Major Metamorphosis: The Phoenix Flies Again!

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25. Jul. 2007, 23:30

Phew. It's been a long while. I felt the writing itch though, and it required copious scratching. So where've I been? Well, I've had a tragically fucked up relationship, had my computer go to hell and return as a digital Christ/Frankenstein of sorts (most of my music in tact thankfully), I've moved out of the place where I was living and returned, gotten and lost a job that I hated, and numerous other assorted trials and tribulations that, well, nobody gives a damn about, right? Let's get to the music.

I have an article I want to write up about some genres of music I find detestible, but I'm going to spare my corrosive spit this time because that's just not a stylish way to re-enter my corner of the web. Instead, I'll do a plain Jane weekly write-up with some exposition and reflection on the greater year of my life as it relates to music. Don't worry, I'm not getting introspective and whiny. I'm just feeling kind of thoughtful. Let's dispense with the antics then, shall we?

10. Against Me! at a solid 17.
I've loved these guys for a long time. They speak of The Clash and The Sex Pistols along with Bad Brains and others, giving honorable throwback to punk that actually had something to say Vs. this trend induced, sickly sweet pop crap (all the while nodding to Rise Against ). My point is that they're punk served with a bit of a rock aftertaste that conjures up cowboys and westerns, guns and smoke, violence and rage, all while grasping firmly between the chords of an acoustic guitar the essence of what it means to be rebellious and still have music solid enough to stand on. They're not afraid to talk about things we'd rather hide away in our subconscious minds, applying that generous and belligerent amount of stoicism that makes us both cynical when we open our mouths and ignorant when we don't. Point is, this guy shouts, screams, and sings with a '70s punk revival, all over that DYI ethic that makes punk just what it is. Oops! DYI ethic? I'm using buzz phrases, someone shock me. The album is punctuated with some killer acoustic tracks that are both intimate and unsettlingly angry for their sound. Look, it's good stuff. I'm about to write an album review of As the Eternal Cowboy here. Slow me down. It's good.

9. Dwarves with 19 plays.
So maybe they're a bit more like that sickly sweet pop punk I loathed above, but they're not allowing their subject matter to be tainted in the process. If Against Me! is political punk, I'd call The Dwarves a form of social punk, giving social taboos a run for their money. They bring Ween to mind in their most rambunctious days with songs about fucking, killing, more fucking, social disorder of the worst kind, and etc. They do it with style though, and I can safely say that they're the only band who'd grace an album cover with some naked chicks that I'd actually take semi-seriously. Maybe that's because I'm a downloader though. I had the album before I saw the art.

8. Counting Crows at 21 plays.
I recently got a hold of their Heineken Music Hall show in Amsterdam, and it's good stuff. I've always regarded bands that both improvise live and encourage bootlegging their shows highly. Grateful Dead, Clutch, and Dave Matthews Band all come to mind here. The Crows give us a grand live experience that strays enough from the original song structure to be intriguing, but not so much that they lose focus. Good Time and Hangin' Around are two that I'm particularly thinking of here, but Rain King also got a big facelift and it still works, if, as I said before, it does lose a little focus. Get this if you're a Crows fan. It's so worth it.


6a. Thievery Corporation at 27 plays.
Good, relaxed electronica flavored with the herbal mixes of Reggae not too much unlike Bob Marley & The Wailers[/artist as well as some flamenco stylings much like, but lacking the virtuosity of Jesse Cook. There's a little more latin mix in there as well with some prominent latino and afro-Cuban style, and there are some ordinary, but trippy and enjoyable electronica tracks. If you like Massive Attack then you'll like these guys.

6b. David Gray
I'll never get tired of this guy. [album artist=David Gray[White Ladder[/album] just never gets old, and neither does A Century Ends. Flesh is another that I quite enjoy from him. He's everything a singer/songwriter should be and more. He's evolved over time while preserving the lyrics and the unique voice that's made him just what he is. I have not heard his newest, however. A recommendation as to its quality would be nice.

5. Elliot Smith at 31 plays.
For those of you that love the metal, fear not. I've not abandoned it altogether, but Elliot Smith is utter brilliance. I only feel cheated that I've met him only posthumously, because this guy was a mammoth song writer. From a Basement on a Hill and Figure Eight are two killer albums. I have several more of his but am not overly sure where to go next. I find his solo acoustic stuff a bit dense and hard to latch onto, though I'm sure with time I'll grow to love it. I can't sing his praises enough anyway.

