Moon Hooch are unique, they have a sound, mixing contemporary jazz with synths, vocals, duel saxophones and all manner of other less traditional instrumentation to create a sound that’s both infectious and experimental.
On the verge of the band’s new EP, Eat Your Veggies, I thought I should have a chat with Wenzl McGowen to find out those Perfect Ten albums that have helped inspire, influence or infatuate the band, here’s what he had to say…..
Trout Mask Replica – Cpt. Beefheart Truly inspiring album that laid a lot of groundwork for forward thinking musicians in America. Metal Machine Music – Lou Reed Truly weird and innovative psychedelic music without the forced optimism its time. The Third Reich ‘n Roll – The Residents Refreshing take on Rock n Roll top 40 turned on its backside. Weasels Ripped My Flesh – Mother’s Of Invention A combination of loose jazz improvisation, relentless experimentation and musical adventurousness. God In Three Persons – The Residents More of an opera than an album, unlike anything I have ever heard before. Burnt Weeny Sandwich – Mothers Of Invention Silly, fun and adventurous. Ian Underwood’s piano work is incredible. Karma – Pharoah Sanders Introspective, experimental and extremely spiritual work with just enough aggression. Atlantis – Sun Rah Amazing control and build ups that leave me wanting more every listen. Comme a la radio – Brigitte Fontaine A mysterious & ethereal landscape with great vocal explorations Pakistani Pomade – Alexander von Schlippenbach Dynamic and beautiful music flowing with great energy.
Having recently reviewing the incredible new single, A Place Called Home, I thought it would be intriguing to try to discover those perfect ten albums that inspire and influence frontman, Johny Brown
TOP TEN ALBUMS
These are off the top of my head and written under the worst most crushing hangover I’ve had in years. I can’t believe someone has just put me up for that ice bucket thing… Christ, I’m going to avoid the world and my bed for a few days with me heavy dose Cornelius Cardew book that I will never finish… anyway, ten albums…
THAT SENTIMENTAL SLUSH
I love the lyrics on this album. Simon Rivers is an English wordsmith of the highest order. Bitter Springs are a proper band and the inspired songs on here have seen me through some dark days sure enough. Gathering Dust always gets me emotionally and Ice Cold Glass of Beer is my song of preference for sitting with an Ice Cold Glass of Beer. This is my favourite music at the end of the day, this is what I love and gravitate towards… post punk bands, straight up outsider outfits, with a love of Northern Soul, New York Beat, and French Cool, a bit of emotional investment, a curious nature, and a weird slant to the song composition. Springs, Sect, Sexual Objects, these are the people I always return to, my Dylan’s, my Bowie’s my Young’s, definitely, these chaps.
This is a later Neubauten album and quite smooth in comparison to the earlier recordings, but all the better for it, takes you to some very interesting places. The Garden is classic and Nnaaaaammm is a great track for running through Northern pine woods until you collapse in a heap of midgie bites…
What the fuck… A Sinatra concept album! Frank lives a comfortable life in a small nothing much happening town upstate and has a chick on the go, who is ‘a really good little cook in the kitchen’ only problem is she is after running off to New York City to find herself and probably become Lydia Lunch or Kathy Acker. She tells him this over good coffee and a slice of apple pie in the local diner. Frank is heartbroken and sings some of the best most obscure songs of his life as he tries to get his head around the fact she’s leaving, nay, gone, from Watertown. A stunning album.
I REMEMBER YESTERDAY
I love every track on this album, and also throw in Wasted from the same period, it is Disco as art form, and through taking a song from most periods of American 21st Century culture, classical, jazz, soul, rock and roll it transmutes into something timeless which is still fresh sounding today.
IGGY POP AND JAMES WILLIAMSON
Great nasty portrayal of mid seventies poisonous excess in Los Angeles, every song hurts.
