Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Australia's Naked on the Vague and chamber/rock trio Zs.
Listed: Naked on the Vague + Zs
Naked on the Vague
This Sydney duo recently signed to Siltbreeze Records thanks to a steady accruement of buzz down under over the past few years. Lucy Cliché mans the organ sounds and Matthew Hopkins is in charge on bass. Naked on the Vague play classic no-wave, mixing infectious rhythms with dark vocals and layering both with enough scuzz to scare off the dance-rock herd. Lucy put together this Listed while on the road to Austin for SXSW, and it’s pretty fabulous. The Blood Pressure Sessions has been released on vinyl by Siltbreeze, and on CD by Australian label, Dual Plover.
1. Castings - Punk Rock Is Bunk Squawk (Spanish Magic)
Castings are 6 guys from Sydney and Newcastle (a small industrial town 3 hours north of Sydney), Australia. Castings more or less play improvised, experimental, ‘noise’ using a whole array of instruments/ electronics, which gives them a pretty a varied, yet distinct sound. They have been around for a while now and Punk Rock is Bunk Squawk is their latest album released in 2007. This album ranges from the harsh & industrial to more mellow, beautiful, almost melodic, yet equally disorientating soundscapes.
2. Fabulous Diamonds - self-titled 7” (Nervous Jerk/Mistletone)
This is the debut for this Melbourne two piece, comprised of drums, organ and sax, all processed with delay. Their sound is kinda dub inspired post punk. Amazing to see live, entirely mesmerizing, beautiful, dancy yet dreamy. Embracing lo-fi techniques, these ‘loose’ individuals provide us with everything ‘doof’ promised.
3. Pink Reason - Cleaning The Mirror (Siltbreeze)
On a rainy Sydney afternoon sometime last year a package arrived from Tom Lax of Siltbreeze. We had swapped a bunch of our “All Aboard” 7” for some of the Siltbreeze catalogue but the generous man that Tom is, he included a few other records too. One of which was Pink Reason’s Cleaning The Mirror. When you have never heard anything about an artist, it’s kinda like your opinion of them can be reasonably unadulterated...and we both thought this was amazing straight away!! Pink Reason was perfect for that rainy afternoon- it’s raw, soulful and beautiful, but still with that lo-fi fucked up ‘edge,’ which is synonymous with the Siltbreeze label.
4. Blues Control - Blues Control (Holy Mountain)
Totally wild. The moments of rollin’ keyboard and fuzzed out guitar madness blend seamlessly with the atmospheric bits. “Perfect for any occasion”- we love the sound of this recording.
5. Garbage and The Flowers - Coronation cassette (tuff puffin’)
Garbage and The Flowers are now based in Sydney, but two of the members are originally from New Zealand where the band first formed in the early 90s. I’ve seen them so many times, and although they pretty much always play the same set, I never get bored, because every show seems different. To describe their sound is kinda like an old wooden caravan heading along a bumpy road, sometimes a wheel falls off, and the pots and pans jangle along with teetering guitar , which comes together with solid bass and stern but pretty vocal melodies.
6. Terracid - Fortress (Inverted Crux)
Listening to Terracid is like getting lost in a dark magic hole in the middle of an old growth forest and falling into a semi conscious dream like state, where you meet a singing pixie. Terracid is the solo project for a man named Michael Donnelly, who lives up in northern New South Wales, and also runs the amazing MYMWLY label, and plays in Brothers Of The Occult Sisterhood. Terracid is truly weird stuff, and this cassette tape release on Inverted Crux label is an absolute piece of gold, or perhaps I should say magic crystal.
7. Lakes - Magic Food (Inverted Crux)
If Terracid is the environment, Lakes is perhaps the hermit that would cast you to such a place. Sean Bailey, brains behind the Inverted Crux label, sends forth chanting vocals, broken gypsy guitar, and percussive clitter clatter, loosely wrapped up in a smoked out blanket of layered worblin’noise. Slow, and totally eerie.
8. Mouthus - Loam (Ecstatic Peace)
This was the first Mouthus record I came across and instantly I thought it was brilliant, dark and depressive. My fave track is the one with the screeching and crackling of what I’m guessing is a guitar on top of the repetitive, warm sounding organ melody. This album speaks to me, ‘there is no fucking hope, the world is doomed,’ and for some reason I find that comforting.
