Thrift-store and flea-market record shopping There's something about rickety shelves of dusty, tattered albums priced between one and three dollars that makes my heart race. Maybe it's the anticipation of mistakenly buying a third copy of Men at Work's Business as Usual, or maybe I love seeing copies of Led Zeppelin II that look like they've been shot at close range by a firing squad armed with BB guns; I don't know. On my way to Kalamazoo recently, I stopped in Paw Paw at the Busy Bea Flea Mall ("One of Michigan's Largest") and rifled through bins for 45 minutes, only to come out empty-handed, having once again failed to spot a mint original copy of Kill 'Em All.
Everything Pissed Jeans The arrival of a new Pissed Jeans album—say, Honeys, released this month by Sub Pop—usually sends me on a two-week jag through the Pennsylvania quartet's catalog of snarling, Black Flag-influenced hardcore punk. I'm going backward, presently spinning 2007's Hope for Men and biding my time before I thrill the neighbors by repeatedly blaring "Ashamed of My Cum" off 2005's Shallow.
Trouble in Mind Records brunch Sun 2/10 at Saki Cramming a groggy, probably hungover crowd into a stuffy record store on a rainy Sunday at 11 AM seems questionable at best. Offering cocktails, a soundtrack of previously unheard Trouble in Mind cuts, slices of Bang Bang pie, and an initially rocky but ultimately endearing set by Mikal Cronin, though? That's better.
Warwick is curious what's in the rotation of …
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, "Water's Edge" I've been a compulsive Nick Cave fan since discovering the Birthday Party in the bins at Wax Trax! Records in the 80s, but I was initially underwhelmed by the new Bad Seeds album, Push the Sky Away (Bad Seed Ltd.). This is the track that turned it around for me: gorgeous and atmospheric, it combines the quiet introspection of The Boatman's Call with the menace of Your Funeral — My Trial.
Aluk Todolo, Occult Rock Two other musical obsessions of mine are black metal and Krautrock, so this French band that combines the necro-coldness of Burzum with the propulsive motorik repetition of Faust is my idea of heaven (though I'm sure Aluk Todolo would be more comfortable with hell).
Guardian Alien It's probably a terrible idea to plug a group whose upcoming Chicago shows all take place at the same time as my film festival, but Guardian Alien, led by former Liturgy drummer Greg Fox, are just that good. When I saw them play a sparsely attended gig at Crown Liquors a few years ago, Fox hit his kit with such speed and force it literally levitated across the floor of the bar. If you have to miss a screening during CUFF, I'll forgive you if you do it to check out one of their three sets.
The Chicago Underground Film Festival runs Wed-Sun 3/6-3/10 at the Logan Theatre. Visit cuff.org for more.
Wendorf is curious what's in the rotation of …
Christian Terstegge, "Ohrenbrennen" This track appears on a compilation CD included with the book Handmade Electronic Music, a hacker how-to by SAIC prof Nicolas Collins. I've been listening to this one amidst low-hanging clouds of solder fumes. Sine tones controlled by burning candles weave together in rising frequencies. It sounds like wind noise at first, then sirens—and then things get really scary.
Arvo Pärt, "Fratres," for violin, strings, and percussion It's all stinging strings and curlicue melodies that culminate in a section that sounds like Eeyore laboriously breathing, which I mean as a good thing.
Barbara Dane I think I'm late to the party on Barbara Dane, so I wasn't aware of the folk songwriter's long history of political and social activism. In an NPR interview a couple of years ago she recalled a booking agent asking her not to perform with Duke Ellington bassist Wellman Braud, a Creole-American, in Las Vegas in the 1950s: "They wouldn't go for having a white woman fronting a mixed band. I just flat out said, 'F--- you, Charlie Barnett!' And I turned around and walked right out." Well put, Ms. Dane.
Gibisser's The Day of Two Noons screens at CUFF on Sat 3/9 at 9 PM.