NECTARINE NO 9
IT’S JUST THE WAY THINGS ARE JOE, IT’S JUST THE WAY THINGS ARE
Davie Henderson / Jock Scott / Walter Tevis – a winning combination
FOX BASE ALPHA
The best British pop album ever made. Nothing Can Stop Us Now still blows the mind
LIVE AT ELECTRIC CIRCUS BOOTLEG 76
I’ve had this recording on various cassettes over the years, it was taped onto a cassette recorder by a guy called Mark Taylor who made me a copy early on in my life. I grew up with this recording of pure inspired chaos style and spite. I much prefer it to the album. Great band this, especially Matlock’s bass and backing vocals. I play this over and over. It still totally sets the blood racing and sounds best on a bus travelling through the city.
I got into this through the greatly weird video of his version of She’s Lost Control but the album goes much deeper. A great new world voodoo shamanic techno album
WHAT’S THE MATTER BOY
A most underrated and hard to come by album. Make Me Sad is the template and inspiration for many a Band Of Holy Joy song, and Vic is certainly the forerunner of Edwyn / Springs / Henderson and countless others. The man himself has the best taste in modern American R and B and obscure French literature. Great radio guest.
As a music fan I’ve always been intrigued in the records that have inspired either an artist or has soundtracked a life time, I often ask band’s if there’s anyone they’d like to recommend as essential listening and as an extension of this I created this feature where band’s get the chance to talk about the ten albums that inspire, influence or intrigue.
Listening to up and coming Birmingham band, Dumb I felt compelled to revive the feature and ask them to reveal their perfect ten……So here’s frontman, Dylan Williams from Dumb….
Neutral Milk Hotel – In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
Definitely my favourite album of all time, and in a strange kind of way i hope i never find something that knocks it off top spot. I don’t think i could ever ‘over listen’ this one. From the first second of the first track it takes you on a journey full of mesmeric quality, punk attitude, vocal imagery, raw emotions; highs and lows, musical saws and funeral marches. It has everything. Me and Tom saw them at The Roundhouse a few months back and it was a moving spectacle. This is the king of all albums!
Radiohead – The Bends
I had to put a Radiohead album in here, one of my favourite bands. I love most of their albums but i think The Bends just about comes out on top. The whole album is pretty simple compared to their other’s and that’s why i love it. Its honesty and rawness is brilliant. It provides moments of easy listening right next to big riffs and powerful guitars creating a flow containing all sorts of different emotions. I like to listen to this album as I’m falling to sleep, it seems to send me off nicely. Best Track – ‘Bones’
Bjork – Debut
A lot of my favourite music comes from my very first memories of hearing any, and a lot of those memories are from listening to music with my dad in the car at a very young age. I love music with nostalgia! I used to think Bjork was some magical lady from another planet when i was little from seeing photos of her and listening to this album. I love the weirdness of it all. Best Track – ‘Venus As A Boy’, such a good song.
Massive Attack – Blue Lines
This album reminds me of an old family friend who I’ve known my whole life.Some of my first memories are from being at his house at the age of like 5 and my dad and his mom playing Massive Attack records in the kitchen. Blue Lines is an album like no other. Every track has its own identity and tells a great story. Best Track – ‘Be Thankful For What You’ve Got’
The War On Drugs – Wagonwheel Blues
I went travelling around Europe for a month a couple of years ago and i put this album on my iPod just before i went after hearing good things. I literally only listened to this when i was away so now when i hear it it takes me straight back to that time. I love the unusual structures of the songs and the ‘broken’ sounds they have achieved. The overall feel of this album is triumphant which made a perfect travelling soundtrack. Best track – ‘Taking The Farm’.
