Definitive Records asks interesting Vancouverites to scour their sonic-led memories to pull out the three albums anchoring their musical tastes.
This week we tasked Daniel Williams, sous chef (aka Vegetable Boss and Logistics, Local So-and-So) at East Hastings’ excellent Dachi Vancouver restaurant, with choosing three records of especially impactful goodness. Lucky for us, he sort of short-storied his answers. Have a read and a listen…
Dick Stusso | In Heaven, Hardly Art 2019
The other night, in a dream, I found myself walking into an offbeat Oakland lounge. Or was it Heaven? You know how dreams are.
Sidling up to the bar I noticed a certain patron with that odd quality of familiarity, like a combined representation of people I know. Sitting there, as if waiting for me, some sort of black comedy cowboy, dressed in all white, sucking back shrimp cocktails and sipping hard-luck from a frosty glass. I knew it was him. The bartender motioned to the seat next to our man, the quasi-caballero in question.
“Hey there, fella,” I heard myself say, “name’s William de Reyes.”
Turning to face me, pushing the brim of his hat back with a thumb and a twinkle in his eye, “Sure, man. Dick Stusso, “ he replied. We shook hands. We were both lying and we both knew it.
Teetering on his barstool and tongue-in-cheek terror management, Stusso slid me a pint. “I’m only human,” he offered, lifting his glass to me with a wink and a smile.
The house band played on. A delightful mix of country standards somehow steeped in the odd psychedelic flourish. Guitar riffs for beer commercials aimed at the existentially distressed.
As the dream showed signs of wavering, I made an effort to see through Stusso’s act, but his blending of the terribly honest through a charmed delivery created a case of Mask v Reality adjacent to Duke v Thompson. In the light reflected off the stage I could see tear stains on his cheeks, raised in laughter, and a man who understood his tragedy and comedy to be one and the same.
Jim Sullivan | UFO, 1969
Once upon a March 1975, as instructed by highway patrol, Jim Sullivan checked into a motel on his way to Nashville, Tennessee. Some say his twelve-string guitar was found in the room, others, only the key to the door. As it goes generally agreed, however, the following day his VW was found 26 miles outside Santa Rosa, New Mexico and Jim was never to be seen nor heard from ever again.
In search of recognition, Jim left Malibu, California where although he enjoyed local success he did not receive the fame or fortune he very well may have deserved. In 1969 UFO was released on a label founded specifically to produce the album. Despite the help of The Wrecking Crew, a Los Angeles session musician collective famous for their work with Phil Spector and The Beach Boys, the team went on to create one of the best albums of its era to go largely unnoticed.
UFO purrs like a well tuned Volkswagen through the dry air of a desert night. Cacti fly by the passenger side window under the glow of unexplained lights hovering overhead. Rolling through a vast expanse of string section landscape, instrumental interludes introduce a cool breeze under an open sky of stars. The dashboard speakers broadcast Jim’s comforting vocals and gently guide you down that dimly lit highway, assured that out there in the darkness is a horizon not seen since twilight.
Panda Bear | Person Pitch, Paw Tracks, 2007
Gently lowering myself over the side of my small wooden boat I find the lapping waves warmer than expected. Striding out of the surf I get a better view of the carnival I saw from out in the bay. An inevitable Beach Boys reference mills about the shore but pays me no mind as I walk by. The salty breeze plays with the dry grass and as I crest the dune I catch a glimpse of the carnival’s central feature. An ornate merry-go-round gracefully carries out a cycle ‘round its gravitational centre. I find myself riding a brass owl in orbit. The speakers chime in and wish me well.
“I’m not trying to forget you,
I just like to be alone,
Come and give me the space I need
And may you find that we’re alright.”
Incidental sound surrounds me. Traveling faster in the ellipse, a whistle beckons me onwards. The lights cut out and fireworks illuminate the underside of the canopy.
A torchlit path winds back down to the beach.
“It’s not a ticket for you to pick at other people
Who don’t know what’s up like you’re so sure you do.”
Shuffling back into the surf I am again reassured the water is just fine. From the dunes, the carousel music increases in volume, though it is washed out with the distance. A breeze directs my gaze out west with the sunrise at my back. In the crisp new light of day I lean back in the wooden boat, on my way again out to sea. Looking more closely at the bench across from me, I see someone has carved “chill wave” into the seat.