Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: British rock iconoclast Dan Melchior and ambient songwriter Kenseth Thibideau.
Listed: Dan Melchior + Kenseth Thibideau
Since the mid-1990s, British native Dan Melchior has been turning heads and stripping paint off the walls of rock clubs with the sound of abrasive, truth-serum rock and roll, spread out across dozens of releases. Early on in his career, Melchior collaborated with both Billy Childish and Holly Golightly before forming the rambunctious, tuneful Broke Revue, a group that would move him from the U.K. to New York City. He currently resides in Raleigh, N.C., and performs as Dan Melchior und Das Menace, a brand for all of his solo activities. His latest album Visionary Pangs is due out soon on S-S Records.
1. 13th Floor Elevators - Bull of the Woods
I love this record, because it seems like something you would overhear, rather than something that would be presented to you. I remember a time when it seems to have been considered an aberration in the Elevators catalog, and came in for a lot of dismissive reviews, but all that seems to have changed now.
After hearing Alex Chilton records like Lost Decade, I developed a great hunger for stuff that seemed to have been made in a different way, with a different attitude, and a different idea about what a studio was for. These sorts of records seemed like an attempt to capture something mysterious and intangible, rather than an attempt to clean something up to the point where it will be palatable to some imagined wider audience. Weirdly enough, I ended up getting an original international artists copy of this at a charity shop in Wimbledon.
2.The Shadow Ring - Lighthouse
I first heard this about three years ago and it was a revelation to me. I would never have dreamed that anyone would have dared to be so English on record, and that if they did, that it wouldnít make me cringe. This record is absolutely hilarious, and disturbing, and brilliant. I would have to use the word genius in relation to this.
3.Yabby You - Conquering Lion
I get into phases where I listen to nothing but reggae, and this record is the most consistent roots reggae record Iíve found. I mainly listen to dub and DJ stuff, but itís nice to listen to a record with ísongsí sometimes. This one, War in a Babylon by Max romeo, and Police and Thieves by Junior Murvin are my top three. The thing that sets this record apart is that it retains a sense of menace and righteousness throughout. Itís not at all light or upbeat.
4. Nudge Squidfish - 3,000 Leagues Under Nashville
All the stuff that Columbus Discount Records has been re-releasing/unearthing over the last couple of years has been brilliant. This and the Tommy Jay Tall Tales of Terror are my favorites so far. Iíve listened to both of those records more than any other rock records Iíve bought over the last couple of years. Iím looking forward to hearing what they have up their sleeves next.
5. Alternative TV - The Image has Cracked
Without meaning any disrespect to Billy Childish, his taste and mine didnít often correspond when it came to music outside of old blues, but he did tell me about this one, and itís been an absolute favorite ever since. When people use the term ípost-punk,í they always seem to be using it as short hand for describing that Gang of Four/Pop Group/Contortions íwhite funkí type thing, but this one covers so much more ground than that. Itís almost like prog punk really, with the synth and piano overdubs and ambient instrumental pieces. Starting a record with a 10-plus-minute collage of audience members taking over the mic (and fighting) over a cabaret version of the "You Really Got Me" riff is a pretty ballsy move, too.
6. Larry Young - Lawrence of Newark
When I lived in N.Y., I really got into buying ífusioní records as they were always cheap and easy to find. Once I heard Jack Johnson by Miles Davis and íTo Whom It May Concern by Tony Williams Lifetime, I started searching out other things with the same dark, heavy atmosphere and abrasive guitar work. I found a lot of great records, but this was the best one. This sounds like it was recorded in a humid cave, with the various instruments taking turns to emerge from the murk.
7. Lee Perry and The Upsetters - The Best of Lee Perry and The Upsetters
I love so much of what Lee Perry produced in his long heyday, but this early instrumental stuff is really hard to beat. (This record is the Jet Star one, with a cover showing him wearing a rain mac and holding a suitcase on a beach.) I love the fact that the overdriven organ is hardly ever in tune, but itís not so out of tune that it actually bothers you. Itís all so abrasive in a way -- out of balance and raw, but always upbeat and joyful. A weird combination of things not often heard outside of Jamaican music, where an overtly experimental mindset always seems to have to be accompanied by a poker face and a gray boiler suit if it wants to gain any acceptance.
8. Alex Chilton - Dusted in Memphis/Like Flies on Sherbet/Sister Lovers/Lost Decade
I was the most upset Iíve ever been by the death of someone Iíve never met when Alex Chilton died this year. I didnít really realize how profoundly inspired I was by him, and his irreverent approach to making records. I think that he was probably my main influence, along with Dylan. There is a lot of ground covered by this selection of records, but they all have that spirit of ídevil may careí nonchalance, that only someone that brilliant can bring to their work.
