Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Gravenhurst and Micah Blue Smaldone.
Listed: Gravenhurst + Micah Blue Smaldone
Nick Talbot has been recording as/with Gravenhurst for four albums, and always manages to slightly reinvent himself with each release. Although dubiously accurate, My Bloody Valentine has always been a popular reference point when discussing Talbot's output. His new album, Fires in Distant Buildings, should temper that somewhat. It calls upon a variety of rock varients (post, kraut, and beyond) to push the envelope much farther than Gravenhurst has produced in the past. Gravenhurst is touring North America this fall supporting Broadcast. Fires in Distant Buildings will be out soon on Warp Records.
I am trying to live in the present. Traditionally I let the present pass me by, catching it by the coattails as it leaves the room a year later, and start telling everyone how great it was. It is partly in order to make sure I don't soak up contemporary influences; there are enough Gang of Four bands around without me extolling the joys of the angular guitar and raw disco chops. Here are ten records, past and present, that i am currently digging.
1. Midnight Movies - Midnight Movies (Emperor Norton/Rykodisc)
Midnight Movies are the most exciting band I have heard in a long time. The lazy Broadcast and Nico comparisons they are receiving do little justice to the range of their sound. Squealing feedback and Neil Young rifferana cut through the glittering electrical warmth, whilst Gena Olivier is blessed with the frankly bewildering ability to perform complex vocals and teutonic drum lines simultaneously. Marvellous. I want to be in their band.
2. Dead Meadow - Feathers (Matador)
Dead Meadow sing songs about dragons and stuff, but the vocals are buried beneath an impenetrable wall of swirling reverb, so it doesn't matter. Satisfyingly fat Sabbath and Blue Cheer riffs -a Full English Heavy Metal Breakfast from Washington DC.
3. War Against Sleep - Invitation to the Feast (Fire Records)
W.A.S. aka Duncan Fleming is dirty old Serge Gainsbourg screwing Alesteir Crowley on the sly. Occult Social Security bedroom-pop. A madman who writes stunning, decadent songs.
4. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois (Rough Trade/Asthmatic Kitty)
On tour last year I asked the excellent Mr. Sufjan Stevens about the New American Folk Movement I'd heard so much about from journalists. He said he hadn't been invited. Which is a shame because he is the troubadour of contemporary Americana non pareil. He is so handsome too.
5. Broadcast - Tender Buttons (Warp Records)
Every album defies expectations. Now that Guided By Voices have split, Broadcast are the best band in the world.
6. Crescent - By the Roads and the Fields (Fat Cat)
Crescent haven't put out a record since this one, they still don't have a website, hardly anyone knows about them, and very few peole have met Matt Jones. I tried to interview him and he was incapable of talking about his music. Like Joy Division and Can jamming folk songs, recorded onto a four-track in a deserted cinema. Bristol's worst-known best band.
7. Black Forest/Black Sea - Radiant Symmetry (Last Visible Dog)
For years everyone took the piss out of The Iditarod for listening to hippy music like Pearls Before Swine. Now acid-folk is fashionable, so fuck y'all. Jeffrey Alexander and Miriam Goldberg's new band is still weirder than everyone else's.
8. Sons and Daughters - The Repulsion Box (Domino Records)
Very fast. Reminds me of This Year's Model -era Elvis Costello. Good to pump iron to. Since listening to new, faster album, I have increased my reps thricefold. Thanks to S&D, I no longer get sand kicked in my face on the beach at Weston Super Mare.
9. The Sound - From the Lion's Mouth (Renascent)
Reissued from 1981. "Directionless so plain to see/a loaded gun won't set you free" sang Joy Division's Ian Curtis, and self-consciously earned himself a place in the historic pantheon of romantic suicides. Adrian Borland sang "I was gonna drown/but then I started swimming/I was going down/but then I started winning" whilst he evidently wasn't winning. The Sound struggled commercially whilst Borland struggled with his sanity, but his suicide in 1999 came way too late for the kids to care. No romance here, just bravery, and startling music.
10. The Chameleons - Return of the Roughnecks: The Best of the Chameleons (Dead Dead Good Records)
Statick Records were jinxed. Like labelmates The Sound, the Chameleons are strong contenders for Most Underrated Band of All Time. Even signing to Geffen didn't help. Then their manager died, and they broke up. They could wipe the floor with all the current pretenders. Telepathically entwined guitars, otherworldly synths and Mark Burgess's grim, impassioned urban fairy tales reach a peak on the mind-blowing Second Skin. Shame about the artwork.
