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Baker's Dozen

Psychedelic Thread: Gaz Coombes' Favourite Albums
Julian Marszalek , April 23rd, 2015 10:36

With an upcoming UK tour and an appearance at Field Day coming in the wake of his second album Matador, the former Supergrass man gives Julian Marszalek a tour of his top 13 LPs


Grizzly Bear - Shields
This is more of a current favourite and I first heard it when it came out. I'd left Supergrass and started writing for the first solo album and I got quite deep into that when I heard Shields, but really it was like the bridge between Here Come The Bombs and Matador. I just love the fact that I can hear the room on this record; I can hear the rawness of it, I can hear their love of sounds which is something that I'm a bit of a nerd about and those are some of the things just grabbed me straight away. It's so weird; sometimes a bass guitar sound can be enough to make me love or hate a band. It's quite shallow when you think about it, because it should be about the lyrics, and the package, and the melody, and everything about it but no, it's like: 'If that bass is shit then I don't like it!'

I can get quite anal about those sorts of things, so Grizzly Bear are another one that I aesthetically gravitate to towards immediately, and then appreciate later the songwriting and the melodies, and Edward Droste's voice is similar to that of Midlake's Tim Smith. There's a similar quality in both of their voices that I really appreciate. And I like their playing with synths as well; they're not too overt or progressive rock-like.

Yeah, this was definitely an inspiring album for me. I guess, if I'm being really honest, it made me think that I wanted to write a record like that. It's not screaming out hit singles all over it and I'm sure this wasn't an easy album for their record label to present to radio stations, but I really like that. When you've been in a band for 20 years [and] with each album, you get this extremely intense pressure to provide a three-minute pop single and I just wanted out. But writing those pop singles did come naturally and I don't think we'd have done as well as we'd done if I hadn't and I think I still do. Even on Matador I still can't help containing things in three or three-and-a-half minutes. It's like what Supergrass did on 'Strange Ones' or even 'Caught By The Fuzz'. There's a lot of information on those songs and it flies by. I guess that's just the natural way that I write. But then again, having listened to a lot of music on soundtracks over the years, the music on this album made me realise that I don't have to contain it all. It's like 'Detroit' on Matador; I really like the groove on that, so I just kept it going. It satisfies my curiosity like Neu!'s 'Hallogallo' does. I'm happy to sit there for that ten minutes. I think Supergrass came from quite a psychedelic background and that's stayed with me and what I'm into. This is where bands like Grizzly Bear come in, and I think that psychedelic thread runs through a lot of these records.