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Listed: Supersystem + Dirty Projectors

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Dusted Features

Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Supersystem and Dirty Projectors.

Listed: Supersystem + Dirty Projectors


Supersystem, formerly know as El Guapo, equally beloved under each name, have twisted, turned and danced around punk (post and otherwise) for nearly a decade. Last year's Always Never Again introduced their guitar-keyboard fusion to Touch and Go's audience with their unique brand of oddly catchy, equally off-kilter tunes. Their new record, A Million Microphones, is now available on Touch and Go. Hundreds of Dusted readers will likely see them on September 9, when they play the Touch and Go 25th Anniversary Festival in Chicago.

1. The Lady in the Water is a movie I just saw
This doesn't have to do with music, really. The soundtrack was unremarkable. Still, the movie was really really fucking weird. I would even classify it as avant-garde. If you don't mind suspending disbelief and you're not the type to walk out of a film, I highly recommend buying a ticket, if you have the means.

2. Lil' Kim was recently released from jail. Kudos!

3. Howard Finster is an outsider artist from Georgia, now dead.
He had religious visions and made many paintings and made some record covers for R.E.M. with Michael Stipe. I recently bought one of his works. It is called "Elvis at 3" and is a weird painting of a small child, presumably Elvis at 3, on plywood. The plywood is cut in the shape of the boy. It's in my dining room. It is useless, as all art should be, except architecture.

4. Orthrelm is Josh Blair's side project, but to call it a side project is to belittle it
Josh and guitar virtuoso Mick Barr are visionaries. I highly recommend checking out their record on Ipecac, if you have the means. Josh Blair is Supersystem's drummer, btw.

5. The Keyboard is an instrument I used to loathe.
My problem was ego; keyboard frequencies sometimes interfere with my instrument, the bass (see below). Once I realized Pete, Supersystem's keyboardist, was a master, I began studying the instrument myself. I'm not very good with them, though. Still, piano was my first instrument after the clarinet. I was never very good at it.

6. Smoking and performance don't mix.
What's with all those dudes who put the cigarette ever so gingerly in between the strings on the headstock of their guitars? This is a waste of a cigarette.

7. Europe is a place I like to tour, but I would prefer to play in the States.
Rock 'n' roll is a product of post-WWII American youth, and their children continue to perfect it. To be accepted in Paris is wonderful. To be accepted in Pittsburgh is a dream.

8. S PRCSS is a band from Philadelphia that I love and always talk about in interviews, but few seem to share my enthusiasm for.
In many ways, they were run of the mill postpunky, but in many others, they were visionary. They broke up awhile ago. It really bummed me out. I wanted to join but they wouldn't have me. I highly recommend picking up MNML, a French Kiss release, and Taste Like Daughter, on My Pal God, if you have the means. Not "tastes," but "taste."

9. The Bass is the instrument I play in Supersystem, mostly.
Though Rafael, our guitarist, played it on one track on A Million Microphones, our recent release. (I will not name the track). The bass is deceptively simple. That is, it seems easy, but is actually very difficult to play interestingly. I feel Jonathan Krenik, our engineer, did a very good job of making the bass sound good.

10. John Hammond threatened to cut the power when Bob Dylan went electric.
He now claims this was not a protest against Dylan's subversion of the folk tradition, but because he felt Dylan's lyrics -- which are inarguably central to his music -- couldn't be heard on 1960's-era P.A. systems. I feel 1) Hammond is lying and 2) he probably should have cut the power. Electric Dylan, while acceptable, is far inferior to pre-electric Dylan.

11. Improvisation is overrated.
Our band used to do it a lot. Why is something better because you made it up on the spot? Might it not actually be more stale and stock than something you worked hard to compose?

12. Baldness effects an audience's perception of you.
A critic once called me out for being "prematurely bald." I am prematurely bald, perhaps because I was taking a medication called "Depakote" for primary generalized epilepsy. The critic was correct. I am prematurely bald. However, he made me feel kinda bad. If that critic is reading this, don't sweat it, it's cool. I just felt bad for a little while.

Dirty Projectors

Yale alum Dave Longstreth is the one-and-only mastermind behind the brainy and difficult-to-pigeonhole project/act Dirty Projectors. Their recent album, The Getty Address snowballed to near-beloved status, thanks to strong web-based support. Their new release, New Attitude, is an EP that finds Longstreth collaborating with a number of like-minded luminaries, including Adam Forkner. For a look at some psychedelic spirals, check out their website, http://www.westernvinyl.com/dirty_projectors.htm.


1. Dominican Vernacular Music in Ridgewood QNS!
Is it just merengue? I don't know what it is, but it is AWWESOMME. My friends were having a soiree up off Wyckoff and the vibe was very humid, so I went next door to this air-conditioned bar-restaurante. These four dudes were just killing it. Accordian, electric bass, seated hand drummer, and a dude playing a huge guira and a bass drum with his foot. When I hear music like this on the radio, my mind just translates it as MIDI because of the precision and the cleanliness and the mild wash of chorus over everything, but it really is the deepest shit in the universe.

2. Black Flag - Damaged
I actually haven't been listening to this album at all, just thinking about it real hard. I was in Redondo Beach when we were on tour in California a couple months ago, and all I could think about was the song that opens the album, Rise Above. Since then I've been trying to rewrite the album in my head—not listening to it, but just trying to remember it fully, to generate it so completely in my mind that it exists new, all over again.

3. Zs – forthcoming split 7" with CHILD ABUSE on Planaria Recs (I think)
This is a Sam Hillmer composition. Just a deep, energetic, joyful tangle. A whole new slope for Zs to start mining, too.

4. Cyndi Lauper - She's So Unusual
This music is exciting. Her way of making conventional song structure seem like an organic development of her own feelings over time is just elemental!!! Also the drum sounds are so great, so weird and restrained. The snares are so gated that they just sound like little blips of white noise.

5. Ansaqetch Werqu - Lady with the Krar
I think this music is from the Dagobah System, but it's part of the Ethiopiques series. The krar is an Egyptian society lady's lap harp. Werqu is a master of some really fast, intricate finger picking parts and highly ornamented melismatic singing in some deep quarter-tone scale.

6. Joni Mitchell - Hejira
Also really intricate finger picking and highly melismatic singing. A totally amazing Joni record that I hadn't heard until recently.

7. Ecstatic Sunshine – new album on Carpark
Two boys from Balto who play loud interlocking guitar patterns, really extroverted melodies, AC/DC tones. We played with them in Western MA a few months ago and it was so energetic, such great positivity. One of my favorite bands we played with on the last tour.

8. Run-DMC - s/t
Been rocking this tape in the car a lot. Something about the sparse production mixed with tuff optimism vibes is just so strong, reminds me of the Lennon Imagine album.

9. 4 track recording
My computer is broken right now, but I really really wanted to record scrap versions of these fifteen new songs this week, so I bought a really basic Tascam guy for $70 at Guitar Center. (sold my old one a long time ago). Such an awesome machine! So fun!!!!! How did I ever forget it?

10. D.A. Pennebaker - Monterey Pop
This documentary about the 1968 Monterey Pop Festival is required viewing for all those who are feeling that, as Greg Ginn said, "there's got to be a way to get out."

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