I’ll just come out and say it: Sannhet‘s Revisionist is one of my favorite albums of the year so far. So I was stoked when John Refano–that’s him below–agreed to participate in this little series we’ve been doing for three (!) years now. I’ll let the guitarist/loopist explain what “Kill Yr Idols” is all about: “I think the music on this playlist has sounds and ideas that my playing is still influenced by in some way today. Sometimes it might just be the way someone holds a note, a certain bit of feedback, a haunting melody, or just how crushing a riff is. Regardless of what it is, I feel like there’s a reference in there somewhere.”
He included so much tuneage, in fact, that we’ve broken up his picks into two parts. While you’re perusing part one or waiting for part two, be sure to pick up a copy of Revisionist here (Sannhet’s bandcamp) or here (The Flenser). If you’re in or around Brooklyn tonight, the trio will also lay waste to Saint Vitus at its record release show–see you there.
Slint’s “Don, Aman” (from 1991’s Spiderland)
There’s real intense feeling throughout this record. Like something is about to go wrong at any minute. I love the slow build of the guitar and vocals until they break loose at 4:24. That guitar tone is just perfect. The riff itself is so simple but the repetition and slight dissonance carry so much weight. The reverb-ed swell at the end after the song is over is also one of my favorite moments on the record.
My Bloody Valentine’s “Sometimes” (from 1991’s Loveless)
Hard to pick a song from Loveless. My other choice would have been “Loomer” but I went with this because the guitar has one of my favorite recorded tones and performances ever. The slight bend as he plays the chords makes it disorienting and adds just enough dissonance to make the whole thing sound wrong, in a good way. I remember thinking when I first heard this that it sounded like the tape machine was broken. This record definitely changed my idea of what guitar could/should sound like.
The Jesus And Mary Chain’s “You Trip Me Up” (from 1985’s Psychocandy)
This album is genius. Simple pop songs under the most shearing, howling feedback imaginable. I definitely wonder how the recording sessions for this went. It’s undeniably awesome but what producer/engineer in 1985 actually let these guys make this record sound like it does? Let’s just be glad someone did.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s “Moya” (from 1999’s Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada EP)
Perhaps it sounds a little dated now, but these guys invented this sound, and it’s never been outdone since (even by themselves, sadly). Essential, impeccable. Soaring, wistful leads, foreboding drones, distant voices… I love how they play those high melodies but use scales and progressions that aren’t super predictable and stereotypically “epic” like many other “post-rock” bands. I think anyone who listens to my band would not be surprised by this obvious influence.
Sonic Youth’s “Kill Yr Idols” (from 1983’s Kill Yr Idols EP)
I didn’t get into Sonic Youth until after they put out records like Washing Machine and A Thousand Leaves. I kind of always just thought they were just some boring alternative band until one day I randomly came across a vinyl of Confusion is Sex. I couldn’t believe it–not only was it nothing like what I thought they sounded like, but it was insane. The guitar chords sound like a heap of strangled scrap metal. It’s not heavy in a metal way but it’s just fucking crushing. I feel beat up after listening to their early stuff. I eventually got into some of their later material but I still prefer the stuff that’s angry and/or ugly.
Portraits Of Past’s “Implications Of A Sinkhole Personality” (from 1996’s Portraits Of Past)
This was the first “screamo” record I ever heard, but it definitely predates that label. I love the chimy tone of the guitar and the rounded out bass sound. I really love how much the guitar parts “sing” on this album, if that makes any sense. This record is strangely calming for me.
Jeromes Dream’s “It’s More Like A Message To You” (from 2000’s Seeing Means More Than Safety 10″)
I was friends with these guys when they made this record and they are still one of the most intense live bands I’ve ever seen. The guitar parts on this album are really unique for the whole “screamo” thing. I think they are probably the most original band of that time and I still listen to this record all the time.
*Stay tuned for Part 2 next week
**John Refano photo by Charles Nickles
****Sannhet tour dates:
- March 27th – Saint Vitus Bar, Brooklyn, NY – Revisionist Record Release Show – w/ Kayo Dot, Oneirogen
- April 2nd – DC9, Washington, DC w/ Liturgy
- April 3rd – Boot & Saddle, Philadelphia, PA w/ Liturgy
- April 4th – Kings, Raleigh, NC w/ Liturgy
- April 5th – The Masquerade Atlanta, GA w/ Liturgy
- April 7th – Red 7, Austin, TX w/ Liturgy
- April 8th – Club Dada, Dallas, TX w/ Liturgy
- April 9th – Kansas City, MO w/ Liturgy
- April 10th – Subterranean Chicago, IL w/ Liturgy
- April 11th – Dionysus Disco Oberlin, OH w/ Liturgy
- April 18th – The Wick, Brooklyn, NY – Tinnitus Music Series w/ PRURIENT (Record release) and Andy Stott – presented by Pitchfork Show No Mercy and Blackened Music
- April 24th – Haverford College, Haverford, PA – w/ Liturgy
- June 14th – Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY w/ Viet Cong
- June 18th – NXNE Pitchfork Showcase w/ Vince Staples, Majical Cloudz, Tink, Jessica Pratt, Amen Dunes and Container
- June 19th – Mohawk Place, Buffalo, NY w/ A Place to Bury Strangers
- June 20th – Cattivo, Pittsburgh, PA w/ A Place to Bury Strangers