Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Brooklyn garage rockers Vivian Girls and Milwaukee percussionist Jon Mueller.
Listed: Vivian Gils + Jon Mueller
Calling it a whirlwind year for Brooklyn trio Vivian Girls might be putting it mildly. With under a half hour of total released material (all vinyl, mind you) and extensive touring, Kickball Katy, Cassie Ramone and Frankie Rose have won the hearts of countless concert-goers and music bloggers infatuated by their sleepy, three-part harmonies and punk-fueled jangle. The Girls' full-length LP quickly vanished from its original 500-record pressing on ”Mauled By Tigers” in May, melting references to Slumberland Records, the Shangri-Las, and the Shop Assistants in puddles of reverb and damaged refrain. In The Red records is set to reissue their self-titled debut on CD in September, along with a brand new 7 next month. You can also find the girls contributing vocals to the new Fucked Up full-length (due out on Matador in October), and playing a host of live shows around the East Coast in the coming weeks. Here's the schedule:
July 29 - Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
August 4 - Great Scott, Boston, MA
August 5 - Zoobizarre, Montreal, Canada
August 6 - Sneaky Dees, Toronto Canada
August 7 - Zoolergger's, Lafayette, IN
August 8 - Subterranean, Chicago, IL
August 9 - Mauled By Tigers Fest, Chicago, IL
August 10 - Bear's Place, Bloomington, IN
August 11 - Cafe Bourbon Street, Columbus, OH
August 12 - Rickety House, Pittsburgh, PA
August 13 - DC9, Washington, DC
August 14 - The Cave, Chapel Hill, NC
August 15 - Nerve Center, Baltimore, MD
August 16 - Pi Lam, Philadelphia, PA
August 20 - Death By Audio, Brooklyn, NY
September 2 - Death By Audio, Brooklyn, NY
September 6 - East Village Radio Festival, New York, NY
September 12 - Swathmore College, Swathmore, PA
September 20 - Terrace Club, Princeton, NJ
September 26 - Gonerfest, Memphis, TN
Cassie and Frankie took part in this week's Listed.
1. Burt Bacharach - Make it Easy On Yourself
This is probably the most beautiful and heartbreaking album I've ever heard. I used to listen to it a lot with my ex-boyfriend and even though I've listened to it a lot since we broke up, it still takes me back to a place and time in my mind that feels like a weird dream. The production is really minimal and haunting for a commercial release, especially when compared to Burt's other albums, which have a lot more fanfare and flair.
2. Sonic Youth - EVOL
This is the OTHER most beautiful album I've ever heard and my SY favorite by far. Within their progression from abrasive noise-rock to more accessible alternative rock I think they hit the nail right on the head here. Pretty much every song is a hit, although "Shadow of a Doubt" and "Green Light" are the ones that do it for me every time.
3. The Bananas - A Slippery Subject
The Bananas are a punk band from Sacramento who have been around for almost 20 years. Although I'm not usually that into pop-punk, this is a band that I think are AMAZING. All their songs are about paranoia and feeling sick and hating doctors and rejection, and they take a lot from ‘50s and ‘60s doo-wop songs and chord progressions in the best possible way. All their albums are great but A Slippery Subject is probably the one I would choose if I had to.
4. Madonna - "Into the Groove"
This might be my favorite song ever. If I'm getting ready to go out but not feeling so good I put on the 7" and I get psyched every time. It's perfectly written except for that the end goes on too long - but that's ok, just flip it back to the beginning.
5. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - The Doldrums
The Doldrums has the same effect on me that my No. 1 pick Make it Easy On Yourself does - it's the kind of album that will take you somewhere else. It's really washed out and weird-sounding and gorgeous, all the songs are so catchy but in a pretty inaccessible way.
6. Babes in Toyland - Spanking Machine
Dude, these girls SLAY. Kat Bjelland's voice is amazing and the drumming is so tribal and hard. It definitely took me a few listens to get into them but once I did I was hooked.
7. The Wipers - "Youth of America"
The Wipers' first three albums are all amazing, but this has to be the most epic song ever. How did Greg Sage manage to write a 10-minute-long punk song that never gets boring?! Who knows. I think one time I tried to count how many hooks "Youth of America" has and I think it has at least five? Most songs are lucky if they have more than one.
