Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists determined by our favorite artists. This week: Kraut-poppers Wet Hair and the ominous Chelsea Wolfe.
Listed: Wet Hair + Chelsea Wolfe
The boys in Wet Hair are amongst an interesting group of contemporaries (Moon Duo, Cave, Wooden Shjips, Kurt Vile etc.) that channel seemingly lo-fi pop music via elements of German Motorik music. They use the propulsive elements of classic Krautrock alongside nascent experimentation and spaced-out vocals to fill out their sound. Their latest, In Vogue Spirit on Destilj shows the band delving more into pop territory, pushing the vocals father to the front, adding deep hooks amidst the driving rhythm section and synth-grooves. Dusted caught up with the now three-piece band of Shawn Reed, Ryan Garbes, and Justin who each gave us three albums that influence the sounds they’re bringing to the band.
1. Big Youth - Screaming Target
I first heard about Big Youth from my old friend Andy Roche (Chicago Visual Artist/Black Vatican member). Andy would talk about Big Youth as being like a musical revelation as a vocalist. When I finally picked up some Big Youth records of my own I figured out what Andy was talking about and was completely mesmerized. Screaming Target is an all time classic reggae record and a step forward in reggae DJ/toasting form moving beyond what U-Roy and Dennis Alcapone had done before Big Youth stepped fully onto the scene. Big Youth remains one of my all time favorite artists and along with Keith Hudson rules my reggae collection. (Shawn)
2. Spacemen 3 - Recurring
The final Spacemen album, Kember and Pierce hated each other so much by this point that the sides were divided; each taking half of the album to be recorded separately. You would think that those circumstances would lead to a general weakness in the material and not the greatness that this album embodies, but somehow it really worked out. This is my favorite Spacemen record because I think it captures so much about the band and what Pierce and Kember would do after Spacemen with Spiritualized and Spectrum respectfully (and had already started to do since both had moved onto the new projects by the time this record came out). This album is more full, lush, bigger and more electronic then anything else they had done prior as well. I just sense a lot of feeling in this record, it seems like both members stripped something away, weren’t relying on rock tropes or references as much, mixing things up much more then they ever had, taking the minimal lessons learned from Playing With Fire and turning them into maximal results. (Shawn)
3. The Magnetic Fields - The Charm of the Highway Strip
Due to my lack of interest in 69 Love Songs and the later Magnetic Fields material that got a lot of attention, I never really got into the band or tried to find earlier records. A couple years ago I randomly stumbled on the House of Tomorrow EP and really dug the material especially the song "Love Goes Home to Paris" and started to look back trying to check out the Magnetic Fields early discography. On a tour we ended up crashing at Mike Connelly’s (Wolf Eyes/Hair Police) pad and he had this record sitting out so we jammed it and I was pretty enthralled with the content, it being a record about traveling and being on tour etc which has been such a huge part of my life for so many years it resounded pretty deeply. I actually found a copy of the LP later on that same tour and have really enjoyed it along with the Holiday LP as well. I feel like this era of Magnetic Fields has this really distinct way of dealing with instrumentation and influences. The Charm… almost sounds like New Order, Joy Division or Brian Eno doing pop versions of somber country songs, and somehow it all comes off flawless, very textured and catchy. (Shawn)
4. The Beatles - Revolver
Revolver was the first Beatles album I got into. I grew up hearing their songs, but this was different, this was a consuming obsession that to this day ebbs and flows, with every aspect of this from the songs and lyrics to the guitar sound, the vocal harmonies, the recording and panning; I still think about how the rhythms are constructed, one drum track left, another right, tambourine in there, everything. (Ryan)
5. Bob Dylan - Bringing it all Back Home
It’s the beginning of Dylan going electric, it captures that energy about ready to fall out of control, the false start on ‘Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream’ comes crashing right in, it’s the beginning of him capturing that controlled looseness in his next few records. The song mix, a few about girls, the acoustic half, I’m drawn to records that split halves like this. (Ryan)
