James Greer’s artist recommendation: “I’d say that for Hilarious Heaven we were inspired as much by Space Ritual-era Hawkwind as anything else (though there are a bunch of other obvious influences, like early Blondie, Sonic Youth, the Monks, The Who Sell Out, Françoise Hardy, etc. etc.). Guylaine and I talked a lot about how we wanted to do something more ambitious for this record, and she’s always been a big fan of that era of Hawkwind, as well as of krautrock bands like Neu, Faust and of course Can. Can is probably one of my longest-standing influences as a musician. I was briefly in a krautrock-inspired band called Roi in the early 90s with Eddie from Urge Overkill and the late Charlie Ondras of Unsane. We recorded one Can cover and one Faust cover, if I remember correctly. They were each like ten or fifteen minutes long. And we played out exactly once, at CBGB. I don’t know what happened to the recording. I haven’t heard it since. It’s probably terrible. What I like about krautrock is the complexity you can achieve using really simple building blocks, and the kind of trance-like effect that produces. I’m also a fan of the whacked-out lyrics and conceptual stuff that accompanies a lot of the stuff from that era. On Hilarious Heaven, you can hear that influence most directly on How Not To Be and Alpha Waves In a Gelatinous Conductor, although the latter has a significant Black Sabbath influence as well. That’s Guylaine’s thing. She wrote that song. She came up with the drop D tuning riff for the second part and I just played what she told me.”
New to Hawkwind? James suggests you start here: “For Hawkwind, start with Space Ritual. I love the way it sounds, partly because it was recorded live. Also check their album, Lemmy!. If you’re new to Can, maybe start with Ege Bamyasi.”
About our guest author, James Greer: You don’t hear the term renaissance man much anymore, but it fits perfectly for James Greer, a legend of the alternative music scene. James started as a writer for Spin in the ’90s and then joined Guided By Voices as a guitarist/bassist. He then formed a band with Guylaine Vivarat (ex-Useless Keys, Tennis System) called Détective, published two novels (Artificial Light and The Failure) and wrote several screenplays. He’s now back with Guylaine Vivarat in a new band called DTCV, which has put out a couple of EPs and now their full lengther, Hilarious Heaven. Yup, there is mention space rock influence above, but for us, the Guylaine led tunes sound like Chrissie Hynde backed by Superchunk (we know this sounds like a crazy concoction, but give a listen to the remarkable I Was Where Were You below). Greer’s tunes are Pixieish and snarl with humor (in Creative Class Dismissed James remarks, “Greer, you’re killing us here.”) In short, this album is our new love. Be sure to sign up for the band’s Facebook, etc. at the DCTV web site.