This week's "Albums That Changed My Life" contributor is Carmen Cirignano of Young Statues!
The band will be heading out on tour next month in support of their upcoming "The Covers" EP which drops on December 4th through Run For Cover Records. All dates and ticket information for the tour can be found here.
The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
Growing up we're all exposed to our parent's taste in music, whatever they play or give us is what we'll listen to. Luckily, my parents taste in music was pretty alright. For me, this period was right in the prime of CDs, just before the age of digital music and mp3's took over. I remember my dad had this big wooden chest in our living room, it was filled with hundreds of CDs, it was amazing how many he had. I would go through them and base my choices on how much I liked the album covers. I picked Pet Sounds because I liked the animals on the front. It was always on at our house and my sister and I could sing the melodies front to back (before we actually really knew how to pronounce words). This record along with Fleetwood Mac's - Rumors were my introductions to harmony-rich pop music, and I was hooked from that point on.
I grew up hearing Neil Young constantly. Every time I was in the car with my Dad and throughout the house all of his records would play. As a kid, these weren't songs that I would listen to by choice- I wrote it off as boring "old man" music, although I never complained when it came on. Not wanting to give in and admit that my Dad was right, I took a bunch of Neil Young's records to my room one night and listened. Since that night Neil Young has been the single biggest influence on me, and one of the only constants in my life musically. Harvest was the album that stuck out in particular and always has. It showed me how much beauty there is in a well written song with simple arrangements.
This record was my definitive introduction to punk music with pop sensibility, or what is now referred to as pop-punk. There were a lot of bands in this realm that were coming out at the time and blowing up, but when I heard this record, Saves the Day became the band that connected all the things I love about music into this style. A friend played "Rocks Tonic Juice Magic" for me and I remember being surprised at the abrasiveness of the lyrics, I really loved how aggressive it was. It was such a departure from some of the sarcastic and silly tones that existed in a lot of music at that time. From that point on I went and bought the record and listened to it for a really long time consistently. It definitely influenced my earliest efforts at making music, I'll always remember the first time I heard it.
I think I was in 6th grade when I got a gift certificate for guitar lessons from a relative. I had been playing guitar for a while but never had lessons. I hated it, practicing scales and being directed on what to play at home was not my thing. However, there was one thing that makes me glad I went to those lessons- my introduction to Wilco. My teacher at the time was in his 20's and burned me a copy of "Summerteeth". I thought he had no idea what cool music was, but when I heard this record I became obsessed with it. Some of the sounds that I'd never heard before blew my mind, like the mellotron flutes on "She's a Jar" and the synth on "ELT". My teacher showed me how to play "She's a Jar" and the satisfaction I felt from learning to play that song got me really hooked on guitar. Plus, I got to introduce my dad to a cool band this time, which was an added plus.
Nirvana - Nevermind
I had a friend whose older brother was really into Nirvana. I remember hearing them and thinking the concept of Nirvana was cool, but I was too young to fully understand it. I never really listened to any of the music until one day soon after Kurt died I heard "Smells Like Teen Spirit". When I heard it my mind was blown, for me it came out of nowhere and gave me a feeling that no other music ever had in the past. I became hooked on anything and everything Nirvana from that point on. Nirvana as a whole changed my life, they were the first band I heard that weaved a melodic pop conscious songwriting sense into heavy music that carried so much raw energy. Then they could do things like the "Unplugged"performance, which was in my opinion one of the greatest shows ever. Nirvana at that point became one of the most important bands in my life, and have been since.