Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists determined by our favorite artists. This week: Detroit legend Mick Collins and British post-punk trio Wetdog.
Listed: The Dirtbombs + Wetdog
While Mick Collins will probably always be known as something of a godfather to present-day garage punk bands, having created what remains the deifnitive blueprint of the style with the Gories in the late 1980s, the Detroit ex-pat (and recent Brooklyn transplant) has had one of the more stylistically diverse and open-minded music careers in the underground. Having played in numerous bands, including the Screws, Blacktop, King Sound Ensemble, and his current and longest running unit, the Dirtbombs, Collins has tackled everything from punk to funk to classic soul to free jazz to er...INXS over his distinguished career. The Dirtbombsí 2011 double-LP, Party Store, found the band revamping Detroit techno classics, while their new album brings to fruition Mickís longtime desire to record, thatís right, a bubblegum record. For this weekís Listed, Collins serves up an eclectic selection tailor-made to change some kidís life.
When I first had the idea for the band that would become the Dirtbombs in 1992, I wrote out a little spec sheet for myself: what the instrumentation would be, some song title ideas, band name ideas (one of them was "The Yellow Menace") and some records I thought the new band should sound like. I have long since lost this spec sheet, but I can still remember some of the records on it. Others came a bit later, as I got to work writing songs. I imagine the records on this list will surprise just about everybody, and dismay more than a few people who think the Dirtbombs belong to this or that genre or "scene." Well, life is tough.
1. Mission Of Burma - Vs. and Forget
You will forgive me for listing two LPs, but the absolute truth of the matter is that there wouldnít BE a Dirtbombs without Mission Of Burma. The first time I heard "Trem Two" (on the radio, no less; Detroit was awesome like that in 1982), I knew I was hearing something great. Hearing the whole LP of Vs. for the first time was like reaching a mountaintop, and realizing there are other, higher mountains; a strange sensation of "Wow, *anything* is possible." Later, I can recall listening to "Hunt Again" on "Forget" and thinking "Goddamn, I wanna be in a band that sounds like THAT!!" While I canít say Mission Of Burma is responsible for me picking up a guitar, I can unequivocally state they are responsible for the band that became the Dirtbombs. It is a sad irony of my life that Iíve never seen Mission Of Burma live: every time theyíve toured, Iíve also been on tour.
2. Swell Maps - Jane From Occupied Europe
Again, this band influenced my approach to making music with the Dirtbombs more than anything (other than Mission Of Burma). Never the same twice: grinding punk, straight-ahead pop, and screeching noise all wrapped up in one package. Writers have exhausted thesauruses attempting to describe Swell Maps, an approach Iíve always aspired to.
3. Adam & The Ants - Kings Of The Wild Frontier
The sound of the guitar and drums on this LP were DIRECT influences on the Dirtbombs, in case anyone was still wondering...
4. MX-80 Sound - Out Of The Tunnel
I bought this LP solely because it was on Ralph Records, and Iím a HUGE fan of the Residents. I figured, "Well, the Residents run Ralph Records, and these guys are a ROCK band on Ralph, itís got to be awesome, yeah?" Well, I wasnít thrilled by it in 1981, but a few years later I tossed it on the turntable and "Itís Not My Fault" blasted my skull open. Iíll never forget: the night I got the first ever lineup for the band that became the Dirtbombs together, I played them this record, and they looked at me like I was fucking CRAZY. All of them except Tom Lynch, bless him...
5. World Domination Enterprises - Dub Domination
Any casual trip through our singles will reveal the influence of the mangled, careening mess of this LP on my songs in the Dirtbombs.
6. The Cramps - Smell Of Female
When I was in college, There was one, count it, ONE goth girl on the whole campus. She was a regular listener to my show on the campus radio station, and when her friends found out I was black, they thought it would be really funny if they got the two of us together (yay, smalltown America). Well, to their dismay no hijinks ensued, but we did hit it off platonically. I was a regular customer of Greenworld Distribution (later known as Engima Records) and she used to get records from God only knows where. Anyway, we used to hang out and play records all the time, and one day she pulled this out of a mailing envelope. Iíd only heard a couple of Cramps singles at the time, but she hadnít heard them at all, and only got the record because someone told her they sounded like Alien Sex Fiend. She was very angry after she put it on the turntable, but *I* had just heard one of the greatest rock Ďní roll records of my young life. The one-two punch of "Thee Most Exalted Potentate Of Love" and "You Got Good Taste" left a mark on my soul that Iíve been trying to live up to ever since.
