Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Canis unfamiliaris Rex the Dog and posteverything posterboys Hood.
Listed: Rex the Dog + Hood
Rex the Dog
Contrary to popular belief, the top musical mystery of 2004 wasn’t the appeal of Scissor Sisters. No, the juiciest story was the hidden identity of Rex the Dog. This muzzled mutt pieced together one of the undeniable singles of the year, “Prototype,” on his Korg 700S synthesizer. Another single, “Frequency,” and two B-Sides followed on Kompakt, all tranced-out stompers, and the buzz grew to a frightening pitch. Rex’s remix of The Knife’s “Heartbeat” turned an already tight single into an out of control dancefloor anthem.
The real intrigue started when remixes for The Prodigy and Depeche Mode surfaced, and director Laurent Briet (Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers) decided to direct the video for “Prototype.” Who was this dog? Obviously someone we’re all already familiar with in some capacity. Yet, the silence persisted. That led to guesses, and lots of them: Remix artist extraordinaire Ewan Pearson, Mute Records founder Daniel Miller, Fatboy Slim’s Norman Cook, Richard X, Liam from The Prodigy, and Kompakt’s Justus Kohncke. Kompakt heads of state Michael Mayer and Wolfgang Voigt still aren’t talking, and neither is anyone else we’ve interviewed. We did manage to finagle a Listed feature from the masked marvel itself, but that was all. No clues, no confessionals, just its favorite records. 2004’s best mystery may just repeat in 2005.
REX THE DOG TOP 10 for 2004
1. Depeche Mode - "Enjoy The Silence" [Ewan Pearson Extended Remix] (Mute)
We crawl over broken glasses to lick Depeche Mode’s footsteps anyway. But even so, this version of "Enjoy The Silence" is super special. This extended version manages to be faithful to the original in a way that shows true love, and yet at the same time there is a futuristic feeling in the jagging running sequencer bass lines and elastic drum claps.
2. Alan Braxe & Fred Falke - "Rubicon" (Vulture)
This tune causes a sweet pain by showing you a glorious multicolor synthesizer chorus at the start but then not repeating it for the rest of track. You dance to it and all the while in your head you are begging to hear the synthesizer chorus again, but it does not come.
3. Alter Ego - "Rocker" (Klang Electronic)
Of course this tune is known by everyone and that is because it is so awesome. It has a big giant roaring synth and guitar chorus, but it is the squigglish “wee ow weee ow” section that made us jump in disco-circles on the dance floor thanking the gods that party music was back.
4. Etienne De Crécy - "Super Discount 2" (PIAS)
We first heard this album in a West London hotel room and when we went into the lobby bar we saw Mark Owen from Take That. Since then, this album makes us think of hotels, jumping on the bed and bright colored cocktails.
5. The Knife - "High School Poem" (Rabid)
This is a tiny sliver of a song and, like “Rubicon,” it is painful because it invites you in but then it kicks you straight out again. Karin sings: “Who wants to be ordinary? Who wants to be sweet?” and Rex and I feel our eyes water as we answer “Not us not us!” The only thing to do is to rewind and play it over again and again.
6. The Knife - "She’s Having A Baby" (Rabid)
From the album Deep Cuts, this song is a favorite for us. It is the lyric “Why wasn’t I told?” which drips with such victim’s-bitterness that it makes us upset that we recognize this in ourselves. For a while now the press has been saying that The Knife will be super huge. We still believe this, and the longer it takes, perhaps the bigger they will be.
7. Rephlex Presents: Music From The BBC Radiophonic Workshop (BBC)
Our friend Terry gave us this album after we all watched a documentary about the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. The Radiophonic Workshop provided much of the music and themes for British television during the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. Much of the Workshop’s early electronic music was made before there were synthesizers and used tape-splicing techniques. Rex and I find this awe-inspiring.
