National associate reveals the contents of her bookshelf...
This Is The Kit

This Is The Kit – real name Kate Stables – is truly a songwriter's songwriter.

Elbow's Guy Garvey is entranced by her work, even arguing that her second album should have been nominated for the Mercury.

Often associated with The National, the band's Aaron Dessner has now stepped in to work on Kate's next project.

New album 'Bashed Out' will be released on April 6th, a work which is both stark and emotionally engrossing. There's a poetic touch to This Is The Kit, a soft yet devastating blow which is heightened by the tender arrangements.

Featuring guest performances from Aaron, his brother Bryce Dessner, Benjamin Lanz (Beirut), Thomas Bartlett (Doveman, The Gloaming) and Matt Barrick (The Walkmen), this is an ensemble affair. Yet throughout what emerges is an artist in full control of her work, the fulcrum for each song, each line.

Set to head back out on the road, Clash invited This Is The Kit to take part in Good Trip, Bad Trip.

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Best Trip...
Travelling around Japan and playing shows with Rachael Dadd. All on trains, all excellent.

Worst Trip...
Getting to the afore-mentioned Japanese tour on an Aeroflot airplane with a child under two - so no seat, on laps only, and many many hours of uncomfortable hell.

My favourite foreign venue...
Franz Mehlhose in Erfurt, Germany!

We're surprisingly popular in...
Stroud.

Best of worst exotic foodstuff...
Natto! Slimey fermented beans. Very snotty. Very salty. Flavoury savoury. Like slug slime. You just can't get it off your face. You can smell it on your top lip for days afterwards - a bit like marmite in that respect.

The most interesting individual I've met on the road...
Matthew Watkins organised a secret gig for us in some woods. Excellent show, exellent guy. Maths genius, too. Has written books about Maths and the secrets of the universe: 'The Mystery Of The Prime Numbers Takes Its Readers On A Journey Into The Inner Workings Of The Number System'. I can highly recommend his books!

Worst on-tour injury, accident or infection...
Once we were on tour with Jamie Harrison (excellent guitarist and songwriter who lives in Bristol) and his iPod fell down a crack in the car stereo in such a totally spectacular manner. I can't even begin to describe how it fell. It was a bit like watching a game of Mousetrap with all the ladder bits and man diving into a tub at the end. Anyway. Into the crack it went and we never found it again. Even after taking the car apart (in the appropriate places - not the whole car). That was quite an accident. Spectacular, at any rate.

And injury wise, I recently broke my toe coming out of a practice room toilet in Manchester. Touring always offers up scrapes and crunches and crumpled bodies and slightly running-on-empty style immune systems. Tricky to get enough of what you need when you're squished into a car all day.

My essential travel item...
Skipping rope. Two, ideally - and two friends/bandmates, so that two people can turn the ropes while one person practises their double-dutch skipping.

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'Bashed Out' will be released on April 6th.

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