THE INTERPRETER: HOUSE SHOES
October 23rd, 2012 ·

photo by
gari askew

Famed L.A.-via-Detroit-based hip-hop producer House Shoes, who made himself a name DJing at Detroit’s famed Saint Andrews Hall, has just debuted the first album entirely produced by him, Let It Go on Tres Records, and it doesn’t disappoint. If they are any indication, his picks below hint at the multifarious influences you can expect, from Japanese psychedelia to word jazz to kazoo standards to Jesus freaks. Pick the record up at tresrecords.com and go see him DJ at Footsie’s on Saturday! This interview curated by Nikki Normal.

V/A TRUNK PRESENTS: THE SUPER SOUNDS OF BOSWORTH (TRUNK, 1996)

“Incredible compilation of unreleased 60s and 70s British library music from the Bosworth Music Archive. Ranging from the ill Hawaiian vibes of Hula Rock and Colours to the psychedelic jazz of Chant Afrique, this is by far one of the best library comps I have come across in all my years of diggin’. It’s almost as if the comp creates a soundtrack for the illest movie never made. Trippin’ off the beat kinda, trippin’ off the meat grinder …”

KEN NORDINE AND THE FRED KATZ GROUP WORD JAZZ (dot, 1957)

“As the back cover states: ‘Remarkable words + remarkable jazz + remarkable hi-fi sounds = a somewhat new medium …’ Ken Nordine, a voice-over personality whose narrative graced many films and commercials in the 50s, combined with the traditional jazz backdrops provided by the Fred Katz Group, creates an incredibly listenable array of stories and situations. ‘The Vidiot’ is an ode to how sheepish us humans have become by way of the idiot box, and is just as accurate almost 60 years after its recording. There is also a follow up album, Son of Word Jazz, that I just stumbled upon a couple weeks back.”

V/A THE WORLD’S WORST RECORDS VOL. 2 (RHINO, 1985)

“The title says it all. The back cover even more accurately says, ‘Sometimes art isn’t necessarily the goal. It can be mere commercial effectiveness.’ These are some BAD records. Yet, the one diamond on here among some of the worst shit you have ever heard (ie: ‘Baseball Card Lover’ by Rockin’ Richie Ray) is ‘The Troggs Tapes,’ brought to you by the group that created the stratospheric hit ‘Wild Thing,’ the Troggs. It basically consists of the members of the group arguing for over six minutes about what it takes to make a ‘hit.’ These cats wanna choke the shit out of each other. Incredible. This is what REALLY goes on in the studio.”

V/A WEST PSYCHEDELIA 2: WALK ON WILD WEST (ALCHEMY RECORDS, 1988)

“A very strange collection of Japanese bands rocking the fuck out, pretty poorly for the most part, with the exception of Leningrad Blues Machine playing a wild psychedelic romp that clocks in at over eight minutes long. The gem here is an incredibly HORRIBLE version of Men at Work’s ‘Who Can It Be Now?’ by Folk Tales. Between the horrid violin and the god-awful vocals, it becomes something so genuinely entertaining. Never thought something so bad could be so good.”

MORT GARSON MOTHER EARTH’S PLANTASIA (HOMEWOOD, 1976)

“I love Mort Garson. I love moog/synth joints like no other. This is a strange ass record. Not sonically, but intention-wise. It was made with the intention of you buying it, taking it home, and playing it … for your plants. Yes. For your plants. ‘Full, warm, beautiful music especially composed to aid in the growing of your plants.’ Crazy moog joint. I caught a couple CRAZY loops off this one.”

TEMPLE CITY KAZOO ORCHESTRA “KAZOOED ON CLASSICS” 7″ (RHINO, 1982)

“Yes. A kazoo orchestra. You probably didn’t know one existed. Fortunately for us, one did. This medley of tunes, ranging from rock standards to classical to ‘The Flight of the Bumblebee’ (BODIED by Dilla on the intro to The Shining), flow seamlessly in and out of each other. Foot-stomping, hand claps, and a bunch of kazoos. Who would have thought that equation would add up to this? Monster Jam.”

THE LEGENDARY STARDUST COWBOY “PARALYZED” 7″ (PSYCHO-SUAVE/MERCURY, 1986 REISSUE)

“Possibly the weirdest record I own. When in Philly a few years back on tour with Haircut (you guys call him Mayer Hawthorne), we went to see Val Shively, who used to supply 45s to all the jukeboxes in the metropolitan Philadelphia area in the 60s. The spot had over five million records, 95 percent being 7-inches. Retarded. Haircut told me I had to buy this joint. He played it, and I almost ruptured a kidney from laughing so damned hard. A one man band, ‘The Ledge’ loses his fucking mind on this joint. The worst and best drum solo ever. The horns? Vocals? Brilliantly horrible. I need to find an OG copy.”

V/A MINIATURES: A SEQUENCE OF FIFTY-ONE TINY MASTERPIECES EDITED BY MORGAN FISHER (PIPE, 1980)

“This album is one of my favorites. In 1980, Morgan Fisher sent out over 50 invites to friends and artists after hearing Pete Seeger’s ‘The Goofing-Off Suite,’ and in return collected brief songs from all invited. The result is a haphazard mixture of one-minute long selections from a wide array of artists and composers, ranging from members of Soft Machine, King Crimson and the Flying Lizards, to Pink Floyd collaborators and Steve Miller. It is just a very good, very STRANGE collection. My personal highlight of course being Neil Innes’ 5-year-old son, Miles, covering Slade’s ‘Cum on Feel the Noize,’ as sampled by Dilla and later unearthed by Peanut Butter Wolf for the reissue of Ruff Draft.”

DR. JACK VAN IMPE MARKED FOR DEATH: CAN AMERICA SURVIVE? (ARTISTS, 1972)

“This album contains a sermon by Jesus freak Jack Van Impe. He attacks the drug and sex culture of rock ‘n’ roll for almost an hour. It’s amazing. Many references to situations in Detroit and bible quotes sending people involved in rock descending to the ring of fire. Especially entertaining is his take on John Sinclair, famously jailed for over a year for one joint, and a part of the White Panthers. Yes, we had the White Panthers in the D as well. This dude is so over the top it’s hilarious.”

SPACE INVADERS: SOUND EFFECTS FROM A FANTASY SPACE MISSION (GATEWAY, 1982)

“When I was told that Dilla grabbed some pieces from here, I soon after found a sealed copy at Record Surplus. This shit is crazy. Not often do you find a ‘sound effects’ record that says ‘moog and drums’ on the cover. It mainly consists of warbling solo moog and synth tones, but the few joints that do have a rhythm section present are, no pun intended, out of this world. You will hear bits and pieces of this record scattered across Dilla’s 2002 batches that the majority of the tracks from JayLib came from.”

Thanks to LA Record for letting me talk the talk…