Kevin Warwick, Reader associate editor
CHIRP Record Fair When you see Permanent Records honcho Lance Barresi stepping out to take a breather and “get more cash,” you know there are treasures to be had. And when within minutes of digging, you snag a rare copy of L.D. Eye from Michigan weirdo punks the Crucifucks, you know you’ll get a good haul. Three frazzled hours later, you’ve found the Brainbombs’ Fucking Mess, Zeke’s Dirty Sanchez, and a cheap Megaforce pressing of Kill ‘Em All, and it’s only a dozen days until the next paycheck.
My Disco, Paradise I first caught Australia’s My Disco playing their stripped-down, minimal postpunk at the Beat Kitchen, opening for Young Widows. The trio was touring in support of 2007’s Albini-engineered Paradise, a jagged, bass-heavy pile of bizarre time signatures and eerie negative space. Onstage these guys’ stone-faced thrashing makes them a force of intimidation. Not in the sense that they’re about to pound in your skull—more like they’re lurking in shadows, guttin’ blades in hand.
Baseball walk-up songs I want you to recall that scene in Eight Men Out when the press swarms Shoeless Joe Jackson after he signs an admission of guilt in the throwing of the 1919 World Series, and the wide-eyed youngster looks up at him and pleads, “Say it ain’t so, Joe. Say it ain’t so.” That’s how you should feel every time your favorite ballplayer struts to the plate while “Down With the Sickness”—or a Kenny Chesney song, for that matter—blares out into the sticky summer night. Just remember, that was his choice.
Kevin is curious what’s in the rotation of …
artistic director of the Third Coast International Audio Festival
Phil Smith, “Lullaby” for In the Dark Radio I’d like to think—no, I’m sure of it—that I’d still be remarking on this beautiful song-story, built around a single sentence turned every which way, even if I weren’t in love with those sacred 20 minutes of reading (the same) books to my nearly two-year-old before bed every night. Here it’s the musicality of voice, the repetition of inflection, the sheer simplicity of text, as form marries function and melody haunts—this short semantic deconstruction begins to feel as primeval as a lullabye. Recommended listening mode: Looped.
Free Kitten, Nice Ass What the fuck, Thurston? Kim Gordon’s recent interview with Elle magazine, “Kim Gordon Sounds Off,” sent me straight to my Free Kitten records. Gloriously messy, noisy, brash, raw—they sound exponentially better 20 years later. Recommended listening mode: Vinyl.
Austin Music Map If only there were a way to hear/watch/enjoy Austin’s best-kept musical secrets, band by band, story by story, video by video . . . from anywhere and everywhere beyond Austin city limits. Oh wait, there is: The Austin Music Map, a fine way to spend an hour or two. Or three. Or more. Recommended listening mode: While tapping toes, cold beer in hand.
Julie is curious what’s in the rotation of …
Jim Dempsey, cofounder, Corbett vs. Dempsey gallery
Volume One of the soundtrack to Les Blank’s J’ai Eté au Bal (“I Went to the Dance”) During my tenure at the Siskel Center, filmmaker Les Blank would visit every year or two, and I’d help him sell T-shirts after each program. Since his recent death I’ve been revisiting music he exposed me to through his work. His 1989 film J’ai Eté au Bal (“I Went to the Dance”) showcases the music of French southwest Louisiana, including a rare recording of Walter Mouton & the Scott Playboys. On a Louisiana road trip, I found Mouton at La Poussiere Club in Breaux Bridge. He sat center stage, a cooler of beer on his left and a garbage can of empties on his right, singing, playing zydeco, and drinking as a full floor of dancers floated by.
Teranga Beat I’d heard tales of a Greek artist who traveled to West Africa and scored unreleased master tapes of 70s and 80s Senegalese mbalax from a producer’s house. I finally broke down and paid import prices for a bunch of these albums (on the Greek-owned Teranga Beat label). They’re about the best-sounding recordings of this type of music I’ve ever heard. It feels like you’re sitting in a dark, sweaty Dakar nightclub, clinging to a warm bottle of La Gazelle.
Nardwuar vs. Anybody Though I’m partial to anything with “vs.” in the title, I can’t get enough of Canadian interviewer Nardwuar the Human Serviette. His ability to surprise and disarm a rapper with insanely researched personal information sets the stage for an intimate, vulnerable, and hilarious conversation. Particular highlights are Riff Raff, Odd Future, Florence & the Machine, and Kendrick Lamar.