Radio Silence: the ten best influential albums
Radio Silence: Top 10 influential albums
Radio Silence announced its arrival in dramatic fashion with the launch of its critically acclaimed debut EP Isolation earlier this year. Keen to learn more about the influences that inspired the most exciting rock & roll band to emerge from the North East since The Animals, Gus Ironside asked Jack, John, Andy and Rob to compile a Top Ten for them. Louder Than War readers. With choices ranging from quintessential ’80s blues-punk to cutting-edge contemporary garage-rock, it’s a fascinating glimpse into the group’s formative influences.
The Gun Club – Fire of Love (Jack)
There has been an internal showdown between Fire of Love and Miami, the latter reveling in the better production quality embellishment that really shines to create that tropical southern soundscape that The Gun Club does best. However, FOL has some of my all time favorite songs; Sex Beat and She’s Like Heroin to Me, although they don’t drip from the tactile sound of the second album, they prove that if a song is good, it is. fair good. We tried to invoke this philosophy with our first single Crank bugs, and punk blues shotgun-like sound sawn into your sonorous face of those Gun Club debut singles.
Cramps – Smell of female (Jack)
This live mini-album truly captures the psychobilly rock & roll shambolic spirit of The Cramps. The crisp fuzz whirlwind of Ivy’s guitar riffs, Lux’s horror opera vocals with the rhythm section and the interludes between songs almost as good as the songs themselves. Together they paint a very vivid retro sci-fi meets horror movie footage, which particularly inspired our songs. The hanging tree and Crank bugs in this kind of sound aesthetics.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Murderous Ballads (Jack)
I’ve always been a fan of Cave’s dark lyricism and this album is anchored in this cloud of morbid humor. When writing songs Repo Man and Heads will fallStagger Lee and Crow Jane’s squalid basslines and swashbuckling tales were something I had tried to envision back then.
Scientists – Strange Love (Jack)
This album, made up of new recordings of their previous singles, embodies the raw and explosive energy of the group. Songs like We Had Love and Nitro last everywhere with their thunderous guitar riffs covered in screaming vocals that inspired the sound for Insulation. The first track on the album is also one of my favorite Swampland, a song that sounds exactly as it’s named, dripping with a reverberating swampy post-punk shine. This idea of a song title reflecting the way the song sounds is something we’ve consciously done with some of the songs on our EP, besides willfully contradicting that. At The hanging tree probably our most “happy” sound, we decided to juxtapose it with a title and theme that contrasted completely with its sound.
Sleater-Kinney – Woods (John)
Guitarist / Keys Player John: Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker have a very inventive approach to guitar and album opening Fox is perhaps one of the heaviest things I have ever heard. Along with Ozzy-era Sabbath, they were my main influence to start detuning my guitar (see the sounds at the end of our song the Hanging tree).
The White Stripes – Under the lights of Blackpool (John)
John: A live album from Two Nights in Blackpool that captures the White Stripes at the height of their powers. The band upload the best of their first four (and best) albums here, and the covers are gems too. Meanwhile, the unusual choice of Super 8 movie format gives everything a slightly otherworldly and ethereal feel.
Small stiff fingers – Flammable material (Andy)
The flammable material of SLF is for me the model of a punk album. Despite being released in the later years of the punk movement in Britain (1979) for my money, there aren’t many other albums that come close. When it comes to songwriting, he has everything from Jake Burns songs about sectarian violence, murder, racism, oppression of authorities, and general teenage boredom. Fast, full of energy and anger and these themes are reflected in songs like Suspect Device, Wasted Life, Alternative Ulster and a cleverly covered version of Johnny Was by Bob Marley.
Joy Division – Unknown pleasures (Andy)
There isn’t much to say about this album that hasn’t already been said. A post-punk masterpiece exploring vast soundscapes and darker, more dramatic tones. Themes of death, misery and fear underlie the writing of songs of genius. Songs like She’s Lost Control, Day Of The Lords, Shadowplay, and Disorder almost reach and grab you. The steadfast (and chilling) lyrics explain why Ian Curtis has become a cult icon in British music and the post-punk scene, even in all the years after his passing.
Bass drum of death – Gb City (Rob)
The beauty of the kick drum of death, especially with this debut album, is that it continually proves that music succeeds through feeling no matter how complex. John Barrett’s vocals and guitars have a pure rock and roll style. The almost abrasive fuzz in every aspect of these tracks should be too much but it’s not, you feel cool listening to this album and that’s how rock and roll should be..
Royal blood – How did we get so dark? (Rob)
It’s probably pretty obvious at this point to quote Royal Blood in a conversation about today’s mainstream rock scene, especially as a bassist, but their impact was inevitable with their debut album and that second album and its side. darker is the perfect evolution. Mike Kerr’s bass lines are silky smooth but ooze venom and the fact that my bass is carried an inch of its life through most of our tracks owes a lot to this album.
Buy Insulation here.
Don’t miss Radio Silence live at The Engine Room, North Shields on July 1.
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Group image by Scott Jacobs.