Listed: Silkworm + Midwest Product
When Silkworm released Italian Platinum earlier this year, it was their tenth record on their fifth label (their third for Touch and Go) in their third city. Bass player and singer, Tim Midgitt is in no small way responsible for their solid, epic rock songs and clever lyrics. He recently released a solo album on Three Lobed, and Silkworm are playing in Minnesota and Milwakuee on the 17th and 18th of January.
Nine women, one set of women, and some of their music. Reverse chron.
1) Shannonwright, live 2002 - Tremendous rhythm guitarist and a fucking force of nature. I've even caught a word or two the last couple times.
2) Nina Nastasia - Dogs (Socialist, 2000) and The Blackened Air (Touch and Go, 2002) - Gorgeous debut and its perhaps-superior followup. Nastasia is getting weirder. Her songs seem to be mutating into increasingly laconic sand drawings, until a gracefully heaving frigate swamps them all out. I'm listenin'.
3) Black Box Recorder - The Facts of Life (Nude, 2001) - I can't get out from under this goddamn thing. Sarah Nixey's hardbitten Olivia Newton-John bit has a tendency to lock me up. I played it every day for months after I got it. The conceit of this little list prompted me to dig it out, after a good three months off, and I fear I will have it back in the car tomorrow, nearly crashing etc.
4) The Ex - Dizzy Spells (Touch and Go, 2001) - Thank God I live a short mile from Touch and Go or I'd never get any new records. Does every label put out this many good ones? Anyway, Katrin's utterly baffling and equally invigorating drumming would be enough. But she can ride the Ex freight train as well as driving it (on "River"), and she cuts clean through it on "Oskar Beck," which is so bare and open and beautiful it might make you cry if you're given to that kind of thing.
5) Cober - Crashpilot (Sheila V, 2000) - A nice record, full of dark rock music that evokes early '80s postpunk w/o aping it. Sheila Bommakanti's leadoff track is something more than nice. "Call it what it is...." is a stroke: initially loping and gentle, a modest and strangely articulate sketch of agony that slowly reveals its depth.
6) PJ Harvey - Rid of Me (Island, 1993) - Fucked up as per instructions. Album of the decade, '90s.
7)The Raincoats - Odyshape (DGC, 1981) - Enduring, enchanting, effortlessly weird.
8) Blondie -Parallel Lines (Chrysalis, 1977) - G-d bless Patti Smith, but this was the first record I ever bought, and I'll take Debbie Harry and her dark roots and her ecstatic sneer and her beautiful face and voice any day (incl. today, 11 Dec 2002--love, Tim Midgett).
9) Dolly Parton - The Best of Dolly Parton (RCA, 1975) - The old one. She's on the cover with a hanky on her head. There's Hank Sr., there's Merle Haggard, and there's Dolly. Maybe Willie Nelson to make it a quartet. Anyway, she is the finest all-arounder in the history of country music and one of the greatest interpreters of song ever. Here is proof.
10) June Christy. - I just like her voice.
The Ann Arbor trio Midwest Product consists of Ben Mullins (electronics, guitar), Chad Pratt (electronics, drums), and Drew Schmedling (keyboards, bass). The group's debut album Specifics twists the characteristics of electronica and applies them to a live setting. The results are surprisingly unique, resembling the electro-grooves of New Order, but without the synthetic gloss. In fact, Midwest Product's most alluring attribute might be their organic grit, reinforcing their presence as an actual band and not a collective of retro-electronic artists. Ben and Chad took some time to list some of their current faves:
The Lapse – Betrayal! (Gern Blandsten)– Despite utilizing emo elements, it avoids embarrassing melodrama. Even the worst Indie rock bands have a few redeeming values. Betrayal! seems to incorporate the redeeming values of countless forgettable artists. By taking advantage of what is working in the genre's favor, they made an excellent album from start to finish.
Missy Elliott – Miss E ... So Addictive (Arista) – Whenever I'm in a car without a CD or cassette player, I do what I can to encourage the driver to choose an R&B station. It's the only music on the radio I'm sure to enjoy. Even if I don't like a song, I usually enjoy the supa–slick production. Usually, the vocals are the weak point for me, be it an unapproachable bling-bling MC or a banshee trained diva. Somehow, Missy avoids these clichés, and comes across as someone I'd like to hang out and play videogames with. Her personality, combined with production that puts many IDM artists to shame, makes for some darn good listening.
