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Baker's Dozen

Cosmic Portals: Gruff Rhys' Favourite Albums
Colm McAuliffe , January 23rd, 2019 11:42

Ahead of his gig at the Camden Roundhouse this week, Gruff Rhys waxes lyrical about 13 favourite records, deep cuts from the Welsh language underground and beyond


John Cale – Vintage Violence
It's got the charm of a debut album and he is someone who has inspired me a great deal. I suppose he was taking time off the avant-garde of New York in this album but I like the idea that he was 27 or something and he had already been in the Velvet Underground, which was unlikely for anyone from Garnant in any case - he was making a pop album for a major label in LA and driving around in sports cars and things! Overall, it's not his most experimental or brutal record but the songs are charming and it's still really influential. You can hear 'Sound & Vision' by Bowie is a complete lift from 'Cleo' on this album, it's obviously a record that seeped into people's collections so a music fan like Bowie would have been aware of this album.

It's a really interesting pop record and I think as a musician still working, he offers quite an inspirational path as to how you can still experiment. The Super Furries collaborated with him for the film Beautiful Mistake - we got to be his backing band. It was so interesting, it was like an out of body experience for us. I think it was interesting for him as he hadn't had band practice in the Welsh language since the early-1960s or something!