Life Is Like A Box Of Records: Joe Williams (Kill The Waves)

It is that time again – Life Is Like A Box Of Records. We asked people to select 10 tracks that they recall from significant points in their lives so far.

Today is the turn of Joe Williams from one of my favourite Scottish bands Kill The Waves. You can find out more about Kill The Waves here:

Kill The Waves play the T Break stage at T in the Park this weekend.

Paul Simon – Graceland

This is the first song I remember hearing as a child. My mother is from Nairobi in Kenya so African culture was always present in our home growing up. Understandably, she played Graceland to death in the late ’80s along with everybody else. Hearing it now, it’s gorgeous song. It shuffles along at a nice, mellow pace like the best travelogue you’ve ever read. Whenever I hear it now, I smile a little nostalgic smile.

Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger

The first song I was properly obsessed with. As a little boy, I would play this song 10 times in a row and pretend I was Mr.T knocking seven bells out of Rocky. It’s a textbook 80’s action movie tune with a killer riff and skyscraping vocals, wearing its heart on its sleeve. It still gets me motivated when I need it most.

Busta Rhymes – Woo Ha! (Got You All In Check)

At school, I became abnormally obsessed with hip-hop and Busta Rhymes was my go-to guy. I don’t know if it was the liberal use of profanity or his hilarious delivery but I couldn’t get enough of Busta. The wonky beat on this track is the perfect for Busta’s insane flow which flies from one topic to the next at light-speed. Classic.

Metallica – Master Of Puppets

The transition from hip-hop to thrash metal seemed like a natural progression as I became more surly as a teenager. At their best, Metallica were a band who could weld an aggressive punk ethic to cannonball riffage in way that made complete sense to 15 year-olds like me. It still sounds fierce today, especially compared to the bloated millionaire monstrosity that they’ve became. I choose to believe they ceased to exist after The Black Album.

Radiohead – Airbag

Radiohead were my gateway into more experimental forms of music. When I first listened to OK Computer as a teenager I don’t think I full understood it, but I understood that it sounded beautiful. Jonny Greenwood was the first guitarist I loved who didn’t just chug away with the distortion pedal on. He did things that changed the way I saw guitar as an instrument. I love the drums on this track, I love eerie electronics, I love Thom’s voice. I love everything about it.

Aphex Twin – Windowlicker

This track just destroyed me when I first heard it. “What is he DOING?!”, I thought as the beats tumbled out of my speakers. The vocal samples are sexy and terrifying in equal measure. It’s so menacing. I love when it descends into the fuzzed-out section towards the end, waves of synthesiser washing over me. It’s beautiful, but God does it make me feel weird.

Arcade Fire – Wake Up

The best song from one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. I had the pleasure of seeing Arcade Fire in the Barrowlands a few years ago and this song was cathartic and beautiful. It was a a wonderful, communal moment that made everyone in the room feel special. I couldn’t stop listening to Funeral when it came out, and I still revisit it regularly now.

Shuggie Otis – Rainy Day

A few years ago I went through a bit of a hard time for a variety of reasons. I was struggling with my mental health. I wasn’t in a good place. This is a song I would listen to a lot around that time. It’s a beautiful, simple instrumental with Shuggie’s plaintive guitar playing. It gave me the space to feel what I was feeling without someone else putting it into words for me. If you don’t know Shuggie Otis, you need to get to know him soon.

Scott Walker – Big Louise

This one is for my wife, Jennifer. She loves this song and I love her. The string arrangements on this track are unbelievable. So emotional. Scott comes off like a weirdo Sinatra, with his velvety croon. The lyrics are impossibly sad. It’s just the same cycle going round a few times, and it never gets boring. Simplicity at it’s most effortless.

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