Denver indie-pop outfit Tennis is composed of husband-and-wife duo Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley, which adds a very personal edge to songs such as, "In the Morning I'll be Better" and "My Emotions are Blinding." This year's Yours Conditionally album is Tennis' fourth full-length effort, and while the band has been on-point since the 2010 debut, Cape Dory, Moore and Riley are at the very top of their game now. We get to sample the joy at 191 Toole this week, so we spoke to Moore about the five albums that changed her life...
With The Wild Ones on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 8 p.m., at 191 Toole, 191 E. Toole Ave.; 445-6425; $14-$16, All ages.
DC Talk—Nu Thang: Let's get right into it. I was a homeschooled pastor's kid. The first cassette tape I ever bought was DC Talk's Nu Thang. I think I was seven. I had no concept of rap or hip-hop at the time. My introduction to the genre was completely decontextualized in the form of Christian music's sanitized version of it. There were only two genres in my world: christian and secular. Fortunately for me, DC Talk is actually really good and I stand by this first-ever purchase. Also, it made my musical discoveries in college all the more thrilling, because up until that point I had been exposed to next to nothing. It was like winning the musical lottery in my 20's.
Rebecca St. James—God: Rebecca St James' God was the Christian scene's answer to Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill, which came out exactly one year prior. I didn't yet understand Christian music's tendency to record its own versions of top-charting secular acts, and I didn't even hear Jagged Little Pill until about a decade after its release when I slept over at a friend's house in high school. So, Jagged Little Pill should really be listed here, but since I didn't have that life-changing intimate relationship with it like I did with its rip-off version God, I need to be honest with you all.
No Doubt—Tragic Kingdom: Finally, at around 2002, a friend secretly gave me a copy of Tragic Kingdom. That was the beginning of a long-term obsession with Gwen Stefani, and short-term obsession with wearing JNCO's with men's briefs. It also marked my first real pivot from Christian music into everything else the world had to offer.
Pastor T.L. Barrett and the Youth For Christ Choir—Like a Ship: Okay so I know I said I pivoted from Christian music after discovering No Doubt and I did. But I can only pick five influential albums so I have to skip, like, 15 years of Radiohead and Animal Collective and Granddaddy and Pet Sounds to my most recent musical state of mind. A completely unconfirmed rumor is that Jim James of My Morning Jacket counts Like a Ship as one of his most influential records. Pastor T.L. Barrett is apparently the thing that all the musicians you love love. Kanye West even sampled it on The Life of Pablo. Anyway, it's absolutely brilliant. I can listen to Like a Ship top to bottom once a week and still be moved. My Dad LOVES it. So what I'm saying is this is a record that spans genres and generations. It's that good.
Judee Sill— Judee Sill: Not only is this record breathtakingly beautiful, but Judee herself was a supremely fascinating artist. We had similar church-based upbringings and musical educations. Her lyrics are laden with spiritual double entendres that a pastor's kid like me really appreciates. For example "Jesus Was a Cross Maker" is a song about a breakup completely told through spiritual metaphors. She's a genius. She was supposed to be the next Joni Mitchell, but unfortunately Judee's unstable relationship with drugs derailed her career and ended her life far too young. She is a more talented, more tormented version of me. This record is absolutely timeless. I have her one and only 1972 Rolling Stone cover framed and hanging over my piano. RIP, Judee.