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Baker's Dozen

Blissful Resonance: Brian DeGraw Of Gang Gang Dance's Favourite Albums
Tristan Bath , January 14th, 2014 06:16

With Brian DeGraw's debut solo album as bEEdEEgEE released last month, the Gang Gang Dance founder member speaks to Tristan Bath about thirteen of his favourite albums, from Scott Walker and Pharaoh Sanders to Burial and Public Enemy


Lou Reed - The Bells

I used to jam this one a lot. I was initially drawn to it because Don Cherry plays on it, but I soon discovered how excellent it was as an entire LP. I still can't quite explain what the mood of this record is, and I think that may be what I like about it. At times it sounds almost sleazy, most notably on 'Disco Mystic', and other times it feels like a punk or new wave record filtered through some sort of crystallized sound ('With You').

'Stupid Man' is a standout track for me. The housey opening piano chords, the vocal delivery - it's all so in-your-face; it's classic Lou Reed, but on extra methamphetamine or something. All pumped up. Then there is the title track, which opens with Don Cherry playing over big industrial washes of sound and then folds into itself under big church-like almost gothic organ sounds… and from there into a very pained and desperate-sounding Lou singing "here come the bells", as if he is drifting off into either heaven or hell. After his death I had a little listening session at home one night, going through a bunch of my favourites from his catalogue. But it was this song - especially in the wake of his passing - that hit me the hardest. Losing Lou Reed was a heavy thing for people all over the world for sure, but in New York there was an overwhelming feeling of an entire city having lost a family member. He was an iconic New Yorker with a spirit that represented the Manhattan that I know and love. R.I.P. Lou.