Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists determined by our favorite artists. This week: Japanecakes and The One A.M. Radio.
Listed: Japancakes + The One A.M. Radio
I once asked Japancake Nick Bielli about the qualifications for Cakedom. "A work history at [Athens, GA pizza joint] Rocky's," he replied. "That's about it." No wonder I always got served in the best possible sense at that place. Rocky's manager and Japancakes braintrust Eric Berg makes a walk-in closet full of instruments ebb and flow as gracefully as swells in the Atlantic, and with the same seeming effortlessness. The band's latest, The Waking Hour (Warm) is their fourth full-length and first for Warm.
1. Raincoats - 1979
God, This record sounds so new. When I first heard this record, I couldn't believe it was recorded 25 years ago. Some friends and I immediately got together and tried to start a Raincoats cover band. The songs are strangely difficult to pull off. We only really got good at fairytale at the supermarket and their cheeky rendition of The Kinks' "Lola."
2./3. Faust - So Far and Robert Wyatt - Rock Bottom
I feel like I have to put these records together because for the longest time the only tape I had in my car had So Far on one side and Rock Bottom on the other. Both records are kind of strange driving music.
So Far - Walking the fine line between jamming and a science experiment. I had actually heard a cover of one of the songs off the record long before hearing the actual thing. This is another one of those records that will always sound new to me.
Rock Bottom - There is this amazing french documentary I think it is called "little red robin hood" about Robert Wyatt in which his wife Alfie talks about how Robert Wyatt recorded this record in venice while she was working on the set of the movie Don't Look Now and she perfectly described/ explained it's watery quality. There is such a perfect blend of poetry, structure and improvisation in this record.
4. Kronos String Quartet on their Black Angels record.
They do a really rock and roll version on George Crumb's "Black Angels" with tons of effects. (the group took a lot of liberties in the performance, for sure, but it has an amazing spirit) When I first heard this record I was maybe a freshman in high school and my family and I were on a road trip around Christmas. I put the record in and I thought the strings were going to rip through the speakers. I had been playing the cello for a while and I had never thought that classical music could be so radical. It was the most punk rock thing I had ever heard. Then at the end of the record, they chose to perform Shostakovitch's 8th string quartet. The perfomance and the compostion pulls my heart out every time.
5. Mitslav Rostropovitch - Bach Cello Suites
I have had a love hate relationship with the suites for a very long time now. When I first got to college, all I wanted to do was play new music and all my teacher wanted me to play was the bach suites. I worked through the 1st and 2nd and I didn't like it one bit. I was pretty miserable. Now, they are the only thing I want to play. They are perfect and I think that they will always bring forth something new to work on in my playing. In this particular recording, Rostropovitch spends a lot of time discussing the color of the various suites. He also talks of the challenges he is confronted with the compositions and he is the Master Cellist, I mean, legend.
There you have it. 5 records selected by Heather McIntosh
1. Led Zeppelin
I always feel the need to defend my love for this band, because I know why someone or anyone might not like them, but shit - they covered all the bases, musically, and it never EVER sounded half-assed. Whether they were adding machinery to old blues riffs, going Eastern, ripping off Bert Jansch, or just plain flattening you with their scope and range (and their execution), they gave the impression that they commanded the genre they were working in. I also really love the physical force of their music, they really, to me, were direct descendants of kick-ass 50's rock like Little Richard et al. I was initially drawn to them because of the heavy shit, being the impressionable pre-adolescent dork that I was, but you know, you get more records, you hear more stuff and figure, "If they're doing it, it's OK" - which is great. I was one of those fans that had my ears opened by them and hunted down the stuff that made them what they were - they were really THE big gateway into music fandom for me. I think my favorite part of the recent DVD that came out is actually the late stuff, from 1979 - I've seen it on static-ridden bootlegs a zillion times - but I saw it in a new light this time around. They seem so damaged, whether by drugs, excess, whatever, and they're a little sloppy (they always were) - but there was really a lot of heart in those performances, just like on the records. The greatest.
