If you had to go away for awhile and you could only take five of your favorite albums with you, which ones would you choose? Yes, we know it isn’t a fair question, but that hasn’t stopped us from asking music fans who happen to be recording artists in their own right. This edition of Desert Island Discs comes courtesy of Conor Mason, whose latest LP, Standstill, is out now. You can hear a couple of tracks from the album below — after reading Conor’s Desert Island picks, of course!
BECK – SEA CHANGE
This is my favourite Beck album. Not having been too familiar with Beck’s back-catalogue, other than the more popular singles that feature on the likes of Odelay and Midnite Vultures, Sea Change was a record that really blind-sided me. I was blown away by the song-writing, beautiful string arrangements and the more intimate vocal style. “Lost Cause” is possibly my favourite on the album, but “Lonesome Tears” wouldn’t be far behind.
THE WALKMEN – BOWS & ARROWS
As well as being a great album, I have a sentimental attachment to this record; it reminds me of some real good times. I love the rhythm and the energy in the songs. Although there are obvious stand-out tracks like “The Rat,” I really get off on the atmosphere of the album as a whole; it sounds like there is warm fuzzy distortion on everything from the organs to the vocals. “No Christmas While I’m Talking” is a personal highlight.
ELLIOTT SMITH – FIGURE 8
I’m a big fan of Elliott Smith, it’s no secret! He has so many great albums I would be hard-pressed to choose just one. I admire the stripped down earlier albums a lot but in the end I would likely take one of his latter records, probably Figure 8. For me it balances the more full-bodied, bigger production numbers like “Happiness” with those intimate moments he is renowned for, as on “Somebody That I Used To Know.” Both rank amongst my favourite songs of all-time. The consistency in Elliott’s writing, from his first album to the last, is something you’re not likely to see from an artist very often.
CASHIER NO. 9 – TO THE DEATH OF FUN
I think it would be good to bring some music from closer to home. I’ve been listening to Cashier no9’s debut album plenty recently. It’s just a great collection of songs finely produced by David Holmes. My favourite track is “Good Human,” but “Lost At Sea” would probably be more apt for my deserted predicament.
THE FLAMING LIPS – THE SOFT BULLETIN
This is the first Flaming Lips album that I heard – despite it being their umpteenth – and it remains my favourite. The Lips are always thinking outside the box when it comes to song-writing, making brilliant use of synths and samples to beef up the sound. “Race for the Prize” would no doubt inspire me back into building a raft to get me out of here!