Influential songwriter picks out the albums that matter...
Ed Harcourt

Ed Harcourt seems to have entered an enthralling new chapter of his career.

The songwriter's work feels rejuvenated, refreshed, leading to major label Polydor to seek out his signature.

New album 'Furnaces' was crafted with Flood, and it's a visceral, pulse-quickening, blood-boiling return. “I wanted to make a record that people can cry, f**k and fight to” says Ed. “I don’t think there are many records out like that at the moment, but all my favourite records have that, whether it’s Prince or Nine Inch Nails. I hadn’t made a record before that has this kind of danger to it.”

An artist renewed, Clash decided to probe Ed Harcourt on his Foundations - the albums that truly make him want to “cry, f**k and fight...”

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Tom Waits - 'Closing Time'

This is the album that I first heard by Tom Waits but it’s not necessarily my favourite collection of songs by him. That would probably be 'Rain Dogs' or 'Frank’s Wild Years'. But this was truly the record, along with Randy Newman’s 'Sail Away', that really inspired me to get behind the piano and sing, rather than just play classical pieces all day or music hall or Fats Waller or whatever. 'Closing Time' harks back to some hazy, barfly melancholy era, 3am in the bar, yearning after someone you can’t have I guess. It resonated with me very strongly.

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Sparklehorse - 'Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot'

This was like opening the some secret door and being blinded by the treasures within it. The first time I heard Mark Linkous sing was a cover of ‘Wish You Were here’ on some old music magazine free CD (remember those?). He sang of death and beauty and horses in dreams and empty fields, weird sisters and broken down motorcycles. I lived in the country at the time so I sort of understood it, even though it was more southern gothic from Virginia... I hadn’t moved to London and hadn’t really kept in touch with any school friends and was happy to be quite isolated. It was the perfect soundtrack to that part of my life.

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Led Zeppelin - 'IV'

When I was about 12 I discovered this record and was hooked immediately. I was at school and everyone was listening to Bros or some heinous similar shit like Johnny Hates Jazz. It was around this time I remember seeing Sinead O' Connor or Prince or Jesus & Mary Chain and searching them out, too. My brothers introduced me to Led Zeppelin and saved up some money for a t-shirt that I wore out in about six months. I still come back to the Zep when I can.

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Miles Davis- 'Kind Of Blue'

Played this record until it wore out. Bill Evans piano playing really influenced me, especially 'Flamenco Sketches'. It sort of tied into my classical leanings, I really enjoyed playing Debussy and Chopin on the piano more than anything, even though Mozart is God.

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Queens Of The Stone Age - 'Rated R'

Oh but I love this record SO much! I would kill to find out how Josh Homme gets that guitar sound. It’s dirty, sleazy and beautiful. I’ve been playing a lot more guitar of late because of the new record and I’m enjoying it very much. You can’t be stuck behind a fucking piano all the time. Mahalo!

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Ed Harcourt's new album 'Furnaces' will be released on August 19th.

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