Hey hey hey! This episode of Protonic Reversal features a talk with the mighty Craig Wedren of Shudder to Think, we talk to Craig about:
-Hacking the Polaroid Spectra.
-My 90s (new book and photo show)
-Analog vs. Digital in very specific incidents.
-Making unique videos, such as the X-French T-shirt one
-The label that picked Hit Liquor to start the album???
-All Hits on Planet Shudder
-Improvising a vocal chorale.
-Putting your best glam foot forward on the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack.
-Higher and Higher.
-How to bring the various quadrangs of your art to the others.
-Group songs in a solo context.
-Bassassery or Bad-assy
and lots, lots more!
Conan Neutron’s top records of 2018:
1. Tropical Fuck Storm – a Laughing Death in Meatspace (TFS Band)
2. Lung – All the Kings Horses
3. sewingneedle – User Error
4. Screaming Females– All at Once
5. Hot Snakes – Jericho Sirens
6. Body Futures– Maybe It’s Just the Weather
7. Poster Children – Grand Bargain
8. Christian Fitness – Nuance the Musical
9. Haunted Heads – Everything We Agreed About
10. TONGUE PARTY – Looking for a Painful Death
BLAHA– Survival Climb
The God Eaters – Fading Horizons
Gouge Away – Burnt Sugar
WORK – Strictly Cruis’n
Mister Dude – Party Tape
The Messthetics – s/t
Dale Crover – Fickle Finger of Fate
(the) Melvins – Pinkus Abortion Technician
Lung – Bottom of the Barrel
The Hand – When All Of The Shit Hits All Of The Fans (The Hand Vol. 3 & 4)
I listened to a LOT of records over the year, but these were the ones that that I listened to the most. And at some point, you have to just let the train leave the station.
I’ll put the links below
I’m sure I missed a few, that’s fine. The point is: there’s a ton of amazing music out there. Go listen to it! And I guess, like the show’s FB page if you support this kind of deep dive.
Note: this is slightly different from the best of 2018 show, which was a team effort and will be a different post
1. Tropical Fuck Storm – A Laughing Death in Meat Space
Absolutely powerful stuff. Great songs with incredible left turns. Moody, claustrophobic and staggeringly self aware, like a sentient computer raised on Bill Hicks comedy specials, Howard Zinn, Black MIrror and Twin Peaks. I heard this blind, knowing nothing of any other or previous bands and loved it. Maybe you will too? It’s a hell of a ride. Possible record of the year.
RIYL: the pAperchAse, Dead Rider, Leonard Cohen, the Knife
2. Lung – All the King’s Horses
LUNG are back with a new album. You’ll never believe that a band with just Cello, vocals and drums can sound so full. Propulsive, Heavy, tuneful and thoughtful. Incredible lyrics, powerful arrangements and songs that stick with you for long after you stop listening.
The only problem is they have a very unique sound, which isn’t always rewarded. I need you to trust me when I say that this is WELL worth your time and one of the best records of 2018.
Bonus: a timely David Bowie cover.
3. sewingneedle – user error
Remarkably acrobatic musicianship paired with gorgeous harmonies. Musically, sewingneedle can hold their own with the fiercest noise rock band, yet there is melody and harmony. What madness is this? Great songs, great repeated listenability.
RIYL: jawbox, slint, Polvo, Chavez, Shudder to Think, Shiner.
4. Screaming Females– All At Once
Probably the best Screaming Females record yet… totally rips. A consistently great and hard working live band delivers their go-to record on record, what. 7? Not counting the live one. Incredible. These’s an adventure rock song on here and a song that legit sounds like it could be played as a prom. (I mean that as a compliment.)
As an aside, this is one of the records on my list that was probably most widely heard, yet wasn’t on that many lists. That’s really dumb. It’s great!
RIYL: Dinosaur Jr. Pixies, Silkworm
5. Hot Snakes – Jericho Sirens
Hello! Do you live under a rock? Yes? Ok! This is the long awaited 4th record by the formerly dead, now living rock quartet HOT SNAKES. It’s fueled by the riffs of John Reis and the vocals of Rick Froberg. A certain magic happens with these two powerhouses together. The music is an inheritor of bands like the Wipers and Crime, while bringing some of the academic polyrhythms/punk-prog of Drive Like Jehu too. It’s exactly what the Doctor ordered.
6. Body Futures – Maybe it’s Just the Weather
B-52s and Shudder To Think superhero team-up, Dismemberment Plan covering the New Pornographers. Whatever! Body Futures play music as unique as their name, it’s catchy it’s angular and it’s absolutely vital. Let’s get down to it boppers.
7. Poster Children – Grand Bargain
First Poster Children album in years and it’s an absolute corker! Intelligent lyrics, catchy riffs, hooks for days and frantic energy are all on deck. Music for the modern revolution. RIYL: Buzzcocks, Sonic Youth, Talking Heads, Husker Du
8. christian fitness – nuance: the musical
Nuance makes heavy use of strings and adult arrangements? (not pornography, you understand.). There aren’t any “candle in the wind” style ballads, or any regrettable ska numbers, but after 3 rock-solid, rockers certain to please fans of mclusky and fotl. This one is different, denser, & a little more challenging. Delivered with a smirk of sardonicism and a twinge of dystopian theatrical heights. There’s a lot here, but it keeps me coming back to listen regularly. Fantastic album.
9. Haunted Heads – Everything We Agreed About
Unforgettable hooks, raucous riffs and superior songwriting. In a different time Haunted Heads would be the darlings of the indie rock world. RIYL: Built to Spill (at their least jammy!), Sebadoh (at their most stable) and the Thermals.
10. TONGUE PARTY – Looking for a Painful Death
Minneapolis purveyors of the heavy come through with their best effort to date! Bringing forth the boundless energy of KARP along with a mid-period AmRep sensibility, Tongue Party’s brand of relentless touring and hard work has resulted in their most badass and immediate record yet. Learning Curve Records
HONORABLE MENTION 1: BLAHA – Survival Climb
Mike Blaha of the Blind Shake has a hell ass rock quarter, this is their most raucous to date and it’s sure to please those that like their rock both wiry and engaged. Worthy of a listen to anybody interested in the cross roads of post-punk and garage rock.
