Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Pedro and Gena Rowlands Band.
Listed: Pedro + Gena Rowlands Band
Pedro is the nom de disque of musical nomad James Rutledge, the UK producer equal parts music scholar and beatsmith. Since the release of his first EP in 1999, which marked the birth of Manchester's Melodic Records, Pedro has worked relentlessly to broaden the definition of instrumental hip-hop. With tasteful references to the sound and compositional structure of modern orchestral work, pastoral folk, and experimental rock music, Pedro has defined himself as a unique craftsman of collected sound. His new album is a re-issue of his self-titled record, along with a bonus disc of choice remixes from artists such as Danger Mouse, Four Tet, Prefuse 73. His taste is as diverse as his tunes, as this list will attest.
Just some things I'm enjoying at the moment:
1. J Dilla - Donuts (Stones Throw)
I think this album is amazing. It seems ten times more exciting and daring than loads of hip-hop and electronic music at the moment. I'm a big fan of Stones Throw, and always wanted to hear this album from Jay Dee, if that makes sense. I was so sad to hear of his death at the weekend.
Ps Dionne Warwicke: Just Being Myself (Warner Bros) is absolute and solid soul music produced by Holland/ Dozier. If you like the Dilla Donuts album, get hold of this.
2. Voice Of The Seven Woods - EP (Twisted Nerve)
There are a lot of hastily formed 'folk' groups cropping up in the UK at the moment, releasing pretty terrible loveless music. a lot of smarmy people attempting to align themselves with the right bands. horrific wannabe hipsters. The best people are always those not clamouring for the limelight. Rick Tomlinson knows his stuff, plays like a dream, does occasional improvised gigs with a live drummer. A genuine and considered approach. Think Jack Rose. Actually VOTSW is more Kraut/Chicago scene/improv than any of this, so I don't want to drag him into my rant too much.
I just heard that someone is compiling an album called Folk Off. I think there are so many people trying to cash in on this, and it's such a load of bullshit. Every week for the past five years I've read a folk revival feature. Change the record. No really.
3. Icarus - Carnivalesque (Not Applicable)
Icarus sound like a giant procession of prepared pianos sequenced by a blindfolded dance producer trying to run in a ball pool.
4. Jerry Goodman & Jan Hammer - Like Children (Atlantic)
Max Tundra turned me onto this album. You can imagine. It's a really stupid, but quite incredible 70s prog record with bits of manic discordant melody. It thanks Bob Moog and Tom Oberheim on the back, so you know it's going to be good.
5. Stu Martin & John Surman - Live At Woodstock Town Hall (Dawn Records)
Great album of free jazz/ electronics. The opening track has Stu Martin playing some electronic depth charge and beating out primal stuff, while John Surman turns in this jaw dropping melodic sax performance. It sounds like some kind of early techno/improvisation hybrid. One of my favourite all time albums.
6 Edan - Beauty And The Beat (Lewis Recordings)
All the reviews liked this, but I don't know why it hasn't caught on in a
bigger way. It feels so complete as an album. I don't know whether to mind file it as a weirdly whole private press 60s record, or as a mind-blowing 00s hip-hop record. I think Edan is a person I admire for not shouting his talent in your face all the time. He came to a night I was doing in London and seemed really sound.
7. Electro Harmonix Work Band - State Of The Art Electronic Devices (Electro Harmonix)
Bonkers album made to showcase the range of Electro Harmonix guitar pedals. Every instrument on every track ends up getting put through them, which makes it sound like an over-filtered Daft Punk track at times. It's fairly fun, but the track "I Am Not A Synthesiser" is a killer.
8. 23 Skidoo - Seven Songs (Jams)
Brilliant combination of heavy percussion, bass and dub production. These guys were really ahead of their time. I sort of wish all those bands that claim to be influenced by Gang of Four would listen to this, or some Pop Group, or This Heat. I suppose they will when someone tells them to.
9 Syclops - "Mom The Video Broke" / "The Fly" 12"s (Tirk)
Maurice Fulton music. It's a really squirty moog over his studio drumming, but really works as a dance track. Probably because you can't quite work out where it's going to go. The tracks always start up in a cocky half-joke way, but then they build into something beautiful that makes me want to shuffle.
10 Toolshed - Toolshed (Twisted Nerve)
Amazing and overlooked album from Graham Massey's collective. This is quite
insane in places, but sounds like some turbo charged operatic Arkestra. It's been waiting to come out for about two years now. Everyone should give it a pop.
Gena Rowlands Band
Washington DC's Gena Rowlands Band plays lushly orchestrated late-night music. But the deceptive beauty of the songs can't hide the dangerous ideas in Bob Massey's lyrics. The band has toured with Andrew Bird, The Dismemberment Plan, and Enon. Bob Massey, the band's leader, was also in Telegraph Melts, and Jean Cook is in Anti-Social Music, Jon Langford's band, Jenny Toomey's band, and Ida. Gena Rowlands Band has a new album out with Anti-Social Music called the Nitrate Hymnal.
