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Listed: Lower Dens + Centipede Eest

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Dusted Features

Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Baltimore’s Lower Dens and Pittsburgh’s Centipede Eest.

Listed: Lower Dens + Centipede Eest

Note: The dual selection of Killdozer is a coincidence. We don’t make this shit up.

Lower Dens

After starting her career solo and acoustic, Texas songwriter Jana Hunter moved to a new town with a new direction: working from within the Baltimore rock band, Lower Dens. The group pares away guitar rumble, leaving music that isn’t exactly loud, but sounds like something has been torn out of it. That truncated moodiness shows up in the jams they chose for this week’s Listed.

1. Chrome - Red Exposure
Ecstatic jams! Perhaps if 1980s ZZ Top never existed, but instead was imagined by Sting’s character in Dune, they’d sound like this

2. Loren Connors - The Curse of the Midnight Mary
The story is that this dude went into a graveyard with a guitar and a tape recorder. The ghost of Mary Hart, a woman who burned to death 200-ish years ago, haunts the place and anyone stuck in the graveyard after midnight will die the next day. (Naturally, LC made these recordings after midnight.) The outcome of this venture sounds like the Delta blues being played by a ghost. The groans do not sound human. The music sounds incredibly close to a very familiar musical form, but also unfathomably incorrect. Kind of like in a dream where something completely foreign is put in the place of a thing or a person that you know you should recognize.

3. Geto Boys - Geto Boys
Killer syntax. Plus corpse fucking.

4. Jandek - "Painted My Teeth" from Modern Dances
Tense, dramatic male/female duet that would make Meat Loaf proud.

5. Old Skull - C.I.A. Drugfest
This runs a serious risk of coming across as a silly or ironic pick. I promise it’s not. These kids — regardless of probably being a total schtick — seem incapable of anything but total mayhem.

6. Charles Mingus - The Black Saint and The Sinner Lady
Absolutely gorgeous, heavy compositions. The brass on this record is so low and terrifying. I feel slightly scolded by it.

7. Lemonheads - Lick
Boston’s dreamiest’s finest.

8. Killdozer - Twelve Point Buck
Pure sludge joy. A quick word about the genre of music known as “Pigfuck”: it’s wonderful. Furthermore, it’s a fine way to describe the music that’s presented. I prefer it so much more than simply tacking "post" or "pre" or "proto" onto a familiar term. Do you think after the kids get into Killdozer, there’ll be a new crop of Post-pigfuck bands? Let’s hope (?).

9. Pandit Pran Nath - Earth Groove: The Voices of Cosmic India
Two 30-minute pieces, one on each side. I once let this record play over and over on repeat by accident and didn’t notice for several hours that time had been suspended. Perfectly endless.

10. Big Star - 3rd
A real heartbreaker.

Centipede Eest

With a sound as multi-pronged as the many-limbed creepy-crawly with which they share a name, Pittsburgh’s Centipede Eest is capable of hop-scotching from twin-lead scree to polyrhythmic world grooves to near-ambient free improv to straight choogle and back again. Formed in late 2004 around the core group of Caulen Kress (bass), Sam Pace (drums), Nick Patton (guitar/vocals) and Jim Lingo (guitar/vocals), the band was joined by multi-instrumentalist and knob-twiddler Josh Tanzer in 2008. They’ve been releasing a steady stream of singles, EPs and LPs. The full-length Resonator was released in June of this year on New Ruins and given a nice rundown in the most recent Still Single. Much like the band itself, their current listening pile is satisfyingly chaotic.

1. The Fitt - When the Fitt Hit the Shan
Three Pittsburgh bozos make best record of 2010. This record makes Cherubs and Nirvana look like wieners that can’t find the volume knob. Recorded before the departure of their super-talented drummer (who sailed for mind-blowingly lame shores), these guys are desperate for an out-of-work ringer like Richie Penetrator, Tommy Lee or that guy from Foo Fighters. Opportunity is knocking, motherfuckers. 250 copies of private-press gold. (Nick)

