Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Def Jux's Despot and the man of a Million Tongues, Plastic Crimewave.
Listed: Despot + Plastic Crimewave
Definitive Jux recording artist who has made his mark with his single "Homesickness" b/w "Life With Snarky Parker" released on Def Jux in March. He also has appeared on random compilations throughout the years with perhaps the most notable appearance being "Cynical Bastards" on the Euphony compilation put out by Centrifugal Phorce Records. A veteran of the NYC rap race and an honorable Lo Life currently working on an album with Blockhead (Ninja Tune) and a truckload of very special people. Live from the mean streets of Queens with so many chips on his shoulder there aren't anymore left on the ol' block.
1. Babe Ruth - The Mexican
This is one of those songs that is on those ultimate beats and breaks records and all that kinda shit. Rare occurrences of the original record have popped up at various points in my life. This song never fails to make me feel great no matter what kind of mood I'm in and it was always the joint in my short lived breaking stint. Put this on at a party and people will act silly. silly, silly people.
2. Cannibal OX- The Cold Vein
Still my headphone street stomping winter album. Very few albums have managed to paint such a vivid picture of NYC in the cold. This one does that very well for me. Everyone needs that album to bump in their headphones that makes them feel like anyone who comes near them will die instantly. Anyone who comes near me and this album has died instantly. Every single time. Without fail.
3. MF DOOM - Doomsday
The flipside to the kind of stuff that makes my face hurt when I listen to The Cold Vein. This is that pleasant summery album that reminded me rap is good. This also represents a time that I feel was the end of a renaissance in NY hip hop. Around 1999 was when the Fondle 'Em era was sort of coming to a close but everyone was still getting their last licks in and this might have been one of the most lasting ones. Now Doom is famous. Winners.
4. Daniel Johnston
I love this guy. I love everything he has ever done. He is convinced that no one understands him, so I will not pretend that I do. Daniel Johnston is great. It's a shame that people probably won't REALLY give a shit about him until he dies and is remembered as this weird recluse artist. I want to make a million panthers with Daniel Johnston. Panthers is a euphemism for songs.
5. Company Flow - Funcrusher Plus
One of the best hip hop albums of all time. This album sort of gave birth to a lot of "underground" rap shit. Unfortunately a lot of the things that can be called an after effect of this album are terrible. Jus, El, and Len were indeed a perfect combination and they pushed the envelope of creativity in lyrics and production to a completely new level. I feel extremely privileged to be working with someone who was involved in this. I think all of their solo endeavors have been just as powerful and that is just further proof of the indelibility of them muhfuckas.
6. Mobb Deep - The Infamous
This one really shaped me in my younger years as a street tuff. Being a kid growing up in Queens at the time when I grew up, you probably smoked a good deal of weed, beat a bunch of people up, robbed a few people, and things like that. Or maybe that only happened if you listened to this album too much. Either way, I regard it as a classic and still listen to it all the time. It makes me feel like I'm at home. And I am at home. Because I still live here...in the kitchen.....fuck.
7. Kurious - A Constipated Monkey
I was in 6th grade. I listened to this album constantly. Introduced me to a whole side of rap that I didn't really know about. Had some incredibly memorable tracks...particularly "Leave Ya With This," which was a dedication to DJ Subroc. Fresh out the Box was also great...with a hilarious intro. I bought these really shitty little speakers...that hooked up to my walkman. I played this album over and over on them while my 6th grade class rode a bus to Washington DC.
8. Gravediggaz - 6 Feet Deep
Fresh out of 6th grade and onto bigger and better things. Bigger and better pants. Bigger and better radios. I wore giant pants and walked around with a huge Panasonic double deck radio and played this album every single day throughout cop killa Queens. Me and this album have a very close relationship. Beats on this album were fuckin' great and they were perhaps the only crew that managed to do that whole "horrorcore" rap shit well. RIP Poet a.k.a. Grym Reapah....sheeit..
