Wednesday, December 13, 2006

2006 Year End Survey | Nest Material

Two members of Burlington's Nest Material, Ben Hedstrom and Tanner McCuin have passed along their faves of the year. I once described Nest Material as a "cross between the mellow atmospheric technicians of Tower Recordings and the dadaism of Sun Ra." And I'm sticking with that description. You can decide for yourself by visiting their myspace site.

In addition to playing keys in Nest Material, Tanner also writes Highgate which is one of the more entertaining blogs in Vermont. That's why we weren't surprised when we received his excellent list below. Be sure to also check out Tanner's recent post about the re-mixed ending of Charlie Brown's Christmas.

Ben also plays in a band called Pink Bacon but I can't find a link for them. So, you'll have to track them down for yourself.

From Tanner McCuin:

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

"Love Comes to Me"

Chills every time i listen to this; I've been waiting for a long time - since Master + Everyone, for Oldham to get back to the heart; and on "Then the letting go" he does. Was there ever any doubt? But with typical Oldham style, he returns, but never retreads. This time around, there is the accoustic guitar, and his voice, but also Dawn the Fawn, and Iceland. What a novel idea, that in the hands of a lesser song writer, would fail under it's own weight, but that is where Oldham proves his strength (i always knew it was there...) he sounds broken, diseased, hopeless, brittle, and ancient, but behind his voice and between the lines of the lyrics, there's nothing but hard, burning energy.

Someone asks me almost everytime i listen to him, "how can you listen to this sad bastard?"

I've never been so enlivened and encouraged by an artist, ever.

And the lyrics - fevered questions on love and god -

"When the numbers get so high, of the dead flying through the sky, oh i don't know why, love comes to me." and when your mouth is laying op' your head knocked back, and you don't cope, your'e out of rings and flowers and soap, love comes to me."

(you know what, fuck it i'm writing them all down);

"love comes to me; love comes and all, its my hands my heart my lips, and that is all."

and the best line:

"When the fever, hits your forehead again, and intrusive mice, chew up your bed, and you call on God, but God is dead. Love comes to You."

Did i mention the chills?

or maybe it's cause this year more than the rest i've been asking myself why love comes to me as well.

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

What a difficult question to answer - 2006 had quite a few shiners for me; Most obvious a new BPB that sees him going back to his whispering roots, but ratcheting up the theatrics w/ strings and female accompaniment, defiantly some of this years best songs are on that album, but there are also a few clunkers that keep it from being the best album. This year's best album came out earlier and a little from the left field, though in retrospect i should have seen it coming. A couple of years ago i went to see The Mountain Goat at the Crocodile club in Seattle, and was blown away not by John, but by the opening act, "Black Mountain" - a sort of full band side project of "The Pink mountaintops"' Steve McBean. They rocked, and rolled, all over the crowd, and after figuring out just who they were, i was amazed. The Pink Mountaintop's first album came and went without much interest by myself, not that it was all that bad, but it wasn't all that good either. Reguardless, Black Mountain, was a killer album, and was in my top 10 of 2005 - though for whatever reason, i wasn't expecting a whole hell of a lot when a promo copy of "Axis of Evol" showed up at Pure Pop. I was pleasantly suprised by what i heard, so much so, that even, almost a year on, i still listen to it regularly.

"review part"

Ok, what can i say about this album - First off, disclaimer: There are more original albums from last year, there are more Avant albums from last year, there are more fun/dancable albums from last year, but there are no albums in my mind that have the right combination of all those aspects in one album. Each of Axis' seven tracks is an important component to the whole of this album; there is absolutely no filler here. The slow stoned malaise of Comas fades off and we may be left to think... i get it, stoned strummed guitar, yep ok... but then in comes the jesus and mary chain'd high end hiss, and McBean states almost reluctantly "Go..." and the whole thing becomes something altogether unexpected. Unexpected, but still so stoned, chugging lowfile bass runs up and allover the stomp and chug of the drums and the almost a little too drunk guitar strumming... But the best part, is the projector "beep" on the upbeat at the end of every measure... so brilliant and simple.

Whats next?

