North Yorkshire’s Avalanche Party dropped their frantic new single and video ‘7’ on June 7th, 2019. Unrelenting and bursting with immediacy, it’s a jagged-sliced aural glimpse into the five-pieces ferociously chaotic live performance and the first track off their anticipated debut album due 22nd November. For this album, the band worked alongside James Aparicio (Grinderman/Nick
Cave, Spiritualized, PJ Harvey). The video for the track was directed, shot and cut entirely by the band.
We thought it would be cool to find out a little more about the band and their sound, so we asked them to pick the three albums that have influenced their music and Jordan Bell (Vocals/Guitar) answered.
The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico.
Good start. An album that so much has already been written about, it almost feels cliche to talk about it here but who am I to argue with shuffle. My parents’ played this album quite often when I was young. ‘Venus In Furs’ was always the stand out track back then, it sounded like nothing else I’d heard. Maybe some of the Ravi Shankar stuff, but this was way more darker and driven. The song is based on an 1870 Leopold von Sacher-Masoch novella of the same name, that’s where Lou Reed took the lyrical imagery of masochism and dominance from. 19th-century German sadomasochism was pretty hardcore, as sadomasochism goes, so why not. Maureen Tucker is especially great on this, but John Cale‘s Viola makes it. In terms of direct influence, the song uses a thing called Ostrich tuning, where you tune all the strings of a guitar to the same note over different octaves. I’ve spent fucking ages playing that tuning. We use it in some of our stuff.
Lou Reed used to work for Pickwick Records as a songwriter, in a 9-5 office environment, writing sound-a-like songs for compilation albums. You can hear the pop sensibility that job would have required all over this record. Every song is great. ‘Sunday Morning’, ‘Run Run Run’, ‘There She Goes Again’ – all great pop songs, at the same time ‘Heroin’, ‘Black Angel’s Death Song’, ‘European Son’ show the freeform, avant-garde side of the group. The collaboration between the band and German singer, Nico, came about through the suggestion of Andy Warhol who was managing/overseeing the group’s career. She has such a strong accent her vocals could have sounded pretty odd at the time, but I think the combination works really well. ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’ especially is a smash hit. The album wasn’t a commercial success at all when it was released, which just goes to show that people are idiots. It’s a genuine classic album that will never be forgotten, which sounds great played at five in the afternoon or five in the morning.
Buena Vista Social Club – Buena Vista Social Club
The number one record for cooking in the world. Any time of day, whatever the food, put this on and it’ll taste better. American Guitarist Ry Cooder got invited to Cuba to help produce an album of collaborations between Malian and Cuban musicians in the nineties but that idea got fucked over when the Mali guys couldn’t get visas. Given that they had the money and time, and were already in Cuba, they decided to make this album instead with resident Cuban musicians. It got really popular and they ended up touring, which lead to a documentary being made by the great Wim Wenders – that’s how I found the album.
It’s a celebration of different styles of Cuban music, from the bolero to the danzon, and it’s a fucking masterpiece. Dos Gardenias, Chan Chan, El Carretero… all great tracks. You’ll be able to hear the influence on our debut album. Incidentally, Ry Cooder was ludicrously fined several thousand dollars for making this on the grounds of ‘trading with enemy’. Well worth it, and fuck ’em.
Ratatat – Classics
Classics is instrumental, all melody and progression and layers. The arrangements are pretty orchestral in their complexity but everything is in its right place, there’s space all around. The first song I heard and got me hooked is called ‘Wildcat’. Starts off pretty lowkey but there’s a switch about 90 seconds in that suddenly throws you into a new place entirely. The ending two minutes is just this fucking great chord progression that builds and builds in layers until this giant cluster bang explosion of euphoria with fucking great synth tones and guitar harmonies that eat your soul alive.
I went through a time of listening to this album every night before I went to sleep. Other tracks to mention specifially are ‘Lex’, ‘Tacobel Canon’ and ‘Nostrand’, which has a fair Moon Safari influence. The top song for me and probably for a lot of people is ‘Loud Pipes’ though. It’s a fucking banger. The harmonies are as good as it gets – it’s a beautiful, beautiful, perfect song.
I’ve never heard anything like Classics. If anyone knows of one, let me know.