The Best Video and Best Live Act nominees choose their favourite albums.
INDIE ROCK QUARTET AND Q AWARDS DOUBLE-NOMINEES ON THE RECORDS THEY COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs Fever To Tell (I nTe rscope , 2003)
Ellie Rowsell (vocals, guitar): “Growing up, this was one of my favourite albums. It was the first ‘cool’ record I liked. Before this I’d been listening to chart music, so among my friends it felt like I’d discovered this record. I was able to go to them, ‘Have you heard this?’ so it was special to me. People have asked me, as ‘a woman in music’, if I lacked role models while growing up listening to rock music – but it’s not something that ever really occurred to me, because I had Karen O.”
The velveT UndergroUnd The velveT UndergroUnd and nIco (ve rve , 1967)
Joff Oddie (guitar): “It’s probably the best record ever. I stole it from a mate at 15. If you grew up in Cornwall and were into indie, when you found someone with similar tastes you swapped a lot. I don’t think anyone has brought together the left-field and a pop side as well as The Velvet Underground. They use really out-there things – like John Cale playing just one note – yet it works perfectly. The Black Angel’s Death Song? That can’t be a proper pop song… but it is!”
sex pIsTols never MInd The Bollocks, here’s The se x pIsTols (vI rgI n, 1977)
Theo Ellis (bass): “I could pick something less obvious, but honestly, you can’t go wrong with this. I heard it late; I was 18. I’d heard all the stuff about it first, but then I discovered what a brilliant record it is. It’s not just knock-youfor-six, do-a-load-of-speed punk; there’s a real sway to it. There’s this misconception of it not being rehearsed or tight, but they are clearly players. And in terms of vocals, the energy in these songs is palpable. You believe in it.”
The Beach BoYs sUrF’s Up (BroTh e r/ re prI se / eM I , 1971)
Joel Amey (drums): “I grew up on The Beach Boys – my mum played me their records all the time – and I always had this image of them as being very colourful, but this record is grey, it’s almost emo. It sounds like the time it was made: the ’ 60s are definitely over. A song called Don’t Go Near The Water from a band who’d spent the last eight years trying to get everyone to surf ? Something’s obviously gone wrong. They sound burnt out but that makes it a stunning record. It’s really sad, but really pretty.”
alex g dsU (orch I d Tape s/ lUckY nUM Be r , 2014)
Ellie Rowsell: “This is the kind of music I enjoy: bedroom grunge. It feels like the stuff I tried to do by myself when I was younger. My early demos sound like shit versions of this album. I like his vibe; it’s soft but it’s not twee. My younger brother and his friends have just started to form bands and they’re all very much inspired by Alex. People who get his stuff really get it. Has he inspired me to go back to my own bedroom demos? Hmm… maybe.”
THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G. READY TO DIE (BAD BOY, 1994)
Theo Ellis: “Rap-wise, I’d only been listening to grime, because it was a London thing and I grew up there – but I got into this through a friend at college who knew every word. It really opened up hip-hop for me. His flow is unbelievable, it’s storytelling at its finest. He throws you into his world. I’m a vaguely middle-class kid from Finsbury Park listening to him talking about selling crack but it still seems real to me. And the beats are amazing, it’s super lush production-wise. It’s a delicious record.”
JOHN FAHEY THE TRANSFIGURATION OF BLIND JOE DEATH (RIVE RBOAT, 196 5)
Joff Oddie: “I’ve listened to this every week since our tour manager recommended it to me four years ago. They’re guitar folk instrumentals that sound very simple – Fahey’s called the master of the American primitive guitar – but once you listen to it closely you start thinking, ‘What the fuck is he doing?’ There’s this weird, dark undertone to it. I’m a big folk guitar-player, I’ve tried learning these tracks, and I still don’t understand what he’s doing.”
THE BRONX THE BRONX (FE RRET, 2003)
Joel Amey: “I’m from Surrey, so anything that was remotely dangerous or LA was sick to me. When I saw The Bronx in Kerrang!, aged 13, I knew they were for me. This is a visceral, angry record and I never tire of it. It doesn’t age because they’re not a three-chord punk band. They’re very technical, but lots of fun too. I read that they do everything in three takes and if it’s no good after three, tough shit, that’s it! Brilliant! Do Wolf Alice do that? No, thank God! Mainly for my sake!”
The vinyl countdown: Wolf Alice (from left, Joel Amey, Ellie Rowsell, Theo Ellis, Joff Oddie), Old Street, London, October 2016.