Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists determined by our favorite artists. This week: The hilarious tastemaking pranksters from Buddyhead and Saturday Looks Good To Me main man Fred Thomas.
Listed: Buddyhead +
Saturday Looks Good To Me
In a few short years LA wise guys Travis Keller and Aaron North (of the Icarus Line) have turned a simple smart-assed website (www.buddyhead.com) into a full-on tabloid/tastemaking empire that includes a highly successful record label and one of the most popular music-related websites on the Internet. The website, perhaps the more familiar arm of the two, features no-punches-pulled reviews of today's "hottest" artists, as well as the ever popular gossip section, which has included tasty details like cell phone numbers for hateables from Moby to Fred Durst. Tightly written, and hilariously selected, the gossip is a favorite visiting spot of thousands of people every month. The Buddyhead label (which features rock acts such as Your Enemies Friends, The Icarus Line, Radio Vago, Shat, and Wires on Fire) is one of LA's most exciting new musical ventures, and provides a fine forum to backup the website's tough talk. Co-founder Travis Keller participated in this week's Listed.
Dusted Online Magazine asked me to come up with “just any ten things (ideally music-related)“, for some sort of list, so I figured picking ten records that I've been listening to the past few weeks would be the easiest thing for my brain to squeeze outta itself. Yep, this list is what's currently resting in my musical digestive track right now. And yep, seeing as how all this shit is gonna coming barreling out of my ass any second, figured I might as well let it land on some paper (or screen I guess in this case) so someone who’s bored at work can read a bunch of bullshit. My play-list is always changing, seeing as how my friends are always feeding my musical appetite with new records to check out. “Who cares what Travis Keller listens to?” You ask…. Exactly, I'm wondering the same thing myself... but here's what's been on my stereo anyways dickface. If you already own these records gimme a high five next time we see each other and let's shoot the shit about how they make us feel like life is worth living. If you've never heard these records, check 'em out, they're all across the board, so if one's not your bag, DON'T GET SCARRRRRED:
1. 13th Floor Elevators - Easter Everywhere & Pysch Sounds - This band has fucking sleigh bells! Fuckin' A! I love sleigh bells. My first exposure to this band was the Spacemen 3 cover of their song "Roller Coaster", which isn't one of my favorite 13th Floor Elevators song. I’d have to say the Spacemen 3 give it a little more ummmffph or some shit. It totally makes sense that today’s "Mr. Drug Rock" himself, J. Spaceman (sorry, I know if you are one of the losers in The Icarus line you thought I was gonna say you... but SORRY DUDES JASON WINS), would pay homage to the 13th Floor Elevators because these freaky drug-heads from Texas invented that whole "Hey, let's all take drugs and make some fucked up rock music" shtick. These guys were one of the first, if no THEE first 60's Psychedelic acid rock bands, or so I was told. I’m not trying to act like Mr. Music Knowledge; I’m just repeating what I’ve been told (and probably playing that game “telephone” in the process, but fuck it!). The Elevators singer, Roky Erickson, actually landed himself in a Looney bin for a number of years cuz the FBI got a little freaked out that this long haired rocker's demented lyrics were gonna get the nation's youth all jacked up on acid and pot. You know... get ‘em all hooked on the shit. Guess they found the pot and acid anyhow, oh well pigs. Anyways, The 13th Floor Elevator's records totally smoke! The first song on Easter Everywhere alone, "Slip Inside This House As You Pass By", is an eight minute jam that takes you on a sexy drugged out journey you're gonna like unless you don’t really dig on those sorts of things. I know I fucking do. It's definitely one for the clubs. Why I’m on the subject of “clubs”, fuck all these Ironic white kid indie rock dorks playing hip hop in drinking establishments (granted some hip hop is good at the right time and place, i.e. N.W.A., Public Enemy, First Wu Tang Record, and every single Kool Keith record... but shut the fuck up and give me some fucking rock while I drink my beer and whiskey god dammit!), The 13th Floor's is what should be blasting out of your local bar's speakers as you get rid of your worries and troubles. GOD DAMMIT! On “Psych sounds” you get their biggest “hit” with “You’re Gonna Miss Me”, a great post break up song for stoners and “Reverberation”, which explains what taking drugs is all about. And then these dudes also get all trippy on Zimmerman with Bob Dylan's classic "Baby Blue" and it takes on a whole new, yet equally amazing life. That last line was pretty weak I know but I can't think of anything better to write so fuck you.
