Last month saw the release of The Fierce And The Dead’s third album, The Euphoric, to rapturous critical acclaim. That won’t be a surprise to anyone that has been following them, as we have, and watching them grow and develop over the last seven years or so since we first stumbled across them.

For those that don’t know them yet, they take a heady blend of prog, post rock, psych and good old fashioned garage rock and turn it in to something truly unique; something akin to King Crimson partying on down with Hawkwind and The Stooges while Mogwai loom menacingly in the background.

To mark the album’s release, we asked Steve from the band to pick the 3 albums that most influenced him as a musician.

Chicago Transit Authority by Chicago Transit Authority

Perhaps one of the biggest influences was eponymous ‘Chicago Transit Authority’ album. This LP was the first by the band that was to become known simply as ‘Chicago’, but along with their 2nd album, it’s a somewhat different beast to the ballads and love songs that most people associate with that band!!

When I tell people I’m into Chicago, they often look at me a bit gone out!! This first album is a proper rocker though. The late Terry Kath’s guitar work is outstanding, and the rest of the band play brilliantly too. You want grooves and rock? Look no further!! The sounds are amazing as well. Check out the cover of the Spencer Davis Group cover ‘I’m a Man’, it’s incredible!!

It’s so hard to pin down your most influential albums to just 3, so I feel like I should also mention that as a small child, I also listened to the Dire Straits album ‘Alchemy Live’ until the grooves wore out!!!

Pungent Effulgent by Ozric Tentacles

My older brother Dave was a great musician, and I was very fortunate that he was much more adventurous in seeking out new bands than I was, effectively doing a lot of my early searching for me. I remember often sneaking into his room and putting on his cds and tapes.
 
One particular day, I happened upon this cd with a beautiful, colourful cover that had a swirly pattern and a picture of a small wizard-like creature shooting stars out of its hand like a yoyo. I put it on and I had one of those rare moments when I thought ‘I’ve never heard anything like this before’. It was incredible. A guitar that played a riff that echoed so much that it seemed like I’d been transported into a dreamworld, and then the rest of the band kicked in with a spiralling, swirling sound that just built and built, amazing riffs that culminated with a man saying something about the fact that ‘even the air was dreaming’. I was instantly sold.
 
The rest of the album was equally as enthralling. The album was ‘Pungent Effulgent’ by Ozric Tentacles. It was one of the records that got me into playing guitars. I spent a whole summer pretty much either working or trying to work out how to play bits off that record!! It’s an absolute classic for me, such a wonderfully interesting album with so many great riffs, rhythms and use of dynamics. My favourite track is probably ‘Ayurvedic’, but to be honest, this changes from listen to listen!!
 
Other great stuff I loved around the time I started playing guitar was ‘Siamese Dream’ by Smashing Pumpkins and ‘Superunknown’ by Soundgarden. 

OK Computer by Radiohead

In terms of influence, there a few bigger records for me than OK Computer by Radiohead. If I’m honest, I wasn’t really into Radiohead before this album (I subsequently realised I was wrong about this!!). I just never gave them a proper listen. However, one summer night in 1997, I arrived home from somewhere, and my folks walked in at about the same time. We put the telly on and Jools Holland was just introducing Radiohead. They played Paranoid Android.

I remember vividly how my folks and I sat there watching with utter confusion or disbelief at what we were witnessing. Even when they finished playing, we were speechless, sort of looking each other thinking ‘what on Earth was all that about. I never really gave it much though after that, until about 3 months later, when my clock radio alarm went off one morning and this band were playing again, this time what I would later find out to be the track ‘Karma Police’. I had another moment when I realised I’d just been wholly enraptured by this band for a good few minutes.

I didn’t quite know what to make of what I felt, but on this occasion I remember being struck by how nice the melody was where the man was singing about how he’d lost his way a bit, and how the track ended with noise on national radio (which I thought was brilliant). Feeling much like I’d also lost my way a bit at the time, I suppose the track chimed with me on some level, and I went straight out and bought the album that morning. I listened to almost nothing else for the next 3 months I’d say. Every track is an absolute masterpiece. It was just so groundbreaking, as most people know these days. It still sounds like it was recorded yesterday I think a lot of people can still relate to the (albeit rather dark) lyrical themes at least some of the time.

Other hugely influential albums I reckon are worth a mention are ‘Lateralus’ by Tool, ‘Spine of God’ by Monster Magnet, the eponymous ‘Queens of the Stoneage’ album and ‘Welcome to Sky Valley’ by Kyuss. Also want to give a shout out to Mario Lalli’s Yawning Man, Rushden’s Orange Clocks and Nasdaq of Manchester!! So many great albums!!!!

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