Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Northwest avant-pop star Phil Elverum (of Mount Eerie and the Microphones) and Wisconsin burningmen Rahdunes.
Listed: Mount Eerie + Rahdunes
Phil Elverum is a cottage industry unto himself. First and foremost, of course, he’s the man behind lo-fi favs the Microphones and Mount Eerie (which has a new album out with Julie Doiron and Fred Squire on Oct. 7 called Lost Wisdom). But he also seems to produce anything that comes out of the Pacific Northwest, and on top of that, he runs his own label and store, P.W. Elverum & Sun out of his hometown of Anacortes, Wash. He also just started a massive tour (he kicked it off in Nampa, Idaho on Wednesday), which will keep him more or less on the road until Nov. 22, when he plays a hardcore festival in Bodø. For all of the tour dates, visit www.pwelverumandsun.com.
10 records with the vibe that I always want: (in no order)
1. The music of Gurdjieff & deHartmann
As a teenager, I worked at a used record store in Anacortes, Wash., and would occasionally put on weird looking CDs that people traded in. This was a 3-CD set that was pretty scratched up and it was like 220 minutes of the sparsest piano doodling ever. I couldn’t really wrap my mind around it, yet it was so beautiful and sad and soothing. As far as I can tell, G.I. Gurdjieff was an esoteric Armenian mystic who had some weird ideas and followers. Thomas deHartmann was one of them, and he helped translate his vaguely eastern piano improvisations into actual repeatable music. This set is deHartmann playing this music sometime in the ‘40s, I think. He starts talking in the middle of it. It sounds like you are looking out the window and the snow is blowing around and a candle is burning in dark blue winter evening light.
2. Xasthur - Subliminal Genocide (Hydra Head)
Xasthur is my favorite band (actually just one dude, Malefic, in outer LA). All his albums are good, but this one is particularly solid. It is black metal that is not corny, which is hard to do. The wall of the distortion is so impenetrable that it becomes soothing. His screaming is so buried and broad that it is easy to mistake for loud wind. The key to this music is to play it at a loud enough volume that you can’t hear anything else, to get completely inside the sound. Listening into the dense distortion, you can start to hear the most beautiful things. Plus, it’s so powerful. It makes me think of what the core of the earth must sound like, roaring.
3. Wyrd Visions - Half Eaten Guitar (Blue Fog)
Another one person. Dude is from Toronto. I don’t really know what the idea is behind this, but my guess is that it’s "acoustic black metal" or something. It is slow, repetitive, and rich. There is a cover of the famous Mayhem song "Freezing Moon,” that makes you realize that there are totally beautiful words buried in that distortion sometimes. "The cemetery lights up again..." for example. Again, it’s the amazing nature/mystery aspects of black metal without the corniness and over-posturing. It’s delicate and sincere. The feeling of having disorienting dark visions in nature.
4. Tom Blood - The Sky Position (Marriage)
This is Tom Blood reading his book of poems, The Sky Position, out loud. Tom is an amazing reader and performer. I like this because the poems are short and dense. Having these poems come up during shuffle is so good because they are surprising nuggets of depth and make most music seem superfluous. These are good poems and Tom is good at saying/singing them.
5. Angelo Badalamenti - Twin Peaks
So much of this is nostalgia, sure. But really, who would have thought that long synth drones would match wet douglas fir boughs so well? Lately, at every show here in Anacortes at the Dept. of Safety, we have been playing this music after the last band. It is the perfect goodbye to the audience and celebration of our local fake modern mythologies. For me, having watched Twin Peaks like 10 times all the way through, this music is instantly "home,” even though it’s totally fake.
6. Pounding Serfs (K)
The Pounding Serfs was this early Anacortes band and one of the first LPs released by K Records when they moved up from cassettes. They later became Gravel and The Crabs. This came out in 1989. The hit song is "Slightly Salted" and it’s about living in this town by the water and "stocking up on woodpiles, getting ready for the storm" and stuff. They mostly played at bonfires and small house parties. The drum set was a cardboard box and a snare drum. One electric guitar, one acoustic. Many voices singing. Authentic early Anacortes folk grunge.
