Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Arthur Magazine and The Clogs.
Listed: Arthur Magazine + The Clogs
Arthur magazine--a free bimonthly 40,000-copy newsprint broadsheet distributed acorss North America by a network of volunteers--was founded in 2002 by publisher Laris Kreslins and editor Jay Babcock. In the last three months alone it has been saluted by Rolling Stone, Print, LAWeekly and Punk Planet. Arthur's regular columnists include Byron Coley & Thurston Moore (underground music, poetry, prose, film and art), Daniel Pinchbeck (consciousness and social activism), Paul Cullum (cinema) and T-Model Ford (the ways of the world). More info can be found at www.arthurmag.com. Babcock contributed this week's Listed
1. Incredible String Band
With Earth growing increasingly horror-filled and appalling with each passing day -- what new travesty will America's bonkers-militarist crypto-fascist gang of demons and red state meanies visit on the world before 5pm, I wonder as I type this -- I've found myself listening lately either to music that confronts this madness (bone)head-on, or bypasses it altogether. The UK's Incredible String Band fall firmly in the latter category: in the late-'60s, they consciously made their own world from the parts of our world that they dug, and clean forgot all else. The quasi-documentary film The Music Has No End is now available on DVD, and it serves as a perfect, boundlessly joyous introduction to the ISB's wonderful transcultural psychedelic folk otherland. It is also a relatively inexpensive guidebook for another way to live on this planet.
All I know is, we showed up and the band had already been playing for an hour, we stayed for two, and after we left, they kept going til 2am lights out. At least two dozen musicians wandered on and off the stage, many of them with eyes redder than the baboon's proverbial behind, all of them with a severe case of advanced funk. How did this happen, that George Clinton & Company should end up playing small clubs across the USA this past summer, rather than where they belong: football stadia, airstrips, national parks? I dunno, it's a fallen world (see above), and we were too busy appreciating the stink to look this particular gift horse too closely in the mouth. Clinton's gang remains unbelievably potent, funny, life-affirming, and sharing-enforcing, the materialization of Ed Sanders' highest ideals. Wonderful! But here's another question: Has any significant band been as poorly documented as the P-Funk mob? Let's have the vintage live footage and TV appearances and Pedro Bell animation out on cheep DVD already. In the meantime I've got lost gospel-funk plea classic "Come In Out of the Rain" from First Thangs on thermonuclear rotation.
Like the Ruttles of P-Funk: all-new songs made out of all-old ingredients, with an unbelievable attention to studio detail and lyrical slant/wit. Sounds like Julian Cope and the Brain Donor guys to me, but they're playing coy. I played the first track off This Is the Shit (HeadHeritage) at Amoeba when they let me DJ the night after Little Bush beat Kerry and people went insta-nuts for it, whooping and hollering as if to say, Goddammit I'm not gonna feel awful any more, let's get up and get in to it. The Kingdom of Roger lies within! It also lays down online at http://www.kingdomofroger.com
4. The Hidden Hand
Some people are saying it's not Saint Vitus, and that's true, but this second album (Mother Teacher Destroyer, Southern Lord) from metal guitarist-singer Wino's new DC-area trio is plenty powerful stuff in its own right and I can't seem to play it at anything less than speaker-endangering high volume. Massive guitar sound, weighty riffs that ain't cheap licks, politically-spiritually commited lyrics, songs that can go anywhere -- psychedelia, abstract drones, fugue pummeling, experimental solos -- from their melodic, post-Sabbath base. Serious as a Dick Cheney fatal heart attack, and just as necessary.
5. Jello Biafra & The Melvins
The new full-length collab Never Breathe What You Can't See (Alternative Tentacles) between these twin underground legends is an unbelievably timely carbomb of an album, an incendiary celebration of radical political dissent, pranksterism and pure joy. IT DOES NOT MATTER if it converts no one (although it probably will)--the afflicted need comforting right now, and this shit does the trick three times. Sonically? This is Melvins in blistering punk rock mode, almost no sludge or lurch to speak of, and Osama McDonald sounds like he's having the time of his life.
6. Krist Novoselic
If the cover photo of Mr. Novoselic in suit and tie, wielding a bass guitar, doesn't clue you in, the title of the Nirvana bassist's large-print, 103-page book Of Grunge and Government: Let's Fix This Broken Democracy! will: this is one optimistic, roll-up-his-sleeves guy willing to trade on whatever notoriety his membership in Nirvana has granted him if it means he'll gain a few more readers. Part punk rock-to-riches memoir, part detailed proposal for improving representative government at the state level, part call to non-violent arms, OGOG is thoughtful, charming and really quite endearing in its idealist/pragmatist POV. (At $9.95, it's also totally overpriced but oh well, whatever, nevermind--you can read it for free in 50 minutes at Borders anyway.) Novoselic's political interests as less quixotic than they might seem at first -- and it all makes a bit of poetic sense when you remember that Olympia is home to Washington's state government as well as two labels--K Records and Kill Rock Stars--that Nirvana was associated with in its formative years.
