A Reader staffer shares three musical obsessions, then asks someone (who asks someone else) to take a turn.
Luca Cimarusti, Reader music listings coordinator
This Heat, Deceit This 1981 experimental postpunk masterpiece recently got a fancy vinyl-reissue treatment that I’ve been having a really hard time keeping off my turntable. Its insane blend of heady noise, heavy rhythms, damaged freak-outs, and beautiful ambience has influenced pretty much every band you like—but nobody has come close to replicating it since.
Paiste 2002 Black Big Beat cymbals In the wake of this year’s NAMM—also known as the National Association of Music Merchants show—my drum-gear geekery has just hit its annual high. This time what’s got me drooling is Paiste’s newest cymbal line: the classic 2002 cymbals, whose beautiful shimmer John Bonham made famous, are given a new hand-hammering pattern for the Black Big Beat series that adds a darker, more earthy and complex tone. I’d happily trade in all my cymbals for just one.
The Other One This 2015 Netflix documentary details the long, strange trip that’s been the life of Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir, following this humble and far-out dude on his seemingly endless journey as the anchor of one of America’s most prolific bands. Even some hard-core Dead detractors I know have gushed over how excellent and inspirational The Other One is. And if you’re anything like me, after watching it just once, all you’ll want to do is trek to San Francisco to hang out with Weir in person and hear his endless LSD-soaked tales of what it was like spending 30 years as Jerry Garcia’s right-hand man.
Luca is curious what’s in the rotation of . . .
Tom Kenneally, co-owner of Pressure Group, drummer of Torture Love
The Uranium Club, An Exploration in Humanity This record was originally released as Human Exploration on a tape harder to find than a police dashcam video, but I finally was able to cop the LP version from a different label’s distro. The music and visual aesthetic remind me of my current favorite influences: Imagine the Mekons and Pink Flag-era Wire on trucker speed holed up in Akron, Ohio.
Gang Starr, Step in the Arena I usually reach for Moment of Truth when it’s time for Gang Starr, but lately I’ve been drawn to the mellow sound of their 1991 sophomore LP. Guru’s flow runs tandem with the slight swing of DJ Premier’s MPC, maintaining a seesaw balance between playful rhyming and bang-your-head boom-bap. My introduction to this duo was through old 411 skateboard videos, and they still motivate me to get out there and eat shit in front of teenagers on a regular basis.
L.O.T.I.O.N., Digital Control and Man’s Obsolescence As I began digging deeper into the scum world of experimental noise, I stumbled upon a band whose hardcore-punk structure and influence coalesced around an industrial platform. Vocalist Alexander Heir crams cruddy, overdriven guitars and trash-can drum sounds through a digital food processor. It’s like walking by a crusty with a malnourished sympathy dog and realizing it’s actually Trent Reznor. This record’s mechanized dystopian police-state propaganda fetish makes it sound like the future forecast by The Terminator. It confirms my belief that New York City will always be the worst place on earth.
Tom is curious what’s in the rotation of . . .
Jordan Reyes, co-owner of Moniker Records
Genocide Organ, Obituary of the Americas Everything Genocide Organ has put out is worth owning. Obituary of the Americas is another banger from four of the most consistently engaging voices in noise and power electronics. According to their press release, Genocide Organ spent four years digging in the filth (both criminal and the more literal kind) of the Americas. The album is a terrifying but poignant critique, exhibition, and maybe even exploitation of danger and maliciousness. If you’re anything like me, it’ll make you feel awful, and you’re going to love it.
High Rise, Psychedelic Speed Freaks If you like a certain sound from a band in the U.S., odds are there’s a band in Japan doing it better. The title says it all: High Rise are what would happen if you crossbred the Stooges and Timothy Leary and strapped six jet packs onto the child. This 1984 live record is unrelenting and pummeling—it makes you want to give up music ’cause you’ll never play anything with half the attitude and chops.
Sapphogeist, Sapphogeist I recently bought Sapphogeist’s monster debut from Jason Crumer’s top-notch mostly noise label, No Rent Records. Anyone following Zoe Burke, sole mind behind Sapphogeist, will know her work as Cheetah from power-electronics project Reverse Baptism. Sapphogeist is a paradigm shift, though, with a backbone in straight-up pop songwriting. Danceable but with unflinching lyrics and a penchant for requisitioning the mainstream, Sapphogeist will have skin in the game for best release of the year.