Mixing genres to create something interesting is always a gamble. If you put the wrong combinations together the end result can put you on the wrong path. One band that I’ve recently been intrigued by that mixes genres is So Hideous. Mixing post-rock, atmospheric black metal, and a bit of an orchestral film score type vibe, So Hideous have put together a recipe for something that will hit you on impact. The bands new album, None But a Pure Heart Can Sing is a new and astonishing piece of work from this adventurous band. Still raging as hard as ever, still expressing the extremes of torment and beauty, None But a Pure Heart Can Sing sees So Hideous incorporate new sounds and rhythms into its approach. When discussing the thematic elements of the record Brandon Cruz said “The record is about rediscovering the freedom to share your passion, whether it be your art or your own voice, without any angst, anger or second thoughts. We talked a lot about the times we used to get into a room to play when we were 16 or whatever and the only barometer was if it ‘felt right and sounded good.’ When you see little kids they just extemporaneously break out into song and dance. They don’t care who’s watching. I had this idea of someone in some form of captivity, yearning to be free and sing her song.” Based on that, I couldn’t agree more. This record is pretty damn good!
One of my all time favorite bands is Failure. Ever since I was a kid and heard them (pretty sure it was Magnified that I heard), I was sold. Then comes 1996 and they release one of my all time favorite albums in Fantastic Planet. For over 20 years, this album has yet to leave my rotation. It’s a perfect album and one that has gone on to influence and inspire countless other bands and artists. In a way, Fantastic Planet is the new equivalent to the first album by The Velvet Underground. Anyways, I could go on and on about the awesomeness of this record. Instead let’s focus on how great of a song “Daylight” is to end the album. Clocking in at 6 minutes long, this song is epic and one of those songs that makes you want to start the album all over again. The way the music starts and builds creates this amazing tension that finally explodes at the end. “Daylight” is an absolute essential song to listen to on how to close out an album properly. Everything about this song is stunnging from the way Ken, Greg and Kellii all play off each other, the production, the lyrics and melody and to top it off the tones, oh the tones! Bottle those tones and sell them!
Failure- Daylight (Live at The El Rey- Reunion Show, 2014):
The electronic music world is growing by leaps and bounds as technology keeps evolving. The amount of artists in the genre is astounding and yet there are only a select few of them that have really intrigued me. One of the artists that has peaked my interest is David Castillo’s project (If you don’t know who David is, he’s the co-owner and booker of Saint Vitus Bar) CONFINES. The sound of CONFINES is dark and vibrant with tinges of industrial, techno and some synth pop. Think Depeche Mode (Songs of Faith and Devotion era) mixed with a little Skinny Puppy, Nitzer Ebb and a dash of early Ministry. On his debut EP, Work Up the Blood, David said “My ideal for this EP was to create dance music that incorporates the rhythms and bass heaviness that get me excited to move, while juxtaposing it with a memorable mood that gives it depth.” And he did just that. Work Up The Blood is more than your run of the mill electronic music album. David’s singing voice helps to take this to a whole other level. The intensity in his screams to delicate melodies create a killer ebb and flow to accompany the controlled chaos permeating from the speakers.
Sweden is one of the worlds best exporters of heavy music. There is absolutely no denying the impact that Sweden has had on metal, hard rock and even pop music (ABBA). One band that has recently been brought to my attention that has really taken the Swedish sound by storm is Mass Worship. Taking cues from the likes of At The Gates and Meshuggah with bits of Mastodon and Discharge, Mass Worship is making one hell of a name for themselves. Their punishing and crushing riffs and rhythms mixed with bits of Swedish death metal and dbeat crust punk, it’s no wonder I’m digging this band. Their second album Portal Tombs is out February 4, 2022. The first song released from the album is “Revel In Fear” and features Napalm Death’s Mark “Barney” Greenway on guest vocals. Personally, I can’t wait to hear more from Mass Worship.
Mass Worship- Revel In Fear feat. Barney of Napalm Death:
Back in 1986, Iggy Pop was on a roll with his solo career. His most recent album at the time (his 7th solo album) Blah, Blah, Blah would go on to be one of his most successful in his discography. This album also saw Iggy and David Bowie work together again after a 4 year hiatus. This would be their final collaboration but the end result is tremendous. Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols also co-wrote three songs on the album. On this album, Iggy did a cover of Johnny O’Keefe’s “Wild One.” The track would go on to appear in Crocodile Dundee II, Pretty Woman, the Problem Child movies and more. Iggy’s version is easily the most recognizable of all the versions out there.
The date is November 21, 1992 and during the Weekend Update segment on Saturday Night Live, anchor Kevin Nealon brings out Adam Sandler to perform a song. This was originally intended to be a recurring Thanksgiving tradition with other cast members debuting their own original songs, but the next year, it was again Sandler, doing another version of the same song in the style of Bruce Springsteen. Adam’s “Thanksgiving Song” was written by Adam Sandler along with SNL writers Robert Smigel and Ian Maxtone-Graham. Interestingly (as always there is something interesting about these performances/songs), this song was the predecessor to “The Chanukkah Song.” When that song became a hit, “The Thanksgiving Song” was then released as a follow-up the next year; it too became a hit, charting at #40 on the Adult Top 40 chart and #29 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in 1997. The song continues to receive extensive radio airplay around Thanksgiving. So, now that we know all that, Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!
