Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists determined by our favorite artists. This week: Thao Nguyen and Douglas Shepherd.
Listed: Thao Nguyen + Douglas Shepherd
Thao Nguyen is almost done with college and hopes a career in music pans out because she has not made any other plans. She is featured on the upcoming Kill Rock Stars compilation, The Sound the Hare Heard, which will be released in May. Thao and The Get Down Stay Down will embark on their first nation wide tour in June in support of her debut album, Like the Linen (Trust Me Corporation), and the KRS compilation.
These are ten reasons I really like music. Order is arbitrary.
1. The Cowboy Junkies doing cover songs
I think we can all agree that Sweet Jane was a triumph. My personal favorite is their version of Townes Van Zandt’s "Cowboy Junkies Lament."
2. Lucinda Williams: Badass
I do not drive without Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (Lost Highway). I don’t know how, but she makes everything hurt like new, with valor. I was at her show in D.C. and before the set she turned to talk to her drummer. Another fan said: “Even the back of her head is cool.” We all nodded because it was and remains true.
3. Jolie Holland - Escondida (Anti)
At the end of track 8, she lulls: “You motherfucker, I wanted you.” Makes you drop your head and shake it slowly. It’s like she knows.
4. Cesaria Evora’s voice
It is as old and deep as a well in the earth. I first heard her at a Border’s listening station and I bought her greatest hits collection immediately, which means a lot, because I am really cheap.
5. Sarah McLachlan - Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (Nettwerk)
Roll all the eyes you want, it is a good, good album; it was the first album I loved, and it was quite the companion piece to an adolescence hinged upon Party of Five.
6. Otis Redding - "Fa Fa Song."
No song makes me happier and more limber. YOUR TURN!
7. The Pixies
Hey. I don’t claim to be a serious fan but I do love the way Frank Black’s voice cracks when he says he would surely die.
8. Van Morrison - Moondance
An album I can play all the way through without selectively ignoring specific tracks. The horns, the voice, the gypsy souls. My friend and I play this record over and over again, in bright sunlight and dark basements. Agreeable in all settings.
9. Hope for A Golden Summer - I Bought a Heart Made of Art, in the Deep, Deep South (self released)
I bought this album while we were on tour in their home city of Athens, Georgia. I listen to it endlessly and can barely handle the richness and the size of their sound. Several instruments (including cello and marching band drums) seasoned and led with some of the best vocal harmony I’ve ever heard. I want to play music with them, I want to be their friend, anything. I saw on their website that they are currently recording/raising money. Please help them; you are in turn helping your ears and your general outlook on life.
10. Laura Veirs - Year of Meteors (Nonesuch)
Laura’s album is one of my favorites of the year. It has been a long time since I liked a singer/songwriter album this much; it’s probably because it doesn’t feel like one. Great, clean guitar work, bolstered by layers of rich instrumentation from the Tortured Souls. Also a lot of vocal work that showcases Laura’s impossibly cool voice. Tucker Martine produced, and his work always fills up my ears in the best way.
Douglas Shepherd is a singer/songwriter in Portland, OR. He's been performing solo since around 1994. He is preparing to release a series of three limited edition EPs that he recorded over the last couple of years in Portland, Tucson and Brooklyn. (Look for them in late spring) Currently he is recording a new album at his tiny home. More information can be found at: www.theplasticage.com.
1. Television Personalities - All the Young Children On Crack
When I first heard that there was a new TVP record coming out I was a little curious. When I saw the title of the first single I was suspicious. And, honestly, when I first heard the single I wasn't totally convinced. But by the second and third time around, I was sure. It's brilliant. Watch the video on Domino's website. For all it's spare drum beats, guitar clips and lyrics spoken out of the side of Dan Treacy's mouth, it is everything a Television Personalities song ever was: simple, plain and smarter than you think. Who else could make "All The Young Children On Crack" something to hum while washing dishes? I can't wait to hear the whole album.
2. Wagner - "Prelude to Lohengrin"
While I am not a big fan of opera and found Lohengrin difficult to follow start-to-finish, this was one of the pieces that drew me into classical music initially. It is used at the beginning of the opera to convey the descent of the Holy Grail, with several reprises. But when I first heard this I was driving in the rolling hills of the Willamette Valley early in the morning. I couldn't help but imagine it as the unfolding of an entire life from it's tiny beginnings to it's wheezing, last breath.
3. Townes Van Zandt
The documentary Be Here To Love Me is a great introduction to Townes' music. They seem to really love the music and use it well in the movie. His eponymous album is my favorite, but he produced utterly fantastic music throughout his life. That being said, he also produced some duds. But when he gets it right he gets it right like few others. More Rumi than Whitman.
4. Yeti Magazine - #3
Mike McGonigal's love letter to art, words and music. As always, with a well-compiled CD of stuff you've mostly heard about. There's plenty in here that I don't understand as I am not a fancy pants art lover/experimental writing buff. But there is plenty of meat in here to keep even lazy people like me busy.
Any country that can produced the likes of Love Is All, The Hellacopters, Jens Leckman, Roxette, Evergreen Days, Sambassadeur, Abba, El Perro Del Mar, Max Martin and Grieg (yeah, he's Norwegian and all, but Sweden ruled Norway during his lifetime. . .) is cool by me. And health care to boot.
6. Bert Jansch - Needle of Death
Before Nick Drake broke your heart, before Elliott Smith gave you anthems of affliction, before Alex Chilton Holocausted you. . . Gritty and bleak. He did it better and before everyone else.
7. Edith Piaf - Chansons Des Cafes De Paris
When my grandfather passed away a few years back my brother and I went and cleaned out his house that he lived in for the last 50+ years of his life. This was also the house my mother grew up in. When I got to cleaning out my mother's old bedroom I found this double 45 set and her old portable 78 player way in the back of the closet. My mom is so cool.
8. MP3 Blogs
Loads of them out there bringing new music to my stereo. Said the Gramophone, Fluxblog, I Am So Sorry For This Blog, Stereo Sanctity and tons upon tons of others.
9. Love - Forever Changes
A perennial favorite. Never goes out of style. Kind of like that white belt that just won't fucking die. You know how good it is. If not, take that white belt to the 2nd hand shop, sell it and buy this record with the proceeds.
10. Laura Cantrell's Radio Thrift Shop - WFMU
Saturday afternoons when the strains of Tammy Wynette's "Walk Through This World With Me" would find their way to my speakers I would know that all was truly well in the world. Internet radio be blessed. That's great that she has a busy career as a velvet voiced country star and all, but unfortunately for her fans the show has been relegated to the occasional fill-in spot. Thank god she has five years of archives posted online.
By Dusted Magazine