Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Pissed Jeans and Alarm Will Sound.
Listed: Pissed Jeans + Alarm Will Sound
Hard to wrap your head around this one, but Allentown, Pennsylvania is the next official scene. Somewhere between hardcore and punk, a group of esteemed record-collecting geeks found a hole and started digging. Pretty soon, that group included a number bands with no consciences, no dignity, just lots of riffs and a tremendous respect for the idiocy that’s come before. Perhaps one of the few genres not to be completely whored to the public through CD – the early ’80s era of stupid loud music, for lack of a more accurate term – is still almost completely in the hands of serious record collectors. The lexicon is longer than you’d expect, but it starts with Drunks With Guns.
Pissed Jeans aren’t Drunks With Guns, but they wouldn’t be insulted if you got them confused. Eastern Pennsylvania brethren Air Conditioning and Pearls and Brass (recently signed to Drag City) are the other key bands to keep an eye on as the scene slowly garners attention, then self destructs. The label in the back of the room is White Denim. Make sure to keep an eye on their site in the coming months.
Matt and Brad took part in this week’s Listed. Pissed Jeans’ debut full-length Shallow is out on CD and should hit wax in a month or so.
I can’t even name a particular record cause I’ve been on such a kick lately. My soon to be wife turned me onto Bjork almost 5 years ago and I’ve been hooked since. Right now the Joga remixes 3xLP has been spinning and the Medulla 2xLP has been in rotation heavily as well. I’m still amazed that I like each new album better than the last. I’m a sucker for the $25 brand new price tag on each record since they look so damn nice. I vote Medulla best album to wake up to.
2. Tweed - "Fashion" 7”
Dare I say the best single from France ever? Better than Gasoline, Checkmate and Electrochoc combined! I had been looking for this single for a while and it finally got in my sweaty palms a few months. It’s been almost a daily listen since then. Great powerpop with some excellent clean guitar and amazing choruses. I can’t even tell if the verses are in English, but who cares, I just mumble along with it. I love yooooouuuuuooouuuoouuu.
3. Asva - Futurists Against The Ocean
I was really into the Asva track on the split with Burning Witch. It was also great cause it sounds rad on 33 and 45. I was highly anticipating this CD and it does not disappoint. The first and 4th tracks are super heavy and super slow and are pretty much pick up where Burning Witch had left off. The second track, “Zaum; Beyondsense”, is super droned out and guitar orientated. The third track, “Fortune” sounds like some very demented church hymn with some wonderful female vocals. Well, each track has female vocals but they really stand out on the “Fortune”. This CD is great to drive to, pound on the steering wheel and hope the airbag doesn’t deploy.
4. Bob Vaught & The Renegaids - Surf Crazy
It’s that time of the year again and there is nothing better than the windows down on a hot summer day with some great surf instrumentals cranked up. This was a nice cheap find in semi-decent shape. I’m not sure when this was released, 65 maybe. From the first track “Exotic” I was hooked. Although it’s a complete rip off of “Miserlou” it’s still great. The great thing about this record is the minimal use of saxophone. Unfortunately there is a rather poor cover of “Surfin Safari”.
5. Brian Wilson - Smile
So, I picked this thing up in the beginning of the year almost expecting to be let down a little. It took a little time for me to get used to the 2005 production vs. the 1960’s production, but overall it’s great and keeps getting better. I recently picked up the live DVD for this and it makes me love this album even more. I can just sit back and close my eyes and relax to it. The music it self really matches the emotion that is being invoked by the lyrics. “Cabin Essence” is just an awesome listen. The re-recording of “Surf’s Up” is just heavenly. I think I even like it better than the original on the Surf’s Up album. There is so much going on that I find myself hearing something new and feeling like it’s the first time I’ve heard it with each listen.
1. Skitkids - Onna For Pleasure
I picked this up from a small distro in Baltimore upon the recommendation of Brad, and made a strong connection with Onna For Pleasure upon first listen. Wailing guitar solos on top of a galloping beat, and a great, rough recording, Skitkids definitely elevate themselves above the current crop of "d-beat" bands. It's a quick record, which is good, and reminds me of the first time I listened to State of Fear's "Wallow in Squalor" 7" (possibly the best Profane Existence distro purchase I've ever made). Skitkids also seem to have a down-to-earth silliness (ie. monkey porn and unibrows) that's endearing without sacrificing the seriousness of their sound. I'm pretty sure they're touring the US right now, and look forward to seeing them play in Allentown.
2. Tours - "Language School" b/w "Foreign Girls" 7"
"Language School" is one of my favorite cuts on the 'Powerpearls Volume 1' compilation, and after a couple months of failed searching, I managed to find a copy of the original single. It sounds so strong and raw on old UK vinyl, and the b-side is a gem as well, almost besting "Language School". Incredibly catchy melody, great guitar sound and a bouncy tempo, to my ears this is truly a powerpop masterpiece that's almost inspired me to learn how to play guitar. I was trying to install a short-circuiting air conditioner in the middle of a heat wave a few weeks ago, and "Language School", along with Jimmy Edwards's "Nora's Diary" and Boyfriends's "Wrapped Up in a Dream", kept me smiling throughout the miserable ordeal.
