Archive for September, 2008

The Living End

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , on September 23, 2008 by roarvis
THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN
The Power Of Negative Thinking: B-Sides & Rarities

Where the hell was this when I was 15?

Apparently there is now a 4 CD box set of The Jesus and Mary Chain‘s B-sides and demos. This replaces the beloved Barbed Wire Kisses collection from 1988, adding a ton of early stuff that was previously available only on vinyl (“Vegetable Man,” “Suck”) or not at all (“Walk And Crawl”). It eclipses the 80s collection by providing a career retrospective, which means it has stuff from the band’s post-Psychocandy era as well.

Personally, I’m mainly concerned with the early stuff, as these guys were at their best when they had Bobby Gillespie (Primal Scream) on drums and the songs were buried under an ocean of fuzz. And there’s more than enough of it here to satisfy the most hardened Mary Chain addict.

I’m giving this thing a precursory listen now on Rhapsody, but I think my friends at Rhino should send me the full package for an adequate review. Come on people, I’m doing a blog here! Send me some free stuff!

NOTE: Don’t throw out those copies of Barbed Wire Kisses just yet, kids. I think this set is missing the bizarre live cover of Can‘s “Mushroomhead.”

Today’s Lesson

Posted in Music with tags , , , , on September 18, 2008 by roarvis

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Spiritualized, and Cat Power at the Hollywood Bowl

I recently became a fan of Nick Cave. It’s not that I wasn’t familiar with him before, but I guess you could say that I took him for granted. He was a ubiquitous figure in the goth/post-punk/alternative rock landscape, and an undeniable influence on several musicians that I love. Yet aside from the odd Birthday Party live album or compilation track, I never owned any Nick Cave records. I got into Bad Seeds offshoot The Dirty Three for awhile when I went through a long phase of only listening to incredibly sad music. Hell, I even went out and bought a Serge Gainsbourg covers album by Bad Seeds alums Mick Harvey and Anita Lane several years ago, but still no actual Nick Cave records.

All that began to gradually change over the past year or so, during which time I saw the video for “Mercy Seat” and was subjected to repeated spins of “Papa Won’t Leave You Henry” courtesy of my friends Tami & Tommy (who host a musical variety show on prime time). I started dialing the Bad Seeds in on the headphones during work, and allowing Cave’s hilarious and cryptic lyrics to invade my subconscious as I took to the daily grind.

When I heard that the Bad Seeds were playing in Hollywood with Spiritualized and Cat Power opening, my initial reaction was: “Is there a convention for recovering heroin addicts in town?” My second reaction was to admit that it was an impressive sounding lineup. One horrible experience getting ripped off at a Ticketbastard outlet in Koreatown later, and the lady and I were rocking the bleacher seats at the Bowl with a $23 bottle of white zinfandel.

We missed Cat Power’s 7:30 set due to the fact that SOME PEOPLE HAVE JOBS, but got to our bench in time for Spiritualized. I realized that it had been around 16 years since I first saw them, when they blew my mind (and blew the Jesus and Mary Chain and Curve off the stage) at the Cleveland Agora while supporting their debut Lazer Guided Melodies. After that I became a huge fan, listened to way too much Spiritualized and Spacemen 3, and began writing and recording music that bore a noticeable debt to the drone stylings of Jason “Spaceman” Pierce and his estranged former Spacemen 3 copilot Pete “Sonic Boom” Kember. This stopped after I’d lived in L.A. for a few years and noticed that every hipster with retro shades and a reto-er guitar was attempting to do the same thing – but that’s another blog entry altogether.

