The Modern Day MixTape – Paul Hodgson – The Parlotones

Paul Hodgson is Glen Hodgson’s brother – both members of The Parlotones. No, we are not obsessed or anything, they both just seem to be very efficient at making speedy playlists for us, and they have superb taste in music. The Music Industry needs all the streaming it can get, so if you’re in the Self Isolation Chamber, add this to your playlists and push play.

Bleachers – Dream Of Micky Mantle

“When you’re in studio recording an album, you tend to talk a lot about music. And one thing that always happens is you start recommending bands. Jambo introduced us to a lot of new bands I’d never heard of, but Bleachers really stood out for me, and especially the album Gone Now. It reminds me a little bit of the Sgt Pepper’s album; how lyrics and musical themes repeat themselves and carry through the whole album. I’ve listened to this album so much and I don’t think I would have ever heard of these guys if it hadn’t been for us recording China at High Seas”.

(Funnily enough, before I’d ever heard of Bleachers, Neil and I were watching TV on tour and their unplugged show came on. Neil and I both watched for about 2 minutes and turned off, thinking it was terrible!)

Bright Eyes – Another Travelin’ Song

Another band recommended to me, this time by Werner Ocklers from Wrestlerish. And the album “I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning” has been one of my favourite albums ever since. I love the poetry of the lyrics, the country-ish music, the sound of Conor’s voice and especially on this album, the backing vocals from Emmylou Harris are so beautiful and sad.

Teenage Fanclub – Sparkys Dream

Long before YouTube or music streaming, I used to sit up late at night watching TV shows that played music videos. I would record the songs I liked on our Betamax video machine and then in the morning my younger brother Glen would be waiting to see what I had recorded while he had been sleeping.Sparky’s Dream was such a simple video, just these cool looking dudes with long hair playing guitars. It made me want to be in a band that looked and sounded just like this.

Radiohead – No Surprises

Sheesh what can you say about Radiohead? They were a huge inspiration in our early days, we listened to The Bends and Ok Computer over and over again, and still today we argue which album is better. For the record, Kahn insists it’s The Bends and for me it’s Ok Computer, but everything this band does is amazing, and they never disappoint. When we started as a band, the world was in the grip of Nu Metal and Grunge and almost every local band had that kind of American sound. We were into bands like The Cure, The Smiths, the early Muse albums, and of course Radiohead changed it all with big loud guitars and Thom Yorke’s voice.

The Daylights – Weapons

We toured America with this band and had such amazing times with them, ending the tour as friends. They have so many great songs but unfortunately not all their material is available on streaming platforms, and I always felt they were better live and kept telling them they needed to record a live show.This song is one of my favourites, musically and lyrically. I love the line “Yes I know it sounds absurd, but when you’re in love all the lines get blurred.” Who hasn’t felt that before?

Ryan Adams – Desire

The first time I heard Ryan Adams was his Rock n Roll album, which I didn’t really enjoy. Later I found out he did this album in 2 weeks for his label in order to release the Love Is Hell album. When I discovered his earlier albums (Demolition, Gold, Heartbreaker) I was sold. There’s been some controversy with him lately and he cancelled 3 new album releases and some tours, so I’m a little conflicted about listening to him, but I do feel you can separate a person’s personal life and their art or product. Maybe?

Wilco – Shot In The Arm – Live

Definitely one of my favourite bands, but I always enjoy their live recordings more than their studio albums. Jeff Tweedy is so sarcastic and funny live, I love it. If you’ve never heard them, first listen to the live album “Kicking Television”, their newer albums are good but difficult to get into if you aren’t familiar with their earlier more alt-country material.

Ron Pope – Perfect For Me

Glen was always the punk rock guy and I was the folk/country guy so it’s weird how many country singers Glen has turned me onto lately. I heard this song for the first time when we were on tour and it had been more than a month since I had seen my wife, and this song immediately resonated with me so I phoned her and made her listen to it. The lyrics are so honest and perfect (excuse the pun!), especially after being married for nearly 20 years. – “I know you too well to say you’re perfect… but you’re perfect for me.”

Ruston Kelly Cover My Tracks & Noah Gunderson – Slow Dancer

2 more artists that Jambo recommended. I love sad, melancholic music and these guys both do it so well.