Micah Blue Smaldone
Micah Blue Smaldone is from the state of Maine and plays folk music from the hinterland. His 2004 debut solo record "Some Sweet Day" is a collection of 20's style ragtime-blues ditties, speaking in a period-correct tongue without irony - revealing, as written in the liner notes, a "passion for the material; a kind of dearness that breeds obsession that is generous (as opposed to implosive.)." In spring of 2005, Micah recorded his second record, Hither and Thither, to be released November 15th. Darkly internal and lurking in grim allegory, this album weaves with a longer thread of influence than it's predecessor, subtilely merging a common spirit from throughout the century of recorded music, from Skip James, to Leadbelly, to Bob Dylan, to Will Oldham. In support of this new album, Micah will be embarking on a month long tour this fall, with Cerberus Shoal.
10/14 - Boston MA @ Mass Art (Room N 181) w/ Cerberus Shoal and Alec K Redfearn and the Eyesores
10/18 - Pittsburgh PA@ Artists Image Resource w/ Cerberus Shoal and Air Guitar Magazine
10/19 - Morgantown WV @ 123 Pleasant St w/ Cerberus Shoal and Air Guitar Magazine
10/20 - Lexington KY @ Underlying Themes w/ Cerberus Shoal and John Haywood
10/21 - Louisville KY @ The Rudyard Kipling w/ Cerberus Shoal, Sapat, and John Haywood
10/22 - Chicago IL @ University of Chicago w/ Cerberus Shoal
10/23 - Chicago IL @ The Empty Bottle w/ Cerberus Shoal
10/24 - Bloomington IN @ Second Story w/ Cerberus Shoal
10/26 - North Manchester IN @ The Fire House w/ Cerberus Shoal
10/27 - Grand Rapids MI @ The Division Avenue Arts Collective w/ Cerberus Shoal
10/28 - Iowa City IA @ The Mill w/ Cerberus Shoal and The Twelve Canons
10/29 - Ames IA @ Nick's Practice Space w/ Cerberus Shoal and the Old Scratch Revival Singers
10/31 - Boise ID @ Neurolux w/ Cerberus Shoal
11.01 - Walla Walla WA @ The Underground w/ Cerberus Shoal
11/03 - Seattle WA @ The Sunset w/ Cerberus Shoal and Master Musicians of Bukkake
11/04 - Seattle WA @ Jewel Box Theater at The Rendezvous w/ Cerberus Shoal
11/05 - Portland OR @ Berbati's Pan w/ Cerberus Shoal
11/08 - San Francisco CA@ Bottom of the Hill w/Cerberus Shoal
11/09 - Sacramento CA @ Fools Foundation w/ Cerberus Shoal
11/10 - Davis CA @ Delta of Venus 11/11 - KDVS Radio Appearance in Davis CA - AM
11/11 - Santa Cruz CA @ TBA w/ Whysp
1. Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska
A trusted companion to the most abject moods, somehow this record puts the whole world into a stark, eerie windshield-view perspective
2. Syd Barrett - The Madcap Laughs
Now hearing just the first few notes of this record sets me aghast at how much it meant to me at one point.
3. Jolie Holland - Catalpa
This is about the strongest medicine one can get these days, over the counter or from the alleyway...
4. James Brown - Live at the Apollo 1962
The urgency of this record is hair-raising, one amazing moment after another.
5. Jean Ritchie - Ballads From Her Appalachian Family Tradition
Probably the most soothing, generous voice I ever heard.
6. Sidney Bechet - Master Musician
As sophisticated as it is deranged, you can't help but scream "HOLY SHIT!" every couple minutes.
7. Lonnie Johnson - Volumes 1-3
Otherworldly guitar playing, insanely dynamic and barely comprehendable
8. Bob Dylan - Bringing It All Back Home
The last three songs are equally inspiring and devastating...I've also gone for weeks listening to nothing but "Love Minus Zero/No Limit"
9. Kraftwerk - Trans Europe Express
Music that makes me want to build things.
10. PG Six - Parlor Tricks and Porch Favorites
A winding path through dense vegetation that only a true heart could clear.
By Dusted Magazine