Edinburgh based artist Andy Thomson - aka Fuzzystar - creates off-kilter indie pop filled with rich lyrical storytelling and lo-fi melodies.
His forthcoming album Telegraphing is due for release on 28th April 2017 via Satellite Sounds.
We caught up with Andy and found out what his favourite and most influential tracks are for this week’s Life Is Like A Box Of Records…
Stevie Wonder – I Just Called To Say I Love You
I remember getting obsessed about this song when it was on Top of the Pops. I think it was at no. 1 for more than a week because I remember tuning in to watch it again but being so small I didn’t have any way to play it myself. I’m not really such a fan of it these days but I enjoyed it heaps then, it was one of the first songs I remember enjoying.
Beatles – Love Me Do
The first song I ever bought (a cassette single when it wasn’t hipster). It was my first ever trip into town on my own. I took my pocket money up to Waverley Shopping Centre in Edinburgh and found it in the racks of Coda Music. I think it was the harmonica and instant hook that just caught me when I’d heard it before. My first bubblegum pop record.
Bob Dylan – Subterranean Homesick Blues
I remember hearing Bob Dylan on a stereo when I was about 10 or 11 and just feeling like there was something totally different about his music – though I didn’t really understand what it was at the time. The style, the vocal delivery and the lyrics and stream of consciousness were pretty different to anything I’d heard before. It had melody but it was so different otherwise to anything I’d been aware of, which was mostly Top of The Pops and The Chart Show. It just felt like a whole other thing.
John Martyn – Head and Heart
Discovering John Martyn was like finding several new musical rooms for me, from Solid Air, the classic entry point through to all of his experiments in echoplex and sampling and pre-chill out ‘chill out’ music. Not long after I got into him, I took Bless The Weather (on cassette again) on a trip inter-railing around Europe fell in love with it.
Frank Sinatra – One for My Baby (Sinatra at The Sands version)
I’d pretty much ignored Frank Sinatra’s music until my ’20s, mostly due to the neverending presence of My Way and other karaoke versions of his songs. One late Saturday night, my neighbour at the flat I was staying in knew I was into music and knocked on my door asking me to burn a copy of a cd for him – he’d found a reissue of an album he’d had decades earlier on vinyl – Sinatra at The Sands. In the process I heard another side of Sinatra and began to appreciate the artistry in the singing, his phrasing – The Chairman of The Board at his peak and barroom torch songs like One For My Baby as well as Count Basie and his band in great live versions of some of the other standards.
Dinosaur Jr – Feel The Pain
My brother made a mixtape for me that included so many great bands from the early to mid-90s, The Stains, The Afghan Whigs, Belly, Sugar and my first introduction to Dinosaur Jr, I really liked this track and the acoustic version which was around somewhere, still love them to this day!
Neil Young – Like a Hurricane
When I was about 16 I got my first intro to Neil Young – a copy of Decade. Out of about 5 albums I was given (all Fopp £5 specials), this was one I just played over and over. Like A Hurricane was the track that stood out for me then and now. It also reminds me of being in the first flat after I moved out of my parents. Like J Mascis, I could listen to Neil Young play guitar solos forever.
Evan Dando – Frying Pan
This was the first song I ever taught myself to play on guitar. It’s so simple… and after listening to Jeff Buckley and realising there were 18 chords in a song of his that I wanted to play, this suddenly felt much more within reach. I wish I could say my guitar has improved exponentially but it’s not, though this song takes me right back to clumsily bashing away on a borrowed nylon guitar.
Modest Mouse – Wild Pack of Family Dogs
I love this record so much. It’s just a great document of a band live and about the moment and vibe. They’ve released slicker recordings and things I’m sure they probably feel much more happy with but I’d buy this on vinyl if it were released tomorrow, just love it so much!
The Czars – Lullaby 6000
I got into The Czars just as their final ‘proper’ studio album came out. It pretty much had me hooked right away, then I discovered an EP ‘Music from the film I’d Rather Be … Gone’ which had this brilliant gem on it. I was actually doing a wee local radio show at the time on Leith FM and had a really enjoyable interview with John Grant. Bizarrely, he no longer had a copy of the EP himself so I gave him a cdr when we met.
Catch Fuzzystar live at the following dates:
4th May – The Hug & Pint, Glasgow – Tickets
6th May – Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh – Tickets
Telegraphing, the forthcoming album from Fuzzystar, is out on 28th April 2017 via Satellite Sounds.