Southern Wild – Darkness At My Heels – ( live In Studio)

In my opinion, David van Vuuren is the best thing to ever come out of the TV music talent search reality shows, or whatever you call them. We met him for the first time when he was a contestant in Idols, which I believe he eventually won… Pop music wasn’t for him and he sabotaged that for a solo career and this band, Southern Wild. It’s really great stuff and this song is amazing.

Manchester Orchestra – My Backwards Walk

Manchester Orchestra are possibly my favourite band, if I had to absolutely choose, they would beat everyone else in this list. Their album Simple Math is amazing, but everything they’ve done is so good it’s sometimes depressing. This tribute to Frightened Rabbit gives me chills every time and is possibly even better than the original. Again, the lyrics are brilliant (credit to Scott Hutchison of course) and are delivered with such emotion and sincerity here that’s hard to choose a favourite version of this song.

Blue October – Bleed Out

We toured the UK and America with Blue October. They are so intense and live they just blow everyone away, it’s amazing to see the emotion in the band and the audience. We spent every night out in the audience and it was an amazing experience, and getting to know the guys in the band was a real privilege. We had a lot of laughs and learnt a lot from them as well. It’s hard to choose a favourite song, and I’ll have to also recommend “I Hope You’re Happy” and “Calling You”.

Third Eye Blind – Narcolepsy

Another band that was a huge influence when we just started our band. We had the first albums on CD and played them in the car all the time.

Ben Folds – Gracie

I used to work in a CD shop and I always saw these albums on the shelf but never listened to them. Then one day, when I had a little daughter, someone played me this and it’s such a beautiful song and expresses the emotions and feelings of watching your daughter grow up so well, and not in a cheesy way. I love it and the song brings a tear to my eye every time.

The Gaslight Anthem – The Backseat

We discovered this band somewhere in America and even now whenever I hear them, I can visualise myself back in the van driving those long highways with my iPod and headphones.

Cold War Kids – First

My wife found this song on a random Deezer playlist and then my daughter put it into one of her playlists and we listened to it every day for ages. Great song, great band. Great band name too!

Bring Me the Horizon – Wonderful Life

Their early stuff was so heavy it was stupid. You know when you play someone something just because it’s heavy, not because it’s actually any good. I had forgotten about them until this album (amo) and then I went back to listen to their more recent stuff and it’s amazing how good they’ve gotten. My daughter and I often crank this song while we drive to school in the morning, helps her prepare for the daily drama she says!

Noah Kahan – Mess

I’ve often said, if nothing else, we’ve given our child good taste in music. And this guy is proof, my daughter found him somewhere and started playing his music in the car all the time and now he is one of my favourite new artists. Also, please go watch the music video for this song right until the end, so cool! (One of the lyrics in this song really resonates with me, and I’m sure all touring artists – “I call my old friends, but they only ever ask me how tour is.”

Of Monsters and Men – Alligator

Ok sheesh, I got so sick of this band. When we were in America, they played that “Little Talks” song to death, I couldn’t stand hearing that song or this band ever again. But then Rob Davidson played me this song and I couldn’t believe it was the same band, it’s amazing. It reminds me a little of Sinead O’Conner, but I couldn’t put my finger on why or which song… maybe “The Emperor’s New Clothes” or “Mandinka”… whatever, it’s a great song!

Dawes – A Little Bit Of Everything

I don’t know if I mentioned I like the sad music. Here’s one of the saddest/happiest I’ve heard in a while. It’s just so confusing trying to get people to listen to Dawes, they all think it’s The Doors…

The Mountain Goats- This Year

Firstly, goats are so cool. Kahn wants one as a pet, in case you need an idea for a birthday present. I heard this song on a Spotify playlist towards the end of last year. We were in the middle of exams, moving to a new house, and all kinds of drama. To hear a song out of the blue singing “I am going to make it through this year, if it kills me” was so great. It became our anthem every day!

The Decemberists – January Hymn

Looking over this list, it’s weird to see how many bands I discovered while in America. I bought this album from Starbucks while on tour in America. I played it over and over, and to this day hearing these songs remind me of long drives across the USA.

Del Amitri – Nothing Ever Happens

Whenever we’re in the UK, we spend some time staying over at a friend’s house in Lichfield. We sit up very late drinking and listening to music. This song always reminds me of those nights, good times! (And again, those sad lyrics…)