Listed: The Last Town Chorus + Old Bombs
The Last Town Chorus
Minimal Brooklyn folk group The Last Town Chorus is composed of only two members: Megan Hickey and Nat Guy. While their songs are as powerful as any other duo topping today's charts (White Stripes, Lightning Bolt, etc.), the force comes not from sheer energy or volume, but from the tension created by their songs' dramatic pacing and Hickey's passionately restrained vocals. Their self-titled debut album received praise from all sorts of critical trustworthies, from WFMU to the Village Voice to this very webzine. You can find out more about The Last Town Chorus at their website or by reading their profile from last year's Dusted's Destined series. Megan Hickey participated in this week's Listed feature.
I must say that this exercise list left me a bit sorrowful. I found myself lamenting the natural decline the good old album format, even as I’m thrilled at the freedom that the digital age brings. These are albums I’m listening to now, and they all double as lifetime favorites.
1. Culture Club - Kissing To Be Clever (EMI, 1982) - Boy George was my first favorite pop star, my first love. The debut album is soulful, elegant, and utterly primal, while still having a rich, pop sound of the early 80s. God I love this album. We may record "Do You Really Wanna Hurt Me" on our next album.
2. KUKL - Holidays in Europe (One Little Indian, 1986) - This is the earlier band of Bjork and some other Sugarcubes. I dug it up on vinyl after being enraptured by The Sugarcubes’ “Life’s Too Good.” The KUKL record is terrifying, primordial, Icelandic, sinister, smirking and free. Shrieking voice, shrieking trumpet, metallic guitar, thudding drums. An exhilarating album.
3.Jimi Hendrix – In The West (1972) - This is just one of the countless strange little live albums out there. Many of these albums are recordings of unremarkable shows, even bad shows. But I love hearing him struggle with his guitar and voice together, like he’s trying to choke up some spiritual thing stuck in his throat. I’m sure he inspires my approach to playing lapsteel.
4. Gillian Welch - Revelator (Acony Records, 2001) - This is an utterly listenable opus. I never, ever grow weary of it. This album gets closest to the way I experience Gillian and Dave Rawlings live – two guitars, two voices, locked in and digging. I have lots of faith in these kids to steer the folk rock ship for years to come.
5. The Beatles - Rubber Soul (Capitol, 1965) - My first exposure to the wonder of The Beatles, and still my favorite. It feels like this pregnant moment in the air as they leaped from their early Carl Perkins-style rock n’ roll to the distinctive, experimental later work. It’s exciting. I wish I’d been alive to experience these albums actually coming out in progression.
6. Cocteau Twins - Heaven or Las Vegas (4AD, 1990) - This album feels like a hot bath. The thick layers of Elizabeth Fraser’s vocals are arresting to me, and this album was an early inspiration for the sound of my band, The Last Town Chorus.
7. Tori Amos - Little Earthquakes (Atlantic, 1992) - A dramatic, piano-driven album by a singular, productively crazy artist who I love. The album was the soundtrack for my late-teens/early-20s tortured era. Best enjoyed in the winter months.
8. Innocence Mission - Glow (A&M, 1995) - There’s a subterranean electrical shimmer about this album, that makes subtle things loom large, and sad things rapturous. In the mid-90s, it was a spiritual experience getting to know this album. Years later, it was a true pleasure to perform some shows with these lovely, quiet people from my birthstate of Pennsylvania.
9. Joni Mitchell - Blue (DCC, 1971) – I pulled over the car the first time I heard ‘California’ on the radio. A bittersweet album that I’m still untangling.
10. The Sundays - Reading, Writing and Arithmetic (DGC, 1990) – The Sundays have always felt to me like a female-voiced, straighter version of The Smiths, and this is a saucy, dark debut album, much like The Smiths’ debut was. I love them both. Both bands are proof that maudlin music needn’t mean drippy, droll or meandering.