Oh, hmm, drum machine - kind of gnarly. Oh nice - more stoney, Velvets meet Sonic youth guitars, and a chorus "Tell your momma gonna stay out late tonight" - this was fun, and if we were drinking wiskey, i could probably dance to this, or at least fall over to this. And after i fell over, hit my head, and the world started to spin out of control, i could listen to "Slaves"

Easily the meanest, killer-est track on this album, summing up the whole, head full of Jesus and acid, end of the summer/dream, Dread and Manson, fear and neo-cons, Hippy nightmare Mcbean seems to be channeling. The drums pound out a caveman like loping rhythm while fuzzed out guitars and synths bend and snake all over the place, slowly boiling the pot while he stirs his lyrics in a fuzzed out high pitch drawl, against a backdrop of barely there "la la la la la la la la's" and jingle bells; The whole effect is of some dark ritual, and makes me want to smoke pot really bad. (but i don't anymore.)

but i'm on the floor, now my head isn't spinning anymore, and i can get up and sit on the couch, light a fag, and relax.

"Plastic man you're the devil" brings back the countrified clean guitar, and takes the tension down noticeably, it seems, he can finally express his distress with lyrics like:

"The suckers are playing with corpses, to the marching drums, flying low in silver bombers, under the heat from our troubled sun"
"And i wish i could save you, cause goddamn I'm a peace loving man, but plastic-man you're the devil, you just couldn't understand"

McBean seemingly comes to the conclusion, and resolves his dread, w/ "yeah yeah, you can't phase me, I'm living outside, I'm free. however, i he seems quite phased to me.

The ever present electronic buzzing, static, and hissing needs to be made note of at this point, as almost ever track features some form of dirty, post-industrial sound contamination - and whether this was intentional (i think it was.) or not, on repeated listening it adds soooo much to sonic palette, drums clip out out and distort, guitars sizzle and wretch; Mcbean's vocals are almost never clean, and the whole thing reminds me the jesus and mary chain's innovated use of distortion, echo and reverb; or white light white heat era Velvets.

On no track is this sound damage more evident and more masterful than on "Lord, Let us Shine" McBeans joyfull, neigh triumphant, plead to... well, Jesus. The Drum machine is back now, blown the fuck out, and the guitars are all buzz and fuzz; the high ends are all in the red, and McBean comes rolling in w/ the chorus, asking the Lord, if he would let us shine, would he be so kind? I have to laugh, cause it's so awesome - cmon jesus, let us shine you fucker. The Song positively jumps w/ joy, with a hopping bass and drum figure and the lyrics sing of Mcbean's accomplishments to the lord

We've been singing, with Jesus
in your house of love
We've been sending dead flowers
to the devil's son.
From the moonships,
to the stargates
under a desert sky
we wander the badlands
beneath the evil eye.

The song finishes we a rowdy chorus of "laaa, lalala, lalala, la la la la's" and a whole wall of casio's shredding and ripping up the place... and then


except for some distant repeating noise, we're at the end of the night, or it's morning, and that beep and boop is whats left over in your blood from the night before; i dunno - but it's just McBean, in a canyon of reverb; w/ his accoustic and he's wondering now, pleading, actually, for Jesus, to tell him, what he believes, and if he can tell us, how to get free.

I'm listening, shit yeah i wanna get free.

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

Nest Material at Art Hop? Can i say that?
Sure, i was sooo drunk though i hardly remember it, i had the worst cold ever, and decided to kill it with wiskey. except that i had my korg on my lap, and i was sitting cross-legged, it's not the heaviest synth in the world but when i got up after the 40 minutes or whatever, i had shooting pains in my hamstrings and groin muscles. That's rock n roll. Sorta.

I actually had the most fun when we played the firehouse that rocked!

Best show of the year for me though? YAHT or The Blow, or whatever they were calling themselves. They played at the Greendoor, or rather, the gave the greatest Powerpoint presentation ever, at the green door. Awesome and so very nerdy.

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

Finally being able to afford to buy the records i used to sell; going to the dentist for the first time in 8 years.

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

For humans to realize that nothing is intrinsically connected, and that that is a good thing. I hope.

From Ben Hedstrom:

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

'Getting It Wrong' by Sparklehorse

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

Rather Ripped by Sonic Youth

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

Christina Carter @ Green Door Studio in Burlington

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

Playing in Oakland with the Blades of Grass

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

To get an album done, which was also my wish for 2000-2006

You can order Nest Material CDs through their myspace site.

Bonnie "Prince" Billy Love Comes To Me Buy
Sparklehorse Getting It Wrong Buy
Nest Material My Ship Begins to... Buy


the le duo said...

I'd have to second Tanner on best show of the year- but not just Nest Material @ Art Hop- all the bands-

Tmoore said...

thanks for the kind words ... sorry bout the book ;D

Flatlander said...

Art Hop was the same weekend I was at my parent's 50th anniversary party. It sounds like I missed the show of the year in Burlington.

Tmoore said...

Yeah it was a killer evening fo-sho.
Every band that packed it into the greendoor patio played a memorable set.