Thursday, December 17, 2015

Japandroids' "The House That Heaven Built" is quintessential 2010's sound

The voices, all in unison, "Oh, oh, oh—oh oh, oh. Oh," not in harmony, all youngsters. That's the modern sound these days. If you want to encapsulate the sound of our current decade, look to this song as a potential jumping-off point.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Video Game Music—NES, SNES, Covers Culture, Nobuo Uematsu, Final Fantasy

Hello, I'd like to talk about video game music (VGM) for a minute—focusing (1st on how Eighties and Nineties gaming shaped, and was shaped, by popular culture and the technology of the time, and (2nd veering into how fans took VGM and, with advances in home recording technology and social media, created myriad covers of those songs, launching them into the stratosphere by, in some cases, arguably making them better than they were originally, creating a new musical culture, bringing fans of music and video games together.

The VGM cover market is a unique one in this respect. You can check out OverClocked Remix, a community of game music remixers and reshapers that post everything for free and downloadable. Here's a Wiki for VGM cover artists.

Now, you have to keep in mind, this wealth of material is not all gold—far from it. Made by individuals with no restrictions, filters, or people like record producers, for instance, helping, lending a second ear, and giving advice and recommendations, what you've got is a sea of material, often requiring much wading and fishing to find something you'll really enjoy.

The problem I have, personally, with most VGM covers is that they're too synthetic—programmed, exactly on time and in tune, without a trace of humanity.

I've done a few myself (2006 recordings). Being a live instrument kind of guy, I played everything on guitars and keyboard to click tracks. Disregard the "Arm Extending" track, it has nothing to do with VGM. It's me trying to be Skinny Puppy. The other three tracks are covers from Final Fantasy VI.

In the Eighties, video game music composers had little precedent from which to draw. Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) games had on average passable music, but much of it was annoying. I remember Ghouls and Ghosts had good music, and the Double Dragon games, and River City Ransom. But those games were also products of their times—the Eighties, when movies like Roadhouse and actors like Jean-Claude Van Damme were hecka popular. It just explains the wealth of beat-em-up games from that era—mindlessly glorifying necessarily-disbelief-suspending violence, with high-energy soundtracks to match.

I'm not saying that they had negative effects the kids playing them, I'm just saying they were one-dimensional, not-great games. Sadly, since they were all we had, we played them constantly. Those games sold, so that's where the big money went, sacrificing the overall quality of other genres, like RPGs. But I was a kid then, and I was so into those games. I would play-fight with my brother all the time when it was time to turn off the TV. I had action figure toys. Then, when more advanced titles were released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)—Final Fight, Street Fighter 2, Mortal Kombat, Legend of the Mystical Ninja (I know, right?)—we were psyched about them too.

Now, Mystical Ninja wasn't nearly as violent as the titles I mentioned directly previous, but it was still a game where you run around, beat people and monsters up, take their money, and buy stuff with it. That's it. The music, however, was amazing. Comedian Brent Weinbach has a love for that game's music, which is no surprise to me, as that game's music is easily one of its best features.

What I most enjoy are covers from the Final Fantasy series. Most of those games feature music written by Nobuo Uematsu, a master composer and one of my favorites. His music helped propel all those Final Fantasy games into something greater. He composed from the heart, and translated it to the limited musical capacity of the gaming console.

I have a feeling he keeps storyline at heart when composing for these games, because in every single one featuring Uematsu's music, every piece, grande or relaxed, in all the towns, overworlds, dungeons, and battles—standard, boss, and final—the music fits the bill. Perfectly. He made the emotional content real, beyond what the graphics could show, beyond the primitive audio capacities of the NES and SNES, beyond the oft-flawed Japanese-to-English translations in the dialogue.

For me, the music of the Final Fantasy series is the best part. As such, video game music covers hit a special place in my heart. It should surprise no one that Final Fantasy / Uematsu covers abound, with the quality of songwriting that guy produces. He even started his own band, brilliantly named The Black Mages, made an album around 2007, and went on tour with them.

Today, I found a great VGM cover piece on Spotify. I'd like to share it with you.

Two violins. That's it. And it's beautiful, but tense. Here, we have the battle theme from Final Fantasy VI (FF3 in America). I've never heard of Nielle dAGh before, but she plays that thing like a riot. I love the slight out-of-tune-ness of her playing, and how it's totally on time, as if she played to a metronome.

This is what I expect from VGM cover music—dedication to the craft of one's instrument, and a reimagining, a re-exploring of songs, songs that didn't have a chance to be great before VGM covers culture became a thing, songs composed in brilliance, but broken down into primitive, synthetic versions of themselves. It's like taking a chained melody and breaking those chains, with your own body, your own mind, your musical talent. You make it fly when you cover a VGM piece (well). It's a really beautiful thing.

Again, the nostalgia factor here is a big one. I don't imagine anyone who hasn't played these games will geek out about this like I do.

Classical music purists may also find satisfaction in this dAGh piece.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

DJ Earworm's "50 Shades of Pop" and my trip down the pop music rabbit hole

So today, via A.V. Club, I found out about this massive mashup of 2015's best-performing pop songs, and the burgeoning pop music fan in me was insanely curious. So I watched. Now, I'm even more curious—and the way to find out is to dig in, to every single music video contained therein.

