On Deck is a column dedicated to giving artists some room to talk about what they’re currently listening to and to explore some of their favorite and most influential records.
Gearing up for a retrospective boxset due from Mute sometime in February and putting the finishing touches on a new Looper album, Stuart David has been a very busy man lately. Having spent time playing bass for Belle & Sebastian before heading out on his own with wife Karn to form Looper back in the late 90’s, David, along with keyboardist Scott Twynholm and guitarist Ronnie Black, released three albums before Looper took a break from studio album recording. In the interim, the band has produced music which they made available to fans via their website for free and have licensed their music for various films and television projects to fund their work. Taking some time from his work on the new album and a host of various remixes for other artists, Stuart David has pulled together a list of some of his favorite records, as well as those which he has been listening to recently. We premiered Looper’s newest single a few weeks ago. Listen to that here and enjoy the latest installment of our On Deck series with Stuart David of Looper below.
The Waterboys – Room To Roam (Chrysalis)
Room To Roam by The Waterboys is probably the record which most influenced the spirit, if not the style, of Looper when we were starting out. It showed us that music could be playful and, perhaps more importantly, it showed us that music could be small. That music could be wee. That’s probably ironic, since up until Room To Roam, The Waterboys had been chasing “The Big Music” but this record was something of a turnaround for them, and the opening song, “In Search of A Rose” is still the smallest and prettiest pop song I’ve ever heard.
Danny Schmidt – Parables and Primes (Live Once)
I originally found Danny Schmidt’s music by accident. I first came across him doing a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Bucket’s of Rain” on a free CD that celebrated Dylan’s 70th birthday. After that, I found Parables and Primes on Spotify, and I listened to it almost constantly. Up until then I didn’t think any lyricists could really compete with the twin pillars of Dylan and Leonard Cohen, but Danny Schmidt is probably better than both. “Dark Eyed Prince” is a masterpiece. Probably the most perfect lyric ever in a pop song. “Neil Young” and “Happy All The Time” are beyond compare.
David Sylvain – Manafon (Samadhi Sound)
It was David Sylvian who first influenced me to become a musician. I came across his music when I was about 15, in 1985. Up until then, I didn’t really know what I was. I was just strange, I thought. Then I heard songs like “Ghosts” and “Nightporter”, and I thought- maybe I’m a bit like that. Maybe I could do that. The albums Gone To Earth and Secrets Of The Beehive guided me through my teenage years. I think I thought I would grow up to be David Sylvian, but that didn’t happen. Then in 2009 I saw his photograph on the cover of Wire magazine in an art gallery shop in Edinburgh. It said he had a new album. I got the new album, Manafon, and it startled me. It was the smallest quietest pop album I had ever heard. It’s a miracle of sorts.
The Bathers – Lagoon Blues (Marina)
I was thoroughly obsessed with The Bathers when they released this album in 1993. I had been listening almost constantly to their previous record, Sweet Deceit, but Lagoon Blues took my obsession to a whole new level. I was convinced it was the most beautiful record ever made. It seemed impossible to me that Chris Thompson was living in Glasgow somewhere, wandering the same streets as me in the wild romantic fever he articulated in these songs. I still think the song “Easter- for Edda Van Heemstra” is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard. And I don’t know if anyone except me has ever heard it.
Polly Scattergood – Polly Scattergood (Mute)
The album I’m listening to most of the time at the moment is Polly Scattergood’s first, self-titled, album. I only heard about her a few weeks ago, on a radio program I listen to called Roundtable, where Steve Lamacq invites three guests to critique some of the week’s new singles. I heard her song “Disco Damaged Kid” on there, and it sounded fantastic. Then I found out she was on the same record label as us. The song “Other Too Endless” on her first album is one of my favourite songs now. It says on Wikipedia she wrote 800 songs when she was at college. They’re probably all brilliant.
Be sure to check out “Oh Skinny Legs,” the new single from Looper, here and head over to David’s tumblr to keep up on the most recent news concerning the upcoming Looper boxset and new album due sometime in 2013.
Plugging away since 1999, The National finally hit mainstream success with the release of their 2010 album High Violet. Of course, this entailed their first world tour, but in the new documentary Mistaken For Strangers, it’s only the backdrop for the relationship between lead singer Matt Berninger and his younger brother Tom, who had no idea that these short videos he was shooting would turn into a public document of their troubled, if still loving brotherhood.
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