From George Harrison to Brian Jonestown Massacre: The KVB prescribes 9 essential albums
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Continuing with our Mental Health Awareness campaign, Far Out Magazine has teamed up with the suicide prevention charity CALM to help connect you with your favourite artists and hear how music has helped them during their darker times.
The organisation, with the full working title of ‘Campaign Against Living Miserably’, offer a free, confidential and anonymous helpline for those most in need of mental health support. At a time when millions of people have been forced to stay home during strict lockdown measures, CALM have seen a huge spike in their workload.
We at Far Out Magazine believe in music’s ability to heal. It could be the moment that the needle drops on your favourite album and provides respite from a chaotic world or, conversely, it might be the fanatic conversation you have with friends about which guitarist was the greatest. Music, it’s safe to say, has always allowed us to connect with one another and ourselves.
In support of CALM, we’re asking a selection of our favourite people to share nine records that they would prescribe for anyone they met and the stories behind their importance. Doctor’s Orders will be a new weekly and ongoing feature will see some of our favourite musicians, actors, authors comedians and more, offer up the most important records, which they deem essential for living well.
Taking on the challenge today is none other than The KVB.
Playing with elements of psychedelia and shoegaze with their unique minimal electronic production, the feverishly creative duo of Nicholas Wood and Kat Day have been forging their atmospheric sounds for a decade since forming in 2010.
Here, as we try to understand a source of inspiration for the band, Nick Wood is running us through his nine prescribed albums.
The CALM helpline and webchat is open every day 5pm – midnight for anybody who is finding things tough, follow this link to reach out to their specialist advisors. CALM has experienced a record surge in demand for their helpline recently… 37% more daily calls in the first week of lockdown, to be precise.
For now though, if some sonic relief will ease your mind, relax and let The KVB provide the soundtrack.
The KVB’s 9 favourite albums:
Gang of Four – Entertainment!
To kick things off, we’re heading to Leeds to explore the very beginning for post-punk pioneers Gang of Four.
Released in 1979, Entertainment! arrived as the band’s debut solo album and while it does solidify itself in the post-punk world, Gang of Four manages to provide genre melding material and borrows aspects from funk, reggae and, at times, elements of dance music.
“I remember discovering this album through watching skateboarding films when I was a teenager,” Nick explains. “The day I bought the CD I also got the Velvet Underground & Nico—another classic.
“That was definitely a day when I was started to find a good path in my music taste.”
Echo & the Bunnymen – Ocean Rain
Sticking with post-punk, we have the fourth studio album to be released by iconic Echo & the Bunnymen.
While the record was met by mixed reviews upon its initial release, Ocean Rain has grown in stature in the years that followed. With hits like ‘The Killing Moon’, ‘Silver’ and ‘Seven Seas’ its hard to know how anybody could have struggled to enjoy it.
“One of my all time favourites, it has a special atmosphere with the orchestral arrangements adding so much to the songs,” Nick explained of his selection. “It has shades of one of my other favourites, Love’s Forever Changes.
Brian Jonestown Massacre – Take It from the Man!
Staying a little closer to home, The KVB label mates and former touring buddies Brian Jonestown Massacre are next with their 1996 record Take It from the Man!.
“Like a lot of people I first discovered Brian Jonestown Massacre through seeing Dig! and their style is really what inspired me to start making music myself.
“I’m proud that we had the chance to tour with them and release a couple of records on Anton’s label.”
Die Wilde Jagd – Uhrwald Orange
Moving into new waters, we have Die Wilde Jagd, the music project of producer and songwriter Sebastian Lee Philipp as The KVB’s list becomes little more nuanced.
The group, which sees Philipp work alongside co-producer Ralf Beck and various guest musicians, put out his second full-length release to date back in 2018. The album, which translates as Clockwood Orange, marked the end of a three-year wait for new material.
Nick says of the record: “One of my most listened to albums in recent years. It’s easy to get lost in an imaginary forest listening to this one.”
Pretty Things – Parachute
Stepping back to 1970 with The Pretty Things and their fifth studio album Parachute we see more elements of psychadelic music that has influenced The KVB.
The record, which marked the first for Pretty Things without guitarist Dick Taylor, was met with the tough task of following the quite brilliant record S.F. Sorrow —but pulled it off in its own unique style.
“S.F. Sorrow is the album of theirs that gets a lot of the plaudits, but I think I prefer this one,” says Wood of the album. “When I first heard the song ‘Grass’ it blew me away, the vocal harmonies are so tight throughout this album.”
Primal Scream – Evil Heat
Moving left field, Nick Wood has opted for the lesser-celebrated Primal Scream number Evil Heat.
The album, released in 2002, gained major attention with the inclusion of a cover version of Lee Hazlewood song ‘Some Velvet Morning’ which saw model Kate Moss take on Nancy Sinatra’s vocal part.
Nick says: “I think this is one of their most underrated albums, I’ve found its mixture of garage rock and dirty electronics to be very inspiring over the years!”
George Harrison – All Things Must Pass
“It’s an album I always come back to,” Nick explains. “It has so many timeless songs.”
Where to start? The Quiet Beatle’s third studio album has it all. After years of seeing his efforts suppressed by his bandmates, George Harrison was truly flourishing out on his own by 1970.
“That was the great thing about [the Beatles] splitting up: to be able to go off and make my own record,” Harrison said around the time of this release. “And also to be able to record with all these new people, which was like a breath of fresh air.”
Air – Moon Safari
From George Harrison to Moon Safari, the debut studio album by French electronic music duo Air in one seamless swoop.
“I’ve known the songs for years, but have only recently got into this album,” says Wood of the record. “They created such a great vibe with the production on this record. Every instrument sounds so perfect.”
While Moon Safari may not have been a major commercial hit, the record did prove influential upon its release and has been credited by many as a major player in the formation of downtempo music style within electronic music.
Love – Forever Changes
As seems fitting with The KVB, we’re ending out Doctor’s Orders meeting with a heavy dosage of psychedelic rock.
Forever Changes, the third studio album from Love, marks the final album by the original band lineup and despite flopping upon release, has earned critical acclaim in the years that followed.
“I remember learning to play all of these songs on guitar years ago, although I’ve probably forgotten them now,” Wood said.
“As you can probably tell from this list, i’m a sucker for an album with good string arrangements.”
See a full playlist of Nick’s favourite albums, below.