Pete Astor (The Loft / Weather Prophets) tells us about his favorite Creation Records releases
To go along with our list of Creation Records' 21 Best Records, we've been asking some of the artists who were on the label to tell us about their favorites. Here we've got a list from Pete Astor of The Loft and The Weather Prophets.
The stories of Pete Astor and famed UK indie label Creation Records are very intertwined. His band The Loft were originally known as The Living Room, which was also the name of Alan McGee's club night; Astor changed the name of the band and became regulars at The Living Room and appeared on Alive at the Living Room which was Creation's first full-length release. The Loft, and Pete's other Creation band The Weather Prophets, made charming, literate guitar pop indebted to Television and The Velvet Underground and singles like "Up the Hill and Down the Slope" and "I Almost Prayed" were early highlights for the label. "We were on Creation Records from the beginning and I think we helped establish the feel and sound of the label," Astor writes on his website.
After the breakup of The Weather Prophets, Astor stayed on Creation for two solo albums -- 1990's Submarine and 1991's Zoo -- so he really saw the label go from its very DIY beginnings to the start of its Big Indie phase that included Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Teenage Fanclub and Primal Scream, and would soon hit full force with Oasis. Pete went on to make records as The Wisdom of Harry for Matador and Ellis Island Sound (with David Sheppard) for Heavenly, as well as more recent solo albums for Slumberland, Fortuna Pop and Tapete.
Needless to say, we were happy to get this list from him. Pete's picks run from the label's earliest days to even after he was no longer recording for the label and include some of the heavy hitters (Teenage Fanclub, Primal Scream, MBV) but also a few deep cuts, too (Heidi Berry, Nikki Sudden, Pacific). Check out Pete's Creation Records favorites, complete with commentary, below.
PETE ASTOR - 10 CREATION FAVES
Various Artists - Wild Summer Wow (1984)
[This compilation collects early Creation singles from The Pastels, The Loft, Alan Mcgee's band Revolving Paint Dream, The Jasmine Minks, and more.] I love the hopefulness of this compilation, the feel that, unlikely as it seemed, anything might be possible, just because you wanted it.
Nikki Sudden - Texas
He was so consumed with the rock and roll mythology; and at the same time such a sweet and polite person, showing you his notepads with every set he played written out and annotated. I love his belief, the way he could strum G to D like he was the first person ever to do it.
Heidi Berry – Below the Waves
When I first met Heidi, I remember she eventually told me she wrote songs and the only way she would let me hear them was to sing them to me in the dark. As she didn’t play any instruments at the time, it was acapella. I just remember how haunting and magical they were. Next thing we worked out what the basic chords were and she started playing them on a guitar open tuned to E. I played some versions to Alan who, like Ivo Watts-Russell at 4AD later, recognised their quality and she made Below the Waves for Creation. It was so good to see the journey of those songs from my room in Crouch End to that album.
The Chills – Kaleidoscope World (1986)
There was a such a quiet confidence and melancholy to what The Chills did – something like "Pink Frost" was so understated; and that understatement in "I Love My Leather Jacket" was heartbreaking.
Felt – Pictorial Jackson Review (1988)
Lawrence was always to good at designing an album as a whole; the way that this one had the two long instrumentals on side B. And brilliantly self-mythologising songs, including my favourite, "How Spook Got Her Man."
Pacific – Inference (1990)
Of course, like almost everyone else, I missed this at the time but this is perfectly imperfect electronic chamber pop – it deserves to be heard.
Primal Scream – Vanishing Point (1997)
I loved the ambition of Primal Scream. They were really generous creatively; good at sharing, collaborating, synthesising ideas, fearless in the service the music. I think it was on Vanishing Point where they managed to balance all their elements to make my favourite album of theirs.
My Bloody Valentine – Loveless (1991)
I remember Alan playing me the latest cassettes of what they were doing on Loveless as their then, seemingly endless, sessions continued. At that time what they were doing sounded so otherworldly and it was hard to imagine it would ever end up so coherent and bright as it did on this record.
Teenage Fanclub - Bandwagonesque (1991)
They made something that was very, very hard look very simple. Such a light touch. Like that Fred Astaire quote about working really hard to make it look easy.
Oasis – Definitely Maybe (1994)
Almost forgot about this, it’s so massive! I loved Oasis, there was something completely perfect about their swagger. I knew that they’d changed music forever when I moved into a place in a sketchy block of flats and two local lads noticed and asked about the acoustic guitar I was carrying in. Without Oasis, an acoustic guitar would have meant nothing to them. Now it was something worth stealing. The kind of aching, keening songs like almost everything in this list was now in the centre of the music world.