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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


The Fall – This Nation’s Saving Grace
This is like the opposite of the Cocteau Twins. It had a great effect on me at the time, but I don’t listen to The Fall very often now. It went along with my abrasive nature at the time – this crazy ranter, Mark E Smith, appealed to me deeply. Underneath his weird accent and his blathering, he seemed to be a very wise man. I was very attracted to wisdom at that age, or at least some wisdom I could understand in the shape of music.

At the time I was hoovering up the NME and Melody Maker, that golden age of weekly journalism and they used to have Mark E Smith in every week, just to see what he would say. He was funny. He was like a child in a way, or he acted that way – saying the kind of things that adults don’t really say. And there was a great attraction, that is quite anarchic, to let your mouth open and see what comes out. It turned into album after album. I would listen to The Fall, I would be reading Albert Camus because of The Fall, and when they released Bend Sinister, I dabbled in Nabakov. I didn’t really have anything better to do, I was following my own agenda. I was in Glasgow, in a bedsit, in a single room, I had shed all my previous friends and I was probably not in a great way, mentally. I was a very straight edge kind of guy, to the point where I was a very healthy meticulous eater, wouldn’t drink or smoke, and was completely absorbed in music.

I lived the music in a way. There weren’t so many distractions around then, so we clung onto these LPs. Bend Sinister was the first one that struck me, I remember being contemporary when that came out, but quickly extrapolated backwards. I didn’t want to put this one in, but when I looked at the name and the artwork, I had a great emotional response to this blithering man with a caved-in face. Calling the record This Nation’s Saving Grace, there is something so bold about that.

I love 'Spoilt Victorian Child', just because it is so funny. There is something quite touching about ‘Paint Work’, and the song before is ‘My New House’ – I just assumed they went together. This is a guy in the most cutting edge punk band in the country at the time, and he has clearly done nothing so radical as bought a new house in track eight and decided to paint it on track nine! But it is infinitely interesting what he decides to tell us while he is painting his house…