Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week, we tap the brain of two artists playing WFMU Fest (which takes place at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn on Oct. 1-3): Philadelphia synth-rockers Cold Cave and Chicago stoners Vee Dee.
Listed: Cold Cave + Vee Dee
Wes Eisold got his start with Give Up the Ghost and Some Girls, but with Cold Cave, he’s taken a markedly more synth-driven, dance-oriented direction. He caught our attention last year with the single “The Tree Grew Emotions and Died,” which Dusted’s Still Single lauded for its “songwriting talent, …the ability to commingle coldwave isolation (staccato melody, phonetically spoken vocals) with several layers of harmony and this insanely uplifting beat to carry all of the emotional resonance.” When not making music, Eisold runs Heartworm Press, a small publishing house which has put out books by Genesis P-Orridge, Chris Leo and Boyd Rice. Cold Cave was part of the Destined Class of 2009 and will re-release their debut LP, Love Comes Close, on Matador in November. They play the opening night of the WFMU Fest at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Oct. 1. Get tickets here.
1. The Boston Boppers - “Did You Get What You Wanted” (Bellaphon)
We may never know the true inspiration for this Dracula-themed glam anthem. It’s something between the funniest and the most confusing song, and impossible to listen to without imagining the greatest monster-themed music video ever. I know nothing of the band and have no idea if they ever graced the town of Boston.
2. Louderbach - “Shine” (Minus)
My favorite single of the year. Troy Pierce and Gibby Miller give us perfection with an infectious hook with immaculate vocals and lyrics. An ideal pace for night drives and private dancing, the song you wish she would have turned you onto. Flawless.
3. Marie Hoy & Friends - “Shivers” (Chase)
A perfect song for me. A female-fronted Boys Next Door cover from the Dogs In Space soundtrack. In a way, it is the most quintessential song from the 1980s. It’s the song they should have played at the school dance under some spotty strobe. Beautiful, pure, and not oversung. Best for winter walks through the city.
4. AA - “Suicide Fever” (Softspot)
Favorite reissue of the year. Really beautiful Factory feeling guitar with Fall-like repetition, minimal spoken chants, ala Belgium, and perfect for repeat listens and cigarettes on the porch.
5. Ivor Cutler - “Sharks” (Peel Session)
The prettiest and saddest song ever made.
6. Floating di Morel - More Memory Than Now (Hidden)
Incredible album from the unsung Germans, one half of the group T.A.S.K. So simple and assured and depressing. Obviously in Velvets-via-German-underground territory, but less rock ‘n’ roll and more on the folkier morose end. Really worth finding is the rest of their recordings, particularly the 7” “2,” which is more effected and heavier, but still very opiated.
7. Teenage Filmstars - Lift Off Mit Der Teenage Filmstars (a.k.a. Star) (Creation/Artpop!)
A masterpiece of blown-out, lead guitar heavy unsuspecting English psych and somehow an overlooked Creation release that sounds like MBV on heavier trips. I was hooked from the first guitar line. I really appreciate this album because of how all over the place it is, what little sense it seems to make, and yet its so, so seamless. Backwards vocals and instruments, crushingly serene sounds, drones, distortions.
8. Swirlies - What to do about them (Taang!)
Oh, this was the first show I ever went to. It was at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Penn. Swirlies, Lilys, and Dead Milkmen. It must have been 1992, and the Swirlies were selling and playing songs from this mini-collection of theirs. I moved to Germany a few days later and this tape soundtracked the transition and everything I was missing. I still like to listen to it today and have owned it multiple times on three different formats because I always lose it in the car, or play out the tape, or something. At the time they were the perfect mix of the heavier U.K. bands with everything great about the carefree American indie bands of the late ’80s/early ’90s.
9. Bobby Brown - “Hawaii” (Destiny)
This made my list because the season is ending and it really captures the endless summer, end of the day, sunset feel. Beautiful vocal lines from the one-man band with a soothing and honest one-million-octave range over thin beats and instruments. Recorded live in May of ’77 when Bobby opened for Fleetwood in Santa Barbara.
