Three Records that changed my life…. let’s be honest, that’s a real tough ask. There are so many records that have been important for certain times in my life and then there are those albums that are amazing. Like for example if you have ten albums by the same artist, yet always find yourself reaching for the same record each time. An example of this for me is Pennywise, nine out of ten times you’ll find me reaching for “About Time”. So I’ll try and broach this in a different way, maybe the three albums that I would want if I could only have three. But, this list won’t even include my beloved Jesus Jones or Kylie Minogue, basically as I’m not going to use the potential cop out and pick any form of greatest hits.
So let’s get started right at the start, with the first record that really made an impact on me….
Europe – The Final Countdown
You might think Europe were a one hit wonder, but this album had a few hits on it, some absolute bangers. It’s 1986, I’m 9 and I hear the start of the huge hit “The Final Countdown”… the songs builds then suddenly “dur dur dur dur, dur dur dur dur dur” and we’re about to rock! Oh hell yes, this song open my eyes to rock music! The album is incredible, from “Rock The Night”, to “Cherokee”, the melodic “Carrie”, wow what a record! I still absolutely love this one. Yes in modern times I may reach for a greatest hits CD just as often, I’ll admit that. But Europe are still putting out amazing albums and I will gladly buy every single one. 2017’s “Walk The Earth” is another killer rock record. Let’s face it, this is a love affair that’s been ongoing since 1986 and one that shows no sign of ever ending!
Pavement – Slanted And Enchanted
It’s 1992, I’m about to start sixth form and I hear this record and it’s a real life affirming moment. In recent years people in my year were in three real categories, the chart kids, the rap kids and the metal kids. But a handful of us, yes not quite double figures at this point) are into guitar based indie music, reading the weekly dose of Melody Maker & NME from cover to cover and wanting to learn about new bands. I admit that there was more people coming into the guitar bands, thanks to Nirvana, but starting sixth form meant that there was an influx of kids from other schools into my school, kids that also liked guitar music. Back in those days we’d cover our folders and mine was filled with Pavement quote in the main. This album is something else. A slacker sound, DIY, lo-fi, alternative with let’s face it a lot of lyrics that make little sense. From the poppier “Summer Babe” to the angry “Loretta’s Scars”, when I first heard this album I can only imagine I was open mouthed with the genius of it. One of the most perfect albums I’ve ever heard.
So there we have it, two albums down and possibly not what you’d expect from someone who plays in punk bands, loves hardcore and runs a punk label. With just one choice left, trying to narrow this down was a little tricky. Contenders included “Doubt” by Jesus Jones, “30 Something” by Carter USM, “Change Is A Sound” by Strike Anywhere, “Over The James” by Avail. Not even any Face To Face in here, which is insane! But the one album that was really, really close and would definitely have made 4th place is “Where You Been” by Dinosaur Jr. J Mascis is a huge influence on me and thanks to his guitar playing is one of the two reasons I ended up picking up a guitar and playing. Which brings me to the final record of the three and the other influence for picking up a guitar…
The Lemonheads – It’s A Shame About Ray
Quite literally wow! This album is incredible. It’s indie, it’s alternative, it’s poppy, it’s catchy and it’s accessible. From the moment I heard this record I was hooked on it. Every single song on here is a winner. From the opening guitar riff of “Rockin’ Stroll” Evan Dando, Nic Dalton and with bass by another of my favourite artists, Juliana Hatfield. I’ve been lucky enough to see them play this album in full and it was an amazing moment. It’s been sad that Evan Dando hasn’t released any new material for many years now and a couple of covers records are all we’ve had. But seeing them play again earlier this year was great and proved that the songs have stood the test of time. A truly wonderful record.
Second In Line are a punk band from Newbury/Southampton/Oakley and they have music up on their Bandcamp page.
You can check out the Lights Go Out zine on their website – www.lightsgoout.co.uk