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On top of this, he had refined his songwriting to its most articulate — the lyrics were surreal and very tongue in cheek, more so than usual. Then the melodies were all so precise; he recorded his last two records using amazing session musicians, interestingly enough, which seems to be the reason most people are not a fan of his later work.

The word sterile gets tossed about frequently.


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How many other albums that feature a song comprised solely of one set of looped bells and a drumbeat leave you feeling so musically satisfied? Funky as hell, and as political as heaven. His first live performance since leaving The Impressions. He had everything to prove, and spanked it with a double vinyl album. No small wonder that reggae stars, and then the rest took so much from him. This is pop. Pop is what they were doing and they were writing all these great songs, going on about the whole punk thing and not being embarrassed about writing great pop songs.

It feels like it was designed to be loved by me alone. Their early stuff is pretty straight-ahead indie rock, and I think this is very important to their sound, that they came from that background. If you like massive basslines, digital synths, and the drumming of the Talking Heads, then you should definitely listen. So he just recorded them live in this club called the King King.

You can hear the whole atmosphere of the club. As for the band, Lester Butler was just one of the greatest ever harmonica players. He sings into a bullet mic while playing. In fact the whole band were amazing players. Cardinal was the perfect partnership of the supreme song writing of Australian Richard Davies and the lush voice and arrangements of Californian Eric Matthews.

Together they were untouchable — Davies had the most instinctive song writing skills and killer melodies since David Bowie, and Matthews had a truly unique soulful voice and the arranging skills of Burt Bacharach. When I put it on, it was like being totally woken up, because it hits you like the fucking Beastie Boys or something. It really takes your head off! The Pretty Things were really out there.

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They were pushing it just as hard as The Beatles but in a different direction. They recorded it at Abbey Road. The whole album is consistently brilliant. An arsenal of post-MDMA, post-post-punk, anti-love songs. It launched a thousand stage invasions across East Lancashire and North Lincolnshire; each song is like a Bukowski short story, upended and restaged in Grimsby, set to the sound of a dodgy amp and out tune Squire Telecaster. The die hard few who decided they were not content with the rubbish took these songs to their hearts.

We went to the same High School. He was a really fucked-up kid.

This was in the late Seventies. I was at school in Toronto when the LA punk thing happened. It sounded too much like English punk. The album began as a concept which became progressively more difficult to achieve. They wanted it to be an actual radio station, one far left of the dial, and you could just tune into it and they would constantly be creating new music.

Whenever you would tune it would either be them having a conversation, or jamming, or writing a song, and it would only happen at night.

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The idea was of tuning into a spiritual frequency. They made this hip-hop record, which was smart, political, funny and nasty. As a songwriter, my earliest inspiration came from hip-hop. And the fact that it was from the west coast. Chick Corea was an early supporter of Scientology. They kickstarted a lot of that French dance movement.

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This album came out in and it never succeeded as it should have. It just seems to be quite psychologically powerful. At one of them, they handed out a mix, and the first track on that was LFO. From that I wanted to investigate more. This is the first techno album that I bought, and can still listen to as an album, rather than just enjoying one or two songs off it.


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The Dancing Did were a short-lived four-piece from Evesham, Worcestershire, who spanned post-punk, punk, goth, psychobilly and folk-rock in the freakiest, most flawless way. For all the melodrama and vast range of influences, they never sound like anything but classic English eccentrics.


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  6. But at the same time, they have really amazing pop songs. I really got into Eater cos they had Dee Generate Strummer on guitar who was about 14, and I was pretty young at the time so I thought that was pretty cool they thought the Pistols were too old. Did this record shock me? I had spiky hair, then I went skin for a while, then I went kinda Nick Cave. Sweeping through its many voices, sounds, moods, landscapes it is as much a lost experience as a lost album.

    John Cale is most famous for The Velvet Underground. He is less famous for almost everything else: for being Welsh, his classical music sophistication, and his prolific thirty-plus album solo and producing career. This album was such an incredibly exciting record for a year-old. It was fraught, angry, strange and threatening. One of the strangest memories I have is that with it being vinyl you were supposed to play it at 45rpm.

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    But because it was an album, I played it at 33rpm. So for the first few months I was playing it at the wrong speed. It sounded like some bizarre death metal record. The singer, Michael Ryan, had bee-stung lips and a perfect fringe — there was something going on there. This album, its ambition, drew me and Nicky and Ritchey and Sean in. It was on the brink of collapse all the time, but they managed to harness it in the music.

    So when I read that Jeffrey Lee Pierce was doing a solo album and that it was a bit of a production number, I was intrigued. And then I listened, and I just thought it was one of the most perfect meldings of pop sensibility and rock, which is the hardest thing to do. I just want to do this once in my life.

    But this album is utterly embroiled in Neu! They never, ever get the credit for being one of the most inventive British bands ever. And the way that so many bands can splinter into each other — from Neu! I think the whole sound of this record is revolutionary and ahead of its time.