HONORABLE MENTION 2: The God Eaters – Fading Horizons
the pride of Marquette Michigan come out with another ep of noise rocky solid rippers! Ferocious, Precocious and that’s my prognosis. RIYL: Minutemen, Vaz, The Big Boys
HONORABLE MENTION 4: WORK – Strictly Cruis’n
WORK are back, w/a tight new slab of some serious rock ‘n roll. (Well, not so serious if you consider the song titles… ) nevertheless, wry wordplay, clever songwriting & an intent to bring the damage w/ rock solid rhythms and hooky leads are on deck. Fans of the Minutemen, Spoon at their brattiest & loudest, Obits, & early ZZ Top can get stoked. This is ROCK music (ROCK, all caps, just like the band name WORK.) coming from a punk place. It’s well worth your time. Gotta gotta get to the show!
HONORABLE MENTION #5: Mister Dude – Party Tape
WHAM! Mister Dude upside yo’ face. Deep feeling good about bad time jams, with some heavy Octave radness from two of the fellas from Police Teeth. The rock pedigree of SEMINARS, USS Horsewhip, etc. is as notable as the music itself. It’s a fun listen and a damn good ride. Party Tape indeed.
HONORABLE MENTION #6: The Messthetics – s/t
Killer instrumental goodness with one of the best rhythm sections of all time, Joe Lally and Brendan Canty of fugazi. Guitarist Anthony Pirog may not have the same level of punk rock notoriety, but he more than makes up for it with a level of acrobatic guitar exploration that rivals some of the greats. A great starting position for a worthy and notable new band. RIYL: Nels Cline Singers
HONORABLE MENTION #7: Dale Crover – The Fickle Finger of Fate
He’s not just half of the core of the Mighty Melvins, he’s not just the drum genius who makes things happen with me in Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends, he’s a talented songwriter, guitar player and singer and this is totally and completely worth your time! Cool songs, a little more classic rock than you might expect and worth a listen. Check it out, chocky. Awesome, vibe-y record with hidden hooks.
HONORABLE MENTION #8: (the) Melvins – Pinkus Abortion Technician.
Mo’ Melvins! Long may they run, some fun covers and Don’t Forget to Breathe is one of my favorite Melvins songs in years.
HONORABLE MENTION #9: Lung – Bottom of the Barrel
What? Lung again? Yup.
Frenzied and furious Cello, Vocals and Drums badassery. Absolute earworms that comes at you from an aggressive punk/post-punk place but has an incredible sense of melody, hooks and purpose. This is legit plus stuff and I can’t think of a single band they really sound like. Just get it.
it’s technically 2017, but on the 2018 list for a technicality. Whatever! it’s still a great record.
HONORABLE MENTION #10: The Hand – When All Of The Shit Hits All Of The Fans (The Hand Vol. 3 & 4)
Mysterious, elusive and irresistible, the HAND has done more than any band since the Residents in putting together a band image that forces you to judge them on the merits of the music. It’s quite the feat! However, I will say that this is zak sally, karl tebeest, and dale flattum. Zak played in Low and Enemymine, and Dale played in Steel Pole Bathtub, Milk Cult and Novex. Anyway, that’s a lot of front loading, this is raucous and hooky noiserock that can simultaneously evoke the Birthday Party, the Velvet Underground, the Melvins
The HAND pull off a very special thing, by making all of their releases very limited edition and HYPER unique, hand made and limited edition. It’s easy to tell that multiple members of the band come from the world of comics, because this is a world to be invited into.…
Well, hello there! Guess what? You bet it’s another episode of Protonic Reversal! This week, Conan and Josh talked with the legendary Bob Bert, drummer for Lydia Lunch Retrovirus, Jon Spencer and the HITmakers, Pussy Galore, Sonic Youth, and many more! We talked about:
-Touring more than ever before
-Playing shows with Jon Spencer again
-Getting the proper “junk” for the kit
-Starting the tour without knowing the songs
-Meeting Pussy Galore
-The guitar skills of Jon Spencer
-The night-and-day difference between the HITmakers and Retrovirus
-The dream gig with Lydia Lunch
-The encyclopaedic Weasel Walter
-Getting to know the Melvins
-Bad Moon Rising
-Setting up the first Sonic Youth European tour
-The historical wonder of Youtube
-Being there for the glory days of Max’s and CBGB
-Playing a better “Nature Scene” than Jim Sclavunos
-Bewitched opening for SY on the Goo tour
-The Action Swingers and the Chrome Cranks…
Well hey, hey there Protonic Reversal devotees. Time for another episode, Steve Albini is back with us after a 106 episode break. Conan and Steve talk about:
-Steve inadvertently ruining the “perfect run” of 9 continuous guests for the 100th episode of Protonic Reversal (not out of malice)
-Winning the World Series of Poker (and why that might not be as impressive as it sounds)
-Why recording records is still satisfying.
-Fluffy coffee shop
-A story of two competing magic shops
-Thoughts on the internet equalizing things for music.
-How this helps those passionate about music as opposed to those passionate about profit.
-The hive mind as a filter.
-The internet as a discovery tool for lost art.
-Nick Drake’s mother.
-Pegboy play South America
-Streaming Services and the next logical progression of decentralization.
-“how do you stop something that doesn’t store anything?”
-Longevity in studios = flexibility
-dislike of meritocracy as a term.
-the value of record stores are the maniacs that work there
-On hating nostalgia the first time
-On the lack of appreciation of nuance and allegory in past compositions
-Specifically: Prayer to God
-Appropriation of past art and public figures for political end
-the mind opening power of punk rock
-You don’t make anything better by assuming your audience is stupid and dumbing down
-Kindred spirits with the devout.
-Making records with people who also record at home or in unorthodox ways.
