Friday, January 29, 2010
Or maybe I am totally off base and am the only who hears it. Either way, both bands still rule.
Here are both songs...decide for yourself:
"How Many More Times"
Thursday, January 28, 2010
I do commend Obama for calling out the Supreme Court for their recent decision to block the government from putting limits on campaign donations by corporations. Anyone who thinks that is not a terrible idea is crazy. This opens the floodgates for foreign interests into our political process and let's the interest of corporations gain larger influence over the interests of citizens (not that that isn't already the case, but why make it worse than it already is?).
And this may have just been my observation, but didn't it seem like Joe Biden was trying to get Nancy Pelosi (who looked totally botoxicated) to stop standing up and applauding so often towards the latter half of the speech? I realize there is a lot of applauding and cheerleading at these things, but there seemed to be more than usual last night as compared to speeches I've watched in the past.
A friend of mine compared Obama's speech last night to a spoken word version of Hulk Hogan's "I Am A Real American" theme song while I compared it to a high school pep rally and thought he may as well yelled "San Dimas High School Football RULES!" at the end of it (shame on you if you don't get that Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure reference).
And don't even get me started on the Republican response from that idiot Governer Bob McDonnell of my home state of Virginia...that was arguably the only thing that made Obama's speech look good last night. The only thing he said that was sensical was that the Republicans support the President on fixing the job market and education.
I think Obama has the right ideas and is pointed in the right direction, I just hope he can eventually start MOVING in the right direction.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
I've only heard one Landmine Marathon song on a comp somewhere along the line and remember it being brutal (in a good way) and I know that they have a female singer (as did another excellent Prosthetic band, Light This City, who are now defunct) who was featured on the cover of Revolver Magazine's latest idiotic "Hottest Chicks In Metal" issue (thanks for perpetuating the myth that all metalheads are knuckle dragging sexists fellas...please just stick to covering shit bands like Suicide Silence would ya? And, um, that being said, she is actually pretty hot...), but that's about it for my knowledge of the band. I don't seem to remember them being pure death metal (and for you non-metalheads that may read this, yes there is a HUGE difference between straight up death metal and other metal genres...Cannibal Corpse is death metal, Lamb Of God is not), but that doesn't mean they aren't allowed to have an awesome looking death metal album cover.
The record comes out March 16th and I'm thinking of reverting back to my 17 year old self and buying the album without hearing a note first simply because the artwork is killer. I'll let you know how it works out....
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Los Campesinos!'s debut album Hold On Now,Youngster and the follow up We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed were my #1 and #2 records of 2008, so it goes without saying that I am looking forward to there latest effort Romance Is Boring.
AFCGT is a combination of two bands, the A Frames (not to be confused with The Frames) and Climax Golden Twins. I am not familiar with the Climax Golden Twins at all, but A Frames 2005 release Black Forest is mind-blowingly good and the free MP3 from the self-titled AFCGT album coming out today that their label Sub Pop has up is some damn fine spacey, droney rock.
Who knows what facts could emerge about this case, but Virginia is a death penalty state, so if they catch the person or persons responsible for this girl's murder and prove they are guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt, then I hope they are dealt with accordingly.
Important Message to our Fans
It was always our pleasure, our purpose in life, our passion and we were fortunate enough to make music for you - whether it was live on stage or in the studio, creating new songs.
While we were working on our album these past few months, we could literally feel how powerful and creative our work was – and how much fun we were still having, in the process. But there was also something else: We want to end the Scorpion’s extraordinary career on a high note. We are extremely grateful for the fact that we still have the same passion for music we’ve always had since the beginning. This is why, especially now, we agree we have reached the end of the road. We finish our career with an album we consider to be one of the best we have ever recorded and with a tour that will start in our home country Germany and take us to five different continents over the next few years.
We want you, our fans, to be the first to know about this. Thank you for your never-ending support throughout the years!
We uploaded the very first snippets from our new album for you.
And now… let’s get the party started and get ready for a “Sting in the Tail”!
See you on the world tour,
I was never a big Scorpions fan when I was younger, but in more recent years I've become a huge fan. A little while back I wrote about my fondness for their 1990 release Crazy World, but I've really yet to meet a Scorpions album I don't like (and I've heard almost all of them). From their 70's stuff like In Trance, Virgin Killer and Lovedrive through to 80's metal essentials like Blackout and Love At First Sting through to unfortunately and incorrectly critically and commercially ignored albums from the 90's like Face The Heat and from the first decade of the 21st century like Unbreakable, The Scorpions have stuck to their guns and kept on doing their thing through whatever musical trends were happening around them. And while that may not have allowed them to maintain their commercial success, it is certainly a better career move then trying to make a record that sounds like whatever is hip at the moment and alienating your core fan base. I'm fairly certain I'll like the new album, but we'll see. The fact that many of the Scorpions contemporaries from the 80's metal world are still putting out good albums these days gives me faith. Even if the new album is horrendous beyond belief, it won't stop me from going to see them on this tour (ie. Metallica's St. Anger tour cycle).
