SONIC KICKS | Matt Purcell & The Blessed Curse

Matt Purcell has released a couple of great records with his band The Blessed Curse, the most recent being this year’s excellent Mathew Street that found him incorporating folk and power pop influences into his sound. Acoustic guitar and violin are prominent throughout but it is Purcell’s songwriting that really shines through with a plethora of gloriously catchy melodies tumbling forth from his songs and conjuring comparisons to Big Star, Wilco, The Kinks and 78 Saab.

As well as purchasing via the iTunes link above, you can also listen to and download a couple of tracks over at Triple J Unearthed.

As part of our Sonic Kicks series we asked Purcell to divulge some of the albums that shaped his musical life.

The first album I bought…

Bon Jovi | Slippery When Wet. I also went to see them at the Entertainment Centre for their tour. My Mum gave me the day off school to go to Westfield’s Liverpool to line up for a ticket. I was 11, so I was lucky to have a cool mum. It was probably also the album that gave me the idea of playing guitar. The Rolling Stones | Start Me Up (12”) was my first actual purchase when I was 6.

The album that soundtracked a relationship…

Big Star | Album #1 – My fiancee and I both really got into Big Star’s first album when we moved in together and we got a vinyl copy of it. I had been introduced to them before but it wasn’t until I got the album that I got it. Someone said we reminded them of Big Star, probably via Teenage Fanclub though.

The album that inspired me to form a band…

Ratcat | Tingles EP  Rickenbacker guitars, Hofner guitars, black jeans, all that stuff. The first band we formed at school for the school fete was called Car Crash after their song.

The album that reminds me of my high school years…

Ride | Going Blank Again –  This was a favourite. I saw them at The Enmore & Phoenician Club. Also The Clouds | Penny Century was a great album, and a local favorite. I was going to see them live as much as I could during high school, it was the first underage fake ID that I needed.

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

Van Morrison | Astral Weeks – That would be special. Seeing Van Morrison would be awesome, no matter what he played I’m sure, but you’d have to be a hardcore Van Morrison fan to say that you knew all the songs he’d play live, it sure isn’t a ‘best of Van Morrison’ show from what I’ve seen online.

My favorite album cover art…

The Beatles | Abbey Road – If I was going too have an enlarged album cover framed and hung on my wall, I would probably want a Beatles album, and though there are a couple I really like I must say that I have an emotional connection with Abbey Road – the record and the place. So today I’ll say the last recorded Beatles album but tomorrow it will probably be something different again.

My guilty pleasure album…

Cold Chisel | East. I grew up on Chisel, we used to sing along to them in the car all the time. It’s an album that really gets me going.

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

Maybe Dire Straits | Brothers in Arms. That’s a hard one, If I’d have loved it I would still have a place in my collection for it. I do still have this record, but I don’t put in on.

The last album I bought…

Glen Hansard | Rhythm and Repose – It’s really great when you have high expectations for an album and it delivers because so many times you are disappointed. I’m looking forward to seeing him live sometime soon hopefully.

SONIC KICKS | Oh Mercy

 

 

AHEAD OF THE RELEASE OF THEIR BRAND NEW ALBUM DEEP HEAT ON AUGUST 24TH, OH MERCY’S ALEXANDER GOW TOOK THE TIME TO GIVE US AN INSIGHT ON SOME OF THE ALBUMS THAT SHAPED HIM.

The first album I bought…

You Am I | Hourly Daily – I saved up all my pocket money and maybe nicked a few dollars from a pensioner . It’s a great album, I especially like If We Can’t Get It Together and the opener/title track Hourly Daily. It came out in ’96. I was 9 years old.

 

The album that soundtracked a relationship…

Scott Walker | Scott 3 – I went to art school for a year. It was pretty shit. I did however meet some beautiful women, one of which lent me Scott 3. I’d heard the Walker Brothers’ The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore but this stuff was way, way out there. I especially love his version of Jacques Brel’s Ne Me Quitte Pas. Dusty Springfield does my second favourite version. The relationship was brief. The impact of Scott 3 on me is unmeasurable.

 

The album that inspired me to form a band…

Dionne Warwick | Sings Burt Bacharach – The guys in high school listened to Metallica and Pearl Jam. I listened to Dionne Warwick, Dusty Springfield, Nancy Sinatra & The Supremes. I had more girl friends than any one else.

 

The album that reminds me of my high school years…

Jimmy Cliff | The Harder They Come soundtrack  – I also listened to reggae. The real stuff. Not the middle class, white, smelly, pot smoking hippie stuff. I would listen to The Harder They Come on my Discman walking home from McKinnon station. I felt invincible. I took it very seriously. Reggae is not the novelty genre my fellow white middle class has turned it into.

 

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

Jorge Ben | Forca Bruta – It’s my favourite album of all time. As punk as The Clash. Traditional, popular Brazilian samba music. His voice is so elastic. Romantic one minute, insane the next.

 

My favourite album cover art…

The Louvin Brothers | Satan Is Real – Great title, great cover. Looks kind of corny these days but it’s impact is undeniable. The white suits, the funny looking satan, the arm gestures. Too good.

 

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

I can tell you that my least favourite of all time is Paul Simon’s Graceland.

 

The last album I bought…

Pond | Beard, Wives, Denim – It’s great!

 

 

 

 

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.