Articles

  • Blah

    8 sept. 2010, 8h05m

    There's happiness in poverty but there's ecstasy in wealth
    Give me all your money and I'll find out for myself
  • The Most Annoying Songs of 2009

    19 jan. 2010, 9h26m

    There were many songs in 2009 that infuriated me while I was at work (I say so because I never have to listen to them anywhere else, FUCK commercial radio).

    But these ones were omnipresent, inescapable, TERRIBLE pieces of songwriting that really pissed me off. My sheer fury at how much these songs have annoyed me makes me lose IQ points, at an alarming rate.

    Please let me know if I've missed anything. I can't be arsed to check if the links work, none of the artists are worth it. And they're only one soul-rending google search away. For the record, I've only seen the videos for three of these songs, and so didn't bother commenting on most of them. I'm sure the rest are shit.

    7. So What - P!nk

    Actually released in 2008, but being that it was close to the end of that year, the song just KEPT BEING PLAYED in 2009, making every working day of the last year a living hell. Every day at work was spent just waiting for this track to make its inevitable appearance. I would sometimes breathe a sigh of relief when I finished a day without hearing it, only to stupidly go to the shops later that day and hear the entire song in all its riotous shitty glory. Ridiculously catchy, so that you can't get the damn thing out of your head even when in
    those rare times it's not around. Would've scored higher had it been released in 2009, and had its presence loomed larger towards the end of the year.

    Who the fuck is Drum Boy anyway? That line would make absolutely no sense without the film clip. Which was actually somewhat funny the first time, then stupidly annoying every subsequent viewing.

    Most pathetic moment - "Check my flow, aww!"

    So What

    6. The Boy Does Nothing - Alesha Dixon

    Another ridiculously catchy song, with an admirable 20's dance scene influence that Christina got right and everyone else hasn't. Anything good about it stops there however. Alesha's voice is infuriating, the lyrics are... I don't even know what the lyrics are about, and I just read them. Best summed up by Angie from my work, who knows the lyrics to every single song on the radio, regardless of whether she likes them or not.
    Me - "Who sings this godawful song?"
    Angie - "I dunno, just some stupid bitch who thinks she's funny"
    Me - "She's not. This just blows"

    Most pathetic moment - "HE does NUTHIN, BOY does NUTHIN'" in that stupid fucking squeaky voice.

    The Boy Does Nothing

    5. 21 Guns - Green Day

    The worst part of this song isn't even Green Day. It's Butch "I produced Nevermind, Gish and Siamese Dream, three of the best albums you will ever hear in your life" Vig. To go from being one of my personal heroes for squeezing beautiful sounds out of some of the most talented musicians of the 90's, to producing this abominable shite, has made me lose even more faith in humanity. (Let's not talk about Billy Corgan and Jessica Simpson right now, I'm still facepalming over that one). Nevertheless, the song is bland, laughably faux-epic, and just downright disappointing from a band that used to bear some semblance to decent punk and that I already EXPECT to be disappointed by.

    Most pathetic moment - The chorus. Just listen to it, and cringe.

    21 Guns

    4. I'm Like A Lawyer With The Way I'm Always Trying To Get You Off (Me & You) - Fall Out Boy

    Let me get this out of the way straight up. FALL OUT BOY SONG TITLES ARE NOT FUNNY. And Pete Wentz is a fucking douche. And this band couldn't write a good song if they stumbled upon a vault with unreleased tapes by The Beatles, Jeff Buckley and The Smashing Pumpkins, all unlabeled and uncopyrighted. Their Foo Fighters approach of "one verse, then repeat the chorus over and over and over again" (at least they don't just scream the title repeatedly, someone please tell Dave Grohl he is NOT allowed to sing anymore. Just give the man some fucking sticks) is boring, annoying, and completely unimaginative. I cringe and want to punch Pete Wentz in his tiny wang every time I hear Fall Out Boy, but particularly this song.

    Most pathetic moment - As above. The chorus. The word "me" does NOT have three syllables. And the whole thing just makes no fucking sense. Don't tell me it's deep and that I just need to open up and listen - it's shit.

    Shitty Song Title #45

    3. TiK ToK - Ke$ha

    Wow. Just wow. This song is to music what Bratz dolls are to toys. It exemplifies everything that's contemptible about adolescent culture nowadays. Go out, get drunk, avoid being molested by men, wake up with incredible hangover the next morning (as P Diddy apparently does) and combat it with even MORE alcohol, and go out again because you can't quite remember the last time. I heard a few more tracks from this album a few days after I heard this song, and each is more ridiculous and awful than the last. And it's absurdly popular. Girls love this and will aspire to do what Ke$ha does, and boys will think she's hot, and I will bury my face in my hands and lament the loss of all that was good in the world. Ke$ha's voice is terrible, by the way. This song would have taken the number one spot with a huge lead, if not for the incredible lack of quality of the next two tracks, and had it been released earlier in the year.

    Most pathetic moment - TIE: - "The party don't start til I walk iiinnn"; slurred like that bottle of Jack has finally kicked in.
    "I wake up in the morning feelin' like P. Diddy." - WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?!

