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Listed: The USA is a Monster + Brown Wing Overdrive

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Dusted Features

Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This Halloween: Load Records patriots USA is a Monster and Tzadik freaks Brown Wing Overdrive.

Listed: The USA is a Monster + Brown Wing Overdrive

The USA is a Monster

Tom Hohmann and Colin Langenus are the USA is a Monster, a New York prog band that channels Native American mysticism and sober political protest. The two have churned out four full-length albums and two EPs, most recently Space Programs on Load Records. Hohmann and Langenus actually formed the band in 2000, and didn’t envision the name as a response to President Bush’s post-9/11 doctrine. But it sure worked out well for publicity purposes. The two are currently on tour and you can check them out here:

Oct. 31 – Lexington, KY (Woodland State Park)
Nov. 1 – Ashville, N.C. (New French Bar)
Athens, Ga. (The Farm)
Nov. 2 – Winston Salem, N.C. (Werehouse)
Nov. 4 – Richmond, Va. (TBA)
Nov. 5 – Baltimore, Md. (TBA)
Nov. 6 – Pittsburgh, Penn. (Garfield Artworks)
Nov. 7 – Lancaster, Penn. (Stomping Grounds)
Nov. 8 – Philadelphia, Penn. (Danger Danger)
Nov. 9 – New Haven, Conn. (Bar)
Nov. 10 – Northampton, Mass. (Elevens)

Langenus took part in this week’s Listed.

New York bands I like right now

1. Dragons of Zynth
Their debut CD is amazing, but they are so powerful live. Beauty from brother Akwetey and wild from brother Aku. Great songs and a super human belief in themselves. It’s heavy – y’all avant noise dudes should check these dudes out. I know they’re not in that scene, but they’re that noisy a lot of the time. Very raw.

2. Awesome Color
Go see them live NOW! Their new songs are so psychedelic on Derek’s end and so punk on Allison’s. Michael is filling it out with a Jamaican flag sticker on his amp. Their recordings are great, too, but they’re always on tour, so check ‘em out.

3. Kocho Bi Sexual
They just released a new EP and it’s amazing. Great songs, with a lot of sadness in the schtick. I love everything Sebastian Paulson has ever done. He’s got great rhythm and has listened to a lot of reggae dub. Emi has one of the coolest voices in pop.

4. Animental
Their 2007 CD is great. One of the rawest bands around without question. Their ever-changing line up somehow still sounds like they’ve always sounded, but the more same, the better if you ask me. Gnarly.

5. Common Eider King Eider
Rob Fisk and George Chen, what they’re doing these days. Rob has been a straight-up guitar hero of mine for the last 10 years. He changed my life. These days he’s doing his thing with this band, doing his gentle picking falsetto thing with George doing what Rob used to do – play killing guitar solos.

6. Prurient
Just saw this Frank Sinatra wanna be for the first time in seven years. He’s mixing beauty into the set these days. Back turned. All black. An amazing entertainer and totally gnarly through the Bowery Ballroom PA.

7. Rhys Chatham
200 guitars soundcheck at Lincoln Center in August – yo, it was heavy. Folks were coming up from the street wondering what the hell was summoning the spacecrafts. Overtones complete. Then the city told us it was twice the legal volume limit. Then we got rained out. But the soundcheck was amazing. I was getting amped to blow minds.

8. TV on the Radio
I heard these guys right up next to 3 Doors Down on a pretty square radio station while I was painting an apartment. Despite the DIY things I do, as a New Yorker, I gotta respect the dudes who are making that money. Peace.

9. Radiohead
Simply my favorite band. I listen to their records too much. I downloaded or burned all of them. I play air guitar and sing my heart out to their records. I want to be in this band.

Brown Wing Overdrive

Chuck Bettis, Mikey “IQ” Jones and Derek Morton are one of the weirder bands in the Tzadik Records stable, which is really saying something. The shamanistic trio plays processed banjo, found objects and power electronics. Bettis and Morton met each other in Washington D.C., crossing paths as part of that city’s burgeoning experimental music community. Upon relocating to New York City, the two began collaborating as a duo before vocalist/percussionist IQ joined them in early 2007. IQ’s alarm clocks, duck calls, and array of unlikely sound devices provide a lively counterpoint to Bettis’ machine noise and Morton’s chaotic circuits. Catch the release party for their new Tzadik recording ESP Organism at West Nile (285 Kent. St. in Brooklyn, N.Y.) on Saturday, Nov.1.

1. Boredoms - Chocolate Synthesizer (Reprise)
When I first heard the Boredoms, my friends & I didn’t know how to categorize them. We just called it freak music. Out of their vast catalog, Chocolate Synthesizer holds my ear more than other Boredoms records probably most for "Acid Police." So simple, yet so complex. Heavy chanting and drumming, a bit of a hint of where Eye & Yoshimi wanted to take the group. That duo has been very inspirational over the years – OOIOO, UFO Or Die, DJ Pica Pica Pica, the list goes on and on. (Chuck)

2. C. Spencer Yeh
A shout out for a job well done. The noise scene is overrun by the next big train jumper and its nice to see a completely inspired C. Spencer Yeh following the beat, or should I say the stroke of his tortured violin. I can’t say why anyone should like his heavily processed vocals scrambled through loops of noise, but it digs at my heart. Burning Star Core’s Mes Soldats Stupides on Cenotaph catalogs some of Yeh’s amazing collaborations starting from the mid ‘90s and its a perfect place to start. Long Live Dronedisco! (Derek)

