Ten Records I Wish I'd Released by Club AC30's Robin Allport...
Robin Allport is the founder of Club AC30, a London-based label and club night born ‘out of boredom and frustration at the crap music scene in London’ of the early noughties. The label will release the sophomore album by Austin shoegazers Ringo Deathstarr and the new single by Japanese Brit-Pop revivalists Taffy next month.
The legacy of Creation Records looms large over Robin’s selection (four of the ten records included here were released on Alan McGee’s label) and it’s also fair to assume that Club AC30 looks back fondly on the 1990s; all but one of his choices are from that decade. Read on for recommendations on what to listen to on your next desert drive, where to hear an ‘otherworldly harmonica solo’ and an opinion on the finest shoegaze pop song ever written…
Words: Robin Allport
1. Swervedriver - Mezcal Head (1993, Creation)
I was working in Edinburgh during the summer of 1993 when I bought the Duel EP. It totally blew me away. I'd known about the band after their first album Raise, and liked them, but the next set of songs were just incredible. It's always an album I go back to, and I think I always will. It's a great album to listen to when driving through the desert too. Listen to 'Blowin' Cool'.
2. Bark Psychosis - Hex (1994, Circa)
Bark Psychosis were the first band I ever put on live, at Salisbury Arts Centre in 1991. They were on my brother's label at the time (Cheree), and they were incredible live. Hex came out a few years later, and soundtracked so much of my life at university in Manchester. It still sounds amazing now. The album's opening lyrics in ‘The Loom', still give me shivers.
3. Orbital - In Sides (1996, Internal)
I can draw a direct line from playing Wipeout on the Playstation to loving this album. ‘Petrol' was on the soundtrack, and I went out the next day and bought the full album. Just a masterclass in high energy electronic music. Listen to 'Petrol'.
4. Talk Talk - The Colour Of Spring (1986, EMI)
Yeah, I know – this isn't the album by Talk Talk that I'm supposed to pick to look cool. The Colour Of Spring is full of incredible songs though, with pure pop gold in 'Happiness Is Easy' and 'Life's What You Make It'. I actually bought a harmonica after hearing this album – that harmonica solo, four minutes into 'Living In Another World', is um, otherworldly. Listen to 'Living In Another World'.
5. The Telescopes - Untitled (1992, Creation)
When I was a teenager, I worshiped The Telescopes. They were by far and away my favourite band, and I still think the two albums they released back in the late '80s / early '90s were stunning. The second of these, Untitled, was the beginning of the end of the original lineup, but with songs like 'Flying' and 'Spaceships', it'll always be their finest.
6. Ultra Vivid Scene - Rev (1992, 4AD)
A massively underrated album. Kurt Ralske's Ultra Vivid Scene had two brilliant records before this, the first containing the classic 'The Mercy Seat', but I still prefer their final album over those two. Rev has three songs on it that are meandering masterpieces ('The Portion Of Delight', 'Medicating Angels', 'Blood & Thunder') – all over the shop with the guitar work, but brilliant. 'Blood & Thunder', which was a single too, is probably my favourite song ever that's over ten minutes long. Listen to 'Blood & Thunder'.
7. Whipping Boy - Heartworm (1995, Columbia)
Another band from Cheree Records, who went on to sign for a major. This was their 1995 album on Columbia, and to my mind, a perfect one. The final song 'A Natural' always gets me. It has the singer, Fearghal McKee, talking openly about being diagnosed with acute paranoid schizophrenia in such an incredibly moving way. Listen to 'A Natural'.
8. Slowdive - Souvlaki (1993, Creation)
My favourite album of the shoegaze era. It has such an enveloping feel to it, warm and comforting. ‘Souvlaki Space Station' in particular was like nothing I'd heard previously, I remember being completely staggered by it at the time. I think if I had to pick one album from this list, it would be this one.
9. Ride - Nowhere (1990, Creation)
Alongside The Telescopes, Ride were a massive favourite of mine when I was in my late teens and early twenties. Unlike all the other bands of that ilk at the time, they knew how to write a pop song. 'Taste' from this album is a great example. In fact, I'd probably rate it as the finest shoegaze pop song ever written. Listen to 'Taste'.
10. Ulrich Schnauss - A Strangely Isolated Place (2003, Domino)
This album is partly the reason why we started AC30 in the first place. I was at a dingy Shoreditch pub listening to Ulrich DJing, after hearing this album, and he was playing my record collection. Even down to the Belltower b-sides. That gave me the final push to start AC30 up. That aside, A Strangely Isolated Place did for me in 2003 what Souvlaki did in 1995. A fantastic record.
For more on Club AC30 including news of upcoming club nights, click here.
Ringo Deathstarr's new album Mauve is out on 24th September. Pre-order here.
Taffy's new single 'Flower Chain' is out on 3rd September. Pre-order here.
Sorry no reviews have been returned.
Opera & Dance