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15 January 2014

Chris McCrory (Casual Sex)

Some time ago I was sitting on a bus with a token playlist of songs that had influenced my life in some way or another. Being somewhat refreshed, I started thinking of all the times that these songs had become significant and thought, wouldn’t it be an excellent idea to delve into other people’s ‘Life Record Boxes’. Luckily people have been wonderful and we have an incredible series continuing.

Today is the turn of Chris McCrory of Casual Sex. You can find more about their music here: https://soundcloud.com/casual-sex

First record I owned: Lightning Seeds – Change

I won a copy of this on cassette while on holiday on Torquay with my parents in 1995. There was a competition for kids as part of the hotel’s evening entertainment with various prizes on offer for different things, like the first kid to bring out a picture of the Queen wins a prize. I won a prize for having the oldest Dad, my prize was this tape. I still have it today and it’s still a cool song.

My childhood sounded like: The Clash – Straight To Hell

One of my earliest memories was being in the car with my Dad. He had The Story of The Clash on cassette and I remember sitting there asking him what all the songs meant. I’m sure he tried to explain, and I’m sure I didn’t understand. I think I was very lucky to have been exposed to bands like The Clash at such an early age. They instill such a good set of musical morals in you. To me they were the only 70s UK punk band to truly embody the real spirit of punk. Punk rock is freedom and they did exactly what they wanted to do, be it dub, funk, disco or pure pop music. I’ve always respected that far more than miserable Oi Punk fans, still doggedly rocking their leather jackets & safety pins long after any meaning is left in the music.

A record that changed everything: The Strokes – Hard To Explain

I bought Is This It when it first came out at 10 years old and I’ve been hooked ever since. There hasn’t been a year I haven’t played it in its entirety at least once. I think this record was enormously influential on most if not all skinny young white boys who’d just picked up a guitar at the time, myself included. It just appeared at the perfect moment to blow us all away. There wasn’t one weak track on that album and everything about it was (and still is) just so cool.

I learned to play drums with: The Ramones – Cretin Hop

I spent the summer of 2005 bored out of my mind in Spain – I was too much of a moody teenager to enjoy something that I’d jump at the chance to do now… I had a handful of CDs to keep me company during those long days and one of those CDs was It’s Alive, the brilliant 1977 live album by The Ramones. I’d often kill time tapping different parts of whatever was in front of me, with those different areas designated as a particular ‘drum’. I’d keep doing it until I could do it ‘right’ – mirroring the song on my imaginary drum kit. Cretin Hop was by far my favourite song at the time. Fitting…

First song I played live: Stray Cats – Stray Cat Strut

I’d just moved school and spent a lot of time practicing (or was it cowering?) in the music rooms at interval and lunch times. It wasn’t long before I’d met likeminded weirdos and formed a band. We played this song at the Christmas talent show in our high school’s theatre. It was the first time i’d ever played live with an actual band. It was terrifying, I remember walking home afterwards and passing out almost immediately from nervous exhaustion. In fact, I still have the video somewhere. I look like a pretty little girl and/or Taylor Hanson.

A song that made my summer: Sonic Youth – Expressway to Yr Skull

This must have been about mid-way through high school, I’d had an awful year and I was clinically and quite seriously er, fed up. It was 5am and I couldn’t sleep again. I stuck this record on just as the sun was rising in a clear blue summer sky and for the first time in a long time I felt OK. Winter in Scotland as we all know can be rather depressing and this song soundtracked that unique mental lift you experience when you first realise the summer is here again. This song is Sonic Youth’s perfect blend of noise and melody, it’s equal parts rousing and soothing, but most of all, it leaves you feeling positive and looking forward. We’re gonna find the meaning of feeling good and we’re gonna stay there as long as we think we should.

Favourite musical memory: Boredoms – Circle

In summer 2012 I spent a fortnight in Japan with my girlfriend. We’d just landed in Osaka after a twelve & half hour flight from Paris. Running on fumes we boarded the bullet train that’d take us to Nagoya and her aunt’s house where we’d be staying. I like to listen to music from an area that I’m visiting and since we were in Osaka it was only fair to listen to Boredoms. I couldn’t have picked a better track to play. If you can imagine being on a plane that’s taking off in the heart of a city, that’s what riding on the bullet train feels like. In my sleep deprived stupor, I was completely and utterly overwhelmed by this alien country zooming past me at 200mph. It was perfect, and I think the music playing amplified that experience tenfold. I’ll never forget it. Thinking of that train journey still gives me butterflies.

First (and only) song I’ve crowd surfed to: Parquet Courts – Stoned and Starving

I seen Parquet Courts the other week at Mono. Their album Light up Gold is certainly one of, if not the best guitar album of this year. I spent their set pogoing myself silly (and very sweaty) with a gut full of beer up the front by the stage. Mid-pogo, during their last song, Stoned & Starving I told myself that if I find I’m pushed on or near the stage that I’d just go for it and stage dive. The crowd was wild and heaving and it was the last song, so it would’t matter if the by now fairly riled-up bouncers threw me out. A few seconds later, and just as I’d predicted I was shoved right up to the stage, the moment of truth had arrived. I stepped up onto the stage, turned and threw myself on top of the crowd. Elated, I was passed around on folks hands for about 5 seconds. Surely nothing of note for a more seasoned surfer, but it was quite possibly the most fun I’d ever had at a gig. I crashed to the floor, picked myself up and felt like i’d joined some kind of exclusive rock and roll fandom club. I’ve obviously led a very sheltered existence.

The Last Record I Bought: Connan Mockasin – Caramel (LP)

In October of this year, concerned about my music taste consisting almost entirely of Sparks’ first few albums and other early 70s pop I went on a strict diet of music released in 2013 only. I learned that I don’t like Kanye West. I also learned that much of the music made by guitar bands nowadays sounds like it could have been made in 1993 (excluding My Bloody Valentine’s new record of course, because that actually probably was partly made in 1993). So, it was refreshing to hear someone dip into a different decade (or three, in the case of Mr Mockasin). I pre-ordered this LP on the strength of this one track and I wasn’t disappointed. Apparently he made this record holed up in a Tokyo hotel room with lots of giggling Japanese girls. It really shows. It’s full of woozy, psychedelic slow jams and it just makes you want to slow dance, among other things. It’s brilliant.

A record that makes me want to make more records: Brian Eno – Here Come The Warm Jets

Forget his ambient records. Eno was at his best in the 1970s. He made futuristic sounding, twisted-art pop years ahead of its time that I’ve been head over heels in love with for several years now. I think a lot of left-leaning bands miss the point nowadays. Art for Art’s sake has just lost all meaning. Noise/dissonance can be far more powerful once you place it in the context of a pop song, or at least beside a strong melody or something less abrasive. That’s what I love so much about Eno – This song is so familiar to our built-in pop sensibility, but there’s something not quite right about it. It could be the out of sync drums or the bells in the background, but it makes for a sort of uneasy euphoria that builds and builds before you can’t help but sing along with the chorus. A chorus that wouldn’t sound out of place on a chart-topping anthem. I love Brian Eno.

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