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Baker's Dozen

Pulling At The Threads: Katie Gately’s Favourite Albums
Ben Graham , February 6th, 2020 09:34

On the release of her new album, Loom, the Brooklyn musician and sound artist talks about the records that have weaved their way through her life, from Joy Division to Joanna Newsom, Philip Glass to Low and This Heat


Nirvana - MTV Unplugged In New York
I had this defensive position with MTV because our parents didn’t let us have much TV or cable but all the cool kids who were in the know had it. This was a way that I could have MTV because you could buy the record, you didn’t have to watch it. And I was pretty blown away by the way the band was able both to cover songs and cover themselves in a gentler way. I love Nevermind but I never listen to it. I do think it’s a little slick. In Utero I probably love as much as this, but there is something about the span of songs and getting to hear Kurt Cobain speak. There are these little interludes - at one point he says “Am I going to do this all by myself?” The band’s not totally in sync and he’s bickering with them. It just adds this level of magic. I never got to see them live. He’s not alive, they’re not a band anymore, and so with this record you get the songs and you get that alive-ness. You get to feel that he was alive at one point and he was kind of funny. You can hear the creak of the chairs and it feels very personal and intimate. And I will shamefully admit that I really didn’t know much about David Bowie before this record. They cover a few bands and that opened me up to exploring them more, so I think they did a service in my musical life. So beautiful and so sad.

My parents really sheltered me because there was mental illness in my family and lots of depression in my family and I think my parents did not want my brother and I to know that he killed himself. My brother was older and he was listening to Nirvana at a more appropriate age. I didn’t know he killed himself. I don’t know how I didn’t know, I think I was just too young when it happened. I’m sure by the time I got into this record I was aware. I certainly don’t think suicide is a good thing. But I think because he sounds so alive on this record it wasn’t on my mind. When you hear someone going 'What key are we doing this in?' you’re thinking 'oh, this person is alive and they’re normal and they’re not struggling'. Of course he was struggling, but he feels actually less mythical on this record because you can hear him tuning his guitar. He was just a dude, you know.