Life Is Like A Box Of Records: The Duke Spirit

Following last year’s acclaimed album KIN and November’s EP Serenade, The Duke Spirit march on with poignant new album Sky Is Mine, released on 18th August 2017 via Ex Voto Records.

The Duke Spirit have politely agreed to share their most inspirational tracks for this week’s Life Is Like A Box Of Records…

PJ Harvey – Sheela Na Gig

This is one of those tracks by which you track your past, a flag in the ground of memories. I cant go back and undo the effect it had on me, it exists forever as a colour and a texture in my psychological make-up! It blasted out of the radio one evening, when I was doing homework in my bedroom, and when I was still so young that first impressions would etch themselves pretty deeply and permanently. The spare, bleak intro of wiry guitar was powerful in its simplicity and then in shot this casual, but nonetheless, visceral female voice. I immediately loved (but couldn’t have articulated why I loved) the delivery. Now I can say that it captivated me because it was not projecting nor holding melody very strongly, but instead, threw words outs and let them drop with a kind recalcitrant self-possession. Work-strong arms, hips, hair, pillows. Each of these images I wanted to explore, I was growing towards exploring as a teenage girl. Such poise was flowing from the vocalist – I wanted this for myself. The song stuck in my head like a first crush and I have not forgotten how it inspired me to think about myself, my body and relationships from an empowered perspective, one where I could choose to ‘wash’ unnecessary or negative forces ‘out of my hair’. I loved that I recognised that line from South Pacific also, which usually I’d deeply embarrassed about…I loathed musicals but had also seen a lot of them with my Grandma. So cool.

The Clash – Guns of Brixton

It’s everything The Clash were great at. Taking direct influence and making it their own with total conviction.

Beastie Boys – Sabotage

Best gig ever! Still, I think. Wolverhampton civic hall, a journey in the snow to get there. Treacherous journey, then walking in the freezing cold to get to the door…Inside the heat and energy bursting outward in every direction. Red Lanterns as part of the stage set. Ill Communication was my favourite album for months, this was on repeat. Teenage life was just beginning and new freedoms tasted delicious. This urgent, bass-driven track soundtracked this precious time when I was just about to get my identity shit together and ‘curate’ things in my life. It’s been a while since he departed, but I must sign off with love for Adam Yauch. Rest in peace MCA.

David Bowie – Lets Dance

One of a ton of Bowie tracks I could choose. I never tire of this album (Let’s Dance). This track is Bowie at full power. 
Big production, shit hot band, weird video set in the Australian outback. It’s got it all.

Donnie and Joey Emerson – Baby

I didn’t realise this track was the original but heard and liked Aerial Pink’s version from Olly. Brilliant song, two teenage brothers writing and recording in their barn in 
Mid West- 70’s America on their four track recorder. Inspiring song writing and production too.

Primal Scream – Higher Than The Sun

A beautiful song from a band who, at the time of release, were in a truly 
perfect space. Their shows were spiritual, raw and communal. Luke really got me deep into the ‘Scream and in turn they introduced me to so many things….from (good) drugs and dancing through to the MC5, 13th Floor Elevators, Arthur Lee and Curtis Mayfield. This song encapsulates more than any other, where they were at that point. Transcendental lyrics gliding through graceful music which had no borders.

Sunns – 2020

This has the best opening few moments ever and I’m always turned on by the subby-ness of the bass. I DJ this if I get the chance and never fail to feel pumped! It’s a permanent fixture in my playlists.

Jane’s Addiction – Pigs In Zen  

Just hard, live, chugging-the-fuck Rawk. The sound of a hot venue and drums bouncing off the wall. Perryʼs vocal timbre penetrating, shrieking, being free form, spitting. If I hadnʼt had this musical education I would not have liked Faith No More or Rage against The Machine perhaps, or then fallen so deeply in love with Patti Smith. Obviously she came first, but I didnʼt know that at this point of discovery (about 13 years old listening to a Live Jane’s Addiction Album on Cassette!). Perry laid it all out for me, got my ears ripe!

Bjork – Hyperballad

The production, the way the song’s percussive foundation is built-upon, the story, the voice. When this was released I was already possessive over this artist – simply loving her so much – but this song bonded me to her artistry more than her voice. With this song I really began to be fascinated with the idea of dynamic, with atmosphere.

Howling Wolf – Wang Dang Doogle

Played this over and over again in the car on journeys with my step mum and my Dad. Lifted me out of teenage boredom and kinda bonded me with them as we were all just so into the groove and deep guts of this track. 

Sky Is Mine is released on 18th August 2017 via Ex Voto Records.

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