7. The Edgar Broughtom Band
The fabulous New Psychedelic artist Arik Moonhawk Roper was kind enough to send me a copy of their third album--selt-titled, 1971--which, in its last reissued CD form, included the pivotal "Out Demons Out" as one of the bonus tracks... a great chant-song based offa the Fugs' exorcism at the Pentagon on October 21, 1967 (said event being the basis for the cover feature of the new ish of Arthur). But really the whole thing is great: a huge range of soulful songs, some almost psychedelic poptastic as the Hollies, some as dirty blued as obvious forebear Beefheart, some as countryfied as the Flying Burrito Brothers, some as weary-heavy as a James Brown ballad. Hugely wonderful, deeply political, heartfelt stuff by guys with real feel.
8. Yellow Swans
Bring the Neon War Home (Narnack) is one of my three favorite noise-drone-whatsit records released so far this year, if only for the track titles ("Police Eternity," "High on the Mountain of Love") and the iTunes genre classification ("easy listening"). On November 3, this record was extremely functional and fitting: the record blots out the world it condemns. Like Merzbow cross-circuited with Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Hey and they're good live too.
9. Allen Ginsberg
Wichita Vortex Sutra, written in February 1966 in a state of lucid outrage over the Vietnam War, recorded with accompaniment from various Lower East Side musicians in 1994 for future release, has just been issued by Artemis. Timely in its unfortunate timelessness. Ginsberg alternates roadside observations with scathing sarcasm and justifiably embittered diatribes against the "funky warlocks operating on guesswork"... "Bad guess?!? BAD GUESS?!?" he yells in angry disbelief, quoting newspaper accounts of how and why the military adventure in Indochina was going terribly wrong. Powerful shit that we should be playing daily on boomboxes outside military recruitment centers. Dead man talking: listen in.
10. Alice Coltrane
Released the same day as Brian Wilson's SMiLE to not nearly the fanfare, which is wrong wrong wrong, Translinear Light is Alice's first studio album in 27 years and, given her previous output, should be regarded as a major artistic and cultural event. Personnel includes Jack DeJohnette, Charlie Haden and Alice's son Ravi. Alice says in the sleeve, "To the listening audience: At this time in history, I tried to share the light upon the greatness and Infinite Oneness of the humanity, the universe and the vast Beyond. Within the light oi this Oneness, the Supreme allows us to soar into the transcendental glories of divine Consciousness endowed with joy, peace and love. Very truly, Alice Coltrane." I have nothing to add.
Clogs are a quartet from the United States and Australia. Their music bears evidence of their classical training and leader Padma Newsome's six years on an ashram in the outback. They mix the sounds from the modernist avant-garde, microminimalism, and the folk of India and the Jewish Diaspora. Their newest album, Stick Music, is now avaiable on Brassland Records.
Bryce Dessner: Guitar, ukulele, and other stringed instruments.
What keeps me alive on tour. Here are some of those ones I've enjoyed recently: The Bone People - Keri Hulme; Norwegian Wood - H. Marukami; London Fields - Martin Amis; Sophie's Choice - W. Styron; Chekov short stories.
2. The Books
A great electronic duo from Holland and the U.S.. The Lemon of Pink and Thought for Food are two of my favorite albums. We're lucky enough to be collaborating with them in 2005.
I've spent a couple months in the last year in the heel of the boot of Southern Italy. Its the most beautiful and least traveled region of Italy. My friends live in Lecce and San Cesario and are hosting an annual music festioval there called Sound Res.
4. Tenor Ukelele
I bought a tenor uke in Santa Monica at Mcabe's Guitar Shop after a gig there this fall. I have never had so much fun.
Our beloved European label, home to the last two records by The National (my other band) and the new Clogs record, Stick Music. Sean Bouchard is the hardest working and nicest guy in France. Also possibly the best looking (married with two adorable children).
Padma Newsome: Violin, viola, and even more stringed instruments.
Quiet moments with pipe in hand at two in the morning listening to the sound of the sea pounding in the distance, and a few peeps, and beeps from a night bird. Mallacoota, my home town in Victoria, surrounded by National Forests and the sea, in the past frequented by the bush poets of the 19th century and the likes of cartoonist, Michael Leunig, welcomed by local music lovers and friends, and now my favourite place in the world.
The Black Cockatoo, riding the storm high, crying to another, ancient primitive harbingers of change. Here also Black Swans and huge Pelicans, regal ships on calm waters.
Most content and drunk moment after some rock gig and several rounds of deeply toned cognac. Here, English and French language skills meet at the point of incoherence, their natural resting-place.
Still playing the late Beethoven quartets in my mind, not for the usual wunder-mega Fugue hyper-man moments, BUT for the gently weird or romantic sections, i.e. op 130, Cavatina, and the gnarly precursor to pointy minimalism in the Scherzo of op. 133. These are personal and isolated moments.
Sitting quietly down on the water at Red Hook, surrounded on the one hand by ex-wharf remnants and quietly expanding human gardens on the other. In the distance the lights of Manhattan, ferries and ships moving on water, a hum, and the quiet lap of the waves. A single cricket sounds making me wonder what it might think it sounds like.
By Dusted Magazine