Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Gallic eccentric Don Cavalli and Portland ensemble Parenthetical Girls.
Listed: Don Cavalli + Parenthetical Girls
Mr. Cavalli is one of 2008’s stranger success stories. The Paris guitar player released his debut album on Ben Harper’s manager’s label. The art for Cryland was designed by So Me of Justice fame. He sings like a cross between Captain Beefheart and Carl Spackler. While the first two are really just nice entry points and don’t really affect the songs on Cryland, Cavalli’s hound-dog croon and wah-wah pedal make for one of the most puzzling and captivating blues albums of the year. Cavalli lives in Paris and has a boring day job, but did not want to reveal any other personal details at press time. If you dig his Listed, check out this Dublab session he recorded earlier this year. And if you’re in Quebec, you can catch him with California folkies Vetiver at the Pop Montreal Festival on Oct. 1 and the Antenne-A Festival in Quebec City on Oct. 2.
1. Ray Taylor & his Alabama Pals - "Connie Lou"
Issued in 1959 on the obscure Clix label of Michigan, this is one of my favorite 45’s. A real crude and raw country rocker.
2. The Kelly Brothers - "Falling in Love Again"
Issued in 1966 on the tiny Sims label of Nashville,Tenn. Sanctified southern soul at its best. Every knee shall bow.
3. Ike and Tina Turner - "It’s Gonna Work Out Fine"
I just love that song! It keeps on going through my mind. It’s like an answer to "Love is Strange" by Mickey and Silvia. Actually, it is Mickey Backer singing instead of Ike. And I believe this is Tina’s first record on the Sue label. Simple, but so effective.
4. Joe Tex - "I’m a Man"
Whatever Joe Tex sings, you get the message, for it is sanctified...again!! If I was a song, I’d like to be sung by Joe Tex.
5. Culture - "Down in Jamaica"
Joseph Hill is one of my favorite singers. He’s always good and he has a great country vocal from way back in Jamaica. He spreads the words and sure can sing them spirituals.
6. Jimmie Skinner
Like Joseph Hill, Jimmie Skinner’s always good. Remember what Ray Charles said: "Country music got soul." Jimmie Skinner is one of America’s great unknowns!
7. Johnny Jones and the Casual Kings - "Soul Poppin’"
‘60s obscure R’n’B from Nashville, Tenn. It sounds like variation on the Champs’ "Tequila." A bit wilder, with a young Billy Cox and an early Jimi Hendrix!
8. Admiral Bailey - "Do the Butterfly"
Another Jamaica dancehall killer by King Jammy. Made only to make ya move yo bum.
9. Fred and the New J.B.’s - ”Breakin’ bread”
Special tribute to the Godfather of Soul who arranged this number. Trombonist Fred Wesley is the vocalist. Funky!
10. ESG - “You Make No Sense”
These sisters from the Bronx are amazing. I just love them. Everything is in their music, EVERYTHING!
Portland’s orchestral pop ensemble Parenthetical Girls is the brainchild of cultural critic Zac Pennington, whose words have appeared in the The Stranger (Seattle) and the Portland Mercury, where he served as music editor. Pennington first conceived of Parenthetical Girls in 2002 in Everett, Wash., with childhood pal Jeremy Cooper. The duo recorded a series of 8-tracks that eventually became 2004’s (((GRRRLS))), with a little production help from Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart and the Dead Science’s Jherek Bischoff. Pennington, Bischoff and Sam Mickens recorded 2006’s Safe As Houses, which garnered the band a lot more attention and festival gigs with the likes of Deerhoof and Slint. Pennington has since solidified the Girls’ line-up, sticking Bischoff in the studio and adding multi-instrumentalists Matt Carlson, Eddy Crichton and Rachael Jensen to the stage. This quintet (give or take an additional two dozen classical musicians) is responsible for the Girls’ new album Entanglements (due out Sept. 9 on Tomlab), which Pennington claims he “scarcely played anything on.” Fronting a band without actually playing an instrument? That’s every writer’s wet dream! Congrats, Zac, and thanks for taking part in this week’s Listed.
Having recently sold the whole of my room-sized compact disc collection (for fear that it would soon go the way of the once cherished and now utterly worthless VHS library of my teens), I have been on a somewhat hysterical vinyl buying spree of late. The following are some recent, guilt-free acquisitions, in no particular order.
1. VA - Sounds From True Stories (Amoeba in San Francisco)
The “soundtrack” to David Byrne’s 1986 musical regrettably features none of the original film performances (by John Goodman, Pop Staples, etc) of the songs the Talking Heads later re-recorded as True Stories, but as it’s so gill-packed with all of the film’s absurd/beautiful incidentals and cues, it’s difficult to fault it. Includes Byrne’s arrangement of my favorite melody of all time, Meredith Monk’s “Road Song”.
2. Frank Sinatra - The September of My Years (Everyday Music in NW Portland)
“Tonight will not swing. Tonight is for serious” opens the essay on the sleeve. Concept bludgeoning as concept record, Sinatra’s weepy nostalgia piece about getting old and getting on is surprisingly effective – with nearly total credit going to arranger/conductor Gordon Jenkins. Quote Frank: “The way this guy writes strings, if he were Jewish, he’d be unbearable.” I have no idea what that means.
3. The Curtains - Fast Talks (Music Millennium in Portland)
A power find. The Curtains’ LP-only debut is also one of their best. What an inspired/inspiring record. That Cryptacize record is totally great, but it still doesn’t stop me from missing this band.
4. Michael Nyman - The Kiss and Other Movements (Amoeba in Hollywood)
Picked up for me by band mate Eddy while in a mad rush at the Amoeba in L.A. It’s alright, but ultimately doesn’t satisfy my Nyman jones, which leans more on his probably more frivolous film work. It’s all a little much.
5. Celebration - “Hands Off My Gold” 12” (Sonic Boom in Seattle)
This was $2, which was totally worth it if only to hear Katrina Ford singing all by herself.
6. Abe Vigoda - Skeleton (Hawthorne Theatre in Portland)
Purchased directly from my friends in Abe Vigoda, whom – I will never tire of reminding – I’ve known since they were all like 15. That fact, however, didn’t seem to matter much in the commercial scheme of things, as there was scarcely a hint of lip service paid to the notion that I might not have to cough up full price for this fine platter. These boys know what they’ve got, and they’re not about to give it away to anybody.
7. Orchestral Manoeuvres In the Dark - Dazzle Ships (Mermaid Music in Vancouver, Wash.)
Having long held out for the fancy die-cut version, I finally settled on a reasonably priced domestic copy of my favorite OMD record. “ABC Auto-Industry” would be perfect, were it not for the subtly superior Peel Session rendition. Dork.
8. Dory Previn - Live at Carnegie Hall (Mermaid Music in Vancouver, Wash.)
I haven’t spent much time with this one, but I’m usually quick to pick up just about everything with Dory Previn’s name on it – in part because it’s all typically buried amongst the 101 Strings and copies of 2001 in the dollar bins. Hit and miss the lot of it, but the gems are genius.
9. Philip Glass - Songs From Liquid Days (Music Millennium in Portland)
Glass pretending to be a pop musician, pop musicians pretending to be minimalists. Another classic “huh?” moment from the Downtown ‘80s more conservative fray.
10. Ivor Cutler - Velvet Donkey (Exiled Records in Portland)
By far the most expensive record purchased as part of the present binge, and probably the most personally revered. For fear that people might start catching on, I think the lesser said the better.
By Dusted Magazine