2. 400 Blows - Black Rainbow - The 400 Blows are from Los Angeles, California. They are our city's best punk rock band in my opinion. No one's got shit on these guys. They are the real fucking deal. No gimmicks, no funny shit, no pretending to be ironic, no stupid posing, no bullshit, no fashion show, no silly haircuts, just angular, angry, progressive, and really good punk rock. The way it should sound in 2004. This is art. Like it or not. And art is what’s missing from most bands these days. These guy don’t show any signs of caring if there’s five people at the show or 500 people, either way they’re gonna destroy the place and blow everyone to the back of the room with their sonic boom. I love this band. If you have shitty neighbors that play way to loud annoying hip hop (so loud you’re vibrating) like mine do, buy this record for the sheer fact that in a volume war with homeboy, this record will win hands down. And you’re have one very bummed out neighbor being punished by such songs as “The Ugly Are So Beautiful” and that will be one beautiful thing.
3. Black Sabbath - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath - I've been going through a heavy Sabbath phase again lately, this kinda thing happens a lot believe it or not. Sometimes you just gotta go back to the basics solely because you know you can always count on them to not suck. So that’s been me lately, I’ve just been listening to pretty much every Sabbath record (but don’t trip, only the ones with Ozzy on 'em, none of that Dio crap, I can't hang with Dio man, sorry metal guys) almost (sac) religiously. I figured I should pick just one favorite Sabbath record for this thing, and I’m gonna go with Sabbath Bloody Sabbath mainly because I've got story for that one, imagine that.... Back in 1999, after the Seattle show, on the Bluebird/The Icarus Line/Ink & Dagger west coast hell tour… we all went to some bar and started drinking, as bands on tour sometimes do. I remember Sean McCabe (the singer of Ink & Dagger - R.I.P.) and Don Devore (guitar player of Ink & Dagger and now my roommate and bass player in The Icarus Line) putting like seven bucks or whatever in the jukebox and making Sabbath Bloody Sabbath play over and over. Then Sean took me outside the bar, where we smoked a joint. The next thing I knew, I felt a lot different that I did a few moments before and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath was entering my ears in a way it never had before. My brain was engulfed and I realized it was until that very moment that I fully understand what Sabbath Bloody Sabbath was all about... pretty soon after that realization, I then figured out I needed to run outside and down the street to some random apartment complex where I proceeded to ring every tenants doorbell and repeatedly ask them "WHERE THE FUCK IS SIR MIX A LOT?" through their intercoms From what I was told later, I swore I saw Sir Mix-A-Lot (hey, he is from Seattle… you never know man) in one of the windows of the apartment building. For some reason I needed to talk to him. I don’t what I was gonna tell him but I’ve been told that my compadres had to haul me away from the intercom and put me in the van before some large black man came downstairs to "kick my silly white ass in his pajamas!" I do remember puking a lot later in someone’s bathroom. But yeah dude, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, it could get you bloody or just make you puke, but either way… it’ll be worth it! Get down with it.
4. Depeche Mode - Music For The Masses & Violator - In high school I used to think Depeche Mode was only for chicks, or dudes who acted like chicks and wanted to stick their weenies in boys butts. Boy was I wrong! It’s also for drug addict losers too! You see after I took a closer look, past all their keyboards and those early videos where David has a flat top and is wearing a tight white tank top tucked into white jeans like Alvin used to rock, I realized all their songs are either about how he wants to fuck a 15 year old, wants to slam some heroin, or fucking a 15 year old girl. or slamming heroin. And that, my friends, is fucking cool. Speaking of cool, get their DVD which has all of the Depeche Mode videos, plus some cool mini documentaries about both of these records. In every interview whenever David Gahan talks, Martin Gore is so obviously pissed off it’s funny. Martin in return keeps making sure to repeatedly bring up that he's the guy who writes all the songs, not David, it's kinda like "The Who" he says at one point. The video for "I Feel You" where Gahan has long hair and Axel-Rose-like tattoos and the backdrop falls and they're in the desert with mountains and shit..... well this is a stupid sentence..... but that video is totally fucking awesome. A lot like my vocabulary. So both these records rule even though I only talked about the DVD for some reason and don't be scared of white tank tops and keyboards like I was.... just one listen to the heaviness of "I'm Taking A Ride With My Best Friend" and you'll fall in love with this heavy dark and very creative band. Both of these sounded SICK with on headphones. Try it.
