Dusted Features

Listed: James McNew and The Music Scholar

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Features

Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists determined by our favorite artists. This week: Famed music scholar Charles R. Martin and that skinny motherfucker with the high voice James McNew.

Listed: James McNew and The Music Scholar

Charles R. Martin is one of, if not thee world’s foremost music scholars. His first concert was the Beatles (age 6) and he also single-handedly reunited Big Star in 1973 for the famed Rock Writer's Convention in Memphis. After tiring of the burgeoning New York scene in the late 70's, he maintained a “good” music store in Newbridge, New Jersey called Heliocentric Records for a few years, but became bored of mailing out Amon Düül and musique concrete albums. After spending all of the 1990’s listening to air mixes, Martin now has the freshest, most sterile ears this side of Bernhard Glückman and we here at Dusted are honored to publish his current five favorite recordings. Today, Martin imparts his wisdom for you, the reader; consider yourselves very lucky. For more information on Martin, check out www.stereolaffs.com.

Charles R. Martin’s Top Five:

1. Sung Won – Byung Seung – Utterly devastating (western) Korean folk/trip hop. Won has somehow managed to surpass the brilliance he displayed on 1999’s “Wong Poong” tape-only release. I should mention that this is not actually available in any format, nor have I actually ever heard the piece. It was described to me by one of my (western) Korean tape trading friends. Good luck finding this.

2. Destructo Boys –“Coach Fannel/Des Moines” 7” - Incredibly rare single from this mid-70s teen punk band. “Coach Fannel” is a Stooges-like diatribe against the Boy’s sadistic gym teacher. The b-side is the real gem here: a version of the Pistol’s “New York” with all new lyrics that blast the “stuck up asshole” inhabitants of the closest city to these Midwestern farm boys. The best punk rock you’ll never hear.

3. Little Teddy Stilton - Diggin’ The Blues LP – Ultra-unknown gem from this late ‘60s blues artist. Stilton was (when this LP was cut) a reclusive 70-year-old grave digger in Biloxi, MS. He was “discovered” when he filled in for a no-show singer at a funeral he was working. Standout tracks include “Coffin Blues,” “The Maggots,” and “Drunk at Your Funeral.” You will never find this anywhere.

4. Vance Gorgono –Impressions Vol 1 reel to reel – Unbelievably obscure early ‘70s album from this Dutch improv master. The chances of anyone else outside of me or a small circle of like-minded enthusiasts having this (or having heard this) is minuscule. Standout piece has to be “Zero Point” which contains 42 minutes of Gorgono blowing into a snare drum.

5. Smash Mouth – Fush Yu Mang LP – It is no secret that I did not listen to popular music from 1989 until 2000. In a nutshell, I accidentally heard some new music (Limp Bizkit) in 2000 and was instantly transported back to my childhood when I saw the Alice Cooper band, MC5 and Stooges perform in Ann Arbor. Michigan. My girlfriend also turned me onto this record and it really reminds me of the night Tom Miller (you probably know him as Tom Verlaine) gave me a tape of his band’s debut album Marquee Moon. So many great tracks but “Beer Goggles” keeps this CD stuck in my player.

James McNew is one-third of Yo La Tengo, possibly the world’s greatest band. He became the group’s permanent bassist in 1992 and has since recorded five brilliant full-length albums, the latest being The Sounds of the Sounds of Science. When not busy with Ira and Georgia, McNew sometimes records as Dump, where his gentle melodies and fragile framework take full form. His Prince cover record That Skinny Motherfucker With the High Voice? contains many beautiful and humorous interpretations, including the once ubiquitous “1999.”

James McNew:

1. Aesop Rock - Daylight (Definitive Jux) - Could be my favorite record of the year for two years running, is that allowed?

2. Outkast - "Land Of A Million Drums" (Atlantic) - Best Scooby Doo-based song ever.

3. The Mops - "I'm Just A Mops" (Group Sounds) - Please, Santa, every Mops cd this year.

4. Sue Garner - "I Paint A Design" (Thrill Jockey) - It's shocking how sometimes Michael Hurley can write a song about you and your life, and this one was tailor-made for her.

5. Cee-Lo - "Gettin' Grown" (Arista) - A more surprisingly sweet and tender, funny and melancholy few minutes you won't find.

6. Yung Wu - "Big Day" (Coyote) - Sounds even better today, a record that just keeps on giving.

7. Bill Withers - "Use Me" (Columbia) - Goddamn!

8. Jean Grae - "Thank Ya" (Third Earth) - Funny and razor-sharp, insanely great track, and she has a neck tattoo. Can't wait for the album.

9. Upright Citizen's Brigade - May I Help You (Dumbass) (UCB) - If people kept mistakenly calling your home number thinking it was a tech support hotline, and you were in the Upright Citizens' Brigade, of course you'd start helping your fellow man... and taping it, thank goodness.

10. The Dishes - "Action Woman" (No. 89) - Timeless beauty.

By Dusted Magazine

Read More

View all articles by Dusted Magazine

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.