29 June 2009


Damn right safe seach is off.

I feel like the media often portrays Black Sabbath as those "regular Jack & Jerry" types, that were all into it but, let's face it, just not that good. They were, after all, average blokes.

I think that what these critics fail to point out (or stress, maybe) is that these were not untalented blokes, be they as they were from a working class background. (Maybe, also this makes them all the more kickass? What with Iommi losing the tips of two of his fretting fingers in an accident at the sheet metal factory he worked at? These guys were destined.) They were all first-rate musicians, without a doubt. This virtuosity is showcased on every one of their albums.

Whew, OK. That rant is over. Thanks for indulging me, oh blank reptile stare of the internet. It's a Monday night, and I'm rockin' out to album one.


I'm so goddamn glad this band put aside their issues, got back together, and started cranking out new albums. For my money, I like Farm even more than Beyond, their previous post-reunion album, even though that one was a firm but gentle rocker for the ages as well.

What can I possibly say about this band. They were one of the first bands I saw in DC, and they were certainly and absolutely (at the time) the loudest band I'd ever seen. I nearly vomited with joy at the sight of J Mascis' three Marshall stacks. For me, Dinosaur Jr have always brought the funk, and so as soon as I get paid (I believe it was supposed to be today. Anyone from my office, if you are reading this, yes I am doing this on company time, but then again...money, please!) I'm gonna get this new green beast on vinyl.

Just look at that album cover! I won't settle for anything smaller than 12".

17 June 2009


The dawn of the 80's, and the beginning of Black Sabbath's twilight years. But, like your good ol' Uncle Judd, they're not going quietly.

On a whim, but subconsciously (I suspect) in preparation for my summer pilgrimage to the Merriweather Post Pavilion to see these legends on their current world tour, I put Heaven and Hell in my Discman this morning.

The hidden gem I found during this most recent re-discovery is certainly "Die Young", which features gorgeous, spacey guitar interludes, strong echoes of which can be found on Lamb of God's latest (Wrath). Indeed, warm and melodic intros seem to be all the rage these days, with Mastodon's latest opus (Crack the Skye) vying with Wrath for dibs on "most gorgeous, spacey interludes" so far this year. That said, "Die Young" features one of the greatest bridges in rock history, in my opinion.

Of course, this album is no mere lucky dustbin--it's a trove. Listening to "Neon Knights" WILL make you drive fast. It was one of those songs that, with its sheer velocity and retarded-good solo, changed the course of my life forever. This was not the Sabbath I had known, not the Sabbath of "Paranoid" and "Sweet Leaf"--but still just as sweet. Then again, after the supersonic luge of "Neon Knights" and melodic acoustic intro to "Children of the Sea", the plodding behemoth makes itself known once more, as big and beautiful as ever. "Walk Away" sounds remarkably like a Rod Stewart-led Faces, around the time of their rock gem A Nod Is As Good As A Wink...To A Blind Horse. Dio's ballsy rockstar vocals and Geezer's (as usual) world-class bass work are perfect counterpoints to Iommi's high-gain electrical storm. A straightforward rock masterpiece. It's also evident that the members of Sleep listened to this album enough times to incorporate its slower, stranger elements into their own sound. Anyone looking for these more vintage (but still different) riffs should skip to the final song on the album, "Lonely Is The Word". And what a closer it is.

I suppose if there is only one reason to listen to Heaven and Hell, it is Tony Iommi. Even if you hate the lyrics, even if you want to punch Dio in the face (a blasphemy I will only hypothetically tolerate), even if the riffs just don't do it for you, this album showcases Iommi's soloing genius in a way that no previous Sabbath album had. They may not be any faster or more complex than on earlier albums, but the long years of honing those great, golden, spidery chops that fold under and lift higher like a rocket's exhaust are evident in every one of these songs.

Indeed, Heaven and Hell contains the best of both Sabbath and a band like Rush--so perhaps ask yourself how much you like the latter band before you decide to even put this album on. The riffing has evolved--no doubt about that. Dio certainly lends an arena anthem quality to Sabbath, and Iommi trusts his instincts enough to follow along, turning them into a very different, but no less powerful and hard rocking, band.

12 June 2009

New OM Album "God Is Good" Out Sept 8th, Drag City

I'm not going to say anything else. Except give you the track listing:

1. Thebes
2. Meditation is the Practice of Death
3. Cremation Ghat I
4. Cremation Ghat II

Fuck yes.

09 June 2009


Um, so this post actually has nothing to do with music. As such, it will be brief. I felt like I had to, however, show you all a little sample of one of my favorite blogs: Radstronomical, which belongs to my buddy Diego (shout outz), an up-and-coming artist and animator who is, well, pretty fucking radstronomical.

There's a link on the sidebar over yonder, and it's been there, but I wanted to give you a little sample of Diego's stuff. Check him out, waste a bunch of time on his blog, and enjoy.

05 June 2009


Yes, all the news is true. There are quite a few many beautiful gems on the new Al-Cisneros-curated mix CD from Arthur publications, entitled Tranmissions From Sinai. In all honesty, sometimes when I think I might be losing interest, these cursed West Coast conjurers brew up something that I have to buy. And it is always worth it.

And that is why I don't mind shilling for them here. For a mere $12, you can have this fine, fine audiodisc to have forever. Honestly, there are only 1,000 of these things. OK, advertisement over.

“Here are sixteen reports, differing approaches that, through their own individualized methods, access the one ground. It’s a privilege and blessing to have known many of the musicians on this disc, to have shared in song with some, and stages with others. In all cases I have been the healed recipient of their craft sitting alone with my headphones… Here is their auditory journal.” —Al Cisneros February 2009

We have quite a range of beauties here. From Lichens' totally amazing cosmic yawn opener, to the sweet, sweet dubbed out reggae in hits from Linval Thompson and an outageously good Alpha & Omega. Two of my personal favorites--Wino's fuzzed-out, drippy hot pickle sandwich of creeping doom "Silver Lining" (on the kickass album that I wrote about here) and Grails' really (seriously) cool Pink-Floyd-y "Acid Rain". I suppose that just comparing them to a classic band might be doing them a disservice, but honestly, I'm lazy. I'm a lazy, lazy writer. And I'm OK with that. Sometimes when I listen to music, I turn into a dog, and sometimes all I can think is "Pink Floyd! Pink Floyd!" Please understand that this is an expression of great joy.

Really. This is a great record. Good job for ruling, guys and gals.

04 June 2009


I am, as I write this, making the glorious mistake of listening to the new SunnO))) album, Monoliths & Dimensions, at work. It has been a long day at the end of a long week, at the end of a very, very long series of weeks. Maybe it's because I feel like a toiling slave of old that I identify with the riffs that move at the pace of a ten-ton pyramid block, which is what SunnO))) have been doing since their robed and droning inception. A typical SunnO))) concert is pictured above.

This album is fucking crazy. Probably one of the most wonderfully frightening and creepy albums I've ever heard. Conch horns and harpy choirs flare up around thick lava moats of throat singing and incredibly, incredibly distorted vintage amplifiers as big as your damn house. The blaring and extreme lumbering, rather than driving me crazy, are activating my mind in a very unique way, and that is probably the whole point of music. It's interesting to note that there are somewhere between thirteen and sixteen non-band contributors to this album, but if you want all that shit go read Pitchfork (who gave it an 8.5 no less!). I can't be bothered. The healing has begun.