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Listed: Nethers + Shapes & Sizes

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Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Nethers and Shapes & Sizes.

Listed: Nethers + Shapes & Sizes


Aaron Carlson, Nikki West, John Passmore and Mike Scutari all used to make music as the Carlsonics, a perfectly fine D.C. garage rock band. They now make music as Nethers, a superior D.C. folk band. They intended to make a second Carlsonics record, but the rock gave way during the recording session and they realized their new calling. The group took to the hills of Northern Virginia to record again, this time as Nethers, and out came In Fields We Will Lie, one of the finest records fo 2005. These newcomers to the new folk phenomenon brought some actual songs with them, and hence are a welcome addition to the “don’t call it a” movement. While Fields came out late last year, it's starting to gain more attention as the group warms crowds for the likes of Dungen and the Walkmen. We’re all the better for it. All four took part in this week’s Listed.

Nethers' Heavy Van Rotation:

1. Bee Gees - Rare Hits
Prior to their disco halcyon days, the Bee Gees, after the Beatles, were the best Britain had to offer in the mid-to-late '60s. Nikki can attest to this. This collection captures the Brothers Gibb's majesty at a critical era - the time where they conquered the Australian charts, just before moving back to England. The jams sound like lost pop standards. Like "Claustrophobia," the reggae-influenced "Second Hand People," and "I am the World," which provided a window into future, Dadaist, Robin-penned weirdo epics. [Mike]

2. Built to Spill - Keep It Like A Secret
Okay, so Built to Spill's Keep it Like a Secret is obviously a classic. I am not going to write anything new about this one, but I do have to say that it is IMPOSSIBLE to feel bad while listening to it. It is also great for late night drives, because Doug Marsch's constant riffing and sweet, hook-y melodies are irresistible to pay attention to, play air guitar to, and sing as loud as possible to. So basically what I'm saying is Built to Spill will save your life, because they make falling asleep at the wheel impossible. [Nikki]

3. Music of Central Asia, Vol. 3 Humayun Saki - Art of the Afghan Rubab
Volume 3 in this continuing series of Central Asian music by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. Homayun Saki is a virtuoso Rubab player from California by way of Kabul. Not only does this recording showcase Saki's incredible artistry, it also features Taryalai Hashimi on tabla. (When that tabla drops at minute 8 on track one, it'll blow your mind, man!) [John]

4. Eric Satie - "some burned compilation from ed."
I do a lot of the driving, and I like taking it easy most of the time whilst behind the wheel. During a foggy drive from San Francisco to Eugene, this 73-minute Satie mix really leant to the mystical-majestic vibes. The more I find out about Satie's minimal piano jams and the Satie mystique, the more I admire the guy. Apparently he held a concert about 100 years ago in France where he stacked three pianos and connected each of the three with wires so that each note was in triplicate. His ostentatious creativity was really provocative: bro was jailed for "aesthetic crimes." [Aaron]

5. KattyWampus - Some mix.
"KattyWampus" is our friend Chad Brown who lives in LA and fronts the CB Band. He also makes amazing mixes. For our last tour he made us, like, 50 mixes. I think we listened to a quarter of them. They are rich with excellent tunes. The one I'm thinking about in particular was, I think, a recorded version of an LA-based country station in the '80s. It features great jams from Waylon Jennings, Gene Clark and Buck Owens. Email him and he'll make you one: pymscup@gmail.com. [Mike]

6. Silver Jews - Starlight Walker
When my sister was in college in central Virginia, she asked a record store clerk for advice on what to get for her aspiring indie-rocking kid. His suggestion of the Joos record led me to know them before I got into Pavement. It was a crazy moment when I saw the common name of Malkmus on both record sleeves and realized that yes, it was the same dude! Also, my friend Kyle learned to play the drums by learning a lot of the amazing beats on this record. [Aaron]

7. Zabriskie Point Soundtrack - Disc 1
I only have disc one and I swear I'll buy the second disc outtakes one day. Zabriskie Point was avant-garde Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni's attempt to capture the Zeitgeist of '60s America. Sound sketches by Pink Floyd, The Grateful Dead, John Fahey and The Kaleidoscope as well as traditional songs sung by Roscoe Holcomb and Patti Page makes this one of my favorite film soundtracks. [John]

