The top 10 best Noel Gallagher tracks, as chosen by The Stands' Howie Payne

A collage of noel gallagher and howie payne

From Oasis to his High-Flying Birds, Noel Gallagher’s back catalogue is both expansive and diverse. No one knows this better than friend, fan and collaborator Howie Payne, whose own band The Stands – a short-lived cult-concern from the mid-2000s Liverpool indie scene – toured extensively with Oasis towards the end of their career.

Recently revisiting The Stands’ career for an upcoming retrospective, Payne unearthed an all-but-forgotten track, Some Weekend Night, featuring Noel Gallagher on lead guitar. “We recorded it at Wheeler End, Oasis’ place,” says Payne. “Noel played a killer solo on it, a really heavy, vicious thing… stunning!”

To mark the track’s release and the pair’s collaboration, we caught up with Payne for his top 10 Noel Gallagher moments.

Supersonic (From Definitely Maybe, by Oasis)

“A band I was in called The Windmills played couple shows with Oasis before they were signed, and hung out a bit in Liverpool when they were knocking about with [indie rock band] The Real People and [Cook Da Books guitarist] Digsy’s band Small. We weren’t like massive mates or anything, just bands on the same scene who liked each other’s music, you know. So I remember there was a bit of a buzz when they recorded this and someone playing it to me in the studio a few days later or something. It’s just a killer tune, man; pure, legit rock’n’roll. But it wasn’t so much that, more that the whole attitude we all had in that scene – the way everyone talked and looked – all that was somehow just so baked into it. Soon as you heard it you knew it was seismic.”

Champagne Supernova (From (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?, by Oasis)

“Liam’s best vocal in my book, and talk about a moment in time. If what’s called Britpop was a party, then this was its glorious, zen-like zenith. That moment when everything is just right – the buzz, the vibe, the music, the crowd – everything just perfect for that one breath before it all goes west and the beer runs out.”

Falling Down (From Dig Out Your Soul, by Oasis)

“I was in LA when they were making this so I went along to the studio to say hello. The vibe down there was really good, and they played a couple of the new tunes back through these huge speakers. This one really hit me, the groove is very circular, class.”

Setting Sun (From Dig Your Own Hole, by The Chemical Brothers)

“Even now it still sounds like it’s from the future. Stunning.”

Wonderwall (From (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?, by Oasis)

“The first time The Stands played with Oasis was at the Royal Court in Liverpool in 2002. As we were walking in, Noel was playing Wonderwall. Just him, alone on stage with an acoustic guitar, in this huge empty ornate theatre. The smoke machines had been on, so there was this really other-worldly coloured smoke hanging in the air and maybe like eight people in the whole place. It was a great moment. The sound wasn’t loud, but it was huge and all the air in the place was vibrating. Moments like that, you can’t help but think there’s a bit of magic at work.”

The Death Of You And Me (From Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds)

“Noel had split from [Oasis, and] was just getting his new thing together. I’d just moved to London and we were hanging out one afternoon. He had a CD of his new recording, so we stuck it on. I’ll never forget it – when this one came on, we both looked up and did this very northern ‘proper tune’ nod to each other. No words, just the nod. Enough said.”

The Mexican (From Chasing Yesterday, by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds)

“It’s great on the record – probably my favourite – but live, it’s a monster. I was at one of the Royal Albert Hall shows last year, and this tune was phenomenal. The band just played the shit out it. It’s a pure knock-out tune, got a real Exile On Main St-ness about it. Very cool.”

Dream On (From Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds)

“I really like this song, it’s wall-to-wall class. But what I really, really like about it is that weird chord in the verse. I dunno what it is, but it’s a fantastic change – very ominous, and every time I hear it, I wanna hear it again.”

The Importance Of Being Idle (From Don’t Believe The Truth, by Oasis)

“In my top three of Noel’s tunes. I was opening up for them on their European tour back in 2009, and we played The Bataclan in Paris. That gig was just something else. The heat was so thick and heavy you could see it rising in the lights, the sound was in Technicolour, and the crowd were unbelievable. It really was one of those nights when it all comes together. The band and the crowd were both doing the best gig ever, and this tune, on that night, was the high point.”

Stop The Clocks (From Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds)

“I’ve got an early demo of this somewhere of just Noel with an acoustic guitar and it’s just stunning. I seem to recall him saying he wrote it on a beach somewhere and you can kind of hear that. The whole thing has a very on-the-edge-of-a-dream like quality. You know like when you lay in the sun and close your eyes and the way you hear sound changes; wind in the trees, people talking, traffic in the distance, it all gets kind of dreamy. I get that feeling from this song. A lot of Noel’s songs do that, they catch [the] feeling of a particular moment in a really subconscious but crystalline way. Pretty special.”

The Stands’ career retrospective, The Stands Recordings 2003-2005, will be released on June 23rd via Full Stack Records. You can hear Some Weekend Night below.

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