Spiritualized played a brief, yet solid set of material covering most of their albums (with the possible exception of Let It Come Down from 2001). Highlights for me included oldie-but-goodies “Shine A Light” (which was almost ruined by the douchebags behind me who kept talking loudly during the quiet parts), “Lay Back in the Sun” and “Come Together.” As with all large concerts, I found it hard to connect with the music onstage, as the physical size of the space creates a lack of intimacy. However, I have heard about a special secret small Spiritualized show that just might make up for it. More on that later…

Then the stage spun around, and a few minutes later Nick Cave walked out to rapturous applause. It was immediately apparent that this guy is a rock star; I can think of few of my rock’n’roll heroes who would get that kind of applause just for walking onstage. Garbed in a white dress shirt with open collar and a black suit, and sporting a handlebar mustache with his long thinning hair combed back, Cave looked like a cross between Wyatt Earp and a 70s porn “actor”. His larger-than-life persona reached all the way to the bleacher seats as he regaled the audience with tales of sex, murder and madness. The sound helped a lot, as a solid mix lent both the slow jams (of which there were several) and the rockers equal weight.

A clip from last night’s show, courtesy of MagentaStraberry on YouTube

The band tore through the bulk of their excellent new album Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!, with a highlight being “We Call Upon the Author to Explain,” with it’s sudden shifts into techno-industrial dance funk (accompanied by a rave-appropriate rainbow light display) and cries of “Bukowski was a jerk!” Several Bad Seeds classics were aired, including “Deanna,” “Tupelo,” and the aforementioned “Mercy Seat” and “Papa Won’t Leave You Henry.” Upon learning that his set was being cut short due to the Hollywood Hills curfew (whatever – you people knew the Bowl was there when you moved in) and there would be no encore, Cave ended the set with a particularly profane rendition of the old murder ballad “Stagger Lee.” Using his body language to illustrate the controversial events that close his version of the song, Cave proved that he’s still a punk at heart. Even though he may be able to hang with the Hollywood elite in a luxurious concert hall, he’s still full of rage and bile, with just enough charisma and sex appeal to pass it off.

On the subway ride home, a kindly old black gentleman addressed the passengers, telling us we were all “rats.” He then said, “I hereby decree that everyone will have the day off tomorrow! Goodbye, rats!” and hopped off the train.  As we were leaving the station, a woman collapsed on the ground. We hung back to make sure she was ok, as a subway attendant shrugged and said “I don’t know Spanish.” There were no stabbings or bludgeonings, so overall it was a good public transit experience.

(Thanks to Housecat for help with this entry.)

Here’s a link that my friend Bill sent me to an old NME interview with Nick Cave, Mark E. Smith and Shane MacGowan! And I think one of the interviewers was Sean O’Hagan from the High Llamas. Pretty hilarious stuff.

Hysteria

Posted in Music with tags , , on September 16, 2008 by roarvis

This was supposed to be the first post, but it ended up as a separate page. I was listening to Def Leppard‘s song “Hysteria” on YouTube the other day, when I became fascinated by the comments people had left. Turns out that folks are pretty serious about their Leppard. The following have not been edited or changed, and are the sole property of the original posters.

LEPSTER101 (4 days ago) Show Hide
The best song “Leppard” ever done. I have been a fan for over 20 years, and they still remain my favorite. Joe’s vocals are GOLDEN. One of the best male singers in the business (along with Steve Perry)!! To all the “old” fans who have supported them through the years, thank you!! To all the “new” fans, these guys are the “real deal”, and they know how to ROCK!! Just wish they would go BACK to there roots. After all, it’s us “old school” fans who put them where they are!! ROCK ON!!

poisonivyyyy (2 weeks ago) Show Hide
I am 20 years old and i am supposed to listen to the new generation music… but from the first their song herd i became addicted to them and the music. They are my favorite band.I can’t live without their music.Def Leppard will live forever even after the end of the world

picturesofpictures (3 weeks ago) Show Hide
He wrote this song for my girlfriend. She left him for me.

78452312 (3 weeks ago) Show Hide
I’m 32 now & this reminds me of watching MTV seeing this video and Whitesnake Is this Love.
The Best Music Era.

savvygirl4ever (4 weeks ago) Show Hide
Gosh,I love this song!!!