The "farewell" tour starts in Germany and is supposedly going to last a couple years, so I would assume they'll be hitting the US at least twice and I certainly plan on catching them live. I had an opportunity to see them in NYC a couple years ago from the third row or something like that and foolishly passed on it. Still kicking myself for that and will not make the same mistake twice.
"Still Loving You"
"Rhythm Of Love"
"Big City Nights"
"Send Me An Angel"
"No One Like You"
"Rock You Like A Hurricane"
"Wind Of Change"
Friday, January 22, 2010
If you are looking for some quality metal releases to download on the cheap, then check out the Invisible Oranges blog (and you might want to bookmark that blog as it is actually a quite good one) for links to label pages on Amie St. where you can get very reasonable prices on top notch underground titles. I just got 11 albums for under $23 total and none of it shoddy material either. Amie St. has such low prices because of an interesting variable pricing system. The explanation straight from the site:
Amie Street helps you discover new music you'll love quickly and easily. With millions of songs to choose from we make it simple and enjoyable to find your next favorite song.
How do we do this? It starts with the fact that all songs on Amie Street are priced from free to 98 cents. Instead of the arbitrary $0.99 per song, on Amie Street the community determines the price of music. Every song starts free, or very cheap, and increases in price, up to 98 cents, as more and more people purchase it.
This variable pricing system ensures that the public gets music at a fair, community-driven price point, and makes it easy for you to find the type of music you want. We then encourage you to talk about the music you like by putting money in your account for more downloads when you recommend songs that continue to rise in price. You can play the music you purchase from anywhere on the web and all Amie Street downloads are iPod compatible DRM-free mp3s. Enjoy the music!
Pretty cool huh? Certainly great for those of us who like bands that are far from the mainstream (not that there is anything wrong with mainstream music....hell, I love U2 and Blink-182) as albums on Amie St. can be under $2 vs. $9.99 on Amazon or iTunes. The catch is that there selection is not nearly as good as the aforementioned top dogs in the MP3 game, but they are worth supporting in the hopes that they grow bigger and get more catalog.
Here is what I got (with links to Amie St. so you can see the pricing):
• Goatwhore – Carving Out The Eyes Of God
• Light This City – Stormchaser
• Shining – V. Halmstad
• T.T. Quick – Metal Of Honor
• Discordance Axis – The Inalienable Dreamless
• Clouds – We Are Above You
• Zozobra – Birds Of Prey
• Botch – American Nervoso
• Fight Amp – Manners And Praise
• Battlefields – Thresholds Of Imbalance
• Irepress – Sol Eye Sea I
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Tombs and City Of Ships both made my Top 25 of 2009 and I have a Rosetta album that sounded pretty good the one time I listened to it. I haven't heard Battlefields, but they are in good company on this bill, so how bad could they be? And since they're the opener, you can always just skip them.
For you "old schoolers" and youngsters alike, Arch Enemy, Exodus, Arsis and newcomers Mutiny Within are playing the Nokia Theatre on Friday. Arch Enemy and Exodus will definitely melt your face. I'm not terribly familiar with Arsis, but they seem to be adored by people whose opinions I respect. Mutiny Within is a relatively new Roadrunner signee and their debut album comes out next month. The one song I have heard from them is pretty good and new Roadrunner bands are usually worth a listen. I do remember meeting the singer at Judas Priest/Heaven & Hell/Motorhead/Testament in the summer of 2008 and talking about the Drive-By Truckers with him, so the guy at least has good taste in music.
Magrudergrind most definitely would have bumped an album from my Top 25 of 2009 had I only heard their incredible self-titled album last year. Think Entombed playing grindcore and you'll have a pretty clear idea of what they sound like. I hope to catch them live at some point this year, preferably at this year's Maryland Deathfest with Obituary, Autopsy, D.R.I., the aforementioned Entombed, Converge, Eyehategod and a host of others.
I haven't heard Nick Oliveri's solo material, but I'd certainly be curious to check it out as I really thought he was a crucial part of Queens of the Stone Age (their albums since his departure have certainly been relatively lackluster). And another band whose album appeared on my Top 25 of 2009, Goes Cube, is opening, so at a minimum there is one guaranteed good band playing.
If metal is your bag, then maybe check out one or all of the above shows if you are in the NYC area. Mine as well see some good bands while you are drinking those Recession Blues away!