-Who gets told “no”?
-Fleetwood Mac (and the like) helped create punk rock
-Overdubs and Harmonies, and how they can be life lessons.
-Who would Steve most like to record?
-Rerecording In Color by Cheap Trick
-The End of Radio is the end theme song for Protonic Reversal, the ideas behind the song.…
It’s Jeff Pinkus of Butthole Surfers, Melvins, and Honky! It’s an episode of Protonic Reversal.
What more do you need to know?
Greetings protonic friends, time again for a thrilling new episode of Protonic Reversal. Today is Mr. J.D. Pinkus of Butthole Surfers fame, he also plays in the Mighty Melvins, Honky and has recently released a solo banjo record called: Keep on the Grass. Interview starts at: 14:40
Conan and Jeff talk about the following topics:
-Keep on the Grass, the story behind it and the involvement of Danny Barnes (bad livers)
-different sequences for different formats
-the concept of the full length In general
-the cassette comeback
-Pinkus Abortion Technician
-joining up with Buzz and Dale because of Jared’s impending fatherhood
-picking BHS songs for a Melvin’s set
-Paul Leary songs
-the incredible depth of the Melvin’s catalog.
-different lyrical approaches.
-lots of headphone listening of Chicho music
-live interpretations of Melvin’s songs and arranging the songs for two basses.
-playing with Steven McDonald
-bringing the “creepy old man” vibe to the Melvins.
-playing bass with fingers (a study in contrasts!)
-using a Dark Glass amp from finland
-opening for Sleep with a banjo set
-432 tuning frequency
-playing Rebel Girl by Bikini Kill in Melvins w/Teri Gender Bender
-Daddy Longhead, Skinny Leonard, then Honky
-the double edged sword of Butthole Surfers not listing credits in the records
-Playing with Helios Creed on Activated Condition and the journey of making that into a record.
-half machine lip moves talk
-trash talk about Lenny Kravitz
-On joining the Butthole Surfers and making those classic records.
-drugs and cycles.
-Buzz doesn’t do drugs and probably shouldn’t.
-the Butthole Surfers chapter of “Our Band Could Be Your Life” is total bullshit.
-working with John Paul Jones on Indepdnent Worm saloon and playing banjo on “ballad of naked men” while he plays bass!
-Being a mixture of Steve Martin and Dean Martin.
-banjo as a songwriting tool.
-Hairway to Steven, pictographs haven’t translated well for the iTunes age.
-taping fire ants to cardboard and sending them to Chicago “a Texas Trip”
-cockroach snuff movies with Jem Cohen
-talking with Ian Mackaye about weed expenditures
-Double Live BHS, a self released bootleg.
-is it wrong to be weirded out by the fans of your band?
-The band name Honky, and how that can (and has been) misconstrued. Different times and all.…
Howdy there, friends and well-wishers of the Protonic Reversal, and welcome to another fine program! On this episode, Conan and Josh got to chat with Sam Coomes of Quasi! We talked of so many things:
Interview begins at 10:53
-recording with Jon Spencer
-contrasting music and lyrics
-playing in a two piece, and solo
-being ill-prepared to start a tour
-the timing of switching keyboard patches
-playing with Jandek
-the three B’s: Ballads, blues, and brutal
-not being a session man
-playing favorites and covers in the set
-keeping Quasi fresh and why
-learning how not to resent the popular back catalog
-Hot Shit!/writing political songs during “Shock & Awe”
-keeping honest in songwriting
-musical rapport and confidence
-the role of a producer
-having confidence in your vessel on tour
-being where you were trying to get to…
(stream and download – Episode 124)
Josh is out this week. The band WORK returns for a Labor Day weekend tour and Protonic Reversal appearance, their new record Stricly Cruis’n is out and that means it’s time to get loose and talk about such things as:
-Kavi’s move to Austin and his annoyance at traffic and delight at Queso
-Shane Hochstetler and Steven Drozd
-The story behind Strictly Cruis’n and the art by Jason Abele
-ZZ Top and Jazz records
-Where does Taco Bell get their food ideas/The Burger King on Brown Deer Road
-band or fashion label?
-end album “jams”
-Pronunciation is key.
-Joe shaved! To match the pictures of the band closer.
-One of the most memorable shows Jeff has ever seen… at Landmark Lanes, a bowling alley.
A lot of songs are played off of the new record and good times are had.
(stream and download – Episode 123)
Hola, amigos! Welcome to another sweet sweet episode of Protonic Reversal! I know it’s been a long time since we rapped at ya, but we’ve got a great episode here with the one and only Toshi Kasai! We chatted about tons of stuff, like:
-the California fires
-Working with a wide variety of bands
-Building a relationship with Melvins
-the secrets of Sound of Sirens
-How to prep for recording
-Coaching the vocalist
-Getting kidnapped by Big Business
-Altamont (the band)
-Networking via playing live
-the platinum records in the bathroom
-Analog vs. digital? Who cares
And much more! Or maybe not much more, but many more words in between. Whatever! It’s a really fun conversation, so we encourage you to enjoy it!
Interview begins shortly after the 17 minute mark
Well, well, welcome to another episode of Protonic Reversal! Conan and Josh had fun chats with (separately) Mike and John from Tar! First up was Mike, with whom we discussed such whimsy as:
-A 25 year gap between radio call-in shows
-Getting back into show shape
-Picking songs for the set
-Aiming for Barry White, settling for KC and the Sunshine Band
-Being on Amphetamine Reptile, Touch & Go, Dischord AND Sub Pop
-Tar’s Static and Jawbox’s Static
-Cuddly scene beef with Poster Children
-Sharing a bill with Kyuss
-Fitting in on AmRep
-Various lost arts of record buying and making
-Being on T&G to remain control
-Page Hamiltron trash talk
-The effect of Tom’s arrival on the band’s songwriting
Then we got John on the line, and talked about:
-The disastrous last tour of Tar
-Writing the last album
-Picking songs for the reunion sets (yeah we asked him too)
-Being satisfied with the end of the band and getting back together
-Treating the vocals like any other instrument
-Guitars what are made of metal
Some circuitous topics, yeah? It was a fun conversation, to be sure! Have yerself a listen!