Carlos Giffoni, Dino Felipe and Vanessa Payes started Old Bombs for all intents and purposes in 1997, when the three of them would gather in Miami and listen to spastic music of various natures. Six years later, they've finally gotten around to releasing a record. In the time since those listless listening sessions, Giffoni moved to Brooklyn and became one of the foremost noise musicians in the New York City area. Felipe and Payes released some music on Public Eyesore, and Dino went on to record for Schematic, including a killer album called Dino Felipe Plays Flim Toby. The trio's latest Audios may be their first official project, but don't miss the split EP with Wolf Eyes on Public Eyesore from 2002. Audios, released on the Florida label Soft Abuse, was created via the United States Postal Service, with Giffoni sending tapes to Miami and Felipe and Payes sending manipulated versions back to Brooklyn, and so on and so forth. Dino Felipe participated in this week's Listed.
hello!::::::::::::i did it! on trucker speed~
2. Boredoms - Chocolate Synthesizer (Warner) - This really goes well with Coca-Cola, acid, and fried eggs all over the walls. This, to me, is the album where they mastered their craft. Incredible microphone placement by ringleader Eye makes this album's sound very unique...to attempt to describe this album I would have to say it is like Mr.Bungle's circus album if they were raised in an art school in Japan while being fed PCP...SHOCK CITY!
3. Jon Frusciante - Usually Just A T-shirt (American) - I think the 1st guitar/vocal album that appealed to me. Total funky junky 4-track shit. He's really feelin' it, and stabs you through the speakers. Everyone that I know who happens to end up listening to this album for a while ends up making it that year's soundtrack. Also we all ended up cutting ourselves in our bedroom with razor blades...but that is nothing compared to what my precious Jon has been through....William S. Burroughs inspired cut-up lyrics, and a touch of Marcel Duchamp (notice the album cover).
4. Sade - all albums - Wanna soak in sentimental pineapple juice. Then-...OK, I'll be goth now. Whenever I am lovesick I put this lady on, and I cry, cry, cry with her. She was obsessed with one man throughout most of her early career, and EVERY song by this lady is about that one man....beautiful obsession...finally she won his heart, and after two years marriage he passes away...poor Sade...can you hear it now? "your love is like a tattoo."
5. VA - Labyrinths & Jokes (Hanson) - The best darndest toof-less motherfuckers. All piled up. This was my 1999 sountrack for sure...wake up to the Howling Wolves:"the beast people" (no longer existing). The track by Isis & Werewolves starts like some 70's keyboard drama-rock, and in Sonic Youth fashion the song crumbles into apocalypse in the blink of an eye. Ron of Japan: Imagine two girls who like to throw up in their bedroom with a casio, voice morphing toy, and a house beat a la 4-track...post-apocalyptic electro-trash. All good. Too many words.
6. Runzelstirn & Gurglestock - Asshole/Snail Dilema (Tochnit Aleph) - These are the Days of our Lives out-takes, equipped with ass-trumpets, I think. When strangers come to my house I put them to the test with this CD. Starting with bedroom shuffle, strings come in, and then domestic abuse follows, throw the girl against the wall, she screams..I usually get one response: "hey man, turn that off! That's the shit that makes you schizophrenic!"
7. Maryanne Amacher - Sound Characters (Tzadik) - I got turned on by this babe when I played the Sonic Light Festival in Amsterdam with her and many more. We were drinking and she spoke of her fears relating to the world's awful condition. When she performed I heard judgment trumpets and basses of drama. My eyes watered, and I understood. Her ear tricks cannot be imitated.
8. The Stooges - The Stooges (Elektra) - I'm naked...I'm not right. All night All night. I would hear this a lot at 18. Made me feel the real rock in the roll. Raw power peanut-butter stuff. FKTRN used to cover "Not right" at Churchills here in Miami. Iggy lives here, too. I have to go, I'm gonna stalk him now. Rumor has it Iggy got the repetitive power chord riff idea from listening to factories in his town.
9. Transmission - Transmission (Audible Hiss) - The best of Adris Hoyos(in trashcan-rock version): Harry Pussy's Adris with a trashcan guitarist make a bunch of ditties as a duo ... structured though, as opposed to other projects Adris has done. She sings in spanish, calls for help, and does some primal scream therapy...she also lets out some steam about her ex...sounds like poltergeist rock...it is flawless.
10. Albert Ayler - Bells (Calibre) - The Notorious B.I.G. of free jazz. Albert is my favorite free-horn player...ultra-organic "melodies" at times sound like swan dying (in a nice way)....the funny thing about this cat is he would go from freeform to funeral marches (back & forth) in a lot of songs. This was his formula...he ended up getting tied to a jukebox and got thrown in the Hudson River...prophetic?
By Dusted Magazine