May 8, 2006

I turn the radio off. World, I've had enough.

“The distribution system in this country is designed to turn every multiplex into an idiot convention.”

During this week’s Ebert & Roeper, Roger Ebert made this statement in reference to the unfortunate circumstances regarding many of the movies they recommend. They simply don’t get the wide releases they deserve.

I remember driving 2.5 hours to see City of God shortly after its original American release. It was originally re-released nationwide, but how was I to predict this? So in honor of this sad state of affairs, I’d like to discuss a couple bands you’re unlikely to hear on your local FM radio, unless your one of those lucky people close to a quality radio station.

Blonde Redhead

Has been recording quality records since 1993. Their debut, self-titled release was appropriately produced by Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley. Blonde Redhead owe a lot of their sound to Sonic Youth, but also other No Wave acts (Their name is a reference to a DNA song.), Brit Pop (such as Pulp), and various alternative acts.

The band has released six full-lengths, including their most recent, Misery is a Butterfly (2004, 4AD). BR are somewhat theatrical, and many of their albums follow themes. Misery focuses much attention on founding member Kazu Makino’s accident involving a horse. The band’s previous album, Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons, like Misery, was produced by Fugazi/Rites of Spring juggernaut Guy Picciotto. I consider Melody (2000, Touch & Go) to be one of the greatest indie rock albums ever.

If you ever have to escape a serial killer or monster in a black-and-white horror film, “A Cure” from Melody will be your soundtrack as you sprint down the spiraling stairs of your dingy fifth-floor apartment.

Download “A Cure”


Hipsters who say, “I like everything except country and rap,” are idiots. First of all, if you don’t like Johnny Cash, you’re a soulless Philistine. Secondly, if you don’t like Wu-Tang, you’re a sucka. Thirdly, this imaginary person has obviously never heard the lo-fi, quirky goodness that is cLOUDDEAD.

Take “Bike, Pt. 2” the closing track from the group’s 2001 eponymous album (a collection of their singles, etc.). The “song” appears as a collection of freestyles over DJ Shadow-worthy samples between various found sounds and noise, culminating in a rap over a digital metronome, a simple drumbeat, and the guitar track from Townes Van Zant’s cover of “Dead Flowers.” (I’m guessing here.)

cLOUDDEAD is comprised of Doseone (Themselves, 13 and God), why?, and odd nosdam. This all-star collection of West Coast lap-hop artists from anticon. and Mush Records have a worthy back catalogue of solo material and other group projects, but together they’ve produced some of the most interesting and dynamic work indie rap has seen.

Download “Bike, Pt. 2”

So let me know: What do you think about your radio?

Blonde Redhead on Insound
cLOUDDEAD on Insound

1 comment:

Nicole said...

I think my radio plays too much Strokes when it's trying to impress company and be all "indie."

Have you listened to "Mr. Nogatco," aka Kool Keith's newest incartaion? Jane had a review of his album. Sage Francis makes an appearance, I think...