Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: San Francisco duo Sic Alps and Seattle songwriter David Karsten Daniels.
Listed: Sic Alps + David Karsten Daniels
San Francisco duo Mike Donovan and Matthew Hartman have been bruising the psychedelic scene for a couple years now, channeling the ghost of garage rock through guitar jangle and overloaded amplifiers both in the live context and through limited-edition recordings. Originally formed as a three piece involving Donovan (Big Techno Werewolves), Adam Stonehouse (The Hospitals) and Bianca Sparta (Erase Errata), the trio recorded their debut full-length Pleasures and Treasures in 2004 for Detroit-based Animal Disguise records to underground acclaim, even earning the #3 spot on subterranean tastemakers Byron Coley and Thurston Moore's "Bull Tongue 26" feature last year. Stonehouse and Sparta parted ways with Donovan soon after the recording though, allowing Hartman (Coachwhips, Cat Power, Total Shutdown) to step in on drums and maintain the vintage noise-psych vibe, while adding a fresh direction for band's sound. The duo subsequently produced a handful of limited releases in 2006 and 2007 on cassette, 7", and 12" format, the likes of which have been compiled for a well-deserved CD release, A Long Way Around To A Shortcut, set to hit streets on May 15th. The two are launching a full-on US tour in support of the record, kicking things off tonight in their Bay Area backyard and then pointing the tour van East. Check the dates below to catch their much-touted live shows, watch your local record stores shelves for A Long Way Around To A Shortcut, and be on the lookout for a brand new full-length on
Animal Disguise Siltbreeze later in the fall on Aug. 10.
and Donovan are crossing the nation over the next month broke his wrist in a bike accident on Wednesday and the band had to cancel their U.S. tour. Shitty timing, but they're working on rescheduling these dates for July.
April 26 – The DAM House, Davis, Calif.
April 28 – The Rhinoceropolis, Denver, Colo.
April 30 – 115 N. Dodge St., Iowa City, Iowa
May 1 – The Hexagon Bar, Minneapolis, Minn.
May 2 – Empty Bottle, Chicago, Ill.
May 3 – Hotti Biscotti, Chicago, Ill.
May 4 - Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center, Urbana-Champaign, Ill.
May 5 – Odessa, Memphis, Tenn.
May 6 – Bottletree Café, Birmingham, Ala.
May 8 – The Pilot Light, Knoxville, Tenn.
May 9 – Philadelphia, Penn. (w/ Blues Control)
May 10 – Cake Shop, New York, N.Y. (w/ Religious Knives, Mike Morgan of Sightings)
May 11 – Union Pool, Brooklyn, N.Y.
May 12 – The Abbey, Boston, Mass.
May 13 – Garfield Artworks, Pittsburgh, Penn. (w/ Centipede E’est)
May 14 – Pat’s in the Flats, Cleveland, Ohio
May 15 – Bourbon St., Columbus, Ohio
May 16 – UFO Factory, Detroit, Mich.
May 17 – WHPK Festival, Chicago, Ill.
May 18 – The Practice Space, Aimes, Iowa
May 19 – The Jackpot Music Hall, Lawrence, Kan.
May 21 – The Rhinoceropolis, Denver, Colo.
"Back to Basics" a.k.a. "the stories of albums that shaped all that followed for yours truly" a.k.a. "May the Familiarity of My Story Amuse You to No End"
1. KISS - Alive I
Apologies to those whose intelligence I've just insulted by including this. But in the New Mexican desert in the late ’70s, and at 7 years of age, there was no higher musical calling than kabuki super-hero make-up, shabbily modified motorcycle leathers, rhinestones, hairspray, seven-inch platforms, homemade lightbulb monikers, and extremely roughly hewn Rolling Stones riffs played through a wall of Marshall amps with the knobs in all the wrong places by a bunch of retards from Queens. In all seriousness, this era of KISS is just plain bad-ass. Punk-er than you, my friend. Many an afternoon was spent miming to this very record: with tennis racket in hand, mom's high heeled boots on my feet, and mascara poorly drawn all over my face. Suffice to say I didn't have any older siblings who owned the first Velvets LP. The rest is, as they say, history… (Matthew)
2. Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
At age 11 and in sixth grade, I overheard two "cool" guys in P.E. class mumbling something to each other about how awesome the new Ozzy Osbourne album Diary of a Madman was. Naturally, I was curious, picked up a copy, and was evermore hooked. I mention this only because I was deeply influenced in my early guitar studies by Randy Rhoads, and also because it ultimately led me to Sabbath's first and forever dominating debut album. This shit is unstoppable – right down to the last deep earth-shattering note that Ozzy hits at the end of the album's last track, "Warning.” Yes please. May I have another? (Matthew)
3. The Beatles - White Album
In 1980, I was watching Monday Night Football when Howard Cosell interrupted the game to announce that John Lennon had been shot and killed. Now, I knew who the Beatles were and who John Lennon was, but had never really listened to them - ever. All I knew at the time was that it was rather twee and girls screamed and something about wanting to hold hands and a bunch of other mamby-pamby nonesense. Fast forward to 1983, and at age 12 while enjoying the new Motley Crue record, Shout at the Devil, I was particularly struck by a track called "Helter Skelter.” I noted that the song was not written by the Crue, but nonetheless did not immediately recognize the significance of the "Lennon-McCartney" songwriting credit. A short time later, I'm bored and browsing through my parents library when I come upon a paperback titled Helter Skelter - the True Story of the Manson Murders. Huh? A book about a Motley Crue track? I'm confused. The cover features some scary as hell, wild-eyed, murderous hippies, though. Let's look at the pictures inside. Oh damn. Dead people. My obsession with horror film kicks in and I'm transfixed by the story that unfolds - which, of course, includes all the hub-bub about The White Album. Naturally, I head to the record shop the next day and pick up a cassette copy of this supposed cult-coaxing mayhem - heading straight for all the tracks mentioned in the book - "Helter Skelter,” "Piggies,” "Sexy Sadie,” etc. I had NO idea the Beatles had done anything so weird and dark. So, this was the ONLY Beatles record I bothered owning or listening to for about 10 years. And I still feel that it pretty much covers all the bases – i.e., no other Beatles record really need be in the collection (assuming a regulatory limit were ever placed on such a thing). Next. (Matthew)
