Decibrity Playlist: Fight Amp

Odds are that pretty much anything we cover would be the last thing anybody waking up from a long night of debauchery would want to hear. Just because your head feels like it might explode, however, doesn’t mean that comfort cannot be found via some quality tuneage. Just ask bassist/vocalist Jon DeHart of West Deptford, NJ’s Fight Amp, who meticulously put together a playlist for such a hungover occasion. Just think—by the time you eventually make it out of bed, you’ll probably be ready to blast his band’s impressive third full-length, the recently released Birth Control, and start drinking all over again. Well, at least that’s how we’d roll in South Jersey.
Feel free to listen along here.

Cavity—”Supercollider” (from 1999’s Supercollider)
I’ve always been a big fan of Henry Wilson’s drumming, and I think this track in particular really showcases his ability to make complicated beats sound simple. The way the snare snakes its way through the upbeat makes everything really catchy. I also like that the vocals are down in the mix, blending nicely with the sunbaked fuzz of the guitars. Normally a heavier band like this won’t find its way onto my early morning playlist, but Cavity is one of the exceptions to that rule.

Dead And Gone—”Blood From A Ghost” (from 2002’s The Beautician)
My entire existence as a bassist has been an unsuccessful attempt at replicating the bass tone on this criminally underrated album. It has just the right amount of distortion to keep it from being cancelled out by the guitar and just the right amount of treble to keep its presence felt throughout every song. “Blood From A Ghost” stands out for me because of its slow trudge, and the way the guitar and bass switch roles as the dominant instrument, making the melancholy guitar lead much more poignant. I also like Shane Baker’s vocal delivery—he sounds like the bastard son of Tom Waits on this one. It’s a great song for piecing together the events of the night before.

Unwound—”Disappoint” (from 1995’s The Future Of What)
My favorite Unwound song from my favorite Unwound album—this tune just aches. The seesawing rhythm of the guitar, the steady stomp of the drums and the laid back vocals—everything about it is absolutely correct. It’s noisy without being overbearing, and I’ve always wondered if the rogue open notes happening in the main riff were intentional, or just a happy mistake for an unhappy song. Seems like bands from the Northwest in the early-to-mid ’90s had a knack for that sort of thing…must have been something in the rain water.

Sonic Youth—”Schizophrenia” (from 1987’s Sister)
One of the all-time best album openers, this track is deceiving in the way it piles four or five parts on top of each other without sounding disjointed. Even though there isn’t a single repeating verse, and no chorus at all, it still maintains the illusion of a structure. Some of that may be due to the tension-and-release vibe going on throughout the song. Everything bulids up slowly to the middle part where Steve Shelley opens up those big rolling drum fills, then the whole band follows it up with a crash and burn into minor note oblivion.

My Bloody Valentine—”(When You Wake) You’re Still In A Dream” (from 1988’s Isn’t Anything)
Usually when people talk about My Bloody Valentine, it’s in reference to Loveless…and rightfully so, since that album is damn near perfect. But Isn’t Anything captures the band trying to find its way towards a unique style, and that gives it a certain charm that isn’t necessarily found on the shoegazing mastery of Loveless. This song has a standard punk feel, the riff isn’t hiding behind MBV’s usual wave of pitch shifting, and I dig how Kevin Shields’ shaky vocals blend with the dreamy backups of Bilinda Butcher, something I wish they would have done more of. Whenever we’re on the road and I wake up on a beer soaked carpet in a house with seven dogs, this is one of my go-to albums when I retreat to the van for some fresh air.

Talking Heads—”Memories Can’t Wait” (from 1979’s Fear Of Music)
This is one of David Byrne’s more somber deliveries—it’s like they darkened up some disco rhythms and used it to mock the human race. This is also one of those songs where you can discover some new random noise in the background every time you listen to it, something I imagine is a result of Brian Eno’s contribution as producer. This is what’s playing over and over in my head everytime we’re wandering around New York City at sunrise.

