A Place to Bury Strangers: 5 Albums That Changed My Life

A Place to Bury Strangers: 5 Albums That Changed My Life

Brooklyn’s A Place to Bury Strangers is getting ready release their fifth studio album, Pinned, on Friday the 13th via Dead Oceans. To celebrate, guitarist-vocalist Oliver Ackermann put together a list of albums that changed his life.

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Ashrae Fax, Static Crash! 

The soundscapes on this record are so eerie and slink along at such the perfect pace; it really blew my mind the first time listening to it. It seems like it is music created by aliens. It really has that Cocteau Twins Garlands sound to the record, but, being one of those random CDs rolling around in my collection, it was always more intriguing and mystifying. I think this record made me see how mood could so carefully be crafted. Something could be done on purpose to bring you down or lift you up or creep you out.

My Bloody Valentine, Isn’t Anything 

One of the sickest punk rock records of all time; it just blows everything else away at the sheer intensity of the record. Blasting drum beats and chainsaw guitars. It gets me every time. The builds and the falls all come at the right time, just strange enough to be unpredictable and yet hitting just where you want it to all the time. The sounds on the record are strange and unreal and made me always want to play something that sounds different from anything else. Later in life, I feel like it’s attitude but it definitely sent me down the road of figuring out how to make the guitar sound like an ice pick, glass shattering, a car crash, a circular saw and use that sound to create a point.

The Ramones, Pinheads 

This is one of those live bootlegs you used to be able to get at record stores in urban areas where they weren’t afraid of getting shut down by the law for selling copies that probably didn’t benefit the band, but that was part of the awesome secret excitement in getting these records. It has the vibe of actually being at the show because it was probably recorded by some dude who brought his tape recorder to the show. So you are out in the crowd and not next to some desk where people are monitoring the heck out of the levels and taking the life out of the mix as they do nowadays with live recordings.

It’s also cut at the wrong speed, so it’s got that coked up Ramones feel on meth, which is just what you want with the dumb-is-fun rock & roll of the Ramones. So many drives to school and winding road afternoons were spent with the Ramones blasting at full volume; this record captures those times with its extra fucked-up-ed-ness. I am also such a sucker for song craft, and the Ramones have it stripped down to that sound that I have always loved from the ’50s and ’60s but can’t really pinpoint on to one record.

Sonic Youth, Sonic Youth EP 

It’s funny, I did a search for this on the Internet, and it came up on Rolling Stones’ worst debut records list, and the record is absolutely incredible. I think it’s one of their best. It may be naive and undeveloped for what Sonic Youth turned into, but, for me, it is super psychedelic and hypnotizing. The rhythms are tribal and there are some pissed off, disillusioned punk kids spitting on the normal structures of music, and I live by those same ideals to this day. If it sounds good, record it. Drill in to a guitar or throw it on the ground or punch your friend’s guitar. Heck, put a spoon in between the strings and record that.

Six Finger Satellite, Severe Exposure 

This marks a time in my life when I broke free of some of the more traditional bands that I was in to and got into that angular messed up sound that would bridge over into noise. It’s got so much energy it just sounds like a satanic party on a space ship. It somehow marries two total conflicting ideas of groove and bliss and absolute destruction. It’s got the sound of jumpstarting a reel-to-reel, and I like that. Without energy and soul, where would we be!

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