2. Queen & David Bowie - "Under Pressure"
The best song ever? Maybe. My favorite song ever? Probably. People who can't find something great somewhere in this song should have their heads examined. From the instrumentation and performance down to the GREAT lyrics, this song is perfection. The whole last half of the song is almost impossible for me to get through without getting a little choked up- the delivery is too much, the sentiments are too much to bear.Timeless song. Beautiful song. Hard to believe they came up with it in an hour.
3. Minutemen - Double Nickels On The Dime
This record is one of those life-changing things. I didn't hear the whole thing 'til December of 1985, right when D. Boon died. A couple of years before, when I was still in the throes of the suburban metal lifestyle, MTV would show the video for "This Ain't No Picnic" (they were actually up for an MTV award for that video at one point-hard to believe), and my friends and I were stunned -"Who gave that big guy a guitar and put him on TV?!?!?!?".We thought it was a joke. We were so clueless. It took me a good year to get my head around what they were doing when I finally did hear it. To this day it's hard to say where they were truly coming from with that record. It definitely sent my Ratt-listening-to-ass into a tailspin. I'm convinced that they were channeling pure music and thought when they recorded this record, and that those three guys shared a brain for a while. This record burned all the textbooks that came before it, and took "punk" to task. Beyond all the academic/theoretical assessments the record and band have garnered in the 20 years since it was released, the bottom line is that it sounds KILLER. It'a a great listen. We'll never get a band like them again. Ever.
4. The Who - Live At Leeds
This a really bass-centric entry, but here goes. When I began playing bass, there were really very few other bass players around, and most of the guys I knew that played only did so because the band they were starting with their friends already had a guitarist or two. We all were convinced that "less strings = easier" (WRONG!!!). I guess I stayed with bass because I was doing it by choice, but I was still saddled with the perception that bass was just kinda the lame role in the band, and also believed that in order to keep playing, I should only aspire to play "bass" as it's perceived by a lot of non-bassists - that I would have to be some sort of bass technician. I had a copy of Live At Leeds for a year or so before I had a bass, and I listened to it minimally, so it never really registered with me that it was so cool, and I only thought John Entwistle was just another Who guy. Once I started playing bass AND listening to that record, though, I got my head blown off. Upon hearing it in that new context (of being a bassist), it almost instantaneously occured to me that I could do whatever the hell I wanted, and that I could (and should) compete with guitarists for volume and space within songs and on stage. It enabled me to have an attitude about bass when I really needed the confidence to stick with it, because in technical terms I was such a horrible bassist-but once I realized you could play bass with personality (even in the unfortunate case that it was MY personality), I hit a new plateau, and the technical shit is till kinda falling into place to this day. I absolutely love John Entwistle. I remember when he died, I actually had two or three people ask me if I was doing alright.
5. Black Sabbath (I would like to add that Heather is 110% with me on this entry)
I had the distinct pleasure of seeing the original line-up at a non-OzzFest gig in 1999. The non-OzzFest part is significant, because at OzzFest, they only play for an hour. When I saw them, they played for two and a half hours. It was stunning. I had chills the entire time.They opened with "War Pigs", for God's sake. I thought I would explode when they played "N.I.B.". The thing about Sabbath that dawned on me that night, is that as they age, whereas most bands start to suck because they can't play fast anymore - Sabbath have aged into their songs - it's OK for Sabbath to play slow. It was so menacing and tough. I haved loved that band since the second I heard them. We used to take boomboxes in the woods when we built forts and set fire to stuff, and I swear, there was always a copy of Greatest Hits (the one with the Bosch cover art) around. They spoke to all of my fears about war, technology, people, and drove the rock home with caveman-like abandon. Pure rock, free of irony and smarty-pants attitude. Listen to Black Sabbath.
