Having impressed and enchanted under her own name Newcastle's Beth Jeans Houghton, returns under a new moniker Du Blonde. With an album set to be released her her new album, Welcome Back To Milk, out 18 May, as she plays London's 100 Club on Thursday (19 March, with a return date to follow on 24 April before a show at The Victoria on 7 May), the singer-songwriter has created this Playlist of the songs that changed her...
Dick Dale & The Del Tones – Misirlou "I've been into surf music since my early teens but only recently has it begun to have an impact on the music I make. Until then I was primarily a rhythm guitarist. When I began making my last record I gave myself six weeks to learn lead guitar. Because of time constraints I had to pick a style or two and stick with it. Surf music was the first. I was attracted to the eastern scales, the reverb and the machine gun approach to picking which is presented no better than in Misirlou, originally a Greek Rebetiko song dating back to 1927, but popularised by Dick Dale in 1962 when he unleashed it upon a generation of unsuspecting American surf freaks. It speaks of a time when technical dexterity and melodic sensibility were appreciated in such a way that a track could be accepted widely in the mainstream despite the lack of any vocal."
Joni Mitchell – Ladies Of The Canyon "I was six years old when my mother placed a needle on the first vinyl record I ever saw. Ladies Of The Canyon rose from the grooves and filled my small mind with dreams of sunshine, canyons and communal living. I would return to this album, and that song in particular, innumerable times over the preceding 20 years, always with a renewed sense of yearning for this mythical, magical place that existed in a crack in the hills surrounding Los Angeles, pure communitas. I ended up moving into a house in Laurel Canyon in my early 20s, rising each morning to swim in the pool below the relentless sun, I listened once again and realised that this was not a myth, but just as magical as I'd always imagined."
Love – Seven And Seven Is "As a teenager I spent many a stroll listening to the off-kilter, almost fatuous sounds of Forever Changes. It was the kind of record that changed my perception of the rules and possibilities of cross breeding genres and opened me up to a world of changing time signatures, strings and lyrics that read more like a dark adult fairy tale than a love song. It seemed so good to me that I dared not venture any further into Love's catalogue for fear of disappointment. After a few years though, my tastes were leaning towards the darker, less whimsical side of music and it was at that time that the lovely Marc Riley suggested I listen to Da Capo. I did. The immediacy of Seven And Seven Is is all encompassing. Rolling drums, staccato guitar and an instrumental melody that calls for your attention like the opening scenes of a Western, where Forever Changes entices you to ponder and reminisce, Da Capo tells you how it is.
Bee Gees – Every Christian Lion Hearted Man "I spent the first 20 years of my life harbouring a mild disdain for the disco kitsch that I had come to know of the Bee Gees. This resulted in an argument with a friend about how 'real' they really are. It was then that he pulled out his secret weapon, Every Christian Lion Hearted Man – a track from their third studio album Bee Gees 1st. It opens with sinister opulence. Low drawn out mellotron and a Gregorian chant, like the last thing you hear before you fall victim to a religious ritual in which you are the virgin offering. It's dark and it seems like it will stay that way, then come the guitars, the purposeful strums akin to those in the opening lines of This Time Tomorrow by The Kinks, the song becomes a psychedelic ballad of slap-back vocals and singular, pointed harmonies. Released in July of 1967, one month after the release of The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Bee Gees 1st peaked at Number 8 on the UK album charts, but while The Beatles changed the musical landscape with their offering, the Bee Gee's wouldn't find their mainstream success until 1971's How Can You Mend A Broken Heart."
GG Allin – Bite It You Scum "I was quite young when I first saw the video of GG Allin performing naked and defecating in front of an audience before eating his own shit. The image, as you can imagine, was thoroughly burnt into my mind, but for years I struggled to remember the name of the performer. This video later came up in conversation with a friend of mine during a discussion about bringing it on stage and he proceeded to pull up the video, a live version of Bite It You Scum. This was a turning point for me. Here was a man performing with the energy and confidence I always wanted to harness during live performances. It's not about the shit eating, or the naked-but-a-dog-collar image. It's about the fearlessness behind it. The pure rage and lack of self regulation. On stage he may not have been free of his own demons, but he sure was free of everyone else's."
Nico – The Fairest Of The Seasons "I was 14 when I started skipping school. I would put on my uniform, leave the house and hide behind a wall until my mother drove to work. I'd then stroll in silence around the park for hours listening to Jeff Buckley, Jefferson Airplane and Nico, wondering where I would go when I was old enough to leave. I have vivid memories of sitting at the top of a hill overlooking woodland, listening to The Fairest Of The Seasons. It had a melancholy that matched mine, a sad yearning to leave laced with the trepidation of embracing the unknown. I wanted to leave, not to be somewhere specific, but to be anywhere else. Listening now, I realise I'm exactly where my 14 year-old self would wish to be. I have no fixed address, no idea where I'm going and no one to answer to. I realise now that to 'leave in the fairest of the seasons' does not indicate spring, summer, autumn or winter - Whatever season it may be, the act leaving is what makes it the fairest of them all."
Simon & Garfunkel – America "I first discovered this song by way of a Live In Central Park cassette I found on my mother’s bookshelf. I played it over and over until the tape became warped like a bear whose fur is worn down after years of infantile spooning. I rediscovered it when I was 13, as Zooey Deschanel placed a needle onto her copy of Bookends and proclaimed that she was 'leaving home to become a stewardess' in Almost Famous. It was a main stay in my record collection until, like the album's title, I bookended my journey with this song on a greyhound bus from downtown LA to Vegas one spring when I convinced my French boyfriend to elope with me. He got cold feet, I won $200 and we both dodged a bullet."
Firehose – Brave Captain "I heard this track for the first time on the Natas Kaupas Santa Cruz Streets on Fire skate video from 1989. Their hybrid of Funk, Punk and Jazz is brought to the fore in Brave Captain, one of the more accessible tracks from their album Ragin', Full On. Ed (fROMOHIO) Crawford's vocal swings courageously between spoken word and melodic wonderment as he speaks of misgivings and uncertainties. This song struck a chord with me, specifically Crawford's lack of lyrical rhymes. Sometimes where you'd expect a vocal line, he falls out and leaves space like he might just be making it up, which lends itself well to the story he is telling. 'Captain, there are doubts in your ability, there's too many blanks in your analogy'."
Bad Brains – I Against I "For me, Bad Brains are one of the more interesting hardcore punk bands of the late 70s. Their musical sensibility, born of a love of jazz, rock, reggae and funk, created a melting pot of melodies, intricacies and lyrical content much more advanced than those of their piers. I Against I from their third studio album of the same title, see's HR speak of his disenchantment with the idealisation of the American dream. "Everybody's only in it for themselves' he cries, 'They just don't care to extend a helping hand to anyone else.' I think a common misconception of hardcore punk is that it's a violent and negative form of music, when many bands from this era were angry about the right things, and for good reason. In spite of the speed and aggression of Bad Brains' instrumentation, HR remains articulate with his lyrical approach, an attribute often left behind within the genre. In a field of music where lyrics were often mere utterances of anger and disdain lending themselves more as a percussive element than one with a message, Bad Brains stood out as a group who really had something to say."
For more head to Dublonde.co.uk, plus listen to a new song.