Fiddlehead discuss 8 albums that influenced their new LP ‘Between The Richness’
Pick up Fiddlehead's new album on white-in-purple vinyl.
Last week, Fiddlehead released their sophomore album Between The Richness on Run For Cover, and it's one of the best post-hardcore albums of this year so far and also a high point in vocalist Pat Flynn's rich discography, which also includes Have Heart, Sweet Jesus, Free, Clear, Wolf Whistle, and The Action Taken. (If you're not fully up on Pat's many bands, this new primer by Hugo Reyes is a very good way to familiarize yourself.) As we mentioned in our review, the album explores the lighter side of post-hardcore, emo, and indie rock compared to some of Pat's more aggressive hardcore records, and to get a better feel for the specific influences, we spoke to four members of Fiddlehead about eight albums that influenced Between The Richness.
Drummer Shawn Costa (also of Have Heart), guitarist Alex Henery (also of Basement), guitarist Alex Dow (also of Big Contest, Intent), and bassist Casey Nealon (also of Youth Funeral, Death Injection, etc) all contributed to the list, which includes an array of artists, from classic bands like Magazine, Sebadoh, The Clean, Slint, and Guided by Voices to newer bands like Fontaines DC. Read on to see their picks and what they had to say about each one.
Pick up Between The Richness on white-in-purple vinyl (and Have Heart's What Counts EP on 12" white vinyl) in our shop.
Fontaines DC - Dogrel
It’s pretty rare to find a current band that is creating a sound that seems fresh and exciting but Fontaines DC have captured just that. The guitar tones on this record are rich and pierce through the songs, the lyrics are thoughtful, witty and biting. This whole LP has so much character, a style that you couldn’t recreate. A confident swagger without being off-putting, they balance melody and punk perfectly. I love how dynamic sounding the songs are, with a strong ability to build up intensity but also write ballads and touch on a quieter sound. I listened to this album a lot and was really inspired by the energy and raw sound, it was definitely a huge influence in writing some of the songs on the record. (Alex Henery)
Sebadoh - Bakesale
This record is effortless, it just has a natural sound of band playing in a room but it’s not lo-fi or garage rock sounding. It’s actually crystal clear. I’m definitely influenced by this songwriting style -- little riffs, fun chords -- it just has a really relaxed feel to it. Between The Richness came together by just writing a song each practice and we just tried not to overthink things, but still remain intentional. Bakesale has such variety in styles of songs and it keeps you interested as you listen to the whole album. There’s really not a dull moment. (Alex Henery)
Guided By Voices - Bee Thousand
I must’ve spent one thousand hours with this record between 2018 and 2019. I had originally discovered it in high school, but I don’t think I was ready for it then. Perhaps it was the recording quality or the frantic songwriting that threw me off, I don’t know. Now there is no doubt that this record is an all time favorite and has an influence on my guitar playing in general and for Between The Richness. 20 songs… 20 freaking songs with no duds. I’ll admit I skip "Her Psychology Today" pretty regularly if I’m listening front to back, but the rock block that is "Smothered In Hugs" into "Yours to Keep" into "Echos Myro"n is probably my favorite three-song transition on any record. I’ve always wanted to meet a member to ask if all the little quirks were by design or happy accidents. It’s just pure emotional rock, it’s incredibly inspiring. (Alex Dow)
Fell to Low - The Frontier Wit
I never got to see this band live, it feels like we were supposed to play with them a number of times, but never seemed to work out. In 2012 when Flynn and I started Fiddlehead this record was a constant source of inspiration. I was revisiting it on a weekend of shows we played in Canada in Fall of 2018 and it held up for me. The songwriting is so unique yet familiar. Travis’ vocals and lyrics are incredibly thoughtful, it’s not just well done technical emo (which it is), it’s way more special than that. The guitar always sounds great, from the feedback to the jangly riffs. While I don’t think we sound much like Fell To Low, I feel when I heard this record, I related to it sonically so much that it has had a long term impact on the way I approach playing the guitar. (Alex Dow)
Slint - Spiderland
Britt Walford’s drumming on this particular LP has often served as a source of inspiration for me. His use of the feathering technique, unorthodox accenting, and drum dynamics are so singularly distinct and stylistically captivating. The drumming on “Spiderland” is a textbook example of how to rhythmically and empathically serve a collective musical piece, without overplaying nor pulling away from the overarching instrumentation. Which is exactly the rhythmic approach I try to use in Fiddlehead. (Shawn Costa)
The Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
For a moment I considered referencing my Tony Williams inspo which has become fairly pervasive in my drumming as of late. Instead I included the drummer who I believe has been the most dominant rhythmic force in rock music over the course of the last 30+ years, Jimmy Chamberlin. His hybrid jazz/rock approach is unmistakable and immediately recognizable. I very regularly derive inspiration from the JC catalog of dragged out rock grooves/well articulated single stroke rolls. The snare roll work in “Joyboy” is a prime example of me attempting to channel my inner Chamberlin. (Shawn Costa)
The Clean - Anthology
When I was writing music for Between The Richness, I was still living in Boston and I would listen to The Clean every Saturday morning as I raised the blinds on my windows. On one of those afternoons, you could have found me learning the bass lines to "Anything Could Happen." "Loverman" may even be a close family relative to that song. After all, both tracks do satiate my obsession with music that is cyclical with one strong, subtly changing bass line as a foundation. (C Nealon)
Magazine - Real Life
You could trace a direct connection from Barry Adamson’s driving rhythms and melodies to any moment of my bass work in Fiddlehead. I could speak to the deep influence that his work with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds had on me, but the material on Real Life is more pertinent in this context. There is a confidence and balance to Barry’s playing — ever-present, sometimes blazing its own path but always reeling back into the pocket when appropriate. I try to achieve this in Fiddlehead by bouncing between accenting Shawn’s drum patterns, harmonizing with the guitars, or pounding my own singular melody into a song like a nail. (C Nealon)
Pick up Between the Richness on white/purple vinyl here.