Music. Mint innit? You’ll always remember the time that Children of the Night was banging out when you copped a feel of a pair of knockers in a darkened corner at the underage disco down in town. The tingles that went up your spine when the whole school started doing the Ice Ice Baby dance at the end of year party. Or when you made a mix tape ripped straight from the radio top 40 while you sat with one finger hovering over the stop button to attempt to cut the recording just before Bruno Brookes or somebody like him piped up with ‘and that was Ace of Base and All that she wants..’. Sweet, sweet bliss. Of course, if you’re under 23 you don’t remember this, you have your iPods, your iPads, your iPhones. Your iPatch. Your iBall. The list goes on. Anyway, I digress. Music, it be the food of love. These are ten songs that have inspired me at some point throughout my life, not necessarily a top ten, I personally think that would be nigh on impossible, but just ten that stick out for me as I write this piece. Enjoy.
Black Keys – Your Touch
I love this band. I loved them before you loved them, that’s for sure. I loved them before the entirety of the Brothers album got picked up for every advert and TV trailer on the planet. I loved them before Lonely Boy got played to death on Radio 1. Yeah, I did. I got introduced to the band by a guy with infinitely better taste than I had at the time, and I’ll forever be grateful. Before Dan and Pat got savvy to what you youngsters are into they were knocking out some bluesy, raw, awesomeness on the Magic Potion album, and the stand out track for me was Your Touch. Simple riffs, simple lyrics, and just out and out rocky goodness. By the way, I still love them. El Camino is fantastic, are you mental?!
Fun Lovin’ Criminals – The Fun Lovin’ Criminal
First actual band I ever saw live with my eyeballs and earballs. Okay, so I saw East 17 at the Sheffield Arena. But I said band, not team of tracksuit wearing man-boys performing pseudo-raps and harmonies to ten thousand girls and four drastically misplaced boys on the pull, before eventually going on to run themselves over in a hilarious accident. No, FLC were the band of choice for me. Huey Morgan was the coolest man alive as far as a twenty year old me was concerned. His blatant disregard for live TV etiquette later in life, chasing Damon Albarn down a red carpet for a fight, or bleating out that ‘Michael Jackson f**ks kids!’ simply concreted his status as a hero to me.
Modest Mouse – Lounge (Closing Time)
An album track from The Lonesome Crowded West. It typifies everything I like about Modest Mouse. Barely intelligible Black Francis-esque squawking by Isaac Brock telling me about cinematographers and pornographers in way that says I should know what he’s on about, because he’s telling me with such intent that it just has to mean something. But it doesn’t. Then when he’s done with me the band take me in all sorts of other directions. Up and down. A little bit to the side. It’s basically four songs in one 7 minute wonder. Awesome. Just awesome. I saw them live in Nottingham and met Johnny Marr, really genuinely good bloke, gave us the time of day like a superstar, even though I was off my trolley.
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Lookin’ out my Back Door
I was going to pick Bad Moon Rising as my example of CCR goodness, because it’s central to the plot of my second novel, one of the main characters is a massive fan. So much so that the pseudonym he uses when checking into hotels is John Fogerty. That’s the great thing about writing, especially novels and that. You get to project your tastes all over the reader like a drunk dad spraying vomit all over Auntie Sue at a wedding. I digress, Bad Moon Rising isn’t my favourite track by CCR, it’s Lookin’ Out My Back Door. If you’re a Big Lebowski fan you’ll get it. A band I really wish I’d been around to see live at their peak.
Gogol Bordello – Start Wearing Purple
Straight up party track. Seriously, I request this at every single get together and party that’s prestigious enough to have my attendance. So far I’ve requested it three times. One of those was my wedding. It’s just got a feelgood feeling about it. You have to jump around (without being told to, I’m looking your way House of Pain!) to it, arms wrapped around whoever’s jumping with you, without shame. You also need to know to shout ‘DADADADADAAA!’ at every opportunity.
Neil Young – Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)
The pinnacle of the Rust Never Sleeps album. The whole album is great, from the acoustic and mellow version of this, through Pocahontas and Sedan Delivery, right up to this one. The way it builds on each track from the last. This album is kind of like the mixtapes/mix CDs/Playlists I create myself. I like to start slow, then build up to a crescendo (Ohhhh, steady there, get yer mind out of the gutter, princess!) of dirty guitars, or beats, whichever kind of mix I’m making, and there’s no better crescendo than this little gem. I like to listen to it at least once a week.
Campag Velocet – Ain’t No Funki Tangerine
Massively underrated cult band these. I missed out on their time as NME poster boys in the late nineties with the mega Bon Chic Bon Genre, but I caught on quickly to the quality of the noises they were making at the time of the second album It’s Beyond our Control, from which Ain’t No Funki Tangerine comes. Smashing drums, dirty bass, and Pete Voss shouting seemingly random words over the top. I managed to get Pete’s permission to use the lyrics in one of my novellas (The hilariously titled The Banjo String Snapped but the Band Played on) and he’s since helped me out with other stuff too. Great fella. A total legend, and a gent with it.
Pixies – Where is my Mind?
I could listen to this all day long. Used to perfection at the end of Fight Club. Raped by some plinky piano fingered songstress on an advert for holidays. Good to see The Pixies are back and touring, albeit without Kim Deal. An even better comeback than Spurs against Manchester City last season. Only just.
Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip – The Beat that my Heart Skipped
Spoken word genius Scroobius Pip is a very clever man, with a very interesting brain. Combine him with electronica stallion Dan Le Sac and you get something unique. I’ve seen them close to ten times live, and every time I see them this intro track makes me want to smash the hell out of everything and everyone to pieces out of pure musical bliss. It’s something special as far as I’m concerned.
The Coral – Dreaming of You
Pure bouncy fun this track. Another band I’ve seen live more times than I’d care to remember. The Coral are a band I like for just dancing to their own beat. The debut album that this track came from was a poppy indie filled dream from start to finish. They followed it up with some downright bizarre choices, but I love them for it. It’s an approach I like to knock about with my writing. It gives the readers no idea of what to expect. Keeps them on their toes, if you will. Not everybody will love it, but that’s the point. It wouldn’t do if we were all the same would it?
Ryan Bracha is 33 years worth of stories just screaming to be unleashed on an unsuspecting public. Almost 4 years in the making, his debut novel, “Strangers Are Just Friends You Haven’t Killed Yet” is a darkly comic satire based on the state of the media in the face of what appears to be a serial killer stalking the streets of Sheffield. His second novel “Tomorrow’s Chip Paper” is a fast moving look at the current media infatuation with celebrity deviants. Also available are the six volumes of his series of mad, bad, and downright bizarre stories, “The Short Shorts”, featuring some of the most dysfunctional characters you have never met. He is currently working on his third novel, and lives in Barnsley. You can buy his stuff here.