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Baker's Dozen

Something Searing: Yannis Philippakis Of Foals' Favourite Albums
Lisa Lavery , August 26th, 2015 09:56

Before the release of new album What Went Down, the Foals frontman gives Lisa Lavery his top 13 LPs, all records united by "people's voices that connect directly", moving through Arthur Russell, Pixies and Howlin' Wolf


Pixies - Surfer Rosa
I got a cassette from a cousin of mine that had The Offspring, Smash, on one side and Nirvana's Bleach on the other. That was definitely the wake-up call of rebellion and antagonism, but the first record I really got into from thereon was Surfer Rosa. It felt so alien but so familiar. It really clicked on a bone marrow level that felt like it had pre-existed for me. I bought Death To The Pixies at the same time on tape from HMV in Oxford and I just became obsessed with that record.

I listened to it again recently and it reminded me particularly about how I could connect with Frank Black's lyrics despite not being aware of any real narrative when I was much younger. I don't think Foals would exist without the Pixies. I love the oddness and the strangeness of the Hispanic/punk/pop influence - it should be wrong, it shouldn't work but it does, really well. More recently I re-listened to his lyrics and appreciated how humorous they are, which reminded me that things don't need to be too obvious or narrative-based, they can be just fragments of thought.

It opened the gateway into everything that then consumed me for the next ten years (Oxes, Albini, Sonic Youth, Godspeed - the American guitar alt/post-hardcore/post-rock world). Without Surfer Rosa I may have stayed with Nirvana and The Offspring…