7. Loren Mazzacane Connors & Suzanne Langille - Crucible (Family Vineyard)
This is another accidental discovery from my teenage time at a used music store. It is basically like an electric guitar version of the Gurdjieff/deHartmann music. Sad beautiful improvisation. Also the songs that Suzanne Langille sings are so sparse and beautiful. It’s like a collaboration, but not. The tracks are either guitar or singing. Not together. But the album as a whole is so good and cohesive. A blanket over a guitar amp recorded from two rooms away with rain on the roof.
8. Popol Vuh - Fitzcaraldo OST
This is the Werner Herzog movie about the guy pulling a boat over a mountain in the Amazon, with trippy music. My favorite parts are the way over-the-top monumental arrangements for choir and bass drum. I always aspire to a drum that sounds that big. Did they record it in the Grand Canyon? Did they shoot a cannon at a drum made out of a grain silo? Is the choir one million people? It is so massive and it’s probably not some kind of studio trick. I think it really is that massive, kind of like the movie.
9. Sunn 0))) - Black One (Southern Lord)
I like this band. I chose this album because I really like the first song, "Cursed Realms (Of The Winterdemons)," which features Malefic from Xasthur on wind vocals. It sounds like he says "daylight glimmer" but who knows. The one time I saw them play was such an amazing physical experience. It felt difficult and bad but also amazing. Kind of like doing some really weird exercises in a gross sauna. The fog was totally dense. My earplugs were useless. My knees were shaking from the oppressively loud bass. There were hooded figures appearing and disappearing in the fog. It was like a really good haunted house spectacle for adults, yet the rest of the audience were these dudes with neck tattoos wanting to head bang. So much has already been written and said about this band. I’m just saying that I like it.
10. Zbigniew Preisner - Bleu OST
The thing I like about soundtracks is that there are usually just like three or four themes that get repeated over and over in various forms, so composers end up trying experimental ways to use the melody. This one (from the Kieslowki trilogy) explores that in pretty interesting ways. Because it’s a movie about a dead composer, there are parts of the soundtrack where they’re working out his unfinished pieces and they are changing things in the music as it plays. Weird and interesting. Also, there is this part where these super distant bass/choir notes are playing the melody extremely quietly but so low that you aren’t even sure that music is playing. It’s eerie and powerful. This piece is called "Reprise - Julie On The Stairs.” Look it up. It is literally THE BEST.
The trio of Aaron Coyes, Indra Dunis and Nate Archer make primal, psychedelic drone music of the vicious variety. It’s campfire music, if the camp was actually on fire. The vibe is wild, but not to be confused with evil. Rahdunes released their first LP last year on Emperor Jones, a 46-minute self-titled jawn that’s heavy on cymbals and synths and light on subtlety (one of the song titles is "Meeting you is like sucking God’s cock"). In that sense, it makes sense that Rahdunes called San Francisco home for so long. Coyes and Dunis (of Numbers), recently married on Aug. 30, have moved to the suburbs of Madison, Wisc., where they’ve started a new record label, Aldebaran Record Farm (6555 County Road T, Spring Green, WI 53588). Coyes is dabbling in short-circuitry under the name Faceplant, while Archer has chosen the un-Googlable moniker Temptation to kill time until the next Rahdunes project. Coyes took part in this week’s Listed.
1. The Dells - "Freedom Means / The Love We Had (Stays On My Mind)" 45 RPM (Cadet)
This is a great record all around, but “The Love We Had Stays on My Mind” has got to be the sickest slow jam ever. No shit! It is an emotional journey filled with vocal harmonies up the wazzoo, some thick bass licks and wailing guitar guru mantras. They blew my ass out my face when I first heard this jam kickin’ back stoned in the summer heat kickin’ it with 45s.
