By Andy Joice

With the release of their debut album, ‘Big Twenty’ in August, Other Half are here to tell us their influences. The songs that make them tick and the tracks that inspired their punchy sound. Accompanied by an extended playlist, Cal Hudson breaks down twelve tracks that are instrumental to both him and the band.

If you haven’t checked out ‘Big Twenty’ yet, do so immediately. It’s a post-hardcore powerhouse, full of chunky rhythms, social commentary and snotty vocals. Other Half are set for big things, we promise.

You can hear the entire playlist here:

Arab Strap – The Shy Retirer

Arab Strap are a band I’ve never fallen out of love with, ever since I first heard those dreary opening couplets to Monday At The Hug & Pint when I was 15- “Another bloated disco, another sniff of romance I’ll forget.” Aidan Moffatt writes with such candid honesty and good humour about things most of us wouldn’t dream of discussing with our closest friends. It’s lyrics like his that gave me the confidence to dig a little deeper and inspect some of the more unpleasant aspects of myself and the people around me on Big Twenty.

Hot Snakes – LAX

There aren’t many bands without a single career misstep, especially one around as long as Hot Snakes but everything about the world they’ve built is perfect, all sardonic venom and thunderous downstrokes. I can’t play downstrokes for longer than 20 seconds so I leave that at the door, but the DNA of Hot Snakes and Drive Like Jehu is all over Big Twenty, especially in songs like Piggish Man and Sameness Without End.

The Hold Steady – The Cattle & The Creeping Thing

Craig Finn taught me that you don’t need to be able to sing to front a band, and I think it’s pretty clear I borrow a lot from him. I think this is such a succinct piece of storytelling, told in snippets of unreliable narration and slurred conversation, another revelation to a much younger me. There are little nods to The Hold Steady’s goofy, bar-band swagger all over the record, moments where we give silly rock tropes the space they deserve.

Converge – Concubine

We all collectively love heavy music, something I don’t think we really let ourselves explore in previous releases. As soon as we started letting those more abrasive elements slip through the cracks, Big Twenty fell together so easily. Converge was one of the first bands to pique my interest in heavy music and this remains a perfect slice of horrible but bands like Daughters, Portraits Of Past and Pageninetynine all played a big part in shaping the album.

The Jesus Lizard – Boilermaker

I recently found a Jesus Lizard T shirt in a charity shop, which brought me more joy than I could have ever thought possible. I adore how all those disparate parts; the big chunky rhythm sections, the rangy, angular guitars, David Yow’s undecipherable yelping, come together to make something so articulate. The album’s first single, Trance State is a very open love letter to The Jesus Lizard.

The Fall – New Big Prinz

If there was ever a person to wear his shitbag badge with pride it was Mark E Smith. I’m not condoning said shitbaggery, but I do think The Fall is an incredibly interesting document of someone living their life entirely on their own terms, for better or worse. Tonally I always think Smith managed to hit a sweet spot between drunken rambling, callous vitriol and wide-eyed fragility, something that I found a lot of influence in when writing lyrics for Big Twenty.

Unwound – Corpse Pose

I hadn’t actually listened to Unwound until a member of Gozer (a really brilliant band from Delaware) mentioned we sound a little like them; I fell in love quickly and hard. It’s difficult not to find some affinity with another noisy three-piece, but there’s something really special about the way they operated, musically and ethically. The bridge in Karaoke is a desperate attempt to rip off those spindly, dissonant guitar lines albeit without nearly as much success.

Grieving – Brian Emo

I think it’s important to note how integral the DIY punk scene has been in everything we do. The people we have met through playing pub backrooms, squatted kitchens, shipping containers and indie venues are more important than any band on this list. Having said this if we’re gonna give that sentiment a face then you could do a lot worse than this band. Cambridge’s Grieving make exactly the type of music I could consume all day long, as hooky as it is pummelling. It’s been a pleasure sharing stages and inches on a record together and I’ve definitely stolen more than a few ideas from them on the album.

Randy Newman – It’s Money That I Love

I suppose Randy Newman is the artist I’ve spent the longest living with but remains one of the most curious to me. He’s mocking without ever dehumanising, even when the characters he’s portraying are clearly pretty unpleasant. Even when he’s writing as himself, it tends to be a heavily skewed version, something I think has gained him a reputation of being a bit of an arsehole but who am I to judge when the theme tune to Monk is so perfect?

Meat Wave – No Light

We were fortunate enough to play with Meat Wave a few years back at Shacklewell Arms in London and it was one of very few gigs in recent years that has had a particularly lasting impact on me. It was uncomfortable in the very best of ways, tightly-wound, immediate, and rippling with frustration. I’m a huge fan of how the bass and drums achieve something so unsettling, something I really looked to achieve when writing lines for the album.

Pixies – Hey

I’ve been trying to write a song like the Pixies for as long as I can remember and I think I finally did it some justice with Tiny Head. Pixies are another band that flit between beauty and brutality so effortlessly but never seem anything less than unpredictable. La la love you, forever and always.

Screen Wives – Desert Father, Acid Mother

Another pick of the DIY punk litter, the sadly now defunct Screen Wives played a pub in Norwich a couple of years back and left my face sore from smiling so hard. It had been years since I’d seen a band that excited me in the same way, all searing sass and grindy discord. It was an important reminder that blastbeats aren’t only reserved for metal bands and because of it we finally committed some to record after years of Alfie doing it live because he was bored.

Other Half’s debut album Big Twenty is out now via Venn Records