Tar – Barry White
Tar – Land Luck
Tar – G7
Shellac – End of Radio (end theme)
Globetrotting punk rock documentarian John Yingling, of The World Underground, back in the U.S. for a limited amount of time comes back to Protonic Reversal after a 70 episode, and 3 1/2 year break. We speak of all things documentary, talk about his recent work in Indonesia and future plans for short missives, as well as the next chapter in the World Underground and everything to come. Culture shocks coming back to modern America PK14, All that and a hell of a lot of great music from abroad.
Hiperson – Football Game (Chengdu, China)
Dirty Fingers – School (Shanghai, China)
Lonely Leary – Flaneur (Beijing, China)
Grrrl Gang – Bathroom
hedge hog – Meng Ba La Na Xi(勐巴拉娜西) (Jogja, Indonesia)
Hello, dear friends, and welcome to another episode of Protonic Reversal! On the day after Jesus’ birthday, we talked to the amazing Jeff Mueller (of June of 44, Shipping News, and Rodan!) and discussed such topics as:
-When your kids see you play
-Relearning via Youtube
-Being a NYC band that draws in Italy
-Packaging as part of the overall art project
-Having and ditching nautical themes
-Meeting social media friends in the real world
-the disappearing DIY aesthetic
-How certain bands don’t get the success they should have
-“Five thirty in the morning happens a lot over there”
-The Shipping News and Jason
-a commonality of experience
-Principal riff writers
-Using the “In the Fishtank” approach on your own records
-Stencilling anything for the merch table
-Distributors hate weird packaging
-The still dire state of record pressing
-Investing the time in finding new music
-Cycles of rediscovery
Interview around 14 minutes in.…
Double the guests, double the fun! As Conan and Josh have on Joe Cardamone of the Icarus Line and Michael Grodner, filmmaker beyond the upcoming (sorta) biopic: The Icarus Line Must Die.
17:05 Michael Grodner
57:10 Joe Cardamone
-The Jim Jarmusch Black and White Aesthteic.
-It’s not a documentary
-darkness following the band.
-relating to creative pursuits
-art vs. commerce, subtly
-Jerry Stahl’s book-on-vinyl
–Dirty Laundry (TV!)
-the Hell of fundraising vs. actually making a movie.
-Starting the film having no idea what was going on
-Dialogue that sounds like one person (aka: Sorkin-speak)
-Gimme Danger the movie: a missed opportunity
-Some Kind of Monster: Best thing ever
-Music’s marketability and it’s inextricable ties to youth culture
-not taking advantage of making a “comeback”
-Eastbound & Down
-Scott Weiland’s death and the last Icarus Line’s last show
-Getting real life in the movie
-Metallica in a Bob Log style
-How to get to the solo record
-“Do whatever you want. No one’s going to hear it, who gives a fuck?”
-Sounding good next to Gucci Mane…
Hello, summer people! It’s time to put away the sweaters and break out the shorts, and while you do all that shuffling about with your damned laundry, you should listen to this great episode of Protonic Reversal! Conan and Josh welcome back to the show Rick Valentin, of Poster Children and Thoughts Detecting Machines! We talked about such things as:
-there’s nothing wrong with writing music of its time
-putting out a record from your basement…again
-DIY and PledgeMusic
-the album as a complete package
-packaging multiple items/bundling
-members of Fugazi actually selling merch
-avant-garde smart-ass humor
-sequencing an album
-rejecting digital perfection and “Keeping in REAL”
-working with Albini after a 25 year gap
-changing songwriting techniques
-a record of songs vs. a “production”
-making a pocket band
-doing all the wrong things at the right time
-fully baking the half baked ideas
-a long digression on TV
-building autonomous community on the internet…
Hey hey hey!
it’s Andrew Elstner of Dead Now, and formerly of Tilts, Torche, Riddle of Steel and more.
He speaks of leaving Torche, the passing of Ken McCray, moving down south, boutique pedals. Putting on a show. It’s a whole thing.
Did you know that the original theme song for this show was a Tilts song?
Yup. He’s also a returning guest. All the way back from Episode 3. Holy moly! that’s 114 episodes ago. OK!…
Well met, all! Welcome once again to the home of the Protonic Reversal! This week’s guest was friend of the show Andrew Falkous! It’s always a blast chatting with Falco, as you can see by the list of topics we touched upon:
-All the Bongs, Vol. 2
-the binary of “California” and “Not California”
-pissing around until something good happens
-the story of a band vs. the quality
-the demented husks of humanity, at least they’re having a good time
-making the music is the most fun part
-the Cardiff post office
-Morrissey needs limits
-”proper music” (said with disdain)
-the misplaced optimism of the doomed
-”Of Wolf and Man”
-the future kings of Spain
-Halliburton: Radio Nope’s biggest listener
-parenthood and living in London
-the French are very attached to smoking
-the skill of further alienating a bad audience…
Well, hey, hey! Seattle’s The Bismarck come into the Protonic Reversal studios to crack wise, run schtick and every once in awhile provide some deep epiphanies at being a long running band that is prone to hilarious and heartbreaking disaster.
Howdy, all! Tonight’s special guest on Protonic Reversal is the legendary Keith Morris! Conan and Josh, delightfully, barely get a word in as Keith tells us all about such things as:
-Keith’s “turn” to write a book
-The Decline of Western Civilization Part XVIII
-Picking opening acts
-Taking opportunities when presented, or not
-Jeffrey Lee Pierce
-Early punk rock scenes
-the end of the Circle Jerks
-the beginning of Off!
