Essential Wax with Slowdive

I think most of us have noticed a Slowdive influence around Discogs lately, from Japanese Breakfast’s Essential Wax, to Royal Thunder’s Selection Section; the Slowdive exaltation continues as their new self-titled release on Dead Oceans release sits in the Top 5 of Discog’s Top New Album Sales of 2017. A pioneer in the shoegaze genre, Slowdive deserve every letter of praise heaped upon their first release since 1995’s ‘Pygmalion‘.

“In a genre beloved for its comfortable reliability, all it takes are these small but striking detours to remind us that this glorious noise is the work of human hands and the skill that move them. If there’s a story to Slowdive – beyond the human-interest angle of the return itself, the swerves in the songcraft tell it: This is an album as thoughtful as it is beautiful.” – Pitchfork (Best New Music)

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Discogs caught up with Slowdive’s Guitarist, Christian Savill for an Essential Wax list of influential greatness! If these records aren’t within reach of your turntable, they most certainly should be! And if you don’t own their new album, ‘Slowdive’, we can hook that up for you!

We give you Slowdive’s Christian Savill sharing five records that influenced him in his early years:

Slowdive's Christian Savill's favorite records: Kraftwerk Die Mensch Maschine

1. Kraftwerk – The Man Machine

Kraftwerk were really intriguing to a young kid growing up in Reading. Before MTV our main visual exposure to bands was seeing them prance about on Top Of The Pops. I saw Kraftwerk on TV when “The Model” became a hit. There was no prancing. I couldn’t tell if they were humans or robots. Me and a couple of mates at school used to listen to the charts being released during our Tuesday lunch break. I remember when “The Model” got to number 1 there was some nerdy fist pumps. I should’ve been in a synth band really ‘cos back then I liked things like Sparks and Visage, but synths seemed a bit complicated and I never got beyond a Casio. I still listen to Kraftwerk, but this is the album that makes me feel nostalgic.

Slowdive's Christian Savill's favorite records: The Smiths Hatful Of Hollow

2. The Smiths – Hatful Of Hollow

This was the first Smiths album I bought (on cassette). A year or so earlier I’d had a brief flirtation with Iron Maiden and Marillion. The guys who worked at the record store in Reading would wince and try to talk me out of buying those records, but that didn’t happen with The Smiths. Those early singles like “This Charming Man” and “What Difference Does It Make” made me want to play guitar. I even dyed my hair black to try and look like Johnny Marr. I couldn’t play guitar like Johnny Marr and I looked totally ridiculous. The Smiths created a kind of division at school. If you loved them you had to avoid getting beaten up by the kids who hated them. I think this album was only £3.99 so all my friends had it and was always on in the background at each other’s houses. We noticed that a lot of “Hatful Of Hollow” was from John Peel sessions, so we started listening to his show which opened us up to all kinds of new music. I’ve owned this on cassette, vinyl, and CD at various stages

Slowdive's Christian Savill's favorite records: Cocteau Twins Treasure

3. Cocteau Twins – Treasure

I went through a probably rather unhealthy and – doubtless for my family – annoying period as an angsty teenager where I was either in my bedroom playing guitar really badly or wandering around Reading for hours listening to the Cocteau Twins on my Walkman. They already had a decent back catalogue of EPs and LPs by the time I got into them. This was pre-internet so I just had to buy them as and when I could afford it, so buying a Cocteau’s vinyl became an event. I loved the artwork too. Overall I think I like EPs like “Love’s Easy Tears” and “Aikea Guinea” the most, but I played this album a lot. I’ve also owned the EP Box Set (twice).

Slowdive's Christian Savill's favorite records: My Bloody Valentine Ecstasy

4. My Bloody Valentine – Ecstasy

Before My Bloody Valentine became massive and received universal critical acclaim they released a few absolutely amazing records that were unheralded. The first record I heard by them was ‘Strawberry Wine‘. This was an EP which was released alongside a mini LP called ‘Ecstasy’. The band themselves hated it, but I absolutely loved it and so did my mates. These two are still my favourites. We went to loads of their gigs and because they were still playing pubs at this stage we could talk to them, and because they were so polite they didn’t tell us how completely annoying we were. Everyone always talks about Kevin Shields‘ innovative guitar sounds, and whilst that might be true I think he just writes great songs. The early records had a kind of ’60s jangle and live they added a bit of brutality. Usually we’d see them at some shithole in Camden, miss the last train back to Reading and have to sleep at Paddington. I’ve still got all the early My Bloody Valentine vinyl including the Dave Conway era ones. I bumped into Debbie Googe recently. She said I sent her her first ever fan mail and it included a rainbow pencil eraser.

Slowdive's Christian Savill's favorite records: The Wickerman Soundtrack

5. Magnet & Paul Giovanni – The Wicker Man

The first time I saw ‘The Wicker Man‘ was by accident. I turned the TV on and it had just started and I had no idea what it was or what was unfolding. I loved the movie and the soundtrack. It was a strange trip and I always enjoy listening to this. I’ve got a couple of different versions of the soundtrack, each with different things on, so I’m not sure what it’s about but I don’t need to know much about it as I like that it’s a bit mysterious.

Dig into Slowdive’s records, new and old, and get your fix of more Shoegaze here!


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Jeffrey Smith is the Director of Communications and Partnerships at Discogs. Prior to joining Discogs in 2017, Jeffrey founded the boutique music PR firm Crash Avenue in 2004.

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