3. Aufgehoben - Anno Fauve
Probably the most I've ever paid for a brand new record (pretty sure it was at least $50), the quality and presentation of 'Anno Fauve' outweighs whatever dent it left in my checking account. Housed between two chunks of Plexiglas with a variety of vellum-paper inserts, it's a pretty stunning production that takes the steady hands of a surgeon to open up and play. Musically, I can't help but imagine the dudes from Mainliner recording themselves disassembling rock music in a dark basement and then forwarding the master to John Wiese for remixing. It took half a dozen uninterrupted listens to really wrap my head around it, and probably half an hour to put the record back together. Time to buy the CD.
4. Leprechaun Catering - Kumquats and Lychees
Probably my surprise hit of 2004, I picked it up at the first No Fun Fest because of the ugly screened cover and recommendation by some friendly guy who I think was wearing a fake tail. Brought it home and my stereo started splooging out a colorful mix of burnt electronics, cut-up percussion and the occasional guitar blip. Leprechaun Catering have an incredible mastery of rhythm that most of their contemporaries don't seem to bother with, and they're all the more appealing for it. The record's great, but I became a life-long fan after witnessing their act live, with hands fluttering over theremins like a hummingbird, a huge stack of metal boxes and wires constantly being plucked and hammered, and some sort of rubber/gum material being played like a kazoo. I've since downloaded the entire record off the Ehse Records website and keep a copy of it on CD-r close to my car stereo at all times. If Captain Beefheart grew up with instant messaging and emoticons, his music would be startlingly similar to the work of Leprechaun Catering.
5. Disciples of Annihilation - …Muthafuckin' New York Hardcore
Dropped off by some deadbeat in a trashed load of used vinyl at Double Decker Records, I picked up a couple 12"s on the Industrial Strength record label and realized that I am a raver inside a punker's body. There's no texture, no build-up towards a climax, no wit, no melody, nothing but pure head-melting hardcore techno. Disciples of Annihilation manage to dig right into the core of music and cut off all the fat. I've tried to figure out how to dance to this, and realized that the only appropriate physical response is to crawl into the speaker and die. The thought of children being exposed to this music frightens me, because unlike other parental-advised music, it doesn't paint a fantasy world of devils and goblins, nor does boast over-exaggerated, fictional crime stories; this is the legit soundtrack to first encounters with hard drugs, highway car crashes and amateur self-mutilation.
Alarm Will Sound
Having The New York Times off-handedly declare you as "the future of classical music" would probably be enough to intimidate anyone. 22-piece Alarm Will Sound, however, seem to have risen to the challenge with their album (their second) on which they cover the work of seminal electronic legend Aphex Twin. The ensemble (not an orchestra!) features all of your standard symphonic components - voices, strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussionists - but the similarities between Alarm Will Sound and a conventional 'orchestra' end there. They also manage to employ curtain rods, duck calls, plastic tubing, air pumps, a water hose, an engraving tool, a cocktail stirrer – in addition to new instruments created by NYC new music pioneer Mark Stewart – the Uboingee Spring Guitar and Refrigerator Rack Lamellophone. Not to mention preparing their own instruments (rubber gloves on the bassoon, screws inside the piano), and adding instruments from other traditions such as the South African mbira. Their new record, Acoustica, will be released next week, and its live debut will be July 24th at the Lincoln Center Festival in New York.
1. Deep Puddle Dynamics - Music for the Advancement of Hip Hop (Anticon)
Dark experimental hip hop with incredible stream of consciousness lyrics. Rappers DoseOne, Sole, Alias, and Slug from Atmosphere will destroy your mind over sparse lofi beats if you manage to keep up with them.
2. Glenn Gould - Goldberg Variations, 1982 version (Sony)
Bach’s exquisite musical achievement was rescued from obscurity by Gould’s 1955 recording. The 1982 version is more than merely a technological improvement; it captures Gould’s intense artistic vision and the deep musical understanding he developed over a long and singular career.
3. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Lift your Skinny Fist Like Antennas to Heaven (Kranky)
Somewhere between rock and minimalism is where you’d find GYBE. Hailing from Montreal, this nine person post-rock group consists of strings, guitars, basses, drums and tape loops. They have a very strong view on western society and capitalism that gives their music a sense of beautiful doom.
4. Frank Zappa - Joe's Garage (Rykodisc)
Without a doubt the best rock opera ever. Elements of rock, classical, reggae, funk, doo wop... and the lyrics are sublime: "This is exciting. I've never plooked a tiny chrome-plated machine, that looks like a magical pig, with marital aids stuck all over it, such as yourself before."
5. Eva Cassidy - Live at Blues Alley (Blix Street)
An incredible, versatile singer who died young and a relative unknown. Her musical curiosity led her to jazz, folk, blues, gospel, R&B—a unique voice was at home almost anywhere and a performer who didn’t worry about splintered, target audiences.
6. Ravi Shankar - Live at Monterey Pop Festival (Beat Goes On)
It may not be his best recording, but it was certainly one of the most influential, reaching a wide audience and helping further an interest by Western composers in classical music from other cultures.
7. Joy Division - Substance (Warner)
A short-lived band from Manchester that came out of the punk movement. This album is more or less responsible for the birth of new wave.
8. The Shaggs - Philosophy of the World (RCA)
Funny, serious, raw, and very, very real. The most brilliant classical composer couldn't have thought up anything half as weird or creative as this disc.
9. Miles Davis - Kind of Blue (Sony)
NEVER gets boring, no matter how many times you listen to it. People refer to it as the "Jazz Bible" because it seems to hold all musical creation.
10. Portishead - Live: Roseland NYC (London)
Talk about musicians playing electronics live!
By Dusted Magazine