Uncommon music criticized by the common man. (Or, exercises in futility masquerading as critical thought.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

In another attempt to try to listen to more of the music I own and to justify its continued existence, I have decided to have theme weeks for the foreseeable future. It's not intuitive at all, but there are a buttload of albums that I don't think I've given a fair chance to impress me. Anyway, this week's genre is classical music. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of classical music, so I'll be through it all fairly quick. (There are actually more days in the week than I have discs.) Ha ha...repeated listening!

Next week: electronic music.

R.I.P. John Peel



So, JW and I (...now with Carl O.) did make it to the Mike Watt show on Friday. Openers on the bill were The Nuclears and The Comas. It was a decent show, though due to heavy intoxication*, I may not be the best judge.

Local battle of the bands winner The Nuclears were pretty much standard neo-garage fare, with an occasional guitar solo to punch up the festivities. Lots of youthful exuberance, which raised them from a shoulder shrug (a la The Cuts) to some polite clapping. I'd have them rock a house party.

The Comas were decent, minor chord indie-pop. It, too, had its flashes, and provided some decent comedy ("She is playing the shit out of that triangle!"), but again, they weren't world beaters. Enjoyable, and the record might be worth checking, but it's not high priority.

Mike Watt: I had absolutely no expectations for him. I had not heard the new record (The Secondman's Middle Stand), and had only listened to the previous release sparingly. I was thrown for a loop to see (and had I researched the new album at all, I would have known) that it was just a bass/drums/organ setup. The music was pretty good, as the band was tight (when can't that be said about a Mike Watt musical endeavor) and packed an emotional punch. It was unfortunate that more people weren't there for the show (or "rock oratorio" as CO put it), which surprised me. It wasn't classic by any means, but it was good to see Watt still hanging in there (even if he is looking a bit frailer these days) and laying it down like only he can.

*By the end of the night, I was grabbing JW's lighter, holding it to me sac and yelling "performance art!"

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Picked up a couple of new discs on the way home today. I wasn't even planned; I was actually past the store when I randomly remembered that one of them was just released. Ha ha...pointless information.

The newest additions to the music liberry:

The Electric Wizard We Live (2004)
Comets on Fire Blue Cathedral (2004)

I'm listening to The Electric Wizard right now, and upon first impression, this is a really great disc. The production could be a bit better, but I'm not going to quibble with it. The addition of second guitarist Liz Buckingham isn't giving it the "bigger" sound I expected. But I don't really have it up loud, so I could be missing something. Going to have to give it a few whirls with headphones.

I also listened to a couple of tracks from the Comets on Fire and dig it. It's got that heavy acid chaos rock thing going on. I had read a review or two that invoked High Rise, which piqued my interest. I can't say whether or not the comparison is apt, but even if not, I like what I've heard so far. Something tells me that the expectations of something High Rise-esque is probably unreasonable, but there's nothing wrong with some good ol' effects pedal damage.

Will deliver some more fleshed out verdicts soon.

Also: this Friday, I will be attending the Mike Watt show at The Black Cat with JW, who will be making a return engagement this weekend. Should be a good time. And, if the finances are looking decent, I may even go see Ministry on Monday.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

So, Carl O. and I went to the Black Keys show last night. The Keys put on one helluva live performance, enhanced by the weak showing of opening band The Cuts, who weren't bad so much as they were bland. The Keys, on the other hand, were anything but, turning in quite a lively set for a duo. Many bands with twice the members don't rock that hard. The only drawback was that it was a bit of a short show (just over an hour). Still, a good time that even the Williamsburg-esque crowd of ham and eggers couldn't ruin with their hipsterism. Dan (the guitarist) is a pretty good guitarist, playing some of the dirtiest licks in indiedom since Now I Got Worry, while Patrick (the drummer, duh) hits the skins with the power of an Ernie Shavers left cross, yet as swift and on point as a Sugar Ray Leonard jab. (Where the fuck did that awful boxing analogy come from?) They said that they only have two more shows left, so if you're in one of the cities in which they will be playing, check them out. It's worth your money, wanker.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Black Keys show this coming week. CO, are you ready to rock?

And hey! It's a review!

Ashes of the Wake
Lamb of God
Epic - 2004

Disclosure time: I'm not the best person to make a compelling review for a metal album. My metal collection is rather puny, making my knowledge of relevant points of reference rather lacking, thus probably not helping out the random horns in the air metalhead that happens upon this blog. But, I shan't let that stand in the way of reviewing this album. Because dammit, it's just that good and I feel the need to get the word out.

This album is remarkably listenable for as brutal as it is. The incredibly heavy rhythm section is in top form, completely locked in and working a consistently pummelling groove from start to finish. The drums in particular, courtesy of Chris Adler, are relentless in their aggression, sharp in their precision, yet never monolithically one dimensional. He may not be Sunny Murray, but he isn't a drum machine (though, he may play as fast). The guitars riffs are fast and furious and stadium-sized, with some great solos in the mix as well, providing moments of sheer sonic ecstasy, and making the songs more dynamic. (Try not to play air guitar during the instrumental title-track.)

And of course there's the voice. Randy Blythe's vocals suit the music perfectly, ranging from a higher-pitched death metal shriek (though not employed much here) to a low, rumbly growl that sounds like Neal Fallon doing a Phil Anselmo impersonation. It's sufficiently violent and also decipherable, which makes more of an impact (for me, anyway) then a lot of the hilarious Cookie Monster-styled vocalists in metal.

All told, this is one helluva disc. If you have any appreciation for loud music that could just as easily be measured in Mts as in dbs, then go get this album.