Tom Lloyd was born in 1979 in Berkshire. After a degree in International Relations he went straight into publishing where he still works. He never received the memo about suitable jobs for writers and consequently has never been a kitchen-hand, hospital porter, pigeon hunter, or secret agent. He lives in Oxford, isn't one of those authors who gives a damn about the history of the font used in his books and only believes in forms of exercise that allow him to hit something. Visit him online at http://www.tomlloyd.co.uk, the Tom Lloyd facebook page or on twitter at @tomlloydwrites
He is the author of the recently-completed Twilight Reign quintet, with a collection of related short stories, The God Tattoo, coming in April and a new novel in a new series, Moon’s Artifice, following in July.
1. Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd
This album sums up so much of what I love about Floyd, and music in general to be honest. Originality, honesty, raw emotion and absolute commitment. It doesn’t even have some of my favourite songs of all time that Pink Floyd have written, but it’s the one I heard first and made the greatest impact. It barely needs any introduction to be honest and while some think of it as art-school pretension, some people are idiots with intellectual chips on their shoulders... there is an innocence and a youthful anger to it, but often that’s where the greatest creativity is to be found.
2. OK Computer – Radiohead.
Pretty much the Dark Side of my generation – skilled musicians doing exactly what they want with no restrictions of worries about what will make a commercial success. Despite my love of the weirder albums that followed, OK Computer is a near-perfect blend of great songs and a more free-form creativity.
3. Lateralus – Tool
These days, few of my friends like anything metal or prog – when Lateralus came out that was none of my friends and this started a process of educated punts on albums I’ve found on Amazon. Now Amazon might be an evil corporation, but it’s also a useful place to find bands I’ve never heard of or come across elsewhere. Amplifier, Wooden Shjips, Oceansize, to name but a few are favourites I’ve picked up through related purchases and comments but Lateralus was the first and finest of that list. It’s stunning – raw and accomplished, brutal and beautifully subtle – and not an album I got all in one go. My first listen confused me because it wasn’t whet I expected, my third or fourth I think was in a darkened room with no distractions and it felt like a switch being flicked on in my brain. They’re an enigmatic band who, like Radiohead, are successful enough to ignore all other concerns and produce albums when they want. I think it’s been six or seven years since their last and I doubt they’ve got around to getting into the studio yet, but it’s always worth the wait.
4. Frames – Oceansize
Frames gets the deciding vote, but frankly this slot is shared between three of their albums which are all of such high quality they’re all favourites. The other two are Effloresce and Everyone Into Position, but Frames is a little more polished and accomplished. If you’ve listened to my first three choices, this might not be that much of a surprise – it’s alternative and enigmatic, raging in parts but never wasting time just screaming down a microphone. What sets them apart is that Oceansize have never hit the big time; they deserve to, but it’s just not quite happened for them.
5. Five Leaves Left – Nick Drake
Just in case it started to look like I was only interested in one sort of album, I thought I better add this in which has recently edged out Dummy by Portishead on my top five albums of all time. It’s maybe even older than Dark Side, but I came to Nick Drake late after watching a documentary about him. I’d heard bits of songs in the past but nothing complete and it blew me away. There are no tricks, no fuss; nowhere to hide and you live and die on the power of a voice, a song and the honesty you bring. Five Leaves Left sums up that whole mini-genre for me – great acts like Turin Brakes owe so much to Nick Drake and as brilliant as they are in their own right, FLL can’t be beaten for that simple and timeless beauty.