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Broken Record #41
The Belly of Paris are based in Bahrain but their roots are sprawled all over the place. Formed by ex-By Toutatis frontman Daniel Cochran, the band consists of pianist Yasmin Sharabi (Palestine), Szabolcs Nigo (Hungary) on trumpet, drummer Sumit Sharma (India), bassist Carlos Villarroel (Argentina) and Robert Prest (England) on drums. The Belly of Paris are, as you'd imagine. quite the cultural hotpot, part Jazz, part folk and part Cantina Band, it's probably best to just listen for yourself. The band have just released a new single which you can find below, and their debut album is due early next year. To celebrate all this exciting stuff Daniel Cochran spoke to us about his record collection for the latest in our Broken Record series.
One of those endless summer, late-night conversation, travelling albums that reminds me of my last year of college. I believed fervently that I was becoming a fully-fledged adult and everything seemed perfect. I daren’t even listen again in case I either break down in tears or feel cold indifference.
I could probably combine this with most underrated as I know a lot of Bowie fans hate it, but it’s a fantastic record. There’s nothing better than bombing around Manama with the sun glinting off the skyscrapers, singing along to the title track of this album. It’s like being in some ridiculous 80s movie and I’ve been giving serious consideration to getting a mustard suit made in tribute. My seldom-heard falsetto is coming along a treat to “John, I’m Only Dancing”.
Sarah Cracknell’s voice is the first thing I ever fell in love with. I love this entire album but mainly Hug My Soul, which is just a wonderful, all-encompassing song that makes you believe nothing can ever go wrong again. If I ever feel like I need lifting out of a fug I’ll go for this first.
When I moved to Saudi Arabia to teach English in 2013, my UK driving license wasn’t valid, the taxis never turned up, and so it was a 45 minute early-morning walk over a dead-cat-ridden wasteland in the blazing sun to get to work. It got to the point where I could hardly listen to White Chalk because I’d feel a physical gut-punch of homesickness. There’s a simplicity to the way Harvey writes that I don’t think many people can match, especially in her songs about England…it’s as if she’s both a part of the landscape and a personification of it. There’s this keening in her voice which makes me feel connected to something bigger than myself. I’m against any form of nationalism but I’m all for the way a landscape can be a fundamental part of your subconscious, and White Chalk brought all those feelings of longing and loneliness to a head. It made me want to get right on a plane and go home.