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Baker's Dozen

Beautiful Artefacts: Jon Spencer's Favourite Albums
Julian Marszalek , September 25th, 2012 11:41

The Blues Explosion frontman whittles down his favourite albums to a mean 13


Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel - Hole
That, I think, is a really formative record for me and one that I’ve listened to a lot. I was probably – gosh! – 18 or 19 and I was at university at that time. I was into a lot of industrial stuff and I think that this is such an amazing record. Jim Thirwell is certainly a very, very clever guy. It’s pretty amazing to think about that record. It’s him playing everything, I believe, and the kind of technology that was available to him at the time to do all that stuff, it was pretty early dawn. These days, you can loop stuff pretty easily on an iPad or a PC controller but back then it was an incredible achievement.

From what I can understand, he’d go in and work for days at a time. It’s kind of a desperate record with its lyrical themes and sounds and he was really pushing himself physically. And it comes across on the record. It has that homemade, primitive quality – not that it sounds cheap or bad – but if you made a record like that [now] and looped it and did it with modern technology then it wouldn’t sound the same.

For me, what I find so cool, is that it’s very funky in a way but he must have gone through hell and high water to make that record. It’s also a very funny record, I think. It’s a got a lot of gut-wrenching stuff on there but it also has a sense of humour. It’s very dark, it’s very black but it’s also got a bit of tongue-in-cheek.

When I was around that age, I was really into industrial sounds like Throbbing Gristle, SPK and even more extreme stuff like White House. There was some really heavy-duty noise stuff and I was also reading NME. I was also into Lydia Lunch and Nick Cave and Thirwell was kind of in that scene for a while. And he also did the Immaculate Consumptive with Nick and Lydia and Marc Almond. And then he did Hole which was such a leap forward and then there was this flurry of singles and 12-inchers and maxi-singles and I think that the albums that came out after were good but they weren’t as good as Hole

Yeah, Hole is noisy at times but it’s also a pop record; a really twisted, dark pop record. And hey, I really like noise but I also like a really good song. I really love this record to death.