Ben Kweller – On My Way
The earnesty and honesty in Ben Kweller’s subject matters have always sparked a fun innocence in me. I listen to this record often because it reminds me that there is still a pure way to get sentiment across the line even with stripped production and barebones instrumentation. I’ve always appreciated that like myself, Kweller doesn’t have a perfect voice but it doesn’t get in the way of the song.
Ghostface Killa x BadBadNotGood – Sour Soul
There are so many dimensions to this album it is also a regular repeat listen for me. Obviously the production is massive and BadBadNotGood (the band performing on Sour Soul) are such honed in minimalists. Ghostface lapse and descriptive approach to his subject matters are mysterious, descriptive and aloof. The flows are bang on rhythmically and his voice is just so signature. The album has a super rich colour palette to me.
Gorillaz – Gorillaz
When this came out and I was a kid, it was a real gateway into a whole new world of music I had no idea about. It was the first of its kind that had enough mainstream success to find its way to me at a time when the only way I discovered new music was the radio, Rage, or MTV etc.
It had all the elements of a “band” that made sense to me at the time. Guitars, drums, verse and chorus etc. But it was also bundled with these trip hop loops, eccentric electronic sounds and cool mix of styles that I had never heard together before. Then in addition, the band members were all animated characters with a detailed backstory. The first time I remember hearing them was when the music video for ’19-2000′ came on the TV. I was confused as to whether it was a new TV show, or the soundtrack to a movie. I didn’t really get it at the time, but it was new and alien and I liked it.
Tom Petty – Wildflowers
Elliott and I have always been huge fans of Tom Petty. He had an amazing knack of simplistic song writing that stood the test of time still to this day. Obviously his work with the heartbreakers was the height of his success but Wildflowers is one of his solo records that I love through and through. There’s so many amazing songs on this album – ‘You Dont Know How It Feels’, ‘You Wreck Me’, ‘Time To Move On’ and ‘Crawling Back’ to you are among my favourite songs of all time. As I’ve mentioned before, with all Tom Petty songs you can pick up a guitar and play any of them and they are still great without any production and their rawest form. We took that approach with this album ourselves.
The day before we started writing for this album and coincidentally Elliott’s birthday, we found out that Tom Petty had passed. I remember listening to ‘You Don’t Know How It Feels’ in the car and I actually cried there’s a line “think of me what you will, I’ve got a little space to fill” that got me. We all fill a space in the world and want to leave a mark somehow. Track nine on the album, ‘Tom’s Song’ is about Tom Petty and living in a world without him in It.
The Strokes – First Impressions of Earth
I really enjoy listening to the opening songs of new records that come out, it usually gives you a good snapshot of what’s to come. One of The Strokes’ most memorable openers, ‘You Only Live Once’ is from this record – the lyrics paint a picture of different scenes when listening to it and the songwriting is top notch, but for me the approach to the production / sounds on the record is what had an equally as large impact on me. It combined a gritty / distorted lo-fi sort of sound and it was done with an approach that allowed it to stand up against other more commercial records sonically, but still embodies the sounds and tones that people know and love about the Strokes, which is the most important part in making records.
That’s an approach that myself and the band use when making records: creating records that keep pushing forward, while retaining what we feel makes The Delta Riggs unique and identifiable, which is at times a tough feat to pull off!