8. Billy Joel
I love this guy, end of story. If I had to pick one song or an album or even a greatest hits collection it wouldn't be enough. The only hit I don't like of his is "Piano Man." In my eyes that's a better track record than the Beatles have.
9. The Spits - >The SpitsThey're like our generation's Ramones, except they don't tour nearly as much. Our dream is to play a house party with them in Seattle, but I don't think that's ever gonna happen.
10. Daniel Johnston - 1990
I used to listen to "Some Things Last A Long Time" over and over and over and over. This album is beautifully produced - with a lot of natural reverb - and really sad.
Frankie’s Honorable Mentions:
Thee Oh Sees - The Masters Bedroom is Worth Spending the Night In ... GIRLS (the new 7" on True Panther Sounds is blowing my mind) ... Eat Skull - Sick to Death ... Nobunny - "Love Visions" ... Bankdogs - self-titled LP on Sacred Bones ... A reissue of Hubble Bubble's Faking (so weird.....) ... The first King Kahn and BBQ show double L.P on In the Red ... The Clean - Anthology ... A re-issue of a George Brigman album ... The Twinkeez (amazing spaced out Garage from L.A, circa 1979)
Jon Mueller is best known as a percussionist, though such a general term does little to describe the variety of musical activities of this Milwaukeean. Mueller plays things straight in Collections of Colonies of Bees, while his work as an improviser might find Mueller with a single drum and a contact mic, exploring the texture and resonance by means other than the strike of a drumstick. Earlier this year, Mueller released Metals, an explosive solo performance of high intensity and endurance. Mueller also runs Crouton Records, founded in 1989. Mueller’s most recent release, Topography, a collaboration with Jason Kahn, was issued this summer by Crouton and Xeric.
1. Tony Conrad
I created a certain perception of his work through his recordings; listening to them in certain situations, moods, etc. Then, seeing him live blew that all apart, as I realized recorded formats could not contain this work. The space where he plays can barely contain it. To say it's inspiring almost seems silly.
2. Harold Budd
I've listened to Budd for many years and have always admired his use of melody and pacing, and also the inclusion of spoken word. His recent work is among my favorite. Anyone who gets better after that long must have something going on.
3. Uriah Heep - The Magician's Birthday
Besides Black Sabbath's "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath," I've had this record longer than any other. My parents got it in 1973 or so, and I've been listening to it ever since, now even having both the LP and CD, for some reason. There were a few periods in my life where I listened to nothing but this record for long stretches of time.
4. Swans - Children of God
This record came out when I was about to graduate high school and it basically took over my musical interest for many years. There is this rough, southern feel to the music, and the themes of religion, sex, and hopelessness made it the perfect soundtrack for daily life as far as I was concerned.
5. Fritz Hauser
Rigid and sparse percussion that brought me closer to the sound and feel of rhythm and percussion. As opposed to Steve Reich, whose drumming compositions are systems that can create multiple understandings and experiences with the music, Hauser is a single connection. A pure, energetic force that often gives me the feeling that I'm playing when in fact I'm only listening. Powerful stuff.
6. Raymond Dijkstra
Raw minimalism or cracked surrealism; perhaps neither. Dijkstra quickly became an obsession of mine soon after I first heard his music and realized there was very little difference between each of his recordings. Think of the outsider artists whose work is instantly recognizable because of their style, their voice. That is Dijkstra. Uncompromising in his presentation, which for me, contains layers of questions and discoveries with each experience with his sound and visual work.
7. Oren Ambarchi
He already had my attention for years, but his recent work nears perfection. Achingly sparse, yet earth-shaking, this is background music that fills you with emptiness once it stops.
8. Phill Niblock
Similar to Conrad, the live experience really, really changes things. The accompanying film work also takes a different part of your attention, and after about an hour, you begin to feel a very strange loss of presence. An all encompassing experience.
9. The Hafler Trio
On one hand, complicated, mysterious, and intriguing, and on the other, invigorating, plentiful, and comforting. McKenzie's attention to mind, body, spirit is unsurpassed in art today. Even on the small scale that I've worked with him, I've learned many things which have helped me keep some edges sharp, when they very easily could have gone dull.
By Dusted Magazine