7. Black Flag - Damaged
I should have to say something about this one? Really?
8. Ultravox - The Voice 12-inch single
Absolutely my favorite Ultravox single, hands down, and included because itís one of the songs I have always wanted to cover in the Dirtbombs. I canít get enough of its utterly overblown pomposity; whatís not to love?
9. Killing Joke - Chop Chop 7-inch single
In case you hadnít noticed, I find the combination of pounding rhythm and guitar squall to be irresistible, especially if theyíre pasted together with actual pop hooks. This was the first thing I ever heard by Killing Joke, and the sound of it blew my mind in much the same way Devo had done two years previously.
10. The Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat
Everybody loves to talk about "Sister Ray," but really, "I Heard Her Call My Name" is where itís at here. Everything in the history of the electric guitar: T-Bone Walker, Hubert Sumlin, Travis Wammack, Bruce Johnston, Davie Allan, Pete Townshend, Eddie Phillips ó had been leading up to 1968. Hendrix had been taking the guitar freakout up to the precipice with his performances over the past year (check any bootleg), but Lou Reed kicked it right the hell over the top with the four-minute tear in the fabric of space-time that is "I Heard Her Call My Name." The original and still the greatest. If you canít hear the influence of THIS on the Dirtbombs, you might actually be listening to another record. You should check that.
Wetdog is a three-woman band from London, whose loosely-knit, off-kilter songs rekindle the chaotic spirit of female-centric post-punk, bands like Delta 5, the Raincoats and the Slits. The three members play anarchically off one another - Rivka Gillieron yelping, crooning and burbling over slashing guitar, Billy Easter picking out the unpredictable bass riffs and Sarah Datblygu setting off epilectic stutters of drums. It all comes together, without exactly fitting neatly, on the full-length debut Frauhaus!, Dusted writer Jennifer Kelly named the band one of her top picks for 2010, calling Wetdog, ďa band thatís equally unafraid of abrasion and prettiness - and my favorite new thing for 2010.Ē
1. The Fall - Dragnet
The Fall are utterly mental and in some respects, this album is the mentalist of all. The sound is completely deranged and like nothing else. We try and fail to make all our albums sound like this. It reminds me of living in Kings Cross in London and wandering the streets at night trying to buy drugs.
2. The Breeders - Pod
This is Beccaís choice. I was always more of a Last Splash fan myself but appreciate their earlier, stripped-down stuff too.
3. Alison Moyet - Alf
Me and Billy LOVE this record, and all Moyet in fact. Sheís a legend. Opening track "Love Resurrection" features lyrics about "us all needing a warm injection" or something, which sounds kind of rude, I always think.
4. Eurythmics - In The Garden
Beccaís choice. Yes, it IS a classic. Yes, pre-fame, pre-polished, massive synths Eurythmics WERE even better. I once heard Annie Lennox used to punch moody soundmen in the face, which I love, obviously.
5. Tracy Chapman - Tracy Chapman
Every song is a hit. Outstanding album. I could listen to it a million timesÖ actually, I probably have.
6. Country Teasers - Science Hat Artistic Cube Moral Nosebleed Empire
Moral relativism didnít sound this good when I was at college! Every person MUST listen to this album, I simply HAVE to insist on this.
7. Datblygu - Wyau
Debut album by Welsh genius-fronted pop Welsh people. So good I legally changed my last name to Datblygu. And got Datblygu tattooed all over myself. Worth learning Welsh for.
8. Sade - Diamond Life and Promise
Mostly Sadeís lyrics are patchy, so I ask myself why do I listen to these albums every day of my life? I conclude thus: Sadeís voice is like stepping into a big sexy bath on a frigid winterís night.
9. New Order - Power, Corruption and Lies
Recently admitted to myself that this is possibly the greatest record of all time. Basically: DEATH BY MELODY.
10. Kate Bush - The Dreaming
Absolute insanity. Kate Bush really is a one off, and this record possibly illustrates her tentative straddle between genius and lunacy better than any. Standout track: "All The Love."
By Dusted Magazine