The American Analog Set

The American Analog Set Biography

The Austin, Texas-based drone-pop quartet the American Analog Set evolved from the ashes of Dallas' Electric Company in 1994. After the Electric Company's demise, guitarist/vocalist Andrew Kenny, keyboardist Lisa Roschmann, and drummer Mark Smith reunited to cut a number of impromptu four-track recordings which ultimately led to their decision to re-form as a group; after the addition of bassist Lee Gillespie, the quartet renamed themselves the American Analog Set and soon played their first live performance.

Mark and Lee took some time out of their busy schedules to tell ARTISTdirect about the music that is essential to them.

"OK here we go kids...ten essential albums and/or songs in no particular order:

Anything and everything by Baltimore's mighty Lungfish, and specifically indivisible, Love is Love, Artifical Horizon, and the lateset Feral Hymns. These guys have been at it for years, and never fail to deliver for me. Lungfish has a slow burn to them that I have not heard anywhere else. I could listen to them all day and every day.

Anything and everything by D.C.'s mighty Fugazi, and specifically End Hits, The Argument, Repeater, f**k it... all of them. These guys have managed to progress, and innovate from album to album, and never fail to impress. I loved their lastest record as much as their first and everything in-between. I don't think i can say that about any other band ever.

Metal Box/Second Edition. Enough has been said about this record over the years, so i'll keep it short. Suffice it to say that Mr. Lydon, et al, were on to some next level sh*t that still sounds fresh and new today. Ahead of it's time and classic.

Instinct - A brilliantly skewed take on pop music. This was Richard Davies at his best. Short, concise songs that shoot off in unexpected and amazing directions. Sadly out of print, but if you see it buy it. See also: Cardinal. Davies Collabo with Eric Matthews is baroque pop perfection recently re-issued with bonus tracks. Get some!

The first three albums: Head, Goat and Liar. Sorry but it's too hard to pick just one of these records. These guys perfected tight, powerful songs, with seriously deranged vocals, slashing cyclical guitar lines, and one of the best drummers that I have ever seen. These kids were unstoppable live.

Chairs Missing - another skewed pop classic. Wire dialled it down a bit from Pink Flag, losing some of the trad punk rockism and replacing them with more expansive and arted out songs. The track "Outdoor Minor" is a straight pop gem and your new favorite song.

Complete discography. This band and the D.C. scene took punk rock to new places and invented the term "hardcore." The music made in D.C. was for D.C. and about D.C., but ended up changing punk worldwide with it's insane tempos and lyrics that dealt with personal responsibility rather than lawless abandon.

The Queen is Dead"/Meat is Murder. As a general rule, I never really knew what the Moz was talking about. Whether he was goofing on something or being sincere. Regardless of that a great number of the songs break my f**king heart. Every person in this band was a genius with their instrument and everytime Morrissey covers a Smiths song live he should be tried for musical war crimes.

Raise/Mezcal Head. This band rocked harder than all of their contemporaries and were sort of square pegs because of it. These records are full of complicated guitar parts, overdriven bass lines and interesting slightly off kilter vocal melodies.

Spirit of Eden/Laughing Stock. So much has been said about the importance of these records in the last few years. They really are masterful and languid while excercising an amazing amount of restraint. Full of cryptic social criticisms and again i'm not sure i really understand exactly whats being talked about but the music is so good i wouldn't mind hearing these records every day trying to figure it out. From here a more spartan approach was taken by former singer Mark Hollis on his solo record and for the artier dancier side of the talk talk coin check out japan's gentlemen take polaroids and tin drum.

Self-titled debut reissue on Def Jam. Rick Rubin stepped in and upped the production value, got some samples cleared and helped Houston's 5th ward become nationally known. No corny hooks to sing along with just verse after verse after verse. Still scary, still funny and considering Houston's rediscovery nationwide. Definitely worth revisiting.

Alright, that's it. Have fun.
Mark and Lee

The American Analog Set's latest album, Set Free, is available now in the ARTISTdirect Store for $9.99!

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