Tuesday, July 28, 2009

the atomic bomb audition - light will remain (2008)

My co-writer here at Speed, Glue and Music tells me that there are people in San Francisco that actually read this blog!! Is this true? Feel free to leave some comments or share your blogs with us! Anyway since San Francisco is showing us some love, I thought I would review a SF an Oakland band that as far as I know hasn't really received much exposure yet (I could surf the internet to verify whether or not this is true, but I'm lazy). This is a band that Mr. Destroy the Scene and I randomly saw 3-4 years ago, by accident. We had left our luxurious apartment at the intersection of Mission and Precita and ducked into El Rio for a few drinks, and this band was playing. And we were blown away! Never before had I accidentally ended up watching a band I liked so much. And then... I didn't hear anything about them for years. Not, in fact, until I was board-operating an interview with Dub Trio at KUSF, and they mentioned that Atomic Bomb Audition were opening for them at the Hemlock. Did I know anything about this band, they inquired? Yeah! I said, suddenly remembering the band I unintentionally saw years back. What do they sound like, the dude from Dub Trio asked. "They sound like umm.... really heavy.... you know but also, like.... textured.... sort of shoegazey but also..... heavy" I said, and the dude from Dub Trio nodded solemnly, secretly amazed and envious at the breadth of my knowledge of music and the more technical terms pertaining to it. Anyway, I wasn't able to go to that show, and then next I heard of them is when I came across this album, Light Will Remain. Apparently this is their second album, and I'm curious to hear what their first album sounds like, because by this release they already have a very full and well-developed sound. Much like contemporary Deftones (yeah I said Deftones), Atomic Bomb Audition incorporate a lot of 90's indie, shoegaze and emo into their sound, but much, much louder and heavier. Except the Deftones ended up in their heavy-shoegaze incarnation coming from nu-metal, whereas this band seems much more natural in their melodic sensibilities. They also incorporate a lot of post-rock and prog into their sound, and the result is long, complex songs that alternate between lush melodies and heavy riffing (I just barfed a little as I wrote "lush melodies"). At various times, this band reminds me of Built to Spill, Dinosaur Jr (in particular the vocal melodies at the end of "Copernicus: Perigee"), Mogwai, Isis, Amesoeurs, The Angelic Process (who RULE and I will definitely write about soon) and Explosions in the Sky. Yet at no point do they sound derivative of any of those acts- they have a really interesting and unique sound, and I'm eager to see what they do next.

The Atomic Bomb Audition - Copernicus: Perigee

Friday, July 24, 2009

RE: In My Honest Opinion; The Best Albums of the 80s(at least of what i have heard anyway)

Alright, this is my little list thrown together in response. It's a lot shorter than Mr. Destroy The Scene's, in part because he already named some of my favorite albums and I won't include them on the list. But if he hadn't previously mentioned them, my list definitely would have included

motorhead - ace of spades
einsturzende neubauten - halber mensch (ps I spelled that right on my first try, fuck yeah)
big black - songs about fucking
scratch acid - the greatest gift

So yeah, ditto to their inclusion on the previous list. Here's what WASN'T on the last list, but SHOULD HAVE been. Oh yeah, and only one album by each artist (SORRY METALLICA), and no compilations that aren't primarily material recorded in the 80's.

Captain Beefheart - Doc at the Radar Station (1980)
weirdo rock

read the rest!

Kraftwerk - Computer World (1981)
bleeps and bloops, melodies for Coldplay to steal

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five - The Message (1982)
electro, early hip-hop

Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast (1982)
NWOBHM, galloping beats, killer guitars, running to the hills

Metallica - Kill 'Em All (1983)
party metal, drinking, inventing being the best metal band

Slayer - Show No Mercy (1983)
shredding, killing, destroying, also being the best metal band

Husker Du - Zen Arcade (1984)
bad singing, really thin guitars, songs I like

Possessed - Seven Churches (1985)
nasty sounding metal, the birth of death metal

Big Black - Atomizer (1986)
bad ass misanthropic nerds

Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction (1987)
eh maybe not really good enough for this list but what the hell why not

The Dead C - DR503 (1988)
surprisingly tuneful experimental noise

Death - Leprosy (1988)
some of the best death metal of all time

Dinosaur Jr. - Bug (1988)
not sure how this one didn't make your list, dude

EPMD - Strictly Business (1988)
hella chill

My Bloody Valentine - Isn't Anything (1988)
frequently overlooked

Atheist - Piece of Time (1989)
killer thrash and death metal, preview of better things to come

Minor Threat - Complete Discography (1989)
being self-righteous, future Nike ad

Rapeman - Two Nuns and a Pack Mule (1989)
ha ha ha ha

Friday, July 17, 2009

generational terror, pt 5 - end times

Alright. It's been a long week, and I've subjected myself (and you) to unspeakable horrors, enough to test the sanity of any rational person. There are some bands that I intended to cover that I never got around to covering; Winds of Plague, for their bone-headed combination of tough guy hardcore, death metal and black metal signifiers; Millionaires, for being teenage girls that are as insulting to and dismissive of teenage girls as BrokeNCYDE; the entirety of the "Punk Goes Crunk" compilation. But, for the sake of my soul and my faith in humankind, I think it is time to bring this to a close. Fortunately, I've saved the best (and I do mean THE BEST) for last!

This band amazes me on so many levels. If I had only heard the song, and not seen the video, I think I would still be blown away by their combination of crunchy metal breakdowns, auto-tuned clean vocals, and the rave-up at the end of the song(!!). But the video takes it to a whole new level! These kids are not just at the forefront of a new musical movement, but they've come up with their own AMAZING stage moves!! I've seen nu-metal bands play their guitars barely off the ground before, but that was more of a slumped-over kinda thing; and of course, Robert Trujillo, current bass player of Metallica, is renowned for his crab-walking skills. However, what is on display here is something far beyond anything I've seen before. Not only do these guys squat down and play their instruments mere inches above the ground, but to throw in that weird jerky head movement? Genius! There are so many amazing moments in this video:

"Wooo!" @ 0:58
hopping around @ 1:00
running in place?!? @ 1:37
more ultimate crabbing @ 2:41

To be honest, I think this song has broken my brain. Congratulations, Attack Attack! You have freed me from the shackles of logic and sanity and sent me into a fantasy world of mascara, tattoos, heavy guitars and ravey synths.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

generational terror, pt 4 - hollywood undead

I thought I would spend today focusing on metal, but then I realized how truly god awful Hollywood Undead are and decided to give them the whole day. Jesus, my head already hurts. Its like Slipknot meets Crazytown! Buckcherry plus Necro! Fuuuuuuuuuuuuccccccckkkkkk thiiiiiissssssssss.

I gave BrokeNCYDE shit for forgetting the lessons of nu-metal, but at least they incorporate some more recent cultural fads. This shit honestly could have come out ten years ago. I wish I could think of some more insightful things to say about this band, but after watching several of their music videos I feel kind of disconnected from reality. The world has become a hazy blur of tattoos and strippers.

Oh wait, did you think Hollywood Undead were only about getting drunk, trashing hotel rooms and fake tits? Wrong, how wrong you were! Here they show their sensitive side, their Linkin Park side.

"We are strong
But we don`t belong
Born in this world as it all falls apart"

Yeah, you tell it guys! Feel the childrens' pain!

"I hear the hate in all your words
All the words to make us hurt.
We get so sick oh so sick
We never wanted all this"

Yeah, who are those assholes with the hate in all of their words? Fuck them!!!!

"So my dick is in my hand when I respond to faggots talking shit,
Speaking of fags, already wrap with the drag,
We killed him and then we stuffed his body in the Cadillac."

Oh, right.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

generational terror, pt 3

Here we have some more fine purveyors of autotuned emo bullshit, Breathe Carolina. This is pretty much straight-forward modern pop, but sung by tattooed pretty boys who occasionally scream. When did screamed vocals become acceptable in pop music, I wonder? I know that at many times in my life, after (misguidedly) attempting to get my friends into metal, I was met with the response "I just don't like hearing people screaming like that".

