Ten Songs by Darren Sant

If you asked me to name my top ten songs again in twelve months I’d probably picked a totally different ten, such is the nature of my ever shifting love of music. It would have been easier to name a hundred tracks. Here goes, in no particular order:

Superstition by Stevie Wonder
Quite simply, this song exudes funk. So much so that it makes a bald, fat old git like me want to dance. It makes me feel alive – that is why it has made my top ten.

Across 110th Street by Bobby Womack
I first heard this track on the soundtrack to the Tarantino film Jackie Brown. I like songs that talk to me about reality and there’s a very hefty dose of that in this track. Funky as hell too.

Sometimes by James
You can hear the rain. You can feel the desperation. A track that is exceptionally well produced and album that would make my top ten every time.

The Needle and the Damage Done by Neil Young
A song that oozes melancholy by a master song writer. Young’s plaintive vocal is a warning so heartfelt it’s impossible not to take notice.

Waterfall by The Stone Roses
With my friend, Shaun Kelly, I saw the band at the height of their powers at a small venue in Paris. Full of cheap red wine we felt like kings of the world and as this track washed over me I felt that anything was possible.

Kelly’s Blues by The Triffids
In the early days of CDs I happened upon their album Calenture. Every track is a gem and the concept of Calenture stays strong with several of the tracks. The album was so different to anything I’d heard at the time. I still play it, often.

Brain Damage by Pink Floyd
Stoned off my gourd having ingested a large chunk of cannabis I lay in bed and although it may be a cliché I played Dark Side of the Moon. As I grew increasingly light headed this album took on a life of its own. Classic album and I’m not ashamed to be clichéd now and again! A good friend of mine lost his Father to a brain tumour and it was his Dad’s wish to play the track at the funeral. The dark humour (and bravery) wasn’t lost on anyone.

Northern Sky by Nick Drake
Because no top ten of mine would be complete without a Drake track. Rest in peace you melancholic genius. You left us too young.

Karma Police by Radiohead
An influence from my late brother. With the release of OK Computer I finally “got” Radiohead. Check out the video to this track and if you’re feeling flush splash out their DVD 7 Television Commercials. You won’t regret it

Just Dropped In (To See What Condition my Condition was In) by Kenny Rogers
Another track I love because of a film. This song could have been written for the dude. Treat yourself and watch the Big Lebowski

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Darren Sant is originally from Stoke but now lives in Hull, he is the editor of hard-hitting fiction site http://www.close2thebone.co.uk/, and he is the author of several books and collections, most notably Tales From The Longcroft Estate. You can check him out at his website http://darrensant-writer.yolasite.com/, and follow his tweets @groovydaz39 & @longcroft_tales

Ten Songs by Andrew Ware

Allow me to dispel a myth, when you hear people make statements like; ‘I heard Nirvana’s Nevermind when I was fourteen and it changed my life, man’ they are lying. Bold statements such as this are merely rhetoric, and I would wager that these moments of inspiration or epiphanies never genuinely take place. Something far more organic happens. We are born and at year dot we are exposed to music; be it on the radio, television or our parent’s record collections, and it bleeds into our psyche. At some stage very early in our lives we make the sub conscious decision that these strange and wonderful sounds are in some way important to us. So here are, in no particular order, ten songs that bled into my psyche and they are of extreme importance to me.

10. Steely Dan: Rikki Don’t Lose that Number
Pretzel Logic 1974
This was a favourite of my mother’s and was always on the record player on Sunday mornings. I didn’t realise how huge Pretzel Logic had been until I was much older and it’s easy to see why as this track is certainly accessible. Although Steely Dan probably fall into the genre AOR (Adult Orientated Rock) with the likes of Supertramp, The Blue Oyster Cult and Cheap Trick. Pretzel Logic, Countdown to Ecstasy and Aja have become favourites of mine. Driven by a sublimely smooth 4/4 bass line this track is perfect for when you’re tired of being confronted by your record collection.

