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Albert Hammond Jr.: Five Essential Albums

Albert Hammond Jr. (photo by Jason McDonald, PR)

Albert Hammond Jr. (photo by Jason McDonald, PR)

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Forging a strong solo path away from your megaband, as The Strokes' guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. has done over the last handful of years, isn't always an easy feat. But with his third release, Momentary Masters, Hammond has written a heartfelt collection of songs that ricochet between heady contemplations of the universe, the relentless passage of time ("Born Slippy"), and even an unfettered, bare bones Bob Dylan cover ("Don't Think Twice, It's All Right"). The undertow of the album remains the grit and grace of Hammond's nimble guitarwork, which always illuminated the Strokes, but there's a softer hue coloring his perspective, even with the tougher tracks.

Hammond's visuals for his songs are memorable too; the new video for his single "Caught By My Shadow" (below), filmed in Morocco, finds him in a chess match with Death, a cinephile's nod to Ingmar Bergman's eerie 1957 masterpiece The Seventh Seal. That intersection between the past and present defines Hammond's musical influences too, as FUV discovered when we asked him to write about his Five Essential Albums.

And check out Hammond's FUV Live session too.

Albert Hammond Jr.'s Five Essential Albums:

Buddy Holly, Memorial Collection
This was an early stage for me. It was my first love, so it feels blurry now, but I know when I first heard him I knew that’s what I wanted to be: I wanted to sing and write songs and play guitar. There is a simplicity to the chord structure and such depth in his melodies that you can learn it quite quickly and with few chords. His voice was so endearing that the lyrics felt so hopeful and honest, and i really love that ... I wish this innocence still existed.

Guided By Voices, Vampire On Titus 
I heard a song called "Donkey School" one night in high school. I must have heard it 100 times in a row; just couldn't believe this existed. It felt like my Beatles ... it was everything i wanted to be. It was so romantic, melodic, and mysterious. In my world these songs were huge. I got into all their records and it helped define me.

The Doors, The Very Best of the Doors
Maybe everyone has a Doors moment, but when i was first getting stoned and also turning 16, everything around me was changing. Sex, life, and these tunes became a backdrop to this—it made everything have a soundtrack. It's one of the greatest hits I’ve heard. Technically, they only had two hits, but this album is filled with great songs and variety to boot.

The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground
"Pale Blue Eyes" still has such an impact on me; I can never get enough. It was another big step for me. I started to understand more about how I wanted to craft things. I was a very late bloomer and didn't really discover or reach what I wanted until my latest record, but the feelings I felt here at an early age have stayed with me and have helped me on this very long journey to the beginning.

The Rolling Stones, Hot Rocks 1964-71
They had such cool unique sounds…how? The later records sounded damp and heavy, but that early stuff just had such energy—not that i didn't love the dampness later, but when you are first writing, those songs really inspire you: "Play with Fire,” "Paint It Black," "Mother's Little Helper," "Ruby Tuesday," "As Tears Go By." F**k me—if that’s not the beautiful sound of what a chaotic, wondrous group could sound like. You could only do that when you start and that takes balls. We sound like people who are afraid now ... hear all vulnerability in "As Tears Go By." It sounds how your heart feels when you fall in love for the first time.

Read more of FUV's Five Essential Albums here.

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