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Baker's Dozen

Elements Of Confusion: Nick McCabe Of Black Submarine's Favourite LPs
Joe Clay , March 11th, 2014 09:21

With New Shores, the long-awaited debut by Black Submarine, out this week, the former Verve guitarist goes from teenage mainstays to recently-heard favourites in his top 13 albums

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Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures
My eldest brother had Closer. I was listening to that from about ten-years-old onwards. Once I started to save money – working on a farm with my other brother, doing the milk round with him – that was the first time I had my own cash floating around and that money used to go on records. Unknown Pleasures was one of my first purchases. That was a key moment for me. It was my record. It hadn't been passed down. It was a completely new record in the household. That was me getting that experience first-hand, and it was such a brilliant record to have that with. The sleeve is another Peter Saville classic. The production on it is incredible. I know the band weren't happy with it, but to me it's a complete masterpiece. The use of space is evocative of Lancashire I think. The whole thing has this dank… I'm going to wheel out all the clichés now about empty warehouses and all that, but it is familiar territory for me where I'm from. Those smashed glasses at the end of 'I Remember Nothing', and the synth drones. I think that was around the time I got my first Roland synthesiser and it was another polarising moment. Something very powerful crystallised about what I wanted to do at that point. All I was capable of doing with that synth was making this huge powerful drone sound. It pointed the way. Having that induction – sat with the headphones on late at night... Music in the seventies was full of opposites. The stuff we heard on the radio was the friendly aspects of music. I wasn't looking for that. I was looking to be disturbed by it and that's something that I haven't really lost throughout my life.

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Mar 11, 2014 2:25pm

Sounds like a guy with eclectic tastes, which I didn't expect from knowing his work with The Verve. Good stuff.

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Star sail
Mar 11, 2014 9:15pm

This was a revelation. Full of interesting stories about records that I now look forward to checking out. Always the best thing about this excellent series. (Nick, your music has been a huge part of my life since I - somehow - managed to get into a Verve gig at the Jericho Tavern aged 15.)

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Mar 11, 2014 11:16pm

Seems a nice lad

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Mar 12, 2014 11:34am

Love Nick's guitar playing so much; 'Reprise' from A Northern Soul still gives me goosebumps after about 1000 listens ;)

Nice to see shout-outs for Autechre and Mobb Deep as well...

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Mar 12, 2014 12:37pm

In reply to autechrejambo:

This, totally! Just an astonishing piece of music/guitar playing/alchemy!

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Mar 12, 2014 1:11pm

Great to read about someone's obvious love and passion for music, made me want to check a few things...thanks.

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Mar 13, 2014 10:16am

Sometimes I google 'Life's An Ocean - Jools Holland 1997' to be reminded of the moment when everything I knew about what guitars could and should do was irrevocably changed. This man is a genius in the true sense of the word.

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teddy dogs
Mar 22, 2014 7:29pm

Love Nick's descriptions of why these albums mean so much to him. Can't wait to check out a lot of this stuff.

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lisa m. washer
Mar 24, 2014 8:07pm

I would be the first to comment on nick and simons jones talent as well. My god simon soooo good looking back the and talented and still is. And nick as well,. Too bad richards ego got in the way or who knows the verve might still be together,. I will buy the black suberine c. D. When it comes out look forward to it lol lisa m. Washer

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May 24, 2014 12:32pm

Fantastic interview. Some of the greatest guitar lines in British rock from the 90s come from this guy. There were supposed to be deluxe reissues of A Northern Soul and A Storm In Heaven but it takes all 4 members to sign off on it. Imagine the studio outtakes! Also there was talk of a live Verve record release.

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