Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Psapp and Raccoo-oo-oon.
Listed: Psapp + Raccoo-oo-oon
Perhaps unfortunately hyped as a band that you may have heard on your favorite (or significant other's favorite) tv show, Psapp are actually one of the dantiest awesome (or awesomest dainty) new(ish) bands around. Previously on Leaf, now on Domino, Psapp are the crazy man's Stereolab...or the hyper-man's Books. But not quite in between. They recently toured with Jose Gonzalez and Juana Molina, and their new record, The Only Thing I Ever Wanted is out now on Domino.
1. Our new(ish) piano
We bought it a while back but it hasn't really featured enough on our recordings and when we get back from this tour, we're going to give it the attention it deserves. We went through about 150 pianos in a big second hand piano warehouse until we found our piano, it's really warm and friendly sounding.
2. The studio
I missed it so much, the gorgeous keyboards, bits of wood, drawings, toys, random objects and the escapism of locking ourselves up and ignoring the world.
3. Our cat, of course
She's actually pretty quiet but we managed to get a little squeak out of her on the latest record.
4. James Chance
I love the hysteria and anger and magic of his sax playing, there's a lot of people giving saxophones a bad name but Mr. Chance is the bollocks.
5. The plastic till I play on stage
Gwen who plays violin with us live used to play it but I swapped it with her and now I'm in love with it, it's full of clicks and whirrs and very satisfying to play
She must be the most vocal cat ever - featured on several Psapp songs ,the old dame of feline pop has retired by now and sadly won't go on tour with us. Her range from low growls to high pitched parrot like squeaks is still unsurpassed. We recently released a ringtone called "cat groove" which is made up entirely of Splodge's vocal artistry.
7. Brunhilde, the mechanical chicken
Given as a x-mas present by my sister a few years ago, this chicken has gone on US tour with us last month. She died in Washington, after her last performance at the Black Cat there which I understand as a political protest by her. R.I.P.
8. The Lentil Snare
A new part of Psapp's 100% cardboard drum kit. Galia and I spend an afternoon filling an empty lacquer box from a mastering studio with the right ingredients to get the sound right. The filling contains about half a kilo of lentils, the same amount of rice, about 200 grams of large chickpeas, a pinch of salt and pepper, one tea bag and a spoonful of coffee.
9. Duke Ellington
I just love his old recordings, all the way from the early cotton club recordings in the 20ies until the 60s; after that it starts sounding less special and more like a classic big band. I recently bought lots of his original recordings on vinyl and I'm hoping to play out and 1920-1950 old jazz dj set soon........so if you know the right place let me know........
10. Electric Ladyland Studios
Last week we went to Electric Ladyland Studios in NYC as we got invited by one of the in-house producer / engineers. I have been working as a sound engineer for more than 15 years working in all sorts of studios from small to top range but I've never seen such a nice selection of microphones, outboard equipment ,tape machines etc. This shouldn't be allowed - it's is pure studio geek porn. Not even Michael Jackson hired so much "nice stuff" when he did a session in a studio where I was working.
With releases on Not Not Fun, Release the Bats and Time-Lag, Raccoo-oo-oon (drop the hyphens when you say it, kids) have been responsible for some of the hottest slabs of wax to hit the shelves during the past year. Based in the decidedly under-the-radar Iowa City, the group kicks up psychedelic shitstorm of lashing guitars, curled avant-jazz horns and caveman drumming — deep tribal jams stewed in cough syrup and marinated in basement-wall sweat. In this week's Listed, all the dudes let's Dusted in on what the band has been jamming in their den.
Stuff by Shawn:
1. Byron House - Green Eyes Cassette
Picked this up on tour, lucky by the time I finally got home from half a summer of traveling Byron House ended up playing in my basement as well. Scum rock, junk rock, noise, the perfect tape to listen to while riding your bike around town when its hot out, skateboarding with other zitty gross sweaty kids, or throwing TV's off bridges. The jams on this are energetic, totally scummy rhythmic guitar, drums, and vocals, with boom box blasted recording style providing the bass and the noisy guts. Just been hitting the spot lately and the people in this band being really rad folks as well doesn't hurt anything. Released on Unskilled Labor Christopher "Kites" tape label out of Providence.
2. The African Mbira LP (Music of the Shona People of Rhodesia) played and Sung by Dumisani Abraham Maraire, with Nkosana Arthur Maraire, and Sukutal Laura Chiora
Picked this up recently along with a bunch of other great stuff on the same label at a local record fair. Its from 1971 and came out on the Nonesuch Explorer Series. All in all this is beuatiful lullaby like music, minimal in its composition and use of insturmentation. Basically just mbira, some shaker/rattle percussion and layers of vocals. As is the case with alot of more traditional style African music repetition and uniformity are considered aesthetic strengths and in this case it works out really well because I sure don't get tired of the grooves on these tracks. This record is upbeat, warm, but really kind of sad in its feel. After gaining long and hard fought Independence from British Colonial rule in 1980, Rhodesia became known as Zimbabwe, and since that time Robert Mugabe has been the dictator causing all kinds of problems like last years slum demolitions. So it seems fitting that such an upbeat and hopeful on the surface record would have such sad undertones being from a country with such a turbulent recent history.
