Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

The Marshall Suite: Cat Power’s Favourite Albums

Chan Marshall guides Diva Harris through 13 albums that have soundtracked her life, from stealing cars to heartbreak and escaping difficult times

"There are a zillion quadrillion incredible songs that have shaped me", Chan Marshall, better known to your iTunes as Cat Power says, thoughtfully and audibly dragging on a cigarette. "[But] most of my favourite songs in the history of music are, sadly, not part of my favourite albums in the history of music." If these albums don’t contain her favourite songs, then how did Marshall go about choosing them?

"These records have informed something, helped me gravitate to something else…when I’ve listened to them, there’s been a change. Information came after them."

Although our conversation makes it clear that change, difficulty, and even tragedy have certainly made themselves known in Chan Marshall’s life, equally present are reminiscences of adventure, rebellion, and unadulterated joy. From a horror-punk-soundtracked car theft aged 13 to her discovery of John Coltrane in a Cape Town jazz club, it takes barely any prompting for Marshall to recall, lucidly, not only the circumstances surrounding her discovery of each of her chosen albums, but also the times, places, weather conditions, friends and lovers that coloured those discoveries.

Although it is the influence of the lists’s folk and country artists which can be most clearly heard on new album Wanderer, it’s evident that hip-hop, punk, jazz, blues and beyond have played a just as pivotal part in the musical education of its creator.

Click the photo of Chan Marshall below to begin reading her selections. Wanderer is out now on Domino

First Record

The Quietus Digest

Sign up for our free Friday email newsletter.

Support The Quietus

Our journalism is funded by our readers. Become a subscriber today to help champion our writing, plus enjoy bonus essays, podcasts, playlists and music downloads.

Support & Subscribe Today