8. Thee Snuff Project - Dying Ain't Much of a Living
Whenever we want to get really riled up, we listen to The Snuff Project, a very sadly now-defunct DC-based band who wrought savage, sleazy rock on us district denizens over a two-year period. The record amazingly captures the tinderbox vibe of their live set, and even now, a year-plus since the record's release, I keep hearing lots of cool guitar and drum stuff upon repeated listens. Our friend Mishka in NYC once drove 12 hours to see one of their shows; he said not since Guns 'n' Roses had a rock band had such an effect on him. That's an accurate assessment! [Mike]

9. Graham Parsons - GP/Grievous Angel
These albums, released together, are perhaps the favorite disc to listen to in the van. Sixty percent of our two-month spring tour was spent driving around the great expanses of the American west, listening to this record. My particular fondness for the record revolves around the fact that when listening to it, I often feel like I am reading a novel rather than jamming to a CD. The imagery in Parson's lyrics is literal and pure, and the emotions and motivations of the characters in his songs, whether they be fictional or autobiographical, are palpable and real. I become attached, and like at the ending of a great story, I am sad the CD is over. [Nikki]

10. Her Majesty's Orchestra - Christmas Album
One of our dearest friends has constructed the most palatable Christmas album ever recorded. Actually, you can take the "holidaze" out of it and the record remains one of the smartest psychedelic one-man audio worlds I've ever had the honor of visiting. HMO's main man, Ed Donohue, sets firs ablaze while children dance and sing with Santa, like little bleary elves possessed by the holiday spirits that lurk in hanging stockings and under trees. The best part about it is that in the great seasonal tradition, the record is a gift to everyone, and can be downloaded free at www.saucerecords.com. [Nikki]

Shapes & Sizes

If you were a highly successful musician who ran his own (tiny) label and all of a sudden found himself flush and looking to share the wealth what would you do? Exactly what Sufjan Stevens did: go out and find the best bands you can and sign 'em up! This is where Shapes and Sizes come in. As one of the first not-already-affiliated bands ever signed to his Asthmatic Kitty imprint, Shapes and Sizes' left-field pop comes with a stamp of approval worth its weight in gold. Calling upon other not-as-left-field influences like Pavement and Modest Mouse, Shapes and Sizes seem poised for play on a college radio station near you.

1. Danielson - Ships (Secretly Canadian)
I've always been a big Danielson fan. I heard this first in Austin, and I was actually kind of disappointed. But, a couple listens turned me around. This is a beautiful album with moments of amazing intensity. [Nathan]

2. Syd Barrett - The Madcap Laughs (EMI/Harvest)
Quirky pop gems that were way ahead of their time. Infectious. [Caila]

3. John Zorn - The Big Gundown (Nonesuch)
This is John Zorn's take on Ennio Morricone's amazing catalogue. Skronking saxophone, with vocal sound effects and a multitude of instruments, it's a cinematic experience that's best taken loud, lying on the floor with the lights out. [Nathan]

4. Little Wings - Light Green Leaves (K)
This was an absolute staple on our tour. There's NOTHING wrong with the first song, it's perfect, out of tune, whimsical, perfect! It's like something beautiful passed by Kyle Fields and he grabbed it. [Caila]

5. The Weird Weeds - Weird Feelings (Sounds Are Active)
We all agreed that this album should be on here. The Weeds are one of our best band friends. Their music traces a delicate line between stark simplicity and amazing complexity, happening upon small, pristine moments of beauty and emotional clarity. Weird Feelings is coming out in August on Sounds Are Active. [Nathan]

6. Ornette Coleman - This Is Our Music (Atlantic)
This is Gangsta jazz before there were Gangstas. It makes you feel so tame, you almost want to drop music. [Caila]

7. Lilys - Better Can't Make Your Life Better (Primary Recordings)
Another staple of the tour. This is Lilys at their best. Amazing 60's pop gems that could never have been written in the 60's. "The Tennis System and its Stars" still holds up as a perfect five-minute symphony of guitars. [Nathan]

8. John Fahey - Red Cross (Revenant Co.)
Beautiful, haunting solo guitar drenched in reverb and tremolo. [Caila]

9. The Contortions - Buy (ZE/Munster)
I don't know why it took me so long to discover this. It's really exciting punk, funk, free jazz from late-'70s New York. [Nathan]

10. Guided By Voices - Bee Thousand (Scat)
The lo-fi classic plays like a hit parade of sixty second pop gems. Each one perfectly captures a slice of something true, and leaves you on your knees, kissing the ground. [Caila]

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