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Baker's Dozen

No Reconciliation Necessary: Doug McCombs' Favourite LPs
Nick Hutchings , July 16th, 2015 13:36

With the prolific bassist and guitarist and Tortoise and Brokeback founder about to release a new album, Works For Tomorrow, with Eleventh Dream Day, he gives Nick Hutchings a tour of his most seminal records


Public Image Ltd - Metal Box
I liked the sound of it right away. It was unusual and I had become used to seeking out unusual music. My friend and I saw it, the film canister version, in a record store in Peoria on a Friday night and didn't know what it was. On Saturday morning they played on American Bandstand. It's a hilarious performance with instrument swapping, look it up. We were both on the phone to each other simultaneously which means we both got a busy signal, but when we got through to each other we were like: "That's that record, it's Johnny Rotten!" We raced each other to the record store and he got there first.

My Midwestern experience was close to rural. Before I moved to Chicago in 1980 we didn't know anything about any of these records. We picked things based on the cover. Don't know why we passed on Metal Box the first time. I think it was kind of expensive. But that was a great time to pick albums by the cover. As well as the ones I mentioned talking about Television, we also got the Buzzcocks, Wire, The Stranglers, Gang Of Four, Tuxedomoon and The Residents.

PiL's influence on Eleventh Dream Day or Tortoise I would say is huge on both counts. Metal Box was the first record I heard with open/abstract song forms. Having only listened to rock bands for a couple of years at that point, it took some getting used to, but I liked the sound of it right away.