Public Service Broadcasting: Five Essential Albums
J. Willgoose, Esq., one half of the electronic London duo Public Service Broadcasting, is an ardent film and history buff, a quality which defines the band (which includes drummer Wrigglesworth) and its unique mission. Known for their clever use of vintage movie clips, historic sound bites, and other gems found at the British Film Institute and beyond, Public Service Broadcasting's eye was cast on everything from Spitfire airplanes to Sir Edmund Hillary's 1953 ascent of Everest on their 2013 debut, Inform-Educate-Entertain. J and Wrigglesworth also came by Studio A last year for a session for FUV Live minus their multimedia setup.
For the duo's ambitious second album, The Race For Space, they focused on American and Soviet space exploration in the '60s. Reflecting on that album and beyond, Public Service Broadcasting's tweed-loving J wrote up his "Five Essential Albums" for WFUV.
Five Essential Albums
J. Willgoose Esq. of Public Service Broadcasting:
1. David Bowie, Low
A lot of people have asked if I was (well, more like insisted that I was!) listening to a lot of Brian Eno in the making of the new album, but I wasn’t. I’m a big fan, but if anything of his has come through in The Race For Space it’s almost certainly via Low. I think this is one of the bravest, strangest and most brilliant albums of all time. I absolutely love it and I’d say it’s the number one influence behind the new record.
2. Tortoise, TNT
I’ve been a big fan of Tortoise for years now and keep returning to this album along with their later Standards. It’s a fantastic album and the instrumentation on it—especially the vibraphone—was influential when it came to writing our new one. The last track, "Everglade," in particular is an absolute highlight. Beautiful.
3. Metronomy, The English Riviera
I tend to be about a year or two behind most UK music—I like it that way, as it means I avoid the hype and only tend to listen to the stuff that’s worth listening to. I wasn’t that keen on their newest album but this one is a must. There’s an admirable restraint in their songwriting and arrangement (one which I think they took too far on the new one) and with songs as good as "The Look" you know you’re on to a winner.
4. Various Artists, King Funk
Our song "Gagarin" was a bit of a departure for us in that it’s a proper attempt at a funk song—this is a great compilation album that features Marie Queenie Lyons’ absolute belter "Your Thing Ain’t No Good Without My Thing." Highly recommended.
5. Harry Belafonte, Jump Up Calypso
Alright, this might seem like a slightly strange one, but Belafonte is a man I have the utmost respect for as a musician and as a human being, and this album just makes me really, really happy. I’m not religious in the slightest but "The Baby Boy" gets me going every time. A great voice, and a strong and sincere one.