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Listed: Balaclavas + Jeffrey Brown

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Dusted Features

Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists determined by our favorite artists. This week: Houston bumrockers Balaclavas and graphic novelist Jeffrey Brown.

Listed: Balaclavas + Jeffrey Brown


Post-punk outfit Balaclavas never seem to tire of inventing sound. The Houston trio released their sophomore LP Snake People earlier this fall. Despite the daunting challenge to follow up their highly regarded debut, it, like Roman Holiday, sails on Chaz Patranella’s sea of rugged, synth snare. And although always sooty as a dark mantra of lo-fi, Snake makes a salute to Balaclava’s surprising dub-punk roots. The latest sustains a beat-centered approach as the sound’s lifeblood, but perhaps those same veins come lined in three-chord cruciality. I’m convinced I’ll hear it in another few listens, but so far that Hall & Oates influence remains lost in the gothic swing.

Ten Great Music Scenarios…

1. War - Cisco Kid
While...Misquoting the lyrics on mushrooms
Jamming Cisco Kid while your guitar player misquotes the lyrics (“Drinking brisket, Poncho’s made of wine”) is fucking hilarious. For days.

2. Von Sudenfed - Tromatic Reflexxions
While…Riding public transportation
Something about the mechanical beats and snide comments goes so well with sitting on a bus.

3. Wu Tang Clan - Enter the 36 Chambers
While...Driving in to NYC
Hopefully you’ve got some Goretex parkas on hand as well as a few blunts so you can rough-house in the cold around a trashcan fire.

4. A Guy Called Gerald
While…Sitting with a guy named Gerald
Banal interview filler. Our drummer’s dad is named Gerald.

5. Jacko - I’m an Individual
While...Feeling grossly superior
When you feel down about your songwriting, listen to this hulking piece of shit.

6. Sun Ra - Space is the Place
While...Exploring interplanetary physics
In space, no one can hear you jazz. So how are his records possible? Can you even play a woodwind in another galaxy?

7. Captain Sensible - Wot
While…Suffering a vicious hangover
Throw this on and roll up a hooter. It will brighten your day. And we agree, fuck Adam Ant.

8. Mulatu Astatke
While…Throwing it on at work
Because old white people really don’t get this. Clears the room in a matter of minutes.

9. Crass - “Big Hands”
While...Having a two person circle pit at 3 AM
Just to piss off the neighbor downstairs.

10. Hall and Oates
While....Laughing at YOU being shitty
Hey folks: Take off your boat shoes. It ain’t cute. And get rid of that ironic mustache and Hitler Youth haircut.

Jeffrey Brown

When Dusted started the listed feature back in 2002, we would sometimes sneak celebrities, writers, directors and comedians into the mix alongside our favorite musicians. For this week’s feature we dive back into that tradition a bit to bring you graphic novelist / cartoonist / screenwriter Jeffrey Brown. His comic works often depict deeply personal and often times awkward situations, and have won him many fans, including the band Death Cab for Cutie, who asked Brown to direct their animated music video for the song “Your Heart Is an Empty Room”. Recently he has been working on a Star Wars book. In addition to writing and drawing comics, Brown just recently finished a screenplay for the movie “Save The Date” which stars indie darlings Lizzy Caplan, Alison Brie and Martin Starr among others. The movie will make its premier at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012.

1. Yo La Tengo - And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out
I was aware of Yo La Tengo, though I’m not sure I’d ever even heard them, when I saw this on the new release wall at my local record shop back in Michigan. There was something about the cover that promised thoughtful, mysterious sounds. It was an album that drew me in completely but most of all instantly tapped into my emotional state at the time. In the time before IPods and easy CDR duplication, this was an album I went through three copies of.

2. Andrew Bird - Mysterious Production Of Eggs
I probably don’t need to write more about how much I love this album and what it means to me, since I wrote a whole forty-page comic about it. I guess the fact that this album inspired me to write a forty-page comic is enough to know.

3. Low - Things We Lost In The Fire
The most complete and best album from Low. Low has always been kind of great at doing the most with the least, so maybe the less I say here the better.

4. Neutral Milk Hotel - In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
I had a friend Tim who introduced me to a ton of bands, which my friend Dan collectively calls "Tim bands". This is an album that flows so perfectly from start to finish that you can’t help but put it on repeat and start listening to it all over again. It’s an album I love so much that I go back and forth from being frustrated there wasn’t a follow up to give me more, to being glad they didn’t try to follow it with something that could only disappoint the insanely high expectations I would have.

5. Belle & Sebastian - If You’re Feeling Sinister
Everyone was always talking about Belle & Sebastian and I finally went out and bought Boy With The Arab Strap. I liked it well enough, but it didn’t really grab me. Then I was at a party where someone put on If You’re Feeling Sinister and I could see why people liked this band so much. The song "Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying" remains one of my favorites, and this is one of those albums that doesn’t have a weak spot. Except in my heart. My heart has the weak spot. For this album.

6. Death Cab For Cutie - Transatlantacism
This was yet another band my friend Tim introduced me to. Years later I was telling him how he was the one who first showed me Something About Airplanes and he had no memory of it. He didn’t think he even ever listened to them. Anyway, Transatlantacism is easily still my favorite album of theirs, with my favorite songs of theirs. For me this is an album very much about memory and meaning in life, something I try to make my art deal with much of the time.

7. Bill Callahan - Apocalypse
A few years ago this spot would’ve been taken up by Smog’s Knock Knock, but since dropping the Smog moniker for his real name, Callahan’s music and lyrics have matured exponentially, and this for me is his most beautiful album. There’s so much Americana and self-reflection and thoughtfulness. I listen to "Riding for the Feeling" and wish I could make art that makes people feel what that song makes me feel.

8. Nick Drake - Pink Moon
I don’t care if everyone knows that I discovered Nick Drake because of a car commercial. I don’t care if lots of people discovered him that way. I’m glad his music was re-introduced to the world, because this is one of the saddest, most concisely beautiful albums ever made, with not one wasted note.

9. Pavement - Brighten The Corners
When I was finishing up college I was still trying to figure out what music I was really into. For the most part I’d moved past Metallica and Danzig, although I still liked Fugazi and occasionally listened to Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd. Mostly I had jumped over to popular radio, although I wasn’t so infatuated with any band I’d encountered. Then a friend invited me over to his apartment to listen to a couple CD’s he thought I’d like. I don’t know what I expected but when the guitars on "Stereo" burst out of the speakers I realized there were entire genres of music out there I’d never imagined. The second album he played was Ween’s Chocolate and Cheese and the psychological effect on me that day was what I imagine becoming addicted to crack must be like.

10. Built To Spill - Keep It Like A Secret
I pretty much bought this album just because I liked the cover. And I think I knew they were somehow associated with Modest Mouse. I feel like this album is the pinnacle of mid to late 90’s indie rock. It just, well, rocks. Front to back. Listening to it makes me wish I could play guitar while letting me know that I may as well not even bother trying to learn.

By Dusted Magazine

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