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Baker's Dozen

No Reconciliation Necessary: Doug McCombs' Favourite LPs
Nick Hutchings , July 16th, 2015 13:36

With the prolific bassist and guitarist and Tortoise and Brokeback founder about to release a new album, Works For Tomorrow, with Eleventh Dream Day, he gives Nick Hutchings a tour of his most seminal records

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Earth - The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull
I was peripherally aware of Earth in the 90s as garage minimalism or whatever people called them, you know, the precursor to Sunn O))), but they really came to my attention more recently when they came back with this melody-based music.

Coincidentally, I was playing in Rhys Chatham's Die Donnergötter band and one of the other guitar players said that the new Earth sounded like Brokeback. It was the Hex; Or Printing In The Infernal Method record and I could see parallels. I currently think of Brokeback as a slow surf band. It could be that a slow surf band and a slow metal band that dials back the distortion sound like the same thing.

The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull really impresses me. It surprises me when a band that I haven't paid much attention to does their best thing 20 years into it. Incredible. I get the idea that Dylan [Carlson] operates in a void and doesn't really care about much else. I could be wrong.

Bill Frisell plays on this album - tell us about him?

Bill Frisell is an interesting guitar player and a great choice to have play on an Earth record. He has a jazz background, but tends to weave lots of country, blues and folk phrasing into what he does. Not to get too academic about it. Taking a less academic tack, his playing is kind of ghostly.

The title of this album makes a biblical reference, while Tortoise's Millions Now Living Will Never Die also has a spiritual etymology - how spiritual are you?

I'm an atheist but I try not to be a cynic. My spirituality lies in a belief in nature. There's a Freakwater lyric that says: "There's nothing so pure as the kindness of an atheist."

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ad hominem
Jul 16, 2015 4:25pm

yum yum Dots & Loops is my fave Stereolab too

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Sheila Drummond-Lopez
Jul 17, 2015 3:42am

Great read. Love everything Doug does and the new 11DD is awesome.

One pedantic quibble, Quietus Interviewer: Neil Young WROTE those tunes during his famous fever - he didn't record them.

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Jul 17, 2015 4:43pm

I'm in my early 50s, have tried to listen to Marque Moon about 20 times and I always come away perplexed. Why? Because it is utterly unlistenable and Verlaine's voice recalls a cat being tortured-even worse than Morrissey. It reminds me of the Grateful Dead but worse, if that is even possible. Give me Wire, Killing Joke, early PiL, etc. but for the life of me I just don't get them-like the Dead they can't even write a cohesive tune.

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Jul 19, 2015 6:49am

In reply to ad hominem:

Same here! It’s the grooviest too.

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Kenneth J
Jul 23, 2015 2:36pm

In reply to Ricardo:

The Dead can't write a cohesive tune? Wow.
I refer you (though I doubt you're listening, as it appears you may have a hearing disorder) to "New Speedway Boogie" ~ that might...oh well, whatever. Nevermind.

To each their own.

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