By Kent Lambert | 6 December 2008
TThank you Cokemachineglow for asking for a Roommate Guestcast. The following is a somewhat haphazard collection of songs that were recorded and/or released in 2007 or 2008. There were many songs that I would have loved to share, but getting permission to post them would have been difficult. So I mostly focused on music made by people I/we are connected to via labels or who we know in Chicago, and even with those parameters it was painful to have to narrow things down to a manageable list of songs. So then I tried focusing on flow and sequencing and settled on…
1. Sian Alice Group: “As the Morning Light”
- (0:01 – 4:02)
- from 59.59 (Social Registry; 2008)
Because I tend to want to stuff every song full of words and musical ideas, simple and beautiful songs like this one are instructive and inspiring to me.
2. Dungen: “Sätt Att Se”
- (4:03 – 8:42)
- from 4 (Kemado/Subliminal Sounds; 2008)
Gillian (Roommate bandmate) and I went to see Dungen a month ago, and even though the sound at the venue was pretty terrible, they were marvelous. They all hugged each other individually at the end of their set, then had a group hug, and then they asked the audience to squeeze together so they could take a photo of us. If they had not been Dungen, and if they had not just rocked the place to its firmaments, such a tender display might have been awkward or annoying. Instead it was pretty much the best thing ever.
3. Jim Becker/Reid Coker: “Horse” (unmastered)
- (8:43 – 13:22)
- (unreleased; 2008)
My good friend Dean Rank recently finished his short film Head; it’s about a guy with a horse face and various complications therein. Dean created a character for me and asked me to write a song within which my character basically warns his character (Horseface man) to watch the fuck out and then bids him farewell. Anyway, someday you might see that scene and hear that song, but for now I’m very excited to share this selection from the film’s score by Jim Becker (Califone) and Reid Coker (the Judy Green, Califone). When I first heard the strings on the chorus my jaw dropped and I got some serious chills.
4. Pit Er Pat: “The Good Morning Song”
- (13:23 – 19:27)
- from High Time (Thrill Jockey; 2008)
I very much enjoy the dubbier songs on Pit Er Pat’s new record High Time, but I chose this song because I thought it reverberated nicely with the preceding and subsequent songs in this list. Write me an e-mail and let me know if you agree!
5. Lucky Dragons: “Mirror Friends”
- (19:28 – 21:34)
- from Dream Island Lucky Language (Upset the Rhythm/Marriage Records; 2008)
My friend Frank went to see them a couple months back and told me that they were phenomenal and that I must hear them at once. Good call, Frank! I only wish I’d made it to their show; I hope they come back soon. I would also like to let it be known that Luke Fischbeck of Lucky Dragons was exceptionally nice and enthusiastic when I asked to clear this track, though now I realize that it wasn’t even necessary for me to ask—I just read this article on them on the Creative Commons site. Creative Commons is the future, dude. I read too that the Obama transition website has been published under “the most permissive” CC license! That is very encouraging.
6. Flying Lotus: “Beginners Falafel”
- (21:35 – 23:59)
- from Los Angeles (Warp; 2008)
I love the subtle herky-jerkyness of Flying Lotus’s beats.
7. The Rhombus: “Can’t Stop” (unmastered)
- (24:00 – 27:16)
- (unreleased; 2008)
Cody Hennesy, aka/of the Rhombus, is an old friend of mine—we both used to play in the Iowa City band Swim Team and have occasionally collaborated on music since. Last winter he came to Chicago and recorded a few of his songs with me and some friends, such as this track, which features Seth Vanek (Roommate) and Brian Boelman (Swim Team, Miracles of God) drumming simultaneously, and then me contributing some bubbly synths. I never thought that hearing about “piles of rotting meats” could feel this way.
8. The Singleman Affair: “We Don’t Need a Cure” (4-track demo)
- (27:17 – 31:10)
- (unreleased; 2008)
Dan Schneider and the Singleman Affair have almost completed a new album, and judging by the bits of it I’ve heard it’s going to be a doozy. I was hoping to give you all a preview of the record by posting the studio version of this song, but it was not ready, so Dan sent me this demo, and all is well now. When the band started this song at a show in October, Dan’s brother Jeff tapped me on the shoulder and said “A+ song.” I’m going to take the liberty of adding another plus to that assessment.
9. Ned Collette: “Show Your Hand”
- (31:11 – 37:24)
- from Future Suture (Dot Dash; 2007)
I have Cokemachineglow to thank for introducing me to Ned Collette’s glorious album Future Suture. As I told Ned when I asked to post this track, it is one of my very favorite records of all records. Ignore it at your own peril.
