Jordan Richardson (aka avant pop artist Son of Stan) had the distinction of playing drums for both Ringo Starr and Ben Harper before deciding to lay down his sticks and begin the walk toward the front of the stage. Music history is littered with artists’ misguided forays into solo status — but Richardson will not be counted among them. His music owes as much to glistening 80’s pop as it does to a more modern and chillier pop aesthetic, and through Son of Stan, he is able to cohesively match up his love of these sounds. On his latest album, Divorce Pop — out now via Wizardvizion — he and producer Adam Lasus (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Yo La Tengo) tackle pop’s sordid history and come up with a sound that traces its lineage through the radio hits of the 80’s and on up through its recent mainstream renaissance.
With the help of Emmy-nominated director Daniel Stessen, Richardson recently filmed the video for Divorce Pop-cut “Noxeema,” and it’s every bit as pop-curious and art-damaged as you might expect. Taking its cue from his album’s title, the video begins with Richardson completing a divorce filing for two people before unceremoniously getting run over by those same two people. We’re then taken to watch a version of The Grind dance party in heaven, ending with a young green-skinned alien boy watching all of this on his TV. I would describe it in more detail, but in all honesty, it’s something you really have to see for yourself.
Richardson also sat down and wrote a bit about some of his favorite records for Beats Per Minute. From the Michael McDonald-guesting Aja by Steely Dan to the sex romp of Beck’s Midnite Vultures and on to Das Racist’s Shut Up, Dude, he takes us on a guided tour of his influences and inspirations. Check out his full list below in the latest installment of our On Deck series.
So I tell my friends all the time when they ask what are my top 5 favorite albums (or songs or movies or farm animals) that that is one of the most stressful questions for me. I’m not exactly sure why. I can be pretty opinonated about the things I like and the things I don’t like but I think I have an allergy to rankings. That’s probably why I was always psyched to get like 7th place or something terrible at the Elementary School Track meet. I think the color of ribbon for 7th place is like off-white. I was stilll pumped up though. Anyways, I’m excited and up for the challenge this time. These aren’t necessarily my top 5 end-all-be-all albums of all time because I’m not quite sure if I could ever confidently make that list, but these are certainly the solid contenders for “top most important albums to me right this very second as I construct this list” list! Here goes! *Also, it should be noted that ‘The Fat Boys’ was the first album I ever owned.
Ok, this one is easy for me. This definitely, consistently has been my favorite album probably since High School. Steely Dan is my favorite band as well. Aja is the first album that I remember hearing at a very early age, streaming out of the speakers of my dad Stan’s late 70’s Toyota Celica. Like a lot of people’s favorites I think, this album speaks for my memories as much as my musical tastes. Every note of it reminds me of being a little kid and thusly some awesome trip to Six Flags or specific GI Joe. Nostalgia is a big part of it for me on this one. From a musical perspective, though, I could listen to these smooth jams on repeat for hours (and I do). This record created a lot of my foundations as a drummer and paved my way for musical nerddom. Aja has my two favorite drummers on it (Bernard Purdie and Steve Gadd), and they are just one of those bands that completely connects with me. I understand the love/hate relationship with this band that people have. I’m on the love side for sure. The standout track to me is “I Got The News”. Michael McDonald gets nice as shit on the background vocals on it!
This record is another no-brainer for me for the list. I’ve listened to this record more than any other record (except for maybe Aja) and its probably been the most influential. Beck has always blown my mind for the ability to consistently write incredible songs that cross genres, from album to album and song to song. This is the one for me though. To me, this is the peak of Beck as a funk/r&b/hip hop mad man and that in turn is my favorite because I tend to prefer music that has soul and sex and swing at its core, and this does all that but it’s Beck’s fucked up sense of irony and humor that puts me over the top about the record. It’s genius art that transcends just being music. That always goes a long way for me. “Nicotine & Gravy” is the standout track on this album for me. The way it chaotically spins out of control in the pre-chorus is almost nauseating and then turns on a dime into the hookiest and funkiest breakbeat chorus. Its perfect. Also, the show I saw on this tour was my favorite concert ever, pretty much. They all got into bed and rose into the rafters at the end. Mind blown.
When my roommate, aka Emmy-Nominated Director Daniel Stessen (who has also directed my music videos) first showed me “Who’s Dat Brown” I sort of lost my mind. It had been a long time, personally, since I fell in love with a hip hop record and Shut Up, Dude definitely re-lit my flame that I had once had for rap music. What really got me hooked was their connectivity with the ridiculousness of the “hip” generation. I totally love to celebrate any time the actual coolest people come along and totally shred “the cool people” to pieces. To me, Heems and Kool A.D. are like Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde on weed (laced with other stuff probably). I had a girlfriend one time that told me she didn’t like music that had humor in it. I knew the relationship was over then. “You Oughta Know” and “Rainbow in the Dark” are two of my favorite songs of all time.
In case anyone was wondering, I really really like dancing to disco music. No one was wondering. James Murphy is a hero. He’s the most talented. He writes the most personal songs of introspection and party. He produces other artists and makes everyone slam. He is not super skinny. I look up to him like few other contemporary artists and on his/their first record he’s just destroying it all. I hate to assume, but I feel like there is always some magic spark when people who have previously been seriously involved in other ventures make their own “first” records as solo artists. You can hear the frustration and reaction to whatever came before and at the same time, its so bold and optimistic. James Murphy is another dude that tells the conventional notions of hipness to fuck off. It’s the ultimate party record and its filled with substance. There is no filler track and its dance music with guitar amps, real drums and analog gear. I hope LCD goes into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame someday. “Losing My Edge” is my favorite poem ever written.
This record came out 3 days before I’m writing this. It’s my favorite record of the past year and it will probably be amongst my favorite records of all time. Dev Hynes is my favorite producer right now and I’m a total sucker for “producer records”. His first record pulled me in fast a couple years ago and it was one of those albums that led me to believe that the second record would be a masterpiece and it is. In a parallel universe, this is the music that is being played on R&B pop radio. The album plays as a complete work, like a Pink Floyd album, and it makes me feel mysterious and takes me somewhere else. I’ve listened to it 10 times in 3 days and they wont stop anytime soon. I gifted it to my sister who loves classic R&B and she has totally similar feelings about it. I want to play a show with him more than any other artist going…maybe Chairlift, but they’re on this record too! “Uncle Ace” into “No Right Thing” is an incredible transition and they are my two favorite songs on the album as well.
My honorable mentions:
Pink Floyd – Animals
Janet Jackson – Control
Tears For Fears – Songs From The Big Chair
Primus – Sailing The Seas of Cheese
Prince – Dirty Mind
Stevie Wonder – Innervisions
Son of Stan’s latest album, Divorce Pop, is available now on Wizardvizion.