition than all the other indie bands. The singer, Michael Ryan, had bee-stung lips and a perfect fringe - there was something going on there. You could see they were really going for it, that they wanted to be massive. And it didn't get there, but this album, its ambition, drew me and Nicky and Richey 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.”