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds—”Sad Waters” (from 1986’s Your Funeral…My Trial)
“Sad Waters” sounds as if it wouldn’t be out of place on the soundtrack of a John Hughes film next to The Psychedelic Furs and New Order, especially when the drums pick up the pace for a quick run and the Hammond organ kicks in. And there’s something perfect about the imperfections of this song. To me, the slightly out of rhythm echoes are a reflection of the addictions Nick Cave was struggling with during this era. Of course, this could be nothing more than the result of recording limitations and time restraints, but hey, it’s still fun to fantasize.

King Crimson—”I Talk To The Wind” (from 1969’s In The Court Of The Crimson King)
Normally, a song featuring the jazz flute would send me running for the hills, but Fripp & company are undeniable. There’s a warm haze enveloping the entire song, giving it a sound that completely caters to shaking off the cobwebs in the morning. The drum tone is great too—the snare has a nice low end thud that makes it sound three feet deep. Actually, the overall tone of this album is something I’ve always admired, which is funny, because I’ve read it contains all types of unwanted distortion and frequency loss due to problems with the recording equipment they were using. Makes ya wonder.

Earth—”Tibetan Quaaludes” (from 1995’s Phase 3: Thrones and Dominions)
Straight from the mind of Dylan Carlson, there’s not much else you can say. This is for the wake-and-bake portion of a rough morning after, when it’s time to move from the bed to the couch.

*Pick up a copy of Birth Control here!

**Check out the band on tour this fall:

19 Oct: Lindenwold, NJ – @ The Sex Dungeon w/ Braille, Window Liquor
20-Oct: Brooklyn, NY – @ St Vitus (CMJ Showcase) w/ Yakuza, Enabler
21-Oct: Baltimore, MD – @ Ottobar Upstairs w/ Big Mouth, Old Lines, Passengers
22-Oct: Fairfax, VA – @ Old Firestation #3
23-Oct: Richmond, VA – @ Strange Matter w/ Tombs, 16, Cough, Bastard Sapling
24-Oct: Raleigh, NC – @ Kings Barcade w/ Hog, Royal Nights
25-Oct: Atlanta, GA – @ The Basement w/ Whores, Hawks
26-Oct: Savannah, GA – @ The Jinx w/ Savagist
28-Oct: Gainesville, FL – The Fest 11 – @ The Laboratory w/ Enabler, Former Thieves, Raindance and more
29-Oct: Ocean Springs, MS – @ The Squeaky Lizard
30-Oct: New Orleans, LA – @ United Bakery w/ Classhole, Christpuncher
31-Oct: New Orleans, LA – @ All Ways Lounge w/ Fight Amp as Dead Kennedys
1-Nov: Baton Rouge, LA – @ Here Today Gone Tomorrow w/ Itto
2-Nov: Austin, TX – Fun Fun Fun Fest – @ Holy Mountain w/ Burning Love, Power Trip
4-Nov: Fort Worth, TX – @ 1919 Hemphill w/ Big Fiction
5-Nov: Joplin, MO – @ Cesspool Castle
6-Nov: Kansas City, MO – @ Art Closet Studio/Open Fire Pizza
7-Nov: Columbia, MO – @ The Hairhole w/ New Tongues, Jack Buck
8-Nov: Chicago, IL – @ Ultra Lounge w/ Millions
9-Nov: Indianapolis, IN @ Piss Haus w/ Millions
10-Nov: Columbus, OH – @ Carabar
11-Nov: Philadelphia, PA – @ The Barbary w/ Rosetta, Ape!, Dridge

***We update one Spotify playlist for each new Decibrity entry, so feel free to subscribe to that here. Past entries include:

Witchcraft (Ola Henriksson) (Magnus Pelander)
Vision of Disorder
Anders Nyström (Katatonia) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Rush (Part 1) (Part 2)
Shadows Fall
Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Meshuggah
Barren Earth
Shane Embury (Napalm Death) (Part 1) (Part 2)