I decided today I was just going to put together a random mix of some good music I had been listening to lately. After I was done, I realized nearly all of them were pretty hard rockers. So I pulled out the mellower tracks to use another day and refined this into a mix of hard rock, heavy pop, and metal. What can I say? The holidays are over. Time to get serious.
- If That’s the Case then I Don’t Know – The Electric Soft Parade
This combination of electric power chords and a U2-worthy, friendly pop hook grabs me. I recommend the amusing video too.
- Lazy Gun – Jet
There are people who can write a great guitar hook like this and there are people who write nice vocal melodies. These guys are on your radio because they can pair them up with each other.
- Parish Sinker – This Moment in Black History
These guys are not for everyone. In fact, my dog got up and left just now while I was cranking this song. Sorry, buddy, but this is some smoking hot punk/metal. Bonus fact: these guys are from my hometown of Cleveland. This whole region has spawned some great avant-rock and we’re back with some more for you.
- Run Away – Staind
Staind has been at it for more than 15 years. This gem from 2005 is heavy but ear-friendly.
- Rapid Fire Tollbooth – Omar Rodriguez-Lopez
Mars Volta member and master of modern prog rock Omar Rodriguez-Lopez sounds like the musical child of Traffic and Rush in this great 8-minute track. Well, the first 5 minutes of it, anyway. Then it gets weird.
- Under My Feet – None More Black
This doesn’t sound very far from the ubiquitous neo-punk I hate so much, but while they are definitely a punk band there is a certain… integrity? …creativity? Not sure, but it keeps the sound fresh. The energy is unbelievable too.
- Get Down Moses – Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros
If I’m going to put some new punk on here, I feel I should include this fantastic ska groove from punk legend Joe Strummer.
- Why I’m Here – Oleander
Yes, yes, I know. This song sounds like an alternate take of ‘Lithium’ by Nirvana, or something out of that session anyway. I don’t care. I like the vocal performance and the way the guitar lands after he sings, “I can’t love you anymore.”
- Lazy Gun – JET
Most of the songs on this mix rock harder than this one. It’s pretty straight ahead pop/rock but it’s built around a good, hard guitar hook even if the chorus and bridge are mellow.
- Hooch – The Melvins
What I love about The Melvins is that they really mean it. Not the lyrics so much, because they write some strange and ironic lyrics. But the hammering guitar, gunshot percussion, and growling vocals? Yeah, they mean that stuff alright.
- Destroy the Dancefloor – Skindred
I’ve been through several Skindred albums and although I like the blend of ska/punk/metal they play, a lot of their music misses me. Every one of their albums has a few great tracks like this one, though.
- Love Empire – Big Collapse
Sadly, I’ve heard other songs by these guys and they were a lot like this one, only not as good. They really hit on something here, though. Grinding pop guitar and shouted backing vocals provide a relentless energy that sets up the chorus nicely.
- Mr. Pink – Satchel
I’ve been listening to Shawn Smith’s music for a long time. He’s the lead vocalist for Satchel and Pigeonhed. If you haven’t heard either of those you may have heard his work with the supergroup/side project Brad, which he formed with Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard. He’s a talented singer and songwriter and his projects almost invariably rock.
- Psycho – Puddle of Mudd
I think even I heard this song on the radio at some point even though I almost never listen to the radio. I read that it topped the charts for 9 weeks. Still, I had completely forgotten about it until I heard it at a friend’s house. Great song.
Enjoy this mix with a Founder Imperial Stout, or something else surprisingly hard. Have a great weekend.
My girlfriend spent the day seeing a bunch of doctors today. Tests at the hospital is a lousy way to spend a Friday. I started singing Eels’ ‘Hospital Food’ to her last night and though she’s an Eels fan, she didn’t know that one. That convinced me. It is a good topic for a mix. Listen in good health.
- Hospital Food – Eels
“Next thing you know you’re eating hospital food. Delicious hospital food.” Isn’t that the way it goes?
- I’m So Sick – Flyleaf
I wasn’t quite sure what to think of these guys at first. Lead singer Lacey Mosley has a sweet voice and she’s cute but this song is really heavy. Think of some raspy dude’s voice singing this when you listen to it. It would work. Then I read they play Christian rock and metal. I still don’t know what of think of them.
