Melbourne via Blackpool via Edmonton bedroom artist and anti-genre introvert Benjamin Shaw recently returned with his Megadead LP on Audio Antihero and Kirigirsu Recordings.
Their first vocal album since 2014’s acclaimed Goodbye, Cagoule World, it’s an eclectic weird-fi release filled with glittering guitar lines, dense electronics, fragile melodies, ‘80s synth, found sounds and muttered lyrics about regret, hope and physical threat. Today Benjamin choose a few records that have influenced their direction.
France Gall – Baby Pop
A moment’s silence for France Gall. I can never be sad when this album is on. It was first played to me by Neil from Kirigirisu Recordings, the label putting out my new record in Japan (plugplug), when we worked together in a London warehouse many moons ago (shouts out Southern Records yoo). Every second of it is joyous. It probably helps that it’s all in french and I can’t understand a word of it, but it’s everything you expect and want from a 1960s French Pop album. It’s tinged with a bit of sadness now, as France Gall passed away earlier this year. But damn, if this album isn’t just the greatest. Cheers, Madame Gall.
Why? – Elephant Eyelash
One of those albums that when I first heard it, made me think, “Oh shit, you need to up your game, son”. It’s got everything I like in an album. Odd samples, sadness, lush production, reliably incredible lyrics, a nice chunk of bitterness, and so so many good tunes. My game still needs upping, but you gotta have targets to aim for.
Tim Hecker – Harmony in Ultraviolet
Another game changer for me. As a teenager in a small town, I’d always enjoyed sitting in my bedroom just making droney noises for hours on end, but I honestly never knew that it was an actual art form, that other people actually enjoyed and participated in. And built record labels and businesses around, no less! Anyway that was then, and now nobody makes any money from any kind of music, but still. When I found out that I could record and release the kind of weird noise I liked doing, and people might one day be interested, it was a huge inspiration. This isn’t my favourite Tim Hecker record (that would be Ravedeath, 1972 obviously) but it’s one of the records that introduced me to this world, so it’s pretty special.
Faraquet – The View from This Tower
I don’t know what this genre this album would come under. Maybe Math-Rock? Though I’m not really sure what that is. Post-Hardcore? The seeds of Emo? I don’t know, I’m not good at this game, but whatever it is, it feels like pure joy to me. It’s all over the freaking place – time signatures, dynamics, melody (so many melodies) – and never stays in the same spot long enough for you to get too close. But there’s a subtle current of sadness and frustration that flows through the whole thing, like it just can’t hide it well enough. And being an Englishman at heart, there’s nothing I like more than repressed emotion.