Life Is Like A Box Of Records: Sleeping States

Life Is Like A Box Of Records: Sleeping States

Bristol-based impresario Sleeping States (Markland Starkie) returns with a short tour this November to celebrate ten years of his stunning debut, There The Open Spaces.

We are thrilled that he has taken part in this week’s Life Is Like A Box Of Records.

He plays Glasgow’s Hug & Pint November 3rd with Ricky Egan and Lucy Duncan. Tickets can be purchased via:

Without further ado:

Joni Mitchell – Amelia

Amelia is from Joni’s mid-70s album Hejira, a period when she was moving away from the folk-songwriter sound she’s still best known for. This is my favourite album from probably my favourite artist. I could write essays on why Joni Mitchell is the artist we all need in our lives, her unusual chord sequences, her imagery, her turn of phrase – ufff. Although I’ve known the album a long time, I most associate it with a Christmas holiday I spent a few years ago with my parents in Florida. My bodyclock hadn’t yet adjusted and I would go for a run on the beach at dawn and then put this record on while making breakfast and watching the sun come up. I chose a live version of this as it includes a killer, romantic guitar solo at the end by guitar god Pat Matheny. Dreamy.

Sonic Youth – Shadow of A Doubt

Was obsessed with this band for years and years. Opened my ears and eyes to loads of other great bands, visual artists, fashion labels, you name it. Hugely influential on teenage and twenties Markland. My favourite period of theirs is roughly their first 10 years, during the Eighties, and if I had to pick a favourite song I guess it would be this one. It’s so evocative of what I imagined (Downtown) NYC to be at the time – dangerous, dark, messy, really sexy and exciting.

Mary Margaret O’Hara – Body’s In Trouble

A friend of mine put this song on a mixtape for my drive from London to Bristol when I moved there around 9/10 years ago and it totally captivated me. Her vocal performance is so almost-broken yet completely in control, singing the same few lines over and over in a way that conveys a huge amount of emotion without ever getting histrionic, all at the centre of this pretty standard MOR production – it’s so weird yet makes total sense. I’ve loved the song, and the rest of her (pretty limited) output ever since.

Minutemen – Anchor

Like for many others, Minutemen for me embodied everything that’s right about being in a punk band – political, creative, funny, intelligent, loud. Was just awful it ended so tragically (with singer D Boon dying in a traffic accident) just before they found wider success. I saw the remaining members (Mike Watt and George Hurley) play songs from the Minutemen a few years back – having rarely played these songs together publicly since the mid 80s – and it was such an incredible, cathartic experience. When they played The Anchor I don’t think there was a dry eye in the audience, or on stage.

Cakes Da Killa – Goodies

There’s been a lot of fantastic, really inventive queer hip hop/rnb over the past few years and Cakes is one of my favourites. His delivery is so darn good. This song rules in a club.

Erase Errata – Crusiing

Reminds me of living in London in the early 2000s so much. Erase Errata made such good post punk, and were great live. I used to be part of a queer music collective called Homocrime at that time and there were so many great bands playing shows and making records, it was a really fun and creative period in my life.

Frankie and the Teenagers – Why Do Fools Fall In Love?

Fifties rocknroll and doowop vocal groups were one of my first musical loves as a young kid and that era has always held a special place in my heart and influenced my music too. Frankie Lymon was one of the greats, of course. This song is a stone-cold classic, written by Frankie when he was just 13! It also features in American Graffiti, one of my favourite films.

Throbbing Gristle – Hot on the Heels of Love

Minimal, weird timings, Cosey’s sex vocals, a whip. Always gets me in the mood for dancing. That arpeggiator – so hot. In my mind the lights are dimming and the disco ball is beginning to turn already.

Breeders – Safari

After Sonic Youth, the other Kim in my life is Kim Deal. She can do no wrong. I somehow stumbled across their album Last Splash when I was about 13, while growing up in a village near a small town whose only music shop was a small, crap Our Price at a time when if it wasn’t Britpop it wasn’t getting covered by the media at all. The Breeders have been one of my favourites ever since. I chose Safari because it’s the classic Last Splash line up *plus* Tanya Donnelly, who played with them on their first album (and was also in Throwing Muses, and Belly, both of whom I also love).

B-52’s – Song For A Future Generation

One of the first Sleeping States songs I ever recorded was a cover of B-52’s 6060-842. The coolest band in the world ever. The coolest video ever. I want Ricky Wilson’s outfit. Actually, I want all their outfits.



One Comment

  1. This weeks ‘life is like a box of records’ is exceptional. Exactly what i needed to hear at this moment in time. Apparently sleeping states excellent doesn’t cease at music production and creation, but extends to selection as well – not that this should surprise me – can do no wrong!

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