9. Aesop Rock
This is another person who I am very privileged to call my friend and who has been a great inspiration and influence to me in recent years. While critics will continue to call it nonsensical tongue twisting bullshit, I think it is blatantly obvious that he is one of the few people in this shit right now who really thinks through his songs and manages to say something in each one. In fact he manages to say everything in every song. The barrages of support and criticism which seem more or less equal on both sides are just indicators of a truly influential figure. Plus he got a respectable sneaker collection and anyone who has fresh kicks is a friend of mine. Aesop Rock: a shining beacon of hope in a world of silly hats. Proof that being a rapper can make you a winner at life. famous rap day will take us all into it's arms and we will live off of it's sunshine. Some rappers have severe cases of gay hand while performing live. So sue them.
10. Ghostface Killah - Supreme Clientele
It's really hard to say Supreme Clientele was better than Ironman, so I'm not going to say it was; I'm just going to say that maybe I was more surprised by Supreme Clientele because it was so incredibly rich on the production side and I thought he really went crazy with some of the shit he managed to loop on there and get away with. Aside from that, he really pushed it to the edge with the lyrics on this one. Ghost said some of the most insane shit I have ever heard come out of anyone's mouth, and if asked to he could definitely make sense of all of it. Still someone I really look up to and am constantly impressed by.
Another person who I feel privileged to call my friend. Deck is a fuckin' genius and has gone unnoticed for a long time. I hope he doesn't manage to slip under everyone's radar for much longer. He is and has been sayin' shit for years that most jerks are too silly to think of. The muhfucka came from Russia and was already somewhat "grown" then learned English and beat the shit out of it. One of the most clever and deranged kids out there. Very good at offering a sort of foreign perspective and making all of us in America look really dumb. The "Bash It" EP and the "Dream Dentistry" album are both real dope and I think it could only get better. The rapper who looks at things crooked.. "Cynical Bastards" is a collaboration I did with him in 2001 or something...that was sort of my breakout team winner represent rap day one time. Rap Captainz Fo Lyfe.
Honorable Mentions: The Wild Tchapoutoulas, Popol Vuh, Main Source, I want to say Ella Jenkins but Devendra Banhart did already so I won't look as cool when I say it...but there it is...I saw her in concert when I was a real little guy and had her record, Will Oldham, Gary Wilson, Dan Deacon, Breezly Brewin', The Juggaknots, etc. etc. etc.c..c.........
This has been an autobiographical journey through the coming of age of a young despot. All silly geese are invited to play in the yard and the rap gang will win one day.
Chicagoan Steve Krakow (a.k.a. Plastic Crimewave, or 'psych Steve,' as he is affectionately know around town), has been carrying the Midwestern psychedelia torch for a number of years, spearheading the (appropriately) gradual and indirect infiltration of all things out-there. Outside of the Midwest he is likely best known as the editor and publisher of Galactic Zoo Dossier, a collection of drawings and articles concerning all things psychedelic. Venerable label Drag City has published recent issues as well as a compendium of Galactic Zoo Dossiers. As well, Krakow performs with the band Plastic Crimewave Sound, playing guitar and singing in the punky psych quintet. He also recently curated and assembled the Million Tongues Festival (and corresponding compilation), which featured performances at Chicago's Empty Bottle from Kinski with Kawabata Makoto, LSD March, Mick Farren, Espers, Josephine Foster, Michael Yonkers, Charalambides, PG Six, Matt Valentine, Simon Finn, Six Organs of Admittance, and more. The Galactic Zoo Dossier Compendiun is now available from Drag City and the Million Tongues compilation is available on Bastet.
