Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Indian Jewelry and Library Tapes
Listed: Indian Jewelry + Library Tapes
In the past year, few other bands have been heavily recommended to me as Houston trio Indian Jewelry - and with good reason. Combining just about every sort of music with just about every sort of instrumentation, it's no wonder that the aforementioned recommendations were as vague as they were. Their debut album, Invasive Exotics, was just reissued by the generally dependable Monitor Records, and the band is currently touring North America. You can pick up the record, or just check out a few free mp3s, at www.monitorrecords.com.
1. Brian Eno – Taking Tiger Mountain
I have listened to this record on repeat too many times. I think this sunk into my brain and caused me to directly rip off the chorus “uh oh nothing there this time” in one of my early song writing attempts. I can’t believe it thought I could get away with that. Although I think many have tried.
2. Dr. Alimantado - Best Dressed Chicken in Town
This record has the most unbelievable bass frequencies. Listen to this record on vinyl – particularly the song “In My Neighborhood” it is so smooth and so good! I love the way this record is mixed, all kinds of random levels peaking and sounds jumping out at you.
3. Otis Redding - “These Arms of Mine” (live)
This is a damn good song, but the live version just kills me. It begins with this guy yelling out from the crowd over and over “These arms of mine” begging and pleading with such intensity. It almost brings me to tears listening as Otis goes into the song and this guy screams out like he now has everything.
4. Bongwater - Double BummerI have always loved this collection of recordings. The band was different on most every song. I got this record when I was in the 11th grade. Some kids at school had smashed my watch and agreed to pay me for it as compensation. I took the money to buy this record, it was the right thing to do. My favorite song on the record is "Drown." It sounds like a screwed down T-Rex imitation of Leonard Cohen. All other music stands in comparison to this. The record is cut with splices of answering machine messages and one of the creepiest little kid stories I've ever heard. All of this is woven into a seamless barrage of beauty and horror. I continue to discover new music that I love only to find some sort of connection to this band. Each listen brings new insight into the music that matters to me.
5. The Butthole Surfers - Rembrandt Pussyhorse introduced me to the genius of the Butthole Surfers. I was in the tenth grade when I heard this and I naturally assumed that this is what music should sound like. "Creep In The Cellar" was my favorite from the first listen. In later years I researched their recording techniques only to find out that the violin track on that song was a happy accident. Apparently the tape they used had previously been used by a country band. The old violin parts bled through on the tape-to everyone’s delight. This is the way to make music that sounds right. One track at a time on equipment that might blow up at any second by people who've given up everything human. It just makes sense.
6. Jane’s Addiction - Nothing’s Shocking
Later that same year I went to see Iggy Pop. Jane's Addiction was opening. Nothing's Shocking was to come out in two weeks. That show and subsequently that record hold a dear space in my heart. I can't say that all the songs have stood the test of time or that the band’s other work was as good. But it is important to note the times and to see where this band was coming from. Their influence on my life can not be ignored. You gotta love some of it still.
7. Don Williams - “I Believe in You”
This is maybe the most amiable of the songs that are constantly playing in my head. It oozes with a syrupy 70s vibe—pitching made-for-tv dichotomies, east vs west, black vs white, north vs south and so on while taking sleepy jabs at scapegoats like organic food and foreign cars. I would have loved to see him singing this song in a real shitkicker bar. It’s a lullaby for cranky babies. I am a sucker for the sweet and total confusion of its contrarian lyrics and the soft swing of the music.
8. Leonard Cohen - The Songs of Leonard Cohen
I can’t hear the Songs of Leonard Cohen and not think of my mother playing “Suzanne” over and over on the record player in our family room when I was young. McCabe and Mrs Miller would have been nothing but a cough syrup cowboy affair without the use of this music. It’s a strange record: full of droning and creaking guitars in arrangements with so much room to breathe that you can’t hear the jets taking off. Only the exhaustion in Leonard Cohen’s voice is emphatic. It breaks your heart and grays your hair.
9. Irish Rebel Music
Rough and tumble, ironic and outraged, grotesquely sentimental, full of lurching gypsy rhythms and noisy atonal instruments, real Irish music is not what the St Patrick’s Day goons would have you believe. I could sing you the Merry Ploughboy or Johnson’s Motor Car to demonstrate. The Clancy Brothers first took it to the US and in so doing they recharged the interest in socially aware songwriting that later emerged in folk music here. England has long been to Ireland as Israel is to Palestine as the Afrikaners were to South Africa as US is to the Phillipines and Iraq and Latin America. The Dubliners had the toughest sound, they were guttural and atonal and as wild in their way as the supreme bomber, Old Dirty Bastard, was later. The Pogues, care of Shane MacGowan, kept it out of the reach of hacks, by keeping it making it as raucous and pornographically literate as James Joyce.
