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Joe Pugsley: July 25, 2023

Top Ten Albums That Influenced TRAILER SWIFT

The great indie/post-punk, vibed-out Trailer Swift offers up a collection of the Top Ten albums that influenced their Boston-based indie rock sound. If unfamiliar, don’t be distracted by the odd name, this band brings a fierce, aggressive yet pensive and melodic version of straight rock, full of post-punk and post-hardcore vibes in and throughout. I was a bit surprised Fugazi didn’t make the list..

James Delahanty (bass guitar):

1. Appetite for Destruction by Guns N’ Roses: This album inspired me to pick up the guitar. I had the posters and Circus magazine cutouts on my bedroom walls. Duff’s bass tone is iconic. The Rocket Queen song structure is ever present in our writing.

2. Vaya by At the Drive-In: I first saw At the Drive-In at Karma Club in Boston on November 13, 1999. They were opening for The Get Up Kids. I immediately went out and bought all their records. Vaya is the perfect album: Heavy. Emotional. Loose and tight at the same time.

3. Abbey Road by The Beatles: My parents always played The Beatles growing up. Paul McCartney’s bass lines and songwriting influence me to this day… Him and Fat Mike. That’s where I land. Punk rock Beatles.

Michael Crockett (vocals and guitars):

4. Raising Hell by RUN DMC: Released in 1986. I was 11 years old, living in suburbia, a white B-Boy wannabe learning to breakdance and loving every second of it. Tube socks and matching shorts, and a generic surf t-shirt. BMX in one hand, Nintendo controller in the other. I’m mowing the lawn with my Walkman blasting. Influence is the wrong word here; it’s more like formalizing.

5. Standing On a Beach by The Cure: Also released in 1986, but I didn’t really listen to The Cure until high school, and then basically listened to them exclusively for the summer of 1992. The Wish tour in ’86 at the Worcester Centrum was my very first concert. Standing On a Beach is a singles album, but the overarching reach it had, exposing me to so much more UK rock, is undeniable. The Cure’s ability to write an upbeat song with such sad lyrics is a direct influence on my songwriting.

6. Dummy by Portishead: Released in the year 1994 while I was in my sophomore year of art college. The production on this record fit into my psychology perfectly, especially the song “Wandering Stars”. The use of a vinyl record pop mixed with live instruments and an over-the-top moody singer that can really emote just hit me right in the kisser. The live performance at Roseland NYC is a-must-see.

7. The Bends by Radiohead: Released in 1995, right when we all needed a flawless rock album and didn’t know it. This record was perfect from beginning to end and was, what we all thought at the time, the pinnacle sound of Radiohead. When played, it tells everyone around you, “I have feelings, and I’m going to share them with you,” at the top of my lungs. “Just” is a killer song; re-listen to that one right now and tell me it’s not a banger.

Mike Irwin (lead guitar):

8. Siamese Dream by Smashing Pumpkins: This one was huge for me. Massive guitars, chords voiced across all the instruments, angry major keys, layers upon layers, loud soft loud, ethereal lyrics that mean whatever you hear them mean. Billy Corgan is my favorite guitarist/arranger/songwriter ever and this record shaped my playing and writing more than any other. Cheater extra record, Pisces Iscariot, the siamese dream B-sides, was almost as powerful for me. Same deal but less slick.

9. Hard to Find a Friend by Pedro the Lion: It’s hard to hear this record in Trailer Swift until you read this but the way David Bazan weaves simple melodies on bass, guitar and vocals into something much larger than themselves on this one is amazing to me. I learned the whole record note for note when I first heard it. I reference those lessons every time I write for trailer swift.

10. You’d Prefer An Astronaut by Hum: I’ve returned to this record over and over again since it came out. Guitars as big, too loud amp textures, huge drop D riffs, super tight changes, weird time signatures that you don’t know are weird until you learn it, lead lines that are all crazy jazz extensions of the root. I remember cranking The Pod on headphones behind the restaurant I was supposed to be washing dishes at in high school listening to the gradual breakdown to acoustic at the end over and over. The cook was pissed…

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