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The Soundtrack

A trip through the music that's influenced the Boot Palace sound.  A mix of styles, genres and moods - tunes that move me.

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Steve Albini died this week. It was a shock to me, he was only 61, and oversaw the recording of some of the great records of my youth. Pixies, Nirvana, The Breeders, PJ Harvey, the list goes on. He was as famous for coaxing raw, emotional performances from bands as he was for his general disdain for the music industry.

This track was apparently recorded in a single take with no rehearsal, Albini captured a masterpiece. It also gives me a chance to remember the great Jason Molina of Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co. who passed away in 2013 aged just 39. Farewell Transmission makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, I can only imagine what Steve thought as he listened to this from the control room. 


Matthew Houck has been recording great americana and folk rock since the turn of the millennium. The album Here’s to Taking it Easy, released in 2010, was my first awareness of his stage persona Phosphorescent, loved this album when it came out. It’s accomplished, heartfelt and joyful.

I could have picked any track off the record but Los Angeles, the closer, is probably the defining song for me.


Here’s a classic from back in the day, 1990 album Nowhere by Oxford shoegazers Ride takes me back to those heady times. Vapour Trail is the big tune but the whole album is great. They’ve reformed in the last few years and seem to have (mostly) got over the bickering – I’ve seen them live in the last couple of years and they are tighter and more accomplished than they were back then, a superb live band. In 2024 they have a new album out Interplay which is excellent, long may they continue.


Now as we all know, Gerry Love is the king. Consummate songwriter, possessed with a beautiful, tender, lilting voice and one third of the great Teenage Fanclub guild of songwriters. It’s a shame we don’t hear his tunes played with the band anymore but  it does mean we might get more solo stuff which brings me on to Lightships – the Gerry solo project – the LP ‘Electric Cables’ came out in 2012 and Two Lines is the opening track. The album is dreamy, sun-kissed and always lifts a grey day. This man’s tunes never fail to put a smile on my face, long may he reign.


In your face, rock and roll story-telling from the Minneapolis 6-piece fronted by unlikely rock star Craig Finn. What he lacks in big teeth and hair star quality he makes up for with sheer enthusiasm and a love for getting the crowd going. Not sure how he manages to remember all the words – most of their tunes are lyrically dense! Deliver those American stories with gusto over big guitars, seventies style rock piano and hammond organ and we’ll all be singing along.


The album I Des, a songwriting masterclass by King Creosote was my favourite album of 2023. An exceptional set of tunes, heartfelt, quirky, sometimes a bit mad and totally uplifting.

I can’t really pick out a favourite track from the album, all the songs are quite different and yet they fit together like a magical, harmonious painting. I’ve picked Blue Marbled Elm Trees but I could have chosen any of them really, with the possible exception of the 36 minute Drone in B#; slightly miffed that one wasn’t able to fit on the vinyl…..

Can’t stop listening to this record, it’s a true work of art.


From the album Sonic Nurse, a great riff that drives into a classic Sonic Youth ‘chorus’. A song in a few different parts from the seminal noise rockers and their crazy guitar tunings. I love the way the main riff comes back in with the big distorted bass to finish and Steve Shelley pounding the drums all the way through – he’s not one for light and shade regardless of whether the guitars are chiming a delicate picked line or creating a wall of noise. Epic tune.


The Courage of Others is the 2010 follow up to The Trials of Van Occupanther, a record I was (and still am) obsessed with. I remember being slightly underwhelmed by The Courage of Others when it came out, thinking it was a bit pompous. in many ways it’s a lot different to Trials but I persevered and I now find it heartfelt and joyous. There’s no doubt it harks back to seventies British folk, I feel like I can hear Richard Thompson’s guitar and Sandy Denny on backing vocals….Acts of Man is the glorious album opener, powerful and understated, never fails to give me the tingles. There are not enough flutes in modern rock.


One of the most original bands to hail from the land of song, Gorky’s mixed off the wall psychedelic rock with folk in English and Welsh. Patio Song, from the album Barafundle, was possibly their biggest ‘hit’, at least their most well-known tune. I bought this on CD single when it first came out and it has stayed with me ever since. It’s an unashamed love song that never fails to make me smile – deliberately slightly twee, yet heart warming and wonderful. Thanks Euros!


On the 25th anniversary of The Good Will Out, I’ve been revisiting this album and seen Embrace play it live in full. The band lost me after this record but it brings back so many memories and I still adore this set of songs, they really move me. It’s an unapologetic straight up bunch of anthems about love, written by a group of young lads who weren’t afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves. The fact that the five of them are still going with no line-up changes at all is quite remarkable.

Retread isn’t one of the big songs from the album but it’s one of my favourites – this is the live version from Abbey Road sessions in 1998.


