girli, nicole dollanganger, and sunflower bean on the iconic albums of their youth
In the second part of this double-feature, GIRLI waxes lyrical about the Arctic Monkeys and Nicole Dollanganger reminisces about Daniel Johnston’s ‘1990.’
Photography Olivia Rose
GIRLI — Whatever You Say I Am, That's What I'm Not by Arctic Monkeys
"I first heard this album in 2006, when I was only nine, in a rent-a-car with my dad. Turner's lyrics were the first I had ever heard that said shit how it actually was and related to me so accurately. It was the first time I felt like a teenager. Arctic Monkeys made me wanna be in a band and write funny songs about stuff that had happened to me and my friends, so I picked up a guitar and started my first band. I was so obsessed with being like Alex Turner that at our first couple gigs, I sang in a Sheffield accent until someone told me to cut it out and stop faking. Now, when I write lyrics as GIRLI, this album is always a constant inspiration — it sums up what's it like to be a teenager in Britain, in such a grimy, legit, non-pretentious way and that's what I strive to do in every song and lyric too."
Nicole Dollanganger — 1990 by Daniel Johnston
"A friend of mine burned me a CD of Daniel Johnston's 1990 to have while I spent the summer away. I ended up biking around the neighborhood swamps in Punta Gorda, Florida, aimlessly listening to it on repeat every day. It was the first time I'd heard music that seemed completely unfiltered and unafraid. There wasn't emphasis on production or quality because there just didn't need to be. The songs spoke for themselves and completely changed the way I understood how songs could be written. It encouraged me to do and write what I wanted."
Jackson Phillips of Day Wave — Meddle by Pink Floyd
"The record that changed everything for me was Meddle by Pink Floyd. I first heard it in seventh grade when my mom gave me the CD for Christmas. After the first few listens, I was obsessed with the songs, but then I started thinking about the way it sounded. I remember listening and, for the first time, being able to pick apart what each instrument was doing. I didn't know it, but I was discovering music production. I was amazed by the way each instrument worked together to create this bigger picture. I think it was at that point that I really knew I wanted to be a musician."
Okay Kaya — Otis Redding
"The first album I can remember really moving me was a Best of Otis Redding LP my mom kept. I was quite young, perhaps eight or nine. I remember listening to it over and over — I once asked my mom about him, and she told me he had passed away. This was possibly the first time I grieved over a person's death. He was also my first crush, discovering my own sexuality through his voice. I've since had a history of falling in love with deceased artists."
Connie Constance — Whatever You Say I Am, That's What I'm Not by Arctic Monkeys
"I would have first listened to this album at around 14, when I was in secondary school. My step dad, Mark, used to play a lot of indie rock and mod-influenced bands in his car, which I used to hate at first and then later became very fond of. The album is indie rock/garage rock, very rebellious, but has a few very real love songs like 'Mardy Bum.' I like the way they used sayings like, 'You've got the face on'— it's like a conversation you might have in your mind or with your friends about your partner. This style of writing has influenced me heavily. I like to take a saying or phrase that I've been brought up with and then try to put into a song. It's the soundtrack to me finding my individuality."
Niomí Eve of Tidelines — Arular by M.I.A
"When I was 13, I was in the full throes of being the new girl after moving from London to Northern Ireland. I could hear the sea in my new bed and see dark mountains from my window. It was beautiful, but I felt alien to the quiet and to the people there. Seeing M.I.A for the first time in her 'Galang' video was a revelation. 'London's Calling,' she sang to me on the sofa, where I sat with my mouth open. My dad let me order her CD, and I spent my summer listening to Arular on my hi-fi and cultivating a love for programmed drums and affected vocals. I swallowed it whole and went back to school in September with a new confidence. Arular expanded what I knew about pop music enormously and paved the way for my own musical exploration later on."
Jacob Faber of Sunflower Bean — Live at Leeds by The Who
"The first album that comes to mind for me is Live at Leeds by The Who. Listening to it as a kid, it was the first like really rock 'n' roll thing I heard. It's so heavy. Most people think of The Who as like a pop-rock act, but this album is some of the hardest rocking stuff ever. It really inspired my drum playing as well. The really loose, but also tight, groove is so awesome and not a lot of bands get that. Also, they are an instrumental three-piece — just so badass in general. An epic album."
Marisa Hylton of AOSOON — Confessions by Usher
"Confessions became my diary, even though I wasn't going through any of that shit. I was just going into secondary school at that time, and I would play it on my personal CD player and literally listen to every song and then repeat. The thing I loved about it (besides the epic interludes) was how it felt like a quality piece of creative work; it felt like every song somehow went into another section of the whole story he was trying to tell in that good R&B way. It definitely influences what I do now, simply because of the feeling I was opened up to."
Camella Lobo of Tropic of Cancer — Louder Than Bombs by The Smiths
"My whole teenage existence was in flux as I had just started at a new public high school after attending Catholic school my entire life. I went from wearing uniforms and doing homework alone on Friday nights to smoking pot in parks with skateboarders and going to backyard punk shows. One of the skateboarder girls I had just met implored me to buy Louder Than Bombs, a Smiths compilation, one night while we were at Tower Records. There was something completely foreign and familiar about those tracks for me. It was like meeting someone for the first time but feeling like you knew them your entire life. It was exciting and comforting.Standout tracks for me were 'Half a Person,' 'This Night has Opened my Eyes,' 'Hand in Glove' and 'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now,' all of which I still listen to regularly and continue to influence my music to this very day."
Text Zio Baritaux