Little Racer: 5 Albums That Changed Our Lives
Three-piece garage rock outfit Little Racer is on the same page when it comes to their taste in music. Although they experienced these LPs in their own unique ways, the guys agree that everyone from Interpol to the Cars has made an impression worth sharing.
Comprising Wade Michael (guitar), Ash Nazmi (bass) and Elliot Michaud (vocals and guitar), the band sits down with TIDAL to talk about five albums that have impacted them and why.
Broken Social Scene, Broken Social Scene
Wade Michael: [This album] came out in high school and it really shaped the way I was thinking about albums at the time. I think I’d been listening to a lot of stuff that was linear, like one song ends and the next song starts. Very separate entities. I think that was an album that really kind of challenged the way that I thought an album could flow and how different sounds on an album could create an overarching experience.
The production on it is wonderful. Nowadays, it doesn’t sound as groundbreaking because I think people pulled a lot of the production styles from that album and from things of that era. Listening back, it’s a totally different experience, but when it first came out, it really kind of woke up my ears to different sounds and different sorts of layouts for an album.
Oasis, Definitely Maybe
Ash Nazmi: For me, the record that changed a lot of things was Oasis’ Definitely Maybe. Initially, I didn’t get into it right away; I was a little bit too young. I was nine when it came out. I didn’t get into it until probably like the late ‘90s. Initially, I wanted to get [another Oasis album] (What’s the Story) Morning Glory at Best Buy, back when Best Buy was still a place where you got music, but they didn’t have it, so I grabbed Definitely Maybe. I got home and it just completely blew me away. Before that, I was listening to a lot of classic rock on classic rock radio. There was so much attitude, so much bravado and so much energy right in your face.
Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Elliot Michaud: I hadn’t heard a steady, straightforward rock & roll band put out such an experience [of an] album. I think of that album a lot like Broken Social Scene. It just ebbs and flows.
One of the beautiful things that [Jeff] Tweedy said about that record was that they wrote these songs, but they own these songs. They’re their songs to deconstruct and rewrite and they did that with every song on the record. They wrote them as rock songs and they turned them into whatever they wanted to turn them into.
I walked away with that because I think Little Racer does that a lot: we bring a song to the table, we’ll scratch everything and rewrite it. Take as many cycles of the song as we need to until we’re happy with it. I think that record had a lot to do with why I think of music like that.
Interpol, Turn on the Bright Lights
Michael: That record was really hauntingly beautiful for me, but I actually did not like it the first time I listened to it… Not that I didn’t like it, but my ear wasn’t wrapped around it. It took two or three solid listens. I remember sitting in my kitchen at home, and I listened to it once and it kind of irked me and got my attention, but I wasn’t rocking out to it or jamming out to it. But then, I went back right away. After it was done, I listened to it again and liked it more. Every time I listened to it, I understood it more.
Nazmi: When that record came out, it was like this pop record that was presented like he’s not singing pop music. Also the vocal presentation was so different than a lot of the stuff from that era. Arcade Fire, Strokes, all that stuff was so prominent and then Paul Banks’ voice in that record is just almost an instrument as well. It’s some of the best bass work to date. Everything I do on bass, I’m trying to steal from that record.
The Cars, The Cars
Michael: The songwriting is so pop-based. You have this really steady guitar just palm-muting the chords, just singing while muting those chords. I always loved the guitar solos of all those tracks. They are so beyond just your standard risk. It’s just insane what they’re doing.
Nazmi: It’s really succinct. They start and end exactly when they need to. There’s nothing about that record that doesn’t feel composed perfectly.
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