9. Neil Young: A Man Needs a Maid
Harvest 1972
Neil Young is one of the few artists that have had a continued significance throughout my entire life. This track is the best song I’ve heard about male fragility. It begins with a rain drop piano intro and builds into a string driven masterpiece.

8. Van Morrison: Beside You

Astral Weeks 1968
People often compare song lyrics to poetry and of course this is nonsense. Lyrics are not poetry. They may at times be poetical but even the greats by such as Dylan and Morrissey are riddled with cheesy couplets and cannot be described as poetry. However, the lyrics on this truly sublime track are the perhaps the nearest song lyrics have ever been to poetry.

7. Field Music: You and I

Measure 2010
Field music are probably my favourite (relatively) contemporary act. This track is one of many I could have chosen from this record. For those aren’t familiar Field Music are like Maximo Park for adults.


6. Pulp: Your Sister’s Clothes

The Sisters EP 1993
My favourite Pulp song and a fine example of their fantastic brand of Sheffield disco pop. Pulp were a much weaker outfit after Russell Senior departed in 1996. The evidence for this is on this track as his beautifully sloppy violin accompanies a spine tingling chorus. The Sisters EP has long since been deleted but you can get this track if you buy the deluxe version of His ‘N Hers

5. Band of Horses: No One’s Gonna Love You (More than I do)

Cease To Begin 2008
This is a beautiful song. One of the more contemporary of my Ten Songs it has been catapulted into great personal importance as it was the track that my wife and I chose for our first dance when we were married in September. It was a perfect day and this is a perfect song.

4. The Dears: Ticket to Immortality
Gang of Losers 2007
Emerging around the same time as Arcade Fire, The Dears were perhaps my favourite band of this period. This is a plucky and melodic song and Murray Lightburn’s velvety vocal is, well velvety.

3. John Cale: Dying on the Vine
Artificial Intelligence 1985
This is a truly haunting song but hauntingly beautiful. John Cale speaks of being in Acapulco and trading clothing for wine and thinking about his mother. John Cale is an artist I know very little about other than that he was in The Velvet Underground and I happened upon this track by accident some years ago. When my bio pic is eventually made this track will certainly feature somewhere on the soundtrack.

2. Roy Harper: I Hate The White Man

Live at Les Cousins 1970
Harper’s Live at Les Cousins is the best live album of all time. Recorded at the intimate London venue Harper insisted that the gig was recorded in its entirety which is to the listener’s benefits as all Harper’s between song ramblings are included. Turn down the lights and it’s just like you’re there too drinking real ale in the thick clouds of blue smoke. I Hate the White Man is the stand out track from the performance and if you prefer studio recordings it’s also available on Harper’s 1970 album Flat Baroque and Berserk.

1. The Blue Nile: Let’s Go Out Tonight
Hats 1989
Hats is one of the many records I have to thank Allen Miles for recommending to me. This track is one of those songs that takes you back to a time and place in your life. For me this one is falling asleep against the window of a bus whilst travelling home from 12 hour shift on a Saturday evening in the winter of 2007. I would play this track on my ipod as I drove through the dark city streets debating with myself whether or not I should go out that night. This song oozes atmosphere and Paul Buchanan is quite possibly my all time favourite male vocalist.

 

wurr b wAndrew Ware is 32 years-old and has a small dog called Oliver. He is a paid-up member of the Labour Party and used to play bass in semi-legendary Hull band Sal Paradise. In his spare time he makes his own wine and watches rugby league. He once claimed his favourite album was Electric Warrior by T.Rex, which was a complete lie. He holds a degree in Philosophy, but you’d already guessed that. You can find him at http://www.twitter.com/XavierDwyer1

Ten Songs by Ryan Bracha

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

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.

Ten (ish) Songs by Allen Miles

A disclaimer: I’ve decided to compile this list without wittering on about The Smiths, The Manics, Joy Division, Tom Waits or Bob Dylan, because no-one needs to hear me bang on about them anymore than I do any night in the pub when I’ve had five or six pints. And I’m well aware that there are more than ten songs on this list, but it’s my site and I’ll do as I bloody well like. Yeah.

