For their latest LP, Never a Moment Alone, Emily Davis and The Murder Police have chosen to highlight our collective lack of human preparedness. One of the central themes of the album is the lack of foresight the human race has when it comes to inevitable crises that continue to brew while we turn the other cheek. It specifically hones in on our lackadaisical attitude towards climate change, but it also obviously alludes to the global pandemic we have been entrenched in for well over a year now. Although these may be sobering topics, they’re all touched in that trademark Emily Davis and The Murder Police way, through dry humour, clever lyrics, and a whole lot of wit. The album shows that we can have serious conversations about serious issues, but also have some fun while making light of them.
Davis may be a familiar name to you from her time spent in dream-pop band Cigarettes After Sex. Never A Moment Alone is the band’s sophomore full-length, an original and dynamic blend of ’90s alternative rock, folk, and modern punk. Davis comes armed with a belting, powerful voice, bringing to mind other great female vocalists like The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan, Jenny Lewis, and Neko Case.
With Never A Moment Alone having now arrived, we recently connected with the band for a new edition of Stereo Six, in which they share with us six albums that were influential in the writing and recording of the band’s new album.
1. Steely Dan – Can’t Buy A Thrill (1972, ABC)
“Can’t Buy A Thrill reminds me of burnt coffee with cigarettes, shady deals, sketchy diners, and morning hangovers. It’s the kind of music you’d listen to while speeding away from a crime scene in a ’70s Crown Victoria. There’s a sneakiness to Steely Dan songs, both lyrically and musically, that I find appealing. They also know how to deliver straightforward, heavier rock that has a smoother, almost jazzy undertone. I took a lot of inspiration from that approach with my drums on our song ‘Space Cadet.’” -Tomas Tinajero
2. Hank Williams III – Straight To Hell (2006, Bruc)
“Straight to Hell is extremely necio. I’ve never heard country music not give as much of a fuck ever in my entire life. The energy on the record is just through the roof and the musicianship is phenomenal. The only type of music I’ve ever heard that rivals that kind of musicianship is jazz or technical death metal. I’ve seen The Damn Band perform before and they’re just as good live as they are on the album. They’ve provided inspiration for me and for our band, they make me want to be a better musician and they make me want to push my bandmates in the same direction.
“Also, EDMP has similar beliefs as Hank Williams III and it really shows in the lyrical content from both bands. The dude’s all about self-destruction, whether it’s by overdosing or having too good of a time with alcohol. We also focus on self-destructive measures but that focus is more frequently directed towards humanity as a whole and how we’re fucking up the planet.” -Jose Macias
3. Pixies – Bossanova (1990, 4AD, Elektra)
“Bossanova has everything an alt-rock aficionado could ever want in an album. You have this sinister, almost foreboding energy on ‘Cecilia Ann,’ ‘Is She Weird,’ and ‘Hangwire.’ Then you get your pop-sensibilities scratched with ‘Velouria,’ ‘Digging For Fire,’ and ‘All Over the World’ (without ever being overly saccharine). I think that’s probably what I appreciate most about this album, Pixies fully embrace their own avant-garde approach to music-making while still providing something palatable and enjoyable for wider audiences. I think that’s a noble goal to strive towards in my own songwriting, staying true to one’s creative voice while providing material that isn’t too esoteric. I think we managed to do that on Never A Moment Alone, and that makes me proud as hell.” -Emily Davis
4. Leftöver Crack – Fuck World Trade (2004, Alternative Tentacles)
“I was first introduced to Leftöver Crack by a friend when I was 18 just before they came out with Fuck World Trade. That album came out at the perfect time for me. They pointed out a bunch of systemic shit I was unaware of at the time, and the musicality of it really inspired me. Every time I would listen to it, I would pick up on some other nuance I didn’t notice before. A lot of albums can have a collection of great songs, but this is one of the few that has a perfect flow to it. It has these musical interludes that connect songs in a way that it’s almost disappointing to hear them by themselves. They use strings and pianos and political samples and an accordion at one point. It’s not something you typically hear on a punk record.
“It showed me you could take punk and make it pretty and orchestral while still keeping it raw. The ending is killer too. It’s this piece that starts with a string quartet then builds to this full-on black metal song about the bombing of the MOVE compound in Philadelphia in 1985, it’s unforgettable. It’s the Dark Side of the Moon of punk.” -Jorge Torres
5. Supertramp – Breakfast in America (1979, A&M)
“We all come from extremely different musical backgrounds, so finding an album the four of us share a deep love for is kind of rare. Breakfast in America is definitely one of those albums.” -Jose Macias
“It’s a record we all can agree is one of the greatest ever made, and it’s one we can listen to and enjoy together as a band. I think that’s pretty special. We listen to it all the time when we’re on the road.” -Tomas Tinajero
“It’s also a good representation of our shared love for ’70s classic rock. That’s the one genre where we all find the most common ground. Classic rock, southern rock, yacht rock, we’re all on board. Plus, you give me a killer saxophone solo and I melt.” -Emily Davis
“I always like to put it on when there’s a good 45-minute drive towards our next destination after a show. It always hits hard.” -Jorge Torres
6. Curveball: Tenacious D – Tenacious D (2001, Epic)
“Another one of our touring traditions, possibly my favourite one, is giving this record a spin in the van and singing our asses off to every single word. Tenacious D has this way of overexaggerating the intensity of rock n’ roll, and the spirit of it, too. I’m inspired by it, even if it’s over-the-top. I think it’s important for us to keep that kind of energy, even if we’re not making glam rock or heavy metal. The way they approach shows, the way they perform, I’d rather a performance be overly-exaggerated than boring, and I love them for it. Singing along to this record is something I’ll never tire of.” -Emily Davis
“They’re amazing to sing along to. I don’t know what other album I like singing along to more, and they’re fantastic at what they do. Don’t forget that they are brilliant musicians. We actually got to open for Kyle Gass a few years ago and it was one of the highlights of our career. This album has given us a lot of awesome tour memories, and I’m sure there are many more waiting for us.” -Jose Macias