Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

Things I Hold Dear: Nadine Shah’s Favourite Albums

In this week's Baker's Dozen, Nadine Shah guides Jeremy Allen through favourite albums from Mariah Carey to Fat White Family, along the way discussing her friendship with Amy Winehouse and why Richard Dawson is the only man who should be allowed acoustic guitars at parties

On Nadine Shah’s previous album Holiday Destination there’s a song called ‘2016’ which alludes to what felt like a terrible year for humanity and the presence of "a fascist in the White House". Given current world events, as well as the purgatory of lockdown (and no holiday destinations in sight), does she have any plans to write a sequel about an even worse year and call it ‘2020’? 

"I have been writing whilst being in lockdown but I’m determined not to write about being in lockdown," she says, "partly because there’s going to be a lot of people writing about that subject and we’re going to want to be more celebratory after this. I’m really worried and I’m anticipating loads of rubbish music; couples who’ve been isolating together, doing really saccharine close harmonies."

Shah’s latest album Kitchen Sink is a nod to kitchen sink realism: Sheliagh Delaney, Lindsay Anderson, Coronation Street and even Mike Leigh, whose Abigail’s Party is referenced amusingly on the cover and in the video for ‘Ladies For Babies’. "It’s jovial and daft and then sinister as fuck," says Shah. The making of Kitchen Sink has not been without its dramas either. Covid-19 has hampered the launch, and real life got in the way too during the making of the record. In each case she’s managed to turn a bad situation into something uniquely enjoyable. 

During the making of the record, disruption due to ill health in the family enabled producer and drummer Ben Hillier to create a polyrhythmic flatbed of sound that has given Kitchen Sink a distinctive kick. 

"I had to leave London and cancel tours and move back to the North East to look after a family member," she says. "It meant I was cancelling studio dates all the time and it meant that my producer Ben Hillier, who is also my co-writer and collaborator, was left by himself in the studio. Ben’s a drummer and so rather than waste time, he would spend so much time on the rhythm. The overall sound – the percussive feel – it’s my favourite, because we had the luxury of time to really delve into that. Ben and I have a very similar music taste, we love drummers, we love Jaki Liebezeit from Can, we love the vibe and groove of Dr John, so that’s where that percussive element comes from, where the rhythm really dictates the songs."

Kitchen Sink is released on 26th June via Infectious Music. Click the image of Nadine Shah below to begin reading her Baker’s Dozen selections.

First Record

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