    TiK ToK

    2. I Gotta Feeling - The Black Eyed Peas

    Everything that was wrong with TiK ToK and more. The Black Eyed Peas have been my most-hated-band for a long time now, and I'm not a person who likes to bitch about music, I prefer just to ignore it and listen to what I want to listen to. But I work in retail, and I have to listen to the radio, and the sheer magnitude of the LAMENESS of this song forces me to hate it and complain. A shitty thrown-together beat, moronic repeated lyrics, the infuriating mental image of Will.I.Am and Fergie singing this shit (just their visual presence annoys me), and the... I could go on. But this sums it up, REALLY well.

    Please die in a fire, Black Eyed Peas.

    1. Like It Like That - Guy Sebastian

    Words do not do justice to how utterly pervasive this song was in 2009. It was EVERYWHERE, inescapable, and an easy choice for the most annoying song of 2009. The most annoying part about it was that I would find myself humming or singing it absent-mindedly at any given time, despite the fact just hearing it makes me want to perforate my eardrums. Everyone else I knew, and I mean EVERYONE, was doing the same thing. And it was an obvious choice for advertising jingles, and to just play on the radio every single day. Do not listen to this song, for it will consume your life.

    You have been warned
  • 2000 - 2009: My Favourite Albums of the Last Ten Years

    3 jan. 2010, 11h03m

  • Music Purchases today

    27 déc. 2009, 23h51m

    The Doors - 30th Anniversary collection
    Includes:
    - Live At the Hollywood Bowl
    - Dance on Fire
    - The Soft Parade: A Retrospective

    Nirvana - The Singles (Boxset)
    Includes:
    - Smells Like Teen Spirit
    - Come As You Are
    - Lithium
    - In Bloom
    - All Apologies/Rape Me
    - Heart Shaped Box

    Also got the debut LP from The Black Ryder - Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride, which I've been practically unable to stop listening to. It's been playing in the car constantly, great record.

    All for the bargain price of $55 =D I'm happy
  • My Record Of The Year 2009: Ki - Devin Townsend Project

    23 déc. 2009, 4h51m

    When I heard Devin Townsend was going to release two records in 2009; after a two year absence where he lost his skullet, disbanded his most successful project, and quit cold turkey on smoking weed, drinking booze and looking at porn; I was almost certain that at least one of them would be my favourite of this year.

    And (haha, surprise!) they have taken spots 1 & 2, despite stiff competition from Mastodon and Lady of the Sunshine (and god DAMN I'm looking forward to the new Angus & Julia Stone record for next year). Two more Townsend records are slated for next year, half done and put on hold while the band tours on the first two records.

    So uh... this was the first glimpse I got of Devin for 2009 -



    ...I'd be forgiven for thinking that the upcoming record was going to be a goofy exercise in insanity, right? The next two videos are actually even weirder.

    But Ki threw Townsend fans a curveball.

    So much of his work in the past has been a musical assault; whether with Strapping Young Lad, The Devin Townsend Band, or solo, he's always absolutely packed the soundscape with pounding drums, and schizophrenic ambience, most often paired with bludgeoning guitars and roaring vocals.

    Townsend explains the disbandment of Strapping Young Lad to Terrorizer - "I had some horrible things happening in the last couple of years, that ten years ago I would've written a ferocious Strapping album about. But I changed. Pretending that I'm still angry would be cashing in on that past honesty."

    For Metal Hammer re: the response to Strapping Young Lad's Alien- "...I had so many people in my world that were like, 'Yeah yeah yeah, do it again,' but I was like, 'Dude, this is really hard for me, this is emotionally fucking punishing, and in all honesty, this is going to fucking kill me if I do it again'. But they're going, 'Yeah yeah yeah', and I'm thinking to myself, 'So you want me to die? No fucking way. and you're not my friend if that's what you're after."

    With this in mind, it maybe shouldn't have come as a surprise to fans that Devin's main influence here seems to be jazz (his sound owes as much to Ravi Shankar as it does to Morbid Angel, both Townsend favourites). But it's not a bombastic, heavy swing like we've seen in the past on tracks like Bad Devil; it's a quiet, brooding prowl, predominantly driven by the bass of Jean Savoie rather than the guitars, that occasionally lashes out with unexpected violence. Devin mostly sings cleanly, often not much louder than a whisper. Even when he does bring out the odd roar, it mainly accentuates a dynamic shift in the music that never seems to fulfill its threat; rather receding back into its shell to bubble ominously. The guitars and drumming on Ki reflect the vocal shifts tightly.

    Duris Maxwell, ex-Gene Simmons, The Temptations and Jefferson Airplane, is a marvel. His drumming is always solid, whether loud or soft; he hits with the confidence of experience, even during the album's heavier moments where he must be unfamiliar. He seems to explore every beat at his leisure, throwing in slight but gorgeous fills and licks whenever he feels like it, though never so much that it's distracting.