1. Nisennenmondai at Million Tongues Festival
Ok, I'm a little biased here, since I asked them to play, after they blew me away when i played with them in Tokyo. Still, nothing could have prepared me for their set of the most ferocious 'post punk" I've ever witnessed (indeed if the new crop of such bands were more like this and not soggy crap like the Rapture, I'd sure jump on!) Breakneck tempos, squalls of guitar and the one of the best drummers I've ever had the privilege to drop my jaw at. I should mention that said drummer is a cute little 4 foot something lady, but a fucking POWERHOUSE!!! Lightning Bolt would have to surrender to these ladies. Sonic Youth should be all over them! I haven't seen a Chicago audience go so wild in ages!
2. Rodriguez - Cold Fact LP
Well, I did a very rare Ebay buy for this one, it's just simply one of the best downer folk LPs of all time. Imagine if Donovan was from the mean streets of Detroit and knew all the pimps, addicts and hustlers...and was Mexican! Can't imagine it? it's hard, but you should just pick it up. Dennis Coffey does some of the best production and tweaked guitar playing of his career on this one. It's a grower, this LP, and so worth the wait.
3. Clive Palmer interview at ISB show at Logan Square Auditorium
I rarely get nervous at these things, but Clive is godlike to me, with his transcendent COB LP's in my highest pantheon. At first his answers were short and terse, and then he seemed to open up, and told me how he treats songs like paintings, and about the early days, and...I was just in ecstasy to be speaking to the man. I NEVER would have dreamed in a million years that he'd come to Chicago. His solo numbers were also the highlight of the show.
4.Third World War - s/t LP
I finally got this off of Dan Koretzky at the record fair, I always heard about these guys as being sort of early skinhead yobs, which is one of my fave genres (early Slade for instance) but this shit is just TOO heavy! Grinding guitars, tuneful but gruff-as-hell vocals, and brilliant hard rock songs about the working class-this is so punk it hurts, from 1970!!! Somehow a bunch of proggy jazzers are on the LP, but it does not suffer! 'Ascension Day" is my fucking anthem! When we rise, indeed!
5. Edgar Broughton Band - If there was any justice in the world, these cats would be revered gods of heavy up w/Sabbath and Zeppelin, but alas..."Wasa Wasa" was pitched to me as some sort of Beefheart/Stooges amalgamation, and it's not far off! Doomy, thudding, scorching bliss!! Later their songwriting developed quite a bit on great concept LPs like Sing Brother Sing and Oora kind of like the Pretty Things did with 'Parachute"...
6. Balfa Brothers and any other old Cajun music
Yeah, this is some woozy warmth-inducing stuff. creaky voices and glorious fiddling immediately transports you to another time and place.
7. Friendsound - Joyride LP
Well, no one knows which is the band name and which is the album title, but this is actually a contract breaker for Paul Revere and the Raiders members, and what a heady one it is! Awesome layered jams that would make Sunburned Hand of the Man blush, and studio fuckery galore! There's even some musique concrete on here!! I recommend fungal enhancement.
8.General Crook - "What Time It Is" pts 1 & 2 45"
Brilliant funkypsych (early Funkadelic style) number from Chicago, up w/any Stepney or Whitfield numbers. dark and throbbing...My anthem for a month or two....
9.Josephine Foster and the Supposed - Molten Truth summer tour
Well, I was lucky to have my band on this tour too, and it was great to see the Supposed do their thing every night, scorching folk rock that would go off the tracks on occasion, yet always was held down by a solid-ass rhythm section and Foster's sumptuous vocals. Guitarist Brian Goodman was their secret weapon, flying into the stratosphere with crazy Richard Thompson-esque leads! He'd also fix my broken strings and get all sorts of stuff caught in his weirdbeard, to our bemusement! And those doo rags......!
CD-Rs of their entire discography and more, provided by the great Chris Connelly - this shit smokes! Blistering proto-punk/roots rock from Jesse Hector, of the massive Crushed Butler! Hector's nasal sneer outdoes Johnny Rotten in my book, and the guitar gunk is way more toxic than most UK bands... and as my boy Byron pointed out, Hector had the best sideburns EVER!
By Dusted Magazine