1. Oasis – Live Forever
I had no interest in music until I heard this song. I think I was about thirteen and it was used as the backdrop to a Sky Sports review of the 1994-95 Premiership season. My mate Astroman lent me his copy of Roll With It which had a live version of this on the B-Side and I must have listened to it fifteen times a day. Within weeks I’d bought Morning Glory, Definitely Maybe and all the singles for the B-Sides, and I count myself fortunate to have witnessed one of England’s greatest ever bands at their absolute peak. Like all of Noel Gallagher’s best songs, it makes you feel glad to be alive.

2. Placebo – Without You I’m Nothing

Placebo were a very important band for me for it was they, along with the Manics, who broke me free from the tracksuit bottoms and Adidas sweatshirt shackles of my high school years, and into the world of androgny and make-up. I loved this song, I originally heard it on a Q Magazine best of 1998 CD when I was at sixth form, and while everyone else was listening to shite like Embrace and Gomez, me and my mate Jamie were listening to this weird man/woman who looked like an eye-linered parakeet sneering this spidery song about drug addiciton. To this day, I get a nostalgic shiver down my vertebrae whenever it pops up on my i-pod.

3. Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight, Tonight
The summer of ’99. Ah, yes. This was the era of record-shopping. Myself and Mr Ware used to work split shifts on a Saturday; 10:30-1:30, then 4-6. This two hour thirty minute gap gave us time to get the bus into town and spend all our wages on CDs almost every weekend. During the weekday evenings I would sit in my bedroom compiling a database on my laughably outdated PC of the records I’d bought and I’d listen to them in full repeatedly as I typed. This song is as epic as four minutes of music can possibly get and will forever remind me of the romance and introspection of those balmy evenings down Bricknell Ave.

4. Mellow My Mind – Neil Young
Neil Young’s Tonight’s The Night album is the soundtrack to my realization that young romance is always doomed. I was living in a flat that was little more than a squat when I was eighteen, with my first girlfriend. I lost my job in late October and had nothing to do with my days except drink cheap plonk and watch the rain from the rotting window. One Sunday morning I woke up to the sound of her leaving to have Sunday lunch at her Mam’s, and I had a hangover so bad I could barely open my eyes. I propped myself up on my elbows in bed just in time to see a mouse casually stroll across the ledge that the stereo was on, while this song was being played by a band who were so pissed they were on the verge of passing out.

5. Plastic Palace People – Scott Walker
I first heard this song on an NME sampler CD sometime in late 2001, when I was living by myself in a flat down Hartoft Road. It is the closest I’ve ever been to hallucinating through music. To love the work of Scott Walker is to be given the key to a world of rooftops and bedsits and salty seadogs and European cinema and smiles through the smoke of cigarettes, all sung by an impossibly handsome man with one of the most spell-binding voices of all time. No other musician has ever embraced the idea of being an outsider like Scott Walker has, not Morrissey, not REM. He is the musical equivalent of Roald Dahl.

6. Atlantic City – Bruce Springsteen

In the summer of 2002, myself and Andrew were both reading On The Road, and listening to Nebraska. We had decided that we would conquer the world with our rock and roll band and every night we would walk in enormous circles around Hull each dangling a bottle of wine from our swinging arms as we plotted. One night we went to County Road park with a Discman and a couple of shitty Argos speakers and laid on a hill, as an electrical storm cloud loomed in the distance, and this song, the stand out track on The Boss’s stripped back collection of acoustic noir, was playing. So evocative.

7. Black – Pearl Jam
I’m a very stoic person by nature, and I don’t allow myself to get effected by other people foisting their feelings on me, but I find it very hard to hear this song without feeling a bit of tension in my jaw. It starts off as a pleasant enough mid-paced wistful ballad, before descending into a howling litany of bitterness, regret and anger, and those are my three favourite emotions, which is probably why I love this song so much. The final three lines are one of the saddest pay-offs in any song ever.

