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Baker's Dozen

True Pairings: Tom Fleming's 13 Favourite Albums
Ben Hewitt , September 25th, 2019 12:16

Former Wild Beast Tom Fleming, who's just released his excellent debut album as One True Pairing, picks the 13 records that shaped him, from Tool and Def Leppard to Scott Walker and Joanna Newsom


Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band – Clear Spot

I think this is his most accessible record. I like the Fleetwood Mac-style production of it, especially on ‘My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains’, which is a bit of an underappreciated classic in terms of it being a beautiful love song. I first got into Trout Mask Replica when I was 16 and then Icecream For Crow and all that stuff. But this is the one I listen to more these days. It’s a bit more emotionally naked. The musicianship is still great – Zoot Horn Rollo is still there, I think – but it’s put together in a strange way; the band sound almost like the house Stax band, but they’re playing mental stuff.

It’s so obviously the sound of a band in a room which is cool, [with] Beefheart shouting at them. When I was younger I thought Beefheart was cool for treating his band like shit, whereas now I think it’s just music and no one’s going to die, so you don’t have to behave like that. But I think him being reined in by the Laurel Canyon-like production is interesting here.

Trout Mask Replica was mind-blowing when I heard it – I had friends who were getting into the Weather Report when I was getting into the Magic Band, which is kind of like the muso fork in the road, isn’t it? – and Clear Spot is a way more conventional record in lots of ways, but it allows you to appreciate his lyrics more. There’s a lot of experimental stuff with Beefheart, but I also like it when he penetrates beyond that ‘I take loads of drugs, me’ stuff and talks about some real shit.