6. Miles Davis - Get up With It
This influenced me so much; the recording style, the sound, the rhythms/drums, I spent a pretty long time listening to Miles Davis almost exclusively and love all the "electric" era records. This is probably my favorite and one that really foreshadows music of the next few decades. (Ryan)
7. The Cramps - Psychedelic Jungle
One of many albums purchased in my Cramps obsessed high school days, this one in particular really stuck with me. Lux was one of the finest frontmen to grace this earth (R.I.P.) The music is simple and gritty but no-nonsense; mind blowing good from start to finish. It gets constant play on the turntable past present and future. (Justin)
8. New Order - Power Corruption and Lies
As a synth nerd/bass player this album really hits all the right chords for me. Beautiful songs that are sure to bring me out of any depressing Iowa rut. The companion 12" to the album containing “The Beach” / “Blue Monday” is an obvious must. I’m always reminded of the time my pals and I wore powdered wigs and did karaoke to “Blue Monday” in all its glory until we had fully alienated our rural Iowa audience, classic. (Justin)
9. Kim Jung Mi - (김정미)-Now
My ongoing fascination/travels to Korea led me to this album of folk singer Kim Jung MI teamed up with the Korean godfather of rock and psych guitar to make my favorite k-album ever. Echoey vocals with fuzzy and twangy guitars, sounds like heaven. Songs can put you to tears regardless of if you understand the Korean lyrics or not. Still hoping to get my hands on a hard copy on my next visit to Korea. (Justin)
With all of the inherent darkness surrounding her music, one might not think that the Doom-folk songstress Chelsea Wolfe originally hails from the beautiful woods of California; a place so seemingly bright and sunny. But that interplay is part of what makes Wolfe’s work so interesting. Finding beauty in the darkness. There is no doubt, that she dwells on the such things, as especially evidenced by her choice to cover both “Black Spell Of Destruction” by controversial Norwegian band Burzum and the classic “You Are My Sunshine”. She recorded her haunting 2010 debut, The Grime & the Glow on 8-track and has just released her 2nd album, Ἀποκάλυψις (pronounced “apokalypsis”), on Pendu Sound Recordings
1. Vladimir Vysotsky
Soviet Russian singer with a solemn passion and never afraid to stand for and sing for what he believed in. Something to aspire to.
2. Selda Bagcan
Turkish singer. The twists and turns of her voice slay me.
3. Nick Cave
I don’t even own any of his records, but everything I’ve heard from him and seen from him is so dead-on perfect. Out of my favorite characters in the world he is tops.
4. Black Sabbath
That over-dramatic aesthetic of bands like Black Sabbath and Marilyn Manson is the best.
5. David Lynch
The dark surrealism in his films and art feels like reality to me. Life is filled with dark corners and confusion and mystery. I once spent a year not knowing whether I was awake or dreaming, and this was before I had seen a David Lynch movie.
6. Ayn RandI read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged with no preconceptions of what Ayn Rand stood for or didn’t stand for, so I was able to interpret the books in my own way without any ideas clouding my vision. For me her books represent a grand, sparkling idealism, a freedom and integrity. I also adore Anthem.
7. D.H. Lawrence
Again, I read his books without knowledge of his personal experience in life, so I am able to get out of it what I need.. I appreciate his descriptions of the simplicity of being alive and living with others, and the way he crafted words to describe nature is so alive and dark and primal. This way of understanding nature is inspiring a lot of my new music. It really resonates with me.
8. Ingmar Bergman
Such a stark, realistic, harsh way of portraying life, and still so beautiful and light. Really, my favorite filmmaker.
9. Sylvia Plath
Sometimes I forget about the fact that Sylvia Plath, along with Virginia Woolf, has influenced me in a deeply-rooted way. Reading their work as a girl helped teach me about isolation, symbolism, and loneliness of souls.
10. Cory McAbee
The American Astronaut. had a low budget and a big vision and is one of my absolute favorite movies. My friend and tattoo artist Cris Cleen showed it to me many years ago (along with some great Nick Cave and Tom Waits songs) and I think it guided me in some way towards creating my own art and fulfilling my own vision for music.
By Dusted Magazine