City Of Ships:
Arch Enemy "My Apocalypse":
Exodus "Toxic Waltz":
Mutiny Within "Awake":
Magrudergrind "Martyrs Of The Shoah":
Goes Cube "Saab Sonnnet:
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Allmusic.com is one of my favorite resources on the web when I am doing research on bands I'm unfamiliar with. What happens is my curiosity will have been piqued enough that I want to hear one of their albums and if none of my friends are huge fans of the band, then I turn to Allmusic.com for some guidance on where to start. I'll also use it for research on bands I already know and like and want to see if there are any essentials from their catalog that I might be missing. Allmusic has a biography on the band (usually...some bands apparently don't warrant the effort) and their discography listed with each album being reviewed and rated on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Albums with a check mark next to them indicate that that album is considered their best (or one of their best) and/or "essential" by the Allmusic critics. Since I've been using the site for such a long time I've come to trust the opinion of a few of the critics (Eduardo Rivadavia, Greg Prato and Vincent Jeffries come to mind off the top of my head), but for the most part I take what they say with a grain of salt because albums I consider to be beyond horrendous have been given 5 stars and albums I consider brilliant have been called beyond horrendous. Again, it's all ultimately a matter of personal opinion.
Anyway, yesterday I received Allmusic's weekly new release newsletter and saw that there was a listing for a new Editors albums. I dug the Editors first album and thought the second one, while not as good as the first, certainly wasn't bad, so I decided to see what Allmusic had to say about their recently released third album. It received a respectable 3 1/2 star rating which was a good start, but then I read the review and was instantly turned off by the following line:
"If you open your mind up wide enough, you can draw a parallel to Van Halen's 1984 — the sound of a guitar band getting its synth on but retaining its musical identity."
For those unfamiliar with the Editors music, think Joy Division/Interpol/New Order. I realize the critic, J. Allen, prefaces his statement by asking the reader to open their minds wide enough, but comparing a dark, serious, brooding, melancholy English band to a fun loving, guitar shreddin', anthemic party band from California is just silly. C'mon buddy, think about your audience here and make the more sensible comparison to the last Yeah Yeah Yeahs album where they ditched guitars for more synths (and with fantastic results I might add). I can just picture this guy (or gal) sitting in their Williamsburg apartment thinking how witty they are by dropping a Van Halen reference in an indie rock review. To be fair, this person could have a VH tattoo covering their entire back and just love dropping VH references in every review they write, but something tells me they are not an informed metalhead. Either way, in my opinion (there's that word again) it's a terrible comparison and reminds me of when multiple music critics were saying The Killers' Sam's Town sounded like Bruce Springsteen (?!?!?!?).
Hmmmm, maybe I should try to get a job as a music critic. Anyone know how to make a good fake writer's portfolio?
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Anyone who was paying attention to the news in the days before the earthquake in Haiti is no doubt aware of the controversy surrounding NBC's decision to cancel Jay Leno's disastrous 10pm show and plan to move him to an 11:30 time slot for a half hour comedy show thus pushing The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien to a 12pm start time and Conan's subsequent refusal to play ball with NBC executives' programming wishes. Those of us who care to know the whole story already know it at this point (Conan wanting to honor the tradition of The Tonight Show's 11:3o start time, not push Jimmy Falon's show to a 1am start, wanting more than 7 months to prove he could raise the ratings, etc., etc.) so I am going to skip a summary and look at what is happening now.
Conan has accepted a buyout and is free to take his show to another network, Leno will move back to The Tonight Show and Jimmy Fallon stays right where he is. Leno has been much maligned by the media, fellow celebrities (David Letterman, Howard Stern, Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Kimmel, Rosie O'Donnell, Patton Oswalt, etc.), Conan's supporters in the general public and of course by Conan himself. Leno claims to be innocent in all of this which might very well be true, but his well documented dirty tactics to get The Tonight Show years ago after Carson retired certainly calls his credibility into question.
