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Baker's Dozen

Happy Songs? Stuart Braithwaite Of Mogwai's Favourite Albums
Luke Turner , August 28th, 2012 04:28

Mogwai's Stuart Braithwaite takes us through his favourite albums, and explains why it's Margaret Thatcher's fault that everyone in Scotland is a goth and how John Peel funded the Scottish music scene


Can - Tago Mago
I think one of the things I like about this record, and most of the records I've chosen, is that it has a real self-contained universe about it. When you listen you don't imagine they've done that, or what have they done there, it just seems completely in its own world and self-existing. It's a really psychedelic and strange record, but it's also a lot of fun… a theme that won't run through most of the albums I've chosen. Hahaha.

Is it a dour list?

Oh God.

It's interesting you say it's self-contained. You can really feel the presence of the building in which they recorded.

There's also a lot of studio manipulation, which was quite new at the time. I suppose there was some on the Hendrix records, but it wasn't as successful as this.

When did you first get into Can?

I was aware of them when I was quite young, In fact a lot of the records on this list I heard through my big sister. She's got pretty good taste in music, and I think she was into Can and had one or two, maybe Monster Movie. So I probably had that first and got into Tago Mago later. I think I've probably got every Can record now. They're a brilliant collectors band because the records are really different. They're not like some bands where you think they're amazing, then buy the more obscure records and you can feel a wee bit depressed about it, how little fun it must have been to be in the Ramones in 1986, for example. But Can, every record is like a reinvention, they just go on an insane tangent that makes no sense whatsoever, which is brilliant. I got the Lost Tapes too. There are some songs on there that's as good as anything they released. I think they were one of those very different bands live to in the studio too, you see footage of them on German TV and some bits are almost Sabbath-esque.

That's what I say to Mogwai sceptics...


...I always say if you don't like the records, they're really different and heavier live, more Sabbath influence, so it's interesting you've spotted that with Can.

That's another band I can't believe I've left off this list, but I've made my bed. Actually I was record shopping today and I saw the Black Sabbath Greatest Hits album which we bought from a service station on the Mogwai Young Team tour. It was so important at the time. I'd only heard 'Paranoid' or something. There isn't really that tradition in Britain of classic rock radio, so it was a big deal. I'd grown up in the first era of SubPop bands, and just had no idea where this music had come from, I thought it appeared from space, when really it was just badly played metal.