Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Feathers and Jana Hunter.
Listed: Feathers + Jana Hunter
As the vague American Northeast continues to expose itself as the epicenter of stoner-folk, new troupes and loose affiliations of smokers and drifters seem to pop up on the pages of this site (and others) every day. While it has not quite reached dime-a-dozen territory, the variety of artists is quickly making it difficult to keep track of the various family trees and contributors. Thus it is absolutely essential that anyone who considers him/herself even a passive fan of the 'genre' focus their attention on Northampton varying-tet Feathers, whose free-spirited acoustic jams and melodic epics truly transcend any dopiness that may be associated (or mis-associated) with others of their persuasion. Their only attainable release to date, a 3-song cd-r, features a combination of Marc Bolan-esque vocals, lengthy instrumental interludes, and generally unpredictable arrangements. If you recognize the band's name perhaps it is because they were the subject of one of Dusted's Destined features earlier this year, or perhaps you heard elder statesman Devendra Banhart talking them up. The group has spent the last few months working on their debut full-length, and it's almost done. Let the bidding war begin. Kyle took part in this week's Listed.
1. Hungarian Folk Music Collected by Bela Bartok - Phonograph Cylinders lp
I dont know too much about this record, but I gather it was mostly recorded in the early 1900's, and the sound quality is amazing - slightly distorted and crackly, some of the tracks have a static rythym caused by the cylinders. My favorite parts are the tunes that sound like a bunch of children singing or maybe they're just really small, old hungarian women. The songs are so real, and full of a deep, deep, sadness. There's also some great flute and a cow horn! And a 23 second improv on flute! My mother's side of the family is Hungarian among other things, I try to put myself in these peoples place when listening to this record. A verse of "Sir es az ut, bankodik az osven" (translates to "the road before me is weeping") goes like this:
At the place where I walk even the trees are weeping,
The leaves fall from their feeble branches. Fall, leaves, conceal me,
Even the black earth does not accept me.
2. Terry Riley - A Rainbow In Curved Air lp
This record was supposedly recorded to simulate his all-night concerts. Aside from the fact that it has the most incredible cover ever, it consistantly gravatates me every single time i hear it. Along with Terry Riley's gloriously beaming face, so lovingly peering into mine from over the horizon, its a twinkling colorwheel of endless sound, like if a prizm had a soundtrack! He lays down the fucking space jams thicker than Pink Floyd could have ever dreamed of! On the other hand, try playing the first track off Obscured by Clouds at the same time as side A of this record, and then pick up the peices of your mind after they get blown all over the floor...Did I mention that he plays the fucking rocksichord?!!
3. Flower Travellin' Band - Made In Japan
I got Satori before I got this one, and it fucking rules, but there is something special about this one. It's all heavy prehistoric metal shredding, songs full of dark conjurations of bombed-out Japan. Hideki Ishima's possessed solos, Joe's zombie-Joplin croons, and fucking sick bass and ripping drums. "Heaven and Hell" opens with one of the coolest guitar lines ever, for real.
4. James Gang - Rides Again
Rides my record player again and again.
5. Magik Markers
The raddest live show around, total screaming-skull soul music.
6. Cabin Still String Band
Bearded, flannel-wearin', Vermont hillbilly carpenters who only appear when good times need to be had. They played in the rafters of our friends kitchen on new years, their giant boots dripping all kinds of mud and hay all over the crowd. Banjo, guitar, fiddle, jaw harp, and whatever else is around, all laced with moonshine and hooch. My dad described it as transcendental old timey music. I recorded them in my bedroom, and it will hopefully be available on cdr soon.
7. Sunburned Hand of the Man
The Motorhead of jam bands.
8. Fire, Water, Air - Golden Sunrise
I believe the only way to get this is if you buy the whole Yahowha boxset, God and Hair. This was released on 8-track in 1977, after Father Yod had passed away. Despite the lack of his presence, it still reaches unearthly dimensions, and the songs not only have awesome lyrics, they are also totally sweet jams. There's a couple of nice acoustic songs near the end as well. "We are the dinosaurs, reincarnated, up to our old tricks again" HELL YES!