5. Primal Scream – Dirty Hits, Primal Scream - Live In Japan, and Shoot Speed (More Dirty Hits) (Japanese Only Import) - I couldn’t narrow this one down to just one CD either, so I said “fuck it Travis, don’t beat yourself up over this” and I listed three CDs. This is thrilling writing I know. Anyways I must preface this mumbling about nothing with the fact that my life was completely changed forever (for the better) by this rock n’ roll band twice. The first time when I heard them for the first time and the second time when I saw them live for the first time while The Icarus Line and myself were on tour with them for two and a half weeks in the UK. Let’s just say it was hard to come down home from that tour, for more reasons than just one. If you’re already a Primal Scream fan, you need to suck it up and throw down the outrageous price of $25 each for both Live In Japan, which is a live record with all the hits you wanna hear live mixed by Mr. Kevin Shields & Shoot Speed (More Dirty Hits), which is a collection of minor hits and weird, awesome b sides including a cover of The Jesus And Mary Chain song "Darklands". Which is kinda rad cuz Bobby was in JAMC but "Darklands" was after his time in the band, so it’s almost like him saying… "What’s up now Jimmy and Willy, Bobby can do this too now!" cuz they are both fucking solid. So yeah back to Kevin Shields mixing the live record, it sounds fucking sick, mate. Plus you get Bobby and Manny's priceless stage banter in their thick accents "We’re gonna play one more song, cuz we’re havin' such a grrrrrrreat night". Yeah I can feel the speed through my headphones. As for the double CD, Dirty Hits it’s also one you’re gonna want if you’re a psycho fan like I am (and own all their records) cuz it’s all-different mixes (dorky I know). But it’s also a great place to start if you wanna check 'em out for the first time cuz it’s a little taste of everything. The second disc is remixes from people like Two Lone Swordsmen (Andy Weatherall’s band who are on Warp Records - he produced Screamadelica and parts of Evil Heat and DJ’ed the best shit like Shocking Blues "Love Buzz" and Captain Beefheart’s "Zig Zag Wanderer" in between bands on the tour), so it’d be pretty good to listen to that if you’re ever planning on eating ecstasy and fucking someone who wants to fuck you back on ecstasy for like eight hours. Not that I’d know or anything. Man, these songs make me feel like I’m high as shit on a cocktail of illegal things.
6. The Jesus And Mary Chain – Psychocandy, Honey’s Dead, Automatic, Darklands, Hate Rock N’ Roll, The Complete BBC Recordings, Sound Of Speed, Munki, and Stoned And Dethroned. - Yeah, again I had trouble figuring out which JAMC record I was gonna put on here. I’m a bit scary obsessed with them too, so I just got creepy and picked em all. Fuck it! You need 'em all man ('cept that new BBC live album that just came out, that shit is weaker than a fourth grade weight lifting team). I’m not lying. Start with Psychocandy first just cuz that’s the classic one… it’s noisy as fuck, with screeches and feedback everywhere, yet at the same time it’s the perfect dreamy pop record. Plus Bobby’s on drums, he’s the same Bobby I was talking about in the large block of useless words before this block. The Jesus and Mary Chain never wrote a bad song, they might all be pretty much the same, 'cept with different production, but I ain’t fucking complaining. The song "Tower Of Song" (on Sound of Speed) is my current favorite. It pleasantly drags along for a good five minutes with the sleigh bells high in the mix right where all good drug addicts put 'em. I can’t say enough about this band. They have it all.... the attitude, the songs, the look, the visuals, the ethics, the wit, and the sexiness. You can’t fuck with The Jesus And Mary Chain.... And no one’s got shit on them! NO ONE!
7. The Birthday Party – The Bad Seed E.P./The ‘Mutiny’ Sessions - This is the punkest record I own. It reminds me of when you wake up in the morning smelling of last nights whiskey and a bar room of smoke and fuck. That sounds good to me. I would love to get all these new "mall punk rock bands" like The Used, Good Charlotte, Yellowcard, Simple Plan, Blink 182 (fuck, this list could go on all day… Basically all those bands on the Warped Tour who anally rape the title "punk rock" yet share none of its original intentions, attitudes, ethics, or even sounds… at best they are a cute little cartoon of what punk looked like) who think they're punk and make 'em all sit in a room and listen to this record really loud over and over. By the way, Nick Cave is one fucking great poet. So great Bobby stole a line from a song on here for the last Primal Scream record Evil Heat… “Hands up who wants to die! Have you heard how Sonny's burning like some bright erotic star? And he lights up the proceedings and raises the temperature. Flame on! Flame on! Someday I'll cut him down yeah uh now I've seen to Sonny's burning. Yeah someday I think I'll cut him down. But it can get so co-cold in here and he gives off such an evil heat. Flame on! Flame on!”
