Viet Cong have had an insane past couple of months. They have graduated from "buzz-band" terminology, are selling out venues like Music Hall of Williamsburg, and are basically every music publication's wet dream right now. They released a brand new record last month (which rules, by the way), and are currently in the middle of a world tour. Since Viet Cong have made some of the most promising music of 2015 thus far, Noisey decided to go to Academy Records in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and shop for records with the dudes and talk to them about some of their picks.
Scott holding Moondog's 'The Viking of 6th Avenue'
Scott Munro: I picked “Moondog, the Viking of 6th avenue.” I’ve listened to other moondog records, and I know this is one of the classic ones but I’m that familiar with it. And I feel like he’s a new york staple, and I’m in New York so it feels like an appropriate choice at this moment in time.
Noisey: The history of Moondog, NYC, and him being a professional busker is very interesting.
Scott: Yeah, and the idea of some of the kind of busking style percussion compositions, like the record I have is him doing mostly split half and half where he’s playing piano and percussion, but then his wife is playing some flute and doing spoken word stuff.
Noisey: The self-titled one with his profile shot?
Scott: Oh god, I can’t remember. But the other compositions are kind of orchestral, like small group compositions where he’s not necessarily playing anything. So I have no idea what’s on this record.
Noisey: But that’s half the fun!
Matt holding Faust’s “So Far.”
Noisey: So what is that record?
Matt: Smell The Glove by Spinal Tap. It could also be Metallica’s Black Album, but it’s actually Faust’s “So Far.” It’s a record I can’t afford to buy right now. It’s their second record, and there’s three really long tracks, with three movements in each track kind of thing. I remember being in Hamburg and they put us up in this apartment and there was a really cool bar in the basement. The guy spinning records there was spinning all the deep cut german stuff I hadn’t heard.
Noisey: So all the early electronic minimalism shit?
Matt: Yeah, a bunch of that, a bunch of Faust, some Can and stuff I had heard, but then a bunch of Dusseldorf bands I’d never heard of. There was some Michael Rothers solo records on there that were really cool. So if I could afford a record, it would be this one.
Noisey: I don’t think I know this one.
Matt: It’s their second one, I think it’s my favorite one and I don’t have it on vinyl obviously. I know the first four pretty well. I think they still put out records in one fashion or another. Have you ever seen the krautrock documentary on youtube? The two guys and their farm and all the bell systems they rigged up ringing the bells, stoned as shit and that’s s how they make music.
Danny holding Nick Lowe's 'Labour of Lust' and Chrome's 'Half Machine From The Sun, The Lost Chrome Tracks From '79-'80'
Danny: My first choice was Nick Lowe. My ex-girlfriend turned me onto this guy, he’s awesome. I haven’t heard this record, but I’ve heard Jesus Is Cool, and that’s super good. Really sweet voice, really good at playing guitar and writes a really good pop song. Also this was in the bargain bin for eight bucks.
My second selection-
Noisey: The complete opposite!
Danny: Yeah, about the farthest you can get from Nick Lowe, the new Chrome record. I believe this is unreleased tracks from the late 70’s. I’ve heard a few tracks off this, but I’m a huge Chrome fan. Actually I’m a huge Damon Edge fan, he’s awesome. I’ve listened to a couple of his records and they’re really good. Really scary acid punk to the highest degree. I’m excited for this. Plus it’s a double LP. It’s a little expensive, but fuck it. If you didn’t know I’m homeless, and I got rid of all my old records. You can turn into a real packrat when you’re collecting records. I certainly did. Took me a long time to get rid of the bulk of mine.
Noisey: Did you make a lot of money?
Danny: Oh yeah. Thousands of dollars. Funded me for the next bit of time for sure.
Mike holding Isaac Hayes' 'Shaft' and a 'Cold Waves of Color' compilation
Mike: I picked out the theme from Shaft by Isaac Hayes. I really love theme songs, big fan of Assault on Precinct 13th by John Carpenter.
Noisey: One of the best synth-y soundtracks ever. Very different from this.
Mike: Yeah, but a theme nonetheless. I love DEVO’s theme, “Corporate Anthem.” I like to start DJ sets with theme songs. It pumps me up, and is the start of something.
Noisey: Are you an Isaac Hayes fan in general?
Mike: Not really. We were in Memphis at the Sun City studios, and we could actually see his wah-wah pedal and his cadillac which was funny. There was a wine cooler and an old tv that was like asix inch screen that took up half the backseat. Before flat screens, all that biz.
Noisey: And what’s this one?
Mike: This is a “Cold Waves of Color” compilation, and I’m really feeling that stuff these days. It’s sort of new-wave, this one says from 81-85. There’s the minimal synths compilations I have those, and there’s a bunch of different ones that are minimal synths kind of stuff. I love finding new music, and old music especially. I’m a sucker for the 80’s post-punk new wave.
Noisey: How do you feel about a lot of that newer stuff that’s bubbling up to the surface?
Mike: Yeah, it’s really cool. I saw some Silk Flowers 7”s over there and that reminded me of them. When I first heard of that band I was pretty blown away. We got to play with them a couple years ago, and I thought they were super cool. I really like that kind of stuff and try to make that kind of music on my own time. I just love drum machines and synthesizers and vocal lines.
Noisey: The funny thing about drum machines is that they’ve been the same for 30 years. The applications are changing, everything except for the sounds. Especially the 808, there would be no rap music without the 808.
Mike: A staple. JQ would be nowhere!
Be sure to catch Viet Cong at Music Hall of Williamsburg on June 13 & June 14!