8. Ferenc - "Yes Sir I Can Hardcore" [Michael Mayer Remix] (KOMPAKT)
Not strictly from 2004, more truthfully 2003, but this record was very great for us in 2004, It is the reason we wanted to work with KOMPAKT. The tune is rough and hardcore (as only Michael Mayer can be) and yet it is bright with optimism and genuinely experimental with its scrubbing glitchy teases and its octave-leaping synthesizers. We are listening to it now and it sounds like it has real mice squeaking in the background.
9. The Prodigy - "Girls" (album version) (XL Recordings)
We always loved the Prodigy and we pleaded to be allowed to remix this tune. We saw the Prodigy play in 2004 and they were as powerful as ever (except Leeroy was not there. Leeroy is Rex’s favorite with his ’90s hardcore dancing).
10. Kraftwerk - Live
We can’t think of a tenth tune for our chart so we are putting this concert as our last entry. This was our first time to see Kraftwerk live and we left with our mouths wide in dismay because the show was so amazing: the visuals, the lights, the sound, the singing. After, we had fried chicken.
Hood don’t sound like a 13-year-old band. Founded in 1992 with the 7” "Sirens," the group has released seven full-length albums since, each one sounding unlike its predecessor. They somehow retain a brightness to their sound as they continue to discover new ways to play their instruments. This year’s Outside Closer keeps with the theme, as Marc Medwin said in this week’s review (read it here). Part of the secret ingredient looks to be Hood’s taste in music – it’s excellent. Chris Adams, Richard Adams, Gareth Brown and Stephen Royle took part in this week’s Listed.
The Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 - Tangle (Thwart Productions).
I remember my tongue-tied teenage self trying to explain the band name to many a bemused record store clerk. Brought to my attention when John Peel unleashed the incendiary "Sports Car" on an unsuspecting world. Said track makes it worth the entrance price alone and this LP opened up a whole world of weirdness for me - Sun City Girls, I'm looking in your direction. - Chris
Disco Inferno - DI go pop (Rough Trade)
I often lay back in bed at night and try and wonder what the hell Disco inferno were playing at with this album. The band had earlier been an effective ’90s update on the Joy Division blueprint. Things changed with the “Summers Last Sound” 12" when guitars were dropped to be replaced by samplers. Then came DI Go Pop - the band seemingly giving up completely on pop structures and instead attempting to batter their own senses with a barrage of cut up noise married to fuzzed-up Peter Hook basslines and the desperate yearning vocals of a man seriously pissed off with a country already heading towards decay. Now, I have to make an admission. When I first heard this record I hated it. It didn't make any sense. It still makes no sense to me today but now I love it maybe for that reason. It was bold, brash, metallic, seriously angry, desperately looking for something new. DI inhabit a world of pianos falling down stairs, vocals layered through a million effects where the sound of amplified sawing provides percussion. The only real bit of melody on the album comes on the final track “Footprints through Snow” which is brought to an abrupt end by a recording of a landlady telling the band to stop playing at her pub because she doesn't like the music. – Richard
Silver Jews - The Arizona Record (Drag City)
A detour from the usual roads for a young lad of rural North Wales. The dusty ledgers of Berman, Malkmus and Nastonovich - From what I can gather, a series of nightly dictaphone entries, rescued from the vaults by Dan Koretzky of Drag City, circa ’93. They’re assigning the brown blues right here…reef dreaming. Favorite songs – “The Wild Palms,” “You Can't Trust it to Remain.” – Stephen
Tom Waits - Black Rider (Island)
This album is often considered an acquired taste by Waits enthusiasts but whilst it's true that it occasionally verges on unlistenable, it is the kind of unlistenable that has more in common with an almost unbearable pleasure than a horrendous aural experience. The production on this album is fantastically experimental with all sorts of weird lo-fi sounds going on everywhere, creaking instruments, megaphoned vocals, mangles being operated, people being hurled across crowded Bavarian bars into drumkits, and the amusement of hearing William Burroughs actually "singing" rather than "talking over" a piece of music. Like Frank's Wild Years, Alice, and Blood Money, the songs on this album comprise a dark and grotesque fairy tale. It's like the Brothers Grimm and Hieronymus Bosch put to music. Amazing, ground-breaking stuff. Very ugly and very beautiful. – Gareth
