Six Albums with Joe Innes
Joe Innes stopped Steve Lamacq in his tracks. At least, that’s what Lamacq claims and as far as primary sources to events go, you won’t do much better than that. Releasing his first album The Frighteners Joe calls to mind any number of other vocalists and musicians – not least among which is Magnetic Fields man Stephen Merritt. But there’s a depth of uncharted influences in them there waters, so we called in Joe to uncover them for us with our latest Six Albums.
Guided By Voices – Half Smiles of the Decomposed Um, I love Guided By Voices. Deciding which album to choose is a headache because there are a lot of good ones, but this one seems to be a good example of them as a band… Even though the band is pretty much just one guy + whoever he wants. This is somewhere halfway between their lo-fi basement noise and the clean nobs of a proper studio. At the time, this was heralded as the last Guided By Voices album, (this isn’t true anymore) which is possibly why it’s so good. I mean, I wouldn’t say an album was the last if it was crap, I’d wait till I did a good one before I called it a day.
Ryan Adams – Love is Hell Love Is Hell was released while I was an impressionable teenager, I fell for it hook, line and sinker. He can be a little too eager to be poignant sometimes, but the songs are brilliant. I sometimes wonder if he basis his writing on films, in ‘This House Is Not For Sale’ it seems to tell the story of Beetlejuice, and ‘Afraid Not Scared’ could easily be the end of Titanic… I wonder if I’ll ever know? OH, and the cover of Wonderwall is a bit nauseating, but you can skip it.
The Decemberists - Hazards of Love Probably the only album I’ll ever listen to while imagining how I would direct a school production of it – which would be my only reason to ever become a drama teacher. The sweeping story through the course of this epic is utterly compelling, and the guest performances from Shara Worden, Jim James and Becky Stark are incredible… not to mention from The Decemberists themselves. Colin Meloy is one of my favourite songwriters of all time, and his storytelling style really reaches its peak in this amazing album.
Tom Waits – Small Change This took me a while to love, but I love it a lot. It reminds me of going on walks in the middle of the night… and waiting for trains. His voice is amazing and a lot of fun to sing along with, which sometimes makes me cough.. In a similar way to Colin Meloy always recounting tales from the days of yore, Tom Waits is who I listen to when I want to go somewhere HBO… a little bit scummy.
Liz Phair – Exile In Guyville Apparently, this whole album is a song-by-song rebuttal of The Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main Street… I don’t know much about that. I usually go for melody in songs, but this album is sort of tuneless, I guess the meat is in the words and attitude. Her delivery is incredibly deadpan, perhaps the complete opposite to Ryan Adam’s over emotional croon. I listen to this album when I’m doing the dishes, or hoovering.
Bruce Springsteen – Darkness On The Edge Of Town I used to work in a little coffee shop in Soho, hauling huge coffee sacks around on my shoulders on a daily basis. I used to smell so strongly of the stuff after a days work I used to get funny looks on the tube, not to mention how everything I wore turned brown as they slowly got covered in coffee grounds. If I walked home, I’d sing Racing In The Street at the top of my lungs, it’s the perfect fuck you to a hard day’s work “Some guys, they just give up living and start dying little by little piece by piece / Some guys come home from work and wash up, and go racing in the street”.. Love it.