Our band of the week are Manchester’s Dutch Uncles.
Frontman Duncan Wallis has put together a diverse and eclectic playlist of 15 songs that define them as a band, including creations that have inspired them, tracks that they have covered and artists they simply love.
Read on for what Duncan had to say about each song.
Have a listen to the full playlist at the end of this blog.
1. The Cure – ‘Boys Don’t Cry’
“The Cure at Old Trafford Cricket Ground was the first gig that myself and Andy went to and where we decided to start playing music. The next day we attempted this cover with Robin as well.
“It went surprisingly well considering everyone was playing different instruments to what we’re known to, and a night at the Stockport SU afterwards got us to direct our ambitious about where to take it next.”
2.The Strokes – ‘Barely Legal’
“This was one of our initial inspirations as writers.”
3. Super Furry Animals – ‘Juxtaposed With U’
“The same with this song.”
4. Interpol – ‘C’mere’
“Interpol were one of our first band obsessions, and we trailed up and down the country to see them live throughout their first three albums. I think the reason was the rhythm section. Carlos D and Sam Fogarino really were the best rhythm section of their era in alternative music, and it was a real inspiration to us as to how music should be composed within a band.
“But like every other band that’s been sucked to their flame, we’ll always lack that NYC cool that gives them real conviction.”
5. Field Music – ‘In Context’
“Discovering Field Music came at a vital time in our band’s development. We’d locked ourselves away in our hometown of Marple after finishing college, trying to figure out a way of making our attempt of indie less ‘jazzy’, while trying to come up with a new band name at the endless house gatherings we were the only people at.
“Field Music’s album Tones Of Town was a perfect companion to the only other album at my Dad’s house (Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds) and something really tapped into us about the potential of a DIY ethic. Before then, all bands we’d heard about had been pushed through the usual channels (NME, MTV2) and more often than not been produced by Paul Epworth. But Tones of Town is a masterpiece of DI-WHY-AYE-MAN and played a hugely influential role in us signing to Memphis Industries when the time came about.”
6.XTC – ‘That’s Really Super, Supergirl’
“It’s a fairly odd choice for a band with so many underground hits to their canon, but it was one of the first that stuck out to us on their 1987 masterpiece Skylarking.
“It was one of the first concept albums we’d heard and it became a blueprint to us as to how albums should flow and develop. Our last three albums have taken a lot from the narrative of that album.”
7.Talking Heads – ‘Making Flippy Floppy’
“Talking Heads was another turning point for our band. The 77 album was one thing but seeing the live DVD Stop Making Sense really hit home about the idea of playing for an audience as opposed to playing to an audience.
“It felt as if The Strokes had misled us into a whirlwind of try-hard vanity when it came to being onstage, where in fact to be weird was to be good as this DVD showed. We covered this song during our first album tours which started our summer tradition of covering a new song every year. The next two songs were also ones that we’ve covered or even replicated.”
8.Steve Reich – ‘Electric Counterpoint pt.3’
“This was the piece we replicated for our song ‘X-O’. It turns out to be quite a canny way of meeting your heroes, because we had to ask Steve’s permission to re-record the track and as a result we got invited to meet him and see his concert at the Royal Albert Hall.
“Which was a lovely experience until someone dropped the worst fart in our box halfway through Music For Eighteen Musicians. It was most nauseating.”
9.Tears For Fears – ‘Everybody Wants to Rule The World’
10. Japan – ‘Ghosts’
“Japan were a big influence on Robin when we wrote Out Of Touch In The Wild, and probably the chief reason as to why there’s so much bloody xylophone in our music these days.
“It’s not a song we’ve covered but Robin keeps threatening to do it at karaoke and we keep threatening to cry if he does.”
11. Kate Bush – ‘And Dream of Sheep’
“We’ve picked this song as it was one of the standouts of her live show despite it being a pre-recorded track! Again, Hounds Of Love was another essential album for showing us the potential arc of an album, to have 2 EP’s instead.
“Unfortunately, due to the nature of music distribution these days, you can’t really control how people vibe an album. This album didn’t click for me until I bought it on vinyl, because that silence in turning the record over really is essential to the album.”
12. Grace Jones – ‘Slave to the Rhythm’
“We did a cover of this song a couple years back as a humorous hit back to certain journalists complaining about our incessant use of weird time signatures.
“Time signatures in our music have always come naturally to us, but in a way that we want it to be natural to the listener so we always find it tiring that people think we’re being edgy on purpose. We have no control over it ourselves! It just spews out of us.”
13. Paramore – ‘Ain’t It Fun’
“To hear back in 2013 that Paramore had been inspired by our music was a complete anomaly to our expectations as a band. To then be invited on tour with them was an even bigger anomaly and one that was a true Louis Theroux-esque experience. To see their fans celebrate our music was a coincidental ecstasy, as well as the bands respect and hospitality toward us.
“After the tour we were in a position to remix this hit of theirs which I believe is the only Paramore remix to have been released physically (For Record Store Day), so it was an honour to be able to do so. But it was equally horrifying to hear that Taylor the guitarist didn’t know who Chic was when we told him the inspiration behind our remix. Truly horrifying.”
14. These New Puritans – ‘Organ Eternal’
“When we began writing our latest album O Shudder straight after the Paramore tour, we set our sights high of course, but we also needed some more chin stroking elements to bring ourselves back to down to the reality that we were making yet another album in Salford.
“This was one of those albums to do so. Robin would come into the studio most days with a song that was half Field Of Reeds and half Paramore. It was a very odd mix of course and the only example that remained on our album was the song ‘Accelerate’.”
15. Seal – ‘Kiss From A Rose’
“This has been our cover of choice this year, and also our pre-show hype song should we ever need a pick me up.
“It’s where we’re at right now in terms of our collective head space, but I promise we’re not going to make a Greensleeves-esque love song about the moon anytime soon.”
Listen to the full playlist on Spotify: