Meat Wave drummer Ryan Wizniak on a deranged 1978 synth-pop masterpiece | In Rotation | Chicago Reader

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Meat Wave drummer Ryan Wizniak on a deranged 1978 synth-pop masterpiece

Plus: Meg MacDuff of Bleach Party on a record so danceable it has its own energy drink, the Reader’s Luca Cimarusti on a long, strange film about the Grateful Dead, and more

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A Reader staffer shares three musical obsessions, then asks someone (who asks someone else) to take a turn.

The Grateful Dead in 1970 - CHRIS WALTER
  • Chris Walter
  • The Grateful Dead in 1970

Luca Cimarusti, Reader music listings coordinator

Long Strange Trip With a running time just shy of four hours, this brand-new, comprehensive Grateful Dead documentary certainly is a long, strange trip. It leaves few stones unturned, covering highlights and dark lows from the band's 30-year career through recently unearthed live films and behind-the-scenes footage. You also get a pretty good idea of exactly how much the members of the Dead loved taking LSD. Long Strange Trip would probably be a really great starting point for new Dead fans ready to take the plunge—and it might even win over naysayers who could benefit from a change of heart.

Ben Koller's YouTube channel Best known as the next-level drummer for technical hardcore legends Converge and heavy-metal weirdos Mutoid Man, Ben Koller occasionally straps a GoPro camera to his chest before a show and uploads the footage to the Internet. Koller is an unstoppable force, and his percussion acrobatics are even more astonishing when you can watch them from the driver's seat.

Early-80s King Crimson Most Fripp fans prefer the edgy, whimsical, early-to-mid-70s incarnation of groundbreaking and mind-­numbing prog pioneers King Crimson, but lately the early-80s version of the group, fronted by Zappa and Bowie alum Adrian Belew, has really been speaking to me. Its funky, complex songs, chock-full of hilariously dated sounds (Simmons pads and Chapman sticks, oh my!), indulge in a bit of lighthearted postpunk fun that the band had never tasted before . . . and hasn't since.

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

The cover of Gina X Performance’s Nice Mover
  • The cover of Gina X Performance’s Nice Mover

Ryan Wizniak, drummer of Meat Wave

Uranium Club, All of Them Naturals I imagine that Uranium Club is an incredible band to see live. Their restless energy and hyper­precise musicianship pair wonderfully with their gleefully cynical sense of humor. They definitely scratch that Devo/Paper Mice/Ex Models itch. I love it.

Decibelles, Tight I haven't been able to stop listening to this album since Meat Wave played a show with Decibelles in Paris in May. Within its first two tracks, Tight goes from in-your-face, sarcastic postpunk to a whimsical, aggressive pop song about a little girl who thinks she's a fish—this trio covers a lot of ground. The vocals are a cut above too; it's rare to find three-part harmonies from bands playing music in this realm.

Gina X Performance, Nice Mover Wow! This originally came out in 1978? #mindblown. Well, I guess hearing it late is better than never. Someone should write a book listing all the reasons this isn't one of the most famous albums of the past 50 years and publish it as a true crime novel. Bad jokes aside, Gina X Performance's deranged synth-pop/new-wave masterpiece is one of the most refreshing records I've heard in ages, and I'd like to take up space in this fine publication to formally apologize to my coworkers, who'll be hearing this every night they work with me for the foreseeable future.

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

Prince Rama - COURTESY THE ARTIST
  • Courtesy the artist
  • Prince Rama

Meg MacDuff, guitarist-vocalist in Bleach Party and Montrose Man

Prince Rama, Xtreme Now I first saw this sister duo at the Hideout in 2014—they're like a sci-fi psychedelic synth-pop Madonna, ethereal and extremely danceable. Taraka and Nimai Larson have it all figured out: performances, stage costumes, dance routines. Their shows sound exactly like their albums, so I highly recommend checking them out. Xtreme Now, released in 2016, is a go-to when I want to get pumped. Prince Rama released an energy drink to complement the album, but it was $20, so fuck that shit.

Car Seat Headrest, Teens of Denial I was hooked from the guitar intro of this album's first track, which sounds like an homage to Guided by Voices. I learned about Car Seat Headrest in a party conversation about the worst band names we'd ever heard, but I finally caved and listened—the music feels like a mix of Cake (might be the horns), Beck, and Weezer. Will Toledo went from bedroom recording to playing with a band in a studio—and made one of the best records of 2016.

Heavy Hand, Prerapture Era These bobcats from Milwaukee are solid as fuck—one of the nicest bands I've shared the stage/floor with. You can tell their new album, Prerapture Era, was cut at Electrical Audio: Chris Roberts's drums sound huge, Isa Carini's bass lines are colorful and tight, and Anthony Weber's voice has never sounded better. Heavy Hand throw an annual benefit show called Bitterfest in Racine, Wisconsin, where this year they raised roughly $3,000 for the Women's Resource Center, which helps domestic-abuse victims.  v

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