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24 September 2014

Life Is Like A Box Of Records: Craig Angus (Poor Things)

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Today’s Life Is Like A Box Of Records is scribed by Craig Angus from one of our favourite bands Poor Things.

You can listen to their excellent music here: https://poorthings.bandcamp.com

 

The Eagles – Hotel California

I didn’t grow up in the most musical of households, no harp in the spare bedroom, I didn’t pick up a guitar till my 12th year, but probably the first song I remember hearing and being interested in would have been Hotel California by The Eagles.  My Dad would put on music before we walked down to school in the morning, and this song always terrified me, I felt quite sorry for the man trapped in the hotel – he checked out, let the man leave!

Wheatus – Teenage Dirtbag

This was the first CD single I ever bought with my pocket money and I loved it.  I thought I was so fuckin’ cool.  This brought me one step closer* to the hard stuff. A great kareoke number as well, if anyone fancies joining me for a Shanghai Shuffle one day, I’ve always wanted to go.

* such as ‘One Step Closer’ by Linkin Park, hohoho!

Nirvana – About A Girl

I was going to the big school and at this point spent most of my spare time watching the music channels, trying to tape the best songs from them, playing air guitar, basically being a strange, strange little man.  I think it was decided that I needed to actually have a guitar, to escape the sort of fantasy rock world I was living in.  Around about the same time I started listening to Nirvana, which was the same for me as it was for everyone.  I couldn’t play guitar at all but About A Girl helped me pretend I could, I managed to master the two chords with absolutely no finesse at all, but it was a start.  Shortly after all of this mischief I was placed in a registration class with Richard (who plays in Poor Things as well) who by some stroke of luck was probably the only person in our year group listening to that music and playing the guitar.  He was much, much better than me so I stuck at it to try and keep up.  Amazingly all that was 12 years ago and we’re still writing songs together and I’m still trying to keep up…

The Walkmen – The Rat

2004 and 2005, I’ve got so much nostalgia for then.  I had a wee bit more freedom and was buying a lot more records, funded by the paper round.  Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand, The Strokes, Interpol… and this.  This song is incredible, everything about it, that jagged guitar, those drums, and what a vocal.  He really means it.  One of my favourite songs ever.

Big Star – September Gurls

I worked in a popular high street entertainment retailer, HMV, in Perth when I was 17.  My supervisor was an absolute legend (I’m sure he still is) and provided me with my most significant moment of musical education probably ever.  It was a 15 track mix that introduced me to, amongst others:  The Lemonheads, Flying Burrito Bros, Badly Drawn Boy, Les Savy Fav and Super Furry Animals.  The opening track was called ‘September Gurls’ by a group called Big Star I’d read nothing of, and heard nothing of.  It absolutely blew my mind – this is the one song I’d take to a desert island, and whilst prone to making statements without thinking them through I’ll happily put on record that I think it’s the best song ever written.  Maybe.

The Kinks – The Village Green Preservation Society

I’m an absolutely massive Kinks fan and absolutely worship the ground they walk on.  What I love most about their best records is that the individual tracks stand up so well, but just take on a whole new level of significance in the context of the album.  There’s always a real sadness to their work, but a brilliant, sharp sense of humour that propels it along and makes them so relevant even now.  I rediscovered them on my first summer off from University, bought all their records and got all geeky about them.  This song is summery perfection, although I could have just rattled off 10 Kinks songs and been very happy with this list.

Neil Young – Heart of Gold

Whatever money I made from the shop that wasn’t immediatly blown on CDs was saved for a jaunt around Europe when school was out.  I was too scared of having all of my possessions stolen so I took a CD walkman (who would steal a CD walkman?) and a wallet with a few different albums on it, I spend a lot of the summer staring out into the middle distance listening to Pixies, Pavement, Cut Copy… I budgeted to pick some stuff up, so bought The Times They Are A-Changin’ by Dylan in Stockholm and then Harvest by Neil Young in Nice.  A good pal from Perth had been trying to get me to listen to Neil Young for a while and, finally, I got round to it, and that record ended up soundtracking the second part of the trip.  I totally, firmly believe that listening to music on the move is the best, and it ends up reminding you of places or times, good or bad, so now I can’t separate Neil Young now from the thought of throwing myself around the continent at 17, making the most of the liberal drinking culture and formidable sun.

Beach House – Silver Soul

Teen Dream is just a jaw dropping record, I can’t remember exactly how I came across it but it knocked me for six, it’s just this otherworldly, ethereal work of genius.  I saw them play at Glastonbury just after all this, an Australian man gave my pal and I a can of strongbow each, which he was carrying around in a giant white binbag.  The three of us exchanged raised our tins – we knew this was special.  The cider was warm and horrible but it’s the thought that counts.

Over The Wall – Settle Down

The last Over The Wall show back in May was just an incredible occasion.  A palpable sadness but a rowdy, celebratory party atmosphere too.  I think people who liked that band really, really liked that band, and I’m one of those people.  I saw them at The Captains’ Rest the year I moved to Glasgow, two guys doing a weird ‘head, shoulders, knees and toes’ style dance with hunners of pop gems thrown in.  ‘Settle Down’ is an anthem, its powerful and the sentiment is brilliant.

Pavement – Gold Soundz

I love Pavement, the show at the Barrowlands in 2010 was incredible and all the better because I never, ever thought I would get to see this band that existed before my time and were so fucking perfect.  I just about fell off my seat when I saw it was happening and when those tickets came through I was Mr. Charlie Bucket.  I’ve gone through phases of having favourites from the back catalogue, and the Malkmus solo records, but this is always the peak.  My favourite song by my favourite band, we’ll leave it there.

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