8. Flipper – Generic - I wish I would have known about this record when I was a kid still living with my parents in Idaho cuz I would have played the fuck out of it really loud to annoy the shit outta them. I mean I did alright without Flipper, I used to bum them out with Minor Threat, Black Flag, N.W.A., Public Enemy, and Metallica (back then Metallica wasn’t so lame kids, plus I lived in Idaho, so fuck off),"SEX BOMB BABY" up to ten on my ghettobox would have sounded mighty sweet ringing through the walls of my parents house and sending an instant bum out signal to both my mother’s brain and my father‘s brain. You know, the kinda shit rock n roll is supposed to do. Flipper were a sloppy bunch of punk rock speed freaks that, as a certain A&R guy who signed my friends (not saying any names) told me, would roll though town (New York is where he lived), rock the fuck out, and once they left the city wouldn't sleep for three weeks cuz they had "the greatest speed". No wonder Kurdt liked these guys so much he made his own Flipper T shirts... I blame it on the bass lines; they’d make me wanna drop outta school if I was dumb enough to be in school. This is the perfect soundtrack when you gotta drive from Hollywood to Santa Monica (or anywhere on the west side) through the thick traffic. It’s a good lurking through traffic record is what I’m trying to say even though that’s not gonna make sense to anyone but myself.
9. Funkadelic – Maggotbrain - Hopefully you didn’t skip this one just cuz you saw funk in the band name, trust me I know, I would have a year ago. There is plenty of good reasons to be scared of funk, don’t worry, I myself was scarred by the likes of The Gap Band, Roger & Zapp, etc. But there’s bad punk rock, and I’m not throwing out my Stooges records (get the first one and Funhouse if you don’t already kids). You get my drift? These cats invent the shit. This is George Clinton's band before he started and one of Led Zeppelin’s favorite bands. Don’t be scared of this funk, it’ll make the whitest kid get a little bit of soul in his step....
9. Bad Brains - ROIR Tapes - Punk rock played by crazy black dudes who do back flips, played faster than anyone before them, and would totally scare your parents shitless… today. Fuck, they’d scare your parents before they even started playing. Black people just scare white people. That’s why more black people should play hardcore, it scares people. This and Born Against ruined hardcore for me. Cuz no hardcore band is this cool. Like I’d said in the past, no one’s got shit on these guys.
10. The Gun Club – Fire Of Love - This is one of those records that I can listen to start to finish, over and over and just never get sick of. And there’s not that many of those records. The production isn’t perfect, in fact you can barely hear the bass, but there’s something perfect in all it’s imperfections… something that’ll never ever happen again. Like all records, this is a moment in time frozen forever. This moment just happened to be the one fucking incredible moment which makes this one punk rock blues rock n roll record you need. For first time listeners…. I’m gonna ruin it for you… Once it starts off with "Sex Beat" you’re gonna know you’re in for a ride that’s gonna be a good one (at least I did), by the time you get to "She’s Like Heroin" you’re ready to shoot up some china white or just fucking meet this girl he’s screaming about, if you’re still breathing by the time the band kicks into "Ghost On The Highway" and then into "Jack on Fire" you know this is a classic punk rock record… and I’ll still be throwing it on when I’m an old man. It’s timeless, motherfuckers.
Saturday Looks Good To Me
There are few corners of the Ann Arbor/Detroit pop scene that Saturday Looks Good To Me frontman Fred Thomas has not graced with his presence, and all the better for it. Formerly of A.A. bands Flashpaper and Lovesick, Thomas stepped up and out with the release of 2000's self-titled debut with SLGTM on Here Forever records, which was later reissued on Ypsilanti. Their most recent album, All Your Summer Songs (Polyvinyl), is a tight collection of pop gems along the lines of recent Phil Spector fan acts like the Aislers Set and the Secret Stars (members of which appear on the album). Thomas has also released a handful of 7" singles and albums under his given name, which feature an expectedly less busy, mellower incarnation of the songwriting with which fans of his have become so comfortably familiar. Thomas' tastes, however, are considerably more far-reaching than his records might suggest, as he demonstrates in this week's Listed:
1. Linda Perhacs - Parallelograms - Linda Perhacs made but one album back in 1972, and this is it. Folky like Joni Mitchell, psychedelic like the United States Of America, but way better than both. Lots of experimenting with multi-tracked vocals, weird and subtle electronics. The songs have a stoned-out California canyon kind of vibe, but without getting gushy or hippified. This jam was recently re-issued on CD and a really nice LP repackaging that includes two demos, presenting at once everything Ms. Perhacs ever recorded.