8. Concierto De Aranjuez – Miles Davis
I can’t imagine that many of our dear readers will have heard this song. It is as close as the Jazz genre ever got to classical music. It is fifteen minutes of astonishing musicianship, played by one of the greatest collectives of musicians ever assembled. It should be listened to in the summer, whilst sat in a garden with a big drink. I don’t like a huge amount of Jazz, but I’m a big Miles Davis fan, and for me Sketches Of Spain, the album that this is taken from, is actually better than Kind Of Blue, which is recognised by the critics as his best. It is a piece of music that you just have to sit and absorb, and each time you hear it you discover something new.

9. Blinded By The Lights – The Streets
This is a song that taught me that there were different ways to make music, at the time The Streets sounded like no other band on Earth, brilliant story-telling and completely relatable. On a personal level, it reminds of an occasion in eight or nine years ago when I was absolutely pissed out of my brains on a night out and somehow I’d managed to lose all my mates and there were no taxis to be had so I ended up walking all the way home by myself. It took me about two and a half hours, even though it was only three miles. This song perfectly captures the experience of rooms spinning, sounds all merging into one big din and simply not knowing what planet you’re on.

10. Hope There’s Someone – Antony and The Johnsons
I first heard of Antony Hegarty whilst reading a gushing article in Mojo magazine during a train journey to Blackpool. I listened to a sample on Amazon when I got home and went to buy the album straight away. He is one of the most original singers I’ve ever heard, haunted and keening. Again they made me realise that there is always music out there that you’ve never heard anything like before. This song is delicate and impossibly sad and at the end it all starts swirling and wailing and one man with his piano conjures up a raging snow storm. Bleakly beautiful.

11. Lorca’s Novena – The Pogues
For Christmas 2007, my missus bought me an iPod. I’d always been quite proud that I never had one, preferring to toddle around with an Aigo mp3 player that I bought from Argos, but as soon as I opened the box it became an absolute staple of my life. The first album I put on it was Hell’s Ditch by The Pogues, just because it was sat on the coffee table at the time. The standard Christmas Day routine for as long as I could remember was after having a drink with my dad in the pub we’d nip to see my Grandad and then go to my mam’s. Sadly my Grandad had died a few months previously so I decided to walk to my mam’s by myself with this menacing sea shanty about “Lorca the faggot poet,” on the iPod and it seemed like there was not a single other soul on the streets of HU5.

12. Afterglow – The Small Faces
This song reminds me of the day Gabbers was born. I’d been awake for about fifty hours and after she’d finally arrived and I had been told to go home I stood in my garden feeling at a bit of a loss cos I wasn’t quite sure what I was supposed to do and this song came on the Pod at random. It’s a very uplifting song and it has the 2nd best chorus of all time, containing the line “I’m happy just to be with you.” and I thought, maybe that’s what being a dad will be like. According to my play count, I’ve listened to it 84 times since that day.

13. Dwr Budr – Orbital
I find it difficult to deal with the dance genre as a whole, but I’ve always loved Orbital, and particularly their In Sides album. I was listening to this song on repeat when I was writing my first book; I wrote it in five days and practically didn’t sleep at all during that period, whilst doing ten hours a day at work and pumping myself full of caffeine every day. Dwr Budr has a swirling, incoherent feel to it, as well as wordless vocals from Alison Goldfrapp, and that pretty much encapsulated how it felt to be almost totally sleepless and spending six hours a night frantically typing out a really disturbing piece of work. I don’t actually think I’ve listened to it since.

profile b and wAllen Miles is 33 years old and lives in Hull. He is married and has a 3 year-old daughter who thinks she’s Elsa from Disney’s Frozen. He is a staunch supporter of Sheffield Wednesday FC and drinks far too much wine. He spends most of his spare time watching old football videos on youtube and watching 1940s film noir. He is the author of This Is How You Disappear, which is widely recognized to be the best book ever written. It is available here. http://tinyurl.com/disappear2014