GTC EXCLUSIVE: 5 Albums That Shaped BLACK ADIDAS Rocker Courtney Ranshaw

Black Adidas – Be Cool is available @ Apple Music.

Black Adidas

by Courtney Ranshaw

I’m going to leave off anything that wasn’t created in my own lifetime. It should go without saying that Zeppelin I changed my life forever, that Sgt. Pepper was a masterpiece, that London Calling is the best punk record made, and that I wouldn’t be me without the Wall. It’s fundamental, and besides, what more could I add to the conversation. That said, here are 5 Albums that shaped Black Adidas.

Surfer Rosa – Pixies

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It’s not the best Pixies record – that’s hands down Doolittle – or even the one I listened to the most (I had a weird Bossanova phase that lasted for most of my college years), but it’s absolutely the record that inspired me the most.  It’s a surreal experience the first time you hear the drums come up on Bone Machine.  They start out of phase a bit then they seem to turn around with the bass line and then bam, the guitars come in.  This record is really when punk rock had another great evolution in the ’80s.  Most people focus on the Quiet/Loud formula that Pixies perfected, but what really inspired me were things such as Frank’s use of acoustic guitars, Joey’s dissonant and repetitive lead, and Kim’s thick midrange bass.  There was a time I could play every part of every song on this beast.

Tim – The Replacements

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When it comes to the Replacements, you can’t really go wrong picking a favorite. But this is the one that shaped me the most. Paul Westerberg is truly establishing himself as a great American songwriter here. Left of the Dial and Bastards of Young are the alternative rock anthems blasting from every dorm room in America. There is so much, maybe more than I should even admit to, that I take from this record. Things like phrasing and using vocal melodies along with the guitars to get those goosebump raising sounds. And no song on earth ever moved me like Here Comes a Regular. It’s the song I want played at my funeral.

Where you Been – Dinosaur Jr

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Hands down (in my humble opinion) the best-produced record of the ’90s. And I assure you that I love the raw unpolished sound of so many great punk albums. But there is something about a record where you can just really hear that someone poured everything they had into making it. I mean hell, it has timpani. And it came out at the right time in my life where I could actually appreciate what J Mascis was doing with it (he pretty much did everything on that record himself). That intro riff to Out There hit me harder than Eruption ever did, and led me to start playing the guitar again. On top of that, J is definitely my vocal inspiration, in the same way, Bob Dylan inspired Jimi Hendrix to have the confidence to sing.

Violator – Depeche Mode

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I’m not sure I can adequately explain just how big an influence Depeche Mode had on me. They were my first true crush band, and even the very first CD I ever bought (Speak and Spell). And unlike most of the records here, they were no indie darlings. Depeche Mode was huge. But they just kept evolving and growing and expanding their sound, album after album, until they really made their magnum opus with Violator. Not long before, they were hair spray teased Teen Beat stars. Then one riff into Personal Jesus and they are fucking rock star cowboys dripping with the kinda cool I could only dream to be.

What they do so well, and what I’ve taken away from them, is layering melodies on top of melodies, and introducing different movements as the songs progress. And they are masters of instrumentation, mixing acoustic and electric instruments perfectly. It’s this record that truly closed out the 80’s for good. We were ready for something new, something darker, something more interesting than what we were getting. And when it would come soon after (everything we got in the ’90s), it would come on MTV, on KROQ, and in the mainstream.

…And Out Come The Wolves – Rancid

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This is my jukebox go to when having a Mai Tai at the Tonga Hut. It’s the Sticky Fingers of mid 90’s punk rock. It’s song after song of utter perfection, variety, and craftsmanship. Tim Armstrong is now firmly in the upper echelon of songwriters, Matt Freeman’s bass is amazing, and the band is cranking off hit after hit. More than that, it has a soulful quality that a lot of punk records lack. They took rock and roll in all its root forms and gave it an edge, which is pretty much the foundation of what Black Adidas tries to accomplish.

BLACK ADIDAS

Black Adidas is… 
Courtney Ranshaw: Vocals, Guitar, Synth 
Kari Child: Drums 
Carl Raether: Bass, Vocals 
Daniel Alexander: Vocals 
Matt McCraken: Vocals

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