“I’m terrible at getting into new music, so it’s a good thing that my favourite records happen to be some of the best of all time," Vinnie Caruana tells Louder. The Movielife and I Am The Avalanche vocalist is talking to us on the cusp of the release of his new solo EP – the aptly-titled Aging Frontman – so we've enlisted him to talk us through 10 timeless albums that will never age. These things really just write themselves, sometimes.
"Even if they aren’t the best of all time, they are to me. What else matters?"
From The Band to Breeders and in no particular order, here Caruana talks us through 10 perfectly timeless records. Check out the video to Caruana's new single, Alone, at the bottom of the page.
The Breeders - Last Splash (1993)
"My uncle, who strangely supports Donald Trump, bought me the cassette. He’s the nicest guy. I think he believes that Fox News is just 'The News'. It’s tragic. If he would’ve dubbed this tape before giving it to me, I think his path would’ve changed.
Kim Deal is a national treasure. Navigating this life with her by my side since age 13, has helped form me as a human and a songwriter. This record makes me feel warm. Like a warm autumn day with a chilly breeze that makes you feel alive."
The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (2002)
"I ate mushrooms in my friend’s backyard on Long Island. Like six of us. We had a giggly baseball catch until the drugs kicked in and we knew it was time to stop throwing a hard ball at each other. Jill picked us up in her convertible and drove us to the beach. Top down, sun setting, and blasting this record. It was one of the most fun and carefree nights of my life. This record was the soundtrack and it still is from time to time."
Jets To Brazil - Orange Rhyming Dictionary (1998)
"I realise how important Jawbreaker is to everybody and I totally agree. They are special. What is truly special to me is Blake’s growth as a lyricist as he transitioned into the Jets era. This stuff is genius. I love all Jets records, but this one is a bit more consistent throughout. Patiently waiting for Jets to play some shows again. It would be huge for me. I’d follow them around for sure."
Belle And Sebastian - Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance (2015)
"It’s a well known fact that If You’re Feeling Sinister is their most important and influential record. That being said, for a band to release a record this late in their career and be as close to perfection as Girls, is a massive achievement. It’s a dancier record for them and at the start I wasn’t convinced that’s that what I wanted from Belle And Sebastian. As time went on, the beautiful and thoughtful songwriting burned through, and the record became part of me."
Paul Simon - Graceland (1986)
"When this record came out, I was seven years old and my father was playing this non-stop all year as I rode in the back seat of his station wagon. Even as a seven-year-old, I noticed that it was different and special. The actual song Graceland is as good as it gets. I recently watched a documentary where Paul Simon broke the whole record down while sitting at a mixing board and I learned so much in that hour. I became a better songwriter instantly."
Ween - The Mollusk (1997)
"When I was ready to let Ween into my life, The Mollusk was the first place I went. Nothing short of a masterpiece. Psychedelic tunes but much more song-oriented, and I kinda need that. I’m here for songs. This, for me, is a sister record to Yoshimi. They live in the same space in my heart and my brain."
The Grateful Dead - American Beauty (1970)
"I would put on The Grateful Dead here and there just for easy listening. They gave me a nice enough feeling where I didn’t have to pay attention. Eventually this record began to mean more to me than an easy soundscape. They started jamming less and making more actual songs. The kind that I need. Box Of Rain as an opener made it easy for me to slowly cement American Beauty as a mainstay in my life."
De La Soul - 3 Feet High And Rising (1989)
"One of Long Island’s finest ever musical acts. They somehow managed to make this record when they were teenagers and it’s their masterpiece. Obviously, Prince Paul played a big part as well, but nobody was writing rhymes like this in '89. As a 10-year-old I was listening to this record non-stop in my Walkman and still bump it regularly. I’m lucky to have had two older brothers who were 13 and 14 to dub tapes from. Just recently found it on vinyl in my neighbourhood, when I was killing time while my laundry dried. That was huge."
Gravediggaz- 6 Feet Deep (1994)
"Sure I liked Wu-Tang and most of their first solo records, but this is something different. Another Prince Paul production. Not only has this stayed with me, it’s stayed with all my friends that I grew up with. 48 hours ago I hung with all my old heads and a dice game broke out. I put this record on and everybody was like 'YUP'. It was going to be a good night. I won $400, so thank you, Gravediggaz."
The Band - The Band (1969)
"This one has been in constant rotation for my entire life. It’s a family affair. My parents, brothers, and I share this record as a piece of our life together. When my folks bought a small ski house in the Catskills, when I was 15, shit got ramped up even more. I’m not certain another record was even played in that house."
Vinnie Caruana’s new EP, Aging Frontman, is out on 4th October via Big Scary Monsters and is available to pre-order now. Check out new single Alone below: