Listed: Tim Barnes / The Essex Green / Ladybug Transistor
Tim Barnes/The Essex Green / Ladybug Transistor
This week's very special Listed feature comes from threee musicians, all of whom have two bands in commom: Merge Records' Ladybug Transistor and The Essex Green. Ladybug Transistor, who have been described as 'indie kitch,' were started in 1996 by Brooklyn vocalist/guitarist Gary Olson. They have recorded six albums, the latest being 2003's self-titled album. The Essex Green were founded in 1999 when Chris Zitter and others relocated from Burlington, Vermont to Brooklyn, where they released their debut record, Everything is Green. They feature, among others, Ladybug Transistor members Jeff Baron and Sasha Bell. Their most recent release, 2003's The Long Goodbye was a somber and catchy collection of indie rock keyboard-driven power-pop ballads, among them the Dusted editorial staff's pop song of the year, "The Late Great Cassiopia." To some, the most noteworthy member of the Essex Green may be their frequent drummer and associate, sound virtuoso Tim Barnes. Barnes is one of the most diverse and talented drummers and overall musicians in modern music. His tones and beats can be heard in everything from the Silver Jews' American Water to his improv duets with Wilco's Glenn Kotche. His solo albums have been far-out experiments in rhythmic ambiance, and his record label (Quakebasket) has released records by everything from the Japanese electronic ambiance of Minamo to the eccentricity of Angus Maclise. This week's lists come from everyman Tim Barnes, The Essex Green's Chris Ziter, and Ladybug Transistor's Julia Rhydholm.
Tim Barnes - freelance member of Essex Green:
2. Judy Henske & Jerry Yester - Farewell Aldebaren - As I get ready to start playing drums for a new Essex Green record, I have pulled out a bunch of choice rock records to get me in the mood. This was the first one I reached for. About a year ago a friend played me this record for the first time. We listened to both sides of the record once, then twice, then a third time. After the first go around, I had already decided it was one of the most perfect records I had ever heard. The second and third listens were just for my own indulgence. The record is kind of difficult to find, and when you do, you may have to pay something like $50 for it, BUT if you are a fan of records that have perfect song writing and production styles that start at the late 60’s West Coast vibe, and unravel to the stratosphere, then , this is a record for you. Look up “Henske & Yester” at Allmusic.com for details.
3. John Coltrane Quartet - Africa/Brass (mono) and Marion Brown Quartet - s/t - Nothing starts nor ends the day better than either of these two records. Recently, a friend suggested checking out some of the mono versions Coltrane’s records. Africa was the first one I was able to find in a record shop - a great one to start with, too. It is a very dense Coltrane composition...thick with near drone-like sections, accented with stabs of exotica, and driven by a cymbal bell/rim shot beat. When discovering the ESP catalog, Marion Brown’s records were the first ones I checked out, and ever since he has been one of favorite “jazz” artists- always reaching outside the circle. This record contains the dual bass drive of "Capricorn Moon" – just an amazing side long piece that includes a nice Rashied Ali drum solo.
4. Extradition - Hush - In the last 7 years it seems at times that re-issue releases have been out numbering new releases. And I am sure a lot of you have discovered, as I have, that some of these re-issues could have easily just remained a myth, or even unknown. However...this Extradition record is a keeper. It is a beautiful psychedelic folk record that gives praise to song, improvisation, and Maher Baba. If you dig the Linda Perhacs record, reach for this one as well.
5. Sean Meehan & Sachiko M - s/t - In order to keep my parking spot for my “Soccer Mom” mini-van, twice a week I have sit in my car from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM, and wait for the street sweeper to come chugging past. During this painful, urban ritual I usually reach for this cd to be my soundtrack as I sit and watch the world walk by on their way to work...it’s a nice way to watch. Both Sean and Sachiko have such a wonderful sense of both surrendering and occupying space. I try to pick up just about all the records these two make. If I were a tuning fork, I would want to sound like this record...
6. James - 'Village Fire’ Five New Offerings - Dug this one out of my storage space the other day, because I remembered how much I adored their song “Hymn From A Village”. When this 12-inch came out, I practically wore out the grooves. These guys started out so great. I remember thinking that they sounded so off and so tight at the same time - an angular kind of folk music that really only belonged to this band. Unfortunately, my interest of James was a classic sad story of reaching for the parachute after their first full-length. I have been reaching this for this record again while cooking dinners.