    The ambience of Townsend records has always been on par importance with the instrumentation; Devin can take a repeating riff and fill in the soundscape with whooshes, whirls, clicks and buzzes to expand the sound immensely and stop it from being monotonous. He does so here as well, aided by the impeccable Dave Young (who also contributes "kick-ass-ery", according to the liner notes). The ambience is almost entirely made up of echo, and barely-there synthesised hums and sighs, but also has sirens, distant thunder, zaps, and helicopter chops. It accentuates the oppressive silence around each track with a gorgeous sense of subtlety.

    Devin, again for Terrorizer - "Silence is so... heavy. i wanted to make a record that doesn't demand your attention, that can play in the background, and the fourth time you hear it you'd say, 'I didn't notice that'. By the tenth time you'd say ''Hey, this is really fuckin' heavy'. And by the twentieth time you'd wonder if it's the same record you listened to the first time."

    And it's true. Ki plays really well in the background when reading a book or surfing the net, but displays an incredible depth upon closer inspection, and rewards repeated listening.


    The 3D cover - by Konrad Palkeiwicz. The rest of the art is great too

    A Monday begins with a slow, relaxing acoustic guitar, echoing into the distance, brimming with beauty and tension. Bass and ambience heavy, A Monday manages to be loud without being violent. It seems to reach a point where it's about to take off... and then fades. It's a motif (emotionally, and musically) that's repeated throughout the album.

    A Monday hisses into Coast over a throbbing buzz reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails. But where Townsend fans of old, indeed Townsend himself, might have expected an opening track to explode into a flurry of sound within seconds, Coast rises and falls rapidly; but gently and beautifully, contrasted with an undercurrent of tension that builds without ever seeming to rupture. It's marked by the same echoing guitar as A Monday, and clean, beautiful vocals. It ends in a rush of static and blurry vocals that threaten to whirl into a tornado... but never do.

    Disruptr begins on a bassy riff, as Townsend expresses his frustration at being stuck in a musical and emotional rut. It's instantly heavier than Coast, and slowly builds over clean yet chugging riffs, ominous wails and bells from Young and heavy hitting from drummer Duris Maxwell. Townsend throws another curveball here; after the listener expecting the record to stay in a quiet mode, Devin suddenly starts shouting, and picking his clean guitar strings as if he trying to break through them while air-raid sirens howl in the background... but then it fades out again. This repeats and then is given some room to breathe deep through a snarling bridge, before receding and then rising yet again. It's really heavy, but not brutally so. The violent wall of sound one expects from Townsend is diminished almost entirely.

    Gato follows a similar musical path to Disruptr, waving tension and release with a pummelling bridge that is reigned in at the last minute. It features excellent female vocals by another first-time collaborator, Che Dorval. The lyrics are... weird. Dynamic shifts are pitched over proggy, jazzy guitar licks that descend into distorted chugging, and a busy drum beat by Maxwell, while Savoie carries the tune and Young's ambience keeps the tension to the forefront. It again ends on a defiant shout by Townsend, receding relucantly into bitter buzzing and distant howling.

    The buzzes change form suddenly, and gently wave into a slight, gorgeous acoustic number, Terminal (co-written with Dave Young... and you can really tell). Townsend croons softly, letting the ambience of the song shine over fantastically slight performances by all the musicians. It gently rises and falls, with its louder (but still quiet) moments surging with pride, and it's soothing softness just begging to lift up again. It's carried out by fading synth and a brief, but beautiful, piano solo.

    Barely heard studio banter and a bouncy drum beat introduces Heaven Send, under an ominous, groovy clean riff. Townsends lyrics explore his spiritual beliefs, with Dorval returning for a chorus that will get stuck in your head. The tension through the verses seems even deeper than the previous tracks, propelled mainly by Maxwell's heavy drumming and the ever-present ambience. When the tension does finally split, it's into a smashing distorted riff that is carried by all of the instruments at once, heavier than ever before... which then disintegrates into a jazzy jam, and what is easily Devin's best guitar solo ever. A tiny breath of silence, and then back into the rolling verse. The chorus slams back into existence, this time really exploding into a brutal riff and hoarse vocals that ends the track... Or so you'd think. Townsend calmly asks if they want to start again, and then SMASH, the chorus resumes. Townsend screams in the background, and the riff pounds viciously to its conclusion.

    Heaven Send disappears in an instant as ...Ain't Never Gonna Win takes over. It's a jazzy, drum'n'bass driven studio jam, where all the instrumentalists simply do their own thing, Townsend actually scatting softly over the top while barely playing his guitar at all. The tension of the last few tracks has disappeared completely.

    Echoes carry the jam into Winter, again drum'n'bass, which repeats the same vocal refrain softly as Young's ambience sways gently in the background. There's a brief breakdown in the middle of the track, stopping and starting, and letting the bass and guitar stretch out, before swirling back into the vocally reinforced verse. It fades gently out of existence carried by savoie's bass noodling.