Havergal - Lungs for the Race (Secretly Canadian) / “My Heart/How I Do” 7" (Western Vinyl)
It’s not often I'm impressed by a record these days, but Havergal's debut 7" “My Heart/How I Do” on Western Vinyl is one of those that stuck in my craw and wouldn't be shaken away. Not that I ever tried. Think of a gloopy brown Texan drawl, dry as a bone guitars and primitive beatbox percussion. The flip side “How I do” could well be the best song Cat Power didn't write. Havergal didn't stop there. After a few more 7"s he dropped the big one. Lungs for the Race was my favorite album of the early 2000s. A home-spun, hazy collection of eccentric yet heartfelt bedroom pop ending with the track “Bring in the Bugs” - all backwards-looped guitars, chopped-up percussion, enough emotion to kill several men, it gradually builds and layers itself up until out of nowhere a huge drumbeat chopped to smithereens and the track decays. A marvelous end to an incredible album. – Richard
The Dead C. - "Helen/Bury" 12" (Xpressway)
Two chance live recordings of New Zealand's finest guitar terrorists dissolving from angular skronk into a sonic sludge. Primitive drums, destroyed guitars, broken microphones. The Xpressway love affair starts here. – Chris
Talk Talk - Laughing Stock (Verve)
Back in my bleak college days one of my few pleasures in life was visiting the library where you could rent out tapes for the small price of 60p for a one week rental. Aaah, tapes, eh? Those were the days. Well, I had known Talk Talk from their sub Duran Duran pop days and the magnificent “Life is what you make it” and “It’s my life” singles that made the ’80s airwaves more bearable. My dad nearly had a heart attack when he had bought their previous commercial suicide album Spirit of Eden but I loved it. I had heard that Laughing Stock was bleaker. I wasn't prepared for how bleak or how slow or how cut up it was. It took me 10 listens and then it clicked. The little melodies coming in from seemingly nowhere, the shards of electric guitar - amazing drums, the sudden swelling warmth of the organ - a breakdown to near silence. The best track is “New Grass” which is simply the sound of a beautiful spring morning in an English village. As the years go by more and more bands are declaring their influence. The main lesson learned: great music isn't always immediate. Try, try and try again and maybe you will be rewarded. – Richard
Philip Glass - North Star (Virgin)
Philip Glass introduced me to the concept that a lot of very simple ideas piled on top of each other can make a very powerful piece of music and for this I am indebted. – Gareth
Bill Fox Shelter from the Smoke / Transit Byzantunum (Cherry Pop Records)
Bill Fox founded ace power pop band The Mice in the ’80s and made two magnificent records before promptly disappearing for 10 years. He re-emerged with two solo records in the ’90s that contain some of the best songs ever committed to tape. The influences are fairly clear to see - Bob Dylan, shot through with Guided By Voices production techniques. These songs are the sound of a heart pounding. They come from so far within the person responsible that sometimes, like with Daniel Johnston, you feel you have gotten too close and need to step back and leave the man in peace. The difference with Bill Fox is where Johnson's songs are jagged and dark, Fox's are light and breathy. After a few listens to each album you start to convince yourself that these are covers of great American folk songs from the likes Charlie Patton to Dylan to The Byrds - they are not. This is not everyone's cup of tea, but in a world lacking in original songwriters who steal from the past yet bring something new to the pie, Fox is a one off and hugely undervalued. Since the last of these two records was made Fox has vanished into thin air. – Richard
Autechre - Amber (Warp)
Time has been cruel to this record but it was locked on permanent rotation on bus journeys home through the industrial landscape of Sheffield back home to Wetherby. I remember thinking at the time - surely, surely I don’t like "dance music." – Chris
By Dusted Magazine