An artist whose work brims with slacker charm, Carpet, the project of Rob Slater, offers a lo-fi sound that feels just as at home amongst its US counterparts as it does over here. While its twangs and warmth is what initially catches the ear, what Slater creates so well is a soundscape that, despite being lo-fi in sound, still possesses an array of intricate yet subtle textures that often go amidst in the raw nature of the genre.
With his latest self titled EP now out, we caught up with the Leeds based artist to see who he has been listening to recently. Here are his picks:
Ada Lea – Damn
Ada Lea – Damn
This one just fucking opens me up. I heard it for the first time the other day, as my introduction to Ada Lea. Hearing Ada sing ‘then it’s dark as hell’ with that chord change and just that slightest hint of a quiver in her voice just made me burst out crying in the park. I’ve listened to this song A LOT now and this still happens most times. Straight into me, through all the bullshit and whatever version of male, clogged up emotional blockage I have and right to the core. What a beautiful thing. So cathartic and yet so concise. It’s masterful. Total control in such a simply well- written song. Unreal. Hurt’s amazing too but I should probably pick something from someone else.
Buck Meek – Pareidolia
I love Buck. I’m not sure if he knows how much of an effect his kindness, openness and gentle, curious enthusiasm for music, words and people has had on our lives. I hope he does. I tried to tell him one time, but he didn’t text me back. He invited our band, Crake, to tour the UK/EU with Big Thief in 2019. Our favourite band. And we were so welcomed by this lovely man and his lovely band mates (also our heroes! The stuff of dreams!) Most nights Buck would play Pareidolia on his little acoustic guitar. It became really significant for a lot of reasons I guess – not least that it was exciting to hear new music from him. Adrianne, one night, declared it one of the most beautiful songs she’d ever heard. Hearing the recorded version a year later was really special and brought back a lot of fond memories. For some reason, I never would have heard it turn into what it did, which I think is testament to both the personnel and the song itself. This album, Two Saviors, was recorded live to a little Tascam 8-track thing by Andrew Sarlo, and was a huge influence on the Crake album (whoops!) we made in January. This honesty, beauty and purity is synonymous with Big Thief and its extended family, and has really taught me a lot after spending a long time in an industry that’s so often so cynical and ugly. I sent Buck the 4-track cassette demos of the Crake record and his response was so enthusiastic, which was a really big deal in encouraging us to try and make the most human and honest record we could.
Lael Neale – Blue Vein
Another significant song for the aforementioned secret Crake album, and very relevant for Carpet. I’m led to believe this record, Acquainted With Night, was made on a 4-track recorder. In the first lockdown, I was kind of not allowed in my studio, so re-discovered the forgotten beauty of my first 4-track recorder, which I purchased at 15 years old to learn to record and make Spills’ demos on. Albeit this time with a much posher mic. I love that mix of hi and lo fidelity. This song shows how simple good music can and often should be. Similarly inspirational to Buck’s record in its honest deployment – some say the truth springs for reservoir seekers, but I think the truth sings to whoever listens.
Clairo – Blouse
I checked this one out after hearing Jack Antonoff produced it. Bleachers (namely their second album) was actually a massive influence on me deciding to start this thing all by myself a few years ago. At the time, I was in a very obsessive writing phase – completely obsessed with writing a ‘good song’, and to be honest quite lost and bored with guitar music. I was feeling somewhat frustrated and dissatisfied in the band I was in at the time and I suppose it all seemed quite freeing to just be a pop ‘thing’. Or just a person ‘thing’. Or just a music thing! Or just that music didn’t necessarily have to be so difficult. I used to find recording so fun as a kid and needed to return to that. Anywho – back to Clairo. Immediately this track, taken from new album, Sling, reminded me of Sibylle Baier, who I discovered in the heart of lockdown. Sad and 70s. Also got a bit of a Simon and Garfunkel feel, along with the characteristic Antonoff melodies seeping through on the string arrangement. Her humour is so heart breaking in its defeat. Although obviously sardonically loaded, and I guess cathartic in a way, it’s not so much venomous as it is a three-minute depleted sigh of exhaustion. Also, you can hear the click track and her shuffling about – both of which make me smile. Again prioritising honesty at its core.
The Shins – Caring Is Creepy
Not sure I’m technically allowed to include a reissue, but seriously who is gonna stop me!? The timing of the reissue of the first Shins’ album Oh, Inverted World seems significant with me starting this project. I’ve not listened to this record in a long long time, but I realised it still kinda stands today as a bible of indie rock. It had such a profound effect on me when I was 17, and I think I’m still probably carrying a lot of its influence. When I hit go on this song, I’m suddenly 17 in a tiny tiny ripped up t-shirt (either Shins or Cribs) and the sun is out. This and Wilco (and obviously the P- word), together with Wakefield bands like The Old House, opened my eyes to toning down the angst and the big muff (though old habits die hard). Production-wise, it’s one step more lo-fi than the Phil Ek records it would later lead me to. I remember finding this kind of fascinating. So small and unassuming. A sort of sparkly dust I couldn’t quite put my finger on but couldn’t get enough of. I remember One by One All Day being my favourite. Although Know Your Onion! was the one I covered for my Music Tech A-level recording coursework. And then there’s obviously New Slang. I could have picked any really. The skyblue of the artwork. Great name for an album too. This record is some pretty blissful teenage happiness.
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