- Attack the Doctor – Blockhead
I threw this one on my chill out mix. The drums and guitar vamp while various atmospherics wander through the groove. It’s cool.
- Love Can Damage Your Health – Telepopmusik
Also from the chill out mix. Telepopmusik is a French duo who play some smooth electronica. This is a simple song, but the arrangement is interesting and it has grown on me.
- Hospital Up – The Melvins
The Melvins do some stuff that can get pretty weird. This is a straight-ahead rock song that is accessible and appealing…except for the last minute and a half, but I edited that off of my copy.
- Healing Is Difficult – Sia
Healing is difficult, but Sia is easy to listen to. She has a distinctive voice and you may have heard her work with Zero 7. This one, though, is the title track from her great 2000 debut.
- Monster Hospital – Metric
Cool song that reminds me of The Breeders. Creepy freaking video that reminds me of David Lynch.
- Miracle Medicine – Jason Falkner
Falkner is an alum of Jellyfish and has written some great power pop, like this.
- Lock Doctor – James Harman
Here is some down home oozy blues for you. Harman lays it down.
- She’s a Healer – Neil Young
Neil Young has been at it a long time, but you still have to listen to what he’s doing. He explores every corner of this 9-minute bass-driven groove and it doesn’t get stale.
- World Sick – Broken Social Scene
Broken Social Scene isn’t as much of a band as it is just a musical collective. No fewer than 25 musicians have contributed to albums and live shows and most of them live in and around Toronto. “You Forgot It in People” is my favorite album by them, but this is my favorite song off of “Forgiveness Rock Record.”
- Dr. Jimmy – The Who
From the brilliant “Quadrophenia.” The main character, Jimmy, has 4 personalities. This one is a bastard.
- I Don’t Want To Die (In The Hospital) – Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band
“You gotta take me back outside. Help me get my boots on.” The energy of the song fits the proud desperation of the lyrics.
Enjoy this mix with a Flaming Moe. Because it’s medicinal. Have a great weekend.
It’s been a weird year for me, particularly the last month or so. I have been dealt some tough blows this year and I’ve had some tremendous breaks. Some things that were begun this year aren’t over yet and the relative merits of their outcomes have not been revealed. I’ve done things this year I never thought I would do. Never contemplated doing, actually.
So 2010 did not go according to my plans, but as John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Or as Woody Allen said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” So we make plans and hope things go our way, but it’s important to roll with the punches and simply enjoy the time that is given to us. With that in mind, this end-of-year post celebrates the strange and bizarre. Hey, it’s better than a boring life, right?
- Stranger than Fiction – moe.
This is from my favorite moe. album, “Tin Cans and Car Tires.” Bass player Rob Derhak is a great songwriter and here’s a gem.
- Weird – The Sebadoh
“Paranoia’s contagious. I’m coming down with it too.” It’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you.
- Stranger – Draven
These guys do throwback metal. I’d put it in the early 90s, maybe, but they do it really well. This nearly 9-minute epic has brooding verses and ass-kicking instrumental bridges.
- Strange Groove – World Party
This is from the little known but brilliant World Party album, “Egyptology.” This one is strange, but it’s funky.
- Strange Times – The Black Keys
God bless Carney and Auerbach. OK, the song is great, but this video concept is the funniest thing I’ve seen all week.
- Stranger Things – Soul Hat
“Stranger things have happened. Won’t you explain how I can keep from tripping on the acid rain.” This was a pretty obscure album my brother turned me on to. They are/were an Austin-based band that I saw many years ago. They had a rocking single that hit #25 back in the 1990s, but this song was from a prior album that was a little gentler.
- Weird Fishes/Arpeggi – Radiohead
Radiohead started to lose me for a bit, there, but “In Rainbows” is a beautiful, rocking album. Here is one of the gorgeous tracks from this album.
- Strange – R.E.M.
“There’s something going on that’s not quite right.” I’ve felt this way all year.
- Strange Condition – Pete Yorn
I only discovered about a minute ago that Yorn did a collaborative album with Scarlet Johansson in 2009. The single isn’t that bad and the album apparently went platinum in France already. I’ll get back to you on that. This song is from his solo debut “Musicforthemorningafter.”
- Crazy Dream – Los Lonely Boys
These guys can sound a lot like Stevie Ray Vaughn, but then they’re also out of central Texas so I suppose they come by it honestly.
