Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Strategy and Arthur and Yu.
Listed: Strategy + Arthur & Yu
A lot of us here at Dusted love vastly different types up music. Portland's Paul Dickow makes vastly different types of music. He was a drummer in a punk group, a tinkler of ivory in post-rock's Fontanelle, handles both in Nudge and then transcends the sum as Strategy. He can dub it up, make dancefloor stompers, or bliss out. His new album, http://www.dustedmagazine.com/reviews/3605>Future Rock, features the entire repertoire, but mostly hums along in a zen-like fashion. On top of all this, he runs the Community Library record label, which released one of the better albums of 2006, http://www.dustedmagazine.com/reviews/3329>Reanimator's Special Powers. He (typically) went above and beyond with this week's Listed.
10 Records That Never Made It Into the Canon of Cool, But Should Have
Perhaps my isolation leads me to not quite understand whether or not music is widely appreciated; but it seems to me that some of my favorites have never made it into the music critic/record collector Canon of Cool. Is it the dated cover art? Difficult to pinpoint genre categories? Relative scarcity or regional specialty? Either way, all of these are things that are essential for me and I seldom meet people who share my story. If these are some of your favorites- I'm glad I'm not alone out there! If you've seen some of these and always passed them up, double check next time you're record hunting!
1. Severed Heads - Anything early
Severed Heads used to call fans who focused on their early works "Cliffords," and even issued a comp LP, Clifford Darling Please Don't Live in the Past to celebrate them. Well us cliffords have it good with early Severed Heads albums and singles. Sloppily lumped in "industrial" due to having toured with Skinny Puppy or something, they have more in common with Cabaret Voltaire (Rough Trade era), Faust, and cassette underground icons like Smersh. Electronic programming, early sampling meets fun pop vocals, guitar noise abuse, and grating tape loops meet in one of the most undercelebrated experimental bands of all time. Having become disillusioned with labels, Severed Heads now distribute their entire catalogue (including the Clifford era stuff) on CDR direct from their website. Highly recommended. Check used bins for titles like "Since the Accident," "City Slab Horror," and others. Also see their oddball videos, using early video synthesis techniques, I believe there's some on Youtube in spite of the band's attempt to regulate that output(?).
2. O.rang - Herd of Instinct (Echo, 1993)M
Talk Talk of course has an enormous and deserved cult, and largely due to Mark Hollis' genius/idol status. For those of us who were experiencing ambient/rock/techno/experimental crossovers at the start of the 1990s, we might have fallen in love with .O.rang, the large ensemble founded by Talk Talk's drummer and bassist, as aided by members of Bark Psychosis, Portishead et al. The band probably has too many "world" trappings for most people now, but for those who want the crossover point between "Ege Bamyasi"-era Can, Jon Hassell, and the Orb or FSOL should check the used bins for this immediately for this deep, psychedelic, and syncopated recording.
3. Shut Up and Dance - Anything
Speaking of the 1990s, and with all the hoo-ha over dubstep, grime, and the plethora of UK urban/regional styles hitting the stands, it bears going to your local DJ shop and scanning for any old 12"s by Shut Up and Dance. They're still active, though their most groundbreaking stuff happened over 10 years ago. Highlights include 12"s by the RnB vocalist Nicolette, and anything featuring Ragga Twins....SUAD's sound crosses rave music, uptempo visions of rap, breaks, and proto-Jungle into a genuine and never-yet-truly-imitated Londonese riddim music form. Hilarious rave-era send-ups too. Mixes with anything modern for club floors.
4. Laurie Anderson - Mister Heartbreak (WB, 1980-something)
Hipsters and experimental music fans, if they cop to liking anything as blatantly dated, bright, and cheerful as Laurie Anderson, will name Big Science as their favorite, probably for its essential minimalism and haunting, Reagan-era gallows humor. But the last couple of years I've found her followup "Mister Heartbreak" to be the winner, a truly "experimental pop" record and something that is prescient of loads of later (current) pop-experimentation gestures. Great use of vocoding, bizarrely pitched samples, beautifully atmospheric but raw approximations of bird sounds, a cameo appearance by William S. Burroughs, cranky Adrian Belew skronk-guitar solos, and all. If you blew it off because of its painfully dated cover, go and get this record for about $4 at almost any used record shop and enjoy for years to come.