2. The Lemon Pipers - "Green Tambourine / No Help From Me" 45 RPM (Buddah)
Real run o’ the mill ‘60s stuff. Don’t get me wrong, this stuff is good, especially out of that little mini stereo speaker. The organ in this is totally aggressive and swarthy on “No Help From Me,” with a real out of character guitar solo that does not sound too ‘60s. The vocals are much more rough on this mix in an angsty early psych punk weirdness. Don’t know why, but this song kicks!
3. New Order - Power, Lies and Corruption (Factory)
Can’t begin to tell you how much all of us love this band. We went on this two-and-a-half-month tour straight through: too much beer, too much lack of sleep, too much driving. The last three weeks we met up with this band from Japan, Suishou no Fune, in Baltimore. Our show was cancelled, but we went to a massive fest that was fun and at that fest this girl named Chiara gave us this bag of Damiano, which is some herb to smoke alone or mix with the mother herb. Damiano, weed and both these New Order records played throughout the drive. In New Mexico, the middle of the desert in the middle of the day, the sky was gold, and black purple throwing up lightning bolts all over the place and all of the sudden we saw not one but two rainbows on the side of the road. It completely blew us away. All of us: Suisho, Uncle Reggae, Nate and I all got out of the van on this desert highway with New Order blasting, amazed at this sight which words can do no justice to, as the desert vibe sank in, in all its entirety.
4. Gareth Williams & Mary Curry - Flaming Tunes cassette
Williams co-founded This Heat. These tapes are a magical descent into the future. Complete sci-fi music for the observer of time. If Terrence McKenna, the mushroom king, new about this, his theory of Timewave Zero would have been expanded to a different level. There’s plenty of history behind these recordings to have a feast with. They really just exemplify taking from the past and making something new, like what reggae did to soul. It’s a very unique inquisitive and observatory blast of the time in which this was made, without compromising to the tastes of when it was made. Forward thinking.
5. Three 6 Mafia - "Weed, Blow, Pills (Chopped and Screwed Remix)"
These dudes have done nothin’ but good. The “Chopped and Screwed” mix slays! The song slays! One day we hope to help bring some pulse and sounds to some ripping rap muso’s like this! Dirty south will always rule!!! It’s like a completely original take on hyphy, but it really makes me want to move around and partake in the father, son and holy ghost trio of the aforementioned title. This is positive music, like “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult. Yes! Three 6 Mafia is this time’s B.O.C!!!!
6. Bob Marley and the Wailers
Marley was a genius. Whether or not you like or dislike reggae, it doesn’t matter – these early dudes did there own thing, like the movie Rockers, they brought culture and respect to the island of Jamaica. They were creative with their resources. The early dudes all knew circuit bending and shit. Massive tape-delay studio wildness. TRENCHTOWN DUB!!!
7. The Feelies - Crazy Rhythms (Stiff)
What can I say, this record will always get some serious play! Too bad they were from Jersey instead of New York – they may have gotten the respect they truly deserve. Not to mention, as Nate put it, they sound epic, like a crazier Yes.
8. The Great Unwashed (Flying Nun)
All this stuff is face-melting pop with a dark undertone. Can never get enough.
9. Mac Dre - Ronald Dregan: Dreganomics (Thizz Entertainment)
Because Mac Dre was never a rat, mad respect from all corners of the oblahglobe. This is the beginning of some crazy sounding hyphy jazz-mattaz! Love it!!
10. WAR - "The World Is A Ghetto" 45 RPM played at 33 RPM (United Artists)
OK, so this WAR song is moderate if played at 45 RPM, but do yourself a home-made ‘chopped and screwed’ mix on your very own turntable and you can partake in the modern act of turntablism, making you a turntablist. This tune slowed down is another world!!! And fits the lyrics much, much more!!!
By Dusted Magazine