2. Ultimate Ovation - Chameleon Man - I've been working at this record store that specializes in funk and soul 45s, and someone brought in a single called "Chameleon Man" by a group called Ultimate Ovation on Aquarius Records. This is an absolutely dumbfounding song. I don't think it even exists. Although I cannot be sure what it's about or if it was ever recorded, I can tell you that it's got a real cool up-tempo beat and there are people singing in perfect harmony, though not in key at all, repeating the words "Chameleon Man" over and over again as though life itself depended on it.
3. Terror At The Opera - Terror At The Opera is the band of two mystical ladies, one playing accordion and singing, the other playing guitar and singing. Occasionally they have weird dudes back them up on drums or percussion, but that's really just a distraction from the strange and magical sound. Every dirty bar becomes a ballroom when Terror plays. The songs go through pages and pages of lyrics, odd timing that makes sense only in some insane code, and dense atmosphere; sometimes scary, sometimes softhearted. Totally original and engaging. They have a CD coming out soon on No Sides Records out of Chicago.
4. Human Eye - When long-time Detroit punk group the Clone Defects broke up, I was bummed. Then when Defects frontman Tim put together Human Eye, I was rejuvenated. This band is definitely based in some sort of broken-robot/crazy person punk rock vibe, but the songs are inexplicably fucked up, exciting, new and ruling. Bands like Human Eye, Piranhas and Little Claw are making some amazingly damaged and important music in Michigan right now.
5. Eliza Beatrix Godfrey - Eliza is one of the newest representatives of Ann Arbor teenage sound patrol. Her CD (no title for the album or the songs) collects mono-phonically rendered boom box folk, in the lucky tradition of Beat Happening, Half Japanese, Jandek, Ron Of Japan, We're Twins Records, and many others. Another great document in using whatever you have around to create something awesome. My favorite thing about this CD was when Eliza explained to me it's presented in chronological order, tracks playing in the order they were recorded. That accounts for why the first song kinda sucks and it gets way better by track 5, and totally rules by the end.
6. Walking - Walking rules so much. If you live in a pedestrian-friendly city, you are! e super lucky to be able to walk everywhere. If you walk around a place clearly not designed for walking, that's really interesting, too. It's amazing to think that from the second we're born, we may sleep or rest or go through millions of molecular and spiritual changes, but we never ever stop existing. Walking always reminds me of that.
7. The Flying Machine - A terrific middle-60's pop group. One of a million bands that never rose too high above the surface, but were remarkable regardless. Kind of between being a Beatles rip-off and right before pop music got over-orchestrated. Not a bad place to be. All their songs seem to refer to girls with similar names, which is hilarious. "Smile A Little Smile For Me Rose Marie" comes right before "Marie Take A Chance".
8. Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Sings Greatest Palace Music - This record sucks so brilliantly. At this point, it's already like a new Will Oldham record comes out and people are sleeping on the street in front of the record store the night before. This collection of ridiculously slickly re-recorded versions of older Palace Music material seems at first to poke fun at the obsessive worshiping nature of many Oldham fans. You get all these familiar tunes (some originally released over a decade ago!) played by Nashville session people, done up to sound the "country demo" button on a department store keyboard. On first listen, every butchered song made me want to go back and listen to the original. So I pulled out all the albums and every 45, back to the "Ohio River Boat Song" single that my roommate traded me for buying him a burrito back in 1995. I even listened to "Drinking Woman" on the flip before it dawned on me that I listened to the new Will Oldham record for a few minutes and then spent the rest of the night listening to old Will Oldham to wash the bad taste out of my ears. I looked at the pile of records all around me on the floor and realized that if even 10% of the people who heard this record had a similar reaction to it as me, there was something very complicated and astute going on in its making.
9. Jason Anderson - New England & Live Show - Jason has made a few records as Wolf Colonel, but chooses the name on his driver's license for this record, which is a completely realized and thoughtful work. An off-the-cuff late night basement vibe (not unlike Neil Young's Tonight's The Night or Dylan & The Band's infamous Basement Tapes) carries the record, hanging between darkness and a naked, sometimes embarrassing honesty. Lyrics are poetic and trite in the same song, and then he'll hit you over the head with a line like "If your parents die... they have to die." That shit deserves a medal. The live show is a more direct, profoundly close extension of what's happening on the album, and both are recommended strongly.
10. Rabindranath Tagore - Indian poet and Nobel Prize winner, totally my favorite writer of words. Juan was gonna get a Tagore tattoo, which is of course, ridiculous but also, I wouldn't be surprised if it happened someday anyway.
By Dusted Magazine