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Listed: Marissa Nadler + Braden King

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Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Marissa Nadler and Braden King.

Listed: Marissa Nadler + Braden King

Marissa Nadler

Marissa Nadler caught the ear of more than a few psych-folk fans with her adroit cover of Tom Rapp’s “Ballad to an Amber Lady” – the leadoff track of a 2003 Pearls Before Swine tribute album. Buoyed by its reception, the New England-based singer and visual artist released her debut, Ballads of Living and Dying, to much acclaim. On this record, the folk chanteuse glides through ten tracks of icily beautiful folk balladry in a voice that falls somewhere between Hope Sandoval velvet, Joni Mitchell indigo, and Leonard Cohen navy on the color wheel. Nadler expands her instrumental palette somewhat on The Saga of Mayflower May, an equally haunting song-cycle slated for release later this year.

My book of names - a list of all-time favorites that I keep coming back to, year in and year out, despite the current wheel’s turnings, a list of comfort songs and or artists from the old collection – not in any order...

1. Henry Darger
The lonely janitor’s death led to a posthumous discovery of tens of thousands of illuminated manuscript-style drawings and paintings. When unearthed, they detailed his epic story of the “Vivian girls,” asexual doll faces entangled in a mythical war. He has had a big influence on a lot of things, especially in my relationship with the “realms of the unreal”. An ability to embrace dreamland and delve into the subconscious, he has led me to access the past and explore other eras and worlds in song.

2. Adolf Woolfli
A magically obsessive artist, a beguiling character to be true. He was institutionalized the entirety of his adult life, prolific by means of reams of paper and pencil stubs, delivered by his nurses daily. He would mow these pencils and color sticks down to stubs, in a ferocious attempt to translate his visions into palpable planes of imagery. His drawings included symphonies of musical notation that have been decoded by musicians, while his personal iconography of bizarre signs and symbols are intensely moving. Mandala-like epic beauties.

3. The Band - “Lonesome Suzie” (from Music from Big Pink)
This was sung by the late Richard Manuel. Oh, the song is incredibly gorgeous. This, especially paired with the fact that Manuel hanged himself in the late eighties, makes the track even more sexily spooky. (also the Band’s "Tears of Rage," and "Long Black Veil" version off same record are runners up in the museum of melancholy - Music From Big Pink)

4. Leonard Cohen - "Nancy” (from Songs from a Room)
The record is one of my favorites...actually might top #1 and the song "Nancy," complete with her green stockings, is my favorite song of the record. Also Songs of Leonard Cohen and Songs of Love and Hate

5. Joni Mitchell - “Cactus Tree” (from Song to a Seagull, very early Joni Mitchell, a masterpiece of verse, off of the first of many amazing Joni Mitchell records. Anything off of Clouds, Ladies of the Canyon, Blue, and Song to a Seagull. It is hard to decide on a favorite, she has had a huge influence, especially in the open voicing and lyrical structure. “Last time I saw Richard” – last song off of Blue - my favorite Joni Mitchell song..

6. Shirley Collins / Sandy DennyMiscellaneous Rarities / Pentangle / etc..

7. Neil Young - After the Gold Rush

8. Josephine Foster - Little Life CDR
My most favorite singer of the moment. She writes the most gorgeous music – having her sing in my living room, I had the feeling I was watching a future legend at work.

9. Alan Lomax - field recordings

10. The High Priestess of Soul - Nina Simone
Especially the records the Saga of the Good Life, Nina Sings the Blues. and Hard Times)
She was very first musical love, and her records still move to soothe, upon each new spin on the turntable

11. Odetta
Odetta is one of the most spectacular singers of her era. My favorite songs she sang were her versions of "Gallows Pole," "Make me a Pallet on Your Floor," and "All the Pretty Little Horses."

12. Edith Piaff
The daughter of a street performer - a veritable vamp, the last vestige of greatness of the old Parisian romance singers

13. Leadbelly - "Goodnight Irene"

14. The Gold Dust Woman - pre-1980 Stevie Nicks - A long obsession

15. Patti Smith - Especially the album Horses

16. Bob Dylan - Bootleg Series, also Bob Dylan live at Royal Albert Hall 1966, first Disc

17. Elizabeth Cotton / The Music Emporium / Christian Spiritual Hymns / Satie

Braden King

Braden King put himself on the map in the late 90s with his remarkable working-class ambient film, Dutch Harbor. Not only was the film itself visually stunning, but its soundtrack was performed (at various screenings) by a revolving cast of some of Chicago's finest musicians. Such was the improvised nature of the music that no performance - and thus no viewing - of the film was ever the same. Following Dutch Harbor, King made videos by artists such as Will Oldham, Tortiose, The Dirty Tree, Low, and others, however 2005 should mark a breakthrough year for the young filmmaker. He assembled and edited Looking For A Thrill, the exhaustively diverse (and generally exhaustive) dvd compiling a stunning lineup of music-related interviews (sorta like a Listed movie!). It was recently released to commemorate Thrill Jockey's tenth anniversary and hundredth release. A dvd release of Dutch Harbor is set for September 20 (c/o Plexifilm), and dvd about epic masters Dirty Three will be released next spring. His next project is currently set to begin shooting in Armenia in the spring and summer of 2006. Braden King bent the rules a bit for this week's Listed feature.

The list is numbered only so that I could keep track; the 'order' is interchangeable. I think.

1. Sally Timms - In the World of Him (Quarterstick Records)
For me, this is easily the best and most exciting 'rock' (or what you will) album of 2004.

2. Tsai Ming-liang - Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Wellspring)
Tsai Ming-liang is the filmmaker who's currently making films interesting (for me, here, now).

3. Rackstraw Downes - In Relation to the Whole (Edgewise Press)
The most inspiring little book I've come across in a long time. His paintings are just as good.

4. Dijivan Gasparyan - Armenian Duduk (Arc Music)This reminded me that I should mention Radio Darvish (see below), though it's not Persian.

5. Tigran Xmalian - Pierlequin / Lighter than Air
Tigran is a filmmaker i met in Yerevan, Armenia last May. An instant friend, collaborator and inspiration.

6. Stuart Dybek - The Coast of Chicago (Picador)
Thanks to George Saunders for pointing the way. My only regret is that there aren't more books.

7. Radio Darvish - http://www.radiodarvish.com
An internet radio station run by Afshin Toloee; Persian classical music. Addicted.

8. Artavazd Pelechian - Seasons
Talking about Pelechian is like giving away a deep secret. I already regret it.

9. Don DeLillo - Mao II (Penguin Books)
DeLillo seems to have taken over my more youthful obsession with Kerouac left off. Call me cliché.

10. The Jesus Lizard - Liar (Touch and Go Records)
Working on a trailer for the Thrill Jockey DVD caused me to pull this out again. Never sounded better.

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