Ride’s Andy Bell 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. Today it's a list from Andy Bell who was in not one, not two, but three Creation bands in the '90s. He of course was in Ride, one of the great groups of the original shoegaze era whose first two albums are among the label's best (and whose two post-reunion records are very good too). Ride broke up in 1996 and Bell formed Hurricane #1, a much more straight-up rock band, with singer-songwriter Alex Lowe. When that group called it quits after two albums, Bell joined Oasis in 1999, just as Creation folded.
Bell and the rest of Ride were all big fans of Creation's late-'80s output leading up to their signing, so it's exciting to get this list of his favorite songs the label released over the years, which includes fellow shoegazers (MBV, Swervedriver), early inspirations (Felt, House of Love), and one group he would later be in. "I went 'route one' with this list, I basically shot from the hip and tried to pick 10 big favourites without thinking about it too deeply," Andy told us. "When I look back through the list, it’s pretty impressive what this label managed to achieve. I’m really proud to have been a small part of it all. Happy days."
Check out Andy Bell's Creation Favorites list, complete with commentary for each, below.
You can also check out a list of Creation Records favorites from Slowdive.
Meanwhile, Andy just released his debut solo album last year, and will release three connected EPs this year, the first of which, The Indica Gallery, is out 9 April via Sonic Cathedral, and released a new single under his GLOK alter ego. You can watch the video for his spectral GLOK rework of Pye Corner Audio’s remix of "Indica" below.
Ride have been back together since 2014 and have released two new albums since.
ANDY BELL'S CREATION TOP 10 (NO PARTICULAR ORDER)
The Jesus and Mary Chain - "Upside Down"
I first heard this song played by Muriel Grey, who was standing in for [BBC DJ] John Peel one evening in the mid-'80s. I was a young teenager and discovering music almost exclusively via my radio, and specifically Radio 1. I discovered The Smiths through Janice Long, filled many tapes with a whole variety of music from the John Peel show, and discovered a really well curated playlist of classic rock and pop on the brilliant Annie Nightingale show on a Sunday evening. As sonically extreme as “Upside Down” was, there was always a very simple and melodic '60s pop core to Mary Chain songs. As a band they left Creation after this single, but they are still quintessentially Creation for me.
My Bloody Valentine - "You Made Me Realise"
Hearing this at the time, it felt like a really cool take on the very “New York" Sonic Youth sound, from our side of the pond. MBV stylised the Sonic Youth roar and somehow converted their wig-outs into more controlled, repeated musical hooks, but there was a lot more to it than that. The vocals were different to a lot of music at the time, very soft vocals layered up, disembodied and otherworldly. The guitars were becoming more and more abstracted from a rock sound, while at the same time being anything but ethereal. We’d been following the band for a while, they’d gone from a very fragile and fey sound to something way more muscular. It was a very fast and exaggerated step up in quality of music with every album and EP. Almost like a Robert Johnson crossroads moment, it was pretty startling, we watched them get better and better until it kind of peaked with Loveless, which feels like the ultimate logical conclusion of the musical palette they were working with. But this particular song and the EP it came from was a huge musical moment of inspiration for me and the rest of Ride. We absorbed it immediately into our vision of what our band was.
Felt - "Ballad of the Band"
Lawrence is such a brilliant person. The night I met him, sometime in the '90s, we had a brilliant conversation about guitar solos in pop, and the next week I received a mixtape in the post from him, which I will have to dig out. He was full of amazing concepts like doing an album a year for ten years -- something they actually did. I was impressed by Felt, I thought they were unbelievably cool, and I really loved their songs, without ever knowing that many of them. I never saw them live, and on record I only had the compilation album they put out on Creation. “Primitive Painters” is their finest moment, but it’s not on Creation, so I chose another personal favourite, “The Ballad of the Band.” I love the way Lawrence sings this, and it’s very him, the way he’s singing about being in a band. Conceptual!
Primal Scream - "Come Together"
When Ride was getting signed to Creation, this album was being recorded. Alan McGee was very involved in the process, and through being with him a lot, we got to meet most of the Scream, who we hit it off with straightaway. What they created in the studio with Andrew Weatherall is so timeless and perfect, it seems to age better than anything else on the Creation label, songs like this and “Loaded” are just all time classics now, part of the canon.
Oasis - "Columbia"
Primal Scream seemed like the ultimate Creation band until this lot showed up. What Oasis brought to the party was a total perfect storm of songwriting, attitude, charisma, style and two of the funniest and sharpest tools in the box in Liam and Noel. Real funny fuckers. They were the band the label had been waiting for, and I think the label was also exactly what the band needed. It felt like a match made in heaven, at least from the outside. This song has all that early menace and attitude that I love about them, it’s one of my favourites from their early days.
The House of Love - "Christine"
Along with MBV, The House of Love were the biggest influence on the formative Ride sound. Guy Chadwick is a great songwriter in the tradition of Echo and the Bunnymen, who me and Mark loved. Terry Bickers is a visionary guitarist whose God given talent really rubbed off on me in terms of influence. He had this kind of shimmering rotary sound, a very fast but clear chorus sound. That I loved, and tried hard to emulate.
Swervedriver - "Son of Mustang Ford"
When Ride first started, there was a band called Shake Appeal on the Oxford circuit. They were very much in the Stooges mode and had a really rock and roll reputation. A couple of years later they had become Swervedriver, and there was a whole new element to the Stooges ‘Raw Power’ sound, they’d taken on board a load more influences and become something really special. It was really cool having a band who we knew sign to the same label -- although I personally had zero to do with that, I think Mark Gardener was the one who helped them on board.
Slowdive - "Souvlaki Space Station"
A band who I never listened much to at the time but have grown to love in the years since. Their catalogue was really underrated at the time but now they are getting the recognition they fully deserve. It feels like they belong to a lineage which goes back to the Cocteau Twins. Slowdive seem to inhabit their own particular musical universe, it’s good to have them back, I’m looking forward to more albums from them.
Teenage Fanclub - "The Concept"
What a lovely bunch of fellas the Fanclub are. We became firm friends from the first time we played together and this is from their breakthrough album Bandwagonesque which is just chock full of hits. Bish bash bosh!
BMX Bandits - "Serious Drugs"
I remember this period of Creation so well. I just remember Alan McGee playing this constantly to everyone who walked in the office, or entered his flat, at least when I was hanging around with him anyway. It’s a cracker of a song.
Here's a playlist with all 10 of Andy's picks (though "You Made Me Realise" is only available in some countries).