Five of the Best: #1 Mark Sheerin

The first in this new series on the blog is with Mark Sheerin. Mark is a music and arts journalist for Culture 24 and Art & Music magazine. You can read more of his work here.


Sonic Youth – nyc ghosts & flowers (2000)


Why I love it

This took a lot of listens to get used to, but I love the way it just keeps growing on me. Some of the tracks are pretty lengthy, so they creep up on you. There’s a lot of spoken word lyrical content which sits comfortably with the musical sprawl. A slowburn classic.

When I first heard it

I had a boxy room with a cheap stereo in a shared house in Oval London. When Sonic Youth toured the album I went with a friend to see that too. Remember being glad at the time to see them play all their “hits”. They treated us.

Standout track

Probably the title track. Thurston attempts poetry and, I think, gets away with it.

Anything else?

This was kind of the gateway to all of the band’s later releases, for me. It’s probably cooler to like punkier stuff, but I love the more post-rock material of which ‘ghosts’ was the first.

The Television PersonalitiesMy Dark Places (2006)


Why I love it

This record is either so bad it’s good or so good it brings tears to your eyes. The TVPs had gone quiet for about a decade and various rumours were circulating about lead singer Dan Treacy. They all turned out to be true, which makes the album a triumph out of adversity.

When I first heard it

It reminds me of commuting and hating my job (2006). They also played it at the 100 Club, which was shambolic, but I did get to meet Ed Ball, whose other bands include The Times, who are also wonderful.

Standout t
rack

No More I Hate Yous. I love everything about this track, from its illogical premise through to the closing sample from movie Brighton Rock, via lovely harmonies from Victoria Yeulet.
It’s a love song, probably, but as much as anything else it’s a sad tribute to the death of the 60s, as they died a second time round in the late 80s! At least that’s a theory.

Anything else?

It’s worth exploring the back catalogue if you don’t al
ready know this band. The Painted Word from 1983 is their masterpiece, I reckon. There are many dark places in Treacy’s ouevre.

Wooden Wand and The Sky High Band –
Second Attention (2006)


Why I love it

Drawling hypnotic songs full of dark Biblical imagery. How could anyone not like that? It’s got a timeless quality, this album. There’s not a lot of tonal variation, but the repetition is what makes it interesting.

When I first heard it

Wooden Wand were playing at a festival which I had tickets for so I picked this up in the interests of homework, shortly after it came out. We never made it to the festival, so the record reminds me of being a bit disappointed.

Standout track

Mother Midnight. It’s one of the more epic moments.

Anything else?

Check out the sleeve art. It’s an oddly faithful recreation of the cover to Stormbringer by John Martyn

Wilco – Sky Blue Sky (2007)


Why I love it

Sky Blue Sky has this warm seventies feel, which I’m a sucker for. The songwriting and the musicianship are both classy, but it’s so MOR in places you can feel a bit guilty listening to it. But a few of the tracks are such classics you can’t help but do so.

When I first heard it

They pre-released the title track online, so Wilco fans such as myself were chomping at the bit when this came out. It was one of the highlights of an otherwise forgettable year.

Standout track

Hate It Here. It’s enough to make you wish for a failed relationship.

Anything else?

That is all.

Spoon Ga ga ga ga ga (2007)


Why I love it

Although it’s only 36 minutes long and I’ve played it to the point where most albums would have expired, I never tire of it. This is largely thanks to Britt Daniels’ amazing voice and his surreal but highly affecting lyrics. Call it short and bittersweet.

When I first heard it

The first time I connected with the songs on this record was when I saw Spoon live in 2007. There were all these kids in the audience and I was beginning to feel old. But the adolescent angst must have been infectious. The band’s performance took years off me.

Standout track

You Got Yr Cherry Bomb. I still don’t know what a cherry bomb is, but it makes for a really good listen.

Anything else?

Spoon take their name from a track by Can, which surprises a lot of people when they hear this album. It’s quite poppy, really.

Choice Cut Video: Spoon – You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb


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