ANIMAL CITY – SHITTY MOVIE

animalcityshitty

Early last year Chicago’s Animal City released See You in the Funny Pages and it took most of the year for any other album to best it. It will be just as challenging to top their new Shitty Movie tape. Pastiching elements as disparate as The Who and Wreckless Eric, Silkworm and Stevie Wonder, Animal City celebrates the end of the shittiest winter ever with a summer’s worth of frenetic punkadelics. The band has said in interviews that they started gigging as a wedding band, learning Motown classics, and, almost as an afterthought, tightening up as musicians. It shows, I think–this is some swinging, soulful shit. Being able to coalesce your seemingly disparate identities is always impressive to me–it’s pretty badass to say “maybe my oddity makes more sense than I think it does” when we’re raised with a limited selection of valid identities. Maybe working as a hired band can feed back into your original music. You’d think it’s a fault line you wouldn’t want to go near–the line between your self-pleasing and crowd-pleasing talents–but Animal City drill right down into it. My heart swells at lines like this:

She fucks all my clothes and borrows my friends

It’s a total love reaction. I love this album. I love that this is on cassette, too. Cassettes get the same backlash as anything groups of weirdos enjoy–it’s indulgent to favor anything “obsolete”–but I stand by them. I’m young enough to never have had to listen to a cassette after I was, like, twelve years old, but I always had cassette players in my cars growing up. New CDs at the mall still cost around $18, whereas Loretta Lynn’s Gospel Favorites will always be $2 on cassette at Goodwill. Obviously, cassettes are complex–they make it hard to navigate through albums, they break easy, but they also facilitated the mixed tape and opened up the possibilities of sampling and changed bedrooms into studios. So not just in consuming art, but also in producing it, I support “cassetteness,” by which I mean self-determined combinations of the seemingly disparate materials of the universe. The music on Shitty Movie is glowing with cassetteness. From the aforementioned incorporation of bits of Wreckless Eric and The Who songs (which don’t function as mere samples but move the album forward powerfully), to the way the songs bleed into each other (not through melodic sameness, but smart transitions such as those samples), to the multiple distinct songwriters and how ably their voices move in and out of each other’s songs, to the dubby midwestern adaptation of “Dixie” that closes the album–this is a compilation of a mess of bonkers material into a self-contained block of music that makes gorgeous sense and loves all its own contradictions and oddity.

But all good rock is oddity–so you have a frame of reference even if you don’t know it–if you’re here on Ninebullets then there should be nothing separating this from the rock of Two Cow Garage or Possessed by Paul James, which is just as odd. If I had a car at the moment, this cassette would never leave it. Essential Listening.

Girls Aren’t Gross
Helspacho – Micro Micro
Microwave Check – Suspacho

Download the digital from Animal City’s bandcamp (and dig into the rest of their amazing catalogue). Grab the cassette from one of my favorite labels in the world, Sophomore Lounge.

THE NINEBULLETS.NET PODCAST: EPISODE 35 hosted by Mike Ostrov

I used to host an internet radio show in Gainesville–and since I’ve moved away I’ve missed doing that very much. Podcasting on your own turns out to be much harder than working with all the great equipment and coworkers at GrowRadio. So, I ask for your patience and hope for your interest in hearing me try to resume something that gives me great joy–compiling songs and stories. Let me know what you think, what works, what could be worked on. It’s a demo-heavy setlist from all over the last half-century and as Paul Westerberg says, it “rocks like murder.”

Track Listing:

  1. Introductions and Congratulations
  2. Bob Dylan & the Band – Banks of the Royal Canal (aka The Auld Triangle) (The Genuine Basement Tapes, Vol. 5) 1967
  3. Silkworm – The Old You (Italian Platinum) 2002
  4. Darkbuster (Lenny Lashley) – Cheap Wine (22 Songs That You’ll Never Want to Hear Again) 1999
  5. Bob Seger – Fire Lake (Against the Wind) 1980
  6. Talk about the Eagles
  7. The Silver Jews – Self-Ignition (Living Bridge Comp.) 2008
  8. Patsy Cline – Strange (Sentimentally Yours) 1961
  9. Gun Outfit – Another Human Being (Hard Coming Down) 2013
  10. Filthy Liars – Shot in the Dark (HFX Demo) 2013
  11. The Haints (Kepi Ghoulie) – Battle of Wounded Heart (Battle of Wounded Heart) 2007
  12. Chris Wollard & the Ship Thieves – Never Have Time (Canyons) 2012
  13. Talk about LA Guns
  14. The Gun Club – Texas Serenade (Miami) 1982
  15. The Veronica Cartwrights – Brad Pitt, Brad Pitt (Broken Keys Comp.) 1997
  16. Bobby Charles – I Hope (The Jewel And Paula Recordings 1964-1965)
  17. Tony Flaminio – Bad Luck Song (The Grim Repair) 2012
  18. Animal City – Red Ice Cream, pt. 1 (Red Ice Cream) 2010
  19. Spider Bags – Waking Up Drunk (A Celebration of Hunger) 2007
  20. Talk about eating out hearts
  21. The Deadly Snakes – Oh, Lord, My Heart (Porcella) 2005
  22. Gravel – Yesterday (Yesterday 7″) 1991
  23. Crooked Fingers (Eric Bachmann) – New Drink for the Old Drunk (Crooked Fingers) 2000
  24. Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance – The Poacher – (Anymore for Anymore) 1974
  25. Franz Nicolay – Talk to Him in Shallow Water (Winter Demos) 2013
  26. Talk about the Crutchfield Takeover
  27. King Everything (Katie Crutchfield) – Now and Then (Demo II) 2009


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