Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Mike Wexler and Future Islands.
Listed: Mike Wexler + Remote Islands
After a few years of slow and steady acclaim, Mike Wexler is finally releasing his debut full-length. It's called Sun Wheel, and it's coming out on the largely dependable Amish Records. Wexler, a Brooklyn new folk artist (don't stop reading yet, his picks are great), took his sweet time inventing his Wheel and it shows. In fact, I'm not sure why we just used the term "new folk," 'cuz a lot of Wexler's songs sound straight out the '70s. And anyone who claims Robert Wyatt as a hero is A-OK with us. In the spirit of collaboration, Wexler invited Jordi Wheeler and Charles Burst of The Occasion and Brian Tamborello of Psychic Ills to join in on Sun Wheel. All fine musicians in their own right, but not quite as fine as Wexler's taste in this week's Listed.
1. Los Mirlos El Milagro Verde (Gema)
One of those records that argue for the societal entity over & above the key player. Often the hand that seems only to be going through the motions is the one that casts the strangest shadow.
2. The Moles - Instinct (Flydaddy)
Interpolating The Manchurian Candidate & lifting its cover wholesale from Beethoven’s Ninth, with every identical end-rhyme another turn of the screw. Haven’t seen much in print about this that does justice to the manic episode it typifies within popular music. Blackest humor imaginable.
3. Luciano Cilio - Dell’Universo Assente (Die Schachtel)
Missed this universe in absentia until very recently but I’m making up for lost time. Some records you feel like you’ve been drawing from the idea that they should—not knowing that they do exist.
4. Grachan Moncur III - "Gnostic" from Some Other Stuff (Blue Note)
From the sparest materials they’re carving out a sort of latticework or spiral of terraces, moving outward & upward in space, closing in on the last unturned stone out there, the scared secret. I’m way into almost everything he’s done, but this is uncanny. The sound of an eyelid pried open.
5. Maria Sabina - Mushroom Ceremony of the Mazatec Indians (Folkways)
“All of my Language is in the Book” that speaks though her in a curative sing-song of image-transmittal. See her autobiography for what she thought of all the “long-haired” people who came to her “in search of God.” Reminds me of Michael Taussig’s anecdote about visiting Machu Picchu with Santiago Mutumajoy. an Ingano medicine man from the Colombian lowlands—his thorough disinterest, having seen it all before in a vision. “There weren’t any poor people here, these houses were for the rich.”
6. Neil Michael Hagerty - S/T (Drag City)
Been revisiting this a lot recently & wondering if it isn’t after all his finest hour.
7. Tanburi Cemil Bey - Volume 1 (Traditional Crossroads)
Wax cylinder recordings from just after the turn of the century. The sound of the kemençe as captured here is otherworldly. Comparisons to Charlie Patton etc. don’t fly beyond the sound quality & the 78 rpm duration of the tracks—about 3 minutes give or take, effectively cutting the long-form improvisation down to a single.
8. Paul Celan Breathturn / Threadsuns / Lightduress - Pierre Joris trans. (Sun & Moon Press / Green Integer)
It takes deep listening (attention—“the natural prayer of the soul”) to hear into language the way he does—to see the word as a “shape”—but when you do, the bottom drops out, the ceiling gives way & what seemed gnarled & hermetic opens onto amazing vistas of polyperspectivity & multi-dimensional speech.
9. Gas Zauberberg (Mille Plateaux)
There’s nothing really hidden here, but every sound has a subliminal halo around it, so that while you can say it’s there you still can’t quite pin it down, so to speak. Sort of like a record of a lucid dream.
10. Albert Ayler - Nuits de la Fondation Maeght Volumes 1& 2 (Water)
The last concerts. I’m not down on his later records like a lot of purists seem to be. These LPs are extremely moving. I’ve always liked the way Ayler sounded with pianist Call Cobbs, as on Love Cry and “Angels” from The Village Concerts. Music is the healing force of the universe, something we can believe when Mary Parks entreats us to “BE HEALED”—as if she & Albert & the band were moving away from us, receding in space—as if they know it’s for the last time.
Remote Islands are a Philadelphia based band with an ever-shifting array of personnel, but always led by one Colin Pate. Their debut album, Smother Party, melded the influence of bands such as Mouse on Mars, Buffalo Springfield, East River Pipe, and Pere Ubu into a set of diseased and unpredictable songs that straddle the line of genius and insanity. One was once heard to remark about the album as sounding like "Welcome Back Kotter with laserguns".
The band is currently working on their second album. This list is provided by Colin.
1. Enon - High Society
I like albums where each song sounds different from the others. This is the king of those kind of albums for me.
2. The New Year - Newness Ends
Also, I like albums where the songs sound similar, like they were recorded on the same day. He sings very melodically and never over-emotes, like his voice is just any other instrument.
3. Mercury Rev - See You On the Other Side
I'm finding it hard to write about this record. Pick it up and hear for yourself.
4. John Cale - Vintage Violence, Big White Cloud and Gideon's Bible
They are out of this world. They sold me completely on John Cale.
5. Moby Grape - Wow
I probably listen to their first record more, but this one is just so strange, like they were trying to keep up with the trends at record company behest. There are so many fascinating albums where record company pressure gave way to amazing records. Skip Spence ran amok in the studio with an ax during the recording.
6. Simon & Garfunkel - Bookends
This is a good record to listen to at night while driving around with snow on the ground.
7. Sly and the Family Stone - There's a Riot Going On
I like the murky production and the cheap drum machine rhythms. Sly's voice is hypnotic.
8. Television Personalities - And Don't the Kids Just Love It
I seldom was without this record when I delivered pizzas. Everything is out of tune, but it doesn't matter.
9. Lambchop - Thriller
I like it when albums have pop songs next to droney, depressing ones. All of the lyrics are dark on "Thriller", though. That doesn't change.
10. Phil Spector - Back to Mono (1958-1969)
No one could get away with that much reverb these days. "Ebb Tide" and "This Could Be the Night" are the ones I've been listening the most to. Don't let the price-tag scare you off. Check it out at the library.
By Dusted Magazine