    Then um... what? A train toots, Maxwell rolls out the drums, and Townsend swings into an Elvis drawl; backed by piano, a tooting keyboard and a simple bouncing riff, singing about girls on stripper poles and chugging trains. Then... ambience! Trainfire echoes the more bombastic moments of Synchestra for a little while, even exploding into a flurry of incongruous snarls and pounding riffs, then back into a jazzy pop, then screaming out again, then operatic vocals, and then bounces back into almost nothing. It's a weird but compelling piece. After an echo-y jam break, Che Dorval returns to sing a gorgeous double-tracked outtro into complete silence.

    Lady Helen is a beautiful, relaxed piece. It makes a slow crescendo over Young's lovely piano and Savoie's powerful bass, while Devin sings in a voice just above a whisper. The drums come in at just the right moment to carry the song upward into a loud, yet gentle, bridge. It seems to have that same sense of pride and joy as Terminal, building in much the same way. It fades into a slow echo-y guitar piece, backed with beautiful synth.

    Ki, the album's title track is introduced by a sitar that disappears as suddenly as it arrives, then a brief guitar noodle, and then a gorgeous acoustic lick that is backed by Townsend's trademark vocal layering. It's given a short triumphant spell, then fade-out, then into a short passage that's actually rescued from Soft, a demo Townsend recorded on "a shitty old cassette" in 1994. It repeats and echoes in a gorgeous crescendo, then fades into almost nothing. An acoustic and electric guitar noodle over and around each other for a little while, then begins a gorgeous series of acoustic arpeggios. A rapid, distorted guitar fades in, dozens of Devin's singing a nonsense verse gently, and faint double-kicked drums (if that really is Maxwell, then holy shit that man is good). It explodes into a gentle, loud, soft, heavy chorus that just KEEPS BUILDING, and refusing to relent. It's ethereal, holy, beautiful in every sense of the word. Then Devin unleashes an operatic howl over the top, and vicious screaming pushed to the background underneath. It continues pushing and pushing and then simply ceases to exist. It's a pinnacle among Townsend's musical achievements, mixed to perfection.

    A soft acoustic number, the aptly named Quiet Riot, breaks in, backed by restrained piano. The drums and bass have disappeared, not to be seen again. It's relaxed as if in a sense of accomplishment from what's gone before.

    A few seconds of silence precedes Demon League; a soft, tense number that seems akin to A Monday. Soft, echoed vocals lift over the track, and subtle synth increases the tension. It fades out quickly, and there's a rattle of studio equipment as if Devin is putting down his guitar and turning off the tape, and just like that, Ki is over.


    Subtle yet refined, loud and soft, relaxed and tense, a mess of emotions and contradictions, and overall simply gorgeous; this is Devin's most honest work since Terria, and shares that same sense of beautiful mystery. It's a fantastic return from the mislabeled "madman", that can only promise more brilliant offerings in the future.
  • Music of 2009

    19 déc. 2009, 3h06m

    Albums I listened to released this year -

    Relapse - Eminem
    The High End of Low - Marilyn Manson
    Ki - Devin Townsend Project
    Grace: Around The World - Jeff Buckley
    Endgame - Megadeth
    Crack the Skye - Mastodon
    Addicted - Devin Townsend Project
    Pray For Villains - Devil Driver
    Smoking Gun - Lady of the Sunshine
    Feel The Steel - Steel Panther
    Sovereign - Tenet
    Tinted Windows - Tinted Windows

    If I feel like it in the next two weeks, I'll write reviews for all of those albums. Most of them were pretty solid, quite a few were absolutely fantastic. Feel The Steel was utterly shite, and I wish I hadn't heard it. Megadeth and Marilyn Manson were disappointing, DevilDriver weren't as good as I was expecting, nor was Eminem. Tenet was great, but I stopped listening to them quickly, the releases from Devin Townsend, Angus Stone, Mastodon and Jeff Buckley are utterly fantastic, and maybe the best albums they've ever released. I think that sums it all up, yeah?



    Albums I got but didn't listen to all the way through for some reason -

    Deflorate - Black Dahlia Murder
    Evangelion - Behemoth
    The Devil You Know - Heaven & Hell
    Wonder - Lisa Mitchell
    Fed Through The Teeth Machine - The Red Chord




    Albums I really should've listened to by now but haven't gotten around to yet, even if I don't like the band that much anyway (or at all) or was expecting the album to be terrible -

    The Great Misdirect - Between The Buried And Me
    Black Gives Way To Blue - Alice In Chains
    Hordes of Chaos - Kreator
    Evisceration Plague - Cannibal Corpse
    It's Not Me, It's You - Lily Allen
    Wrath - Lamb Of God
    Invaders Must Die - The Prodigy
    Scream - Chris Cornell
    Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride - The Black Ryder
    21st Century Breakdown - Green Day
    The E.N.D. - Black Eyed Peas
    Farm - Dinosaur Jr.
    Sewn Together - Meat Puppets
    Killswitch Engage - Killswitch Engage
    Strange Cousins From The West - Clutch
    La Roux - La Roux
    The Fame Monster - Lady GaGa
    Artwork - The Used
    Swoon - Silversun Pickups
    The Resistance - Muse
    The Incident - Porcupine Tree
    Backspacer - Pearl Jam
    War Is The Answer - Five Finger Death Punch
    No Time To Bleed - Suicide Silence
    Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful - Paloma Faith
    Crash Love - AFI
    This Is It - Michael Jackson
  • Remission - Mastodon

    18 déc. 2009, 4h37m

    I get the feeling Remission would've been a better album if Brann Dailor's evolution as a musician had happened a little sooner.

