Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Chicago slumbercore artists Speck Mountain and Los Angeles drone duo Fantastic Sleep.
Listed: Speck Mountain + Fantastic Sleep
With roots in Detroit, Portland, and L.A., the three core members of Chicago's Speck Mountain have begun to establish a live reputation for extremely textured renditions of Karl Briedrick and Marie-Claire’s plaintive space-rock songs. Their self-produced debut, Summer Above, was recorded at John McEntire’s Soma Electronic Studios in Chicago, and Dubway in New York. The sound palette takes in the history of mind-altered music, without sounding like any of it in particular. But the songwriting is direct and emotional, lending itself naturally to multi-instrumentalist Kate Walsh’s languid soul shadings.
1. Valet - Blood Is Clean (Kranky)
Honey Owens is the only true guitar hero left. Like having sex with the same demon for 20 days in a dank basement without remembering how you got there in the first place.
2. Staple Singers - Uncloudy Day (Vee Jay)
Tremolo and God. The only record that makes the institution of religion feel religious.
3. Selected songs from Buckingham/Nicks era Fleetwood Mac:
a. "Gypsy": Like going to the bar to do coke.
b. "Gold Dust Woman": Friday night phase, climaxing in Stevie Nicks’ haunted- by-reverb howl.
c. "Walk a Thin Line": Cracked-production masterpiece. For years we thought this was sung by Christine McVie, but it's a dude. We still don't believe it.
d. "Big Love": High 80's big-up to Babylon.
4. Royal Trux - Cats and Dogs (Drag City)
An acid record made by heroin addicts.
5. Shadow Boxer - Dir: Lee Daniels
Cinematically, the purest expression of a single idiosyncratic mind this decade (see also, “Brown Bunny”). When we made Summer Above we constantly quoted Macy Gray's brilliantly cracked out performance. “I want five drinks!”
6. Yume Bitsu - Golden Vessyl of Sound (K)
Made us believe space-rock could survive the turn of the century.
7. James Brown - “Hot Pants”
“Make you shoot yourself”
8. Spacemen 3 - Recurring (Fire)
The Spacemen 3 are the most referenced band that no one actually listens too. So it is pointless to say that this is the most underrated album in their catalog. Jason Pierce's tracks preview and rival the most transcendent Spiritualized jams while Sonic Boom's contributions beg the question, “fabulous or ridiculous?” We say fabulous!
9. David Crosby - If I Could Only Remember My Name (Atlantic)
Perfect all the way through in spite of the fact that it involves the Grateful Dead and scatting.
10. Rolling Stones - Goats Head Soup (Virgin)
Karl had a girlfriend who was conceived to “Angie”. Recorded in Jamaica, sentimental and dope-sick. A beginners guide to burnt-out.
Ged Gengras: Much like the fabled story of the Tortoise and the Hare, Fantastic Sleep is made up of two speeds of human. Ged Gengras is of the former persuasion. Methodical and slow-moving, this young fellow is no rush to gain your attention… until you hear him jam a Moog synthesizer through a row of f'd up pedals, oscillating your mind into another dimensions…Also, he puts up with my cats… Lastly, he is possibly the first person I would kill if I ever went on tour with him. (Grant Capes)
Grant's Top Five Influences for Fantastic Sleep
1. Swans - Filth
Pummeling your senses, M. Gira and company cannot possibly have collected enough scorn for the creation of this record… It is the definitive musical equivalent of a very bad day. Dark but smart beneath its posturing macho-ism, mocking what it portrayed.
2. Godflesh - Streetcleaner
I grew up despising metal music, thinking it was pretty dumb stuff… then I heard this record… then I saw Justin Broadrick playing guitar… then I knew I was possibly wrong… Then Slipknot came back and reconfirmed my earlier suspicion… but this album still rules. Disco beats from the core of hell, channeling Big Black through a crack pipe.
3. Birchville Cat Motel
Pretty much proving that noise artists can make relatively important pieces of work, and not be big dickheads while doing it. Serious mind-bending stuff, it seems like machines just whirring and then suddenly they explode into lightning fire and spray molten sound on you.
It's hard to not see these two dudes rage on the floor of some small LA club and not be severely affected… Fantastic Sleep is not an official Robedoor cover band, but it is a president of the Glassell Park chapter of the Grim Gates Fan Club. These tent-ensconced seers of doom continuously take a simple pattern of equipment, and turn it inside out to create the most writhing, constrictive serpents of sound possible.
5. Low - Songs for a Dead Pilot
The album that took these slow-mo geniuses out of the clutches of major-labeldom and into the mental ward… but it also contains some of the most challenging music they had ever created… It took me many years to appreciate "Landlord" but now that creep feeling will never subside. Most people write this group off as dull, slow core pop, but they fail to see the ancestry of this sound, and the attention to detail that these early records contained.
Grant Capes: Grant Capes came to L.A. from upstate New York to hang out with Dave Grohl and Christina Aguilera in a cushy recording studio and get their snacks. One third of the legendary (VxPxC), inventors of 'prolifi-core', and the head of Phantom Limb Recordings, Grant is also making his way up in the world of mastering for CD-Rs with runs of 100 or less. He's a dedicated engineer, a heavy-duty drinker, and he has two cats, Frida and Dora. (Ged Gengras)
Ged's Top Five Favorites
1. Cold Sun - Dark Shadows
For me, this embodies the true psychedelic sound, peyote-soaked desert excursions by a group of post-elevators Texas trippers. There is a vein of that terrifying ultimate truth that comes hand in hand with the psychedelic experience, and it's that wide-eyed combination of terror and awe that drives this record. This almost never saw the light of day and is still almost impossible to find in any physical format. Thank god for the Internet.
2. The Usaisamonster
I love duo's. Most of my best music has been made in duo form, and many of my favorite bands can tour in a station wagon. Well, OK, I'm pretty sure that The Usaisamonster can't cram their massive stacks of amps and instruments into a Volvo, but they really embody the spirit of the duo. insane multi-tasking, that all-important duo mind-meld. Most importantly, they write songs tailor-made to blow lids, on a prog-sludge-dub-Tecumseh vibe. One of the best bands, live or recorded, of our time.
I realized a while back that my favorite way to make music is with other people. The rush of discovery is so much more powerful when it is shared, and playing in bands and with friends is my favorite thing to do. Playing with Grant, with my brother as Antique Brothers, in Thousands, and also new projects like Talisman (doom and gloom psych jams) and Sandblasting (gtr/drms blast/skronk duo), I'm always pushed to the limits of my abilities and I learn more and more about music.
4. Night Goat
Night Goat is a label that was started by my brother, Cyrus, and Jeremy Kelly in 2006, and they've been dropping hot nuggets in secrecy, mostly due to not having their website up yet. It's cool, though, because it give the whole thing a secret club vibe and the quality of the music they have been releasing makes membership a must. Besides CD-Rs by Talisman and Fantastic Ego (I’m not going to toot my own horn too much), there are releases ranging from brutal hypno-noise (Jeremy Kelly’s CD-R), acoustic dream-space drug jams (Cy's 'on planet sleep'), virtuosic, generation-spanning improv (Piano on Trampoline), and big group heavy psych grooves (Sleepy Demons). Clearly this label is hyphen city!
5. Black Flag - My War
The greatest 'rock' record of all time, like being dragged through broken glass at 2 miles per hour. If i think about this one too much, my brain will explode. This record influences everything I do.
By Dusted Magazine