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(Credit: Gary Williamson)

Doctor's Orders: The Snuts' Jack Cochrane prescribes his nine favourite albums

The Snuts have finally shared their highly-anticipated debut album, W.L., which is a moment the collective members have been building towards for a lifetime. After the minor issue of a global pandemic forcing the band to postpone all major plans, the time has now finally arrived to share the record — and it’s a glistening listen.

The record is an encapsulation of the formative years of the band. It begins with the impressive stripped back track ‘Top Deck’, a number penned by frontman Jack Cochrane when he was just 15-years-old; then, without warning, W.L. erupts into the group’s emphatic single ‘Always’.

The album showcases a myriad of styles throughout the record, which not only makes for a captivating listen but also documents the growth of a band that is refusing to sell themselves short without a challenge.

The Snuts have been sitting patiently on this record throughout the majority of 2020, sharing snippets from an album they would have liked for fans to chew on. Releasing the record is something that they have been edging towards for years, and now it’s finally here in triumphant form to take Far Out’s Album of the Week slot.

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 and day to day life.

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 has seen a huge spike in their workload.

We at Far Out 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 an ongoing feature that 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.

If you’re able, and if you can afford to, please consider a small donation to help the CALM cause. £8 can answer one potentially life-saving call.

Frontman Jack Cochrane’s selection of records are not the archetypal choices that you’d expect from a hell-raising indie band, but then again, The Snuts aren’t your typical four lads in a guitar group like they may first appear. The chosen records are diverse, but they share an attitude that aligns them altogether.

Jack Cochrane’s 9 favourite albums:

Nathaniel Rateliff – Falling Faster Than You Can Run

Nathaniel Rateliff’s 2013 record, Falling Faster Than You Can Run, is the singer’s first choice. Cochrane fell in love with this record after watching the film Austin to Boston, a project that featured Ben Howard, Nathaniel Rateliff, Bear’s Den and The Staves touring across America together in a VW Camper.

Cochrane explains: “There’s a quote in the film about him just as a writer, saying I’ve never heard anybody be able to relay their pain as much in music as Nathaniel Rateliff. That really struck a chord in me on this record, there’s a real kind of depth to the sadness and kind of hurt and struggle. I think, especially nowadays, you don’t necessarily hear that kind of depth or that kind of perspective.

“I think he’s quite like Bob Dylan in a sense as well. He’s got a really clever way of structuring his lyrics, where they are not really using any buzzwords, not picking up on the easy ones to write with and really making it his own.”

Ben Howard – Every Kingdom

Ben Howard’s 2011 debut effort, Every Kingdom, turned this surf-mad Devon boy into a reluctant household name thanks to hits like ‘Only Love’, ‘Old Pine’ and ‘Keep Your Head Up’. The Mercury-nominated effort catapulted Howard into stardom, and a decade on from the release, the album still holds a special place in Cochrane’s heart.

“Every Kingdom when that came out, it was a really important record to me and my friends, the boys in the band who were just kind of trying to start making music of their own,” Cochrane explained. “There’s a real community in the sound of that, and it’s got that kind of folk mentality that record, but it worked at the time.

“I bought that kind of folk mentality in music, where it’s kind of complex but also has a really listenable nature, in the style that he plays in. He brought that to the forefront. Initially, I don’t think there was anything else around at the time that made sense as much as that album to me,” Cochrane profoundly added.

Joni Mitchell – Blue

Joni Mitchell’s Blue is another album from the folk trajectory, which has played a huge part in Cochrane’s life. Picking just one album from Mitchell is difficult, but the singer decided on 1971’s Blue, which features stone-cold classics such as ‘River’ and ‘A Case Of You’.

“I’ve always loved Joni Mitchell, and for me, she’s a bit of an unsung hero. I think there’s a bit of bitterness in that from her side of things, the music was so good that it should have been more popular, and it still should be more popular,” he passionately said.

“For me, that record, I remember hearing it very early because it’s my Dad’s favourite record, and it was on in the house. Again she’s a complex writer, and again maybe her downfall could be that she’s too complex, but I think with Blue, there’s a really nice balance there. There’s these complex fucking one of a kind songs, and then you’ve just got songs that can connect with anybody like ‘California’. Songs like that, I feel like have really influenced my songwriting.”

Bob Dylan – Planet Waves 

With this admission, Cochrane proves that he is a true Dylan connoisseur by opting for Planet Waves. The record saw Dylan reunite with The Band and deliver a full sound, which rarely makes the conversation about the best Dylan records, but there’s something about it that connects innately with Cochrane.