- Very Strange – Gomez
I’ve recommended Gomez in the past. They are great songwriters and versatile players. Ben Ottewell drops a good hook and some moving lyrics on us here.
- Strange – Built to Spill
The muddy guitar, harmony vocals, and tambourine backing Doug Martsch’s whining delivery somehow create a broadly appealing combination.
- Nobody Told Me – John Lennon
“Nobody told me there’d be days like these. Strange days indeed. Most peculiar, mama.” Lennon wrote this for Ringo Starr, but died before Starr recorded it. Lennon’s demo take was released 3 years after his death on “Milk and Honey.” It was the last John Lennon song to reach Billboard’s top 10, hitting #5.
- Strange Apparition – Beck
Beck gets up to some strange shenanigans musically, but this one is a pretty straightforward piano-based pop tune. The video, on the other hand, is another matter.
- Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed – David Bowie
This year has left me feeling somewhat slightly dazed. So here is some seriously vintage Bowie from way back in nineteen hundred and sixty-nine. The intro is pretty spacey, but it soon ramps up into some sweet country rock.
Enjoy this mix with a gin martini garnished with pickled octopus. Or, if your year has been weird enough already, just some bubbly. Have a safe holiday and a great coming year.
A friend read my Love in the Fall post from last week and thought I was turning into a big sissy. He demanded that I follow that mix with a metal mix because “manism dictates.” Fair enough.
- You Don’t Have to Be Old to Be Wise – Judas Priest
My brother sent me this disc a few months ago. I hadn’t listened to “British Steel” all the way through since a childhood friend played it for me when it was new. It blew me away then and it’s still great today.
- The Biggest Lie – Hüsker Dü
The heavy chord progression of the intro is sick, the lyrics are appropriately dark, and the punk influence just makes it wild.
- Hemispheres – Between the Screams
The eighth note power chords and screaming vocals give this grungy song extra power. This one goes up to 11.
- Farewell the Favored – Across the Sun
These guys put out an interesting sound. Relentless guitar, pounded drums, and Cookie Monster vocals trade with pure, sung vocals and distorted arpeggios. The overall effect should be heavy enough for you.
- Grim Heart/Black Rose – Converge
‘Grim Heart’ is beautiful, in a bleeding ears kind of way. It flows straight into ‘Black Rose,’ which is also strong and even heavier.
- Open Your Eyes – Without Thought
Blistering metal with a bit of neo-punk vocals. As much as I hate most neo-punk, the use of that style in metal works for me on this track.
- The Lotus Eater – Opeth
Again, Cookie Monster and an actual singer take turns singing. The guitar and drums hit it hard, but you get unexpected keyboards and even a little cello in the intro (probably synthesized). It’s good.
- Vicinity of Obscenity – System of a Down
These guys work really hard at being weird. They succeed. Serj Tankian sounds like Freddy Mercury’s evil twin in this song.
- No Quarter – Tool
‘No Quarter’ was always one of my favorite Zeppelin tunes. Maynard takes this already epic song and stretches it out to nearly 10 minutes and somehow manages to make it heavier and perhaps more beautiful than the original. Wow.
- Fan Club – Verbow
The verses are patient, almost lurking, and they pounce on the choruses. Singer Jason Narducy doesn’t really have a metal voice but this really isn’t metal anyway. Fans of old Hüsker Dü will probably like this. In fact, Bob Mould himself likes these guys and had them open for him on tour.
- The Dryness and the Rain – mewithoutyou
The guitar work is cool, the vocal performance is compelling, and the song is cleverly constructed, but this song is all about the lyrics for me.
- Unanswered – Suicide Silence
Be warned, this is probably the hardest song on my iPod. Speed death metal with menacingly screamed vocals. I can only take this stuff in small doses, but damn this song rocks hard. “Where is your god? Where is your f*cking god?!”
- Pressure – Skindred
They call their blend of punk, metal, and reggae “ragga metal.” I can’t believe I never posted this song before. Check it out.
I hope this will dispel any myths that I’m going soft. Enjoy this mix with some tequila, straight up. Have a great weekend.
Saturday is probably the most grueling day at Bonnaroo. Thursday starts late and ends early. The first few years, there wasn’t much music at all on Thursday. Now there is music, but it’s an abbreviated day. Friday is your first full day, with music going from noon to 4:00 AM, or thereabouts, but you’re still pretty fresh. Sunday starts at noon also, but ends at around 11:30 PM when the final headliner ends. But Saturday… You’re coming off a long Friday, you probably haven’t had much sleep, and it’s another noon to 4:00 AM day.