-Playing festivals to build a new audience
-Getting the friends and family discount at the hotel…
Well, hello! Welcome to another fresh eppy of Protonic Reversal! Conan and Josh are thrilled to talk with their guest, Rose Marshack of Poster Children! While Rose attempts to interview them just as much as they interview her, much is discussed. Such as:
-Meta podcast referencing
-the origins of Radio Zero
-the pkids listserv community
-kids think nickelback is funny
-the epic story of Li’l Pump
-Conan’s Milwaukee conversations
-serious geography discussion
-driving and biking and efficiency
-writing the new record
-time signatures and drum terminology
-being an unwilling booker surrogate for Fugazi members
-aluminati and other basses
-Gram the Stickman
-Doing everything in a par
-Josh and Conan: How did you get into punk rock?…
Welcome, once again, to the Home of the Protonic Reversal! Today’s guests are in the studio, even! They’re Body Futures! They’re great! We check out songs from their new record “Maybe It’s Just the Weather,” and chat about:
-KISS/Infowars crossover lyrics
-Stone Temple Pilots Talk
-that sound that Goofy makes
-efficiency with riffs
-making the record sound big/gettin’ weird
-getting way inside baseball on the vocals
-a decent amount of murder
-the album title, anxiety and catharsis and indie rock about indie rock
-Scott Stapp is still ready to fight
-More Comic Talk
-bands with the same name
-the best part of being in a band is definitely marketing
-people in their thirties that haven’t seen Gremlins
-suggestions for the next movie for Body Futures to write a song about
-naming movies after unrelated pop songs
-the African Anteater Ritual
-the home life of Peter Weller
-What’s so wrong with Friend Rock City?
-EVEN MORE COMIC TALK
-people love a schtick
Ep111: Dave Catching (Rancho De La Luna, Earthlings?, Eagles of Death Metal, Desert Sessions, Queens of the Stone Age)
Once again, it’s time for the Percolator, and Protonic Reversal! Actually, it’s always time for the Percolator, but never mind. This week, Conan and Josh got on the ol’ phone once or twice with Rancho De La Luna’s Dave Catching! The fun, wide-ranging conversation was about, amongst other things:
-the Joshua Tree scene/weather report
-Rancho and busy times
-the Rancho recording experience
-Poppy and Harriet’s
-the Splattering of the Tribes
-No Trespassing. Seriously.
-Any band can make great music
-Arctic Monkeys and Mark Lanegan
-the Fun Machine
-More organs than seats
-Being lucky enough to enjoy playing shows and not losing money
-Eagles of Death Metal: Always on tour
-Finding a Flying V in a closet
-Paris and Le Bataclan
-U2 doing some really cool shit
-Seven songs in 25 years
-Working a relaxed schedule…
Protonic Reversal welcomes you (and us) to 2018! We kicked off this year with a great guest, Marissa Paternoster of Screaming Females! Conan and Josh had a great conversation with Marissa, and when we weren’t bonding over our love of one Stephen Sowley, we were discussing such topics as:
-the Bong Cyclone
-Mistaking Louisville for Michigan
-Playing the out-of-the-way towns
-Seeing Skrillex’s emo band in New Brunswick
-Punk being more than just music
-Wanting Conan to own up to everything being about Modesto
-Finding your forever band
-Curating your own media intake
-Playing leads, not talking shreds
-Shirley Manson singing “Jigsaw Feeling”
-Sowley in a suit
-Making a live album
-Touring having not changed so much
-Lance Bangs and Bad Grandpa
1. Oxbow – Thin Black Duke
2. Lardo – Sinking
3. christian fitness – slap Bass Hunks
4. Mountain Goats – Goths.
5. SEMINARS – Pricks Die Young
6. Magpies – Annex
7. Crystal Fairy – s/t
8. Dead Rider – Crew Licks
9. Out – Swim Buddiess
10. Fever Ray – Plunge
1. Palm – Shadow Expert ep
2. Power Trip – Nightmare Logic
3. Maximum Busy Muscle – s/t
4. Bon Air – the Blue Line
5. Fox Face – Spoil + Destroy
6. Radioactivity – infected/Sleep
7. Julie Byrne – Not Even Happiness
8. Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory
9. God Eaters – Xuma
10. Arto Lindsay – Cuidado Madame
all numbering relatively arbitrary
Josh #10: arto lindsay – ilha dos prazeres
Josh: Danger Lady, this is fantastic, very much in the vein of what his recent solo career has been like. It’s this very odd combination of the Brazilian music he’s been playing for a number of years, but he’s still doing weird atonal guitar and he’s singing more melodically but it still sounds like Arto Lindsey. So there’s definitely an experimental edge to it… he played in Chicago… a few months ago with the Beauty Pill and it was just incredible.
Conan: Oh, I thought you meant he played in the BAND Chicago. I was like: where’s that record?
Josh I’d pay good money for that.
Conan “huh, they took an unexpected left turn on that one!”
It was an amazing show and this is a relaxing and romantic kind of record, which you wouldn’t necessarily expect.
Conan #10: Fever Ray – This Country
Conan: Number 10 for me is a band called Fever Ray, which is 1/2 of the Knife. This is the second Fever Record, I really love the first one it’s a weird, moody, messed up record. I dig it a lot, I dig this one as well, it’s kind of more of the same. I know some people that listen are super not down with Electro stuff or anything remotely that isn’t guitar bass and brash drums and stuff.
Josh: Geez, they are going to hate a lot of my countdown.
Conan: But I think everything that she does is wildly innovative and interesting. We talked a little bit during the break about that last the Knife record. It’s a harsh listen, but it’s awesome and I love that for a band that became so popular off of what was a very simple electro-poppy song with universal appeal, they just say: “ok, that’s done, we’re doing this now!”. I feel to a lesser degree perhaps, the same stuff happens with the Fever Ray material. I like that her viewpoints are LITERALLY written on her face for this record.
Fever Ray – This Country
Josh #9 god eaters – Signs of the Times
Josh: number 9 is a band we’ve discussed previously, as we’ve definitely played with them, seen them recently and they played Conan’s 40 birthday Party, the God Eaters.
