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Broken Record #55

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Jessica's Brother are a new band made up of songwriter Tom Charleston, Jonny Helm of The Wave Pictures and Charlie Higgs previously of Ramshackle Union Band. They play a highly pleasing brand of loose, feelgood indie-pop, with nods to Pavement, Silver Jews and a bit of Nick Cave thrown in for good measure (and perhaps to darken things up a little). They've just released "Humdinger" (listen below), a teaser from their debut album which will arrive on  Fika Recordings on 20 July. In preparation for the release, Tom Charleston spoke to us about some of the most important records in his life, for this: Broken Record #55.

Beck - Banjo Story

“Let’s go moon some cars” cries a teenage beck over a bumbling drum and banjo on the album’s first track. The mic pops and the instruments fade in and out of what sounds like a one-mic recorded collection. The tone of the songs flip between slacker-wino foolery to maudlin lamentation about going nowhere fast and finding misery in love. It’s a lo-fi rollercoaster, and it’s brilliant.

Lucinda Williams - Car Wheels on the Gravel Road

When I was three my parents took us to America for a year where my dad did a teacher exchange. My first memories of music are from those car journeys that took us from Florida towards Arizona, Colorado and California.

Lucinda’s album is one that still ignites a musical Proustian magic that leads me back to the Volvo, where I’d be gawping out the window, and often pleading with my older sister to repeat her hysterical impression of a hot-dog like Mrs. Doubtfire.

When I hear Car Wheels today it remains such a joyous and beautiful album. Musically, it’s a riot of shimmering guitars and hooks. Lucinda’s lyrics, often straight-forward, evoke so much through her delivery which can be both tender and huskily irreverent. I got to see Lucinda at Cambridge folk festival many years ago and that was a case of a love that only grew after seeing her increasingly irked at having stage cameras swerving at her when trying to perform. “I know I’m a bitch…” she said despondently. “NO!” the crowd shouted, getting angry with her. It was a special night.

cLOUDDEAD - Ten

Holy hell, these three guys (Doseone, Yoni Wolf, Odd Nosdam) split my brain with this album when I was 17. It was that unicorn moment where every element of the album’s composition was so strong that they elevated one another to something truly extraordinary. 

Nosdam’s production of the music ranges from ethereal dreamscapes to hammering drum-beats that duck and rise with sporadic intent. Doesone and Yoni’s lyrics are filled with surreal and often unnerving images. The writing can often be non-sensical but remains euphorically engrossing. At other times it can be reassuringly stark. I relentlessly pursued the Anticon label roster and all the artist’s work to find a treasure trove of albums.