Dan Friel was one of the frontmen in Parts & Labour, a band who basically redefined poppy-sounding punk music in the age of cheap electronic keyboards and custom guitar pedals. While never quite as rapturously received on this side of the Atlantic, they developed a fervent cult following in the US, spiralling outwards from their Brooklyn home through dozens of tours that criss-crossed the continent. Their influence on the Brooklyn scene which exploded half-way through the last decade was palpable as they drew a line between the weirdo noise power of Black Dice or Lightning Bolt and the feel-good two-chord punk that emanated from basements and garages all over the world. Challenging the obtuse leanings of the former and the guitar-centric conservatism of the latter, they reinvigorated a set a genres while sounding like nothing but themselves.
In his solo work Friel has pushed the boat out even further in search of ecstatic moments in the heat and whirr of electronic bits and bobs. His vision of the sublime has widened too, now incorporating something darker and more mournful than the Arcade-Fire-in-a-blender uplift of P&L. He’s just about to release his first 12″ on Thrill Jockey, the excellent Valedictorian/Exoskeleton, with a full-length due to follow next year. Here he gives us a collection of his “favourite electronics weirdos”. Some of the tracks weren’t available for streaming, so we’ve substituted a couple for others from the same album.
Dan Friel’s Favourite Electronics Weirdos:
Black Dice – “The Jacker”
The thing I love about Black Dice is that after 15 or so years they continue to come up with new variations on their totally weird syntax. The new data for this year’s album (and this song especially) seems to be their version of funk.
GDFX – “Tula”
When not busy being one of the best drummers on the planet, Greg Fox (Guardian Alien, Ben Frost, ex-Liturgy) cut and pastes together some joyful beats and noise as GDFX.
Skoal Kodiak – “Hollidazzle”
An awesomely strange, swampy, punk band from Minneapolis, with a whole lot of great electronic sounds. I saw them play earlier this year and the singer appeared to be singing into an amplified bottle of bleach.
Dan Deacon – Guilford Avenue Bridge
Dan’s new record is my favourite so far. The deep orchestral stuff is balanced out nicely by tidy jams like this intro track.
Davey Harms (aka Mincemeat or Tenspeed)
Mincemeat or Tenspeed lives in Providence these days, but he’s frequently travelling around North America with a bag of pedals that he assembles into a feedback loop to crank out heavy, minimal bangers. This video has a sampling of his sounds from a show in a cave by the beach in California.
Amps For Christ – “The Blacksmith”
I could go on for days about the album “Circuits” by Amps For Christ. It just doesn’t sound like anything else. Lots of crusty home made electronics, lots of folk songs, lots of tablas. If you like any of the music on here you should probably give it a listen.
Fuck Buttons – “Surf Solar”
The pinnacle of Fuck Buttons drone electronics dance rager.
Pete Swanson – “Misery Beat”
Pete Swanson played in the mighty drone/noise duo Yellow Swans for a good chunk of the last decade. On his own his music is nicely thinned out and convenes lots of damaged little sounds in something like minimal techno.