For our regular Dansette feature this month Troubadour NICK ELLIS reveals some of the records which inspired his new LP, Adult Fiction.
Tim Buckley – Blue Afternoon
Blue Afternoon is an unappreciated classic. Here is a man who is moving with his art and stretching the rules at the same time. Buckley takes the traditional context of folk-song/storytelling and allows it to breathe through a combination of guitar, acoustic bass, piano and vibes without losing the most important element of his music – the voice.
Jessica Pratt – Jessica Pratt
JESSICA PRATT keeps it simple. Her playing and lyrics are abstract at times, but never lose their sense of melody. That’s the magic in her songs. No one really digs her over here, probably because she’s not very visual. For me, she’s doing something different, using traditional techniques to do something new, and I can dig that.
The Blue Nile – Hats
Narrative and setting. This album creates whole pictures within a picture, like an Edward Hopper painting coming to life. In fact, Hats has it all. The economy and poetry of Paul Buchanan’s pen are underrated. And, of course, the soundscapes created by the band as a whole are breathtaking. The album’s high-end, synthetic 80s, studio-sharp production only adds to the intensity of the songs.
Planxty – Cold Blow And The Rainy Night
Storytelling is the bread and butter of all music, and PLANXTY do it so well. Whether it is in the form of songs and words or just plain instrumentals, the essence of a story must communicate to the listener and, on Cold Blow…, we see a juxtaposition of tales old and new, yet their sense of time, place and age is irrelevant. Here, we hear the very nature of the fable itself – timelessness.
Thom Yorke – The Eraser
The simplifying of ideas – that’s the order of the day with The Eraser. THOM YORKE steps out of his comfort zone and comes up with something exceptional and unique by reducing his ideas to their important characteristics. I reckon he was probably surprised with the results himself. All of these songs could be interpreted when played stripped down on an acoustic guitar.
Ryan Adams – Love Is Hell
I think RYAN ADAMS is overrated and the PR myth that’s been created around him – being this tortured, poor soul, just to sell records – is equally overblown. In fact, most of his output is dogshit. And I’ve followed him right back from Whiskeytown in the 90s. But, with Love Is Hell we have, in my opinion, the best singer-songwriter heartbreak album of the 2000s – nothing else comes close. His combination of songwriting and honesty is at its peak here and he’s never been as sincere since.
Adult Fiction is out now on Mellowtone Records.