10. Sonoi: “Red Ants” (unmastered)
- (37:25 – 41:35)
- (unreleased; 2008)
Sonoi is Adam Busch and Ryan Hembrey of Manishevitz fame plus ace drummer Pierce Doerr. These guys are so great. We’ve been trying for nine months or so to set up a show together and it finally got confirmed last week, I can’t wait. (Show is Feb. 2 at the “Empty Bottle”:http://www.emptybottle.com/home.php in Chicago.)
11. Marvin Tate: “Good Time”
- (41:36 – 45:27)
- (CD Baby; 2008)
Marvin Tate is a Chicago treasure. He is the singer in Baby Alright, a Chicago supergroup featuring such heavyweights as Dan Bitney (Tortoise), Leroy Bach (Wilco), Matt Lux (Isotope 17), Toby Summerfield (too many great bands to mention), the aforementioned Jim Becker, and Emmett Kelly, who sings and plays guitar like a dream and played drums on this track.
12. The High Llamas: “Rollin’”
- (45:28 – 49:10)
- from Can Cladders (Drag City; 2007)
I’ve been a huge High Llamas fan since Hawaii came out in 1996. I pretty much put that album on repeat for weeks, and then did so again a few years later. This track is from their most recent record called Can Cladders. It tends to get in my head and stays awhile and I don’t mind one bit.
13. The Judy Green: “Kicks” (rough mix)
- (49:11 – 53:05)
- (unreleased; 2008)
“Kicks” is another song that gets lodged in my head in a delicious fashion. In late October I had the pleasure of playing organ and trumpet and singing harmonies at a couple shows with the Judy Green, and I’d already been obsessed with this song for months, so it was a bit of a surreal thrill to actually play it with Reid and company. This is a rough mix from the Judy Green’s forthcoming album, which should be done by the end of the year or shortly after. I’ve heard a few full songs from it and they are absolute stunners, with strange and powerful horns and strings and troubling, thoughtful words.
14. Matt Elliott: “Bomb the Stock Exchange”
- (53:06 – 57:29)
- from Howling Songs (Ici d’Ailleurs; 2008)
One of the most memorable shows I went to during my University of Iowa days was Third Eye Foundation at Gabe’s Oasis. It was just one guy crouching on stage, massaging a few electronic boxes to produce terrifyingly beautiful sounds. His last three records (released under his “real name”) are strikingly different from the Third Eye Foundation stuff, more in an acoustic/folk music tradition with soft vocals and mostly discernible lyrics, but they are strange and terrifying in their own right. I love the way this song follows “Kicks” and, well, the title is what it is.
15. Mucca Pazza: “Moriya”
- (57:30 – 61:12)
- from Plays Well Together (LeatherBus, Inc.; 2008)
Mucca Pazza are Chicago heroes; see them whenever you can—recordings and YouTube clips do not compare to the experience of watching some 30 people totally goof around on stage while playing technically dazzling riffs from seemingly every tradition of music around the world (that said, their new album is an excellent documentation of their adventurous compositions and infectious energy). This song was written and arranged by my friend Jeff Thomas, who played the guitar solo on “Last Dreams of Summer” from We Were Enchanted.
16. Sin Ropas: “Peel it Blank”
- (61:13 – 67:42)
- from Fire Prizes (Zeal/Konkurrent/Shrug; 2005/2007)
I’m very proud to be affiliated with the label (Shrug) that released Sin Ropas’s Fire Prizes as a ridiculously elaborate picture-disc LP. To Chet Betz and his 2007 review of this record I say AMEN.
17. Mount Eerie w/ Julie Doiron and Fred Squire: “With My Hands Out”
- (67:43 – 69:26)
- (P.W. Elverum & Sun; 2008)
Phil Elvrum and Julie Doiron, together!! I bought this album on vinyl and it turned out to be some kind of marbled white vinyl that seemed to be plagued with mastering/pressing problems—there were conspicuous popping and cracking sounds pissing sporadically all over these gorgeous, spare songs, so I returned the record and got another copy, which had the same problems. I wanted to keep a vinyl copy for posterity, but I couldn’t handle the idea of having this wonderful record on vinyl and not being able to listen to it without cringing at random moments. The first point of this story: please don’t master to colored vinyl, people?? The second point: this album is really wonderful.
Thank you for listening.