Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What I Listened To: 9.14.10

It dawned on me that I forgot to list a few of the records that I ended up spinning yesterday during my post, so here's a few hold overs, plus a breakdown of one of my favorite new discoveries from the past few weeks - The Mice.

Emitt Rhodes - "Emitt Rhodes"
I couldn't have been more stoked to find Emitt Rhodes' 1970 debut record on vinyl this past week at UHF. Honestly, if that had been the only record that I found on opening day, I would have been more than pleased. I've been pretty much obsessed with this multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter for the past year, and having a ripped version of this album doesn't even come close to owning a copy on wax. If you aren't familiar, Rhodes is something of a one man band, recording the entire album by himself, playing all of the instruments. For a sound reference, Paul McCartney seems to be the favorite name to drop when discussing Rhodes' career, but whereas Macca often seemed to rely on camp and pomp to make his mark, there's a tenderness and fragility to Rhodes' pop that makes you feel particularly "in" on something when you discover his music. During some recent research on Rhodes, I discovered that an Italian filmmaker has produced a documentary on Rhodes called "The One Man Beatles" -- the trailer of which I've embedded here, followed by one of my favorite Rhodes jams, "With My Face on the Floor."

"The One Man Beatles"

"With My Face on the Floor"

Wipers - "Is This Real?"
I've recently started a new band with John Nelson, Monday Busque, and Sean Sommer called Destroy This Place. So far, we're sounding pretty melodic, but there's also an aggressive edge to it that is becoming really fun to play. So, with this new project in the forefront of my mind, I've been on the lookout for some vintage punk records that play into my new found muscular rock streak. With Seattle grunge godfathers the Wipers' "Is This Real?" I think I've found the perfect concoction.

Noticing the striking record cover over at my friend Dave Graw's pad, I made a mental note to check Wipers out. Months later, I found myself on a lazy weekend day trolling around the Internet, downloading everything Wipers related I could find. I happened upon "Is This Real?" and it's immediate, chugging chords, and songwriter Greg Sage's desperate, imaginative lyrics really stuck out to me. I thought the record would be less poppy than it is (and their later output does bring on the grungy/sludgy sound that their fellow Seattle-ites like Nirvana, a band who often covered Wipers, surely picked up on), but the record is super catchy, in sort of a Ramones meets Hot Snakes kind of way (the Ramones surely being an influence on Sage and the Wipers, and Hot Snakes surely taking influence from Sage himself).

If you're looking for something that drives, but isn't boneheaded, this record will be right up your alley, and unlike a lot of bands from this era, everybody in the group can really shred (the basslines on the record are especially fun to listen to). The recent reissue on vinyl is pretty beautiful, too, and I couldn't help myself from ordering it when "Is This Real?" became pretty real for me.

Hear the track "Is This Real?"

The Mice - "For Almost Ever Scooter"
Because I'm such a huge Superchunk fan, I've found myself scouring the Internet for any tidbit of info I can on the band, going so far as to try and find articles that reference bands they claim as influences, in hopes of getting turned on to records I've never heard of before. One band that continuously comes up is Cleveland's the Mice. Culled from an album called "For Almost Ever" and EP called "Scooter" - both released in the mid-80s - "For Almost Ever Scooter" was put out by Scat Records in 2004, and features 16 tracks of loud, brash, and insanely catchy midwestern rock that would sit nicely right alongside the poppier moments of Husker Du and the Replacements (and, without a doubt, early Superchunk - who often covered the awesome "Bye Bye Kitty Cat"). Apparently lead singer Bill Fox has released some pretty great lo-fi solo records, but I've yet to check them out. For now, though, dig almost-hit "Not Proud of the USA" and I dare you to try and not want to start a band that sounds exactly like this.

"Not Proud of the USA"

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