Listed: Clinic + Vietnam
It is unlikely that many bands have had careers as oddly punctuated, and as physically uncomfortable, as that of Clinic. The group emerged in the late ’90s seemingly from out of nowhere with a pair of EPs, both of which piqued the interest of tune-diggers in the UK and the U.S. alike. Among the early fans of the band were the tastemakers at WFMU, and Thom Yorke. Soon afterwards the band signed to Domino records and released their debut album, Internal Wrangler (Domino), toured with Radiohead, and became instant indie rock favorites. After barely two years of silence, the band returned with Walking With Thee on Domino. It took off so quickly that Universal saw fit to license and re-release the record, which was eventually nominated for a Grammy. Their newest album, Winchester Cathedral shows the band fine-tuning their unmistakably tense, fidgety rock. And, perhaps most importantly, they are still wearing full surgical outfits (including the masks) for all public appearances. Winchester Cathedral is out later this month. Ade Blackburn contributed this week's list.
1. Animal Collective - Sung Tongs (FatCat) – The skewed use of vocals and rhythms really make this album stand out. It sounds very unconventional but still squeezes in strong hooks.
2. Amon Düül - Psychedelic Underground (Repertoire) – Again, the tribal rhythms and chants give Amon Duul a sound completely outside of the standard rock trappings. This is driven home further by ridiculous (but inspired) sound effects.
3. Van Dyke Parks - Song Cycle (Warner Bros.) – Inexplicably virtually ignored upon its release ('67), Parks, a sporadic collaborator with Brian Wilson, created an almost Vaudeville-sounding album. It harkens back to much older eras and writers such as Cole Porter.
4. Oneida - Secret Wars (Secretly Canadian) – A strange heady mix of styles, taking in punk, experimentalism and even a hint of progressive rock. All done with supreme intensity and a keen ear for melody.
5. The Mel-O-Tones - The Mel-O-Tones (Probe Plus) – Warped Beefheart vocals, barking over twisted rockabilly riffs. Everything has excessive echo. An absolute must. Includes the classic “I Walked With A Bugs Benny Bendy Toy.”
6. Electric Eels - Eyeball of Hell (Scat) – Proto-punk from '70s Cleveland. A complete racket, with sublime lyrics and genius free-form guitar. Offensive and essential.
7. The Residents - Meet the Residents (East Side Digital) – Their first album from '73, brilliantly almost indescribable. Very weird and discordant yet very catchy. Even includes a wah-wah groove excursion. Sounds ahead of its time even now.
8. The Deep - Psychedelic Moods (Collectables) – Generally credited as the first true psychedelic album, with the legendary “Not to be played to children” on its sleeve. Off the scale acid experimentation, with some great songs.
9. Tim Hardin - Tim Hardin (Verve) – An often overlooked classic singer/songwriter. Heartbreakingly honest lyrics. There's no pretension, just raw human emotion.
10. The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour (Capitol) – “Blue Jay Way” and “Flying,” not to mention the title track, put this way ahead. Total dementia, not for the faint hearted.
New York rockers Vietnam began as a duo, but expanded to become a trio (gtr-gtr-drum) before the release of their recent debut, The Concrete is Always Grayer on The Other Side of the Street (Vice). Described by early press as being everything from "bluesy-hippy rock" to "Spacemen 3 droneadelia," and compared, among many, to Sonic Youth and (smog), it is clear that Vietnam are not just another New York rock band. The mysterious trio of Michael Gerner, Joshua Grubb and Michael Patrick Foss contributed to this week's Listed feature.
Essential Records and Favorite Lyrics.
1. Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited (Columbia)
2. The Everly Brothers - Greatest Hits (Rhino)
3. Jonathan Fire Eater - Trembling Under Boomlights (Deceptive Bluff)
4. The Doors - The Soft Parade (Elektra)
5. Pink Floyd - The Wall (Capitol)
6. Roky Erikson and the Aliens - s/t (CBS)
7. Neil Young - On The Beach (Reprise)
8. Royal Trux - Accelerator / Veterans of Disorder (Drag City) – According to journalists these days, every new band in the magazines is gonna save rock and roll. This band actually did.
9. Lou Reed - New Sensations (RCA)
10. Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska (Columbia)
By Dusted Magazine