Recording Under the Influence is a recurring self-titled feature where we ask artists to ignore their musical inspirations for a minute and share what really went into the making of a particular record. Since we’re not quite sure what the hell’s driving the twisted pop tunes on Cerulean (the full-length debut of Baths, available now on Anticon), we went straight to the source: multi-instrumentalist Will Wiesenfeld, who shared the album’s ‘philosophy’ and the strange stories behind a handful of songs. Not quite what we usually get from this feature, but we’ll take it!
While Rob Smoughton was an early member of Hot Chip (he’s now their live drummer), the multi-instrumentalist/singer spends most of his time revisiting yacht rock’s golden age with Grovesnor. Originally a synth-spiked solo project, it recently expanded to a six-piece band in time for some touring behind Smoughton’s first proper LP, Soft Return. The following mix is as essential as the DJ sets of Smoughton’s Hot Chip mates, with selections from Tortoise, Talking Heads, and some serious garage rock scorchers.
Photos by Bryan Sheffield
Words by Kory Grow
“Singing always felt like a concussion, and I got a lot of migraines from doing it,” says Malefic, the mysterious man behind the atmospheric black-metal group Xasthur (pronounced zas-ter, like disaster). “Sometimes I wonder if it has caused some damage to my head and my memory. If there was any right or wrong way of doing this, I’m sure I did it wrong.”
As of this past March, Malefic has stopped worrying about his art affecting his physical health. He has decided to end Xasthur after 14 years, releasing a final record (Portal of Sorrow, out now on Disharmonic Vibrations) and returning to life as suburban Los Angeleno Scott Conner, ex–black-metal musician. “I’ve been saying I’m sick and tired of [Xasthur] for too long…and now, I’m going to back it up,” he explained in a blog post. “There are or have been literally 18,000 black-metal bands; it does not matter if there’s one less.”
We sift the ‘net for today’s top stories so you don’t have to…
According to a report in Cleveland’s Plains Dealer, Harvey Pekar—the alt-comics icon best known for his graphic novels Our Cancer Year and the docudrama-inspiring American Splendor—was found dead of unknown causes this morning. His longtime wife, Joyce Brabner, discovered Pekar’s body at around 1 a.m. in their Cleveland Heights home. He was 70.
Since details of Pekar’s death are slim at the moment, The Onion‘s A.V. Club shared some of the following classic TV/film clips as a tribute to his work and, well, his genuine brand of not-giving-a-shit what people think about him or his views, even if that person is David Letterman. While the Late Night host doesn’t appreciate Pekar’s prickly opinion of NBC’s parent company, General Electric (“You are terribly impolite,” he says in one interview from 1987), we can certainly appreciate the blunt honesty of one of Cleveland’s most beloved curmudgeons.