Swervedriver’s Adam Franklin 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 one of the greats from the original UK shoegaze scene, Swervedriver.
Originally named Shake Appeal, Swervedriver came up in the same Oxford scene as Ride, but mixed their dreamy guitars with a Stooges-like raw power. Ride's Mark Gardner gave Swervedriver's demo tape to Creation Records president Alan McGee who took it with him on his first trip to Los Angeles. Finding their heavy, hazy maelstrom to be the perfect soundtrack for driving around California, McGee signed Swervedriver, who made their Creation debut soon after with 1990's Son of Mustang Ford EP. The band would six EPs and three albums for Creation, including 1993's fantastic Duel EP and Mezcal Head album, and 1995's Ejector Seat Reservation.
Swervedriver frontman Adam Franklin's Creation Favorites list includes a few of his fellow shoegazers, as well as a few label deep cuts. Check that out. complete with Adam's commentary, below.
Swervedriver are still going strong and releasing great records, like 2019's excellent Future Ruins, which you can listen to below:
SWERVEDRIVER'S ADAM FRANKLIN - CREATION RECORDS FAVORITES
The House of Love - "Destroy the Heart" / "Shine On" / "Christine" (1987 / 1988)
I always associate the House of Love with Snub TV so I guess I first saw them on there. Impressionistic latent psychedelia are three words I’d use to describe the original Terry Bickers/Creation version of "Shine On" with its swooshing vocal compression and chiming guitars. Can’t really separate these three bangers though - "Destroy the Heart" easily lives up to its title, while "Christine" has that amazing dissolving chord change beneath the “and the whole world drags us down” line.
My Bloody Valentine - Isn’t Anything 1988 / Glider EP 1990 / Tremolo EP (1991)
Paddy bought the album and I taped it off him, with "Feed Me With Your Kiss" as the opener. I didn’t know for years that I had been listening to the two sides the wrong way round. The between-album MBV EPs were like missives from on high at the time - "Off Your Face," "Swallow," "Don’t Ask Why" and "Honey Power" are all easily amongst their best ever.
Ride - Like A Daydream (1990)
We were recording our first EP for Creation the week this went in the charts and Ride were on Top of the Pops, which was all insane. Love the reverse cymbal, “I wish life could be just like a photograph” and Andy’s magnificent clanking Rickenbacker lead guitar line.
Slowdive - Slowdive (1991)
We had a squat in Agar Grove just round the corner from our rehearsal space and we got snowed in one night and all the public transport got cancelled. Our manager Richard made his way back from the Creation offices holding a white label record, saying “Hey you wanna hear McGee’s new signing?” and put this on really loud as we sat and drank hot toddies.
Primal Scream - "Higher Than The Sun" (1991)
Now this was far out, like stepping into the future. Those all-nighters at Brixton Academy after Spiritualized or Primals shows -- it’s hard not to find yourself involuntarily gurning by the end of the memory, really. In fact it sounds like I involuntarily gurned out that last sentence.
Silverfish with Scrambled Eggs EP (1992)
Silverfish put on some the best live shows around this time, whether stuffed into backroom bars at the White Horse or the Camden Falcon or up on the stage of the Kilburn National with a naked man in a cowboy hat setting himself on fire. So it was very nice when our drinking buddies and Camden’s finest purveyors of ‘the Lurch’ became labelmates. Looks like you’re gonna have to hunt this mighty fine EP down.
The Boo Radleys - Everything’s Alright Forever (1992)
Last track "Paradise" is a six minute stonergaze wig-out of the highest order. The uplifting melancholic chorus of Memory Babe -- “Remember when we used to stay up all night and laugh? / But no more we’re grown apart what I’d give to get you back” -- stands out for me, along with the sound of stoned Boos giggling “where am I? ..where am I??!” at the beginning of "Losing It (Song For Abigail)." Scouse Dinosaur to Scouse Simon & Garfunkel and all the way back via shitloads of reverse reverb and a couple of Arthur Lee’s trumpets. A shoutout for Steven A Wood’s wonderful artwork also.
Medicine - 5ive (1992)
First met Brad Laner in 1990 in LA at a friend’s house. Our friend, Rod Poole, had moved over from Oxford and these guys were sorta part of an experimental, improvisational scene going on there. So it was cool when Medicine emerged from that scene and onto Creation Records a couple of years later. We did a coast-to-coast US tour with them in 1994 and Brad plugged his guitar into a four track portastudio that sat at his feet onstage, at the start of his pedal chain because he liked the compression sound it made -- and I knew exactly what he meant!
Teenage Fanclub - "Sparky’s Dream" (1995)
What can you possibly say about this inspired piece of magic? You just need to harmonise along with the car stereo really: “She painted pictures / That never dry / Always tried to keep the feeling alive.” You can’t trust anyone that doesn’t love the Fannies really. And they’re still all great too - check out 2019’s "Everything Is Falling Apart," and "Sweetness In Her Spark" by [Gerard Love's solo project] Lightships.
The Cramps - "Naked Girl Falling Down The Stairs" (1995)
I couldn’t remember if we were still on the label at the same time as The Cramps, so how delighted was I to find Swervedriver snuggled right up alongside them in the catalogue numbers list at CRE179 and CRE180 respectively! God bless Lux and Ivy. Sample lyric: “All the way down she was up in the air / It was a naked girl falling down the stairs."
The Jesus and Mary Chain - "I Hate Rock’n’Roll" (1998)
The first Creation single I ever saw was "Upside Down" by the Mary Chain so it seems entirely fitting for everything to circle back around to this. You write a song about hating it and you just end up loving it even more. The middle eight is an object lesson in how to record gloriously gnarly and pissed off electric guitar, with the dream team of Moulder, Meaney and Addison at the controls. Munki was a great record.