Music » In Rotation

In Rotation: Cousin Dud's Dan Schuld on Nina Simone covering Leonard Cohen

Plus: Schuld's bandmate Matt Carmichael on the summer-sexy Ray Elementary, the Reader's Tal Rosenberg on Tim Hecker's mine-shaft music, and more


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  • Jason Bergman
  • Tim Hecker

Tal Rosenberg, Reader digital content editor

Mark Snow The guy who composed the X-Files theme. He's kind of a genius—his score for the show is like Angelo Badalamenti with a broader palette, which probably goes a long way toward explaining why The X-Files gets compared to Twin Peaks so much. Snow's other credits include Starsky & Hutch, T.J. Hooker, Pee-Wee's Playhouse, and three recent Alain Resnais films (Private Fears in Public Places, Wild Grass, and You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet!). Talk about range!

SiriusXM channel 32: The Bridge I was just in LA, and this station was on when I started the car. I ended up not turning it off the entire time I was there. The Bridge might as well be called "San Fernando Valley"—it's a mix of AM pop, soft rock, and the mellower side of classic rock. At one point, my girlfriend and I discussed how cool it would be if Joni Mitchell came on, and next thing you know "Help Me" started up while were driving up the coast in Santa Monica. This station is possessed by the ghosts of OD'd baby boomers.

Tim Hecker The soundtrack for all the bleak weather we've been having. Nothing like listening to pulverizing ambient-noise music while walking around under a sky that's the environmental equivalent of a gas-station bathroom. Hard to pick a favorite, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed "Norberg," a 21-minute live performance recorded in a mine shaft in Sweden.

Tal is curious what's in the rotation of . . .

  • Chicago Sun-Times
  • Nina Simone

Dan Schuld, bassist of Cousin Dud, assistant managing editor at TriQuarterly

Nina Simone, "Suzanne," live at Teatro Sistina in Rome, November 3, 1969 I stumbled across this gem about a month ago on YouTube, and I've been playing it almost every day since. The whole set is worth listening to, but it's Simone's version of Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" that really floors me. I'm always impressed when an artist can cover another artist's masterpiece and make it her own. But what Simone does with this song is beyond taking ownership—she turns it into something sacred, almost human. It's so natural and fluid: the changes in vocal cadence, how she reaches over and bangs out that perfectly flawed melody on the piano, that amazing moment at 4:49 when she sings to the sound crew without missing a beat ("This mike doesn't come on") as if it were part of the song all along. It doesn't get much better than this.

Rob Reid, Prairie Shanties of the Landlocked Mariner I was given this record as a birthday gift last year by a couple of dear friends. The next day, while doing spring cleaning, I threw it on the turntable. The windows yawned, the dogs shot the breeze, the birds whistled their Sunday best—the soundtrack was perfect. I had no idea who Rob Reid was, but he knew a thing or two about me. Right from the first track, "The Man Who Slept Too Long," about a Logan Square Rip Van Winkle who struts down Milwaukee, out of time and out of fashion, I was hooked. Listen to the third track to figure out which type of bird you are.

Bruce Springsteen, The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle I dare someone to make an album like this today.

Dan is curious what's in the rotation of . . .

Mulatto Patriot & Simeon Viltz, Ray Elementary
  • Mulatto Patriot & Simeon Viltz, Ray Elementary

Matt Carmichael, vocalist and guitarist of Cousin Dud, managing editor at TriQuarterly

Mawrcrest These guys are one of my favorite local outfits. With a diverse catalog that ranges from lazy country ballads to fuzzed-out rock, they've got a sound born somewhere in the haze between Ween and the Grateful Dead. I love the guitar tones that lead man Anthony Ferretti can get, and his vocal harmonies with bassist Lena Rush are always spot-on (see "Pete Sven's Sweet Revenge"). They've got a bunch of stuff up on Soundcloud. It's all rad, but "Cookin' Meth," a catchy little instrumental, is as good a place to start as any.

Mulatto Patriot & Simeon Viltz, Ray Elementary I've had this album in serious rotation since it dropped last month. I'm probably going to have this album in serious rotation for a long time. They outfit coffins with stereo systems now, so who knows, I might be like, "Bury me in the navy blue suit and put Ray Elementary on repeat." Mulatto Patriot's production is outstanding. It's funky, it's dusty, it's groovy . . . music doesn't get much sexier than this. Put it in the headphones, and you get this colorful swirl of organs, guitars, and horns swimming around the brain. Consistently great verses from Viltz and a whole stable of guests too. It's been great for winter walks, but it really is an album best suited for hot summer nights. Windows-down, thighs-stuck-to-the-vinyl kind of shit. Someday.

Rookie magazine's "Ask a Grown Man" with Stephen Malkmus The new Jicks album is great and all, but this is probably the best thing Stephen Malkmus is going to do this year.


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