Each Tuesday, FADER editor Matthew Schnipper highlights an underappreciated recent release he thinks we need to know about. This week it’s Dubious‘ “Over Worked Underpaid" 12-inch. Read Schnipper’s thoughts or whatever after the jump.
A month or so ago, I lamented the plight of the Magistrates. Signed to XL, the mighty label who has released The XX, Vampire Weekend and MIA, the Magistrates were lost. They toured with La Roux, who they are far better than, had been holed up trying to record, had released an EP to no real support or reaction and were generally floating along unnoticed by all, perhaps even themselves. Just after that column was published, The Magistrates broke up, unable to ever find their rhythm, it seems they just gave up. Only the good die young.
A while back, the FADER got an anonymous email from a guy named James containing a song that he described as “spoken word about being a shitty blog house DJ in a small Midwestern city over music.” It doesn’t have an entirely different cadence than the “Remember to wear sunscreen song,” though it’s lyrics are slightly more grim, though often funnier: I was a little kid about it/ I’d get a stupid smile on my face as soon as I took my first line and try to hug everyone and tell them how much they mean to me and People say she looks like she’s 12, until she shows you the stretch marks/ She bounded up to us with a big smile on her face, kissed me on the cheek and slipped the drugs into my coat pocket/ We barely even did any of it, there’s nothing going on/ The only fun thing we did all weekend was drop 30 a piece at a sushi place by the Best Buy in Eden Prairie/ There was a blizzard or something. I didn’t really know what to do with this, so I just listened to it a few times and played it for my roommate. It’s incredibly personal, filled with a bunch of internet music in-jokes that I understand that you probably would too, but, like my sister wouldn’t. She’d probably still like this song, but I cannot imagine any scenario in which she would heard it or seek it out repeatedly. But there’s something there, a nascent little burger soon to grow into a Big Mac. Who knows if it’s going to flourish. Honestly, I doubt it. (James, keep on pushing!)
A few years ago, Norwegian DJs and producers Lindstrom and Prince Thomas made a mix for a Japanese radio station. There was no tracklist, so I was stuck never knowing what the best song was. It was an instrumental groover, cowbell, nervous bassline and a gentle guitar weaving in and out. This was pre-Shazam (the totally amazing iPhone app that tells you what the name of a song is when it hears it playing—but it only works for not completely obscure, unknowable tracks) and it was a lost track to me. Until I listened to this 12-inch by Painted Nails that my friend gave me. And there it was. Some random song that I had a promo 12-inch of that I listened to like twice had a perfect jam on there, totally ignored as unnecessary. Listen to “Silk Cherries,” it’s so good.
Dubious was a dude who used to post on the Soul Strut message board, which—it is what it is—is where I learned a decent amount about music. And then one day this Canadian dude who had good taste was like, “Hey I have a record.” And I bought it. And it was awesome. I used to DJ in college and I would play it and people would say “What is that?” and I would tell them and they would forget. Dude’s website says “new site coming summer 2008!” That didn’t happen. Painted Nails was his project with his wife. Who knows where that record is in my house, if I even still have it. But I found the first Dubious 12-inch lost somewhere in the Ikea shelves and it’s still killer, a bunch of home-played instruments one-man-banded atop each other. I found a bunch of sketchy Russian websites supposedly selling MP3s of the EP and a thread from 2004 on DJhistory.com briefly discussing the EP. You can hear some clips on trackitdown.net. “Afterhours” is better than most of the ’70s and ’80s brisk New York he was emulating and so often posted about online. But this record never went anywhere (and now you can buy it for cheap on discogs.com). Why?
Honestly, I have no idea. Talking to a friend in a band about Sonic Bids, I told him I have never, ever listened to any music I received submitted via their service. Same thing for musicSUBMIT.com. Chances are, if I have never heard of you and sent a link to download something, I didn’t. If you just sent one MP3 it’s pretty possible I listened to it—like James—but most likely I didn’t. I remember El Guincho’s label emailed FADER right after I started working here and I listened to it and liked it but I didn’t know the process and didn’t say anything. Then he got kinda popular and I felt weird and slightly guilty. I was probably just listening to Beach House being nervous. I guess that’s how this shit works. Sorry ☹