9. Justice Yeldham – live performance
Justice Yeldham, is Lucas Abela, a character in himself, who is extended by a piece of glass that he plays with his mouth. The ‘lubed up’ glass is attached to a contact mic and processed with a variety of effects pedals, and when put through a loud sound system, the effect is a noisy, bloody mess. We’ve toured with him around Australia, and witnessed night after night of new cuts and gashes caused during the glass smashing performance and even a bad headache doesn’t stop him from getting up on stage dressed in a stringlet, ripped up pants, wearing no shoes and giving it all he’s got to an always in awe audience.
10. Maher Shalal Hash Baz - L’autre Cap (K Records)
To me this sounds like some kind of ‘futuristic’jazz record. The ‘unprepared’ nature of the band leads to such a wonderful drunken kind of pop music. I really don’t know what to say, when I think about this music I think – serious and sad, what a guitar sound! Then I think – ‘There seems to be so much to this that I might not fully understand it until maybe 20 years time.’
Zs were formed in New York City in 2000, a byproduct of the Wet Ink Collective, a nonprofit group of New York composers and musicians. Saxophonist Sam Hillmer, a founding member of Wet Ink, is the band’s primary composer and mainlines into contemporary composition and new music. The trio’s membership is rounded out by Ian Antonio on drums and Ben Goldberg on guitar. (Guitarist Charlie Looker just left the group this year to concentrate on his new project Extra Life.) Zs are referred to as a chamber group as often as a prog band, and jazz ensemble could be thrown in to the mix just as easily, since the group’s compositions draw equally from each of these sources. Fittingly, Zs has released albums on a variety of labels, including Troubleman Unlimited, Planaria and Tzadik Records.
In a November broadcast, Howard Stern played a few tracks off of a copy of Zs’ Arms that the band had sent to him. Expectedly, he and his peanut gallery spent a solid chunk of airtime offering their opinions, irreverently abusing the underground art scene in the process. This provoked reverberations throughout the internet, as a few savants of all-sounds-cerebral went en guard against Stern and Co.’s apparent blaspheming of the musical fringe. We wonder what Mr. Stern would think about the group’s selections for this week’s Listed.
Top 10 things Zs check out on the road and all actually enjoy:
1. Kate Bush
Mostly Hounds of Love and The Dreaming. There’s this other one too that escapes me but it’s awesome. Kate Bush has such a deep, creepy music vibe, she gets us psyched, freaks us out, etc.
Rivers is like "this happened to me twice before." That shit is hilarious and Pinkerton is generally fucking awesome. The drums alone would keep me interested. We were gonna do a Weezer cover set once, but we flaked out.
3. Ornette Coleman & Prime Time
So aimless, it’s aggressive. Mainly a post gig thing, at someone’s house keeping their roommates awake. It’s all good.
4. Eddie Money - “Take Me Home Tonight”
What a tune. Something about his desperation, begging some girl to take him home, the way the jam is in minor and then the chorus goes to major, its like this triumphant desperateness, real honest. What a guy. Apparently he plays saxophone, too.
5. A.R.E. Weapons
Vibe artists, who knows what these cats are about. I've known them for a decade and I have no idea, but we love to jam to this stuff on the road. “Hey World” brings tears. It’s like this oasis of sincerity in this desert of irony, and we're Saharan nomads…
Eastern European aspiring star obsessed with being famous. This shit is unbelievable and borders on outsider art, so weird. You know that point when you stop being ironic and you just become that guy? That’s where A.R.E. leave off and Margarita keeps going.
7. The Boss
8. Led Zeppelin vs. AC/DC
There’s this ongoing thing in Zs ’cause our last guitarist Matt said that AC/DC was three times better than Led Zeppelin and I agreed. Everyone else in the band and the rest of earth disagrees with us, which is fine. More power to them. We all agree that Sabbath slays them all.
9. Paul Simon
This could be some new shit. We got into Graceland on a recent drive to Philly. Paul Simon, so blasé, effortlessly spitting out some of the deepest phrasing. And the bands he was rolling with on that record, forget it.
Actual Saharan nomad desert rock. Guitar tones to kill or die for. Shit is bad.
By Dusted Magazine