The weather varies from year to year, obviously. Some years it’s hot, dry, and dusty. Some years it’s rainy and muddy. This year we had rain the week before so people were setting up camp in some mud, but once the festival started there was no rain (except for a blessed 10 minutes on Saturday afternoon). Temperatures and humidity were both in the low 90s. You’re so sweaty and oily with sunscreen that your skin becomes flypaper for every particle of dust that wafts your way. There is a fountain for people to play in, but I think the same water flows in it all week, so you have to be pretty dirty for that water to actually make you cleaner. You can buy a shower for $7 or do the old shower-in-a-bottle between cars at the campsite. I have done both. Still, the crowd is all in it together and no one is there for comfort. It’s all about the music.
I stayed in camp a little longer Saturday to rest (OK… and to drink) and headed for the venue shortly after noon. I caught a few minutes of Norah Jones. Jones is as talented as she is adorable but a lot of her music is a little too sleepy for me. I like the more upbeat, poppy direction she took on her latest album but the few live tracks I heard were very mellow. I was headed in search of larger game so I didn’t stay long.
The first full show I saw Saturday was Isis. If you aren’t familiar with this band out of Boston (via L.A.) they play metal that ranges from math rock to slowcore, reminiscent of Neurosis or Tool. They played a great set that was heavy and tight, which is why I was disappointed to discover the band has announced they are breaking up after this summer’s tour. If they have any dates left in your town, go check them out as it looks like they won’t be around in the fall.
Immediately following Isis on the same stage came The Melvins. This was apparently no accident because Isis and The Melvins are reportedly releasing a split EP together in July of 2010. The Melvins’ stage presence is strange. All four guys were in different dresses, from one of the drummers’ pizza print dress to the bass player’s 70s futuristic gown (think Logan’s Run or Battlestar Galactica) to lead singer King Buzzo’s black frock. I thought the set was just going to be heavy and weird. Well, it WAS heavy and weird, but it was also very engaging and extremely cool. I had never heard much from The Melvins, beyond what came up on some of my friend’s iPods, but I was much impressed and will start going through their 20+ years of albums (suggestions, anyone?).
I went from there to the main stage, where The Dead Weather was playing. This is Jack White’s (White Stripes, Raconteurs) new new band. The music on their debut album was good (I have but have not listened to the new album) and the performance was intense, but I couldn’t help wishing that the Raconteurs were playing again. In fairness, I only got to see a little bit of their show because I had to go see a personal favorite, Ozomatli. (whom I have written up more than once: here and here).
Ozomatli never disappoints. Amazing energy, individual talent, tight work as an ensemble, and great songs make this a danceable show every time. I was also delighted when Trombone Shorty (see my previous post) joined them on-stage. This was a highlight of the weekend for me.
I watched their entire show and then went to the great highlight of the entire week: Stevie Wonder. I have been excited about this show since the line-up came out. I thought I would never get a chance to see Stevie Wonder but the music gods smiled on me this year. Conan O’Brien introduced him, saying, “Let me get real serious for a moment. There is no one better than Stevie Wonder. I am honored – honored! – to be standing within 500 yards of this man. He has done it all.” I was glad Conan tried to give the kids some perspective and I couldn’t agree more.
Stevie, wearing a pure white dashiki, was led to his keyboard and the music began. He had 12 or 15 musicians on the stage with him and you know that to get the gig in Stevie’s band you have to be an absolute monster. The band were all great improvisers and tightly rehearsed. Stevie would occasionally call out, “Go to A flat!” or, “Go to E! Now F!” and the band never missed a beat or a note. The singers danced and Stevie sang with all the energy and fluid power you remember. He hasn’t lost a step. It was a celebration. He played songs spanning his entire career, including a few from my favorite, “Songs in the Key of Life.”
My only complaint about the whole show was that Stevie kept asking us to sing. Please, Stevie, don’t make us sing. You have almost as many Grammys as I have teeth. Please sing to me. I came here to hear you, not the drunk, off-key schmo next to me. Anyway, the show was amazing and all too short.
