Bands pick No.1

All answers below by Ayad who plays synth and samples in Passion Pit:

What’s your favorite album of all time?

It has got to be Prince “Purple Rain”. It’s just too good. I feel purists can consider that a cop out, but I grew up listening to 90s NPG Prince due to my older brothers obsession, and I have most all of his records from the 90s and earlier. On a lot of the other earlier stellar records like “Dirty Mind” there are some stand out tracks; but as a whole Purple Rain is amazing. And it brings back memories of so many great dance parties, I’ve seen the movie like 30 times, it’s just a brilliant piece of work.

The one record you know you can’t live without:

Thin Lizzy: Live & Dangerous. I learnt guitar by transcribing Thin Lizzy songs and solos and this record is a live performed greatest hits. It makes me wish I was alive when they were touring back in the day, but this double vinyl I own is the closest I will get! Except for when I saw Thin Lizzy play last month – albeit with only Scott Gorham and Brian Downey from the original line-up.

Did this album influence you in your music style? And if so, how?

Thin Lizzy is a direct influence in my playing and writing for sure! I don’t get to play the guitar in Passion Pit, but even then their influence as performers show up in my live playing.

And as with Passion Pit I can’t reveal any information! (Bummer, hope this means they’re working on some new material)


We were thinking Balmorhea‘s pick would be, without a doubt, a purely instrumental group with Beethoven and Debussy traces found everywhere, and in part we were right. What we never expected was the pleasant surprise we got when we heard the album they can’t live without!

What’s your favorite album of all time?

Tortoise – Self-Titled (1994, Thrill Jockey)

The one record you know you can’t live without?

Sun Kil Moon – Ghosts of the Great Highway

This is one of the only records when upon first listen was instantly enthralled. It never lingers far from the phonograph year after year. I listened to this record last several weeks ago on a long drive. It somehow is able to accurately fit most seasons. A close runner-up would be Dirty Three’s Ocean Songs.

Did this album influence you in your music style? And if so, how?

Some of the guitar fingering patterns and general progressions have likely seeped their way into my psyche but nothing that was blatantly direct.

To learn more about Balmorhea check the bands website here and be sure to follow them on Twitter @balmorheamusic

Who would have thought that Owen Pallett, the artist who brought us one of the most beautiful records in 2010 was into noise rock? We sure didn’t, but it’s a fact, people expect bands to listen to music similar to theirs, but it’s almost always the contrary, i.e. check out OP’s picks:

What’s your favorite album of all time?

Easy:  “Talker” by US Maple.  I was passionate about all things DC as a teenager but the record that really killed my world was this one.  Michael Gira’s involvement also got me into Swans, I hadn’t listened to them before.  “Running From Kabob” and “So Long, Bonus” were songs I used to try to cover with my first band Les Mouches, it never worked, so we just started ripping US Maple off instead.  Everything about that record is perfect, except that it doesn’t have two of my favourite US Maple songs on it, especially “Hey King“, which is my “welcome to the party” staple.  I only got to see that band once.  They played at Lee’s Palace in Toronto, opening for Rocket From The Tombs.  There are a lot of people in Toronto who love US Maple and the place was full and very, very enthusiastic.  Todd was wearing a butcher’s outfit and making eyes at the girls in the front row.  Shippy just hung out in the back headbanging.  And Al was the best, he wrapped himself around the mic stand and didn’t let go.  They played for 30 minutes and the crowd was so amped, we all clapped and yelled “play more” and we didn’t stop, the gear was taken down, but we kept cheering until David Thomas came onstage for the headliner.  I love David Thomas but after that show I couldn’t stand it, I had to get out of there.  I have a big loft in Toronto and I always offer to put bands up and cook them pad thai, so I asked Al if he wanted to stay with us.  He put his arms around me, pressed his wet lips up to my ear and said “Thank-you-so-much-for-offering-I-really-appreciate-it-we’re-staying-at-a-hotel-tonight-but-stick-around-for-some-fun-okay-yeah“, I got an embarrassed boner and got the hell out of there.

The one record you can’t live without:

These days it’s “Monody” by Mantler.  It just came out last year, in 2010, but I’ve listened to it every day.  It’s kind of cheating to mention it because I did a little arranging on it, and Chris is a friend, but I’ve listened to it every day.  The first time I heard anything off of it this one day two years ago, I was driving around Toronto and listening to the U of T radio station.  They had a little radio session with Chris, he was just playing his Wurlitzer and singing some new songs.  One of the songs was called “The Author“, and he sang these lyrics:  “I’m in the crowd / I’m in the stands / raising my voice / clapping my hands / masterful work / success is assured / I’ll type my 300 words”.  I had to pull over the car, it was so beautiful.  He’s the lovechild of Gorbachev and Sade.  I love him and I love his music.  Please watch this video, you’ll see:

Did this album influence you in your music style?

I’m sure it did but I don’t know how exactly.

To learn more about Owen Pallett visit his website here and be sure to follow him on Twitter @owenpallett

This is the first post in our new section entitled “Bands pick No.1” in which we’ll ask bands which is their favorite album of all time and if it influenced them in their style. Our first band is Young Galaxy (in case you missed our earlier post about them check it out here) who have an upcoming album “Shapeshifting” on February 8.

What’s your favorite album of all time?

This is an unfair question! There are too many to name… I would say that the most important albums in my life have been The Stone Roses‘ self titled debut and The Smiths ‘Louder Than Bombs’, The first album of New Order’s ‘Substance’ compilation, My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Loveless’, The Rolling Stones ‘Exile On Main Street’… the list goes on and on.

The one record you can’t live without:

Probably Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’. It is such a beautifully produced, played, and written record. Plus it is deceptively heavy. When you know the story of what was going on in that band at the time personally, it’s just incredible to hear it play out on the record. Very few albums have accomplished that. Plus, it has so many childhood memories for me – if I put it on I can conjure the feeling of being 5 years old again instantly. Finally, if you are hanging out on a dock on a lake in the woods, what are you gonna put on? Passion Pit? No. You are going to put on ‘Go Your Own Way‘ and open a cold beer.

Did this album influence you in your music style?

I would love to say yes, but I don’t think many people would say we sound much like them – I suppose the use of male and female lead vocals is an influence of theirs. Recently, someone linked our new record to a ‘futuristic Fleetwood Mac’ – Man, I love the sound of that!

All answers by Stephen Ramsay (vocals and guitar).