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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


Angels of Light – The Angels of Light Sing ‘Other People’

All the violence and anger you find in Swans are in this record, and it’s got that self-loathing turned inwards that I like about them too, but there’s also a delicacy to it, and it’s so obviously a labour of love. I’ve met Michael Gira a couple of times and I was a complete fanboy. He told me stories about meeting Johnny Cash and shaking his hand, and how Cash’s hands were like shovels that enveloped his – and Gira’s a big guy!

This is a country-tinged record – it’s Akron/Family doing all the instrumentation – and I love the small sounds: the little bells and dulcimers and weird hand percussion. Lyrically there’s a lot of destroying women: on ‘Destroyer’ there’s a line about a woman whose mouth is full of flames, and ‘My Sister Said’ talks about pursuing a man and killing him. It’s a sweet and gentle record in a lot of ways, and some of the lyrics are beautiful. I love the Swans records too, but I think this is my favourite incarnation of Gira, because a lot of the pose is taken away. It’s a much more naked record. There’s a machismo and a machoness, but it’s a show that actually suggests its opposite; it’s a show that signals weakness, and that’s stayed with me.

You spoke about those references to avenging women. Was that an influence on the Wild Beasts song ‘Daughters’ [from 2014’s Present Tense)?

I’m glad someone spotted that! It’s been five years until someone has called me out on it: ‘Daughters’ is a straight rip, although I tried to add something to it. All my contributions to Present Tense were very Angels of Light-y.