Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: David Bray and Black Fiction.
Listed: David Bray + Black Fiction
David Bray's work has been on the receiving end of a fetish for the past year or so, and most of his fans have no clue who he is. The same can be said for the band that he "represents" -- the anonymous duo Various (featured here as Various Production back in January as part of Dusted's Destined series). Bray's illustrations grace the covers of Various' mysterious and mesmerizing 7" singles. The angelic face of "Hater"; the cascading twins of "Sir"; the horse and harlots of "Foller" -- his black on white creations exude a Gothic ebony, draped in seductive shades of gray.
Bray was born in the British town of Dartford in 1970 and has toiled away as a freelance illustrator since 1996. He's had his hands in various productions – department stores like Harvey Nichols and H&M, magazines from Elle to Flaunt, networks from BBC to MTV. His unadulterated art can often be seen in exhibitions in Amsterdam.
Check out his work with Various at www.various.co.uk or in fine record shops everywhere. The long-awaited debut full-length The World Is Gone hit UK stores on July 17 and drifts stateside on October 24.
Bray put down the pen and took on the role of curator for this week's Listed.
1. Bodycode - "I, Data"
2. Lindstrom - "I Feel Space"
I don;t know much about the artists but I am really into these two tracks at the moment. The bodycode track reminds me of Akufen and that glitchy house stuff, but it's beefier with this great teutonic vocal. The Lindstrom track is off the Playhouse label compilation Famous When Dead 4. It's got that whoosh, I listen to it in the morning and its like a breakfast E.
3. Arthur Russell - Calling out of Context
I could have picked any Arthur Russell album - the man was a genius. My friend Matt got me into him, and I have become a bit obssessed. With Arthur, not Matt.
4. Various - "Hater"
5. Various - "Sweetness"
I am always blown away by Various. They never cease to suprise me. Adam gave me a cdr of "Hater" and it stayed on for days. It was a proper challenge to come up with a sleeve for the single. It's based on an ex who despises me, it was an acrimonious split. She reckoned the only thing I ever gave her was the flu. Every new track gets me between the ears. proper music.
6. Renegade Soundwave - "Women Respond to Bass"
I used to have this old record player made by hmv, all wood and dials. When you turned it on it had a real nice electric hum and it had a bass dial that went up to plus 10. You could get the house to vibrate. This track put a crack in the ceiling. The needle gave up the ghost, and I can't seem to replace it (any ideas please help?). I just got hold of this track on cd and it still makes me feel queasy in a good way.
7. Deadnines - "Monkey Spunk"
My mate Matt (not obssessed honest) and a drummer called Dan. Their music has expanded. Every day they seem to have mastered a new instrument or experimented with new sounds. I think they are getting percussion sounds by throwing oranges at taxis or some deranged shit like that. Then it's tied down into a tight sound.
8. Azzido da Bass - "Dooms Night" (Norman Jays remix)
9. David Sylvian / Ryuichi Sakamoto - "World Citizen"
I have just come back from denmark where my girlfriend's brother has a summer house. It is pretty desolate in a beautiful way, surrounded by woods which are spooky at night. I used to wander outside with these two on my headphones, looking up at the stars. They were like a soundtack to some kind of John Carpenter Scandinavian horror shitting it movie. I had just discovered the joys of pyjama trousers. My girlfriend thought I was having some kind of episode with the wandering, repetition and dressing like an asylum inmate.
10. Two banks of four - Three Street Worlds
11. Burial - Burial
Listen to these on the bus a lot when I travel round my neighbourhood in South London. They pretty much soundtrack my journey to and from work, and though they are vastly different I can't choose between them. Though the Burial album does it for me late at night in Lewisham.
Tim Cohen, chief songwriter for the Bay Area psych-pop outfit Black Fiction, has gained a reputation as something of a weirdo. Like the Ween brothers, he's got a penchant for comic mayhem to balance his undeniable pop sensibilities. Like current toast-of-the-coast retro-pop deconstructionist Ariel Pink, he's the unstable product of a wide range of perenially fashionable influences (Brian Wilson, '70s R&B, primitive synth pop). But he's too thoughtful, disciplined and broad-minded in his assimilation to be reduced to his quirks. Ghost Ride, Black Fiction's ambitious debut, heralds an excitingly unpredictable new talent and is already winning flyover fans. Black Fiction seems built to outlast the hype.
