Essential Wax is our series in partnership with U-Turn Audio where we talk to a different artist each week about the records that have made an impact on them and their work.
A Place To Bury Strangers have been building sonic monuments and endangering eardrums since getting together in 2002. Their noise rock blended with psychedelic, space rock and shoegaze has even the band members on edge at times, with frontman and guitarist, Oliver Ackermann saying “That’s the most intense fear and feeling—when you go to a show and you’re actually scared”. Bassist, Dion Lunaman elaborates:”You can palpably feel the danger in the music. It’s a gutter kinda vibe; everything about it is icky and evil and dangerous.” A Place To Bury Strangers have become infamous for their frenetic and often chaotic live performances, earning them the title of New York City’s “loudest band”. The raw energy of their live performance translates powerfully onto their records, most recently Transfixiation.
Ackermann joined the band in 2003 following his departure from Skywave. He’s also one of the masterminds behind audio effect pedals producer, Death By Audio. They’ve made custom pedals for some of the biggest names in music, like Lou Reed, My Bloody Valentine, Lightning Bolt, Nine Inch Nails, Wilco and U2, just to name a few.
For his 5 Essential Wax picks, Oliver Ackermann gives us records he’s “worn down to sonic bliss”; that is records so well-loved their steady rotation has created a layer of distortion over the original recording. As Ackermann puts it, “These are some of my earliest records and some of these I don’t even listen to much anymore, but they will always have a place in my heart as some of the grimiest, grunged out tracks to hit my shitty combo stereo turntables.”
5 records Oliver Ackermann has worn down to sonic bliss:
This record has just such a fun feel to it. It has always been one of my faves. Crazy weird freaks. I remember the first time i was in Glasgow being shocked that the dude from this band had a record shop [Monorail]. I don’t know why the news disappointed me, I guess I thought they were so good they would be spending all their time making music. I was naive, the record store is killer and they were making the scene.
This snotty record has such a fucked attitude that unfortunately you can’t even hear unless you play the hell out of this record. This is a cheater for me. Someone must have played it a ton of times before me because I got it in its current messed up form from a record store in Providence when I lived there. It sounds so good and when I later heard the CD I realized Orange Juice didn’t actually sound so good at all, it was just the layer of filth on their super-pop that gave it the contrast that I loved and they never intended to have.
This is from my brother’s record collection, but man, was this an influence. This was the record that had the soul of pent up energy from being pissed off, unleashed. It barely plays anymore, but it always makes me think of the times of being a kid and this music being completely hard for me to understand what the hell was even going on.
I got this from a bin of religious records at a church sale in brand new condition and wore it down to multiply the feedback on this record to be a nice crackly, icepick skipping disaster. This was my go to Advil when I was younger. You have a headache? Listen to the Jesus and Mary Chain and it will all be better.
This isn’t even my favorite Ramones record, it’s just the first one I had on vinyl. But man do I love the Ramones. Definitely the most fun shows I had ever been to. Smiles, fists, and getting out of control.