4. The Weakerthans at 41 plays.
Anyone else ever introduce someone to an artist, and by extension, fall in love all over again because, as you describe and explain the intricacies, you notice new ones? That's what I did with Reconstruction Site. I loved it previously, but never took the time to really respect the introspective and deep lyrics. I knew they were introspective and deep, mind you, but never devoted myself to taking them in. Seriously, any band that can write a song about a cat observing its owner fall into a state of melancholy and depression, all the while mourning the wayward person, has my vote. (the track in question iis Plea From a Cat Named Virtue ) They keep a tight band that plays a style I can't put my finger on. It's somewhere between alt country with its cowbells, ska with its horns, and punk with its basic riffing. But the best artists defy categorization. I have two more albums to listen to with these guys. Here's hoping for the best.

3. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at 43 plays.
Wow. My new big find. Baby 81 is totally killer stuff. It's dark, brooding, somewhat '80s sounding, booming, fuzzy, emotional, and all consuming. It jumps style pretty frantically, with tracks like Window giving a The Beatles sensibility, while Weapon of Choice (probably my personal favorite) gives something of a blues/punk lovechild that, despite their quite varied origins, looks pretty and sounds prettier. m0rph3us, you should be paying attention. I see you liking these guys, seriously. The groove, the grunge, the total immensity of any one of their songs just kills. Oh, and I haven't mentioned the blues record they did, or the prior two outings they've got. There's too much good stuff to say here.

2. Tom Waits at 47 plays.
Where have I been? I feel quite musically humbled. I picked up Orphans because it was billed as a good intro to Mr. Waits, and my prior experience was less than stellar with Real Gone. But this one did it. I don't know if I can fully comprehend the whole Bastards portion of the album (the third disc) but the first two have me hooked. For those of you that don't know, this album is a series of B-sides (a relative term since his B-sides are actually A-sides cunningly disguised) broken down into three discs. The first, Brawlers, is a series of rough-edged, bar-room... well... brawlers full of growling, maddening, yelped blues and roots songs. The second disc, Bawlers, is a series of jazz inspired ballads and love songs that pulls the heart strings. But that last disc... it's different. There's a lot of spoken word that I find fun to listen to, but not something I'd recreationally dig. Maybe after a few drinks and some consumables that would land me in jail I'd find it more appealing. It's got everything from quoted Bukowski poetry to a monologue that sums itself up in a truly awful joke taking place in a supermarket, to a documentary-styled piece on insects. It's fuckin' weird. Anyhow, the other two parts are perfect in every way. I now see what all the hype's about and I'm glad I invested myself in this release. It comes as a recommendation to anyone looking to get started in something new. All in all, very fulfilling.

1. Clutch with 57 plays.
Really, is anyone who knows me surprised? I'm an unfair Clutch whore. From Beale Street To Oblivion though, admittedly, took some time on me and had me worried for a short bit. But, like all Clutch records, it grew, attached, and is sucking time from me like hand-building a picture perfect mini model of New York. Hail to the masters! May the gears keep churning!

And that's it. Admittedly, metal's been out of rotation. I have to say I'm totally burnt out on Lamb of God, I'm disgusted with the majority of my metal collection, and it seems all that's getting spins anymore is Hypocrisy, Opeth, Bloodbath, Fear Factory, and Pantera Sepultura is in there too, but this stuff's not appealing to me like it used to. Either I'm getting older and less angry, or I'm just ina phase. I don't know if this disenchantment will last, but it's definitely been fairly prolonged as of now. I'm looking at my charts and kinda going, "Wha?" as I gaze down the list of artists. But, I'm back, and expect some changes. Expect more big-headed dribble to come spewing from my loud mouth, or speedy fingers as the case may be. All in all, it's been a long trip away, and though these boots were made for walkin' (thank you Johnny Cash they've clearly been off the well-worn road too long. It's time they started steppin' again.

Kommentare

  • m0rph3us

    Welcome back man. Clearly some major sonic changes afoot there but, meh, that's what it's about. Admittedly there's no comparison but I look at my collection of late 90's/early 00's big beat stuff with disdain these days. BRMC duly noted... there is a track of theirs (Love Burns) on an Adam Freeland mix I have which I rate pretty highly, so I will have to check some more of their stuff. Maybe it's time for me to scope some Tom Waits as well. Beale St took a while to grow on me too. Neil sorta sounds like he's trying to reinvent himself as a bluesman on tracks like The Devil and Me and Electric Worry, although to be honest he does a pretty fine job of it.