7. Dead Kennedys - Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables - While working with The Rogers Sisters recently on their Three Fingers record, there was one guitar part that made me think of this DKs record. After revisiting this record for the first time in over 20 years, I still feel this is one of the greatest West Coast punk rock records ever made. What a kick-ass band!! The music of East Bay Ray, Klaus Flouride, and Ted is so tight and so catchy, that Biafra’s intense poetics just melt right in...melt is probably not the right word for it, but perhaps you know what I mean. I have been pretty shocked by the lack of “protest” by much of the music community over the past year, or even since George W slithered into office. It is strange how poignant Biafra’s lyrics are today. Take a listen and a lesson from this record.
8. Deerhoof - Milk Man - This past September I was fortunate enough to travel on a week long tour with this band. I was playing drums for the Japanese group Tenniscoats, who Deerhoof had befriended. It is a treat to see this band live, but to see them 4 nights in one week was terrific. Before the tour I was already a fan of their records, so I was very nervous to meet them. They were so pleasant to tour with and be around, and they continue to be friends. Chris gave me a cd-r of Milk Man in December, and I am still listening to it on a regular basis. They have reached their next level!! They are on tour in late April, so do yourself a favor and go hear them live!!
9. Alison Knowles - Onion Skin Song and Taku Sugimoto - dot 73 - These are two compositions I am learning how to play. Soon I will be recording them, and playing them live. I have only learned a handful of other peoples compositions, so it takes me a little while to do. These pieces are in my mind all the time. Two great artists sharing their work with me - I love it.
10. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - If you get sucked in too deep into the news (politics, etc.), no matter where your political allegiance lay, it can cause you to lose perspective. Jon Stewart and Co. help ease the pain of our countries current affairs. My memory of this current administration will forever be filtered through the Daily Show - thank goodness. For Christmas, my wife reserved us tickets to see a live taping of the show. Today is the day, so this where I have to stop. Thank you. Bye.
Chris Ziter - The Essex Green:
2. M. Ward - Transfiguration of Vincent - shhhhh... Matt is singing.
3. The Reigning Sound - Break Up Break Down - Came out in 91' but discovered it (them) in '03 and can't get in out of the stereo.
4. The Postal Service - Such Great Heights - Everyonce in a while I crap my pants over a shamelessly "poppy" song. I guess this song came out a while ago, but I just discovered it....oops!
5. Neil Young - On the Beach - Specifically side Bravo.
6. Vashti Bunyan - Just Another Diamond Day - She can, when coupled with my iPod, keep the NY subway a much friendlier place.
7. Dillard and Clark - The Fantastic Expedition of.. like meeting an old friend for cheap beer in the afternoon summer sun...
9. The Office - Simply the best TV comedy series ever...I mean it, EVER!
10. Rhapsody - Online music jukebox program from Listen.com. Cheap, easy, awesome...only bummer is that its PC only but that's gonna change soon, apparently.
Julia Rhydholm - Ladybug Transistor:
2. Glenn Kotche and John Stirrat's rhythm section.
3. West 4th St. Crooner - Every morning I walk through the corridor from the train to the station exit and there's a guy standing there singing the tunes of Sam Cooke.
4. Heart - Dear Ann and Nancy, Thank you for 'Crazy on You'.
5. Steve Buscemi on The Sopranos - Buscemi will no doubt up the program's ante with his charming brand of sleaze.
6. The Cars - 'It's All I Can Do' has been in my head for about two months. This band is one of my all time favorites.
7. Jorge Ben
8. The Office - The funniest show, ever? Cheesiest opening song, ever?
9. Sofia Coppola - Smart, shy, stylish, and understated.
10. Fred Armisen - I think I rode in an almost empty train car with Armisen and one other passenger a few weeks ago. Or maybe it was his stunt double. Regardless, I have a soft spot for his goofy characters and Chicago roots. Wait - he played in Trenchmouth?! Maybe I should have been gripping a shiv instead of flashing starry eyes.
By Dusted Magazine