Conan: To be perfectly clear, they would be on this list even if it was not for all of that friendship and cross pollination.
Josh: Oh yes, the friend rock, the only reason there are so many friends on this list is that that is what I listen to. That doesn’t have any affect on how amazing they are, and how much you should check them out.
Conan: Yes, this record kicks ass, this would definitely be on my list as well… I guess it would be a conflict of interest, because they play with *ME* as well. But I love it too.
Josh: Oh, don’t doubt that next year when we do this the Body Futures record will probably be on mine.
Conan: Right, so the God Eaters, it’s your pick… but one of the things I like about them is that they are a difficult band to describe. In mood and feel they remind me of the Minutemen, without sounding that much like the Minutemen.
Josh: Yes, and we were talking about this just recently so if you do listen to the show on a regular basis you will have heard something that sounds just like this. It’s how their sound is psychadelic in that it becomes enveloping, and there is some of that with the Minutemen as well. That there is so much going on with so few elements, but there is a lot happening within it. I feel like they echo some of that. Although they sound nothing like the Minutemen at all. It’s the precepts.
Conan: It’s a hell of a record, I’m sure they’ve already outdone it at this point. This is Zuuuma… that’s how you pronounce it right?
Josh: I would think so.
Conan: Hopefully it’s not exzema. Maybe it’s excema?
Josh: maybe, but the song we’re going to listen to is called Signs of the times.
Out – Wound Up.
Conan: This is a record, I feel was very popular amongst our circles, but needs to be heard by more people. It’s most of the band Minutes, but they should be given due difference on their own. It’s the band OUT, or OOT of you are Canadian.
This is off a record called Swim Buddies, because I guess hanging out and going to the pool or the river or something is at thing people like to do right?
Josh: Sure! They seem to like doing it.
Conan: Yeah! They like it.
Josh: But yeah, they discussed a little bit of our lists beforehand and…
Conan: NO DUPES!!! NO DUPES!!!
Josh: Exactly, we’re trying to get as many different songs out to you as possible, but they certainly would have been on my list. They are a fantastic band, they have a TRIUMPH.
Conan: Yes, they have a triumphant aspect to what they do… it comes from the fugazi/hoover-esque DC world, but there is definitely an element of what they do that… especially when they are all singing together… excuse me… SANGING.
Josh: Sanging! Sanging those unison vocals.
Conan: It’s a good record man, all the songs are pretty rock solid and there are some fist pumpers. This is put out by former guest of the show Jon Solomon.
Josh: friend of the show!
Conan: others have said it more eloquently myself, but to reiterate, this would have been on both of our lists if not for the NO DUPES rule.
Josh #8 Vince Staples – Homage
Josh: Number 8! I am still woefully underinformed when it comes to modern hip hop. I try my best to keep up with it, i’ve got some friends that try to keep me up with it. This is one that really stuck with me. Vince Staples, big fish theory. Just has a real fresh, awesome, noisy, weird fun sound. He has great flow. his lyrics are fantastic, there’s a real unique thing going on here. I listen to this one a lot.
Conan #8 Dead Rider – The Listing
Conan: my number 8 is from a little band from Chicago called Dead Rider. This is yet another in a series of records that… A good friend of mine once said: “I don’t know how music like this is made by humans.” i’m inclined to agree.
Josh: I feel that way about a lot of Dead Rider stuff, yeah.
Conan: It’s disconcerting, immediately familiar, but yet suddenly bizarre, everything about this band is just bad ass. This record managed to sneak through without me knowing about it. And suddenly i’m like: I’m in! I’m buying it immediately. Then I just listened to it on bandcamp and didn’t and decided that I really did need to buy it. It’s great, there are a lot of different moods to Dead Rider. It was hard to pick a song, but I picked this one specifically because the last movement has an auction announcer in it.
Josh: they call it an Auctioneer.”
Conan: yeah, yeah… Auctioneer. Thanks, Josh.
Radically unique and interesting band, super awesome… this is the listing!
josh #7 Julie Byrne – i Live Now As A Singer
Josh: My number 7, the album is called “Not Even Happiness” and the artist is Julie Byrne. This is a really wonderful, very mellow, beautiful… not really singer-songwriter thing, it’s there but there are interesting textures going on. The songs are so good, and her voice is so wonderful. I think Acme records had it as their record of the day when it came out, an instagram or a facebook post or something…
Conan: shout out to Acme records!
Josh: What Up Acme Records? Clicked on it on a whim, looked it up on bandcamp… and it’s just great late night listening.
Conan #7: Crystal Fairy – Crystal Fairy
This is a record, I think a lot of people forgot about. The Crystal Fairy record came out really early in the year. This is the collaboration between Buzz and Dale of the Melvins and former guest of the show Teri of Le Butcherettes… oh, and Omar from at the drive in, Mars Volta, and all that.
Josh: oh, sure why not!
Conan: It’s bad ass! To a certain degree it kind of sounds like a Melvins album with Teri singing. I’m totally ok with that. She’s one of my favorite front people period, former quest of the show. This is pretty much a product for me.
Josh: test marketed directly for Conan Neutron
Conan: I was trying to think of there was a way to make this more for me?
Swap out Omar for David William Sims or something?
Josh: Guest appearance by Malcolm Young?
Conan: Yeah! he managed to sneak in a guest appearance before he died. Anyway, this is Crystal Fairy… off of the album Crystal Fairy, with the song Crystal Fairy.
Josh # 6 Radioactivity – Infected
Josh: this is a 7″, not a full length. This is more indicative of the fact that I got into Radioactivity this year. They’ve been around a couple of years. Kind of an offshoot of the Marked Men
Conan: Oh yeah, ok!
Jiosh: so there were two big offshoots I got into… Mind Spiders last year, and this year I was DJing Tony Weber’s art opening at the Black Bird. Tony Weber who is in Heavy Hand
Conan: Who put out a great record this year too!