Underground Railroad - Top Ten 2006
Jon Bernson - Ray's Vast Basement / Black Fiction
1. Dearborn House - Seattle
When gigs were over, they took bands in and gave them shelter from the storm. Apparently the city cracked-down and closed their doors. The Music of Greyface laments:
"The closing of this spiritually cleansing portal of a venue should be reacted to with humble tears and thankful hearts. But it should also be followed by someone with an ample home and communal sensibility, passionately grabbing the reigns and, acting on that inner itch, becoming the next Dearborn House. Here's to the future!
2. KAOS 89.3 FM - Olympia
As if evergreen state hasn't done enough for the Republic of Music, they also fund KAOS. This poem on their myspace page sums it up better than I:
"In the distance I could hear it, the sounds of a terrible beast I could hear its claws scratching, I could see the flash of its teeth There was no way to outrun it, for it traveled on all fours, So, left with just one prospect, I turned and faced the noise"
Eat at Le Voyer:
3. Aquarius Records - San Francisco
The west coast Library of Congress: every single record reviewed by hand, kept on a permanant website with song samples.
"Quite possibly the greatest record store on the planet. Aquarius Records has a wide selection of indie, experimental, off the wall, extreme, and cerebral music that will knock your socks off. Check out their site and be terminally wow-ed by the monster catalog."
- Crucial Blast Mail Order
4. The Quiet Storm - Pittsburgh
There's something in the water that helps tune guitars. Eve Russell explains:
"I don't miss much about Pittsburgh, I've tried no fewer than a dozen establishments' tofu scramble and none them have even come within earshot of Jilly's. I miss falling asleep in the big, orange chair. I miss accidentally spending entire Sundays at the counter, and I miss the PPD's narcotics officers piling up around the smoking section to eye up activity across Penn Avenue. If I ever move back to Pittsburgh, the biggest reason will be the Quiet Storm."
Ask to spend the night:
5. Andyman's Treehouse - Columbus
According to "Rascal" Jason Courtney:
"Playing at Andyman's Treehouse is like playing in your basement, except the PA is a lot better and there's a big freaking tree in the middle of the room. If you've never been out to Andyman's, you should definitely check it out. It's a nice cozy bar with an assortment of good music being played. Maybe you'll even run into Andyman. Never met Andyman before? Just look for the giant man with a goatee and the big, deep voice."
You can smoke in the tree room:
6. The Skinny Space - Portland, Maine
They converted a defunct porn theater, added the best sound guy on the east coast, kept it real until they closed their doors a few years ago...wait hold on a second, I just read this on their website:
"The Skinny was originally open from 2000 - 2003 at 625 Congress Street in Portland (where GENO'S is now located). THE NEW SPACE is located at 575 Congress Street in the old First National Bank building. New location but the same philosophy, comfortable atmosphere, eclectic music and performances"
Does Johnny still run the place?
7. KXCI 91.3 FM - Tucson
Cross the desert and be welcomed by a harem of music junkies:
"The station has been tuned in to death's frequency several times since the days when a handful of visionaries got together more than 11 years ago to try to come up with an option to Tucson's commercial and non-commercial radio offerings. They begged, borrowed and salvaged old equipment, tapes, records (this is way before CDs were on the market) and a place to set up shop."
- Tucson Weekly
8. The Fire - Philadelphia
One room for music, one room to drink and a palacial second-story full of couches:
"Dan McShare of Aunt Pat is making this cool dank space at Fourth and Girard’s Philadelphia Bar and Grille into an fucked-up folkish Firenze or a Tin Angel with punk rock, biker bar attitude."
- Philadelphia City Paper
9. Doug Fir - Portland, Oregon
Not really underground, but still a great hunting lodge where you can hang your game and hear the songs you sing around the fire. Once described as:
"a 50's log cabin meets the Jetsons. Every band you love has played here, or will play here, or is now disbanded.
10. The Department of Safety - Anacortes, Washington
In a world of fight clubs, this is the promised land, the grandaddy of them all:
“They were nice to me. They ate and slept in a set of abandoned barracks at the edge of an enormous air base. Toilets, showers, cots and an impoverished commissary. They were a good-humored workforce with an array of skills. They fixed things, sang songs, they told funny stories."
- Fireman Phil Elverum
By Dusted Magazine