One of the best things about rock music is the ability to mix different genres and styles. The end result of these concoctions often times end up making for some really intriguing bands. Which is exactly why I’m really digging the band Strangelight. They’ve been able to take rock n roll music and add bits of punk and an anthemic tinge and made something fun, lively and thought provoking. Their debut album, Adult Themes, is chock full of hard hitting rhythms, crunchy riffs and impactful vocals. The production on the album courtesy of Scott Evans (you might recognize him from his work in Kowloon Walled City) gives these songs the added realness their already raw and direct delivery. There are moments when listening to Strangelight, that you pick up on the inspiration and influence of bands like Fugazi, Hot Snakes and Rocket From The Crypt but, it’s apparent in a flattering way and not a straight up rip. Strangelight are the type of band that, I’m sure if you saw them live, they would straight up rip the roof off the venues they play.
The Smashing Pumpkins double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness celebrates it’s 25 birthday this year (actually October 24th is the official date). This album, was a huge game changer and has gone on to influence and inspire countless bands and artists throughout the years. I still remember buying the album when it came out, and the countless hours I’d sit in my room and listen to it. One of the memorable moments I have about this album is when I first saw the video for “Tonight, Tonight.” I was absolutely blown away by how visceral the video was along with how interesting it was. The video was directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (who would go on to make other pretty awesome videos for Korn and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, to name a couple). The video won multiple MTV Video Music Awards as well as being a Grammy nominated clip. Another interesting tidbit about the video is that it stars Tom Kenny and Jill Talley who you might recognize from their work on Spongebob Squarepants and Mr. Show. This video is one of the all time greats and it deserves to get its acclaim and be celebrated along with the masterpiece of the album it belongs to.
Sevendust’s new album Blood and Stone arrives this Friday, October 23rd. While it’s definitely been a very interesting year to say the least, at least we still have new music coming out. This new Sevendust album, is shaping up to be a pretty rockin one. The two songs released so far, “Blood From A Stone” and “Dying To Live,” both have a return to the early days kind of sound a la Animosity mixed with a little Seasons and some Cold Day Memory vibes. Sevendust have been one of the hardest working bands since they broke on the scene over 20 years ago. This new album, shows their commitment to the fans to keep being creative and releasing new tunes.
Architects have dropped a brand new single entitled “Animals.” This song will be on their upcoming new album, For Those That Wish To Exist. There is no release date for the album at this time but, this song is a banger for sure. This song is a bit of a departure from the last couple of Architects albums but, it shows a growth and adds some more elements to their already heavy sound.
Back in 2001 on Chimaira’s debut album, Pass Out Of Existence, there is a track on there called “Rizzo” that was co-written by the band and Stephen Carpenter of this little band called Deftones. The band found out Stephen was a fan of the band after he had heard their song “Dead Inside,” and they wound up sending Stephen a shirt and he would then wear while on tour in support of White Pony. If you watch the video for “Digital Bath,” you can see the shirt they sent him. Stephen’s writing and playing style meshes really well with this era of Chimaira. “Rizzo” is a great example of how putting the tone and style of another guitarist can really work out well.
In a time when people are saying rock is dead, they obviously aren’t looking in the right places. Rock music is very much alive. Enter Sound & Shape, this three piece band hailing from Nashville, Tennesse, have the right amount of heaviness, soul and melody to keep rock music going. Through the course of the band’s career, they’ve released three full length albums along with two EP’s. They’ve also had the pleasure of touring with bands like Sparta, Kings X, and The Spill Canvas. One of the things that really intrigues me about Sound & Shape is the vocal harmonies. Those harmonies are striking and smooth and have this really cool 70’s vibe that has a nice bit of soul and r&b to them, thus making it stand out. Their new song “All Day Morning,”features those quite well I must say. Sound & Shape are the type of rock band that is needed to keep rock n roll music going.
Last night, I was thinking of movies I haven’t seen in a long while and Lost Highway popped in my head. From that point, I had a couple songs stuck in my head. One was Nine Inch Nails “The Perfect Drug” and the other was the cover that Marilyn Manson did of “I Put A Spell On You.” This track was originally featured on the Smells Like Children EP. The original version of the song was done by Screamin Jay Hawkins but, is most famously done by Creedence Clearwater Revival (and that’s the one I associate it with most). This is definitely an interesting take on the song and fits perfectly on Lost Highway. Enjoy!
The movie Airheads is quite a fun one to go back and watch. It’s still ridiculous and silly but, there is something so good about it. Perhaps it’s because of Adam Sandler and Steve Buscemi, or Chris Farley, or even the soundtrack (which is absolutely worth checking out if you haven’t). I still remember watching the movie years back and seeing White Zombie performing “Feed The Gods” and thinking, how cool they were live. I still wish I had been able to see them live. Anyways, this song I’ve always thought was a badass White Zombie song.
I’ve long been fascinated by the history of Black Flag. I still remember the first time I heard them when I was a little kid. I was really getting into punk music during the mid 90’s renaissance of punk rock. I remember reading an interview with Lars and Tim from Rancid and they kept mentioning Black Flag. Naturally, I did what anyone who is curious about a band would do and went to the record store and got myself a Black Flag album (I wound up buying Damaged). From that point, I was on a path of finding out all about these other bands and fell in love with the genre even more. One of the things that always stood out to me about Black Flag was Henry Rollins. He was such a commanding force on stage and his vocals were very direct and in your face. That combined with the magnitude of the music from those in Black Flag, made for one hell of a band. So, with all that in mind, here’s my ranking of the Rollins era Black Flag albums.
Way back in 1999, in the pouring rain of New York, Rage Against The Machine took the stage in the street for an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. During this evening, they performed a mini concert for a slew of fans while promoting their Unsung Masterpiece that is The Battle Of Los Angeles. Here’s Rage performing “Guerilla Radio.”
Rage Against The Machine- Guerilla Radio on Letterman: