SONIC KICKS: Suzy Connolly

Suzy Connolly’s highly recommended debut album Night Larks that came out near the start of the year is still one of the best releases of 2012 so we wanted to delve into her musical history to find out what influenced her and which albums were landmarks at various points of her life.

The first album I bought…

The Police | Regatta De Blanc. I come from a large musical family. My older brothers and sisters would always buy me albums they wanted for themselves for my birthday but lucky for me they had good taste. I think I’d been given Outlandos d’Amour and I flipped out over it and went out and bought Regatta De Blanc with my hard earned pocket money!

The album that soundtracked a relationship…

Ed Harcourt | Here Be Monsters. Some albums just take you back to a certain place and time in your life and this one does just that. It always brings on a huge wave of melancholia!

The album that inspired me to be a musician…

The Beatles | A Hard Day’s Night. I was six years old and learned how to sing harmony listening to this album. It was the first Beatles I’d heard and completely blew my mind. It just sold me to the idea of making music.

The album that reminds me of my high school years…

The Jam | Sound Affects. I would listen to this album on my Sony Walkman coming home from school on the 440 bus to my Dad’s…”Reading the graffiti about slashed seat affairs”. One of my fave lyrics in a song.

The album I’d love to hear played in full live…

U2 | The Joshua Tree but I’d want to see it performed circa 1987, when it was still fresh.

My favourite album cover…

Bob Dylan | The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. So much heart in this image that just epitomises Greenwich Village in the 1960s but on par with The Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeo because I love graphic album covers and particularly this one.

My guilty pleasure album…

Biilly Joel | Greatest Hits. It’s like sensory overload listening to Billy Joel. The range of feelings he can inspire in just three minutes- He is a brilliant songwriter yet the cheese factor is just off the richter scale. A true love/hate relationship. Allentown is a fucking amazing song!

An album I loved but have no idea now why I bought it…

Alice in Chains | Dirt. I have no idea what I was thinking. Probably had more to do with a love interest.

The last album I bought…

Daniel Rossen | Silent Hour/Golden Mile EP. I’m a huge Grizzly Bear fan.The last full album I bought was Graham Nash | Songs For Beginners. I lost my CD so I bought it digitally. A great break up album, many of the songs inspired by an affair with Joni Mitchell.

Suzy Connolly’s Night Larks is out now via Laughing Outlaw Records and all good record shops.

SONIC KICKS | Albums That Shaped Me

Ahead of the release of his long awaited debut album Breaking Hearts and Saving Souls on August 1st, Roland K Smith of Roland K Smith & the Sinners takes us through some of the albums that shaped his musical life. The band will be doing a run of dates to celebrate the release of the album, check the details at the end of this post…

The first album I bought…

It was my ninth birthday and I was allowed two choose two cassette tapes to accompany my brand new Sony Walkmen. I chose Blind Melon | Blind Melon and Michael JacksonDangerous. I listened to Dangerous to death. I knew every word to every song. I might have played Blind Melon twice.

An album that soundtracked a relationship…

I don’t want to give too much away here, but PrincePurple Rain was on heavy rotation when I started seeing the missus. That was about eight years ago and she’s still with me. Take the tip, gentlemen.

The album that inspired me to form a band…

Nirvana | Unplugged in New York. That was the album I was listening to when I started learning guitar at age ten and the album I revisited years later while I was forming my first band. It’s such a great collection of songs and Kurt sings them all so well.

The album that reminds me of my high school years…

Violent FemmesViolent Femmes was already twenty years old by the time I got my hands on it, but its honest musing on teenage life hit me like a ton of bricks. This was an example of hearing the right album at the right time.

An album I’d love to hear played in full live…

The Beatles | Please Please Me but by the Beatles in 1963 or whenever it was released (DS –  yep!). In this fantasy I’m eighteen years old in a sweaty, smokey pub in Hamburg, hammered on beer and surrounded by 1960s babes and then these guys rip into I Saw Her Standing There and Twist & Shout. Imagine how bat-shit-crazy that would be.

My favourite album artwork…

Bob Dylan | Bob Dylan. It’s a picture of Dylan at about nineteen years of age, holding a guitar and wearing a sailor cap, and it feels like the calm before the storm. He’s this cocky little kid looking straight into the camera with a cheeky grin that says “I’ve only ever written two songs, but I’m going to be the greatest songwriter of all-time.”

My guilty pleasure album…

Everclear | So Much For The Afterglow. I know they’re daggy, I know they’re a shitty second rate grunge band, but they still hold a prime position in my playlist. The songs are way too earnest, but they’re great pop tunes, and the guitars are masterfully over dubbed. I don’t think I’ve heard better production on a mainstream rock album.

An album I loved but now have no idea why I bought it…

Oh god, there would be tons… I have a habit of throwing out CDs as they reveal themselves to be shit. I think the first album I ever jettisoned was Pearl JamTen.

The last album I bought was…

Justin Townes Earle | Nothing’s Going To Change The Way You Feel About Me Now. Great record – really nice songs, performed really well. I’ve been into this guy since his first album and it’s been a pleasure watching him grow into one of the best musicians doing the rounds.

SONIC KICKS | Albums That Shaped Me…

In this first instalment of SONIC KICKS, Iowa’s Dylan Stewart takes us through some of the albums that shaped him.
The first album I bought was...
Chuck Berry – Greatest HitsIt was the cassette version with an orange cover.  I played the heck out of this!  Classic tunes with great blues solos.
The album that soundtracked a relationship was...
 Doves – Lost SoulsSuch an amazing record that feels like a soundtrack to your life.  Very dreamy and atmospheric!

The album that inspired me to form a band was...


Dinosaur Jr – Where You BeenWhen I heard the opening guitar chords of Out There I was hooked! For life!  Although I now think that Bug is my favourite, this record still has one great tune after another!  A classic!

The album that reminds me of my high school years is...

Beastie Boys – Ill CommunicationI loved this album and Check Your Head.  I was a try hard skater in my teens that could never skate but this record soundtracked that whole period in my life.
The album I'd love to hear played in full live is...
Iggy & the Stooges – Raw PowerI was actually lucky enough to see them play this record at ATP in New York a few years back.  It goes down as one of the best gigs I’ve ever witnessed!

My favourite album cover art is...

My Bloody Valentine – LovelessNot only does this cover look cool and psychedelic with its pink hazy guitar image, the guitar is actually a Fender Jazzmaster which is one my favourite guitars. When I lived in London a few years back, I worked at a music store in Denmark street and was lucky enough to help Kevin Shields pick out a couple of vintage Jazzmasters that he was planning to play for their reunion shows. Their show at the Roundhouse a few weeks later was absolutely mind blowing too! I think my ears are still ringing!

My guilty pleasure album is...
Wings – Venus & MarsI still think this album is a good listen when I’m in the right mood but I don’t usually talk about it in interviews. I grew up with my brother playing this record and it just rubbed off on me.  
An album I loved but now have no idea why I bought it.

Hits of 1988 – I don’t want to talk about it!
The last album I bought was...

Bob Dylan – Live at Brandeis University 1963This is a brilliant recording.  It was only recently discovered in 2009 and is a live concert of Dylan when he was hardly known. His second album was about to come out so he plays a great list of tunes.
Iowa’s excellent debut album Never Saw It Coming is out now and available from Bandcamp and all good record stores.