One of the great things about writing for a blog as world famous as Popdose is that the mere mention of my association with this collective of rock-blog superheroes gains me access to a world most people only dream about.
Okay, maybe it’s a world only I dream about.
Regardless, I’ve chosen to use my considerable clout not to bed French models and have all my drinks comped, but to ask some of my favorite artists for those albums that mean enough to them to be Desert Island Discs.
So, without further ado …
Peter Holsapple (dB’s founder, auxiliary member of R.E.M. and Hootie & the Blowfish):
Top five? Boy, make it hard on an old guy, would ya?
In no particular order:
1. Judee Sill â€“ Heart Food Amazon
Incredible and ornate beauty, very baroque string arrangements, allegorical lyrics that don’t spoil the music (like Christian Rock, a nice oxymoron, usually does), and a voice, double and triple tracked that sounds like it has an envelope follower on it. I loved this record when it came out; I was a teenage record store guy and one of the older people suggested that I’d dig it, along with Lick My Decals Off Baby.
2. The Move â€“ Split Ends Amazon
I’ll take this over Message From the Country because it’s got “Do Ya” and the other singles, and it ditches “My Marge”. I am still finding people who are newly stupefied by The Move, which attests to their lasting power and genius.
3. Big Star â€“ Radio City Amazon
Um, duh. The confirmation that this kind of music was where my heart lay (and largely lies today). Interesting to see much of the rest of the western world catch up 30 years later, with the exception of Teenage Fanclub, of course.
4. Jeff Beck Group â€“ Beck-ola Amazon
I know everyone thinks Truth is better, and it probably is. But I know every moment of this seven song album and love each one. Understated mayhem by Beck, fucking awe-inspiring bass playing from Ron Wood, a pretty Nicky Hopkins piano song. Some of the best Rod Stewart there is. And Tony Newman, who, although he’s no Micky Waller, is a treat on the hi-hat.
5. The Stanley Brothers â€“ 16 Greatest Gospel Hits Amazon
Another batch of religious stuff (see #1), but very different in style. The recording quality fluctuates from track to track, but the singing is superb and the repertoire is just phenomenal.
Chris (Stamey) and I are finishing up a follow-up to 1991’s Mavericks (itself reissued recently on Collector’s Choice) for Bar/None, and there is indeed a new dB’s album in the works (like making diamonds from coal, or like lava flow, good things take time).
I have a new place for my blog: halfpearblog.blogspot.com.
And I am a lover of Plush amplifiers, the likes of which were used on the first Jeff Beck Group tour. They look like Kustoms with tuck-and-roll metalflake naugahyde, but they’re tube amps and they have three portholes down the side, like Buicks. None cooler.
Eric Matthews (ex-Cardinal, critically acclaimed solo artist, and sideman for the likes of the Dandy Warhols, Ivy, and Tahiti 80):
1. Bee Gees â€“ Best of the Bee Gees, Vol. 1 Amazon
This is the album collection that got me started with the ’60s-period Bee Gees that I love so much. My parents had it, so it was always part of my life. Hugely impacting songs, arranging, and production. Perhaps more important in my childhood than the Beatles.
2. The Beatles â€“ Rubber Soul Amazon
This is a total tie with Revolver for me. Best songs, best production, sassiest playing and singing. I strongly dislike Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the White Album. Some good songs there, but largely a mess of unrealized, drug-induced half stabs.
3. The Beach Boys â€“ Today Amazon
Brian Wilson at his most together before blowing his mind out. Pet Sounds is beautiful, but â€“ like Sgt. Pepper â€“ full of strangeness. Pet Sounds blows Sgt. Pepper’s away, but Today is the strongest BB album.
4. David Sylvian â€“ Secrets of the Beehive Amazon
The best album I know about. Beautiful, perfect.
5. Depeche Mode â€“ Some Great Reward Amazon
Martin Gore is the best.
Lastly, check out empyreanrecords.com, where people can hear a song, for free, from my coming album.