Welcome to another edition of First, Last, and Favorite, where we get to pick the brains of some of our favorite musicians about some of the landmark records from their lives. We’re pretty stoked to have a few picks from John Atkins of Sun Breaks this week!
Sun Breaks is the creative pairing of John Atkins (764-Hero et al.) and James van Leuven, both vets of Seattle’s fertile turn-of-the-century indie rock community. Their new record All On Camera is a lovely and lively batch of excellent and experimental indie-pop. (Out now via Suicide Squeeze!) This is the sort of sound you get from artists comfortable enough with their craft to push the boundaries of their usual sounds. We get electronic flourishes, unexpected sonics, and, of course, a strong melodic core. Give a listen to ‘Moments’ to get the gist:
John was good enough to let us know what record got his record-buying life rolling, as well as what’s spinning right now, and his all-time favorite:
Black Sabbath Paranoid
The first record I bought with my own money. I was probably 12? It was in the 50 cent bin and I didn't know anything about it but was drawn to the crazy cover and sinister band name. Glad I picked it up, heavy and strange with no frills unless you count the bongos on "Planet Caravan."
Sherwood At The Controls Vol. 1 1979-1984
This compilation of Adrian Sherwood productions came out a little while ago, but it is a gift that keeps giving. Dubby Post Punk mixes helmed by Adrian Sherwood with an insane guest list from The Fall to Prince Far I. These tracks highlight both the bleakness of Thatcher's UK and the giddy, euphoric experimentation of kids with nothing to lose.
Elliott Smith Figure 8
The sound of an artist at the peak of their powers. It checks all the boxes for me. Amazing melodies, heartfelt lyrics about the hard stuff and production with a confident and inventive hand. The record that makes me want to go to L.A. and the record that makes me mad at L.A.