Posts by Lily Oberman

Thrill Jockey turns 20

Local label Thrill Jockey has been celebrating its 20th anniversary throughout 2012, with numerous shows and events across the country in Portland, New York, and Los Angeles. Tomorrow, the celebration will culminate at the Empty Bottle with a concert featuring Man Forever, the Sea and Cake, and Tortoise.

Since its inception, Thrill Jockey has supported a consistently fantastic roster of artists, from Tortoise to Daniel Higgs to Boredoms, and you can frequently hear Thrill Jockey releases on WNUR. I contacted some of the label’s artists to see why they think Thrill Jockey is a record label worth honoring, as well as their picks for their favorite Thrill Jockey records.

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Wreck Small Speakers on Expensive Stereos was a New Zealand band comprising Michael Morley and Richard Ram. The group was active from 1980 to 1986, disbanding shortly before Morley’s next band, The Dead C, was formed. Wreck Small Speakers released a number of cassettes in the early 1980s and put out the River Falling Love EP on Flying Nun in 1986, from which “Lots of Hearts” comes off.

Ram doesn’t seem to have done much after Wreck Small Speakers, but Morley has had an extensive career as the vocalist/guitarist for The Dead C (he was also involved with the Tanaka-Nixon Meeting and 2 Foot Flame). Morley has recorded under the name Gate as well, and still releases under that name today, in addition to teaching at an art school in Dunedin.

[Discogs]

Suzanne Langille is a longtime collaborator of Loren Connors, making appearances on some of Connors’ earlier, blues-y works released in the ’80s. “Strong and Foolish Heart” comes off Langille and Connors’ 1999 album Let the Darkness Fall. The two joined forces with David Daniell and Andrew Burnes, of improvisational trio San Agustin, to create the record, which they released on Secretly Canadian. In 2010, Langille worked with sitarist and composer Neel Murgai (who was involved in the group Haunted House with Connors, Langille and Burnes) on her solo album Wild and Foolish Heart.

Langille and Connors released their newest concept album, I Wish I Didn’t Dream, yesterday; the work is a collaborative art/music effort between the duo and WFMU DJ Kurt Gottschalk.

[Discogs]
[iTunes]

Suzanne Langille - Let The Darkness Fall

Michael Rother, probably best known as half of the krautrock band Neu!, has had an expansive career. Rother was in an early incarnation of Kraftwerk, but left in 1971 along with Neu! bandmate Klaus Dinger. After their third release in 1975, Neu! was inactive for a period of time, and Rother put out Flammende Herzen, which features “Karussel,” in 1977. Neu! began recording more material in the ’80s, but none of it was released until 1995, and in the meantime Rother continued to work solo; he also played in the group Harmonia with Cluster‘s Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Mobius (and briefly Brian Eno). Rother has been active throughout the 2000s, too; he joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers for an on-stage jam session in 2007 and collaborated with Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley in 2010.

[Discogs]
[iTunes]

Michael Rother - Flammende Herzen

Scottish post-punk band Josef K (their name a reference to Kafka’s The Trial) was formed by Paul Haig in 1979. The band was friendly with another Scottish post-punk group, Orange Juice and put out their music out on Orange Juice drummer Alan Horne’s Postcard Records, which also put out releases by The Go-Betweens and Aztec Camera). British music journalist Paul Morley dubbed the two groups, collectively, “the sound of young Scotland.”

“Sorry for Laughing” was released on the band’s only studio album, The Only Fun in Town. A year before they disbanded in 1982, the band recorded a Peel session, and Domino put out a best of/rarities compilation in 2006.

[Discogs]
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