I ended my Saturday with a set from Thievery Corporation. Theivery Corp is ostensibly just DJs Rob Garza and Eric Hilton. However, they had a two-tiered stage filled with a variety of instrumentalists and singers. Their music touches dub, chillout, jazz, bossa nova, and other world influences. It was a cool set and I sank into the grass and relaxed after a long, hot day.
I had intended to write a single post covering Saturday and Sunday, but I think this is enough for today. I’ll cover Sunday tomorrow, though it was a short day and I only took in four shows.
Well, it’s been a long week away. I apologize for the long delay between posts, but I was at Bonnaroo since Wednesday last week and I have been incredibly busy since I got back so I just haven’t had time to post. Like last year, I wanted to recap some of the bands I saw. Ah, Bonnaroo. It’s a 9-hour drive from my town to camp in the dust or mud, depending on the week’s weather. In spite of this, the crowd is young and beautiful, the scene is relaxed and peaceful (I’ve been to 5 or 6 Bonnaroos now and still have never seen a single fight), and the musical lineup is unparalleled. I love going.
I started out Thursday by catching The Entrance Band. They hit the crowd with psychedelic roots rock. Some of it was bluesy, and some had a frat party feel. The music was rough and heartfelt. On the binary scale, they get a 1. Check out this single, ‘Lookout!’ if you’re interested.
I went from there to Baroness. I have written up Baroness in the past and was excited for their show. There is a lot to like about this band and they did not disappoint live. The sound was complex and heavy with a melodic core, bristling with major power chords and minor arpeggios. Check out ‘Grad.’
Next I caught Local Natives. The Natives achieve a full sound with several multi-instrumentalists, allowing them to put up 2 drummers or occasionally 2 guitarists at need. They play energetic hard pop and every note is sung with accompanying harmony vocals. Their indie-pop sound was pretty good, and I made a note that I was reminded of the Talking Heads. Check out this single, ‘Wide Eyes.’
I didn’t catch all of the Natives and left to hear some Manchester Orchestra. Their studio stuff is often kind of mellow, but live their sound was dominated by heavy pounding guitar and usually screamed vocals. They were surprisingly good. Here you can hear the album version of ‘I Can Barely Breathe.’
The last show I saw Thursday was Blitzen Trapper. I was really excited to see this show, because their 2009 release was fantastic. Sadly, I must report I was a little disappointed in their live show. The energy I was looking for wasn’t there. There also wasn’t great variability in their songs and after a while they started to all sound the same. I definitely recommend you pick up “Black River Killer,” though. This was followed by a long walk back to camp, a beer, and a sleeping bag.
Music began Friday at noon with a show by Trombone Shorty. A friend of mine saw him at Jazz Fest (I was there also, but missed Shorty) and told me not to miss his set at Bonnaroo. That suggestion was right on target. Trombone Shorty is a virtuoso on his instrument. My brother plays trombone and I know enough about the instrument to recognize some of the things he was doing are extremely difficult. His band played tight funk and he had several great horns accompanying his trombone. Great set. Here’s a live performance.
Next I took in some from the Carolina Chocolate Drops. These guys are a surprising Appalachian bluegrass three-piece. Banjo and fiddle with percussion provided by spoons, jug, or just beatbox. The female banjo player has a tremendous voice and I really enjoyed their set. Give a listen to this one for a taste of what they do.
I went to see OK Go not exactly reluctantly, but with low expectations. I have seen some of their brilliant videos (treadmills, Rube Goldberg, etc.) but to be honest I only liked a couple of the songs off their albums I had heard. Their live set changed my mind. They completely won me over. You could hear the energy and intention behind the songs when they performed them. They did some cool stuff, too, like bringing out a table loaded with hand bells and performing a song with all four of them singing and playing the bells. That isn’t easy; clearly they rehearsed it a lot. I liked their songs and the way they approach their music. I’ll be giving their albums another listen.
I dropped by Tori Amos on my way to another show but could only stay for one song. I only like a handful of Amos songs anyway and I find a lot of her breathy, melodramatic songs kind of annoying. That’s what she was doing when I blew through her show. On I went.
