THE ALBUM THAT ALCOHOLIC ROBOTS LOVE
The Sophtware Slump, V2, 2000
"This is like a warm and gentle OK Computer. I love the song ‘Jed the Humanoid,’ about a robot that drinks itself to death, and it’s all very sad. Now, this is a preposterous subject for a song, but to make it actually move you takes some skill, right? This is the perfect album to listen to when I’m on a plane. I just put my headphones on, block out everything and drift off to another place completely."
THE ALBUM THAT PUTS MALL-PUNK TO SHAME
Up the Bracket, Rough Trade, 2002
"For me, this album is a reaction to bands like blink-182 and Sum 41. The Libertines don’t even claim to be punk, they just are: They have the attitude, the intelligence, and this album is so raw it hurts. Does Pete Doherty make me want to smoke crack? No! He is an icon who just happens to take lots of drugs; he is not an icon because he takes lots of drugs. He is incredibly talented, and a little messed up. I hope he doesn’t OD."
THE ALBUM THAT'S AS GOOD AS KURT SAID
Doolittle, Elektra, 1989
"Kurt Cobain used to say that his band stole everything from the Pixies, and he wasn’t lying. Doolittle is fantastic, it’s strange and brilliant. Did you know that ‘Debaser’ is based on that horrific Salvador Dalí film where he cuts open a person’s eye? My favorite Pixies song is ‘Where Is My Mind?’ from Surfer Rosa — it reminds me of this girl I had a huge crush on and couldn’t get out of my head. Nothing happened between us, which makes the song even more poignant."
THE ALBUM THAT MADE ME WHO I AM
The Sex Pistols
Never Mind the Bollocks, Warner Bros., 1977
"I love real punk — not Avril Lavigne, who thinks wearing a tie is punk. This is my favorite album of all time, and I got into it during the filming of Harry Potter 2, when I was 12. I was obsessed with punk back then. If the Beatles were a phenomenon, then the Sex Pistols were a revolution. Punk is about rebellion, about not caring what other people think of you, and being free. And it’s not about fighting. I don’t fight. I don’t spit, either."
THE ALBUM THAT TOTALLY CREEPS ME OUT
Manic Street Preachers
The Holy Bible, Sony, 1994
"The Holy Bible is like no album I have ever heard. It’s so dark, it really sounds as if they have gone into themselves and are telling you some very difficult truths. It doesn’t hold back anything. Have you heard ‘4st, 7lb’? It’s a devastating song, really upsetting, especially when you consider that their guitarist went missing 11 years ago and his body was never found. I like to think he is alive somewhere, but it’s not very likely."
THE ALBUM THAT BONDS ME WITH DAD
Electric Warrior , Reprise, 1971
"I got into this through my dad, who is a huge T-Rex fan. Most people my age, I guess, would have simply gone for the Greatest Hits, but I wanted to discover the real T-Rex, and for me, this is the album that defines Marc Bolan as a legend. Music should have the power to take you to very dark places and prompt some very strange emotions, but music should also be able to make you smile sometimes. And this album makes me smile so much."
THE ALBUM THAT'S BETTER THAN SHATNER
Different Class , Island, 1995
"Will Steggle, who works in the wardrobe department of the Harry Potter films, is my best friend. Will’s 39 and he maintains that he used to share a flat with Pulp singer Jarvis Cocker, and that Jarvis used to steal all of his coffee. I’ve just met him — he has a small part in Goblet of Fire. Most Americans only know the song ‘Common People’ because William Shatner covered it. That’s just terrible! They should check out the original — it’s much, much better."
THE ALBUM THAT GIVES ME CHILLS
Hope of the States
The Lost Riots , Sony, 2004
"Like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, this band’s music is like modern classical. I hesitate to use the word ‘epic’ because everybody uses it, but this really is a massive record. Whenever I’m really into an album, I want to learn about the band’s history, and this one is pretty tragic because guitarist James Lawrence committed suicide just before the album was released. I suppose that makes the band more interesting, but it’s really just sad."
THE ALBUM THAT'S PERFECT FOR WELSH VACATIONS
The Blue Album
“I’ve heard that Rivers Cuomo is a very strange man. Is that true? Well, I still think he and his band make terrific music. This, for my money, is their best album, even better than Pinkerton, but that’s maybe because it reminds me of a holiday I had in Wales with some really good friends. We would just laze around the house playing “Undone — The Sweater Song” over and over again, until we got sick of it.”
THE ALBUM THAT GETS ME INTO CHARACTER
The Arcade Fire
“I just saw them at the Reading Festival and they were amazing. The drummer was drumming the backs of everybody’s head, and the keyboardist was wearing a motorcycle helmet! Their lyrical imagery is incredible: ‘Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)’ even alludes to evolution, if I’m not mistaken: ‘Forget all we used to know/And then our skin gets thicker/ From living out in the snow.’ Fantastic! I love to listen to this album just before I’m about to film a scene.” " I love real punk - not Avril Lavigne, who thinks wearing a tie is punk. This is my favorite album of all time, and I got into it during the filming of Harry Potter 2, when I was 12. I was obsessed with punk back then. If the Beatles were a phenomenon, then the Sex Pistols were a revolution. Punk is about rebellion, about not caring what other people think of you, and being free. And it's not about fighting. I don't fight. I don't spit, either."
picture source: Neil Gavin