3. Archie Shepp - Yasmina, Black Women
This one came to me courtesy of a repress by the Actuel label. Archie Shepp was one of the most politically radical and pissed off jazz dudes of the 60's and 70's and the opening track on this record kicks it out in that vein, soul full, pounding, catchy, and even a bit raw. This track features Art Ensemble of Chicago members Lester Bowie, Roscoe Mitchell and Malachi Favors with Sunny Murray and Philly Joe Jones rounding out the 3 drummer percussion storm. Just one of those numbers that hits so hard on that percussion and rhythm section, but really hooks you with the ultra catchy and soul full sax lines, Archie even throws in some sporadic yelling vocals. The second side of the LP cools down a bit but remains choice and a good compliment to the first track.
Stuff by Ryan:
1. Curtis Mayfield - Curtis/Live
The rhythm's hot with awesome drum sounds and grooves, you can hear Curtis in the best way, live and a little improvised. I've been a fan of Curtis Mayfield, since i picked up Superfly to check it out, then my roommate played this album for me. I lost it and fell in love.
2. Jay Z - Unplugged
It's a treat on this album to hear the way these songs are arranged for live instrumentation, ?uestlove's drumming on this keeps me putting this album back on, awesome drum sounds with ultra rad changes and smooth transitions. this album is kickin all around with catchy hits and more energy and life than a lot of the studio versions.
3. the Rolling stones - "Satisfaction"
This song doesn't stop.
Stuff by Daren - Top 3 Albums Stickin Outta My Mind:
I have the worse attention span when it comes down to being a
functioning member of a music group, so very little stays with me,
unless it's something impressionable that will last for ages. These
are a few that have stuck to me pretty hard from the first time I've
1. Keiji Haino - Tenshi No Gijinka
The first time I became slightly interested in Haino was through a friend of mine. I think it was his electric guitar version of "Black Blues" and I wasn't quite feeling the abrasiveness of his songs. But, I persisted with looking for recordings and out of sheer random luck I decided to pick "Tenshi No Gijinka" album up. When I threw it on, it gave me immediate faith in this man's ability to possess any musical instrument and have it become one with his spirit and body. The range of this recording covers every spectral color of sound, which at the same time is unbelievably clean but also covers negative infinity dBs to a needle-breaking-in-the-red volume. For you guitar hero worshipers, don't expect any identifiable string instrument, for this is a completely new territory of unrecognizable ethnic percussion instruments.
2. Nico - The End
She beats any 80s "proto-goth" and "goth" group hands down with this album. She's got the glamorous post-modeling and acting career look with that heroine sheik appearance from a worn and beaten down path of too much fame, iconifying, and dirty, diseased sex. A lot of credit for this record goes to her solid backing band (someone she never lacked in any of her previous releases), but I must say that her voice and harmonium adds a certain drone and gloom that, up to this date, breaks the monotonous rock n' roll mold, and brings about historical and emotional feelings. It's like I'm stuck in the middle ages, and the only thing my illterate farmer mind can think of is the plague eating everyone alive while I'm trying to break some dry clod of unfertile dirt with a hoe. The Doors cover also adds to the hopelessness of it all, although I sometimes I laugh when she says, "West is the Best" and when Cale kind of goes crazy with the polished multitracking towards the end of the song. But then again, I never heard the original version, so what do I know about reinterpreting a Doors song?
3. Pere Ubu - Dub Housing
I love synthesizers of any sort. What more could I ask for with the second track "On The Surface" than a thick and memorable synth line? Nothing. I can't ask for anything more. But the one thing I've had a large love/hate relationship in this band is Dave Thomas's voice, which is sort of this weird stereo-scoped English where I'm hearing double of a guy choking on a fish stick. If you've seen their 80s music video single, "Waiting For Mary" he even has the gestures to accompany his abnormal singing! But, I'm glad that his lyrical style and innovative vocal delivery completely makes up for this.
Stuff by Andy:
1. Clifford Thorton - Ketchaoua
Got this one real recently after hearing it courtesy of Rafi from Death Chant's while we were in DC a couple of months ago. We were all sitting around talking about how much these Actuel represses rule and he asked if we had ever heard this one. When I asked what he sounded like Rafi said something like "he's everything Don Cherry wishes he was." Woah Rafi, but the record really is very good and Thorton takes great care to explore all those little "incidental" blip and bloop, normally unwanted sounds, overlooked by many. This culminates nicely on the final track which is just Thorton's cornet accompanied by two basses, one playing as you would expect, the other playing bowed, pointing back to the classical style of playing jazz burned in the first place, totally subtle yet simultaneously totally sick.
2. Popol Vuh - Sei Still, Wisse Ich Bin
Recent record fair score, this is a hell of a record. Simple repetitive drums accompanying dense choral arrangements with only occasional guitar interjection. The album starts so dark, like what some Swans or Angels of Light tries to hit on, but without any pretense, just pure atmosphere, and then slowly but surely this thing gets bright and triumphant and good wins out and you don't even really mind how cheesy some of the melodies get cause your right there with em, you know?
3. Hawkwind – Space Ritual
Got this for $1 at some hippy couple's garage sale, and its worth at least twice that. Every side of this double LP has AT LEAST one monologue on the topic of space or eternity, often very long and in some kind of pissed off lecture format. Alternate that with electronic space emulation mayhem and sped up live versions of previous Hawkwind drug rock classics (Seven by Seven and Master of the Universe are especially good and climatic on the 4th side) and you've got one fuck of a live "ritual" on your hands. I'm not even going to talk about the artwork.
By Dusted Magazine