In the latest installment of Monday Mixtape, Martin Carr of 90’s alt rockers The Boo Radleys and his solo output as bravecaptain selects some of his favourite and most inspirational tracks from James Yorkston to King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard.
Being a musician I don’t get time to listen to as much music as I would like but this is a snapshot of what I’ve played recently. I thought I might have grown out of this by now but even if all new music was outlawed this instant there would be still be enough to discover until the end of all days. It gives me what my body needs and my brain wants, it’s water to my flower, honey to my bee. It’s a joy to watch my children respond to music made last week or sixty years ago, it’s all the same to them. Bless the creators, celebrate the artist. They give life colour and meaning.
Joe The Lion – David Bowie
At this moment in time ‘Joe the Lion’ is my favourite Bowie song. The crashing waves of noise, the thrill of music played with such abandon, the crazed vocal. Many singers would get lost under all that noise but his voice creates an even bigger racket, wild and free. He’s aligning himself with art and the weird and I want to high five him from start to finish.
Robot Stop – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
A typical person can handle about 5 g0 (49 m/s2) of GForce and this song must be pushing 4.2 g0 at least. Their music is INTENSE, a rush of sound and colour and, the best bit, mostly on one note. The history of rock and roll compressed into five minutes. Argh, MY FACE.
Brian Eno – The Fat Lady of Limburg
I love Eno the artist (I don’t know Eno the man) because there is always the faint whiff of the Con (a compliment by the way). This song is from his Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) LP, the one where he developed his Oblique Strategies (buy the record, get the app!). The lyrics and the music sit together perfectly, a song full of bureaucratic dread about a refined but remote lady of officialdom who must be pleased before anything gets done. It’s Kafka, Burroughs and Celine (Partners in Outlaw), it’s funereal, druggy and intoxicating.
I Want To Be Your Lover – Prince
Wasn’t he fantastic? I lost track of him in the nineties but re-connected with his last few records some of which are wonderful. This is as good as anything he did afterwards. He could do anything with a guitar but I like it best when he’s popping it (I love the bit in the intro to Stevie Wonder’s ‘What The Fuss’ where he introduces Prince – “Prince… POP IT”. And he does, he pops it. Pops it out of SIGHT). This came out when I was ten but I didn’t hear it until the mid-eighties after Purple Rain had made him a superstar. It’s a great song, he was already brilliant years before I knew he existed.
Young Savage – Ultravox
Or ‘How To Write A Chorus’. Whether it’s ‘She Loves You’, ‘God Save the Queen’, ‘Bring The Noise’ or Her Jazz’, there’s nothing like young people making a racket. You can’t lose with a song like this, it makes you want to move and shout, to BREAK FREE. It makes you want to learn the words and find out who wrote them and why. Put it on and turn it up (Congratulations, Mr Carr. Your music writing has been upgraded to level ‘fanzine’).
Positively 4th Street – Bryan Ferry
What? Have you been on the wacky again? Are you out of your fucking MIND? Dylan’s best vocal – smoky, rich, achingly hip and you choose the Bryan ferry version? *taps head* Hello? Hello? Anybody home? “Think McFly, think”. Yeah, well… a friend posted this on Facebook recently and for some reason I listened. I HATE Dylan covers, ‘proper’ singers forever trying to make his songs sound tuneful like they’re doing him a favour (Yes I include The Byrds, yes I love Hendrix doing ‘All Along The Watchtower’ but he sang like The Bob anyway) . This one of his most melodic songs and Ferry delivers in his old man voice with a backing of Roxy piano chords and haunting atmospherics. I don’t know how he does it but he makes it his own and doesn’t yodel or rip any foxes apart with his teeth once in the process.
Broken Wave (A Blues for Doogie) – James Yorkston
As an artist whenever something awful happens to another artist my first thought is always ‘how will this inform their work, what will they make out of it?’ This may seem a bit weird, callous even, to some people but it’s inherent in what we do as songwriters, painters, sculptors etc. As desperately sorry as I feel for Nick Cave for the cruel loss of his son, I can’t help but be curious to see how that heartbreak manifests in his work. In the hands of a master craftsman, heartbreak and loss can be shaped into new and beautiful forms that offer succour and release. James Yorkston is a master craftsman and here he creates a song of bleak beauty out of a period of pale sadness, a monument to his dead friend that will stand for as long as people have ears.
Sunshower Instrumental – The Rza
My favourite hip hop producer. He creates so much out of so little. Everything sounds a bit out of tune, a bit out of time but put it all together and his stuff just rolls along. I love the spooky vibe to this, it’s all a bit unhinged. It reminds me of the train in Dumbo. Sad, eerie, lonesome. My kind of vibe.
Good Morning How Are You Shut Up – Ivor Cutler
I met Ivor Cutler in the Creation offices once but I didn’t really know who he was. I knew he’d been in Magical Mystery Tour and that amongst all the hipsters and weirdos in that film he was the only one there who came across as genuinely ‘other’. This makes me laugh. It’s a great song too.
Angela – Mandy
My friend Melanie was a songwriter. Before she died in 2014 I was rehearsing with her live band in preparation for her new record. Mandy was her and musician/artist/husband Andy Fung. They were my friends and I loved them but when they got together they merged and created a new superperson that made my heart burst. The album is being released soon and I’m back playing guitar for the live stuff. She was a great writer, the funniest person in the world, and I miss her.