The One A.M. Radio
The One A.M. Radio is a project by Los Angeles' Hrishikesh Hirway and friend. Falls somewhere in between bedroom electronica and singer/songwriter, Hirway's mellow guitar, gentle beats and electronic waves to underpin his understated, emotive vocals. The One A.M. Radio has release two full-length albums, two splits with Ted Leo, and a handful of 7"s. Their latest album, A Name Writ In Water, is out now on Level Plane Records. An remix EP of ANWIW featuring John Tejada, Caural, and The Wind-Up Bird is coming soon, as is a guest appearance on the new album by Mush artist Daedelus.
10 Perfect Summer Songs
For me, a well-crafted summer song falls into one of four categories:
a. It's too hot to leave the house, or even move. Pass the lemonade.
b. We're driving to the beach, and then we're going to get ice cream.
c. Now that sun has finally gone down, it's the perfect temperature. Let's make out.
d. There seem to be more sounds at night in the summer, in the dark, with the windows open, under the slow sweep of the ceiling fan.
1. Sam Prekop - "Showrooms" (from his self-titled album)
(a) The things I love most in this song are Sam Prekop's vocal harmonies, Chad Taylor's drumming - he has an amazing light touch - and the way Jim O'Rourke seems to have somehow managed to record sunshine into the layers of instruments.
2. Joao Gilberto - "Izaura" (from Águas De Marco aka White Album)
(a) Quite possibly my favorite voice of all time. I love how he introduces the vocal melody in the song, before the girl comes in and takes it over, allowing him to move around it in harmony. My copy of this album doesn't have any credits in it. I'm not sure who owns the lovely accompanying voice, or the name of percussionist who makes incredible subtle rhythms with a closed hi-hat and nothing else.
3. Stereolab - "Cybele's Reverie" (from Emperor Tomato Ketchup)
(b) Again, there's something about the strings here that sound like a shining sun. The arrangement is so beautiful. And when the backing vocals hit the high note in the bridge - it's hard for my heart not to take a little leap along with it.
4. Juana Molina - "¡Que Lluvia!" (from Segundo)
(b) It's easy to forget that most of this song is in 7/4 time, normally a somewhat weird and abstruse time signature, but sweet and natural and perfect here. As with many of these summer songs, I want to put my head in between the vocal harmonies. It sounds like there's honey there.
5. Manitoba - "Jacknuggeted" (from Up In Flames)
(b) What I love most about Manitoba is a sense of unrestrained joy in the music. It's true of both the album 'Up In Flames' as well as the previous one, Start Breaking My Heart - though the two sound remarkably different from one another otherwise.
6. Dntel - "Anywhere Anyone" (from Life Is Full of Possibilities)
(c) "We're not going anywhere," Mia Doi Todd sings, with her beautiful, strange, haunting voice, over beautiful, strange, haunting electronic textures. It makes me want to swim very slowly.
7. Portishead - "Roads" (from Dummy)
(c) The first "Oh" that Beth Gibbons sings in this song gets my vote for the single sexiest syllable ever sung. (Please pardon the bad alliteration.)
8. Asa-Chang & Jun Ray - "Hana" (from Jun Ray Song Chang)
(d) I put this in category (d), but really, it's far too frightening a song to ever fall asleep to. I am hypnotized for the entire six minutes and forty three seconds of this track. Strings again, but this time, they're there to remind you of everything you ever loved but have forgotten or lost.
9. DJ Shadow - "What Does Your Soul Look Like (Part 1)" (from Endtroducing)
(d) I'd recommend this for most of these songs, but here most of all - this song must be listened to at loud volume. Preferably in the dark, so you can fully appreciate and be baffled by the tape rewinding sound that comes in with the drums just before the fifth minute of the song. I love the drum fills.
10. Fennesz - "A Year In A Minute" (from Endless Summer)
(d) All the nighttime sounds of summer - cicadas, thunderstorms, passing cars - seem to have found their processed, electronic equivalent in this song.
By Dusted Magazine