Grooms: 5 Albums That Changed My Life

Grooms: 5 Albums That Changed My Life

Grooms have a lot to say about their forthcoming album. “Our new album is so good and we got vinyl copies today and they look so good and more soon,” they write on Twitter. “Next album will be a concept album about restless leg syndrome.”

It’s clear that the three-piece noise pop band packs a sense of humor and a dreamy, playfully frenetic sound to match. Their most recent and fourth LP, Comb the Feelings Through Your Hair (2015), embodied this to perfection, exemplifying a matured departure from their last projects and one that Pitchfork deemed “defiantly liberated.”

Despite the excitement surrounding this next “so good” album, band leader Travis Johnson took some time to break down the five albums that changed his life for TIDAL. From The Beatles to Bjork and Pavement, his varied lineup is unsurprisingly reflective of the band’s experimental tendencies.

Read below as Johnson fills us in on why The Beatles “scared” him, how “weirdly artificial” music can still sound good and what album helped him understand how music was made.

The Beatles, The White Album

The White Album was the first music that scared me when I was a kid. And that was a really important thing, to be spooked by music, to actually be creeped out. For one, it was the idea that these were the same people that everybody knows, the big, poppy, like, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” [group].

That was all I knew of the Beatles when I was twelve, and my dad was almost mocking me for thinking they were this safe, cuddly little band. So he basically sent me to my room with The White Album. Part of what was so scary to me as a twelve-year-old was the idea that you could be the Fab Four Beatles four years, three years before, and then something could happen in your life. Something can take you from “I Wanna Your Hand” to “Happiness is a Warm Gun.”


Bjork, Post

Bjork’s Post was the record that got me really into dance beats and electronic music. It made me want to understand how that music was made. Besides, I just loved the record. I am very comfortable with having a very emotional response to music and that being what thrilled me about it. The type of melodies on that record, the way that she would let her voice just go from kind of cooing to screeching, that was really amazing to me. But that was a life-changer in the sense of what it got me into, on top of just loving the record.


Pavement, Wowee Zowee

That was a record I really didn’t like when I first heard it and then it grew on me. Maybe that was the first record where I [realized that] you can make a record that seems actively bad to some people the first time you listen to it, and then it’s going to be a great record. It’s a very stoned, kind of off-the-cuff record. We don’t really make those kinds of records anymore. But there was something really exciting to me about that. You could tell how much fun they were having.

I had heard some other Pavement stuff and I really liked that, and then I heard Wowee Zowee and I was like, ‘Why did they do this?’ For whatever reason, I kept listening to it because I was fascinated by why they decided to make this kind of record after these other kinds of records that I liked a lot more at the time. I just stuck with it, I guess; something kept pulling me back to listen to it again.


John Coltrane, Ascension

That was a record that I heard at a friend’s house. Her dad just had it. I saw the cover and I was like, ‘This is the most striking album cover I’ve, maybe, ever seen.’ At that time, I knew some basic jazz intro records, but that record was just so abrasive and so wall-of-sound-y. Same kind of thing with The Beatles’ The White Album.

Ascension was beautiful in its own way, but it was the kind of record that most people who liked it five years earlier wouldn’t have even called jazz at all. That was a big record for me.


Wire, 154

[154] was this kind of perfect mix of rock and synthesized electronic music, which, at the time when I heard it, I was like, ‘That sounds like a really bad idea no one wants to hear.’ The idea of synthesized rock kind of sounds like Linkin Park or something. I put it on and I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, this is a classic post-punk record. I’ll listen to it.’ There is a smart way to synthesize different kinds of things and make rock music that sounds weirdly artificial in a good way.

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