Interpol – Turn On The Bright Lights
At one point a few years ago this was all i listened to. I remember trying to listen to other bands but then jumping straight back on this, nothing quite matched it. I love the straight driving rhythms and the desperation in Paul Banks’ vocal. There is a dark but uplifting vibe throughout this album, so good! Best Track – ‘Obstacle 2’
Mos Def and Talib Kweli – Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star
I remember accidentally downloading this onto my iTunes a few years ago and i ignored it for ages. When i was sorting through some music i finally gave it a listen and loved it! The character throughout and the beats on this album are smooth and inviting. Definitely my favourite hip hop record. The chemistry between Mos Def and Talib Kweli is great, they sound like they’re having loads of fun making the music which always makes for a good listen. Best Track – ‘K.O.S Determination’
Titus Andronicus – The Monitor
Another album with a triumphant feeling. This one is still pretty new to me.I used to listen to this on the way to the job centre to sign on on a Thursday morning or me and Tom put it on in the early hours of the morning after a night on the razz. The lyrics contain some pretty depressing stuff but it converts in to an uplifting feeling somehow. Love the irish punk qualities. Best Track – ‘A Pot In Which To Piss’
The Clash – London Calling
The Clash are the best British band ever in my opinion. So many good pop songs on this album. Always a good album to put on when you’re really drunk and want a dance and a shout. I love how it’s still a punk record but is loved by everyone for its catchy hooks and sing along choruses. Best Track – ‘Rudie Can’t Fail’
Gorillaz – Gorillaz
First album i ever owned. Think i was 7 years old. The whole Gorillaz image with the cartoons and stuff really captured my imagination at the time. Now I’m older and i go back to listen to these songs i love them for a different reason. They are so simple but so good! I love the use of a recorder and the5/4 time signature. The songs still take me back to sitting in my bedroom at my old house playing Playstation 1 and listening to this on repeat. Best track – ‘5/4’
Dumb have a brand new EP out soon (reviewed elsewhere on this very site) and a brand new single you can listen to below.
Singer-songwriter Anil returns with a brand new EP, Mesonoxian following on from collaborations with the likes of drum n bass swing band The Fabrics and the critically acclaimed Mirrorkicks. Anil welds and weaves a myriad of stlyes and influences to create his visionary blend of pop, rock and electronica.
Here at Rhythm & Booze we asked Anil to reveal his perfect ten records that help define him as a person and recording artist. Here’s what he had to say.
To make sure they remain guilty and pleasurable, I’ve kept all my guilty secrets off my list and deep away in the Narnia of my closet. I’ve gone for albums that I fixed on in musical puberty. So in that sense, they aren’t necessarily my favourite but ones I sang along to when I got home from school (or in some cases uni) and thus balmed much existential angst and provided transport to somewhere new for me.
Bjork – Vespertine
I listened to it at night mostly while I was at Uni – I would take long long long walks all around Bristol, so for me it’s night time music. It also one of the only albums I like that I can listen to with someone at night (if you know what I mean ;)) without it taking over my mind! And so I have lots of happy memories associated with it!
I find it hard to write about music I love without sounding very cliched and pretentious! But here it goes… There’s so much going on but so much space. There’s rich orchestration, choirs, lots of collaborators but yet it’s close and intimate and it feels like a whole album rather than a load of incongruous songs that have been shoved together. Every time I hear it, I hear something new. Nothing grates, the melodies are arching and full of my favourite intervals but yet despite it’s mastery it doesn’t feel pretentious to me – there’s a simplicity to it.
Radiohead – OK computer
Every day, I would come home from school – grab a fistful of chocolate – run straight upstairs to put this on full blast and zone out watching all the people on the trains hurtling passed the back of our house. It’s dirty but beautiful and the lyrics seem nonsensical but they become yours. It’s not something I find depressing. I never understood why people went on about that so much. Although I was a very depressed teenager so maybe it just met me where I was already!
Phillip Glass – Cello Octets
I first heard this when I found myself in Tacheles in Berlin not knowing what it was and having just arrived there from Mongolia. It was blaring out of one of the studios and I just crept in, lay down on a sofa and watched this maniacal little artist man rushing about slinging paint around – he didn’t seem to mind me being there. It’s music that takes my full attention but at the same time releases it – it’s meditative, intense and as hard to switch on as it is to switch off – for me.
Soundgarden – Superunknown
For me, this has to be on very loud and never in headphones. I like it because it’s direct and it doesn’t fuck about like some of the other things on this list and sometimes you really need that!
