Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: O'Death and Sam Amidon.
Listed: O'Death + Sam Amidon
New York quintet O'Death met and the hottest incubation chamber on the East Coast, SUNY Purchase. While many of their classmates retreated to Baltimore to start a zillion bands/collectives/etc.es, O'Death moved down the road to NYC and forged a new path, one forged by few before them. The Village Voice has called the an "Appalachian Hardcore band," which, if nothing else, is testament to how difficult their music is to describe and any clear terms. Their new record, Head Home, is out soon on Ernest Jennings records.
1. Alejandro Jodorowsky - Holy Mountain Soundtrack
I just got back from seeing this movie and as compelling as the images are, the soundtrack really got me. Peruvian Flute music mixes with his unique brand of 70's Mexican psychadellia. Dramatic, severe, operatic and utterly, strangely religious. The credits at the end of the film say that a soundtrack is available. It doesn't seem to be in print, but I'd rather have the soundtrack than see the movie again.
2. Charlie Tweddle - Fantastic Greatest Hits
This is the man's only album, recently reissued on Companion Records with extra tracks from his recording session in 1971. This is some really sloppy, spacey cowboy music. Sometimes it sounds like its being recorded off a radio. Sometimes horns come out of nowhere. Sounds like a drunken fiesta. All of a sudden in the middle of the album we're graced with 20 minutes or so of field recordings, owls, crickets and such. I'm in the woods with this strange music I can't say enough about how this makes me feel. At turns lewd, romantic, and from outer space. If Sun Ra was a cowboy from Texas with a guitar and some whiskey. He also makes expensive hats for kooky celebrities like Cher and Kris Kristofferson.
3. Blind Mamie Forehand -"Honey in the Rock"
This song has been haunting me for years. Unfortunately she only recorded a handful of songs with her husband AC Forehand. This track was recorded in 1927 and is a precursor to all things tragic in gospel, blues and folk. Leaves me speechless always. Can be found on two great albums: one at the end of the excellent Washgington Phillips disc titled "Key to the Kingdom" the other the comp. put together by John Fahey "American Primitive Volume 1". Both albums are with having, and both include this, probably my favorite recorded song ever.
4. Hayden - Skyscraper National Park
It's a contemporary folk album I keep returning to for some mysterious reason. It seems to take on new meaning and shape itself to different memories in my life. Sounds of driving, loneliness, driving.... i don't know...
5. Townes van Zant - High Low and In Between & The Late Great Townes van Zant
I've only recently been put under the spell of Townes van Zant, and I feel very lucky to have this to constantly return to. He writes the most devastating songs and sings them with such quiet purity. Obviously, he's had his praises sung by more eloquent people than me, but I feel blessed to be starting to understand his genius now in my life.
6. Bob Dylan - "Romance in Durango"
Tell my band i'd like to cover this song. No, its ok I should tell them. I hope they listen to me.
7. Josephine Foster -A Wolf in Sheeps Clothing
Foster records classical tunes in German. One of the most remarkable contemporary folk records that anyone will ever hear. Saying words like "haunting" and "folk" doesn't do any of this stuff justice. I like the sudden bursts of electric guitar, I love her voice. I love not understanding a word that's being said. I just got this on vinyl and its so good.
8. USAisamonster - Wohaw
This band melds some amazing things on this album, a real masterpiece. You feel a sense of nature in every moment. A handwoven oddity that runs through many styles of music I don't really listen to and yet this is one of my favorite albums. Very hard hitting and yet very peaceful.
9. The Microphones - Singers
I've loved this band for a while now, I guess, and I have a feeling this album might endure most of all. The group vocals are what does it for me. Huge choruses of people singing these very intimate songs about nature and loss and love. This is music to howl at the moon by.
10. Goddamn Rattlesnake - Where will this ship go to die?
My favorite track off the album Get Comfortable by our good friends and excellent musicians. They made a very relaxing, communal feeling album that makes you want to get drinks with them. Then out of nowhere comes this very severe, very sad melody at the end of the album. I'm very taken with it.
Sam Amidon was raised in Brattleboro, Vermont by folk-musician parents Peter and Mary Alice Amidon. He plays fiddle, banjo, guitar, and can count in binary code on his hands really fast. He made an album with his band Samamidon, a duo with Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman, also plays with The National, David Byrne, Antony) called "But This Chicken Proved Falsehearted," which Stylus Magazine called "the most interesting folk album of 2007."
He will release another record of songs in September, as yet untitled, for the Icelandic label Bedroom Community. It's being produced by Valgeir Sigurddson (Bjork, Bonnie Prince Billy, Cocorosie). It will include contributions from composer Nico Muhly, violist Eyvind Kang, and drummers Aaron Siegel and Stefan Amidon. In fact, Sam is in Iceland, right now, mixing it.
