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Baker's Dozen

A Document in Time: Neil Halstead Of Slowdive's Baker's Dozen
Joe Clay , May 3rd, 2017 10:11

With Slowdive reformed and about to release their fourth album (as well as playing Field Day and Roskilde), Neil Halstead tells Joe Clay about the gateway albums that influenced him the most. Photo by Ingrid Pop.


Leonard Cohen – Songs of Love and Hate
We were listening to this a lot when Slowdive were recording Just For A Day. We used to stay at the studio and Chris [Hufford, now manager of Radiohead] had a room upstairs. I found myself drawn to this record. I knew about Leonard Cohen but I'd never really listened to him properly. I was drawn to a picture on the cover initially – I think it's a picture of Marianne [Ihlen] in Greece, in a room with a typewriter, looking a bit seductive. That's the perfect writer's garret right there. And then I listened to the record. I guess it was the first record when I was aware of just a guitar and a vocal, this amazing poetry. The lyrics hit you on a visceral level. 'Famous Blue Raincoat' is such a sad, beautiful, humbling song. It deals with so many difficult emotions in a human way. Everything is there in that song.    That album really hit me and it made me aware of music that wasn't just a wall of guitars. It didn't have an immediate impact on the way I wrote but it embedded itself in me. It's not a country record, but it's that kind of thing – it's just a dude with a guitar dealing with emotions. He's not hiding.