“I love Bob Dylan, he’s like my favourite thing not only musically but like the world,” Cochrane professes. “With Bob Dylan, when I was younger it was about hearing the hits, then looking further and getting the bootlegs then having a moment between all these where you’re finding records of Bob Dylan that you connect with which can be hard as a listener because he’s a guy who makes what he wants.

Planet Waves sat in a space where it was the first time that I understood you having the confidence to take your music in whatever direction felt right and in that record like you can hear he liked playing in a band. I think there’s something really nice about when you hear a solo artist find their feet in a band. I think that the album is super colourful, and sometimes Bob Dylan can be pretty black and white.”

Laura Marling – Alas, I Cannot Swim

Laura Marling’s 2008 Mercury-nominated debut, Alas, I Cannot Swim, announced her as one of her generation’s most skilled songwriters. A moniker she has owned over her following releases.

“I was a big fan of Jools Holland back in the day, and that was the first time I saw Laura Marling. I just thought she was this pure, unearthed, great artist. There’s just so much youth in that record, and not only was that record respected by listeners but as a musician’s record, people love it.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have seen her live a few times back in the day, and the songs were just so emotional. It’s quite cut and dry, there’s nothing there’s nothing that covers up any holes in that record.”

Bon Iver – 22, A Million

Bon Iver is quite possibly the most important current alternative artist; Justin Vernon. He has managed to reinvent guitar music in a way that people doubted would ever be possible, and 2016’s 22, A Million signified the largest shift in sound in his career so far.

“I feel like a listen to him every day, he’s one of the guys for me or bands,” Cochrane said. “That record just breaks all the rules and does it in such a fucking beautiful delicate way. After the first record, people were like, this guy’s fucking incredible, and he’s got this new age folk thing. Then this record, it’s just the most broken and for somebody to digest it is quite an effort but an enjoyable effort.

“I think it’s good to be confused by this record, it’s bonkers. With this record, it’s unlike anything that I’ve ever heard, and I genuinely think anybody else has ever done. Stuff like sampling your own things and recycling your own things; it’s crazy. It blows me away when I listen to it in the bath, that’s a bath record.”

LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

LCD Soundsystem’s 2010 effort, This Is Happening, is the next up on the list. This record is the third album from James Murphy’s group of New Yorkers, who are another act that reinvented the wheel. “I was late to the party with LCD Soundsystem, but I got more into them as I became more interested in making records and the production side of things,” Cochrane revealed.

“I was really interested in the momentum of songs and how you could get away with breaking the rules of a song. This album isn’t bursting with choruses or structured verses. All the synths, all the drum machines, there’s like this proper analogue fucking tasteful sounds. The kind of sounds that you’d dream to make and a lot of people do try to recreate, but you just know this was created with pure intentions,” he added.

Loyle Carner – Yesterday’s Gone

The 2017 debut by Loyle Carner announced him as a different kind of rapper, even when Britain was at the height of grime’s loud comeback. Carner stuck to his guns by making a record that was rap but bucked the trends, as well as tackling grief and young adulthood in an unashamedly honest, profound manner.

“I was listening to BBC 6 (Music) and heard ‘The Isle Of Arran’, which is just pure fucking gospel,” Cochrane says on his induction to Carner’s work. “What I like about that album is that I really like old-school hip-hop and all the flow he’s got that. You can tell the music he grew up on was probably different from all the other urban artists, and I think it’s cool that he’s stuck to his path.

“I think it’s really cool that there is a UK, American style hip-hop artist. I remember watching him talking about the record, and how with the type of music he plays, the production is incredible. But when he used to go to shows when he was younger, that same kind of dedication was never thrown into the live set, and he always makes sure that his shows have got that layer. I just think that’s fucking cool, I’m all over that.”

Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy strikes a balance between critical acclaim, integrity and commercial success, which is omnipresent throughout this list. The record is littered with mammoth hits like ‘All Of The Lights’ and features a stunning collaboration with Bon Iver and an exemplary album from start to finish.

“This is basically just in here to represent every Kanye album; I love them all. Even the last one,” Cochrane noted. “Once you get past the shock factor of anything that Kanye West does and you spend a bit of time on it, you find pure genius on every corner.

“I think this album’s cool because I quite like when artists don’t give a fuck, and they’ve said who they are. There’s so much great pop music as well, it can be a dirty word when you’re in a guitar band,” Cochrane With that record there’s so much popular, relevant music thrown into it, and you’ve got all these artists jumping on the tracks, but they still sound like big Kanye bangers and have that Billboard Top 10 feel to them too.”

Check out the full playlist, below.

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