Laurie Shaw reveals some of the inspirational records that were key touchstones for him during the making of his new LP, Weird Weekends.
Well I Wonder
Well I Wonder is one of my favourite Smiths songs off what is probably my favourite Smiths album, Meat Is Murder. “This is the final stand of all I am” is a great line. I think the album as a whole reflects the sort of teenage dramas I was trying to do on Weird Weekends.
Worried Brown Eyes
Jake Thackray is an underrated British folk singer and one of the leading lights for me in terms of great northern storytelling. This song is about a girl writing to an Agony Aunt column. I think Thackray had a great knack of immortalising the everyday and he’s one of the finest singers the country has ever produced.
*Unfortunately Worried Brown Eyes isn’t on YouTube, so we’ve included this Jake Thackray tune instead.
Seven Naked Valleys
Graham Coxon’s album A+E is one I keep coming back to. I think it’s because it’s about going out and drinking and the chaos that comes with it, which I’ve always been fascinated with in terms of songwriting. Sonically, the album doesn’t really creep in to Weird Weekends too much but I think there are similar lyrical ideas at play.
Leak At The Disco
This is from the Baxter Dury’s album Happy Soup. Again, it’s one of those albums that got under my skin at the right point when I was a teenager and now the noise of the keyboards transports me right back to wandering around the woods at night. The spoken lyrics are impeccably delivered too. You can hear a few days’ growth on his jaw.
One thing I got fascinated with during the recording of Weird Weekends was the Britpop scene in the 90s. It seems like it was a rollercoaster of hedonism that came to a crashing end, but nevertheless it produced some gems, and one song I heard for the first time when I started the album was this song.
I’ve always really like Pulp but I think I probably moved closest to them sound-wise on this album. I like the slightly tacky aesthetic in their videos around the time of Razzmatazz and His’n’Hers. It seemed to fit well with the crappy small town nightclubs I was writing about.
I Will Survive
Partially inspired by the disco-y bits of Separations-era Pulp, I thought it would be fun to do a more disco-infused song, which became the seven-minute track Sophistication. On that song there’s definitely a bit in the vocals where I do a bit of a Gloria Gaynor thing. I like the combination of telling a pretty grim story over the top of a funky beat.
Two To Birkenhead
To me, this song is a good example of guitars sounding very teenage so, inevitably when making an album all about teenagers, it crept in there a little bit when I was recording. The lyrics are great too. I like the almost fragmented nature of them, sort of shards of a bigger picture. I think I nicked that a bit too.
Young And Lovely
I feel like this song wears the same kind of trainers as some of the songs on Weird Weekends. The title track of the album came about after a few days of hearing this song quite a lot. Those slightly melancholic chords that Blur sometimes do definitely crop up, and then the solo is pure Oasis circa 1995. So in a way I’ve bridged a gap between the North and South. Kind of like the M1.
Weird Weekends is out now via Black Leather Soul Music.