You may not be aware that Steve Martin is an excellent banjo player. In fact, he won a Grammy in 2009 for Best Bluegrass Album. I caught his bluegrass set with the Steep Canyon Rangers. The music was great, for the most part (I wasn’t crazy about the children’s song he played, but then I wasn’t the target demographic). He is a talented songwriter – all the songs they played were penned by Martin – and he and the Rangers played a tight set. Martin’s patter was funny too. You can take the comedian out of the comedy club, but… “It has been a long time dream of mine to play bluegrass at Bonnaroo,” he said. “Tonight, I feel one step closer to that dream.” Here they are tearing it up on the Orange Blossom Special.
I have seen Michael Franti and Spearhead several times and I caught their set again this year. Franti is a relentlessly positive force, a great songwriter, and a compelling performer. If you have a chance to see his show, check it out. Like chicken soup, it’s good for what ails you.
I have a friend who inexplicably hates Kings of Leon. He says it’s pop crap, though I suspect he only says that to mess with me. They headlined Friday night and I watched their show. It was definitely NOT pop crap. The Kings put on a really great rock show. Their new album is fantastic (I ripped all but 2 of the songs) and they have honed their live show. It was a great set and I will catch them next time they come to my town.
I caught a few minutes of Daryl Hall/Chromeo (yes, Daryl Hall of Hall and Oats). There was a terrible triple conflict at midnight so I only gave them 2 songs to grab me. They didn’t. I went over to see Akron’s own Black Keys next. I love the Keys (and I’ve written them up) and they were rocking the field as expected. Still, I had to leave to go see The Flaming Lips performing Dark Side of the Moon. The Lips didn’t open with Dark Side, however. Their first set was all Lips songs, which was great because I didn’t see much of their show last time they were at Bonnaroo and it was extremely cool to see them doing their thing. The live show is a spectacle. The thing was they took the stage at midnight and Wayne Coyne promised that they would do a few Lips songs, take a break, and come back for a second set of Dark Side. After every song, Coyne would say, “We’re just doing a couple more, then we’ll do our second set.” I began to realize that with no one taking the stage after the Lips that night, he could continue doing that until, say, 2:30 AM, launch into Dark Side at 3:00 AM, and wrap up at 4:00 AM. With the sun making tents unbearably hot and impossible to sleep in after 7:00 AM I could potentially be wrecked for Saturday. At a little after 1:00 AM I gave up. A 30-minute walk back to my tent already had me getting at most 5 hours of sleep with at least 14 hours of concerts facing me on Saturday. I loved their set of Lips music, but I had to bail on Dark Side. Probably a huge mistake, but Bonnaroo is a marathon, not a sprint.
On a side note, I feel compelled to ask who are the people who litter in a field they want to hang out in tomorrow? I just don’t get that. I managed to do the entire 4 days without leaving a plastic bottle anywhere but there were hundreds of drink cups and bottles strewn all over fields and under trees every day, often by people who you know want to hang out under that same tree tomorrow. It just doesn’t make any sense to me.
It was a great couple days of music and tomorrow I will post about Saturday and Sunday. There was some exciting music those two days, so stay tuned.
I fell asleep at 9:30 last night and slept on top of the covers with the light on until 3:30 AM. I got up to check locks and hit the bathroom and slept straight through until my alarm went off at 6:00. I usually get 5 or 6 hours of sleep a night so this was a crazy amount of sleep for me. I feel like a million bucks. Maybe I should look a little more into this sleep thing.
Anyway, I have a ton of energy today and just got back from the gym where I was listening to some hard rock and metal on the headphones. It hit me so well I wanted to share some of it with all of you today. Check these out.
- Will You Smile Again for Me – …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
Aaaaaand here’s a punch in the mouth to start us off. The blistering 5/4 intro lasts the first minute and a half before the songs subsides into an ominous ooze reminiscent of Pink Floyd (with Roger Waters).
- The Northern – Alexisonfire
It starts off sounding like a post-grunge pop song, but continues to get harder and harder throughout. The video’s a little goofy and I’m not sure what ideas they’re trying to convey with it, but the song is fabulous.
- Stripped Away – Ashes Divide
This isn’t quite metal, though it has some of the elements. Still, I’ll give it the nod because Ashes Divide is the new project of A Perfect Cirlce founder Billy Howerdel. The grinding guitar, dark chord progression, and complex rhythm makes this one rock.
