Articles - Features

Track Record: Lucy Gaffney

From Spacemen 3 and Serge Gainsbourg, to Beck, Air and Astrud Gilberto, Belfast alt-pop artist Lucy Gaffney selects eight records that have left an indelible imprint on her music & life
Photo by David McEneaney

Beck – One Foot In The Grave

This album brought something new into my life when I first heard it. I played it on repeat until I new every word and guitar riff like second nature. Each song blissfully brings with it a mood of off the cuff nonsense that resonated to the nth degree.  It changed my songwriting and allowed me the ability to care less about what fits on an album and what actually flows. Beck’s albums mould into every crevice of my life in some way or another. This one in particular needs to be heard from start to finish over and over to fully appreciate it. It’s a beautiful two fingers up to his success on ’Loser’ just months prior and encapsulates everything I love about raw untouched songwriting and production. The album artwork and inside sleeve on the LP is perfect and I’ve spent many a lazy afternoon enjoying it with a cup of tea in hand; ‘Sleeping Bag’, ‘Hollow Log’ & ‘It’s All In Your Mind’ being my highlights on the record.

Air – Moon Safari

This album was the catalyst for my love of dreamy French space-pop. Beth Hirsch’s vocal on this record washes over you and takes you on a journey of nonchalant coolness. I first heard the track ‘All I Need’ on a trip to Santa Monica, driving around with my cousins in the LA sunshine. The vocal feels like a personification of that – warm sunshine, flowing like silk over your brainwaves. I was lucky enough to stand front row at Air’s gig back in 2010 and it’s still one of the best moments of my life.

Chet Baker – My Funny Valentine

This is the first vinyl I ever bought for myself in Head Records in Belfast. My love for Chet Baker from then on ran deep. I got a record player for my 18th birthday and sat on my bed most nights listening to this instead of doing homework. This album brought me into my romance era in my early 20s, it also got me through a 12 hour art exam which I’m forever thankful for. You can’t help but loose yourself throughout every track. Chet’s voice is intoxicating. ‘I Get Along Without You Very Well’ might be my favourite but I blow with the wind in regard to that so I can’t really say for sure.

Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue

I guess this record really speaks for itself. It was my proper introduction to jazz at 16. I initially found this album when my older brother’s friend Jimi (with incredible taste) kindly leant me his iPod for a few days. I listened to ‘Blue In Green’ over and over until my heart hurt and wrote copious amounts of poems listening it with teenage angst. Getting the chance to listen to it on vinyl in a quiet room is simply breathtaking and should be on everyones to do list.

Nirvana – Unplugged

It goes without saying that this is one of the best live performances of all time and makes the hairs on your neck stand up. As a little kid we used to play the full record start to finish on long car journeys to the west of Ireland and I remember saying over and over “Can you play the one about the parrot” because I was obsessed with the intensity of the storytelling. Kurt becomes the character in each song oozing humanity and depth. It absorbs you. ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night?’ is a prime example of this.

Astrud Gilberto – Once Upon A Summertime (Special Edition)

Discovering Astrud’s voice as a kid was life-changing. Her music was my introduction to Bossa Nova and offered a world of off tempo perfection that I never knew I needed. I’d listen to her on the way to school at 10 years old and drift away in the back of the car looking out the window daydreaming. She has the dreamiest voice and her work with Stan Getz and João Gilberto paved the way for my love of music.

The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses

This record encapsulates a time in my life when I’d just moved to Crystal Palace in London at 19 fresh out of school and I’d moved into an old drafty Edwardian flat with my brother. We had no furniture except for a record player, an old piano and the landlords immense vinyl collection to fill the place. That experience woke me up to a world of musical education and psychedelia. In the morning, I’d blast this through the flat and dance around the apartment like a madman. Ian Brown’s droney, over-dubbed vocals are still a massive influence in the studio.

Spacemen 3 – Recurring

‘I Love You’ by Spacemen 3 blew my mind back in 2016 and still does to this day. J Spaceman and Sonic Boom became my new epitome of cool and flipped the way I write and record sonically. Tumbling chunky guitars and hazy blurred vocals have been my new normal ever since.

Beck – Sea Change

The album closest to my heart on this planet potentially. I have lived and breathed every track on this ten fold. I listen to this when I need to remember myself and feel whole again. It’s got me through many phases in my life. It’s the one record that I don’t think I can ever fully listen to too much. It’ll break your heart and put it back together on every listen. The album artwork visually has been a massive influence over the years. ‘Lost Cause’, ‘End Of The Day’ and ‘Guess I’m Doing Fine’ might be my favourites, but it’s far too hard to narrow it down with this record.

Serge Gainsbourg – Histoire de Melody Nelson

Thee coolest album ever made I imagine. I’ll be honest I listen to this the second I wake up on a weekly basis anytime I need an artistic pick me and to start my day with a little joie de vivre. You can’t listen to this without automatically feeling a little bit more sultry and cool. My French friends say its a crying shame that I can’t understand the depth of the poetry in the words but nevertheless its a sublime piece of unwordly art that makes you want to pack a case and move to Paris instantly.