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Baker's Dozen

Just Some Modern Rock Songs: Stuart Murdoch's Favourite Albums
Adrian Lobb , September 4th, 2013 07:02

The Glaswegian indie pop pioneers' frontman picks out his top 13 records


Felt – The Strange Idols Pattern And Other Short Stories
For about a year, when my health took a dive, I couldn’t listen to anything. When I got somewhat rehabilitated, and I’d had a bit of help, I think the first two bands I listened to were the Cocteau Twins and The Sundays. They were the only bands I could stand to listen to. Very gentle. That was enough. I said before that I wasn’t a list person, but I remember a few years earlier, in about 1987, writing a list of my 15 favourite bands – and Felt were in there. They were about number ten or 11. I knew they were a cut above your average guitar jangly indie band, and I saw them in 1988 or 89, so they were high up there.

But it wasn’t until I’d been through my little black period that they rose above everything. They suddenly became my band. They were just superior in every way. They were an album band, they were a singles band, they were everything. The one key thing for me at the time was that all their records would completely absorb me. I was doing a lot of lying down at that time, and I knew I could put on a Felt record listen to it all the way through and be taken on a trip. They went through two phases. The first half was with Maurice Deebank, who was a guitarist, and when he left the keyboard player who plays with Primal Scream, Martin Duffy. So Duffy came in, and because Lawrence just spoke, this allowed the music to be endlessly inventive. There was a counterpoint between his speaking his poetry and the music which was endlessly creative and melodic that I just got off on. That was the thing. If you cut my musical veins, I bleed Felt. They are influential in so many ways to me, but one specific thing was the poetry that Laurence wrote. They were so pretty, his words were poetic. The titles like The Strange Idols Pattern, or ‘Dismantled King Is Off The Throne’. He could get away with anything, his band weren’t very well known and someone was letting him put out these amazing delicate records.

My Felt obsession took hold during my recovery period, which was very long. By the time I put my band together I was more robust and had different things on my mind. But Felt had gone in deep. 1991-3 were the Felt years. It was a complete mental and physical void, I couldn’t believe how long it was taking to get back to any kind of normal life. I was crying out, “For god’s sake, nobody deserves this”.

It was years, it turned into five, six, seven years, which is a long time in the life of someone who is only 23 at the time. There is no doubt it has shaped me. In that moment of plunging into the darkness, I actually became the different person that was hinted at when I first heard ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’. I became that person and ended up being a more functional person. Before then I couldn’t write a note or a word of music, there was no creativity, no confidence, no nothing. As soon as I was through the worst of it, I felt this extreme need to further express what was happening, which is why I started music.