4. The Ramones - The Ramones
Another round-a-bout method of discovery. My introduction to the Ramones came via National Lampoon's Vacation. You remember - Ma D'Angelo and Pa Chase are singing bad koombaya shit, making the kids get right back to their Sony Walkman's screaming "HEY HO! LET'S GO.” … duh. (Matthew)
5. The Minutemen - Double Nickels on the Dime (In addition to a load of other SST titles by Descendents, Black Flag, Dinosaur Jr., etc.)
What kind of perfection next-level shit is this? So basic, so stripped, so true to itself. I dunno. I can always drop the needle on this one. (Also thanks to "Tele-Trax" - a ghetto ass-cable access show in Albuquerque that tried to be MTV but only had access to live video of local punk/metal bands and pretty much any and all videos that SST bands had made). (Matthew)
6. Royal Trux - Twin Infinitives
I had the pleasure(?) of seeing Royal Trux on this tour in 1991 or 1992 at the Golden West Saloon in Albuquerque, N.M. (recently gutted by fire, sad to say). My friend Keith had been booking all manner of strange bands at the time (Pavement, Jesus Lizard, Nation of Ulysses, to name a few) and if I saw him around, he would often say, "Oh yeah, I'm doing a show with so-and-so and this-and-that. You should come out…” And so I would, whether or not I knew a single iota about the band or not. Royal Trux was a case in point. They played as a trio that night, as apparently the "girl singer" in the band was "back at the hotel, too fucked up on junk to show up" (according to Keith). Nonetheless, it was a sight to behold. I didn't actually get my hands on this record until a couple of years after the fact. Somehow it matches my memory of that night very well… (Matthew)
7a. John Coltrane - Interstellar Space
My father listened to jazz. Big Band. Benny Goodman. Louis Prima. I couldn't stand it really. But in the early ’90s, during a lovely rainy and relaxed day, my friend Sean put on Blue Train by John Coltrane and suddenly, like that (snap), jazz made sense. Thelonious Monk soon followed, as I'd likened his atonal, seemingly arthritic, style to that of Black Flag's Gregg Ginn. But it wasn't until a few years later, while listening to "The Uplift Hour" (four hours every Tuesday of nothing but Coltrane) on KPOO at work one day, that I heard a track from this mind-boggling, beautifully violent late period duet with Rashied Ali. And suddenly, I had a whole new idea of what the hell John Coltrane was. Of course this begat a long-overdue exploration of his entire 1965-onward catalog. All of which is essential listening. But this is where it happened to start for me. (Matthew)
7b. Peter Brötzmann - Machine Gun
At some point at the turn of the century, I decided I wanted to play saxophone. So I just bought one (two actually - an alto and a tenor), put it in my mouth, and started making noise. I did a one-man five-track improvisation that I called "Jazz-Murder" (the name later co-opted by then Total Shutdown bandmate Paul Costuros who formed Murder Murder). I had some funny idea in my head to start a band that would sound like the Germs ala Decline of Western Civilization Pt. 1 if only they had been inspired to start playing by late-period Coltrane rather than the Ramones. i.e. a bunch of non-musician punk types who weren't classically trained on their instruments, just tearing up a storm of noise with jazz instrumentation. I shared this vision with my friend Justin Trosper whilst browsing records at Amoeba here in San Francisco, to which he replied, "Have you heard Machine Gun?” (Matthew)
9. Country Teasers - "Mos E17ley" (from The Empire Strikes Back
"The world's much more like Star Wars than it used to be / But the world's no more like Stars Wars than it should be / There’s nothing wrong with the world a bit like Star Wars / I like Star Wars / London is a lot like Mos E17ley / It's not more like Mos E17ley than it used to be / For instance, in the ’50s and ’70s / It was like the fucking Death Star / There’s a lot of nice-looking people in my area / Walthamstow is a bit like Mos E17ley / It's a lot more like Mos E17ley than Kentish Town is / That place is like the Death Star / London's much more like Star Wars was than it used to be / It's a lot like Mos E17ley / There’s nothing wrong with being a bit like Mos E17ley / I like Mos E17ley / It's better than the fucking Death Star" (Mike)
10. No Boss - "Theme Song" (Folding Cassettes)
"I am the king / I am the king of my own castle / No bird can tell me which way to fly / I ain't got no boss / I am the king / I am the king of my own castle / No bird can tell me which way to go / I ain't got boss today / I ain't got no where to be / I ain't got no boss for you and me." (Mike)
David Karsten Daniels
David Karsten Daniels lives in Seattle, Wash., where he tests the limits of the singer-songwriter. Daniels moved to the Pacific Northwest from North Carolina, after a childhood steeped in the performing arts. His hours spent in choir, jazz band and collegiate composition classes all make appearances in his mild-mannered pop songs. When he finally settled down below the Mason-Dixon line, he started the Bu Hanan record label and released his own music for a few years, eventually attracting the interest of British label FatCat in 2006. His “debut,” 2007’s Sharp Teeth, was known more for its disturbing album cover, but we thought the music inside was much more becoming. His follow-up for FatCat, Fear of Flying, comes out next week and Daniels is celebrating it by hitting the West Coast with labelmate Nina Nastasia. Here’s where you can see them:
April 27 - The Media Club, Vancouver, B.C.
