Posts Tagged ‘music reviews’
Two great tastes that taste great together: Over at BuzzFeed Music, I wrote about the ways in which the music and career of the great Scottish eletronic-music duo Boards of Canada, whose excellent first album in eight years Tomorrow’s Harvest came out this week, mirrors the A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones phenomenon.
David Bowie’s been looking back at himself in his music for at least 16 years, but this is the first time he’s doing it as an artist who’s actually, legitimately, honest-to-god old. At a dashing-looking 66, he’s hardly ready for the record books as World’s Most Decrepit Rocker, but in the past you’d get the impression that to Bowie, being “old” simply meant wrestling with the reality of no longer being the sexual provocateur he was in the early ’70s, the art-rock innovator he was in the late ’70s, or the world-bestriding megastar he became in the early ’80s with Let’s Dance. Now, on his new album, The Next Day, it sounds like “old” means “Jesus, I could have died on an operating table.”
I wrote about “Higher Love” by Depeche Mode for Cool Practice. A band playing to its strengths and obsessions, hard.
I’m depressed. I’ve also been obsessively listening to Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s album ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! These two phenomena are not unrelated. I wrote a piece for BuzzFeed Music explaining why.
My friend and editor Matthew Perpetua put it this way in the hed/dek he crafted for it:
How 2012′s Most Miserable Album Helped Me Through Depression
Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! was the only record that made sense to me when it felt like my world was falling apart.
It’s something I was building toward writing for months and I hope you like it.
I wrote a piece on Muse as legacy superheroes and Matt Bellamy’s voice as their superpower for BuzzFeed Music. The piece was pitched to me as “What is the essence of Muse? What is it people like about them beyond sounding like Queen and Radiohead?” This is what I came up with. Big thanks to my pal Matthew Perpetua for whipping it into shape.
I wrote about “Vogue” by Madonna for my music tumblr, Cool Practice. The pre-sexual dreams of a starstruck sixth grader are invoked.
I encourage you to listen to the song and watch the video from beginning to end, especially if you haven’t done so in a long time. It’s remarkable how much anticipation and excitement she packs into that thing. It’s a curtain being drawn back on a new world.
I wrote about Ned’s Atomic Dustbin and the coolest kid in high school for my music tumblr, Cool Practice. I still love everything about this band — totally inerrant melodic instincts, and that lead bass sound is singular, and the lyrics could not be more practical for the unlucky in love.
(The answer to the above question is Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine, but Ned’s is a close second.)
I wrote an essay on growing up on Long Island and my resulting love-hate relationship with Billy Joel for BuzzFeed Music. I kind of can’t believe it either.
I wrote a list of 23 things John Bonham did during the quiet part of “Stairway to Heaven” for BuzzFeed Music. It is ridiculous, and yet I believe an accurate portrait of the John Bonham gestalt. It does not include this astonishing performance of “Kashmir” but you get it here anyway.
I also wrote about “Teenage Kicks” by the Undertones for Cool Practice, my tumblr about music and coolness. Blueballs in music form.
I listed my 100 favorite albums from 1996-2011 for the People’s List at Pitchfork. The image above is a spoiler.
I wrote about “Pay No Mind (Snoozer)” by Beck for Cool Practice, my tumblr about music and coolness. What a scathing song.
I wrote about “Rubber Rocket” by Electric Six for Cool Practice, my tumblr about music and coolness. The phrase “post-millennial Steely Dan” is used.
I wrote about “Little Earthquakes” by Tori Amos on Cool Practice, my tumblr about music and coolness. I’ve been doing a lot of that kind of writing lately where you feel so strongly about a thing that you find yourself at a loss for words, so then you realize you have to make up the words for it.
(I used to call all fast-paced electronic dance music “techno” — was that a common thing, like how all non-punks used to refer to all punk and post-punk people by shouting “DEVO!” at them?)
I wrote about a memorable live performance of “Sex Type Thing” by Stone Temple Pilots for my music tumblr, Cool Practice.
I hope you like it.
In its original version, which I think is the ’90s dance-industrial act Lords of Acid’s single best recording proper, “The Crablouse” was already one of the sleaziest songs I owned. What can you say about a paean to the erotic and orgasmic potential of pubic lice? The lyrics, barked by a female vocalist in a mic-distorted Euro-rap that gives way to a reach-for-the-heavens ululation in the chorus, don’t actually, you know, make any sense, but they didn’t need to. The point was simply “THIS IS A DIRTY SEXY SONG ABOUT DIRTY SEXY DIRTYSEX,” and the music flung a gigantic beat and huge guitars and synths and snarling raging panting jungle-beast vox at you to reinforce the point. (The immortal album cover by friend of the blog COOP didn’t hurt, either.)
Much as I like that original version, though, I think I like this remix by Carl. S. Johansen even better. I like it for its focus. Instead of the frantic, distortion-laden industrial instrumentation of the original, this is just big glittering washes and skittering snakes of synth, the kind of beat that always sounds like you’ve turned the bass up in your car too loud to be properly heard, and seven words’ worth of lyrics (not THOSE seven words, but you’re not on the wrong track) that boil the Lords’ entire dirty-dance project down to its barest and most goal-oriented essentials. (The EP it came on had a pretty great cover of its own.)
Maybe I’m overthinking it now, years later, but looking back this song must have hit me at just the right time. It’s loud, scary, heavy, danceable, utter anathema to square notions of taste, futuristic, weirdly lovely at times, and hyperbolically sexual in a relentlessly pleasure-seeking and bluntly honest way. A terrific fantasy version of adulthood for someone just becoming an adult! It didn’t all work out quite that way for me, I suppose, but you know, I did alright.