Tuesday, June 30, 2009

ISIS in concert

I've seen a lot of concerts in my life. Too many perhaps. The tickets I've saved alone are closing in on one hundred (i have a scrap book). That doesn't include all the basement gigs, the hand-stamps, the club crawls, the house parties, the backyard serendipities and all ticketless ventures. I was 17 when I went to my first show, and now, 13 years later, I think I'm getting bored of the format.

For the record ISIS are awesome. Their show was really good, they sounded good. Aaron Turner is so freakin' awesome it captures my imagination. I can clearly see him now, growling at the top of a pyramid as he fingers a complex chord progression. How can he mainTAIN? What a man.
The crowd at this ISIS show a week and a half ago was SHIT. Really? We're still moshing? I guess it's been a while since I've been to a "metal" show, and I should have known people would have been pushing each other around because I've seen Tool seven times and never do the Tool-Fucking-Tool-heads not show up and ruin the sacred atmosphere. Same goes for ISIS. Whatever you want to call their post-metal breed of music, I can't really call it metal anymore. It's so cinematic. Yes, there are heavy hitting moments and I can't help but stomp around, too. But people moshed whenever, like cuckoo clocks with their timers stuck on repeat.

I must be getting old. I don't want to hit things or people anymore. I used to relish the mosh pit as an occasional thrill. I've even been shirtless once or twice in a pit. I've been in there when Slipknot were crushing the air. Steve and I yelled "Fagot" at some fucknut in a KoRn moshpit, and he backed away. I've been threatened by nazi straight edge types at the Nile in Mesa, AZ. I've lost a shoe, then found it a song later. I've lost a wallet. I was young, spry.

I can't crowd surf anymore, but I know the difference between a sea of people and a small five-row audience. But that's what some of these assholes were trying to surf on. Five rows? No wonder you got dumped onto the monitors. Aaron Turner had to remind people to take care of each other (he doesn't really talk). It was just so weird to be a part of such a meathead crowd in front of such an intellectually stimulating band like ISIS. It really tainted my whole experience. I balked on buying the Wavering Radiant vinyl, too. I think if I was stoked I would have bought it, even though I don't even own a record player (yet).

So, to all the mosh pits I used to enjoy, I wish I still cared, and I hope no one gets hurt. I will toast to a new way to express ourselves at heavy shows. "Impale me!"

Trent on Sound Opinons

This interview with Trent Reznor on Sound Opinions is the best interview I've ever heard with Trent, and maybe with any musician in this modern world. The way these radio guys flow and mix in the songs around the conversation is quite deft. Pretty thorough and entertaining stuff. His talk of Interscope and Chris Cornell's new (lousy) album is gold. Can't resist Trent's candor.

Monday, June 29, 2009

maudlin of the Well - Part The Second

Read my entire review on The Silent Ballet

I don't hear a lot of intention on this record. It can turn out gloriously and be wild and free, but here I feel like the band doesn't engage the listener. I hear a band that doesn't really care if the listener is there or not as they frolick amongst the cosmos, and we are totally free to hop on the ride and see what these people are doing. I do not hear an exchange. This makes my listening of the album a bit cold, even though maudlin of the Well are describing very warm places and experiences.Part the Second thus behaves as more of a monument to variety in modern musical styles, frenetically blending them wayward without consequence, like a god who does fantastic things without the regular consequences that befall all humans, rendering it less meaningful to us mortals. This album would totally slay live, but once committed to tape, it reminds me of someone describing a dream to me that I just can't care about.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Signal Hill - More After We're Gone

Read my entire review on The Silent Ballet.

It's the drummer that really sold me on Signal Hill. The drumming has all kinds of subtle touches, gentle accents placed deftly into ripe empty spaces, and intelligently played textures that generate a rich base for the instruments to flourish, giving Signal Hill something different to offer. In "Luna", the spartan drum line has this awesome hanging high-hat that compels me to keep listening to the song's aqueous rhythm. "Floruit" is the best track on offer, and again it's Tim Cooper on drums adding such a diversity of texture that I cannot stop listening once it starts. So, Tim Cooper, you're the man. You keep Signal Hill in the conversation. Bravo.