I love the guitar sound on this record. I’d class it as heavy shoegaze, it’s bass forward and the guitars are immense. It was recorded in 1990 and still sounds fresh to me, Adam Franklin’s vocals sound like an edgy Elvis Costello after someone has spilled his pint. Rave on, rave down.


From the breakout album Sweet Oblivion, I prefer Dollar Bill to the big hit Nearly Lost You. I’ve just finished the Mark Lanegan memoir of that period Sing Backwards and Weep – it’s a pretty shocking account of how far he plumbed the depths of humanity, and I think you can hear it in his voice on this record. Mark sang more accomplished material with a stronger and more intense vocal later in life but I think this was where he really started finding his tone. RIP Mark, your voice moved me.


Geese were totally new to me this week, having come across them at the End of the Road. Billed as New York punks, they didn’t really sound anything like that to me but having subsequently listened to their releases, they don’t really fit easily into any particular genre. I found them to be more straight ahead American rock but they do have something different about them, enjoying this track. The video is billed as ‘4D Country’ as it is an elongated version of the album cut i.e. they milk the southern rock guitar riffs at the end – no bad thing.


The strange, non-sensical lyrics and jerky rhythm made this tune all the more futuristic sounding at its release in 1980. Does it stand up? I think it does – still sounds great after all these years. Apparently the lyrics are meant to be a series of motivational statements poking fun at the American can-do attitude. There is a rather misogynistic MTV video for this song that came out at the time, I watched it again recently (and won’t be republishing it here!) – it’s cringy and doesn’t fit with the song’s intention at all – guess it helped sell records 30 years ago.


The angular genius of Kiran Leonard, he’s quite mesmerising live. His songs are intelligent lyrically and take a bit of perseverance to fully embrace, but the journey is well worth the reward friends. Start with Grapefruit, from which this track Secret Police is taken, and move on from there. 


Laconic delivery, expertly crafted politically charged lyrics with a thinly veiled sarcasm, South London’s Goat Girl are one of the best bands to come out of the post-punk scene that’s been bubbling up over the last few years. I’ve seen them a good few times and they never disappoint live either. A couple of great albums in now, I hope they build on their success and get taken as seriously as some of the other bands in this sub-genre.


If you’re reading this I assume you already own at least one copy of Solid Air. If not, please rectify this situation forthwith. Seminal 70’s folk/rock crossover with a smattering of psychedelia and the odd jazz note thrown in. It was recorded in 1972 with the great Danny Thompson on bass and various other folk luminaries of the time. I was introduced to this masterpiece of an album in my teens and it’s rarely been too far from my Walkman. I got to see John Martyn live just once in 1997 at the long gone Mean Fiddler in Harlesden. I could barely speak with excitement.


Here’s some indie rock with a healthy undercurrent of garage and blues. Sounds American but they hail firmly from this sceptred isle. Came across them at Glastonbury 2023 and their album Cub has barely been off the turntable since.


My first memory of  Sparks was hearing The Number One Song in Heaven on a C90 recorded compilation I found lying around the house when I was a kid (home taping is killing music!). For the record, other ‘hits’ on that compilation were Duke of Earl, In the Navy and so on – of their time you might say……although I now recognise how Sparks were actually ahead of their time with that song, it still stands up well today.

Fast forward to 2009 when I first got to see them live doing Kimono My House and Exotic Creatures of the Deep in full, I was blown away by the performance and how inventive the songs were. This track Lighten Up Morrissey is from that Exotic Creatures album which I love, particularly the fantastic song titles including I Can’t Believe That You Would Fall For All The Crap In This Song.

Enjoy!


Randomly came across Paranoid Void while buying a drink at the bar in Portals Festival 2023. Those in the know were already crowded around the tiny stage and everyone else who wandered in was similarly transfixed, what a sound. Three incredibly talented Japanese women playing the most intricate and beautiful tunes. Will be seeking them out when they are next playing in the UK.


The 2001 album Rock Action has a fair few tracks with vocals, not their usual style, and this one in particular doesn’t sound very Mogwai at all. It’s a lovely song with vocals in Welsh by Gruff and Cian from Super Furry Animals. I suppose the coming together of Scots and Welsh does give it a very celtic folky feel. I imagine it playing while I’m sat by the fire in an old pub with a pint of Brains Bitter on the go….or walking up the hill towards a wicker man….a weird combination of those two things.


This track from Liverpool tunesmith Bill Ryder-Jones is probably my favourite of his. A bit shoegaze but also reminds me a lot of Red House Painters. Bill is great to see live, an understated entertainer who connects with his audience on their level, funny, engaging and self-deprecating. Catch him next time he’s on your manor.

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