Listed: Glenn Kotche + John Darnielle
2002 has been a good year for Glenn Kotche. While his subtly spot-on drumming on Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was certainly his most visible achievement, he also quietly released two other fine records on Tim Barnes' Quakebasket Records: On Introducing, his solo record, Kotche created tastily delicate slow-building electronic tones. On Fillmore, Kotche's collaboration with bassist Darin Gray, found the pair still moving slowly with tones and mood that resembled the fleeting grooves of the Chicago Underground projects. Kotche will begin 2003 with a bang as well with the debut release by Loose Fur, a collaboration between Jim O'Rourke, Jeff Tweedy and Kotche. Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Nonesuch), Glenn Kotche's Introducing (Quakebasket/Locust) and On Fillmore's On Fillmore (Quakebasket/Locust) are all currently available. Loose Fur's Loose Fur (Drag City) will be available early next year.
Top 10 tour spins:
1. Arnold Dreyblatt - Adding Machine (Cantaloupe) - Minimalist eastern european punk rock marches. He is a master of pacing and this music unfolds and evolves brilliantly - very primal - I never tire of this.
2. Kevin Drumm - Sheer Hellish Miasma (Mego) - Brutal and beautiful - a lashing for the ears, but not without subtleties. His most dense - very cool.
3. Califone - Roomsound (Perishable) - We were on tour with them and I still can't get enough. A real band in that they're all great listeners and not afraid of space.
4. Public Image Ltd. - Flowers of Romance (Warner Brothers) - I keep coming back to this one. It scares me and inspires me.
5. Ryoji Ikeda - +/- (Touch) - Very rhythmic stuff - all electronic, but a great record for drummers, constantly playing with perspective and space. Great.
6. Bob Dylan - Blood On The Tracks (Columbia) - I always had this on cassette, but just picked it up on cd and really heard the drumming for the first time. Amazing .
7. John French - O Solo Drumbo (Avant) - One of my idols. All solo drumset compositions - really great sounding and brilliant drumming.
8. Darin Gray - St. Louis Shuffle (Family Vinyard) - I've never heard anything like it - completely different from his electric bass playing with Grand Ulena and Jim O'Rourke. Great listening. His first solo record and a big creative accomplishment.
9. Led Zeppelin - Presence (Swan Song) - This just simply rocks. Bonham is the master of rock drumming - amazing playing but always musical. Makes me happy.
10. Nonesuch Explorer Series (Nonesuch) - The first batch just got reissued. Truly amazing field recordings from Africa -- mind blowing percussion. This stuff changed me. Very eclectic and really powerful. The Balinese ones get reissued next. There's one for any mood I'm in.
John is a Renaissance man in every respect. As The Mountain Goats, John has told epic sagas in three-minute chunks since the sun first set on Opunohu Bay long before you or I were devious winks in our fathers' eyes. Over the years, John has randomly scattered a trail of lo-fi vinyl and cassette tapes on labels like Shrimper, Theme Park and Sonic Enemy, but you can hear most of it on three neatly packaged CDs on the 3 Beads of Sweat label. On Nov. 5, The Mountain Goats struck oil, moved to an expensive Beverley Hills studio and recorded a real album called Tallahassee, which you can find on 4AD Records.
The situation by the stereo has gotten truly out of hand. There are too many records over there. My packrat tendencies are now officially out of control. Somehow or another this new record by Afflux didn't make this list. How could that happen? Go figure. Here are ten records I am currently loving inordinately:
1. Bruckner - Symphony No. 8, Knappertsbusch conducting the Munchner Philharmoniker (Deutsche Grammophon) - Right about the time Bruckner was getting lousy reviews from the Suddeutsche Zeitung, music was getting ready to follow his lead, i.e. to leave the drawing-room forever and start getting all emo. People who think classical music is for snobs have never gotten drunk and listened to Bruckner, which activity comes about as close to seeing D.C.'s Rites of Spring as you're likely to get outside of inventing a time machine.
2. Hate Eternal - King of All Kings (Earache) - Album of the year. Easy. About half an hour long and utterly overwhelming. Anybody who can remain unmoved upon hearing Eric Rutan shout "I am the King of All Kings" in the title track should be either shunned and feared or cooked and eaten.
3. Devendra Banhart - Oh Me Oh My The Way the Day Goes By the Sun Is Setting Dogs Are Dreaming Love Songs of the Christmas Spirit (Young God) - First person to call this "lo fi" catches an anvil with his face. Oh wait, that'll be me: this was recorded on a Tascam in a bedroom somewhere and it's got a lot of tape hiss. It's also the most distinctive claustro-core to come out of a guy and his guitar since, well, ever. "Lend Me Your Teeth" will clear your next party. I love this album.
4. Rebecca Pearcy - Constellation (Yoyo Recordings) - The opposite of Devendra Banhart: utterly guileless, unaffected confessional singer-songwriter stuff. Gorgeously recorded; mainly love songs. Not for people who worry about whether they're cool or not. These songs make me cry.
5. Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons - Anthology (Rhino) - For better or worse, this album is more or less singlehandedly responsible for the Mountain Goats. I used to sit and listen to it really late at night in the dark in my apartment in Norwalk. Last night I listened to all twenty-six songs in a row at one sitting. Oh, God: "Ronnie," "Dawn," the arrangement on "I've Got You Under My Skin." Producer Bob Crewe walks with gods. Honest.
6. Charlemagne Palestine - Music for Big Ears (Staalplaat) - My friend Tom after three minutes: "This is just about the overtones!" After seven: "But it's just about the overtones!" After fifteen: "Whoa." After twenty: "I don't think it's really just about the overtones." This is drone music played with bells and is really really good.
7. DJ /Rupture - Minesweeper Suite (Tigerbeat 6) - I like music that disorients the hell out of me. Listening to DJ /Rupture is like eating a whole bottle of crosstops, only you don't have to be in high school to live through it. NB please don't go eating a whole bottle of crosstops, it'll end in tears. Really.
8. Nat "King" Cole - Night Lights (Capitol) - Compilation of rare & previously-unissued tracks that came out last year and is utterly magnificent. Now with 100% less Natalie! Terrific stuff.
9. Diametregon - Blasphemy For Satan (Tumult) - French cult black metal. Not as great a title as "Cut Your Flesh and Worship Satan," which had already been taken, coincidentally by another French band, namely Antaeus. You can't swing for the fences every time I guess. Anyhow it's got a cover of the Misfits' "Death Comes Ripping" and will scare the hell out of the neighbors.
10. Various Artists - Peanut Butter Wolf's Jukebox 45's (Stones Throw) - West. Coast. Deep head-nod hip-hop that bling-bling headz won't like. Total gravy as far as I'm concerned. Plus it's got a beautiful sleeve and really great liner notes.
By Dusted Magazine