Slowdive – Souvlaki by Clayton Cowles



When did you first hear this album, and what were your impressions?

I first heard it when I was 17, and my first impression was “I didn’t know they could do that!” I was coming out of a heavy Britpop phase, exploring the stuff that came before it. The Stone Roses, The Verve, etc. I really liked The Verve’s first album, A Storm In Heaven, and wanted to find more like it. Thanks to the newborn magic of the iTunes Music Store, I found my way to Souvlaki, and had my angsty teenage mind cracked open and drowned in a galactic sea of sound (those are my 17 year-old words, not mine, I’m 27 now). It was a game-changer for me, big time.

Why did you choose this album?

I picked it because it’s one of my very favorite albums with one of the worst covers. There are two versions, and each of them say absolutely nothing about the swirling sorrowful assault inside. One is a tilted photo of the band with a filter slapped on top of it, and the other is a tiny B&W of the same photo against a plain black backdrop. Neither of them do any kind of justice to the sound within, and I’m not sure if mine does either, but hey I tried. But I kept the text mostly the same. (Yeah yeah, I’m a letterer and I used Times New Roman, but come on, it looks good here.)

If you had to suggest one track from it, which would it be (and why?)

I would suggest track 7, “When The Sun Hits.” It’s the poppiest of the bunch, but still ‘gazy enough to give you a proper taste of the rest of the record. It’s my favorite of all of Slowdive’s songs, and I have more than one friend who thinks it’s one of the best songs ever written (I agree with them).

What is your favourite album cover?

That’s…tough. I’m not sure. My favorite band is The Beatles, and I love their covers very much. Maybe it’s A Hard Day’s Night, both the album and film are close to my heart. I really like Depeche Mode’s Violator too, mainly for its stark simplicity. It’s just a two-colored rose against, yeah, a plain black backdrop, but, unlike Souvlaki, it tells you everything you need to know about what’s inside. And…I don’t know, Dark Side of the Moon?


What is your favourite cover version?

That is also tough, so I’m doing a top 5. Here goes:
– The Jam’s “Heat Wave”, because it’s rippin’!
– Harry Nilsson’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, from Pussy Cats. John Lennon produced this one during his “Lost Weekend” and boy does it show.
– Dum Dum Girls’ “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”, a perfect example of a new band taking a modern classic and completely making it their own.
– Robyn Hitchcock’s “Bells of Rhymney”. It’s more or less the same one done by The Byrds, but with a higher tempo and slicker 80s production. I like it more than I probably should.
– Neko Case’s “Runnin’ Out Of Fools”. No one does smokey melancholy better than Neko Case. Not even Aretha. Sorry, Aretha.

What is your own personal theme song?

I don’t really have one, but Talking Head’s Take Me To The River is what pops into my head when I’ve met a woman I like, so I guess it’s as good as anything else.

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If the album you chose was to soundtrack a comic, what would it be?

Got me. Probably something by Christian Ward or Marco Rudy. Maybe the stormier issues of Pretty Deadly, or a Proteus issue of X-Men.



You can buy the print here, find out more about Brain Tumour Research here, Clayton here, and Slowdive here.


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