9. Bob Dylan - John Wesley Harding
Iím a huge Dylan fan, although he finally lost me with all the recent records that everyone seems to like so much. Iíd rather listen to Slow Train Coming Saved or Good as I Been to You any day. Still, John Wesley Harding is my favorite. It is such a contrary record, by someone who specializes in being contrary. Itís almost impossible to relate this to the era it appeared in, which to me is the ultimate recommendation.
10. Peaking Lights - Imaginary Falcons
Tom Lax, the venerable head of Siltbreeze told me about this one, and as usual he wasnít wrong. A great, great record. There are so many things coming out along these lines these days, but this one stands head and shoulders above the piles of aimless synth warbling that clutter up the playlists of most college stations across America. Itís as good as Cluster, and thatís saying something.
Kenseth Thibideauís resume includes plenty of time spent on the line between esoteric pop and full-on eclecticism: from stints in Three Mile Pilot and Pinback to Tarantel and Rumah Sakit. His solo debut, Repetition, is a compelling blend of his influences and experiences, ranging from angular pop to drifting Krautrock riffs. Repetition excels in its ability to suggest connections between disparate musical movements -- an unexpected musical education thatís also deeply captivating.
1. Steve Reich - Electric Counterpoint
The moment I first heard Steve Reich, it felt like that was what Iíd been searching for and I need not look further. He made minimalism seem not so minimal with all the angular counterpoint and various types of instrumentation. I love all his work, but Electric Counterpoint is one of my favorites because of the pristine texture of those 11 guitar tracks.
2. Philip Glass - Koyaanisqatsi
It took me forever to really get into Philip Glass because all I needed was Steve Reich, right? Well, I can safely say that, over time, Glassí music snuck into my life and eventually out-shined everything else. Talk about beautiful, perfect, repetition. If there is a spiritual side to my existence, Glassí music kicked it up a few levels. Music in 12 Parts, Dance Nos. 1-5, and Glassworks are a few, but I think my favorite is Koyaanisqatsi. It is a perfect record and film.
3. Cluster - Sowiesoso
This one is my favorite of the Krautrock records by Roedelius and Moebius. It is so mellow and creates such a cool atmosphere. I have listened to it over and over, and it puts me immediately in the same place every time. I love the simple rhythms under wandering synth lines that add so many textures and colors. Rich sounding and one of the most inspiring records in my life.
4. Ashra - Sunrain
Manual Gottsching is undoubtedly the king of the traveling delay guitar rhythms. Sunrain is one of the more proggy records I have listed with darker synth pads and Floyd-ish guitar solos. Listen to this one while driving through the desert at sunset.
5. Brian Eno - Another Green World
A perfect record. I love how there will be a perfectly constructed pop song sandwiched between two perfect short instrumentals and then another perfect pop song. I probably have listened to this record more times than any other. Itís great for putting on at a party or in a group of people whoís music taste may vary. Itís so original and accessible at the same time. Another truly inspiring record for me.
6. Can - Delay
I once listened to the song "Thief" over and over on my iPod for about a week while on tour in Europe. The strong bouncy drumbeat and spidery guitar parts, along with Suzukiís cool dirty rasp, makes me feel energized. This band can be so groovy and so intense at the same time.
7. Harmonia - Musik Von
The first track is so awesome and kind of sums up the whole krautrock thing for me. This type of repetition and texture is what I have been going for. Itís extremely hypnotic music. Itís busy and pulsating and laid back at the same time. I could listen to it for hours. I love how time slows down while listening to it.
8. Popul Vuh - Tantric Songs
Popul Vuh make me so happy because they make Herzog happy. I was introduced to Popol Vuh by hearing the Aguirre, Wrath of God opening music for the first time. Then I discovered the rest of their music and I love it all. Tantric Songs is magical and emotional and melancholic inspirational. I love the blend of Eastern and Western instruments and ideas. This record sounds so unique, I donít think I could get close to making anything quite this subtle but powerful.
9. Pink Floyd - Animals
OK, I had to throw this one in because Pink Floyd has been consistently one of my favorite bands since I was a little kid. I donít think I could get away from their influence ever. I love David Gilmourís guitar and vocals throughout this whole record. The production is amazing and I think itís one of their most minimal records with only five songs (two of which are just the intro and outro). The three main songs are all prog epics! I have, and will, listen to this one over and over again.
10. Kraftwerk - Autobahn
My favorite Kraftwerk record. Love the reoccurring themes throughout the whole thing. The singing is so monotone and lazy, and yet it works.
By Dusted Magazine