Sigur Ros – Ágætis byrjun
I don’t really think of Sigur Ros as having distinct albums – it’s sort of continuous and each song or album seems like a expression of the same set of feelings that I get when I listen to them (That’s a very nice way of me saying that I can’t tell their albums apart from each other!). But in all seriousness – I reckon that’s good thing. It is for me anyway. For me, in this, the voice is an instrument and it plays a different role because of that. It’s got that same sense of wholeness that Vespertine has and also similarly, it’s an album I can experience with other people without zoning out to my own little world – and so it’s special to me. But it’s meditative as well – and I can just as well lie on my floor (even now 13 years on from when I first heard it) and just get totally lost in it. They used to rehearse in a swimming pool. I used to rehearse in the basement of a convent. I wish I used to rehearse in a swimming pool!
Frou Frou – Details
This album came at an exciting time for me because I loved it when I heard it, and then somehow found myself doing some live radio sessions on guitar with the band while I was supposed to be at Uni! That whole experience really made me change how a played the guitar and despite being a very short period of time, had a huge impact on me. For me, it has that same thing that Vespertine has – incredible detail and layers but an incredible sense of space and transport.
Portishead – Live in NYC
I did something sneaky here. I chose this album because it has most of the songs from Dummy and Portishead on it and I could never choose between the two. This to me is as authentic as it gets. Every note sung feels like it’s come from somewhere real – but it’s not noodly – it’s tasteful and controlled and simple – full of space – frightening amounts of space – and vulnerability. I remember seeing it with a friend at the BFI and feeling like it was from another time. it takes a lot to make a live album work and to do it with real conviction and integrity.
Arvo Paert – Berliner Maesse
I reckon this man would have been executed if he made this music in the middle ages for using ‘demonic harmonies’ – seriously! I find them rather beautiful myself – and every moment is genius to me, I love all the angles. I almost put Eric Whitacre instead, but as I only discovered his music relatively recently and didn’t grow up in the same way, I didn’t. I suppose writing choral music and running a choir myself, means I have a geeky passion for choral music!
Imogen Heap – Speak for Yourself
I guess this makes the list because it genuinely influenced me and would have done despite the direct connection of me having played guitar for Immi for a stint just before this album and performing with her and my choir (London Contemporary Voices) at her Royal Albert Hall show last year. There aren’t any duffs on the album – no fillers – each and every track feels like it’s had the same level of energy put into it – and it’s brave. Especially Hide and Seek. It stands on the shoulders of aritsts like Laurie Anderson – and to really trully do everything yourself as an artist is quite remarkable. For me it’s an album that makes me get on with it and do music – and it stops me complaining somehow. I love it for that reason.
Massive Attack – Mezzanine
I love the closeness and breathiness of the vocals against the dark guitars and beats – dark and sublime! I would love to sing on a Massive Attack album – that would be a dream come true. I worked in the music department at WHSmith’s when I was 15 and I used to put this on – on a loop. I got told off a lot. One memory stands out in particular – I remember having Angel on very loud and this elderly gent settling down on a picnic blanket on the floor in the stationary department – with a full – classic picnic spread! Scotch eggs etc…
Worcester based poetic, Singer-songwriter Wes Dance unveils his Perfect 10, the ten albums that help define his life.
1. The Beach Boys – Friend
This album is definitely an overlooked classic. The arrangements and variations in instruments and musicality are just perfect, from the church bells on ‘Be Here in the Morning’ to the wild harmonies on ‘Little Bird.’ Incidentally, Friends is the first album with songs by Dennis Wilson, who would go from strength to strength, and become my favourite Beach Boy songwriter after Brian. The whole album is rich, beautiful and seems effortless.
2.Gene Clark – No Other
Gene Clark was the best songwriter in The Byrds and this album is a fine example of Clark’s talent. No Other is an album that grows with each listen, yet still remains a mystery after a thousand spins. The lilting sadness in Clark’s voice and his melodies are mesmerizing – his voice is taut and soft all at once. ‘Strength Of Strings’ is constantly pushing upwards, it is the musical equivalent of yearning – listen to it when you first wake up, it’ll change your life. The album is a marvel and needs far more recognition.
