New York City power-pop band The Dives make their UK debut at the end of this month when they hit the road supporting rock legends KISS. Sandwiched in between those dates is an intimate headline show at Water Rats in London. Ahead of the touring we had a chat with the group to find out which records had the biggest impact on their lives.
01. Carole King – Tapestry
– What hasn’t been said about this album? As soon as I heard it, I knew if I became even half the songwriter Carole King is, I would be okay. This album is always an inspiration to me as a songwriter and I always look to it as a beacon of what a collection of amazing songs really sounds like.
02. Simon and Garfunkel – Bookends
– The “concept” part of Side A on Bookends is always an emotional roller coaster for me. I still try to figure out how Simon is able to weave his stories with such beautiful and strange melodies into a totally unique form of pop music. The songs, performances, and production add up to something that totally shatters preconceived notions of what a record by a folk duo should sound like.
03. Peter Gabriel – SO
– Front to back, this album is a beautiful monster. To me, it’s one of the most creative pop records ever made. Hit after hit after hit. The production value, musicianship, and songwriting are masterful. I was blown away from the first listen and it has had a huge influence on me. It should also be noted that the video for “Sledgehammer” is probably one of the coolest things EVER.
04. The Beatles – Revolver
– Let’s be honest, it’s a weird album (LSD, anyone?), but so beautifully done and really raised the bar in how albums were recorded. It’s the first Beatles record I ever listened to and I was hooked. It’s clear that experimental drug use was involved because it’s as if all of your senses are overloaded. I will say, though, that I didn’t understand the power of harmony and background vocals until I heard this record. They were masters of that and we’re all still trying to catch up to that level of mastery.
05. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Damn The Torpedoes
– This was the gateway album that got me into Petty. There are not ten seconds of filler on the entire record. Tom Petty is one of the greatest writers of all time and, to me, this is his magnum opus. His lyrics are an exercise in economy, precision, and honesty. To me, he shows you the song more quickly and vividly than any other writer except maybe Paul McCartney. What makes this album even more important is the struggle he had to overcome to get it out. He stood up against the record company and didn’t back down until he got what he deserved.
06. Paul Simon – Graceland
– Paul Simon, like Tom Petty, is one of the greatest songwriters and storytellers out there. This is one of my favorite albums of all time for so many reasons. The lyrics transport you inside of each song; they are immersive. He went to South Africa to track down the musicians who were responsible for the music he had found a passion for, and they created a sound that we’d never heard before.
07. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin III
– So many people say that Led Zeppelin is the ultimate heavy metal band, but truthfully, that’s just not fair to them. It’s such an undersell. Sure Zeppelin could be heavy, but what about “Going to California”? “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp”? They’re all about light and shade. Led Zeppelin is rock and roll, is blues, is R&B, is folk. They combined elements of just about every genre out there in a way that is at once exhilarating, diverse, and all decidedly Led Zeppelin. They are world music in the truest sense. It’s almost impossible to name a favorite album, but Led Zeppelin III is what turned me on to them, so it’s always the one I come back to most.
08. The Who – The Who Sell Out
– This is the record that got me into The Who. It’s hilarious and totally accessible – even the commercials are catchy- but it’s never too kitschy. It’s also one of those records that’s deeper than it appears on first, second, or third listen. A decade since I first heard it, I still find something new in it every single time I listen. Plus, you can’t really argue with songs like “I Can See For Miles” and “Tattoo” – they’re undeniable. They endure.
Tour Dates (w/ KISS):
05/27 – Glasgow – SSE Hydro
05/28 – Birmingham – Barclaycard Arena
05/29 – London – Water Rats *
05/30 – Manchester – Manchester Arena
05/31 – London – O2 Arena
* headline show
Check out the band’s EP Everybody’s Talkin’