Between his longtime band Disappears, its recent Mark II reboot (FACS), and myriad side projects (Acteurs, Bambi Kino Duo), Brian Case has never been the easiest guy to keep track of. And that’s not even counting dude’s past life in 90 Day Men or his current solo career. Hands in the Dark has embraced the extremes of the latter on a nearly annual basis since 2016’s Tense Nature LP; Case’s latest mind flayer (Plays Paradise Artificial) hit shops last month.
To put all of the above into perspective, we asked the restless musician to make us a special Needle Exchange mix. Check it out below, along with his complete track-by-track commentary….
NICO – PURPLE LIPS
Not sure why ’80s Nico isn’t considered her coolest period. This album is full of vibe-y dark rock songs. Have been unsuccessfully trying to rip this song off for some time now.
CINDY LEE – OPERATION
Cool and creepy. Love the chorus: “Temptation, change your mind.” I’m always trying to find really direct, simple ways of expressing a complex idea; this is perfect.
SONIC YOUTH – HIGH MESA
This is from the sessions for the Made in USA soundtrack, following the release of EVOL, which is one of my favorite records. Great moody, sprawling, open guitar jams that are surprisingly delicate and fragile considering the albums they were between (EVOL into Sister).
NONPAREILS – PRESS PLAY
Sounds like it’s balancing on one leg.
DALHOUS – METHODS OF ELAN
Really lonely and beautiful melodies. It’s like a sketch, but not incomplete in any way.
JUDY NYLON & CRUCIAL – LIVE IN A LIFT
Lots of attitude and expert production by Adrian Sherwood. It kind of sounds like it’s falling apart the whole time, which I love.
WHADYA WANT? – OPEN SPACES
Opening track on the Midnight Snares compilation from the excellent Efficient Space label. Buy all their releases—carefully compiled albums by gifted music listeners and appreciators.
JONI MITCHELL – THE JUNGLE LINE
So weird—my 5-year-old daughter loves this album and is so confused by this song. I love it.
PHEW – SIGNAL
Almost sounds like This Heat right? Can’s rhythm section is holding it all down. Repetitive and hypnotic, I always gravitate towards this mood.
VISION FORTUNE – DRY MOUTH
What happened to this band? Deconstructed and broken; very Liars-influenced, but charming enough to stand on its own. It does this thing I’m always trying to do with songs where you go into some unrelated part but have it make sense.
COCTEAU TWINS – FIFTY FIFTY CLOWN
Perfect song from a perfect album. I love reading about recording sessions and what was going on internally with bands while albums were being made. I love listening to this and thinking about all the paranoia and distrust that surrounded the sessions; the music is so dark but his a high gloss on it. That’s a pretty rare combo, even today.
MAXIMUM JOY – SIMMER TILL DONE
Love how this song stacks and builds.
ORIOR – LARBICO
This whole album is amazing. It’s so intimate and relaxed; it’s like being in the room with the composer. I think the guys from Demdike Stare tracked these tapes down and released it?