Solange - A Seat At The Table

Mary Epworth Record Shopping For The 405

I saw the 'Cranes in the Sky' video when it first popped up on the internet, and something about the calm space in that song took my breath away.

It's an impressive album for so many reasons. I love the fact she's dealing with really heavy political and social stuff, but that it is married so beautifully with the music. It doesn't really sound like anything else and feels like such a true act of artistic expression. It hasn't had all the oddness smoothed off by a team of writers.

Iggy Pop - The Idiot

Mary Epworth Record Shopping For The 405

I have to wave my Iggy fan flag here and say that this isn't my top record of his, that would be New Values which is my dream weirdo soul record.

I started listening to solo Iggy when I was a teenager, after being introduced to him by some older boys I was hanging around with. They fancied themselves as cool outsiders, and this was sort of like their soundtrack to prove it. I crack up now when I think that they were just 19-year-old Stortford boys trying to cultivate the black leather jacket mystique.

Anyway, the record. This was one of the first records that really got under my skin. I spent so much time listening to this on headphones as I negotiated the world of grown-ups from a young teen's perspective. It felt so dense and impenetrable, and I was really half scared, half in love with the sounds and imagery, thick smoke and factories and darkness and drugginess and danger and all the rest. I spent so much time trying to understand it.

I love the emptiness and claustrophobia, and the really metallic sax sounds. I keep coming back to this record over and over again and it never stops blowing my mind.

The Idle Race - Idle Race

Mary Epworth Record Shopping For The 405

Confusingly titled second record here. Those scamps!

I love The Idle Race, they are just pure unadulterated excellent pop, all killer no filler, as you'd expect from a band that featured Jeff Lynne

My favourite tracks on here are 'Please No More Sad Songs' and 'Hurry Up John'. The latter is so excitable and dynamic, it's the sort of song I put on to persuade myself to leave the house to be sociable.

Again, the production on this record is so excellent, really great songs are supported by smart arrangements and interesting vocal treatments. Loads of nice soft flanging etc.

Suicide - Suicide

Mary Epworth Record Shopping For The 405

There's so much loveliness on this record. When I was younger and I heard people talking about Suicide, and saw how scary they looked, I expected it to be so fearsome and shocking, and I was a bit surprised how much it feels like a continuity of warm American Rock n Roll.

For example, 'Cheree' could be by Tommy James and The Shondells. It's such a tender little moment in time.

Again, I love the space and claustrophobia in these tracks, and the pared-down setup with bossa drum machine etc. It's such a good formula, great creative limitations.

I saw them live only once, at an ATP. They seemed like completely adorable people.

Judy Henske and Jerry Yester - Farewell Aldebaran

Mary Epworth Record Shopping For The 405

I love this album so much, and I'm happy to see this is a legit copy and not a crappy bootleg, as there have been a lot of those and this record deserves better.

This album is a big, lovely, weird, rambling, rootsy psych-fest. I adore all of it. 'Snowblind' for Judy's epic roar, 'Horse On A Stick' for its twinkly fairytale magic, 'Farewell Aldebaran' for that bonkers ring-mod vocal freak-out.

I'm sometimes a bit suspicious of lyrics written as poetry, as they don't seem to be at one with the melody, but in this case they are executed so expertly, they work really well.

"Your horse, is shod with starlight, its shoes strike sparks in the night. Afraid some day, he'll carry you away, you've hobbled him, in your mind's pasture."


Mary Epworth's new album, Elytral, is out this Friday (September 1st) via Sunday Best. Check out more photos from the shoot below, along with the video for 'Surprise Yourself'.