Both of those videos are of the same band. When I started this week's feature, I thought the most remarkable cross-pollination occurring in the emo scene was influence from hip-hop, but now I'm starting to think its super-gay techno music (I'm not using that term in a pejorative sense, btw). That kind of switch, from macho chest-thumping metalcore to flamboyantly dancey techno-pop, in an effort to gain more traction among today's youth, is pretty puzzling to me. This next guy, too.

BrokeNCYDE opened for this guy on his "I'm So Fierce" tour in 2008. He also has toured with Warped Tour. ??? I don't really know what to say about this. I mean I guess its cool that the kids are down with ultra-homo pop but what does it mean when a flaming caricature of homosexuality (Jeffree Star) shares a stage with a suburban appropriation/caricature of urban black masculinity (BrokeNCYDE)?

Alright, one last video. This song in a minor radio hit on the local alternative station right now, and these guys are on this year's Warped Tour. Again, there's a weird balance of flamboyance and masculine posturing:

"Tongues always pressed to your cheeks,
While my tongue is on the inside of some other girls teeth,
Tell your boyfriend if he says hes got beef,
That I'm a vegetarian and I ain't fucking scared of him."

I give up! I give up trying to understand this shit.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

generational terror, pt 2 - BrokeNCYDE

Yesterday's post was just an introduction- testing the waters, so to speak. While covering "Such Great Heights" with chugging guitars and screaming vocals is a terrible idea, it is at least understandable why a band would want to do that. What we examine next is something that I truly cannot comprehend.

I don't really know where to start analyzing this sort of mind-fuck. Musically, its horrendous (although the above track is significantly better than their most recent singles). Questions of sincerity, humor, sexuality and race are far harder to answer. How seriously are these guys playing it? Obviously there's a certain amount of humor here, but do they actually believe they've produced quality music, or is this a sort of joke they couldn't finish? A scheme to get laid that has taken on its own unnatural life? Don't they remember nu-metal? And why, for god's sake, is E-40 on their new single?!?

I have many, many more questions about this band, and what their existence says about today's society; but somethings are perhaps unknowable to the human mind. One point I would like to raise about this band, though, is the question of mothersagainstbrokencyde.net. This website highlights some pretty controversial facts about the band. And not just traditional anti-rock tropes, like accusations of promoting devil-worship or some vague sense of sexuality; rather, accusations of a more serious manner, of lyrics promoting rape and racial purity. And yet, the "mothers against brokeNCYDE" website is a bit too clean looking. A bit too appealing to the eye. The layout and font choice suggest a designer familiar with how to use the internet, post web 2.0. The idea of parents coming together to object to a single band, rather than "rock music" or "youth culture" or some great societal ill is also suspicious. Which all leads me to believe that the website is stealth marketing for the group- WHICH IS FUCKING INSANE. That would mean that the guys behind BrokeNCYDE are so aware of and committed to their own image that they would start rumors of racism and rape, about themselves, in order to raise their profile. That sort of post-meta-irony is the kind of shit that makes me feel like I have to lay down for awhile.

Monday, July 13, 2009

generational terror, pt 1

I've lately been fascinated with some of the more bizarre new manifestations of popular music, particularly acts that come from hardcore/screamo/metal scene. Five years ago I would have known all of the new bands and been following the new trends, but its gotten to the point now where some of these newer acts are genuinely shocking to me. I can't really process how these groups have come to be, and their existence seems like some kind of cosmic joke. A really, really funny cosmic joke. So this week I will be celebrating the new names and faces of this bold new world!! Tremble in fear, anyone over the age of 15!

I don't have too much to say about this particular video, other than I laughed pretty hard and I think its actually decent as a cover. This is a recurring theme among the new breed of screamo bands- a lot of them are actually pretty competent at what they do, it just happens that what they do is incredibly awful.