My Favorite Thing: Telekinesis on Flin Flon’s A-Ok

Michael Lerner on his Favorite Album

Apr 10, 2013 Web Exclusive
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My Favorite Thing is our recurring series when an artist tells us about one of their favorite things (favorite album, movie, book, TV show, comic book, food, etc.). Here Michael Lerner of Telekinesis talks about one of his favorite albums, Flin Flon's A-Ok. Telekinesis' new album, Dormarion, is out now on Merge. There's also a feature on Telekinesis in our March/April issue, on newsstands now.

There's a band called Flin Flon, and they have an album called A-Ok. I talk about it a lot. Flin Flon is a band comprised of a guy named Mark Robinson. Mark is an old DC punk. His first band was called Unrest. They were really, really good also. He started a record label called Teen-Beat Records. The most popular band on Teen-Beat is probably +/-. That's probably the biggest band, success-wise that Teen-Beat has ever had. I implore you to go to Teen-Beat's website (http://www.teenbeatrecords.com) and check it out. I'm obsessed with this whole thing.

Anyway, Mark Robinson started this other project called Flin Flon, with a bass player named Nattlesshort for Natalie I would assume. I can't remember the drummer's name [Matthew Datesman]. It was a trio.

I think A-Ok might have been their second record. I got recommended this record by two different people. Usually when that happens I go out and buy it immediately. I bought it from the Teen-Beat store. You can buy it on vinyl from the Teen-Beat store. It is literally one of the most frustrating LPs I have ever owned! There's a lock groove after every single song. Once the first song plays, it goes in a locked groove and spins continuously. Same for all the songs on the record. Which is crazy, but also pretty fucking awesome that someone would do that. It's super weird and kinda awesome at the same time.

Flin Flon almost have this set of rules, which I'm 100 percent sure Mark Robinson probably implemented. The drummer wouldn't hit a crash cymbal. He would only play kick drums, snare drums, and high hat. Pretty much the entire time, every single song. The bass is really similar on every single song. But it's really melodic and distorted. It's the bass sound that I've been trying to find ever since I heard the band. It is the best bass sound, and some of my favorite bass lines ever are on that record. It's almost searching for something that is never going to be recreated. It's so good. It's just really, really good. I know that's geeky, but it's really amazing.

Mark Robinson played guitar and sang, and it was like he would never play a guitar chord until the end of the song. Every single note was a guitar chord plucked, like a melody line. He would sing over that. Every song was like that.

There was something about the rules. I know he must have said, "Don't hit any crash cymbals on a song," or "I'm not going to play any guitar chords." I really took that to heart. I think that was something that helped me out a lot as a songwriter, was creating rules to follow. That's pretty awesome.

So yeah, Flin Flon, A-Ok. Me and everyone at Merge Records are obsessed with Flin Flon and all of the Mark Robinson-related stuff. Every time we get together we end up talking about Flin Flon in some way, shape, or form. I just think it's a really good record. It's a timeless record for me. I think it came out in 2002, 2001. The artwork is awesome. It's all about Canada. Flin Flon is a city in Canada. All the song names are cities in Canada. I think that's pretty cool.

It's an amazing record. It's super poppy, but in a really simple way. There's so much space! A lot of times you're making a record and you just add so much shit. Doubling your guitar, doubling your voice, bass guitar, drums, sometimes doubling drums. Percussion. At that point, you just get muddy. It's hard to make everything sound really pronounced. With Flin Flon, every instrument has its own space, sonically. It's something that I'm really envious of. The Telekinesis records are attempting to be serious Flin Flon rip-offs. But they basically end up at The Cure. Which is weird. But I was highly influenced by that band. It made me want to try and write every single song on the bass guitar.

 

(www.telekinesismusic.com)

(www.teenbeatrecords.com/artists/flinflon.html)



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brian christopher
April 11th 2013
5:34pm

that drummers name is matt datesmen and he was INTEGRAL to that record obviously.  he’s one of the best drummers i have ever seen.  i saw him play with aden (another teen beat band) and really, he’s just so good.  creative, into it, precise…...sad that the writer is so dismissive of such an integral part of the band.