- Exospacial Psionic Aura – Behold… The Arctopus
So here’s one for you math rock aficionados. Did you ever meet someone who was so smart you really couldn’t relate to them? That’s kind of what listening to these guys is like. This stuff is 60% sick technique, 30% adrenaline, and 14% Will Hunting with an abacus. It sounds chaotic, but listen to how tight the band is. Every measure and note is counted and structured.
- Best Intentions – Car Bomb
Car Bomb does some pretty intense, screamy metal. This isn’t usually my thing, but there’s something about the complexity of the song that I like and the use of the gentle bridge in the middle is creative. I think it brings us back a bit from the last track.
- Cypress Grove – Clutch
Neil Fallon has such a great rock n’ roll voice. I love Clutch’s smart, funny lyrics too. They always have something interesting to talk about. This track rocks.
- No World for Tomorrow – Coheed & Cambria
I wasn’t entirely sold on Coheed & Cambria until I saw them live. Interestingly, the guy who posted this on YouTube hates the video that was paired with this. I kind of like it, though. It reminds me of Æon Flux: it’s cool to watch, but I don’t understand what the hell happened.
- Beware (the Water) – The Deftones
I love the oozy verses punctuated by the towering choruses. The video is done by some students. It’s a little goofy, but more interesting to watch than a still of the album cover.
- When Acting as a Wave – Dillinger Escape Plan
Just a minute and a half long, but what a punishing 90 seconds. I’ve listened to this one many times, but I still can’t quite count it with them. It reminds me a bit of the intro to YYZ by Rush.
- Pigs Is Pigs – Every Time I Die
I thought I had recommended this song once already, but my spreadsheet says I wrote up ‘Rendez-Voodoo.’ This one is fantastic and has some extremely dark lyrics like, “It gets so hard going limp in your arms,” and “ You know I’m no good at court ordered goodbyes.”
- Repeater – Fugazi
My wife turned me onto “Repeater,” the 1990 release from the Washington D.C. punk / funk band Fugazi. It’s not exactly metal, but then it’s raw, it’s real, and it rocks.
- Ten Ton Brick – Hurt
I have to say I’m not entirely sure about these guys. This is the only song of theirs I have on my iPod but I do like this one quite a bit. It has all the trappings of metal, but the core of this track is a pop song.
- Underachievers – Junkie XL
I like these guys’ sound, with a full band plus 2 DJs. Sadly, this clip only gives you the intro and the first few seconds once the song really gets going. You can also check out this live version, but the song doesn’t start until 2 minutes in.
- The Tide – Neurosis
There is only so much Neurosis I can do in one sitting, but this song is utterly brilliant. The opening is slow and dark, complete with mournful cello, but then the band comes in and just demolishes the space with a wrecking ball.
- You Know What You Are? – Nine Inch Nails
Cleveland native Trent Reznor hasn’t lost a step since “Pretty Hate Machine” and is still cranking out heavy industrial rock. This one is from his great 2005 release, “With Teeth,” which I am going to write up soon.
I feel better. Enjoy this with a birch (vodka and Red Bull) or whatever gets you going. Have a good weekend.
Alas, I got another disc from AltSounds that kinda sucked. In my review, I mention that they remind me of Night Ranger, maybe Foreigner. Not good in 2010. Still, it’s not all bad and I’m sure they will find an audience. Read the review, if you think you might be interested: http://hangout.altsounds.com/reviews/115208-hydrovibe-nothing-left-to-lose-album.html
I’ve been getting a lot of metal from AltSounds lately. Most of it is pretty good. Today is no exception. Most of the time, their music is an assault, but they surprise you with some dips and dives. Check out the full review: http://hangout.altsounds.com/reviews/115072-between-the-screams-our-last-days-on-earth-album.html
As you regular readers know, I like my metal with a little bit of melody. Across the Sun rip and howl when they want to, but not because they have to. I respect that. Check out my review on AltSounds: http://hangout.altsounds.com/reviews/114732-across-the-sun-pestilence-and-rapture-ep.html
I love turning people onto great stuff they’ve never heard. I listen to anywhere from 2 to 5 hours of new music (or new to me, at least) every day and tell you about the best 30 minutes. I scour new and used CD stores, the library, the Internet, and my friends‘ collections and I listen to just about anything I can find.
I will share with you the best I find of everything from Alternative to Opera, Hip Hop to New Age, World Music to Motown. Not everything I write about is new but there is so much music that we all missed when it was released that there should be a few gems for you on this blog every day.
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