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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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Devo - Duty Now For The Future
I think of Devo as a satire of the human experience. They walked a very treacherous line between trying to break the status quo and become the status quo. But when I was a teenager I didn't think any of this, I just thought: "What the fuck is this?!" I have no idea what appealed to me about it other than the sheer strangeness. Duty Now was the second record I owned, the first being Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!. I owned two bootlegs of their early material but can't remember if I got them before or after Duty Now For The Future.

When it came out I lived with my dad in Fairbanks, Alaska. We would spend two weeks in the bush working on my dad's cabin and two weeks in town. I sat in my stepsister's bedroom and listened to it over and over again while she did homework. She was very patient, but eventually got me some headphones.

Before I moved to Chicago, I worked on a road crew laying asphalt in rural Illinois. I had this fantasy of a tour bus pulling up and Mark Mothersbaugh sticking his head out and saying: "We know you, come with us." Years later when I met John Herndon [Tortoise drummer] I found out that a version of my fantasy actually happened to him as a teenager. He was playing drums in his dad's basement in L.A. and Mothersbaugh stuck his head in the door and gave him a thumbs-up.

Ultimately, I think Duty Now For The Future is a better album than Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!. It doesn't suffer from sophomore slump because they had all the songs for both albums before they made Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!.

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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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