3. Haruomi Hosono - Bon Voyage Co.
Hosono & Yellow Magic Orchestra are another longtime fave, but the discovery of his pre-YMO solo work, which stretched back some years, was an entirely different revelation, and opened so many new doors to my ears. I get teased for being a huge Japanophile amongst friends, and this guy’s the one to blame. His work on Bon Voyage Co – the second in a trilogy of outstanding tropical pop records which also included Tropical Dandy and Paraiso (the catalyst for YMO’s beginnings) – took the funk of Little Feat & the Meters and married it to the sounds of Okinawa and Japanese Hawaii, with detours through Randy Newman/Tin Pan Alley songwriting styles. I’ve followed Hosono through much of his career and discography (it’s massive!), and these three albums are the ones to which I always return and find inspiration. These records got me deeper into world musics I never even knew existed, and also helped lead me further into the sounds of the Japanese new wave and its direct precedents – groups like Makigami Koichi’s Hikashu, the Plastics, Melon, Shoukichi Kina, Cioccolata, and my faves, Guernica. Jun Togawa fronts an incredible electro-opera ensemble through some of the most haunting, beguiling music (by Koji Ueno) I’ve ever heard in any language, and it’s all topped off by the incredible visual stylings and lyrics of Keiichi Ohta. There are many days I wish someone would just give me a pile of money to be able to license and anthologize this music, because Americans would freak out. Such amazing, inspiring sounds! (IQ)

4. Naked City - Torture Garden
After hearing Naked City for the first time, I could never listen to music the same way again. Zorn put all music on an equal footing for me, showing parallels that stretched across genres defined by music snobs. Naked City embodied the aggression and speed that was so familiar to me coming from my hardcore punk upbringing and implanted an insatiable quest for me to dig deeper into the realms of all kinds of esoteric worlds. (Chuck)

5. Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
PE at this period ruled! They defined a scene then and had their entire thing tight! Chuck D spewing inspiring political rhymes with the backing of the Bomb Squad, plus Flava Flav doing his hype. For me, it was as motivational as the Autobiography Of Malcolm X by Alex Haley and Malcolm X. Bomb Squad at the time brought together metal heads with the hip hop world. Growing up, all I listened to for awhile is metal and rap. Too bad that all the metal-rap hybrids that emerged from PE’s influence fuckin’ suck. (Chuck)

6. Serge Gainsbourg - His entire catalog
Think I’m joking? Gainsbourg is hands-down my biggest hero on so many levels. The man lived his entire life like a work of art. As a failed painter, he knew he had to give the world something extraordinary, and his lifelong body of work, including the hundreds of songs he wrote and produced for others over a 40-year period, is intimidating, yet so rewarding. His lyrics were pure poetry; I love the way he uses puns and onomatopoeia, but even better is the way his lyrics are fused to the arrangements – everything from the mambo and jazz stylings of his early career to the oft-discussed swinging ‘60s pop tunes to Melody Nelson’s acid funk operatics to the amazing reggae LPs he cut in Jamaica with Sly & Robbie and the Revolutionaries. I could write for hours about Gainsbourg, and there are few other individuals who have inspired me in an idol-like worship the way this man has. The more I’ve learned about him and his life over the years, the more respect I have for him. It’s a shame the language barrier will always prove to be an insurmountable wall to break down in giving the man more acclaim in the Americas, because he has no equal in the English-speaking world. A true visionary, a true poet, a true human being, right to the very end. (IQ)

7. Soft Pink Truth - Anything on vinyl that has a 12" diameter
Matmos are the kings of bleeps. In fact, they "out bleep" Mouse on Mars by a ratio of 3 to 1, and this data can be backed by the University of Synthland Nerdia. So thank god that Matthew Herbert bet Drew Daniel that he couldn’t produce a house record. The standout is the “Promofunk” 12" on Soundslike, which includes a most amazing Vanity 6 cover, "Make Up." If you are record player challenged, you can always opt for the CD Do You Party. Big Booty Bitches will rock your butt. (Derek)

8. Throbbing Gristle - 20 Jazz Funk Greats (Mute)
TG had the intensity and the guts to experiment with electronics like none other during that time period. Even though I never had the opportunity to see them live, they embodied this sense of danger – the willingness to push extremes in an intelligent way (see Cosey Fanni Tutti & Genesis P-Orridge’s Coum Transmissions). 20 Jazz Funk Greats is their most accessible recording, but it led me to Sounds Of The Junk Yard on Folkways, Martin Denny’s Quiet Village, and Kraftwerk’s Man Machine. There has been none like them since. (Chuck)

9. Wire - Pink Flag/Chairs Missing/154
A trifecta of sublime art punk. After the first three records, Wire continued on producing notable recordings as a band and through their prolific solo careers. Yes, the late ‘80s Wire output became quite inconsistent and often hideous, but my love for the band never waned. Then I finally caught them at DC’s 9:30 club on a reunion tour and all I could remember was the machine-like insanity of Robert Gotobed’s drumming through that kind of shitty “Drill” song. It must have gone on for 20 minutes. People were getting tired, but I was just in awe of such commitment to a non-hit. It occurred to me Wire was still playing on their own terms; a total fuck you to the crowd. (Derek)

10. Yello - Solid Pleasure / Claro Que Si / You Gotta Say Yes to Another Excess
Yello changed my life in terms of the way one could approach making music from both a lyrical and musical perspective. Boris Blank’s endless library of self-made samples and his fusion of man and machine to me is still unparalleled in terms of approach and the timeless danceable quality of these early albums. Their first three albums – all recorded before the massive "Oh Yeah” – fused the Fairlight shenanigans of Boris Blank with millionaire/poker champ/multimedia artist Dieter Meier’s cinematic playfulness and ties both strands together with some tight Latin and funk grooves. The 12" of "Bostich (N’est Pas)" is possibly my favorite song ever. It took the rest of pop music some 10 to 15 years to catch up with these two. (IQ)

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