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Broken Record #40

Broken Record
Monday, November 9, 2015

Most people probably know Rory Attwell as "that bloke from Test Icicles", or "that bloke who produced all them great bands" (e.g. Mazes, Lets Wrestle and Veronica Falls) but, although both of those statements are very true, he's also carving out a name for himself as an artist in his own right. He's not actually using his own name, but that's by the by. As Warm Brains he's just put out a new album called Big Wow which is really rather excellent (review coming soon). Here, in the latest of our Broken Record series, Rory talks to Crackle about his musical upbringing, his strong views on The Libertines and his mum and dad who sound very cool indeed.

Tiny Too – Things That I Discover
Tiny Too – Things That I Discover

This is a great record from an all-female 3-piece from Norway, it’s like 80s indie-pop stuff but a bit more obnoxious, it’s got quite Wedding Present – George Best era guitar playing with maybe Sonic Youth-y elements. She sounds a bit like Sugar Cubes era Bjork too. On underrated Scandinavian indie pop records it was close between this and ‘Omslag: Martin Kann’ by Bob Hund, but I think they’re popular in Sweden (well the LP costs £150 on discogs at least, which is annoying).

The Libertines - Up The Bracket
The Libertines - Up The Bracket

I remember when I first heard about this band, the British music press were heralding them as “Britain’s answer to the strokes”. I don’t know about you but I think The Strokes were a pretty good band. Really good understated, well written pop songs with loads of personality, really imaginative and pretty technical guitar playing that at the same time was not particularly showy and great guitar tones and interplay. Plus, on top of all that, they looked fucking cool, like they were wondering around the lower east side in 1978 and stumbled across a time tunnel to the year 2001. Skip to The Libertines, 4 wallies in boot cut jeans who bought some terrible military jackets from Camden. Can’t play guitar, and not in a good or endearing way, if you can’t play the thing at least play it hard, down strokes, hard and fast. Also along with the dogshit playing their guitar tone sounded like they were playing through a practice amp from Argos (like fucking pitiful, George Formby had a more convincing sound coming direct from his banjo) and their songs were average at the very best (also note, their best songs were written by the bloke from the Senseless Things). Whoever managed to spin them as a ‘cool’ band and spark frenzy from British teens is without doubt a PR genius, it’s amazing that such toss is still so popular even today. Drummer seems like a nice guy though.

3 of a Kind - Babycakes
3 of a Kind - Babycakes

I used to like that one, I download it as the ringtone for my Nokia 8210 and then got charged £3 a month for the next 2 years without realising. Was going to say Rock n Roll part II but figured I shouldn’t as it might be insensitive and make me look like facetious arsehole, I do like that song though and to call that scumbag sinful is definitely a massive understatement. They still play that record in America a lot, I can only assume that’s because people haven’t been made aware of how heinous an individual he is (was chatting to someone at the studio about that recently and they said that GG had to sell the rights to that song in the early 80s when he went bankrupt, maybe in a way that makes it ok to like it? Hmm.)

Papa M – Whatever Mortal
Papa M – Whatever Mortal

I LOVE this album, it’s pretty sad to say the least, there are glimmers of hope in there though. A lot of my favorite records are very sad. I hope Mr. Pajo is doing ok. I’ve listened to this album about 2,300 times and even though it’s quite dark in places is still doesn’t bring me down. Weirdly sad records can be weirdly comforting.

Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band – Gorilla
Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band – Gorilla

It takes a rare breed to make songs of a comedic nature and them not to be shit. The Bonzos made brilliant songs that also happened to be very funny. Weirdly I had Neil Innes from the Bonzos and The Rutles in the studio the other day doing a Beatles cover with Rat Scabies from the Damned, Horace Panter from the Specials with the comedian Kevin Eldon singing. That was a bit weird. Neil was one of the only people that made me a little star struck.

Ivor Cutler - Velvet Donkey
Ivor Cutler - Velvet Donkey

My dad used to play this a lot, if you haven’t heard Ivor Cutler he’s an old boy from Scotland (or at least he was, god rest his soul) and this record is part spoken word and part blackly comedic folk played on a harmonium. The opening track is about 10 seconds long and goes “if your breasts are too big you will fall over, unless you wear a rucksack”, he also wrote a song that goes “women of the world take over, cause if you don’t the world will come to an end”, very astute observation I’d say.

The Young Knives – Sick Octave
The Young Knives – Sick Octave

This is another one I heard via my dad. This band have been around a while, I remember about 10 years ago hearing the name a lot, but like a lot of things they kinda escaped my attention. There’s a lot of music out there and, if I’m honest, I often I make weird snap judgments and decide “yeah I probably won’t like that”. At Christmas my dad played me this and I’ve listened to it about 800 times since and keep annoying people by playing it at inappropriate times. It kinda has everything I need in a record, good songs, weird bits, poppy bits, noisy bit, sad bits, aggressive bits, the singer Henry also has a great voice, reminiscent of Robert Wyatt crossed will John Lydon. Really good!

Trans Am - Red Line
Trans Am - Red Line

It’s very ‘driving’ in its approach - propulsive rhythms and synth. Kinda drawing influences from post punk and krautrock (but about 10 years before bands in East London decided to make Krautrock way more boring), it’s robotic like a more sinister Kraftwork but still pretty heavy in places. Plus the drummer is unbelievable, not in that crappy showy session drummer way, just doing brilliant and exciting things with drums and sticks.

Pavement - Range Life
Pavement - Range Life

I remember in 1995 my mum bought Range Life by Pavement on CD single from the Asdas over the road and we managed to squeeze the couches out the back door of our semidetached house into the garden and all listened to this really loud via the dining room window for about 8 hours till it got cold and dark and we had to put big jackets on. Then our friend Colin came round, the front door was open and he walked straight through to the back. We didn’t know him very well at the time, think he might have thought it was a bit odd.