    Let's face it, the man is a red hot genius.

    If he was to sex what he is to the drumming on this album, then 11 of the world's hardiest and most gorgeous pornstars would queue at his door to get the pounding of their lives - only to realise too late that they're barely up to the task.

    The songs on Remission are like that; some of them are treated with tender loving care, in between absolutely furious pounding, and end up being mindblowing experiences - particularly towards the end of the album. But a few of the songs in the first half of the album, lead single March of the FIre Ants particularly, barely manage to escape with their lives, because Dailor simply hasn't learned restraint yet, and tries to pound the living shit out of them.

    I actually thought listening through this album again that maybe Mastodon was a solo project for Brann Dailor, who accidentally ended up hiring extraordinarily talented musicians who manage to write pummelling riffs sturdy enough to stand up to Dailor's relentless assault.

    He has the fantastic knack of artists like Danny Carey and Gene Hoglan to brilliantly syncopate behind the riffs of an album and still make everything fuse together, but he drums so damn fast that what to most artists would be a furious solo is merely a backing track to Dailor. And when he does solo, holy shit, how many fucking limbs does that man have?!

    When the music slows down, Dailor doesn't. He just doesn't stop. To combat this, he's actually put further back in the mix, putting to waste what is easily the band's greatest asset. Tracks almost unwind because you think to yourself while huddled on the floor moaning in mixed fear and ecstasy at the ferocity and complexity of the music, "Holy shit, what is that guy ON?! Is he even listening to the others?!"

    Thank god he learned some restraint in time for the next record.
  • Meme thingy

    15 jui. 2009, 13h36m

    1. What's your favorite song by 14? Death
    Their cover of Painkiller by Judas Priest. It's just fucking amazing, oh my god. HOW can you sing bettar than Rob Halford, HOW?!

    2. How did you get into 20? Sepultura
    I don't actually remember when I first started listening to them =S I just know that I first listened to Roots and was like "hell yeah" and didn't like the rest of their stuff, now Roots, if anything, is my least favourite Seps album.

    3. Who is your favorite member in 8? Devin Townsend
    Um... Devin Townsend =S

    4. Whats your favorite lyric bit by 29? John 5
    He's an instrumental artist, so that pretty much rules that out.

    5. Have you ever seen 22 live? At The Gates
    Ah, if only! That would be one fucking killer of a show. More of a possibility now, since that reunion tour they did last year! Pity they didn't make it to Aus

    6. What's your favorite album from 10? Jeff Buckley
    Grace! The only album he actually released while he was alive, so, y'know... narrows the selection down a bit. His entire output is incredible though.

    7. Do you own any merchandise from 3? Strapping Young Lad
    CDs yes, but merch no.

    8. What is a good memory you have of 7? Nirvana
    Talking to noo about how much we loved Nevermind, listing the tracks by number because we didn't actually know their names. Fuck we were little pirates in year 9.

    9. Is there a member of the same age as you in 2? Marilyn Manson
    Nope. Much older.

    10. When did you first get into 1? The Smashing Pumpkins
    I got a mix-DVD of stuff from a guy at school, which had a shitload of music on it. The first band on it I really took to was the Smashing Pumpkins, in particular BWBW and Geek USA.

    11. Who likes 4 along with you? The White Stripes
    About 1.2 million other people on last.fm, apparently =P Noo is also a fan, as is my girlfriend =)

    12. Which song did you first hear from 15? My Chemical Romance
    I'm Not Okay (I Promise), at the ice-skating stadium.

    13. What song made you fall in love with 5? Eminem
    The Real Slim Shady - like millions of others =D

    14. Which song do you not like by 18? A Perfect Circle
    Basically all but two of the songs on eMOTIVe. Really dropped the ball on that one guys =(

    15. Why do you like 14's songs? Death
    Because they're so technically brilliant. The riffs are amazing, Chuck's voice and lyrics are fantastic, even when they're about zombies and sacrificial cunts, they got GENE FUCKING HOGLAN for two albums... it's just brilliant stuff./

    16. Where did you first hear 6? Tool
    On the same mix DVD I heard The Smashing Pumpkins on

    17. How long was 19 a singer before you liked them? Public Enemy
    I dunno if you'd ever call Chuck a "singer", but he's been emcee-ing since the early 1980's, and I didn't like them until last year, so I guess that means about 25 years

    18. Does 13 have a song that gives you a bad memory? The Haunted
    Not really. All Against All gets a bit bad-relationship-y, but that's about all

    19. When did you get into 17? Judas Priest
    Late last year, I heard Screaming For Vengeance (album), and orgasmed constantly the entire way through.

    20. How long have you been into 11? Soundgarden
    Since I got the NoMaths Alternative Annual, the same DVD I heard many of my other favourites on =D

    21. If 9 had a concert 300 miles away, would you drive there to see them? Angus & Julia Stone
    If they were going to bypass Newy, they I might. But they've come here on their last two tours, thankfully, for two friggin' great shows. So hopefully they will again!

    22. How many CDs do you own of 12? Nine Inch Nails
    Only one, The Downward Spiral. I'm not a huge fan of the rest of NIN's output, but it's starting to grow on me.

    23. Does 21 have a song that makes you cry? James Iha
    Not even close. Let It Come Down is one of the most absurdly happy albums I've ever heard.

    24. Does 27 have a song that makes you happy? Metallica
    Many. This happiness is produced mainly by inducing frenzied bouts of inner-ear destroying headbanging and air-guitaring

    25. Does 23 have a song that makes you smile? The Beatles
    Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

    26. What's the last song you've listened to from 28? Mastodon
    Umm, I think it was March of the Fire Ants. Huuuuuuge riff.

    27. Is there a song by 32 that you've listened to more than 30 times? Bathory
    Not quite, A Fine Day To Die has a little way to go yet.

    28. What is a song from 50 that you've only listened to once? Porcupine Tree
    Nope, lowest is 4

    29. Is there a song you are sick of hearing by 24? Dr. Dre
    I don't really hear Dr. Dre enough to be sick of any of his tracks. High Powered is fucking terrible... but he doesn't actually PERFORM on it, so oh well.

    30. What song got you into 40? System of a Down
    Chop Suey, same as most people =P

    31. What is your favorite single by 25? The Doors
    Break on Through is a classic

    32. If 49 hated you, what would you do? The Offspring
    I wouldn't worry too much. The glory days are gone =(

    33. What would you say if 42 or one of the members from 42 asked you out?
    Catherine
    I would say no. I'm happily attached =). And D'arcy appears to still be a bit messed up from what I can hear =S

    34. Would you care if 41 had a boyfriend/girlfriend? Alice In Chains
    Nope

    35. Who has the best voice in 46? Carcass
    Jeff Walker's growl is amazing. He wins, but Bill Steer practically burps all his lines, it's hilarious.

    36. Do you think 26 is/are good looking? The Devin Townsend Band
    Devy is not a good-looking man =P He's more handsome now he's shaved of his hair, but far less metal.

    37. How many times have you listened to your favorite song by 36? Red Hot Chili Peppers
    Suck My Kiss, 6 times

    38. How many CDs do you own of 30? Stephen Lynch
    None whatsoever.

    39. Is there a song from 38 that makes you mad? Big Black
    No

    40. Which member from 31 do you want to see go solo? Megadeth
    Dave Mustaine, clearly. Though I reckon Chris Poland could be pretty devastating leading his own project.

    41. What does your favorite song from 48 remind you of? Meat Puppets
    The Nirvana unplugged show XD Plateau rules

    42. Did you hate 43 at first? The B-52s.
    Nope!

    43. Does your best friend also listen to 33? Frenzal Rhomb
    Addie listens to 33 =)

    44. Do you think your parents would like 37? Opeth
    Not a chance

    45. Does 47 have a song that makes you want to dance? Collide
    No. I haven't listened to enough of these guys, they are actually pretty good from what I have tried.

    46. Have you ever seen 34 in person? David Bowie
    If I had there would be a lot of Wayne's World-style bowing and scraping.

    47. Do you like 44's name? Cypress Hill
    I don't see what's so spectacular about it. It's decent though

    48. Is there someone in 45 that you want to go out with? Nobuo Uematsu
    No. He is rather awesome though

    49. Do you know anyone that hates 39? Puscifer
    No, actually.

    50. Have you ever danced to a song from 35? Tenacious D
    No, I have not. Sung though, quite loudly.
  • Comparison - Metallica vs. Nevermind

    13 jui. 2009, 4h37m

    Metallica's self-titled 1991 album was to metal what Nevermind was to grunge, and in a sense to alternative music as a whole.

    Both were released in the same year, both helped launch their respective genres from an hitherto unheard-of status to an overwhelming hold on the mainstream... and both were misrepresentations of what their genres actually WERE.

    Nevermind is a big, shiny record. The masterful production by Butch Vig, developed in conjunction with Billy Corgan on Gish earlier that year, helped give a depth and impact to Nirvana that stood them out from the rest of their compatriots. Likewise, Bob Rock's big, shiny production of Metallica was a big leap (not necessarily forward) for the band, with production usually reserved for pop records applied to something that was (thought to be) decidedly anti-mainstream (the different being that Butch Vig is a genius, and everything Bob Rock has laid hands on has turned to shit... but that's just my opinion. GOD The Offspring's last record sucked). The production of both of these records is, in my opinion, the main thing that helped to shove these records into popularity.

    Nirvana and Metallica both shared a very Punk-rock philosophy (Nirvana themselves always maintained they WERE a punk band, though with the rise of "grunge" that was always conveniently forgotten), which involved doing things on a low, often shoe-string budget, and rejecting The Man in favour of just making some damn good music. Bleach was famously recorded on a budget of just $606; Metallica didn't even make a video until their fourth album.

