It has been an exceptionally long time since I have written here. My last post touches a bit on why. This is a music blog. But what are music bloggers to do when the music coming out is boring. They ignore the shit. Well, some people don’t. Some people celebrate it and others pretend to critique it by lazily utilizing negative adjectives to describe music. I’m not really interested in either. There has been some pretty good music that has come out lately though, so in haste I am gonna try to rock it for you.
Minutes are a band from Kalamazoo, MI that feature DC expatriate Ryan Nelson and home town hero Chaffe Hensley who played in this great band called Trocar. I saw Trocar twice with The Dusters and The Most Secret Method, whom Ryan used to play drums in. Well, they are both in a band now and it’s pretty awesome. They have a seven inch you can buy from Dischord. Or if you want to be lazy you can download it for free here. The first song is the stand out track, a lament for the days of being young. The rest of the record stands up pretty good. Obvious linkage to Ryan’s Soccer Team project, but this is a little more punk and less indie rock.
Double Dagger are from Baltimore and I saw them open for The Jesus Lizard late last year or early this year. I don’t remember the date, but the show was unfucking real. They were a frenzy of spastic, out of control energy. Their singer, Nolen Strals, has this sarcastic, dead pan delivery that he pushes through urgent, crazy eyes. There was blood, some kid got knocked over in the pit, everyone had a good time, but it was intense and my old ass was a little bit scared. When music scares you, that’s a good thing. The trio has a new EP called Masks which you can buy from Thrill Jockey, but unless you are into over priced records, I say find it on iTunes or something. I mean, they are design kids, but ten bucks for five songs, no matter how good they are, is just uncalled for. The songs, are really good though. The wire sounds pick up where their lauded full length More left off. The lullaby instrumental “Song for S” is really surprising for the group though. It’s a near tender moment of guitar noise rendered against a sleepy bass line. Some might call this a throw away track, but I find it soothing. I wish this was an album, it’s more precise then More, which was a mighty album, but Masks brings their jams to a whole new level.
I’ve been really into the new High on Fire album Snakes for the Divine. I saw this band open for Converge and Mastodon and wasn’t overly impressed. I also wasn’t too thrilled with my impulse purchase of their Death is this Communion record. It was a little too much Sabbath and not enough Motorhead for a band that reminded me a lot of Motorhead. Snakes for the Divine however does not disappoint in the least bit. The songs sound covered in motor oil, making them both slick and heavy at the same time. The bass was given an added punch, adding the sonic blast and drive this band lacked on their previous album. Snakes is an eight song album that spans forty five minutes, which as you may know, could really push my attention span, but there isn’t a dull moment. High On Fire is pure octane, never slowing down the pace. I’m kind of kicking myself for not going to see them in DC, because I bet it was a great show, but with four bands on the bill that night, I just couldn’t get excited. Snakes for the Divine however is an unexpected surprise and a high point during a year of terribly dull music.
Finally, if you like straight up punk rock that doesn’t suck, No Friends has a new EP, which you can download for free here thanks to the kind folks at Kiss of Death records. Much like their self titled debut, No Friends gives us the anthems, with tough guy vocals from party master Tony Foresta (Municipal Waste). I mean, what can you say about punk rock in general and this record specifically? It’s fucking good and you should get it because it’s fucking free you cheap fuck.
This stuff has been getting me by. I’ve also listened, with various degrees of enjoyment Broken Bells (featuring the dude from the Shins and the dude from Dangerdoom, bought on a whim, find it refreshing if not flawed), Plastic Beach by the Gorillaz (don’t bother), and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists The Brutalists Bricks (it’s alright, but don’t believe the hype). I was and remain skeptical of these hyped projects and feel you should to. There are many blogs and music web sites that would have you believe that what they like is what you should like. However, many of them are so narrow in scope that I can’t really say how their critique can be validated. Reviewing one or two metal records a year and profiling only mainstream hip-hop is hardly any different then what Rolling Stone and Spin did for years. The immediacies of the internet has turned criticism into nothing more then over-glorified fanfare or out right slander, mostly written by people who fail to grasp the simplest concepts of what the purpose of a critic is. It’s not to give an opinion, it’s to be critical of the music, the process and the product. Not because you hate it, but because you love it. I’m not hailing my writing here as any great shakes, it’s mostly a personal report on the music I listen to. I didn’t really get into the meat and potatoes of the music and the art here today. But I’m tired of people passing off a string of adjectives filled with complex syllable structure as journalism or criticism.
Further, the lack of coverage of important sub genres of Rock and R&B, especially for American websites covering American music culture is substandard and frankly, boring as FUCK. I’m also sick to death of genre specific sites not offering decent reviews of records. In the age of immediate availability I can just listen to the music myself and cut out the hype of every popular band. Most of the popular bands in sub genre’s are boring. Why? Because most bands are fucking terrible. Just because a band is on a well run label with a budget and just because they sent you free records and advertise on your web site does not mean you have to kiss their ass. Case in point, the Onion did an interview with an actress in a newly released movie. The movie had a full page add in the paper. The guy who interviewed the actress also did the review of the movie and he lambasted it as a piece of crap. It’s called honestly.
These are adults for the most part peddling this music to you. Though they love and care about what they do, if they couldn’t handle some honesty, they wouldn’t be in this shrewd business that is the record industry. Don’t hold back. Look at what you love and be honest about it. A shit record can be made by anybody and frankly, every once in a while people need to make shitty albums. That way they can make awesome one’s next time that are far reaching, mind blowing and stretch the limits beyond expectations.
Alright, well that’s my rant for the day. I’m gonna go drink some tea and go to bed. I hope you found this worth while. Peace.