    26. Jul. 2007, 0:07
  • orenigma

    Well that's something that he's capable of. Go with what you know. As for BRMC, if you've entered the land of broadband, we can make something happen. Yeah. It's good to be back. I haven't flexed the old brain in too long. Working management at a call center, third shift, will do that to you. What's this? Stare at displays? Wait for people to fuck up? I'm bored! Yeah, the shift's been pretty profound. Been digging lots of blues, roots stuff... Old Crow Medicine Show will probably be in the list next week. Oh, and I noticed you're crankin' the Type O and the CoC! Right on!

    26. Jul. 2007, 0:53
  • m0rph3us

    Yeah, I am now proudly broadband-equipped, man talk about a revelation... Type O and CoC have been my two big discoveries this year... CoC write some insanely tight, powerful rock songs with great riffs... as for Type O, well how do you not like a band that spouts lyrics like 'Fucking you was like fucking the dead'. Apparently there is a new Down record on the way this year too... Heh yeah I have some mean ADD attacks at work too... short attention span + spending most of the day in front of a computer screen = amusing for those around me.

    26. Jul. 2007, 2:58
  • RazerMurdoch_SS

    Yeah, you kinda pulled Elliott Smith outta nowhere, didn't you? Amazing talent taken too young. Anyway, nice write-up. Great to see you back on these here internets.

    26. Jul. 2007, 5:34
  • orenigma

    Yes, he was taken far too young... and after cleaning up too. That death was NOT a suicide. Seriously... who stabs themselves twice in the chest to commit suicide?

    26. Jul. 2007, 5:50
  • r1Co

    welcome back, but not being aggresive shouldn't stop you from listening to metal, there's plenty of progressive stuff around which should serve other emotions, just try the new Anubis Gate for instance :P

    26. Jul. 2007, 8:36
  • orenigma

    I'm not totally closed off to it. I'm just a bit detached from it at the moment. I'm sure I'll swing back around eventually.

    26. Jul. 2007, 15:34
  • Le_THieN

    Fancy seein' you around these parts again. =) Regarding Elliott Smith, I highly recommend my favorite record of all time, [i]XO[/i] - an indelible slice of tantalizing pop songs and the ultimate culmination of his arranging and songwriting abilities. I have a highly self-indulgent review here for your reading pleasure.

    27. Jul. 2007, 4:45
  • orenigma

    I was kinda naturally inclined that direction initially... something in the first impressions put me off of it. I'll give it another run though. It's good be be back 'round these parts, but I find last.fm's handling of journals a little lacking this time out.

    27. Jul. 2007, 7:41
  • m0rph3us

    You're not wrong there... the 'friends journals' thing was broke for awhile... and I'm still not entirely convinced it's working.

    27. Jul. 2007, 12:34
  • drd00m

    Nice to read some journals from you again, you still write as well as I remembered. [i]Beale Street[/i] took some time to grow on me as well, but I like how Clutch are getting more bluesy with time. Funny you're talking about metal, as I'm listening to some Enslaved - Frost right now, but other than that, I haven't been hearing much metal lately.

    30. Jul. 2007, 19:05
  • orenigma

    Thanks for that brother. I've actually got some Enslaved hiding on my PC that I've never given a try. Maybe I should dig that out.

    31. Jul. 2007, 12:41
  • drd00m

    If you feel like trying out some metal, I suggest you check out Death. Human is probably the best album to get you started. Shouldn't be too hard to find online...

    1. Aug. 2007, 15:13
  • SilverStarhawk

    Well, well, well... For starters... I'm afraid my opinion of the latest David Gray release was a far cry from what we have come to expect from him. He is one of those artists whose music can quickly become orchestrated to the point of absurdity, and that is, from my vantage point, just what happened. His brilliant simplicity was put in the hands of a mainstream producer looking to achieve the aims of a record label thinking Gray would finally break through big time, or so the story goes, and the rest is sad, sad history. I found it to be irritating through the same characteristics that made A New Day At Midnight different, although the latter was still a good listen. The new one just used the wrong things too often. I still have it around, if you'd like to give it a listen for yourself though. Was kinda hoping to (and thought I might see) The Flower Kings on here, but no dice apparently. Whatever became of your opinion of them? Funny, I remember I was the one who jumped all over Bealle Street when it first came out while you were apprehensive. Now it's warming on you, while I'm finding that it doesn't seem to have the staying power that the last few Clutch releases have had. Although Clutch and many of their peers have not gotten the heaviest of rotation this summer; it's been very much about progressive rock and more traditional jazz, I'm afraid. Either way, writing hasn't' lost a step in your absence. Hope to see more soon.

    2. Aug. 2007, 3:48
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