    All of a sudden, due to mainstream pressure, both bands made a dramatic turnaround in their style. In the case of Metallica, lengthy riff-packed epics turned into slower, heavier tunes that often only relied upon one or two riffs throughout. James Hetfield's trademark "OOOOHHH" surfaced. Song lyrics softened to cover topics such as oppression, hypocrisy and legendary creatures rather than death and emotional torture. Curses simply disappeared (never mind the fact that Metallica's lyrics were already pretty tame compared to their lagging thrash fellows; Slayer especially)

    Nirvana's songs stayed essentially the same as they had been, in fact many had been written during the sessions for Bleach or even before, so they hadn't had much time to evolve; but the big shiny production instantly marked it a pop record. It seems odd to hear such a raucous, fuzzy bash as Territorial Pissings with such clean, crisp production as it has; other brutal numbers like Stay Away and Breed also show the incongruity markedly.

    That said, on both records, it WORKS, really really well. There's simply no denying they're classics.

    Both were picked up instantly by the mainstream media, became NBTs (Next Big Thing - O! clever marketing slang!) and enjoyed (or in Nirvana's case, suffered) enormous popularity. Both launched wave upon wave of followers, whether new bands who heard the sound and decided to make their own vaguely tributary albums or those who'd been lying in wait steadily crafting their own music. Seattle particularly, but also the Bay Area Thrash Scene, became mining grounds for big labels, on the strengths of just one record each. Each launched genres which their lead-off albums were shocking misrepresentations of. "Big and shiny" is simply antithetical to the dirty punk/metal grunge was originally made to be. And Metallica made a fantastic hard rock album that bordered on metal, but was a huge step away from their punky thrash roots, and a big step closer to the Bon Jovi's they'd sworn to defeat early in their career.

    Nirvana scrambled backward from Nevermind to create a deliberately difficult record with In Utero, rejecting the "Grunge" ethos of their last album to make one of THE essential punk records, that was closer to grunge than anything on their last album. Cobain declared the death of Grunge shortly before killing himself and effectively disbanding Nirvana in 1994.

    Few would dispute that the "Black" album was the beginning of the end for Metallica, as they embarked on big tours that also encompassed the first of several long recording sabbaticals. They've yet to release an album with as much sales potential (and many would argue, quality) as any of their first four albums.

    So there you have it, my comparison of two albums from different genres, that are essentially identical within their own cultural zeitgeists.
  • Music in 2008

    3 jan. 2009, 16h19m

    2008 led to many important discoveries for me. The majority and most important of which are as follows, in no particular order.

    Bands: -
    Public Enemy
    Strapping Young Lad
    Devin Townsend
    The Haunted
    At the Gates
    Death
    Opeth
    Catherine (the 1990's alternative band)
    Dr. Dre
    Megadeth
    One Day as a Lion
    Judas Priest

    Albums: -
    The Downward Spiral
    Light Into Dark: A Chicago Music Compilation #1
    Tenacious D - The Complete Masterworks 2 DVD

    Gigs: -
    The Smashing Pumpkins; Hordern Pavilion, March 27.
    Angus & Julia Stone; Newcastle City Hall, June 19

    Releases from 2008 that I actually liked and listen to...

    One Day as a Lion

    In my opinion the best release of 2008, and just a damn good record, period. This brief number really brings Zack back into his element with a new twist on a familiar style. His lyrics are as thought-provoking as ever and his flow is BETTER than ever. VERY much looking forward to the upcoming LP!


    A summary of my top 15 for the past 12 months.

    15. Sepultura
    Now, I've had Seps sitting around in my library for a long time, and mainly focused on the wonder that is Roots. I'd listened through the albums maybe once each, and then ignored them. I have some expectations, probably unrealistic ones, when it comes to production standards. So I still barely listen to Schizophrenia. But I thrash the fuck out to Beneath the Remains and Arise much more often now, and love every minute of it. Max's monotone voice is amazingly powerful, and the riffs and drumming are just amazing. Enter Chaos A.D., where the drumming mutates into something even more primal and powerful, and the guitars slowly chug MASSIVE tones with awesome power. That album has taken a place in the pantheon.

    14. Death
    Death is one of those bands that's just truly remarkable. Consistently astounding, improving and evolving with each album. Chuck Schuldiner is a true genius. It's hard to pick individual tracks or pieces of them as highlights, because each album seems to flow together as a whole. None of them seem pieced together, shuffling them doesn't seem right. I loved every track I've heard from the start of Scream Bloody Gore to the glorious Painkiller at the climax of The Sound of Perseverance. I shall be listening more, and regularly

    13. Tool
    Ahhh, Tool. One of the very best live acts I've ever seen. Creators of music that can be equally transcendent, furious and just fucking powerful. Few bands have so perfect a discography. Each of the members is amazing and talented, and the band would not work with any of them missing. Oh, and Danny Carey is the best drummer ever. I love you guys heaps ^_^

    12. Soundgarden
    An act I've consistently enjoyed listening to. Another band with a seriously solid output. I love all of the albums, but Louder Than Love has been growing on me like mad lately. Big Dumb Sex and Full On Kevin's Mom are simply classics. And the One Minute of Silence cover? Genius. Pure genius.

    11. Jeff Buckley
    Oh my science. What a voice. What a personality. What chemistry. The man was amazing, and he was backed by an under-appreciated band of great musicians that helped him make his live shows so spectacular. I've been listening to Sketches more often than Grace, lately. It just seems to be more like him; it's rockier, more lo-fi, humorous at points. He seems to be relaxed rather than floating in an ethereal haze like he is in Grace. The unfinished edge of the production (which still sounds AMAZING) makes the album even better.

    10. - The Haunted
    Umm, so... I have listened to Revolver a LOT in the last three months or so. God. fucking. DAMN, what a great album. My review/orgasm about it is in my previous entry; see for the tremendous love I give it. I've loved listening to all of the band's records, loved how the chemistry of both different vocalists manages to mesh so well with the bands onslaught of noise and riffs. Oh how I have loved the riffs. And the lyrics. And the drums. I love it.

    9. - Angus & Julia Stone
    A band I haven't given anywhere near as much attention as they deserve (and yet they still have a spot this far up the list!). Simple, pure melodies that can lift the heart or break it. A wonderful connection between the two siblings both on and off stage; brilliant production of their entire output; charming music videos... These two have it all (including a great backing ensemble). A Book Like This is simply perfect. If you don't have it, get it. Tell everyone you meet about their amazing music.

    8. - Nirvana
    Ahhh, nostalgia. Takes me back to the days of year ten music class, discussing the tracks on Nevermind by number because neither Noo nor I actually knew their names. Cranking Bleach as loud as I can stand in the car and screaming my head off to School and Negative Creep. Spinning my In Utero vinyl when my parents are out and letting the emotion of the music just slam into me. They have such a wonderful vibe and energy that constantly enthralls me.

    7. - Nine Inch Nails
    Almost entirely made of plays of The Downward Spiral, an album that enrances me and then scares the living shit out of me. I've never identified with an album to such an extent before. It's simply incredible emotional music, that digs deep into the blackest parts of the mind and brings it to the surface.

    6. Eminem
    I think just about everyone went through the phase of loving Eminem in early high school, then realising how fucking terrible rap was and discarding anything you might have owned of his and vowing never to listen to it again. But, finding myself rapping the entirety of The Real Slim Shady one day, years after I'd last heard the song, I decided I'd give The Marshall Mathers LP another go. (My tentative branching into rap and hip-hop can be laid squarely at the feet of Rage Against the Machine, by the way). I rode a huge nostalgia wave to a beach of new appreciation for Em's lyrics. Alternately hilarious, disturbing, and always intricately powerful. High hopes for the new album, I hope I don't see them dashed.

    5. Devin Townsend
    Holy shit. I'm so very glad I have found this man. He's an insane musical genius. Listening to his music is always like being enveloped in a holy aura of sound, something very, VERY few other musicians have been able to make me feel. Yet he manages to slam brutal riffs into the mix; the devastating percussive accompaniment of the ever-dependable Gene Hoglan; weird, noisy passages of sound that confuse the mind before sliding back into place in perfect harmonic symphony; and alternately dark and brilliant humour. I don't think I'll ever get tired of Infinity. Blows my mind every time.

    4. The White Stripes
    My love for this band has increased exponentially over the past 12 months. And it was pretty high to begin with. The two of them work so brilliantly together. As much as Meg is derided for her amateurish playing style, the band simply wouldn't work with anyone else (and she was the one who originally carried the surname "White", so it would be a bit rude for the band to carry that name if she left). Her sweet demeanour and voice add something extra to the band when she really stands out. Jack's guitar work is simply fantastic, his lyrics thoughtful and soulful, and his voice unique. The combination is breathtaking. Every record is essential, but the first two especially.

    3. - Marilyn Manson
    Usually in second place, now relegated to third by my obsession with the brilliance and power of Devin Townsend. His first four records are simply astounding artworks of rage, groove, and humour. Can't find words.

    3. - Strapping Young Lad
    Thank you SO MUCH Full Metal Racket for showing me the true power of this band. The first track I ever heard was Shitstorm, and to be honest... it scared the shit out of me. I could barely stand to listen to it. But on a whim one day I decided to listen to Alien in its entirety, and while I couldn't immediately identify with it, I was struck by the enormous power of Devin's voice, and the depth of the production. And then I started to listen to Skeksis multiple times on a daily basis. Then I decided I'd better get absolutely everything the band has ever released. Simply put, Strapping is up there with the most powerful music I've ever heard. All of the albums are as astounding on repeat listens as they are the first time I went "Holy SHIT this is good". Sheer, raw rage and power in musical form, with the band's trademark insane humour subtly interwoven amongst the lyrics and music. Devin's lyrics can touch the soul, touch the funny bone, or touch nothing at all, and always flow perfectly.

    1. The Smashing Pumpkins
    My beloved Pumpkins. Their music has made me so very happy, sad, comforted and lonely. However it affects me, it always makes me feel at home, and right.