10. Julie London - Lonely Girl (Liberty)
What I listen to when I’m making a list.
These Chicago garage punkers came out of the scene defined by now defunct Horizontal Action, cranking sweaty Stooges/Dolls/MC5-influenced anthems for their first album, Further, five years ago. Their latest, Public Mental Health System (on Criminal IQ), stretches things out with a conceptual consideration of depression and the mental health industry. It’s more expansive musically as well, drawing on influences as disparate as Sun Ra, Coltrane and Archie Shepp, in addition to guitar bashing garage icons. Doug Mosurock, in his Dusted review, remarked on, “what a great performer D’Vyne is, throwing a coin in Iggy’s fountain and screaming with hometown Chicago’s blues legacy in his being,” and added, “This is a good record, and at times an exceptional record, absolutely nothing less than a rock band going for broke.” Vee Dee perform the second night of WFMU Fest (Oct. 2) at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Get tickets here. Nick and Dan took part in this week’s Listed.
1. SRC - SRC (1968)
SRC was a lesser known late ’60s band from Ann Arbor that was part of the burgeoning Michigan scene at the time. Their first album is my favorite and absolutely blew me away when I first heard it. They were a five piece with two brothers – Glenn on organ and Gary Quackenbush on lead guitar. It’s Gary’s playing on this record that really stands out! He adds these fantastic, soaring, melodic, stinging lead lines in every song that are twice as loud as the rest of the music. That’s down to the recording, but I can just picture them live with Gary steppin’ on the fuzz and ripping! The songs have a U.K. late psychedelic/early progressive feel, with Glenn’s heavy Hammond leading the way and very cool melancholy singing from front man Scott Richardson (SRC= Scott Richardson Case). The lead track “Black Sheep” just slays – total badass mod moves filtered through Michigan ’tude and blasted into space sugar with Gary’s lead lines. The other tracks are all solid as well, with “Daystar” being a total psych mover and “Refugee” having some the most thoughtful yet savage lead guitar put to tape. To this day, Gary still lives in Ann Arbor and teaches guitar lessons! (Nick)
2. Captain Beefheart - “Tropical Hot Dog Night” / Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) (Warner Bros., 1978)
I like to consider this jam my theme song. I even enjoy imagining that it’s being played. Great for a boot scoot with the ladies. "Turn arouuuuuund and step back into striped light!” Need I say anymore? (Dan)
3. Los Dug Dug’s - Smog (1970)
Mexican psych has a very heavy and moody feel to a lot of it, and it seems the first two Blue Cheer records must have been big influences – particularly to this mighty Mexico City trio. Smog is their second album and is an aggressive stormer. Almost every song is led by crazed double-kick, tom-heavy drumming with added percussion to totally pummel. Add some great fuzz guitar, tuff riffs, cow bell, plenty of flute and political/social/spiritual lyrics and you got a mixture for some classic south-of-the-border, long-hair acid rock! Their first album is a stone classic, too, but Smog is my favorite mainly just for the intense drum juggernaut present. (Nick)
4. The Roots - Things Fall Apart (Geffen/MCA, 1999)
I love the hip hop, baby, and this record is my jam. I got it right when I moved into Chicago, right around the time Nick and I met and started Vee Dee. Way back when he had his slow creepin’ ’76 Caddy. Lake Shore Drive!!! Holla back! (Dan)
5. Edgar Broughton Band - Wasa Wasa (Harvest, 1969)
This is my favorite album for a couple reasons. First, like Vee Dee, they are a three-piece group of psychedelic cavemen. Second, Nick kinda resembles every member of Edgar Broughton Band, especially Edgar. On top ah that, this record flawless! The riffs, more ill’n than a hospital ward! Edgar croons about doom and love in sustained operatic howls; peppered with many a bark and grunt. I also love how from time to time you can hear Edgar toggle his fuzz pedals on and off. Listen up!! I want this album played at my funeral and “The Wind is a Vehicle,” baby. (Dan)