3.The Flying Burrito Bros. – The Gilded Palace of Sin
Everyone should read about the history of Gram Parsons, but I won’t go into that now. Parsons’ song-writing on this album with Chris Hillman is fantastic. The albums a great big bowl of Californian fun – it’s a young album, careless and wanting. On ‘Wheels’, Parson’s sings ‘we’re not afraid to ride, we’re not afraid to die’ and you believe it. Sneaky Pete’s pedal steel playing swathes the whole album saturated in fuzz – I wish more people played pedal steel in this way. The album has some great white soul moments too: Parson’s singing on ‘Hot Burrito’ #1 and #2 always blows my mind.
4.Van Morrison – Into the Music
Another unique and incredible singer. The band on this album are so good, it’s ridiculous. Mark Ishlam’s horn arrangements add a Philly Soul feel to Van’s elegiac song-writing, and the fiddle and penny-whistle work is wondrous. Many a time, many moons ago, a friend and I would drink brandy and listen to this album until the early hours without saying a word in awe. Another friend recently suggested there is no more an epic way of doing the dishes than washing them to ‘And The Healing Has Begun.’ It makes the mundane become phantasmal.
5.Bob Dylan – Desire
I was 18 and went on a Christmas shopping trip with a friend, meaning to buy family presents we ended up in the pub all day and later I bought this album. On returning home I put it on and the first opening chords of Hurricane were like an epiphany. The sound of the guitar, the drums, and Rivera’s violin, Dylan’s caustic tone, all rich in reverb, made perfect sense in my mind, it was a crossroads on how a record could be recorded and sound.
6.Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentlemen we are Floating in Space
Everything about this album is incredible: The bells, the orchestral arrangements, the gospel vocals, the way Pierce sings like Lou Reed over these amazing musical landscapes, the circular motion of the music like its evolving in front of you, the stooges-esque guitars, the random harmonicas, the use of synths, I could go on. I love this album, it’s a masterpiece.
7.Manic Street Preachers – The Holy Bible
This terrifyingly ferocious album is not recommended to listen to on a dark street if you want to maintain your trust in humanity. The whole album stinks of a mental breakdown, everything is being torn down and everything is alien. From Nazi’s to castration the whole album is a butcher’s cleaver, it meanders in the grey spaces of life, where one should not mentally wander in reverie. A fantastic record: the musical equivalent of William Burrough’s Naked Lunch.
8.Brian Jonestown Massacre – Give it Back!
This was the first album I bought by the BJM, and this is the reason it’s on the list, my introduction to the wild, strange, and revolutionary world of Anton Newcombe. I adore this band. Newcombe’s idea are fantastic: the sound of their records, the guitars, the spontaneity of the music, all remind me of drunken summers being an angel head. ‘Servo’ is a stand-out track, based around three chords with an amazing guitar riff. The film Dig! Is an awesome introduction to this band.
9.Beck – Sea Change
Like Dylan’s Desire, this was another album where the overall sound pulled apart a mountain in my mind. The sparse use of keyboards and guitars that patter across Beck’s rhythm are pictorial, in the sense that they open the lyrics and the chord arrangements to broader landscape. The string arrangements are cavernous. Every instrument is gregarious to the other, creating a vast painting of colours across Beck’s skeletal chords. ‘Little One’ is tantamount to a Buddhist satori when the chorus rises like a sun about to super nova.
10.Tom Waits – Blood Money
I could pick any Tom Waits album, but randomly for idiosyncratic deliciousness I will pick Blood Money. A wonderful album: at turns disjointing (see ‘Starving in the Belly of the Whale) and at turns beautiful (see ‘Lullaby.’) Its 1920’s Jazz, its eastern European gypsy, and ‘God’s Away on Business’ is an amalgam of these styles verging on hardcore punk. The lyrics are insane, genius and hilarious: ‘the more that that the monkey can climb; the more he shows its tail.’ Blood Money is a hoot; masochistic and jollying in the evil of the world! Everybody roll!