10 of Paul Marshall's Favourite Albums - But Not Necessarily His 10 Favourite Albums
We asked Paul Marshall - who recently became one of Bella Unions fantastic new artists - to talk us through 10 of his favourite records of all time.
'When contactmusic got in touch and asked me to compile my 10 favourite albums I willingly agreed as I didn't think it was going to be such a hard task but it turned out to be quite a hard decision, so that's why I've aptly named this list '10 of Paul Marshall's Favourite Album's But Not Necessarily His 10 Favourite Albums'. Although looking down this list, they just might be.'
1. At The Drive-In - Relationship Of Command
Living in a seaside town as a teenager I didn't get to go to many gigs, and so just listened to whatever my friends were listening to, which wasn't always great!
Then one day I got a sampler CD free with a magazine which featured 'Cosmonaut' and it was almost like I was born again! I listened to that incredible song about 100 times that day, just mesmerised by it's brilliance. When I finally got the album and it all turned out to be as good, it changed the shape of everything I listened to from then on. The production and the quality of the songs are both simply astounding. And you also get Iggy Pop thrown in for good measure! A true masterpiece.
2. Tom Waits - Small Change
What an unbelievable record this is. I feel that this album showed the first signs of Tom Waits' progression to his later works. His voice was becoming grittier, his lyrics were getting crazier and this album just 'works'. It features the most heart achingly beautiful love songs, gorgeous jazz melodies and engrossing spoken word stories (see title track). Tom Waits' lyrics are possibly the greatest thing that have ever graced the earth with their presence and there are some beautiful examples of this on this record.
Highlight: Invitation To The Blues
3. Led Zeppelin - III
When I was on tour around Europe with my old band, the crappy van we were travelling in had a cassette deck that only seemed to accept the odd tape. This album was I think 1 of 2 that we listened to throughout the entire 2 weeks. Did it get boring? The answer is NO FUCKING WAY!
It became like an infection to all of us. The second it finished we just wanted to hear the first lick of 'Immigrant Song' all over again. We even attempted listening to random Czech or Polish radio which was amusing for maybe 5 mins until someone would shout "STICK LED ZEP 3 ON!". Good times, great album.
Highlight: Since I've Been Loving You
4. Francoiz Breut - Vingt à trent mille jours
When I was first lucky enough to join the ranks of Bella Union, I like many people knew the label was great because of the artists I, and many people already knew of. I discovered this little gem when staying up late one night at my computer with a glass of red wine, and somehow I ended up hearing 'Si Tu Disais'. Her beautiful voice and those 'movie style' strings still send shivers down my spine every time. The album is wonderful from start to finish, she may sing in French, but I feel like I know just what she is saying.
Highlight: Si Tu Disais
5. Fugazi - Repeater
I discovered Fugazi shortly after I heard ATDI stupidly enough, but I realised what I had been missing all these years. I was lucky to see them live the last time they were in the UK and it has gone down in history for me as possibly my favourite gig of all time. They encored with 'Blueprint' and it was one of those times where I just 'had to have that song' as soon as I got up the next day I went out and bought this album.
It so varied, angular, political and way ahead of it's time considering when it was recorded! Everything you need in a Fugazi album. Awesome.
Highlight - Blueprint
6. Joanna Newsom - The Milk Eyed Mender
What a voice, what a truly gifted songwriter and she plays a bloody harp! Just the latter point alone deserves much respect! How many strings is that compared to my 6?
I saw her play 'The Sprout And The Bean' on Jools Holland and was hooked straight away. My girlfriend bought me the album that Christmas and I think that whole day we just listened to it on repeat (there's a theme in this article when I like something!). To this day the sheer quality of this record still shocks me. It's 'Peach, Plum, Pear' that does it for me every time though! The way she layers her voice and it totally distorts but sounds amazing. And anyone who uses the lyric ".the palm of your eye" deserves to go into my list of Geniuses!
Highlight: Peach, Plum, Pear
7. Refused - The Shape Of Punk To Come
One of the most perfectly, if not THE most perfectly recorded album in living history. Obviously in my humble opinion.
This album was something I caught onto quite late in my life, but fuck I'm glad I did. What a truly perfect slab of vinyl this is. Literally everything about it I love.
If im driving when I listen to this record, I always look down and realise im doing about double the speed I should be. It dives out of the speakers, roughs you up then leaves you for dead. Probably what I will end up doing to some poor victim if I keep listening to it in my car! Ha ha. Well, obviously I'd take them to the hospital.
Highlight: The Shape Of Punk To Come
8. David Bowie - Hunky Dory
I am a Bowie fan through and through. To try and pick my favourite album by him is practically impossible, just like Tom waits. I have chose Hunky Dory mainly because it contains one of my favourite songs of all time 'Life On Mars', but generally the fact that nearly all of this was written on the piano give the songs a certain quality that is unsurpassable. For example, David Bowie could sit and play these tracks (well with the help of Rick Wakeman!) with just a piano, and they would all sound magnificent. They don't need anything else. And that makes this album one of my favourite bodies of purely well written songs of all time.
Highlight: Life On Mars
9. King Crimson - In The Court Of The Crimson King
Prog can be a dirty, dirty word. Tales of wizards and gods fighting, followed but a 10 minute long widdly guitar solo although awesome in a 'different' way, have never really floated my boat. This record is just an awesome piece of musicianship. '21st Century Schitzoid Man' is 7.23 minutes long, has a massive guitar solo, but not like I was meaning with my previous statement. This guitar is crunchy, and MEAN sounding with the saxes backing it up, tight as hell and still makes my heart rush when I listen to it. Then when track 2 comes along, everything takes a completely different turn as 'I Talk To The Wind' (there's a prog title if ever I saw one! I feel like a right hypocrite now) slows everything down and is a beautiful song with lovely major/minor changes. But the last song is relentless, that's my fave. The title track with it's repeating chorus over and over. You know what's coming every verse, but that song could follow the same theme for a year and I would never get bored!
Highlight: In The Court Of The Crimson King
10. Nick Drake - Pink Moon
One of the saddest albums ever written? Definitely. You can almost feel the poor guy on the verge of his imminent death, and that alone makes this album a troubling but a brutally honest but beautiful listen. Lyrics like 'I am the parasite of this town', 'they only smile to see you while your time away' and 'lifting the mask from a local clown, and feeling down like him' are three examples that spring to mind that portray the image of a man on the edge. If only he could have seen the post humous success he predicted he would have on 'Five Leaves Left'. Poor guy, but bloody wonderful album regardless.
Highlight: Things Behind The Sun
Download Paul's beautiful version of Fairy Tale Of New York here