BLAKE MILLS: HEIGH HO (Caroline International) My most recent discovery. A friend played me If I’m Unworthy and I was hooked. His writing is fantastic. I like how his mind works, his musicianship, the emotion he puts across, his restrained guitar playing that creates a lovely tension. And the production is phenomenal.
JOHN GRANT: QUEEN OF DENMARK (Bella Union) He breaks the rules, speaks his mind and is very poetic. He can write beautifully but cut to the bone too. Caramel is gorgeous and JC Hates Faggots tells about his childhood, growing up gay. I love albums that take you to different places.
BLONDIE: PARALLEL LINES (EMI) This is what I put on when I’m with girlfriends or in the car and want to sing. I love punk and it mixes that in with really catchy tunes, though it’s deeper than just that. Debbie Harry’s lyrics are amazing on Picture This and I love Hanging On The Telephone and Sunday Girl.
VIOLENT FEMMES: VIOLENT FEMMES (London) One of the best post-punk albums ever. The songwriting and production are great. When I fi rst heard it I thought it was a “best of” album because every song is so strong. Put it on in your car, roll your windows down and go for it.
TOM WAITS: THE HEART OF SATURDAY NIGHT (Atlantic) One of the kings of lyrics and I love the grit in his voice. You believe all he is saying, it’s so heartfelt. Shiver Me Timbers is one of my favourite songs. The album is rough around the edges yet perfect.
LEONARD COHEN: YOU WANT IT DARKER (Columbia) An all-time favourite. If you’re not crazy about his voice, read his lyrics. I love poetry and the songcraft is genius. This last album is so personal and beautiful. It sounds as though he’s examining his whole life and he talks with honesty and openness. It’s a spiritual album.