More facts about Sam:
Sam lives in New York City. He plays banjo, guitar, and violin in the lamp-rock bands Doveman and Stars Like Fleas, and occasionally with the bands Tall Firs, Elysian Fields, and Eye Contact. In March, he premiered the Nico Muhly composition "Two Sisters" at Carnegie Hall.
Sam makes videos and draws comics and puts them on his website.
Sam studied with the late free-jazz legend Leroy Jenkins and downtown/jazz violinist Mark Feldman. As a teenager he became known as a good fiddler, releasing 5 albums with his band Assembly to great acclaim, as well as performing with his folk-musician parents. Along the way he and Assembly gathered attention from All Things Considered, CNN, The Boston Globe, and Fiddler Magazine, and eventually Sam acted in a starring role in a feature film called "American Wake," which had its premier at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston.
Some New Discoveries
1. Papa Jo Jones on YouTube.
Go search "Papa Jo Jones" on youtube and watch the first thing that comes up. It will change your life. I was so moved as to make a tribute, which I think is the third thing that comes up in the same search.
2. Getting my wisdom teeth out
Last week I got all of my wisdom teeth out. My wonderful New-England-aging-hippy doctor encouraged me to take nitrous oxide to help me enjoy (instead of fear) the experience and I complied, staying awake through the event. The result was a sonic festival of crunchings, high-pitched drillings, and grindings, which, in my heightened state of consciousness, created a whole new genre of 'inner music.' I lamented as it was happening that all people don't get to have the same record played inside their heads as I did on that day. At any rate, I encourage you to try it- get your wisdom teeth removed today!
3. Iggy Pop's dancing
As watched on youtube. Also his music which I am listening to right now. I bought the great record "Party," from 1982. It has one of my cohorts in Doveman, and he is also one of my favorite musicians in the whole world, Dougie Bowne, on drums. It's a strange record. It's a good one. What happens when we decide that music is not that great?
4. The little girl singing along with Earth, Wind, and Fire in the movie Killer of Sheep.
Also the use of Paul Robeson music in that film.
5. Chuck Berry
Maybellene. Roll Over Beethoven.
6. Egill S and Ben Frost
Egill is a friend of mine from Iceland. That's where I am right now. It's 11 PM and it's not even dark out yet. Egill S is like a combination of David Bowie, but with a sharper pop sensibility. He has a really good song you can buy from iTunes called "I Love You So," from his record "Tonk of the Lawn." He is also an installation artist.
Ben Frost is a friend of mine from Iceland but he's from Australia originally. His damagingly beautiful album of electronic compositions is "Theory of Machines" on Bedroom Community. Ben is destined for greatness. He is also an installation artist.
7. Anthony Braxton at the Iridium
First I heard folk music - New England fiddlers, Southern singers, Irish tunes. My parents listened to folk music, and the Talking Heads.
For me the trajectory to discovering other kinds of music (before the inevitable return to the old songs) started with Phish (yes!), which led to the Trey Anastasio album of free jazz that had a lot of great musicians, which led me to more free and avant-jazz - Sun Ra, Marc Ribot, Albert Ayler, Leroy Jenkins. One of the first of the 'actual' free jazz records that I bought was a duo album of Anthony Braxton and Max Roach from 1979, and it mystified me. It's actually still a mystifying and beautiful record - Roach's drumming is always metrical and he plays a multitude of little ideas and patterns the whole time.
I went to hear Anthony Braxton's ensemble at the Iridium a few weeks ago, and as his totally lyrical soprano saxophone went into my ears I was transformed back to those first delightfully confounding listening experiences.
8. Thelonious Monk in the movie Straight, No Chaser
Have you guys noticed that Benicio Del Toro based his character Fenster from The Usual Suspects on Monk in this film? He totally did, check it out. There's even one point where they both say "I'll flip you- flip you for real."
9. Mitch Hedberg - Strategic Grill Locations
Introduced to me by my brother Stefan Amidon and Zara Bode, who both play in the killer honky-tonk band The Sweetback Sisters. Stand up. I like the way Mr. Hedberg has a range of jokes - really funny ones, sort of funny ones, not very funny ones, and unfinished ones. I think music could be more like that. I really am having a great time talking with you about this topic! Maybe we could play some tunes afterwards. Tea. Tea and fiddle tunes.
10. The Shaggs - Philosophy of the World
I know that this is the kind of record that people have been putting on these kinds of lists for years now. But it's worth listening to again or for the first time, because it is a symphony of new rhythms and melodies and craziness. Play it right now - thanks!
By Dusted Magazine