Josh: he was doing an art opening at the BlackBird and I was DJing and he came by with some records, after putting all his art up, he joined me for some records and one of the ones he played was off the last album and I was like: “What the fuck is this? It’s tightly wound… not really garage rock, got some of that vibe but too well produced. Tight and dry, and fast. It feels like everybody is playing their instruments at the fastest possible tempo all at once. It’s very well united and the songs are catchy as fuck.
Conan #6 Magpies – Next Three Exits
Conan: Next song for me is former guest of the show, very RECENT guest of the show. Hank Donovan’s band Magpies…
Josh: very recent indeeed.
Conan: Not as recent as the last guest, but very recent indeed. Great record! So this is Magpies from Missoula Montana, I think a lot of people slept on this. In fact, I *KNOW* a lot of people slept on this.This scratches the itch of people pining for the more rock based Sonic Youth stuff. That just likes cool, weird guitar rock. Co-ed vocals. Everybody killing it. I like the rest of their stuff, I like everything they’ve done. I think this is the best thing they’ve done.
I think it’s a really great record. That’s my story and i’m sticking to it.
Josh: and that’s the WAY it is…
Josh #5 Fox Face – Toxic
Josh: speaking of recent guests of the show, my number 5 is spoil and destroy from fox face.
Conan: awesome record, picked up the vinyl copy of that recently.
Josh: Super great record.turned out fantastic…
Conan: I wish we could have played more of it on the show when we had them on!
Josh: But now is your opportunity to play a little more.
I mean, you heard a couple songs from it that night if you go back to that episode it’s still there.
but I wanted to play their cover of Britney Spears: Toxic
Conan: oh yeah! it’s pretty bad ass.
Josh: I love it, I love how it’s still obviously that song, but they transform it and make it theirs. It’s a transformative cover.
Conan: first time I heard it, I was like: “what is this? I feel like I know this? OH! It’s Toxic.”
Josh: I think I told this story in the episode, but i’ll tell it again… first time I heard them play it was at a PRF in Chicago and Lindsay says: “I hope you guys likes Britney Spears”, and everybody chuckles they look at each other like: “Why are they laughing? This is serious.” And then they played this amazing song.
Conan #5 SEMINARS – Gaslight / Blacklist
Conan: Alright, we’re only halfway through… calm down
#5 is alive, baby!
He’s got laser lips
That’s his insult to the other robot. Your Mother, Laser lips!
Oh man, i haven’t seen short circuit in awhile.
You know the Indian dude in short circuit isn’t Indian?
Josh: oh yeah, he apparently took that role and did a lot of research to get the accent right. Apparently he put everything into it…
Conan: You could also just hire an Indian dude. I mean that’s probably what I would do, but if you want to do it the hardest way possible and insult an entire culture.
ANYWAY, speaking of insulting!
This is SEMINARS – Pricks die young. Let’s get something straight here people. this is a kick ass rock and roll record, this is mean and hard. If you are into riffs, things that are powerful and immediate and in your face. Songs that get in and get the fuck out. This is your record. This is another one I feel like people should be more hyped on.
Come on people.
This is James from Police Teeth, it doesn’t have any of the Police Teeth pop hooks or anything, but it’s got all those Police Teeth riffs though. SEMINARS has grown into it’s own band, and this is their best record.
It kicks ass, and i’m very pleased to have it on my #5 pick for 2017 play this loud, go break some parking meters and put a brick through a bank window
Josh #4: Bon Air – the Blue Line
Josh: …and here’s another record you should get right now
Conan: number four, you shall adore.
Josh: you should go get all these records right now, spend $10 each on bandcamp i’m sure you can find them all there. Well most of them anyway.
Conan: Click through our buy link to…. no, we don’t have that.
I don’t give a shit about that.
#4 is Bon Air: the blue line.
It’s a hell of a record, it’s good wistful power-pop that rocks harder than that.
Conan: A little Sugar in there… both the sweetener and the band.
Sam does a very interesting thing where he splits his guitar into a bass, he has a splitter and it’s a whole thing where it’s a two piece and it has a bigger sound than that.
You don’t have to know any of that stuff to listen to this by the way.
Josh: It’s true, i’m trying to think of things to talk about. Besides: “This band is real good, I like ’em!”
Conan: It’s real good, I listen to it, you should listen to it, it’s real good.
Josh: I really do love them, the songs are so fantastic and i’m going with the title track. I bring up the power-pop again because a lot of it was home recorded and it sounds fantastic, but this and another song were recorded at Ardent studios, home of Big Star.
Conan: oh yeah! Of course.
Josh: and on this track, Sam actually played Chris Bell’s guitar.
Conan: Well, fuckin’ A.
Josh: and this song is so wonderful… it’s called the Blue Line
Conan #4: Mountain Goats – Shelved
Conan: number 4 for me is a record by a band I dearly love, who quite frankly haven’t put out a record I dearly love in awhile.
Josh: REALLY, that’s interesting.
Conan: This is the Mountain Goats The last record I really loved by them were All Eternal’s Deck, which I thought was fantastic. I thought the last couple were fine, it’s ok.
Josh: I dearly loved Beat the Champ. I thought that was a top 5 record for them.
Conan: It’s got some tunes, there’s a little light jazz aspect to it I wasn’t loving so much. liked the show, loved some of the songs. but the latest record… GOTHS.
Conan: top to bottom bad ass, and also kind of different somehow then anything they’ve done before but also very indicative of what they do.
Josh: Well, there’s no guitars right.
Conan: Yeah, and it’s very much a celebration not just of goth culture, but chosen family subcultures in general.
Josh: Which is not something he hasn’t written about before.
Conan: Yes, but it’s a slightly different way. It’s really cool. This song has a part that straight up sounds like New Order and I never would have expected it from a Mountain Goats record. And i’m totally into it, I think this is something where if you are a casual Mountain Goats record it might be time to check in with this record. I think it’s bad ass and one of John Darnielle’s best and I say that as not a fan of the last couple records.
Josh: Disagree hard!
Conan: Hey, I love the artist. I don’t know what to tell you.
that’s one of the nice things about the Mountain Goats.