2. Danielle Dax - Jesus Egg That Wept
The instrumentation on the tracklisting for this amazing record says a lot about its content and production: vocals, piano, metal, tapes, flute, synths, kalimba, bass, TR-808, TV, drums, tenor sax, all recorded on Teac 4-track. All songs written and produced by Danielle Dax, and most of the instruments and vocals as well, with David Knight, and Karl Blake adding guitar parts. The songs are haunting rhythmic drones with quiet and distant dream melodies. The lyrics are planted just under the surface of an abandoned farm. The themes are exploited labor, harvest season and long stretches of boredom that makes people do bad things. The vocals seem to be used as three separate personalities… one is very low and bitter, one is kind of whiny and sarcastic, and the last is beautiful ethereal timeless synth-pop wonderment. (Sam)

3. Killdozer - Uncompromising War on Art Under the Dictatorship of the Proletariat
My first experience with Killdozer. I didn’t know anything about them — I picked it up because of the cover art... and I was not disappointed. Awesome use of the human voice, great bass tone (something I always appreciate), intelligent album notes calling for the downfall of Sam Walton, and songs about sharing a joint and a beer with a cop while jamming Foghat. The album kicks off with one of Killdozer’s finest songs, "Final Market" — it plods along during the verse but kicks in for the chorus (SOMETIMES, FINAL MARKET, TWENTY FIVE CENTS). I’m a sucker for multiple tempos within a song. "Knuckles the Dog" is another classic. A solid record that led me to check out the masterpiece, Twelve Point Buck, and my personal favorite, For Ladies Only (picture disc, of course). (Caulen)

4. Fleetwood Mac - Then Play On
This one caught me be surprise. One of those perfect albums from start to finish. Peter Green and Danny Kirwan let loose a stunning range of songs that encompass everything from boogie, ballads, soft-psych, pop, spag-western and straight up white-guy guitar blues that rivals, if not trumps, ZZ Top (yeah, I said it). So good that afterward, everyone started loosing their minds or joining cults. The real deal. (Jim)

5. V/A - NOLA Bounce Compilation CD-R feat. Jubilee, Cheeky Blakk, etc
This music was invented in Pittsburgh by a guy named Alexei. Or, at least, Alexei first turned me on to this shit. It blew my mind the first time I heard it, but then it was in the New York Times so I can’t stand it all of a sudden. Still, "Terk Something" is way more gone than any 2 Live Crew track, and is the bedrock for a new generation of music lovers. Requisite listening for any fifth-grade music class. (Jah Schwa)

6. The Spits - Mix CD-R on Gooski’s Jukebox
I am working seven days a week now, but two of those days are at Gooski’s, which is where I’d be with the day off anyway. The Spits really pull me through the day, especially as the shots of Shambuca (sic) and power-ups begin to blur shit. I’d like to spend the day writing perfect one-minute songs, but I need to hear more Spits first. (Nick)

7. Asa-Chang & Junray - Jun Ray Song ChanPost-apocalyptic seaside marching band, strings from the cosmos, hyper tablas... probably the most indescribably beautiful music I’ve ever heard. I’m gonna stop trying to describe it — check it out immediately! (Caulen)

8. Grand Buffet - King Vision
Whaddaya git when you have the incredible hulk & mixelplix with andy kaufman and jordan maxwell managing? this tag team duo from pittsburgh,pa - that’s what. at the height of their powers (a few years back) these fellers conjured some motivational, new-age club music to ring the alarm before the shitstorm. waking up never felt so confusing ‘n good. (Jim)

9. Government Issue - Government Issue
The main reason this is one of my favorite things ever is the first track on side one: “Visions and?” It’s an instrumental/ intro/ all encompassing embodiment of everything!!! A bunch of great songs follow. John Stabb is mad and sad, and real funny. Tom Lyle is a guitar hero. Then, side two, song two, the intro again!!! It’s so nice to hear. Titled “Say Something,” this version has lyrics… and it all makes sense. Listen to this as you are drinking yourself out of a mushroom-induced skate session. (Sam)

10. Suicide - Suicide
This is pretty much all I can listen to while doing hard work on my house with my assistant, Terri. He is into like Spandau Ballet and Cabaret Voltaire, so Suicide is about as close to actual music as I can bring him. But seriously, fuck Alan Vega and Martin Rev. They are so played out and unoriginal. The history of underground music is built of lies and fabrications and phoneys. Their shows weren’t that crazy. (Jah Schwa)

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