A revealing portrait...
Wild Nothing

When Wild Nothing first emerged it was an explicitly dream pop influenced project.

Since the release of debut album 'Gemini', though, Jack Tatum has continually broadened his scope.

Now based in Los Angeles, Wild Nothing's new album 'Life Of Pause' is their most ambitious - and perhaps their finest - to date.

Out now on Bella Union (Captured Tracks in the United States) it veers from oddball funk to Krautrock, shambling indie pop to all out shoegaze abandon.

Threading through each of these sounds, though, is an attention to detail that wrings out each nuance from the songwriting.

Set to play a full UK tour this summer, Wild Nothing agreed to reveal his Foundations - the albums that truly made an impact - to Clash.

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David Bowie - 'Let’s Dance'

By this point in my life I have really meaningful relationships with lots of Bowie records, but 'Let’s Dance' is the first record of his that I obsessed over. When I was younger I had 'The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spider Of Mars' but it always felt like a relic to me at the time, the same way I felt about listening to my parents music. The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, I had a certain infatuation with my parent's records but it never felt like mine.

'Let’s Dance' was the first Bowie record that felt like it was mine. I started really collecting records when I was college and being in a small town, the only place I could find things was this funny little antique store. They didn’t have much to pick from, but I also loved that about the place. I’d binge on girl group 45s and the kind of records like 'Let’s Dance' that you can pretty much find in any bargain bin because that’s all that was there.

I’m a huge fan of E.L.O. and Fleetwood Mac for the same reasons, when I was looking for records there wasn’t really anything “hip” for me to choose from unless I wanted to order it online, so that’s the kind of stuff I would take home and listen to for hours.

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Talking Heads - 'Remain In Light'

'Remain In Light' is kind of the perfect encapsulation of what I currently find most interesting in music. There’s a lot of people that have successfully married pop music with art world mindsets but this is one of my all time favourite examples. 'Stop Making Sense' gives me actual chills. I also love that I’m alive at the time that I am. This stuff doesn’t feel all that far away to me, but it’s also had 36 years to seep into our culture, time enough for me to hear 'Once In A Lifetime' as a child and again as an adult in new light. Those moments when true art have seeped into popular culture, as if by accident. I live for those kinds of moments.

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The Microphones - 'The Glow Pt. 2'

It’s been awhile since I’ve put on this record, which is a shame because it genuinely changed my life. When I was 16 I was taking in a lot of music for the first time and it was confusing for me. For the first time in my life I was starting to think about how songs worked instead of simply listening. There was always this invisible wall up in my mind that kept me at a safe distance. I guess in a way it’s sad because it’s that wall that keeps music foreign and magical. I truly miss that feeling, but I also wouldn’t go back knowing what I know now.

This is the record that broke everything for me and challenged my whole notion of what recorded music was supposed to be. It’s a ramshackle record and emotionally resonant in a way I hadn’t heard before. I would lay in my bed with the lights off and play 'The Moon' over and over again. I was amazed by how good it was, but there was also something very tangible and human about it that made me feel like music wasn’t only for professionals.

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Bill Nelson - 'The Love That Whirls'

I can’t make a list like this without including whatever I’m currently obsessed with because that’s how I operate. Bill Nelson was in a band called Be-Bop Deluxe but also has quite a few solo records that followed. 'The Crystal Escalator In The Palace Of God' is such a beautiful song, really playful. There’s a shared sensibility with a lot of the records that members of YMO were putting out around the same time in Japan, like Yukihiro Takahashi’s 'Neuromantic'. There’s another great song called 'The October Man' that musically feels like some weird alien cousin of Bowie’s 'Heroes'.

I just keep starting this record over again when it finishes while working on things here at home. I would love to make a full-blown synth record like this but I think it might drive my fans insane.

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Chris Cohen - 'Overgrown Path'

This record is a modern classic and probably my favourite record that Captured Tracks has put out. It’s the kind of record that some kid will discover in 20 years and it will change their life, I really believe that. I wanted to include something contemporary in this list, if only to prove that I’m not just an ‘80s fanatic. There’s a handful of records I can think of that have come out in the past five years or so that I listen to all the time and always feel new to me, this is one of them. I actually just put in on while I’m writing this and feels like yesterday.

This record is proof to me that good songwriting will always exist, just good honest songwriting that isn’t flashy or pandering. Chris has a real talent for this kind of thing. His songs are complex but never annoyingly so. There are so many unexpected chord changes, time signature flourishes, stuff that other musicians can’t help but appreciate. It’s just smart music without being pretentious.

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Wild Nothing have confirmed the following shows:

June
13 London Oslo
14 Leeds Belgrave Music Hall
15 Glasgow CCA: Centre For Contemporary Arts
16 Manchester Band On The Wall

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