10. Houston Bands
Houston, our hometown, is a scummy pot of weirdness that is crawling with recondite talent. Everyone works in near total obscurity, full up on cough syrup, Mexican food, and bad art, so they don’t lose sleep over taking risks in their music. There isn’t space enough here for my poor man’s history of the city’s underground, so I’ll suffice to mention a few current bands. RUSTED SHUT have smashed down rock to its most caustic parts. Bandleader Don Walsh has been keeping it on the fire since 1987. Live, they are often brilliant improvisers, impossible to imitate, and completely unapologetic for the ruin they leave behind them. Rusted Shut drummer Domokos, a longtime contributor to our own band, makes music as A PINK CLOUD. He drinks noise (and anything else) and pisses dreams. RUA MINX, brainchild of Donna Huanca and her various comrades, is likewise difficult, making trashcan punch out of electro-sludge and a loose-stitched potion of the Raincoats and DJ Screw. THE WIGGINS, aka Jonnny Reeves, is a one-man hissing machine who stitches electric guitar leads to big blown-out beats and party rhythms with a nasal whine that could weld steel. LITTLE JOE WASHINGTON is a r&b veteran in his 60s who exploits everything and obeys no rules: his blues sound like Thelonius Monk got together with the Germs. THE SUGARBEATS are a couple of wiseasses, Ken Consumer and Bobby Deeds, who make sound out of television static and homemade electronics. They also moonlight as a dreamscape Brooklyn band called EYSTEK. WICKED POSEUR is the writing name of one Arthur Bates, he makes synthpop with so depraved and so bouncy that Baudelaire could groove to it with Arthur Russell. JANA HUNTER has long been one of my favorite musicians. She has a powerful voice and nimble fingers and she writes songs that Flannery O’ Connor could have listened to while scratching out passages in the Bible with her fingernails. There are many others including Rotten Piece, the Entertainment System, Bully Pulpit, Dead Roses, God’s Temple of Family Deliverance, Kairos, Concrete Violin, Astrogenic Hallucinauting, and Maria Chavez (since expatriated to Brooklyn,) and that is just the “white music.”
Swedish duo Library Tapes fall somewhere between the modern compositions of The Books and (to stead directly from the list itself), Max Richter, and the ominous instrumental rock of the the Godspeed camp (also taken from their list!). Combining minimally thunked piano and found sounds, they are, if nothing else, a far cry from most of the Swedes making today's e-rounds. Their debut, Alone in the Bright Lights of a Shattered Life came out last year on the Resonant label
1. A Silver Mt. Zion - Born into trouble as the sparks fly upwards
A Silver Mt. Zion is my favorite band ever, and no one makes as emotional and beautiful music as they do in my opinion. My favorite song from this album is "This Gentle Heart's Like Shot Birds." The strings on this song are so great and makes me wish i could play the cello or the violin every time I hear it.
2. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - F# A# OO
What a great record this is! i love Godspeed You! Black Emperor almost as much as A Silver Mt. Zion and this one is the one I like best of their records. The first track, "The Dead Flag Blues" is one of my favorite songs all time, all categories.
3. Mogwai - "May nothing but happiness come through your door"
This song is the best one I think from the Come On Die Young album which was the first post-rock record I ever bought. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't make the kind of music I do today if it weren't for this album. Mogwai also tops my list of live shows so far, so go and see them if you get the chance....
4. Colleen - Everyone Alive Wants Answers
It's hard to believe that this record was made just by samples, a great record with lovely loops sounding like nothing I've heard before. I was really happy to be able to have Colleen contributing on one of the Library Tapes tracks for the new album.
5. Eluvium - An Accidental Memory in the Case of Death
6. Sylvain Chauveau - Un Autre Décembre
Both these records are great piano albums with lovely sound and melodies. None of these two albums are longer then 30 minutes which I like. I always try too keep my records short and interesting and thinks it's better to have one song too little rather than one song too much on the album.
7. Max Richter - The Blue Notebooks
Another great piano album with beautiful melodies. the difference with this one compared with the Eluvium and Chauveau records I've listed is that Richter uses a lot of strings on this one and he does that well.
8. Sigur Rós - ()
This is my favourite Sigur Rós record, I sometimes wish they would shorten down their albums a little and take off some of the weaker songs, but if they would make albums as good as this every time I wouldn't complain too much because this one is great from the beginning to the end.
9. Hood - Rustic Houses Forlorn Valleys
The four records Hood have released so far on Domino are all really great. I love how they develop on every record and you never know what to expect except that it's going to be great. Rustic Houses Forlorn Valleys is a good record to start with if you're new to this band.
10. Set Fire to Flames - Sings - Reign rebuilder
Set Fire to Flames have always been a big influence on me with the atmosphere they have in their songs, and the artwork is just lovely for both their albums,which I think is really important. I bought the second record pretty much just for the artwork since it's not even close as good as Sings reign rebuilder.
By Dusted Magazine