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Listed: Faunts + Ninja High School

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Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: An all-Canadian Listed from Faunts and Ninja High School.

Listed: Faunts + Ninja High School


Hailing from Edmonton, Alberta , Faunts began as a collaboration between Paul Arnusch and the brothers Batke (Tim & Steven) back in 2000. Shortly thereafter, the group found themselves thriving in a very up and coming Canadian music scene. With an unmistakably dreamy sound and overtly dramatic instrumentation, the band quickly became one of the area's biggest draws playing alongside fellow up and comers Broken Social Scene, Stars, and Do Make Say Think. Somewhat of a misnomer, their debut album High Expectations/Low Results, blends together the many intricacies of ethereal rock to create a sound very much in the vein of Sigur Ros or Mogwai.

I love to listen to a song and get to that certain point when the artist plays a chord or sings a melody that pushes the song over the top. At times I have pointed out these moments to friends and family. Sometimes I get enthusiastic support, other times a blank stare. One can agree or disagree, but this is my opinion of specific moments in music that rule. Of course you’ll have to listen to the entire song for these moments to make sense, but I will still make note of the exact time they occur/begin. Here is my list of a few favorite moments of glory, in no particular order…

Artist, song, album, year, moment of glory:

1. Palace Brothers – “Cat’s Blues” (from Viva Last Blues, 1995) 2:10
Will Oldham has many moments like this but this is my absolute favorite. The second chorus = soul.

2. Gaston – “Cargo” (from #1 [10”], 2001) 1:36
Listen to this song at least three times. Listen to this record at least 9 times.

3. Stars of the Lid – “Music for Twin Peaks Part 1” (from The Ballasted Orchestra, 1998) 0:00-8:01
Time means very little when listening to SOTL. The first time I heard this track I got about six minutes into it and finally realized how great those six minutes were. Masters of minimal glory.

4. Set Transition – “Lake Link” (Unreleased, 2004. visit www.sequentialrandomist.org/settransition) 3:30
If you are lucky enough to witness a live show, there will be many times when you have to turn to someone and give them a high five. This selection is from a live show a little while back where I couldn’t help but move. Please listen to the whole show.

5. Arvo Part – “Litany” (from Litany, 1996) 5:51-6:00
I don’t know why but I always have to listen to these nine seconds over and over.

6. Do Make Say Think – “Minmin” (from Goodbye Enemy Airship, the Landlord is Dead, 2000) 2:19
I can’t help but smile when the double time kicks in.

7. Cliff Richard – "Some People” (from Always Guaranteed, 1987) 1:01
My father has thousands of records and discs and there was always music playing as we were growing up. For some reason this album stuck with me. When that synth line comes in, watch out. Don’t try to hide your past – embrace it. Going back to old records I find I’m influenced by so many things I’ve forgotten.

8. Arthur Russell (from World of Echo, 1986) 1:40
I really appreciate how some chords and progressions can affect me. Time and time again it seem that I like things simpler and simpler. This is a great example of simple chords and melody that just work.

9. Dietzche V. & the Abominable Snowman – “Bromance” (from Bromance [7”], 2004) 3:32
Breakdown glory. This chord progression rules and I wish I had written it.

10. Polmo Polpo – “Requiem for a Fox” (from Like Hearts Swelling, 2003) 10:12
Patience makes perfect.

Ninja High School

Not to be confused with the comic book of the same name, Toronto's Ninja High School are a self-described "positive hardcore dance-rap." Brimming with enthusiasm and punk rock go-get'mness, these guys out-honkey even the likes of Cex and Grand Buffet and are, well, pretty much what you might expect from a few geeky kids from Toronto. A good time, to be sure, but if you already don't think you would like it...you probably won't! If you're still paying attention, well, there is something quite charming about the whole package, right down to the painfully DIY website. Their new record, Young Adults Against Suicide, is out now on Tomlab Records.

Greg's Top 10:

10. Iron Bitchface
One of the best and most original bands out of Southern Ontario. Part of the amazing Kitchener-Waterloo extreme comedy crew (check out me6.com), these guys are single-handedly popularizing electronic grindcore music in Toronto right now. Magical.

9. Ethiopiques Vol. 10: Tezeta
Not only is this amazing, hypnotic music, but it completely sidesteps any and all pointless and juvenile debates over "authenticity". Stirring.

8. Capleton
The power of his transformation from sexist thug to Jah-conscious prophet is undeniable. Inspirational.

7. Portland, Oregon
For giving us Yacht, The Blow, and Anna Oxygen, who are collectively the nicest and best people in North America. Is there something in the water there that makes those guys so positive? Groovy.

6. Cuddle Thrash
Love doesn't always have to be gentle. Obliterating the artificial boundary between hugs and wrestling is a Ninja High School specialty. Fun.

5. Christmas songs
Even if you aren't Christian. If you grew up in our culture this is the closest you'll come to universal music this side of "Happy Birthday." I'm making a Christmas record right now. Heart-warming.

4. Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Fuck Montreal, Canuck-o-philes, this is where the action is. Positive art made by motivated young adults, with a 0% "wolf" quotient. More awesome bands per capita than anywhere on earth (possibly excepting Portland or Olympia). Exciting.

3. Fantasy warbling pegacorn music about feelings
For being the oppositional force in the yin-yang dyad of "punks vs. hippies." Scorn-worthy.

2. Cocaine still sucking
Seriously, people, what the fuck is wrong with you? It's time to take a stand and make positive use of peer pressure to cut this cancer out of our scene. Disgusting.

1. "Don't try, do!"
Making stuff is so much better than passive consumption. There is absolutely no reason you cannot be a musician, writer, director, photographer, whatever. Artists are not special or magical creatures who call forth perfectly-formed works from the ether because they've been touched by the "muse". Topple your "craft" "ideas" hierarchy and destroy the bullshit performer/audience barrier!

Matt's Top 10:

10. Documentary film
As a genre, it will render fiction as obsolete as photography did to most representational painting.

9. Expanding the definition of "rock show"
Including film screenings, discussion panels, lectures, performance art, and more makes for a better, more challenging and ultimately more fulfilling night (or day) out.

8. Pyramid Culture
Noise music is over, and this Toronto band understands that the future's about marrying the melodic power of "dance" with the combative spirit of "metal".

7. Ben Marcus - Notable American Women
Experimental fiction threatens big-name publishing in the same way that independent music threatens the viability of the major label model.

6. The Blocks Recording Club
Why isn't every independent label a musician-run co-op?

5. Indie sports
The Toronto scene is into being fit, with organized weekly games of manhunt, kickball, downhill running, championship play fighting, and even bike polo.

4. Sean Diddy Combs
His critique of originality has completely recontextualized "Kashmir""Every Breath You Take" - those are his songs now, and the originals have been rendered immaterial.

3. The KLF - The Manual
This book completely dispels any myths that might exist about success and originality.

2. Abbie Hoffman - Revolution For The Hell Of It
Hoffman wants to destroy America and doesn't believe in worrying about what the outcome will be before actually doing it.

1. Jerry Rubin - Do It
The last four pages are just a list of instructions, and they're all right.

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