April 28 - Nectar, Seattle, Wash.
April 29 - Mississippi Studios, Portland, Ore.
May 1 - Hemlock Tavern, San Francisco, Calif.
May 2 - The Crepe Place, Santa Cruz, Calif.
May 3 - Spaceland, Los Angeles, Calif.
May 5 - Plush, Tucson, Ariz.
May 6 - Modified, Phoenix, Ariz.
May 7 - Pink Elephant Bar, San Diego, Calif.
Daniels took part in this week’s Listed.
My list, in no particular order, and heavy on recent recordings due to my very bad memory
1. Arcade Fire – “Cold Wind” (Six Feet Under: Everything Ends, Astralwerks)
My fiancée and I just finished the final season of Six Feet Under and this song is so perfect in that montage at the end of the 2nd-to-last episode. I wish that episode had ended the series. The flash-forward to the future that did end it was lame and scary. My record for listening-on-repeat to this song is one hour and 45 minutes…over and over and over…
2. Feist - “The Park” (The Reminder, Cherry Tree/Interscope)
It sounds like the guitar and vocals were done with one mic – when she gets loud the guitar totally disappears but the song has been arranged/recorded such that the other instruments sneak in to make sure you don't miss anything. Very elegant. I'm a sucker for nature sounds in the background too…
3. Idaho - “To be the One” (Hearts of Palm, Idaho Music)
I was having trouble recording the final vocal for 'Beast' (on Sharp Teeth) when I heard this song for the first time in a while. I asked Alex Lazara (who recorded and mixed Sharp Teeth) to let me sleep for a little while he set up the mics. I took a nap and then woke up and we did it in two takes. Thanks, Jeff.
4. Kapow! Music - “but i had to go” (trees, Bu Hanan)
This track is awesome. Alex produced it and it's a total rump shaker. If I remember correctly, John (Ribo, the songwriter) told me this style of music comes from the Caribbean.
5. Laura Veirs - “Parisian Dream” (Year of Meteors, Nonesuch)
I shouldn't rep this song, the guy playing viola is the mortal enemy of Daniel Hart (violinist on Sharp Teeth and Fear of Flying and songwriter for The Physics of Meaning). So maybe not mortal enemy, but Eyvind Kang is the one to best. Listen to the way the slow part hits at the end. I can't help but yell "UNHHH" every time.
6. Low - “Violent Past” (Drums and Guns, Sub Pop)
The organ on this song makes it for me. It's kinda simple and maybe annoying but also sounds like it's gonna disintegrate or blow up at any moment. Something in the closet just waiting to get out and terrorize you.
7. Phosporescent - “Torn Up Praise” (Pride, Dead Oceans)
I don't know what is about this song. I mean, it's just the same four chords over and over again. But it just gets me on a purely emotional level.
8. The Moondoggies - “Want You To Know” (from their upcoming album on Hardly Art)
Saw this Seattle band for the first time a few weeks ago. Neil Young isn't dead, but if he were his spirit would live on in this band. We're gonna play together Monday (April 28 at Nectar Lounge).
9. Nina Nastasia - “Our Discussion” (You Follow Me, FatCat)
I think this is the most successful song on her latest record. Great chorus. I'm hoping Nina will let me play guitar or rhodes on some songs when we tour together.
10. The Physics of Meaning - “Oregon, My Only Friend” (The Physics of Meaning, Bu Hanan)
One of Daniel (Hart)'s best songs in my opinion. The ebb and flow of the tempo…it's magical! I can't wait for the new Physics record to come out. Whatever label lands it will be lucky.
By Dusted Magazine