5 J. Treds - "Make it Happen" 12" (Fondle'Em)
At this point I should point out that my hip hop listening froze early in the 00's, perhaps it was a shift in local shop rap section dynamics, or the overwhelming white obsession with radio rap; in any case I think I fell off rap buying when Fondle'Em went out of business, which dates my rap tastes pretty badly. J. Treds was one of my favorites, introduced to me as part of the Co-Flow/Juggaknots supergroup, Indelibles. The last thing I heard by him was "Make it Happen" 12" on the aforementioned Fondle'Em. Why he never got up further, is a story I've never heard. There's a lot of rappers from this era I feel this way about. Where are you now??? If you want a 90s rap record with an especially uplifting piano riff and a sense of urgent, unquenchable confidence, Google this single until you can get ahold of a used copy.
6. Frank Bretschneider - Curve (Mille Plateaux)
Let's talk about something from the current decade. While you were out buying records by Autechre 5, 6 years ago, there was someone just as inventive who is still amazingly active and true to form, working now for labels like 12K and Audio.NL. "Curve" was introduced to me by my Nudge bandmates around the time of it's release and remains to this day one of the most mind-bending electronic records I've ever heard. Shifting rhythm patterns, circular tendencies, shephards tones, and even submerged live drum samples- anyone who considers themselves fans of sound art and experimental music must hear this immediately and do so casting aside your preconceptions about the Mille Plateaux era digital cliches.
7. Camberwell Now - The Ghost Trade (Ink Records? Recommended Records?)
Though it's been through multiple CD reissues on Recommended, and in spite of Charles Hayward's ongoing relevance, Camberwell Now still don't get the same big of ups as their precursor, This Heat. While having traded in some of the bombastic improv sessions of This Heat, Camberwell zeroed in on the plaintive melodicism and lyrical ingenuity present in TH's final documents like "Deceit"...Anyone with a craving for post-post-post-punk experimentation with quality songwriting, social commentary, and innovative use of tape should go get the cd compilation now. Easily as classic as This Heat, albeit for different reasons.
8. The Blackouts - "Men in Motion" 12" EP (Engram, 1980-something)
The Blackouts might be known to Ministry fans perhaps, if only because the Blackouts morphed into the Ministry band lineup in the mid-late 80s. This Seattle band has all the twitches, tics, and scrapes necessary to qualify as one of American post-punk's classic groups, but for whatever reason they never made it into the canon, that I'm aware. Along with the Beakers, Grey Pavilion, 3 Swimmers, and more, The Blackouts might be the most available example of the lost Pacific NW New Wave/Post Punk generation, because you can now get their best songs compiled on the LP/CD anthology, "History in Reverse" (K Records.)
9. Movietone - "Day and Night" (Drag City)
I dont' know anyone who really listens to this album, in spite of the "Bristol Bands" prevalence at the time and subsequent followups from them and Crescent who seemed to be the male-vocals equivalent band, sharing much lineup etc. "Day and Night" maybe came out during the wrong time period; it's extremely mellow, casual group improv qualities probably gel perfectly with today's "post post post folk" paradigms and interest in acoustic instrumentation. But Movietone go to territory mostly untouched: their combination of the folk propriety with an "angular English rock" vibe that is handed down (strangely enough) from bands like Wire. There may be out of tune pianos, clarinet drones here, but there's also a sort of interlocking riff thing happening too. Such worlds have never crossed again. I bet Drag City still has vinyl in their warehouse, who knows.