It’s always interesting to go see a band you haven’t seen in many many years. The other night I found myself at The Whisky A Go Go to see my good friends in Centershift play on the same night as Hoobastank. I’ll get to all the good stuff in a moment but, before I get too deep into the night, let me just say that this was one hell of a fun night. There was a familiar sense to what was going on this evening. Seeing Hoobastank for the first time in over 20 years was a trip all on its own and then you add the awesome Centershift and the up and coming Kiss The Scientist and you’ve got a recipe for a stellar night.
First up was Centershift. If you haven’t checked them out yet, get on it! Led by former Onesidezero/Abloom frontman Jasan Radford, Centershift not only set the tone for the night but the bar for how each band would have to perform. Playing songs from their upcoming debut album, Centershift hit a nerve with the sold out and packed crowd. Looking around the room you are watching people enthralled by the emotion and magnitude of the songs. The couple songs they’ve released so far “9” and “My Own World” sounded so damn good with the latter being a huge standout. Centershift is one hell of a band and they are super tight too. The combination of Jasan Radford’s vocals along with Ryan Stuber on guitar, Ted Wenri on bass and Michael Tarabotto on drums is a force to be reckoned with. I can’t wait for more from this band!
Following Centershift wasn’t an easy task but thankfully up and comers Kiss The Scientist were up for the challenge. These youngsters tapped into the energy that Centershift left the crowd with and delivered the goods. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing these guys before and they absolutely rock. They’ve got a sound that harks back to the mid 90’s mixed with a bit of indie rock. Not only do they have the charisma but the talent and ability to make people take notice. Take notice of these kids too!
Now the headliner, Hoobastank. This was a special night as they were celebrating 20 years of their debut album and playing said album in full along with some other fan favorites. I’ll admit, it’s been a while like I mentioned above, that I’ve listened to them but, the moment “Crawling In The Dark” started I was transported back 20 years. It was quite fun to hear these songs and see how excited the SOLD OUT crowd was. Watching the band on stage having a blast made the whole thing so much fun. The sing alongs the crowd had going were infectious and you could tell that the band was feeding off it as they played harder and a bit more loose. Ending their set with their song “The Reason” they had almost the entire venue singing along and just when you thought it was over, BOOM… one of the largest amounts of confetti I’ve ever seen in a small venue exploded and made it all festive. Hoobastank recently wrapped up a tour with Everclear and Living Colour and those shows made them quite prepared for this show as they were on fire all night long.
All three bands made this night something special. It mixed the old school with the new and the perfect place for this all to happen. Shows like this one especially in the times we are living in are much needed. Kiss The Scientist is going to go places. Centershift is without a doubt going to resonate with fans and will be a name you’ll know quite soon. Hoobastank for over 20 years now have been going strong and based on this performance, they seem to have the fire reignited! Do yourself a favor and check out these bands. You’ll thank me later!
The Velvet Underground is one of my Top 10 all time favorite bands. My mom got me into them when I was still a toddler. There’s something majestic about this band and what they create. Just when you think they are writing a “pop song” they flip the script and out comes something otherworldly. Lou Reed had one hell of a way of telling stories through songs. He was a profound writer and often doesn’t get the credit and respect he deserves. This song “White Light/White Heat” is also the title track of the same name. This song was released in January of 1968. Interestingly the song is about the sensations produced by intravenous injection of methamphetamines. “White Light/White Heat” was also a staple of the Velvet Underground’s live performances from 1967 on. The tune appears on numerous live bootleg albums, and the nearly nine-minute version included on the group’s posthumous 1969 Live double LP is one of the album’s centerpieces. This song holds such a candle with many artists, so much so that David Bowie even recorded a version of it. This track every time I hear it, I have to turn it up super loud and sing along! What a tremendous way to kickstart an album!
Back in 1986, The Replacements performed on Saturday Night Live and it didn’t go well at all! There’s a really intersting story behind it all and I’ll tell you part of it. It all started when the bands label was trying to get The Replacements to shoot a music video. The band though had a hard stance of NO about making videos. So, the powers that be came up with a solution, one that would be beneficial for the band as well as fans. The idea was to get them to perform on live TV. So a letter was then sent to Saturday Night Live music booker Michele Galfas touting the group. Then the ‘Mats’ product manager, Steven Baker, and Warner A&R head Lenny Waronker pressed label chairman Mo Ostin to put in a call to the show’s creator/producer, Lorne Michaels. Based on Warner Bros.’s faith, Galfas put The Replacements on a shortlist of acts for the show — without having seen the band play live. See where this is going… Fast forward a few months and out of the blue, the bands gets the call that they will be appearing on SNL. Originally The Pointer Sisters were to perform on this night. Actor Harry Dean Stanton would be the host for the show on the now infamous January 18th airing. The episode would also feature controversial stand-up comic Sam Kinison as a special guest. The rest of the story is just as crazy as you think it is. From being drunk on stage, spouting “FUCK” on live TV, out of control antics and more. To say the people running SNL were pissed is an understatement. I highly recommend you taking some time and reading more about it this story.
It’s always fun to take songs of the same name and put them on back to back and contemplate about which one is better. There are so many of them out there and some are definitely better than some. One that I did recently were the songs “Sin” by Nine Inch Nails from Pretty Hate Machine and by Stone Temple Pilots on their album Core. Now these are both totally different but are quite good songs. The NIN one will always take the top prize for me. “Sin” the NIN version is in my top 10 all time favorite NIN songs.