Bedhead – The Dark Ages EP (Trance Syndicate) – I'm a fan of all their recordings, but this particular EP stands out. It includes three of Bedhead's strongest songs, each highlighting a different quality of their abilities. It's impressive how many emotions they convey simultaneously. This EP somehow manages to be the perfect accompaniment for good days and bad days alike.
The Glove – Blue Sunshine (Wonderland) – I've been a Cure fan since middle school, but have to be in a certain mood to listen to them. Unlike the Cure, I can listen to this 1983 Robert Smith side project any old time. Despite approaching 20 years since it's release, the cheesy electronics and samples sound more timeless than they do retro. Blue Sunshine was really ahead of its time, and still holds up.
Guided By Voices – Bee Thousand (Matador)– The first few times I heard this album, I was indifferent. My love for Bee Thousand was realized while attending an early morning Earth Science lecture. I found myself unable to listen due to "Echoes Myron" playing on repeat in my mind. I skipped out of class early so I could listen to the album again, this time giving it the attention it deserved. Eight years since my first listen, and I'm still not tired of it.
Sigur Ros – (_) (MCA) – I like all their work, but this most recent album manages to keep me engaged from start to finish. I avoid listening to this while other folks are around, as it effects me a great deal. Sigur Ros turns me into a big softy.
Prince – The Hits/The B sides (Paisley Park) – I'm still amazed how accessible and catchy his music is, despite his use of many unconventional sounds and chord structures. Some mornings, I'll use "Controversy" and "Dirty mind" in lieu of coffee.
Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Nonesuch) – I never cared much for Wilco, so I was hesitant to check this record out, despite all the good reviews. It's one of the best albums I've heard in years. Recently, I heard some demo recordings of songs that would later wind up on the album. Although they were quite good, it emphasized how important Jim O' Rourke was to the album. He managed to turn already good songs into something extraordinary. And with that...
Jim O'Rourke – Insignificance (Drag City) – I've always been a fan of Jim O Rourke, but many of his projects incorporate too much wanking for my tastes. Insignificance manages to incorporate avant–garde elements, yet still rock like a hurricane. Additionally, the drum production is incredible. I look forward to one day knowing how to make a drum set sound that good. Sometimes, I tune out the music and focus on nothing but the drums.
Ladytron – 604 (Emperor Norton)– This one caught me by surprise. I expected them to be another cookie–cutter electroclash byproduct, good to dance to, but not particularly engaging. It wound up being much more than that. I like that they don't rely on irony as much as their contemporaries. The songwriting is well-crafted and memorable, and the vocals are among the best I've heard in the genre. Regardless of the current trends in electronic music, 604 is an excellent pop album
1. Jim O’Rourke – Pretty much anything from him in the last four or five years as been outstanding. I think he will be one of the most prolific songwriters of our time.
2. The Neptunes – The Neptunes guys and Timbaland have made modern day radio halfway interesting.
3. Manual – I don't know much about this guy, but I'm liking what I hear. It has the power to cause emotion, but not leave you drowning in your own tears.
4. Claude Debussy's preludes played by Alain Planes – I love solo piano played simply, and Debussy has always been an early morning favorite.
5. Dabrye – Maybe it's not fair to say, because he's on Ghostly, but you can't deny it. The only thing you can do when listening to his music is bob your head.
6. Rolling Stones – It used to be just Exile on Main St., and Sticky Fingers on constant rotation, but now I'm starting to like the rest of their 20 albums, which may qualify me as a true fan.
7. Tortoise – Their latest record Standards, which has been out for awhile, is still played quite often. I listened to Millions now living will never die, for the first time in years and I'm still amazed. Their music is timeless, and I can only hope the same for our music.
8. Talk Talk – They came out with their 80s hit called "It's My Life", and then later put two records out called In the Sprit of Eden, and Laughing stock, which are completely different than anything they are known for from the 80s. I can appreciate u-turns when it involves music or art.
9. El–P – Cannibal Ox Instrumentals (Def Jux) – I have always been a fan of his choices in sampling, and arranging on the Company Flow records. I like when there is an option for instrumentals in hip hop.
10. Jorge Ben – Tábua de Esmeralda (Phillips) – This record is a masterpiece from start to finish.
By Dusted Magazine