10. Joel Chadabe - Rhythms (Lovely Music)
I love everything on Lovely Music that I've ever heard, but they're not exactly a youth-culture house hold name, with most of their artists being older generation types now; most of their stuff is mailorder I imagine, but you can turn the vinyl up in 2nd hand 'avant garde' bins and it can be easy to pass over (see also, cheesy cover art, sometimes.) Joel Chadabe was a name I'd read on the Kyma forums I think, when I was considering going Kyma, well his Rhythms album is an absolutely awesome piece of computer music at its most advanced - in 1980s technology. Chadabe jams tuned percussion alongside a computer who improvises along with him, altering parts as he changes. The result is a future muffled pots-and-pans gamelan session, twisting arpeggios and bell tones. Generative music is still relatively untapped in underground music, this album can be found at it's roots, great stuff from a great label.
Arthur & Yu
Seattle duo Arthur & Yu have the dubious honor of being the first act signed to brand new Sub Pop imprint Hardly Art Records. Their debut record, In Camera, seems to signal good things ahead for this baby born of a behemoth. Members Grant Olsen and Sonya Westcott have put together a charming record that calls to mind, in fact, many of Sub Pop's recent successes, Band of Horses and The Shins in particular. Arthur & Yu can be found around the West Coast with The Album Leaf during the next few weeks, and likely all around the world in the months to come.
Some songs around the living room:
1. Harry Nilsson - Nilsson Sings Newman - "Living Without You"
Anyone who knows me probably would have guessed that all of my picks would be Harry Nilsson. it was tempting, but I abstained... I've been spending a lot of time with this album lately. His voice just kills me.
2. Colin Newman- Commercial Suicide - "Feigned Hearing"
This song has been getting played repeatedly at home lately. It's a fucking good jam.
3. Karen Dalton - In My Own Time - "Something on Your Mind"
One of the most beautiful and haunting voices ever. This song was my introduction to Karen Dalton, and I fell in love instantly.
4. The Smiths - Meat is Murder - "Well I Wonder"
There was some list of the 50 greatest smiths' songs in a music magazine a few months ago, and I was astonished that this song was not among them. The bassline is brilliant.
5. Harry Nilsson - Son of Schmilsson - "You're Breakin' My Heart"
Sorry, i couldn't help it... thanks dad!
1. Bob Dylan - Genuine Basement Tapes (Disc 5) - “Four Strong Winds”
I heard this version for the first time in the wee hours of yesterday morning. The vocals are distorted and couldn't be more perfect. This also introduced me to Ian & Sylvia who I somehow missed along the way (they wrote this song), but I'll definitely be getting some of their records the next time in the shop if their songs are like this. I hadn't put on a Bob Dylan record in quite a while, but this has been playing ever since I got these tapes. And now I don't have to wait to buy these recordings at Starbucks when they come out someday.
2. Fleet Foxes - “White Winter Hymnal” - (Myspace)
I think you'll definitely be hearing a lot about these guys before years-end, and you should, but here's the ground floor. They just finished these recordings a couple of weeks ago, I believe, and I like that they set them free right away. Some of the best music being made right now, in my opinion.
3. Ennio Morricone - “Plume Di Cristallo” - Psichedelico Jazzistico
This label, Cherry Red Records, has put out some really cool compilations lately and this one is one of my favorites. And I don't think you can find this song anywhere else, which is a shame. Kind of far-out and a good song to put on after you put the kids to sleep.
4. The Outlaws - Joe Meek: Portrait of a Genius [Box Set] - “Tune For Short Cowboys”
Great song title, for starters, but the real catch is the drum production in this track. It makes you want to restart it over and over just to hear the first 10 seconds. I really wish there was a 'how-to' instructional manual that came with this box set!
5. Broadcast - The Future Crayon - “Unchanging Window/Chord Simple”
Speaking of drum production… This is by far my favorite band of today. This song is also on the “Extended Play” record they put out after their first album. And now, every time I hear that first album, it really bums me out when this song fades early. Once you hear this version, you'll know why.
By Dusted Magazine