The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

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_1378211556_resize_460x400

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…


If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.