Listening Notes, Ultra-Brief (pt. 6)


PICKS

Walter Gibbons, Mixed With Love: Essential & Unreleased Remixes 1976-1986

Gibbons revolutionized DJ culture in the late 1970s, when his reel-to-reel edits and break samples in New York discotheques hit lower Manhattan with the same force DJ Kool Herc was wielding uptown. Two discs worth of edits, mixes, and acetates, encompassing both standard disco thump and minimalist avant-garde. And the dance underground was born - one of them, anyway.

Horse Meat Disco III

No lapse in quality in this third installment from the long-running London club of the same name – in fact, they up the ante by tossing in a second disc of premier “sleaze disco” to compliment the enjoyable mixture of hits and rarities making up disc 1. No turntable shenanigans, no pointless extended mixes, just hedonism on wax. 

NEAR PICKS

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., It’s A Corporate World

There’s an odd mockery of blue-collar life going down here, from the “look at this fucking hipster” band name to stray references to mobile homes. Pretty milquetoast for a couple of Detroit boys, too. Yet they handle themselves ably with a cover of Gil Scott-Heron’s “We Almost Lost Detroit,” and while Gil’s lyrics can’t help but highlight their own deficiencies, this band definitely sports better tunes.

Hotel St. George, Bloodlust

San Diego lads jettison the clean snap of earlier productions for a murkier vibe that provides the preferred backdrop for Matt Binder’s Peter Murphy-inspired vocals. “That’s why I drink every night,” he declaims over heavily-processed guitar echoes, and it’s nice to know he’s got a reason.

BOMBS

William Elliott Whitmore, Field Songs

The guy’s got some good politics. Plus, he boasts prematurely wizened voice, accompanied by banjo – just like Bascom Lamar Lunsford! Also, utilizes clawhammer banjo technique rather than typical post-Earl Scruggs bluegrass technique – just like Bascom Lamar Lunsford! But Lunsford wasn’t being deliberately archaic – he was playing what he knew. Now let’s talk about some of the other ways William Elliott Whitmore differs from Bascom Lamar Lunsford.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Unknown Mortal Orchestra

There’s been a psychedelic revival of sorts trickling out of New Zealand since at least the late 1970s, and near as I can tell, the only thing Ruban Nielson brings to the party is a weakness for stoopid spelling (“Ffunny Ffriends,” let me try to control myself), stunningly long fade-outs, and some satisfyingly lo-fi yet funky drums. The drums I can get behind.