I still love the Mountain Goats
There are records of his that other people are particularly huge on that i’m like: “that’s ok. it’s fine” but he’s always a good songwriter and he’s doing different things. If you are inclined to him at all, there’s a Mountain Goats record for you out there and this might be it.
Conan: I think this might be… so this is Shelved, my favorite song off of the Mountain Goats record called: GOTHS.
Conan: that is the Mountain Goats with shelved off of GAWTHS, which is my number 4 slot… some pronunciation right
Josh: that’s what they call them out here.
Conan: Got some gawths going down to the bat cave
Josh: Oh ya! The basement is just fulla gawths, oh boy.
Conan: Oh you got Goths, you gotta spray for that.
Josh: aw jeez.
Conan: You gotta fumigate!
John Darneielle, Come on the show.
Josh: Please, yes, alright… I was going to say that I promise we won’t be this punch drunk but.
Conan: I promise nothing.
Josh #3: Maximum Busy Muscle – Failure
Josh: We’re up to my number 3, it’s Maximum Busy Muscle.
Conan: MAximum… BIZZEEE… Mus-CLE.
Josh: from Athens, GA… we got to see them at a number of PRF events, one of their drummers is Erika of Motherfucker
Conan: conflict of interest of alert. Also: former guest of the show!
Josh: But she’s a later addition to the band, they started as a TWO piece. Just guitar and the drums with Mary, and just evolved into this wonderful four headed thing.
It’s kind of funny, the Motherfucker press line is “fist in the air rock”, this is a total headbanger. Some of these songs… especially this song we’re going to play Failure. Is the protoypical song on the record for me… immediately your head is banging… I’ve got short hair and i’m still doing it!
Conan: “I can’t even headbang properly and i’m still doing it so hard right now!”
Josh: But then there is so much more beyond that there’s so much to listen to with the way the drummers interact, how they interact with Adam on bass. All kinds of crazy shit, so it’s heavy and fun. If you took all the ponderous stuff out of early Don Cab. It just rips! it’s a ripper.
I love this record, i’m so glad that it finally got done and I got a hold of it, and you can get a hold of it too on the bandcamps.
Conan: A lot of what they do kind of reminds me of some of the stuff that Big Business does. In a good way, where it’s a heavy groove but something anchors it and it goes around a thing or idea. I can’t believ eI didn’t pick up this record, I was literally in the room when they got them and I just gapped on it. Cool story.
Josh: Cool story, buddy. Well, I suggest you join the rest of the people and pick up this record. This song is called failure.
Conan: alriiiight, that’s failure off of Maximum Busy Muscle
Josh: It’s a rocker
Conan: Right, if you are into that kind of thing, i’m not… i’m more of a light jazz dude.
Josh: yeah, I bet you are. Is that your next pick.
Conan: Here’s some light jazz everybody!
Conan #3: christian fitness – Bruce Hated Puppies
Conan: I think there’s been a christian fitness record on every best of since I started doing them, I think… i’ll probably get a correction soon. Motherfucker puts out a lot of records, and they are all great! It’s Andrew Falkous, aka: Falco of Future of the Left and mclusky. He’s appeared on the show so many times, I’ve LITERALLY lost count. One of my favorite human beings and artists. This is off the record: Slap Bass Hunks.
Josh: How great is that? How great is that?
It’s pretty wonderful. I feel like if you know mclusky and Future of the left, you know what you’re getting into with christian fitness, but I mean that in a good way. It’s like a pleasant surprise, like being given a cupcake.
Conan: Except the cupcake is incredibly sardonic and shouting.
Josh: that’s cool, i’m still going to eat it.
Conan: “I’m still going to eat you!”
This is a strange analogy.
Josh: In a weird way, but it’s still good
I feel like Flco would probably appreciate it.
Anyway, this is the song on Slap Bass Hunks that is the biggest earworm for me. This is one I invite you to listen to, get on bandcamp…
Josh: Bandcamp is great.
Conan: We love bandcamp.
This is Bruce hated Puppies, off Slap Bass Hunks by Christian Fitness.
Those songs get in… get out… and do exactly what they are supposed to do. As Tony Ash said to me: “What a weird chorus! I love it, but what a weird chorus!”
And he’s NOT WRONG.
Josh: He’s not wrong!
Josh #2: power trip – if not us then who
Conan: what you got next for us? We’re down to the NUMBER TWO RECORD OF 2017!
Josh: as much as that matters… it’s definitely on my top 10 list and whatever.
Conan: People love arbitrary designations, we’ve established this.
Josh: I can’t get used to it! …
12/14 Darren Jackson
Hello, friends, and thank you for joining Conan and Josh for another episode of Protonic Reversal! Today’s guest is Darren Jackson of Kid Dakota, whose album So Pretty is about to get its first vinyl issue. We discuss that, and:
-the So Pretty cover art
-a Low connection
-Shifting production ideas
-Spy mission band recruitment
-Lack of overdub ideas
-Selling the story instead of the music
-How the image fills in the vacuum
-Assessing the Kid Dakota discography
-The lasting popularity of a landmark early record
-Leaving room in the song for the listener
-Recording the new album
-and the next one upcoming!
-When your best album doesn’t catch on
-Getting burned out, recharging and focusing
-An unexpected soundtrack opportunity
-Vietnamese bootleg website…
(stream and download – Episode 107)
12/7 Hank Donovan
Hey, everybody! Welcome to another episode of Protonic Reversal! Today’s guest on the phone with Conan and Josh is Hank Donovan, of Magpies and Rattlesnake cables. Our discussion includes such topics as:
-Finding musicians in a small city
-a college-dependent scene
-Gear discovery problems
-Joining a three piece in progress
-Being a listener vs. listening as a musician
-Unintentionally starting a cable company
-Making cables cool, making something that lasts
-the Rattlesnake brand
-Not trying to hang out
-Tim Midyett’s Travis Bean baritone
-Hank’s Bean journey