Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: The Apes and Engine Down.
Listed: The Apes + Engine Down
Before Comets on Fire discovered the secret to turning sludge into gold, a number of equally talented bands were hard at work on a similar sort of alchemy. The unique presence of Washington DC's The Apes removes the band far enough from the realms of the regular to earn a place on the same shelf as household names like Royal Trux (well, at least among Dusted's households). Their label explains: "They compose songs around drawings they make and compose drawings around stories they imagine, stories that would burn green into the eyes of Philip K Dick, Jorge Luis Borges, and Ray Bradbury." The Apes have choogled their way through releases on Planaria and French Kiss records, and their latest album, Baba Mountain, was released by the venerable Birdman imprint. The Apes will be on tour of the US very soon.
Here are some records I enjoy.
1. Birthday Party - Prayers on Fire
This record isn’t as noisy as Junkyard but it is filled with powerful cinematic images. Each song takes the listener into a different setting. Amazing stuff.
2. Government Issue - Crash
This is their last record. Some people dig G.I.’s “You” more, but this one rocks my brains. Great hooks, odd lyrics, overall a very overlooked late 80’s record.
3. Linton Kwesi Johnson - Dread Beat and Blood
This record has a really heavy menacing vibe, yet it is a profound record.
4. Captain Beefheart - Clear Spot
I like most everything Beefheart but I really dig the catchy songwriting on this one. It is his most accessible effort and it is a really enjoyable listen.
5. The Damned - Machine Gun Etiquette
Changed my life when I heard this one. Lots of variety once again combining my two favorite things, music with a sense of danger and great hooks.
6. Olneyville Soundsystem - Because we are all in this together
Little known Load Records band consisting of drums, bass, vox, and harmonica. Still one of my favorite bands to come out of Providence. Heavy music but not metal music. More like dirty sub bass rock. Amazing one line lyrics. A criminally overlooked record.
7. Black Flag - My War
The first side is great. The second reminds me of sitting in your room for a weekend exploring depression in your dirty undies. Really strange dark production that works great with this record.
8. The Who - Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy
The perfect compilation of catchy rocking singles. Unbeatable.
9. Bad Brains - I Against I
The Brains should have ruled the world with this record in a Van Halen-sized way. Listened to this seven times in one day when it came out, sitting in my bed with headphones on.
10. Congos - The Congos
Some of the most beautiful songs in reggae. Vocal harmonizing like you never heard before. Heavy in a mysterious spiritual way.
Engine Down's pounding indie rock may appear to occupy the middle of the road, but a wealth of influences and shading help to diversify the sound that frames their catchy tunes. Their latest record from this Virginia quartet, Engine Down - their first for Lookout Records - was released in late 2004. Engine Down is usually on tour.
1. Party Ben - "Independent Room" (a mix of Fugazi's "Waiting Room" and Destiny's Child's "Independent Women")
I've heard some pretty "clever" mixes in the past, but that's about all they had going for them...cleverness. This mix takes two separately perfect entities and combines them with the shocking end result being EVEN BETTER than either of the originals. This is seriously my new favorite song.
2. Barkmarket - l Ron
This band was around in the early to mid-nineties, fronted by producer Dave Sardy. This band rocks hard as hell without being macho, and l Ron is one of the coolest, most uniquely raw sounding rock records ever made.
3. Beatles - The White Album (the Paul songs)
When I was in high school, I made a tape of all of the John Lennon songs from The White Album, because I thought the Paul songs were too cheesy. I've recently been FREAKING OUT over the Paul songs on this record.
4. Blonde Redhead - Misery is a Butterfly
We've been a fan of Blonde Redhead since they were still Steve Shelley's wunderkind. They have continually evolved over the years, and this record is another heartbreakingly beautiful specimen.
5. Eric b. and Rakim - Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em
We recently had our van/trailer/equipment/personal belongings stolen in Houston, TX, and the one thing that the police recovered was the van (sans battery, spare tire, jack, bench seats, and of course stereo). So, when we picked the van up, we put the original factory tape player back in, and this gave me a reason to dig through my old tape collection. good thing I saved it too, because I found my Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em tape from when I was in 9th grade. This record is still awesome and has some seriously hardcore beats.
6. Autolux - Future Perfect
We just kind of stumbled upon this one. This is what would happen if the Swirlies and Stereolab and Hum existed now.
7. Regina Spektor - Soviet Kitsch, songs (demo)
I see a LOT of live music. We're on tour three-fourths of the year, and we've had the good fortune to tour with a lot of great and inspiring bands, but no live performance has moved me in years the way that Regina Spektor moved me. She's smirking and silly one moment, and crushingly melancholy the next, all while maintaining an honesty and vulnerability that makes you want to take her in like a lost kitten.
8. Scrolling down the non-discriminatory artist listing on my Ipod. I love the fact that the artist listing on my Ipod does not differentiate between an artist that I consider very important, and one that I happen to have one song by. For instance: I have the entire Beatles catalog (over 200 songs), and one song by N'Sync and both artists have equal face time. Looking at that list makes me think about what I actually want to hear, rather than just playing the same 6 default cds that are in my car. (What? if you heard that N'Sync song, you'd remember it and how much you liked it.)
9. Ted Leo/Pharmacists - Shake the Sheets
Teddy's most solid recording to date. This guy's passion is awe-inspiring, his songs have always been amazing, and finally the production is also amazing.
10. Elliott Smith - From a Basement on a Hill
Listening to this record is almost too eerie, but damn, it's good.
By Dusted Magazine