Music » In Rotation

Ono cofounder P. Michael on soul singer Billy Stewart

Plus: Lamont "Bim" Thomas of Obnox on Cleveland’s rock riches, the Reader's Luca Cimarusti on a bizarre record from the star of Teen Mom, and more


The terrible dance-pop record that Teen Mom star Farrah Abraham made three years ago has achieved an unexpected sort of notoriety. - DENISE TRUSCELLO/GETTY
  • Denise Truscello/Getty
  • The terrible dance-pop record that Teen Mom star Farrah Abraham made three years ago has achieved an unexpected sort of notoriety.

Luca Cimarusti, Reader music listings coordinator

Turnstile, Nonstop Feeling This Baltimore tough-guy hardcore band took an unexpected turn on its new record, channeling horrible sounds from the late 90s and early 00s that you were fine forgetting. The big touchstones for Nonstop Feeling are 311 and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the band emulates them with chunky, solid-state riffs, bouncy rhythms, high-pitched rapping, and smooth, mellow choruses. The record even opens with a fucking DJ scratching. I've listened to Nonstop Feeling pretty much every day of 2015, either because I like it or because I can't believe it's real.

That Awful Sound This podcast, which started in November, presents intellectual but often alcohol-fueled criticisms of the music its hosts liked "before we knew any better." The dudes who run it are a little younger than I am, so some episodes have had to span ever-so-slight generation gaps—I've never heard the band Aiden before, but I laughed out loud at my desk when host Alexander Edward referred to one of their videos as a "pretentious shitfest."

Farrah Abraham, My Teenage Dream Ended In 2012 the star of 16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom, and Backdoor Teen Mom made this poorly executed and supremely misguided record of Auto-Tuned Kesha-style electro-dance radio pop and was almost universally panned. Since then, though, the album has become notorious as a genius bit of avant-garde outsider art. One of the harshest, weirdest things I've ever heard.

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


P. Michael, cofounder of art-rock band Ono

Billy Stewart, "I Do Love You" and "Cross My Heart" One of my all-time favorite singers. Stewart had a way with a vocal phrase and a wicked melodic stutter-scat style. His compositions and lyrics are minimal and barely there: simple phrases repeated over and over, with male post-doo-wop background singers providing deep-soul call and response. But most important is the fluid guitar—soulful, muted, and rhythmic, it works in perfect combination with the drums. The guitarist was often my cousin Pete Cosey, later known for his out-there playing in the electric Miles Davis band.

Michel Legrand, Les Demoiselles de Rochefort soundtrack Been loving this for long time. It's a very French movie musical that tells a strange story. On the surface it seems to be about love, albeit a tragic love, but it has a subplot about a twisted serial killer loose in the town. The soundtrack mixes big-band swing and orchestral sounds that vary from upbeat Latin to severely melancholy. I often play this while driving to work. It always lifts my spirits.

The mixtape I listen to at work Some highlights: "Burn Hollywood Burn" by Public Enemy, "Que Bueno Boogaloo" by La Lupe, "A Good Year for the Roses" by George Jones, "Cherchez la Ghost" by Ghostface Killah and "Tical" by Method Man, "I'm Bleeding Now" by Obnox (cut from the same wicked cloth as Andre Williams), and "Agharta" by Miles Davis (with cousin Pete on mind-blowing guitar).

P. Michael is curious what's in the rotation of . . .

The proud city of Cleveland, which spawned the Pagans, the Dead Boys, and Pere Ubu, among many others - TOM BAKER/FLICKR
  • Tom Baker/FlickR
  • The proud city of Cleveland, which spawned the Pagans, the Dead Boys, and Pere Ubu, among many others

Lamont "Bim" Thomas, member of Obnox, This Moment in Black History, the Bassholes, et cetera

Funkadelic Aside from the recorded masterpieces—the first four LPs in particular—Parliament/Funkadelic has a legacy filled with miscalculation, misinterpretation, and misrepresentation. The future of one of the greatest rock 'n' roll bands in American history was marred by bad business decisions. Bernie Worrell was playing concerto recitals at age six. Hell, Billy "Bass" Nelson and Eddie Hazel learned guitar from Hazel's cigar-smoking, butter-knife-slide-playing grandma in the projects. How real is that?

Numero Group Working in a Columbus record store, I learned about obscure singles on a small local soul imprint called Capsoul. Nearly ten years later, a Chicago label compiled a digest of the best Capsoul recordings—that was the Numero Group, and I've been collecting its stuff ever since. The label continues to reissue lost Ohio gems—records I've walked my entire life to find. And after hanging with DJ John Kirby, I can honestly say that Numero knows its shit!

Cleveland rock When I moved to Cleveland I was aware of its punk tradition (Pagans, Dead Boys, Pere Ubu), Jamie Klimek's Velvets bootlegs from La Cave, and Rocket From the Tombs' WMMS boot. But shopping the bins and hanging out at shows helped me pick up on metal (via Auburn Records), the early hardcore scene (New Hope Records and later After Hours), and today's hardcore movement (Non Commercial and Saucepan). I could go on! There's even a pressing plant in the city again.

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