E – Lucky 7

LUCKY 7 is the feature where we ask artists to name their 6 favourite songs by others, and a lucky 7th song of their own…

Today, it’s a Boston trio, called E – that features a face very familiar to Velvet Sheep fanzine (and to other encounters via The Quietus), Thalia Zedek, legend of Come, Live Skull, Uzi and latterly the Thalia Zedek Band whose song “Fell So Hard” I chose as my song of the year for tQ in 2014. E features Thalia plus Gavin McCarthy (Karate – another band featured in the original VS one) and Jason Sidney Sanford (Neptune) and they’ve got a new album (a second, after 2016 debut “E”) called “Negative Work” coming out on 25 May on the ever impressive Thrill Jockey Records.

It’s taut, tense and sinewy stuff. Intelligent of course. Meaningful definitely. Passionate as only you’d expect from Thalia Zedek. It’s a literate and lithesome band I’ve been dying to hear for quite some time in the absence of Fugazi, Unwound, anything by David Pajo, or new records by Shellac.

Not necessarily as heavy as those bands, but equally hard hitting and operating with pinpoint accuracy. And it’s unsurprising that their upcoming live dates include slots with the aforementioned Shellac, the increasingly polemicised power pop of Superchunk and the dynamic Omni.

“Negative Work” was recorded and mixed within 4 days at Machines with Magnets (Lightning Bolt, Battles) and includes songs inspired by the death of a friend (“Pennies” more of which below), the work of artist/sculptor Alberto Giacometti, and sexual liberation (“Untie Me”).

But what is the music they’re influenced by right now by their peers? Since E are a trio, it’s broken down quite nicely to two songs by each member plus one…so let’s crack on…

E photograph by Kelly Davidson

Thalia Zedek’s picks:

1. Lydia Lunch/Roland S. Howard – “Some Velvet Morning”

When I first heard this song I had no idea who Lee Hazelwood was but after I hearing this I investigated everything that he had written. Lydia and Roland filled this song with so much moist darkness that it literally oozed. It was the most beautiful and debauched sound that I had ever heard and when it reached the part where it sounded like two radio stations were at war it literally made my head spin.

2. Opal – “Happy Nightmare Baby”

This song was spun every night for quite a while for the usual reasons. Kendra Smith’s flat affect combined with the semi-stalker lyrics was simultaneously terrifying and incredibly romantic to me at the time . It remains burned into my heart.

Gavin McCarthy’s picks:
3. Hot Snakes – “Having Another?”

I could listen to the 8 bar intro forever. These guitars make my spine tingle. I’d be curious to know which channels John Reis and Rick Froberg’s guitars are in. I’m guessing Rick is on the left but I don’t know. I enjoy the tight 6 beat drum phrase over the 3 beat main guitar lick. Anyway, these guys borrow liberally from Wipers and the like, but really distill the archetypal post-hardcore sound. Not to mention that Rick’s voice is perfect for this. Not that I can understand the words, but I’m pretty sure I don’t need to.

4. Sleaford Mods – “Jobseeker” Live

I’m not sure where to begin with this performance. There’s so much going on here. Anger, humour, absurdity, awkward British dancing….and a masculinity that feels expressive, not toxic. Sometimes I feel like the angry middle-aged unemployed singer. Sometimes I feel like standing around, spilling my beer with a shit-eating grin on my face. No no no no no no no no no no no no no no no OOOH!

Jason Sidney Sanford’s picks:

5. Laurie Spiegel – “Harmonices Mundi”

A beautiful record issued by the label, Table of the Elements some years ago, it is a one-sided 12“ on yellow vinyl with the other side grooveless, but bearing a screen-printed image of our solar system and the orbits of the planets. This was actually a re-release of the record, as the first pressing was on Voyager’s famous golden record and was released into outer space; not for terrestrial consumption. The idea of a celestial harmony among the spheres dates back at least to Pythagoras, but in Speigel’s realization of it we are confronted with a dissonance that confounds the human ear.

Hearing the record was a profound experience, and confirmed for me the atheistic belief that the universe is not assembled according to any master plan that the human mind can apprehend as “intelligent.” And yet on repeated listenings, the record’s strange and alien sounds take on a beauty of their own…

6. Sielun Veljet – Säkenöivä voima

Back before you could find anything on the internet, I had a friend in college who had returned from a year-long exchange to Finland with 2 cassette albums by Sielun Veljet. What a discovery for me when she played me their music! I had never even heard the Finnish language before. It seemed completely contemporary (in the late 80‘s), in dialogue with post-punk and industrial music, but somehow at the same time ancient and primal and mystical.

Lucky 7th: Own track: E – “Pennies”

It’s the first track on “Negative Work” and starts glacially and ends in a gallop. Twin-Tower guitars are connected by tight ropes and the listener is left swaying with only the pounding drumbeat to steady them as Jason Sanford detonates sub-sonic depth charges with his self fashioned “stompbox”.

Pre-order E’s Negative Work (out on 25th May):

Upcoming E tour dates

24 May – Providence, RI – AS220 w/ Whorepaint
25 May – Boston, MA – Midway Cafe w/ WhorepaintArch Cape
(feat. Rachel Blumberg)
1 Jun – Kortrijk, BE – DeKreun w/ Superchunk
2 Jun – Zichem, BE – Den Hemel
3 Jun – Liege, BE – La Zone
5 Jun – Prague, CZ – 007
6 Jun – Bratislava, SK – Fuga
7 Jun – Zagreb, HR – Mochvara
8 Jun – Vienna, AT – Venster99
9 Jun – Caorle, IT – Bar al Castello Da Capota
10 Jun – Milano, IT – Spazio Ligera
11 Jun – Bologna, IT- Freakout Club
12 Jun – Avelino, IT- Godot Art Bistrot
13 Jun – Florence, IT – Area San Salvi
14 Jun – Ravenna, IT- Circolo Abajur
15 Jun – Allesandria, IT – Cascina Bellaria
16 Jun – Lyon, FR – Le Sonic
17 Jun – Freiburg, DE – Slow Club
18 Jun – Paris, FR – L’Espace B
19 Jun – Lille, FR – Bar L’Imposture
20 Jun – Oberhausen, DE – Druckluft
22 Jun – Liberec, CZ – Azyl Pivni Bar
23 Jun – Brojkovice, CZ – Mis Mas Festival
24 Jun – Halle, DE – Pierre Grasse w/ Omni
26 Jun – Potsdam, DE – Kuze
27 Jun – Berlin, DE – Musikbrauerei (Keizsalon Fest) w/ Beatriz Ferrerya
10 Sep – New York City, NY – The Bell House w/ Shellac