Rocker726B (1 month ago) Show Hide
New DEF does not touch this. I wish they did. They don’t have Mutt Lange.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Posted in Comics, Film with tags , on September 16, 2008 by roarvis

This looks awesome. I’m a fan of Charles Burns‘ artwork, and this a rare case where the animators are able to replicate the look and feel of the artist’s style. The other artists involved look great as well.

Now if someone would just finance some high quality animated films based on the work of Guido Crepax or Milo Manara, I could die a happy man.

Lights Out For Darker Skies

Posted in Music, Uncategorized with tags on September 16, 2008 by roarvis

British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music?

Every once in awhile a record comes along that is so good, it causes me physical pain. And by once in awhile, I am of course referring to never.

However, the latest British Sea Power took me aback due to the sheer relentless brilliance of it all, and the fact that I was not expecting this from their third effort. Their debut LP The Rise and Fall of British Sea Power was an amazingly confident debut, with the band sounding more like a bunch of wizened ex-punks who had just discovered melody than the group of fresh faced lads that they were. Their second album Open Season suffered from a conspicuous absence of rock, instead offering an expansion of their more “pastoral” side. Upon listening to it for the first time, I was heard to exclaim, “what is this Coldplay crap?” before tossing it across the room.

That’s why I was intrigued when I heard that BSP had a new release called Do You Like Rock Music? The fact that they were asking my opinion at all was intriguing; but it seemed like more of a challenge than a question, as if they knew the answer all along and were just baiting me so they could respond.

And respond they did. DYLRM? (pardon the acronym) is filled with some of the best rock music I’ve heard in a long time. With every other new “indie” band being touted as the next heir to British post punk royalty (the mighty influence of Joy Division, Wire, Gang of Four, etc.) it’s refreshing to hear a band that actually marks their own terrain. This is not some tossed off disco punk fashion spread; this is heartfelt music with great lyrics, kickass guitar solos, and sweeping choruses (or chorii as I like to call ’em).

After lulling us in with the brief intro piece “All In It,” the band kicks into what will probably end up being the greatest rock anthem of the year, “Lights out For Darker Skies.” With a cut and paste arrangement that would make most progressive rock bands blush, it took me a few listens to figure out if this was one song or six. It most certainly takes the listener on a journey, one which ends with an insanely killer guitar riff playing against a descending chord progression – the type of heroics that are rarely attempted outside of metal, and that rarely work in any context.

After that it’s one brisk stroke of genius after the next. “No Lucifer” and “Waving Flags” are melodic and emotional rushes of sonic bliss that almost completely erase the memory of every other indie band from the past five years. Things slow down a bit with “Canvey Island,” allowing the listener to catch their breath and prepare for the ride to continue, which it does in superb form with “Down on the Ground” and “A Trip Out.”

Despite my predilection for rock music that actually rocks, I’m not opposed to the mellow shit. The problem with it is that if you’re going to waste my time with a ballad, it better be a damn good one. Once again, BSP proves that they are not fucking around by placing the bewitching lullaby of “No Need to Cry” towards the end of the album. This is a great song, and it reminded me that the ballads on the first album were really great too, and I should probably figure out where I threw their second album so I can reevaluate it.

Comparisons: Think Radiohead if they got beat up by The Wedding Present, or The Arcade Fire if they had a pair of balls between the ten of ’em.

Waving Flags

The Great Gig in the Sky

Posted in Music with tags , , on September 14, 2008 by roarvis

Pink Floyd keyboardist Rick Wright passed away today. He wrote and co-wrote a lot of great songs for the band, and came across as the mellowest band member, especially in light of the ego problems and drama that eventually split them apart.

I threw together a playlist of songs he either wrote or sang on, or contributed heavily to with his playing.

You may have to sign up for a free Rhapsody trial, but I will see about making this downloadable for all in the future.

playlist

This is a clip from Pink Floyd at Pompeii, featuring Rick and David Gilmour singing some terrific harmonies.