Our band of the week Keep Up have compiled a guest playlist of 15 tracks that define them as a band.
Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of two previous, East Anglian bands (and now based in London), they mix post-punk influences with the shimmering guitars of dream-pop and a hint of shoegaze fuzz – and it’s fascinating to listen to the songs that have inspired them.
Here, drummer Fab Bell takes us through 15 of the songs that have propelled the band on their short journey so far, and gives an insight into five of his personal favourites.
You can listen to the full playlist at the bottom of this page.
1. The War On Drugs – ‘Red Eyes’
“How to write an incredible alt-pop driving song without sounding like a bunch of nobs. This song channels Springsteen without giving in to the Americana style of grand, cheesy choruses.
“We take such a huge influence from The War On Drugs, as they’ve shown how to write guitar music without sounding like you belong in the 1970’s wanking into your AC/DC T-shirt.
“Moody, tense and in places joyous and explosive, we adore it.”
2. The Velvet Underground – ‘Heroin’
“In terms of influences there are no bigger than the Velvet Underground. Lou Reed’s laconic vocal has affected Evan’s vocal delivery enormously, and has given license to more poetic forms of lyrics in pop songs.
“Their experimental use of guitar sounds and drones have encouraged us to try more unusual chord progressions and sounds, as well as allowing stripped back sections where the vocal provides the raw emotion to drive the song.
“‘Heroin’ pushes and pulls tempo all the way through and swells into a maddened spike before falling away, and is a wonderful example of simple songwriting at its most effective, exposed and honest.”
3. Joy Division – ‘Atmosphere’
“Before we began Keep Up, we had never considered Joy Division an influence. We had always loved the band, but until our manager Mike first saw us at the Hoxton Bar and Kitchen and said we were channeling Ian Curtis and the band we’ve felt like it’s a close tie.
“Joy Division’s mixture of misery and upbeat rhythm sets the bar for post-punk music, and we’re trying to reach that in our own way.
“‘Atmosphere’ especially manages to collect and instill this fearful doom in the listener, but is also littered with hopeful chord progressions and movements that manage to convey a bitter kind of joy.”
4. LCD Soundsystem – ‘Dance Yrself Clean’
“A fantastic dance record from a band who totally broke all the rules. Capable of moving instruments in and out to great effect while never really leaving the linear core of the song.
“One of the best synth-bass parts in a song ever too. One to hype you up before a show. James Murphy is a genius.”
5. Big Deal – ‘Swapping Spit’
“Big Deal, for me, reach above and beyond the current trend of dreamy/surfy/garage-pop, and craft genuinely brilliant songs.
“It’s all too easy to rest on your laurels as a band having found good sounds, and forget the songwriting craft – but I think Big Deal are the best example around at the minute of new bands mixing beautiful vocals with sweet, deep guitar sounds.
“Brilliant track and a brilliant band.”
The rest of Keep Up’s playlist:
6. The Band – ‘Up On Cripple Creek’
7. Kurt Vile – ‘That’s Life, tho (almost hate to say)’
8. New Order – ‘Age Of Consent’
9. Etta James – ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’
10. Hauschka – ‘Freibad’
11. Metronomy – ‘She Wants’
12. Conan Mockasin – ‘I’m The Man, That Will Find You’
13. PAWS – ‘Pony’
14. My Bloody Valentine – ‘Only Shallow’
15. Tom Vek – ‘Nothing But Green Lights’