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The Vaselines' Eugene Kelly: Five Essential Albums


Glasgow's The Vaselines, the enigmatic Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee, have drifted in and out of their partnership since 1987, influencing an eclectic and reverent crew of musicians along the way, like Belle and Sebastian, Teenage Fanclub and Nirvana's Kurt Cobain.

Kelly and McKee have reunited in earnest since 2008 and released their wiry, bittersweet and robust third album, V for Vaselines, this fall, a collection of songs that spun out of the pair's rekindled admiration for the blasted-out punk bravado and pop charm of the Ramones.

Happily, The Vaselines return to New York next month for a gig at Brooklyn's Bell House on January 16, so TAS asked the always discerning Eugene Kelly if he'd write up a list of his Five Essential Albums and he did, including releases by fellow Scot Edwyn Collins and Orange Juice to New York's own Suicide. 

Read his list below and check out the band's new video for "Crazy Lady."

The Vaselines' Eugene Kelly: Five Essential Albums:

1.The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground & Nico (banana album)
This is where my interest in weird rock music begins. I'd worn out the grooves on my Beatles, Stones and Buddy Holly records by the time I heard this. Then this became the soundtrack to my late teens. You can't be in a rock band and not like this album. It's not allowed.

2. Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood, Nancy and Lee
What do you file this under? These spooky, romantic duets and lush arrangements take you on a journey into the fantastic mind of Lee Hazlewood and the beautiful voice of Nancy Sinatra. Who is Phaedra? And why does Lee want to open up your gate?

3. Orange Juice, You Can't Hide Your Love Forever
Orange Juice is where Scottish "indie" rock begins. The singles they released on Postcard Records in the 1980s were so influential and inspiring. They had the tunes and the look that so many other musicians tried to copy. I had a cassette of this album and only heard it on CD this year after not listening to it for twenty years. I knew without looking what song was coming next.

4. Jesus and Mary Chain, Psychocandy
With their first single 'Upside Down,' [they] created an explosion of excitement and interest in what they would release as an album; Psychocandy didn't disappoint. Mixing Phil Spector and Velvet Undergound with Ramones melodies—this album is amazing. Their early shows didn't last more than twenty minutes as anger and energy clashed in a noise attack. This album unveiled the melodies beneath the noise.

5. Suicide, Suicide
Original, inspiring, inventive. Suicide's electronic proto punk/rock 'n' roll tunes were like nothing before. Their pulsating, primitive music and edgy, scary and repetitive vocals scared me on first listen, then drew me in until I loved them and never let them leave me. "Ghost Rider" gets you dancing and excited, "Cheree" massages and caresses you into a relaxed dream state until "Frankie Teardrop" attacks you down a dark alley and scares the living daylights out of you. Once heard, never forgotten, always loved.