6. Yoko Ono - “Why” / Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band (Apple, 1970)
Cut 1 on Yoko’s 1970 debut Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band is the straight le creme of free witch boogie! When I hear it, I feel like I’m walking 3 feet above the ground into some striped light! Yoko is a wild and wailing electric banshee, she’s intoxicating! John’s excellent free guitar work coupled with Klaus Voorman’s unstoppable bass boogie. Of course, Ringo, my fav Beatle, keeps it together with a slick beat...This track is 100 percent balls deep! (Dan)
7. The Koala - The Koala (Capitol, 1969)
I wrote articles about these guys for Galactic Zoo Dossier and Ugly Things and will continue to espouse the genius here to all who’ll listen. What we have here is 13 songs of frantic psych-punk and tough-love ballads by five 18/19-year-old Anglophile Brooklyn kids who explode with energy like a NYC subway about to fly off the tracks. Jay Mala, the vocalist, sneers like a nasal snotty Mick Jagger (brings to mind Lollipop Shoppe-era Fred Cole and The Electric Eels) over Who and Stones-esque jangle and stomp. There is tons of freaked-out lead fuzz all over the album by Louis Dambra, who went on to the over-the-top titans of ADD heavy – Sir Lord Baltimore. The drumming of Joey Alexander (who’s a good friend and still in Brooklyn) accents every change with near-constant fills and cymbal crashes – a true Keith Moon devotee. That such utter thug punk with psych flashes (“Pappa Duke Tyler,” “She’s A Lady” – fuck!) came out on Capitol in 1969 baffles the mind. This is New York rock ‘n’ roll through and through. The energy here and attitude reflect the pace and culture that can only be found in the Big Apple. (Nick)
8. The Mummies - “Stronger than Dirt” (Telstar, 1992)
I once recited the lyrics to, and then played, this song for my high school senior class as the finale of a project exploring an “expression of love.” The class was called “Domestic Living,” wherein we learned to balance a check book and be considerate to our mock spouses. At the time it was the most romantic thing I had ever done. (Dan)
9. Churchills - Churchills (1968 or ’69)
Often called the Israeli Piper at the Gates of Dawn, and with good reason. These Tel Aviv freaks assembled an album with nearly no mis-steps and plenty of ear candy on top of solid songwriting. The songs range from stomping fuzzed-out garage psych to beautiful Middle Eastern-tinged ballad trippers. The use of native instruments and song styles (which these guys knew from growing up in Israel) gives this album the edge. While most bands in the U.S. and U.K. were attempting to mix Eastern instrumentation into their songs, the Churchills were already Middle Eastern and merged rock with their homeland’s music with ease and aplomb. There are lots of cool effects, phasing and other audio trickery present here – all the more remarkable as it was done on a 4-track! An essential psychedelic rock album as far as I’m concerned, full of acid, drenched in/outsight and a strong anti-establishment freak power vibe. (Nick)
10. Public Nuisance - Gotta Survive (recorded 1968-’69, released 2004)
Man. This stuff is a revelation! Two full albums recorded in pro studios (one by Terry Melcher) of Sacramento teenage high energy garage/psych/folk/mod GENIUS that never saw the light of day until a few years ago. These guys were four NorCal teenage moodies who wore all-black and loved the Who, the Yardbirds, et al, and could really play and compose. I put these songs on par with anything the Pretty Things or the Who were doing at this time. “America” is one of my favorites, with its fuzz bass and great harmonies, but there really are incredible jams of every stripe here. That it was never released is tragic – they probably would not have become household names due to their anti-social name and image, but these records would have stood as classic pre-punk American sneer, albeit with chops! (Nick)
By Dusted Magazine