Regardless of what really happened behind the scenes, one thing is for certain....the folks running NBC's programming are FUCKING IDIOTS. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno was consistently beating Letterman in the ratings, but they decided to have Leno step down and replace him with Conan in order to keep Conan, who was getting offers from other networks, on NBC. Why ask your golden goose to stop laying eggs when it is showing no signs of slowing down? Why not just offer Conan more money and/or creative freedom if keeping him on the network is that important? Or simply let him go to another network and trust that he isn't going to steal audience from Leno? I get that he was probably the "heir apparent" for The Tonight Show in many NBC executives' eyes, but just because someone is next in line to be king doesn't always mean they are ready for the responsibilities of the crown. They pulled the trigger too soon....Leno wasn't ready to retire, Conan wasn't ready for the job and there was no contingency plan in place in case it all went to shit. The fact that they didn't have the foresight to see that Conan might not get the job done ratings wise and had no clauses in his contract stating they could bump him based on certain metrics is another example of how these morons can't see the bigger picture. Conan's audience is made up of a younger generation....people like me who think he is amazing, but rarely tune in to watch. At 11:30 I'm either out on the town still or have settled on another show (probably on my DVR) to watch. If something really funny happens on his show, then it'll pop up on YouTube the next day and I can watch the 5 minutes that I find amusing and skip over commercials, guests and musical acts I don't care about. And this applied when he was on at 12:30 too (see the online viral success of clips from Jimmy Fallon's show for proof that this trend continues). Leno's old audience doesn't get Conan...he is too edgy for them. Leno played it safe and appealed to a certain demographic because of that. Now they've got a situation on their hands where there could be some backlash against Leno reflected in the ratings and he could quite possibly have trouble regaining ground against Letterman.
What's amazing in all of this is that no heads are rolling at the top of NBC. Whoever was responsible for the Leno 1opm experiment and the inexcusably poor handling of the Conan situation should be FIRED. I haven't worked in broadcast television and in no way shape or form claim to understand the intricacies of it, but I do know that no matter what business you are in, when you are incompetent and can't do your job properly (especially when it is in the public eye), then you get dismissed (or should at least....we've all had the pleasure of working with some real ninnies who manage to fail upwards constantly). NBC has been a mess for years now and needs a serious overhaul in their programming and new leadership is required to make that happen. If I was given the job tomorrow, then I would cancel Heroes, tell Dick Wolf to only bother writing new episodes of Law & Order: SVU, put Chuck on notice, place Friday Night Lights back into the fold on Tuesday or Wednesday night, make it a priority to reestablish NBC's comedy programming as the only place to be on a Thursday night and order up some exciting, vibrant and risk-taking programming to revitalize the network. And have you seen this new show that Tom Brokaw has that NBC is letting languish on USA Network (no offense to USA Network as they have a lot of good original programming, but this show does not fit in with it)? Why not doing something more with that? It would would work well paired with Dateline on Friday nights.
Would any of this work? I have no clue, but at least I'd be trying and that seems to be more than what anyone else there is doing right now, so if any members of NBC's board of directors happen to read this, then give me a call as I am available to start work tomorrow and will take half the salary Jeff Zucker does.
As for what happens after Conan goes off the air (supposedly after this week), the big speculation is that Conan will go to Fox. I don't know why, but for some reason if Conan took over that 11pm Seinfeld/The Simpsons/The Office re-run hour, then I would definitely tune in religiously. Why? I don't know. That 11:30 start time simply throws me off, but an 11pm start time comes right after whatever I'm watching at 10pm finishes (practically everything I watch at 10pm on a weekday is an hour long) and allows no time for me to get distracted by flipping through the channels finding something to watch to kill 30 minutes. But Fox is what everyone is speculating mainly because they have no late night programming. Conan would be a good fit for them....edgy, geared towards a younger audience and he would of course come in surrounded by "controversy". An HBO or Showtime throwing an offer on the table isn't out of the realm of possibility and who is to say that ABC may not decide to can Nightline, move Jimmy Kimmel to 12:30 and put Conan up against both Leno and Letterman. Let's not rule out Comedy Central either as some sort of Conan/Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert programming line-up would be nothing to scoff at. Only time will tell what happens I suppose.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming....
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Anyhow, the above whiiiiiiiiinnnnnneeeeee fest (and yes, I would love some cheese with that) is just a roundabout way of explaining why I've been too busy (lazy) to update this blog in a little over a month; however, in that time away I've come across quite a few things I want to babble about at some point such as GREAT records from 2009 that I overlooked (one by a band that is rapidly becoming a new personal favorite), a shamefully stupid televison show I've become obsessed with, a book that I found to be a great read by a love 'em or hate 'em celebrity chef, the debacle that is NBC's late night programming (and programming in general) and people who are assholes. I've also got some great shows coming up in the not so distant future like The Great Misdirect Tour, a Murder City Devils reunion and everyone's favorite German thrashers Kreator with Voivod and Nachtmystium opening.
My posting will be sporadic over the next few months as January through March find me traveling a bit here and there and dealing with the joys of finding a new apartment and subsequently moving....topics I will no doubt vent about it.
So, The Governator says it best in the below clip....
Til then, I leave you with this fun Phil Collins fact:
"Like Plant's first solo album, Pictures at Eleven, the songs departed from the hard rock of Led Zeppelin. Following the strength of these albums, Plant launched a successful tour in 1983. Phil Collins was the drummer for Plant's band on this tour. Collins was content to perform in the background, despite his own enormous success as a solo artist at the time."