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On Deck: Faris McReynolds

By ; December 17, 2012 at 8:00 AM 

On Deck is a column dedicated to giving artists some room to talk about what they’re currently listening to and to explore some of their favorite and most influential records.

Faris McReynolds has had a very busy year. Under his ExDetectives and One Finger Riot aliases, he has released four albums this year, with the two most recent, Farthest Star and Fly By Life, having come out just this past month. And apart from his music, he is also a successful painter and visual artist. Pulling from influences as disparate as Scott Walker, Cornelius, and Hindi film soundtracks, McReynolds infuses his music with a playful sense of genre-skipping that keeps it from feeling confined and homogenous. As well as agreeing to be take part in Beats Per Minute’s ongoing On Deck feature, McReynolds is allowing us to run a new track under his ExDetectives moniker. Enjoy the ExDetectives track “Chase It Away” below, as well as McReynolds’ selections in our latest installment of On Deck.

Broadcast – The Future Crayon (Warp)

If you don’t listen to Broadcast, then start. Any of their records have long been in my regular rotation, but The Future Crayon has some of the most gorgeous songs ever recorded on it, and I’ll never tire of this album (it’s actually a collection of EPs and singles). This band was not as prolific or accessible as their musical neighbors (and fellow favorite of mine) Stereolab, but their short career turned a lone album by the United States of America and love for library music into a brilliant, diverse, and unfortunately short catalog. I understand some of these albums are out of print now… That’s crazy, someone needs to get on that. Do it for the kids. Note: on another website I said something about singer Trish Keenan’s cause of death that was based on total hearsay. I’m not a journalist, and sometimes I get “facts” from the internet.

Nadeem-Shravan – Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin (T-Series)

Nadeem-Shravan are well known in India for a string of 90s Hindi soundtrack hits. For me their masterpiece is Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin. My mom gave me a copy of this years back and it’s stuck with me in regular rotation ever since. I recently picked up a copy of the soundtrack to Barsaat that has an obvious nod to both The Monkee’s “Porpoise Song” and “Another Brick in the Wall part II”. Can’t go wrong with that. Half of the music I listen to is Hindi love songs made any time before 1995. After 1995, globalization and cheap technology moved the sound of Bollywood toward generic global pop. Before 1995 the core arrangements were still based on classical Hindi music: orchestra, orchestra plus surf guitar, or casio plus orchestra, which equals the kind of stuff I can’t get enough of. As much as I’d love to tip the hat to Ravi Shankar for the Pather Panchali soundtrack, I have a deeper love of what might be considered kitsch; the classical, mainstream, for-Indian-audiences-only work of Nadeem-Shravan.

Various Artists – Those Shocking Shaking Days (Stones Throw)

A few years back I told a friend that if I had a lot of money I’d go find awesome music from other countries, edit it down, and put it out in the West. Turns out I never made any money, but luckily plenty of other people had the same idea and made it happen. This wonderful collection of 70s Indonesian stoner rock is like the best new hipster band in town, except it’s a bunch of bands who are all long gone and old enough to be my dad. Any of these guys would have been as comfortable sharing the stage with James Brown as with Can, as they weave their roots into heavy, awesome, grooving jams. The fact that these bands worked when and where they did is hard to imagine given how current and relevant this collection sounds. Hats off to Now-Again for another great release.

Tame Impala – Lonerism (Modular)

What can I say about Lonerism that everyone doesn’t already know… It’s amazing. When Kid A came out, every party, restaurant, and bar I walked into was playing Kid A, and that’s what seems to be happening with Lonerism. It’s everywhere I go, and rightfully so. I think what makes this so compelling and downright enjoyable are the basic songs at the core of the heavy production. It’s also worth noting that he sets up a scenario to drag the listener off into the land of pointless ten minute guitar solos, but he doesn’t. Instead he plays it all out for atmosphere, creating some kind of riff-based rock that isn’t somehow all about the guitar. I’m trying to burn out on this record, but the good songs just won’t let go.

Ween – All Request Live (Chocodog)

I understand Ween has come to end, but as noted above I’m short on facts sometimes. My sense of humor and love of musical variety will mourn them forever. About ten years ago they did a live streaming show where fans picked the songs that became All Request Live. This is definitely for the fans, as nothing they play here makes for a good entry point into what they do, except maybe “Tried and True”. They faithfully tear through all five parts of the harrowing “Stallion” series, and my personal favorite, the completely bananas “Pollo Asado”. It’s amazing how well they can render what seem like drugged-out jokes into some of the most fun I have listening to anything. In fact, I’m going to listen this right now. Warning: in mixed company this record will probably clear the room.

Be sure to check out the four albums (Fly By Life, Farthest Star, Take My Forever, Come Drag Me Down) McReynolds released this year under his ExDetectives and One Finger Riot monikers. 

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