9. Reagan Youth
I think Greg (from Feathers) told me once that he saw Reagan Youth playing on the back of a moving pick-up truck, which seems like it could have possibly been the greatest thing that ever happened in the history of mankind. I have loved this band since my early teens and listening to this still makes me freak the fuck out and smash shit.
10. Grateful Dead - Aoxomoxoa
When the video for "Touch of Grey" came out, I thought it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. Of course I was only a couple of years old, but it didn't matter. Then, as a teenager, I didn't pay much more attention to them except when my dad would play them sometimes and I'd hear it floating into my bedroom while I listened to Crass and painted on my leather jacket. BUT THEN, one day, I thought, "you know, the Grateful Dead must be awesome, how could so many people love them if they weren't?" So I set out to find a song that I really loved. I put on some greatest hits record and I found the song "Rosemary" and listened to it about 20 times. So I got the album it was on, Aoxomoxoa, smoked a huuuuuge bowl and felt my soul awaken, my spinal snake uncurl, and I dissolved into another helpless skeleton worshipper in their fantastic Church of Feel Good.
Jana Hunter, like Feathers, is one of the rising stars of this new wave of psychedelic folk music. Sheís one of the more gifted songwriters in New York City, a fact not lost on Banhart, who decided to release her debut album on his fledgling Gnomonsong label. Jana also has a split LP with Banhart due out in July on Troubleman Unlimited. Her next performance is tonight, May 20, in Rochester, N.Y. She visits Saratoga Springs on May 22, Boston on the 30th, and Waterbury, Conn., on the 31st before returning to New York on June 1 for a show at the Glass House Gallery in Brooklyn. Check out her Myspace page to hear her music. The song, ďFarm, CA,Ē was selected for the Golden Apples of the Sun compilation on Bastet/Arthur.
1. Cass McCombs - A (Monitor, 4AD)
Wow. This record. Man. I can't believe he's not been crowned something. I just got it recently and it's so perfect that I'm worried that I play it too much and Iíll get burned out on it. I became a big old immoveable icicle the first time I heard it, then started melting out my eyes. I love every song on the record, but "What Isn't Nature" is my favorite at the moment. I don't know for sure if this is what he means, but its such a good question.
2. David Thomas Broughton - The Complete Guide to Insuffiency
This is maybe out only in England, on Birdwar records. Loops his guitar and loops his voice, does it real right and his songs are incredible. His lyrics are a perfect slightly twisted compliment to the beautiful things he's layering on the guitar. His voice is really amazing. Heís probably haunted or something.
3. Staples Sisters
I heard a track playing at a club and I asked who it was and the sound woman said it was these ladies. From what I remember, it was minimal, bass and drum driven, super old, great and creepy harmonies. They did a lot of gospel recordings. Havenít been able to find it since, or at least not this particular era. But Iím lazy about looking.
4. Greek Byzantine Choir - Hymns to the Holy Mother of God
Itís a choral church service, I think. Chanting but not like enigma chanting. Very deep in register, very solemn, it puts a satisfying and somber hex on me.
5. Country Teasers - Destroy all Human Life or Satan is Real Again
Or really any of their others. Some of the best lyrics I've known, whether funny or serious. Bite bite bite. Their cover of "these things shall pass" is incredible. Also maybe my very favorite band to see perform.
6. Bill Hicks - Rant in E Minor
Searing scathing and goddamned funny comedy that's really more commentary than comedy. Really really smart.
7. Ekerd - An Ekerd cd
This man is my favorite music maker of all time. Many layers of his voice and also a nylon-stringed kay guitar. Full of amazing sexy and/or sweet melodies that when combined with lyrics like "if your coffin's built for two you must find another Donkeydick smoker to take my place there" will make you want to kill yourself.
8. Metallic Falcons
I don't know what their cd will be called. They gave me a demo called Desert Doughnuts. This is the prettiest metal music I have ever heard, done by matteah baim and sierra cassady, who wear super-long shirts and beards and while doing so soar and devastate. All of it, but especially "subconscious titanium," brings me down, which is what I like. (Disclaimer: I am now singing with this band sometimes.)
9. Mouth of Leaves
Two flower planting nutwits from I don't where who landed in Brooklyn and whose music makes every day better and a little bitter. Good news.
10. The Corndawg - The Liberated North
This guy and his music both floored me. He's on myspace.
By Dusted Magazine