1. Honor Role - live recording of their final show from 1989 in Carrboro, NC.
The heaviness their live sound corrects the thin, tinny production of their records. I saw them some when I was a teenager in Richmond, VA, and they were scary and smart and heavy and beautiful.
2. Inara George
I haven’t bought her album yet, but I saw her play last week. Her cuteness sneaks up on you. So do the little barbs in her pretty songs. So do her chord changes. I hope her phone number sneaks up on me.
3. Craig Finn’s lyrics (The Hold Steady)
The rock is all cock, but its knowing simplicity makes a firm peg for Finn to hang his funny, poignant stories on. And he’s not kidding himself the way Eddie Money was. And he wisely hired Franz Nicolay and his mustachios.
4. Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto – “Moon,” from Insen
The piano is just a machine, after all.
5. Old stories about Tom Waits’ years in Los Angeles, late 1970s
He lived in a motel on Santa Monica Blvd and dated Ricki Lee Jones before she had a record deal. My landlord knows Chuck E. Weiss, who completed the troika. The three of them used to hang out on the street in front of The Central, which is now the Viper Room. Weiss and Waits used to work in the kitchen there. Waits had a few records out and toured eight months out of the year, just like your average emo band now. But the records weren’t really going anywhere, he was drinking too much, he was in a rut. In early 1979 he had no idea he was months away from meeting the love of his life, Kathleen Brennan, who would help him reinvent his entire life, his vision, and his work. His next record would be Raindogs. Unbelievable. The American dream.
Durst: [Note: I'm about waist-deep into the material for Fast Eddie Music Conspiracy's 3rd record, and it's wildly different from most everything else we've done. Getting me re-excited about experimental rock. It may have an adverse impact on GRB. We shall see.]
1. Los Lobos - Kiko
Completely uninformed, I picked up Kiko because I liked the colors on the cover and the fact that the album title was a mere four letters. I had been "meaning" to explore this band for years (the way I mean to pick up a copy of Genesis' Lamb Lies Down On Broadway on day), and I happened upon this one. Great songwriting, crystal production... it's a snapshot of a band realizing their potential. You can feel the magic, and I love that. In my ears, it's a shifting mix of Springsteen, Tom Waits, Lyle Lovett and George Harrison.
2. Ben Folds - Songs For Silverman
I know it's uber-geeky, but Folds writes unabashed pop songs and incredibly
addictive melodies; simple but not simplistic, interesting but not arcane. While I don't think he's released a perfect record yet, each one has at least one dose of perfection on it. But I'm always left with the same idea: that if I'd arranged the strings on Landed, it wouldn't be a bonus version - it would be the album version. [Ben, give me a call next time; you will not regret it.]
3. Sports Night - the complete series on DVD
Resisting the GRB pressure to watch Buffy DVDs, I'm rediscovering Sports Night. It was a warm-up series for Aaron Sorkin just prior to (and briefly concurrent with) West Wing and, even though the pace and patter can get a little wearing, it's the kind of focused piece I like. It had good writing and impeccable casting. It sits in the pantheon of Great Shows Cancelled By Idiotic Networks (much like The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., which is finally coming soon to DVD).
4. King Crimson - The Power To Believe
I grew up on prog rock; it's true. It's a rite of passage for any rock-leaning keyboardist. After college, I started shedding that skin, but some of it stuck. Crimson was the temporary tattoo that turned out to be permanent. And while 1974's Red is still the gold standard, there's an attitude about this 2003 release - as if to say, "we were here before your metal, before your numetal, and we'll be here when they're gone" - rock horns raised. Even when they play a "pop" song, I can't figure out how they'd do it live.
I buy them compulsively. Anyone who is selling a collection, I'm automatically interested. I have nowhere to put them. I make piles of 78s and CDs and LPs in my house and organize them to relax at 3 AM. I imagine when I'm retired and old I'll listen to them all. I'm never home to listen to them now. Recent and favorite soundtracks on the road: Tropicalia Gold, His Name is Alive's Detrola, Goldie Lookin Chain.
2. Y: The Last Man
The world is being rebuilt by women after a plague wipes out nearly every male on earth, and there is this one goofy last man and his monkey who goes on all kinds of adventures with a government secret agent bodyguard and a cloning scientist. Every once in a while a few of my friends who don't have anything in common and don't know each other will sometime gravitate towards the same offbeat thing at the same time. I found this graphic novel series in Massey's house, and it's sneaked up on me in other unexpected places as well. Really imaginative, smart, funny, absorbing. The next installment comes out in May.
By Dusted Magazine