A product of DJ Earworm, apparently he's celebrated for doing this sort of thing. This is the first I've ever heard about it. By the looks of the 2015 edition, it appears he's had practice.

So many musical acts I've heard so much about, but have never explored, are featured here, like Ariana Grande, The Weekend, Adele, Taylor Swift, and other such overproduced-talent-lack-overshadowing pop music, where the beats are so big and the vocals so autotuned, the performer actually gets lost in the music. It becomes a thing perfectly tuned to what the record company needs to sell, researched and targeted to the most profitable demographics.

But hey, I like a big, fun sound too once in a while, right? When I'm out at bars here in Seattle, smokin and drankin, I love hearing this new stuff playing on the speakers. It keeps things new, and keeps me surprised, and also keeps me abreast of what the young people like nowadays. I never want to be the old guy who has no idea about the young people's new music. I'm just too curious, and I have a big fear of missing out, probably.

Here it is, followed by the list of songs included, taken shamelessly from DJ Earworm's YouTube page featuring the following video:

Adele - Hello
AlunaGeorge and DJ Snake - You Know You Like It
Andy Grammer - Honey, I'm Good.
Ariana Grande ft. The Weeknd - Love Me Harder
Big Sean ft. E-40 - I Don't F*** With You
David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha & Afrojack - Hey Mama
Demi Lovato - Cool For The Summer
Drake - Hotline Bling
Ed Sheeran - Photograph
Ed Sheeran - Thinking Out Loud
Ellie Goulding - Love Me Like You Do
Fall Out Boy - Centuries
Fetty Wap - Trap Queen
Fetty Wap ft. Remy Boyz - 679
Fifth Harmony ft. Kid Ink - Worth It
Flo Rida ft. Sage The Gemini - GDFR
Jason Derulo - Want To Want Me
Justin Bieber - Sorry
Justin Bieber - What Do You Mean
Major Lazer ft. MO & DJ Snake - Lean On
Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars - Uptown Funk
Maroon 5 - Sugar
Meghan Trainor - Lips Are Movin
Meghan Trainor ft. John Legend - Like I'm Gonna Lose You
Natalie La Rose ft. Jeremih - Somebody
Nick Jonas - Jealous
Nicki Minaj ft. Drake & Lil Wayne - Truffle Butter
Omarion ft. Chris Brown & Jhene Aiko - Post To Be
OMI - Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Remix)
One Direction - Drag Me Down
Pitbull ft. Ne-Yo - Time Of Our Lives
R. City ft. Adam Levine - Locked Away
Rachel Platten - Fight Song
Rihanna - Bitch Better Have My Money
Rihanna ft. Kanye West & Paul McCartney - Four Five Seconds
Sam Smith - I'm Not The Only One
Selena Gomez ft. A$AP Rocky - Good For You
Shawn Mendes - Stitches
SIlento - Watch Me
Skrillex & Diplo ft. Justin Bieber - Where Are U Now
Taylor Swift - Blank Space
Taylor Swift - Style
Taylor Swift - Bad Blood
Taylor Swift - Wildest Dreams
Tove Lo - Talking Body
Walk The Moon - Shut Up And Dance
Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth - See You Again
The Weeknd - Earned It
The Weeknd - The Hills
The Weeknd - Can't Feel My Face
Pretty extensive list, right?

So what I'm doing right now, is watching all these videos, along with my 4yo Beatrix.

I'll let you know how it all goes. Some of them appear not great for kids.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Seattle band: They Rise, We Die

Here's a new Seattle band I discovered: They Rise, We Die, with an album called, "The Oceans Will Be Our Death, For When."  Post-rock, post-metal. Instrumental mostly, and sometimes the shouting vocals come in. Pretty cool. Slow, brooding, emotional, dark, sensitive. Epic songs that slowly build and slowly recede.

They Rise, We Die will be playing tonight at The Funhouse.

Here's the Facebook event page.

I think their Spinal Tap-esque album cover is awesome. Just a bunch of black.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

VH1 Names Top 13 Cities for Metal, I Fill Seattle Gaps

Today a few of my more smarter friends were posting an article by VH1 on Facebook, and I was skeptical at first, but if you're a not-so-closeted metalhead like I am, you'll enjoy it. It reads like a 12-year-old tried to grasp blogging and music journalism, but it's okay. The article's heart's in the right place.

As I read, I quickly realized how many metal bands are out there with whom I still need to familiarize! So click this link, it's good:

These Are Our Picks For The 13 Most Metal Cities In America: Cast Your Vote For The Top Spot!

Dat wording, tho. Right? Oooo, cringe, copywriter. A certain cover art comes to mind ....

"'Cast your vote for the top spot'? Ooh ...."
Anyway, what are you gonna do? It's VH1. They're trying to rebrand, stay relevant, be more online. I haven't watched them in, I don't know, 20 years? But this article puts them back on the map for me.

As long as they keep exposing metal, and even better, micro-metal scenes within cities, I'm happy! How else is my band going to ever get exposure? But seriously, metal, in all its myriad forms, hasn't died yet. Which is good for my band.

The list is alphabetical, and I'm reading down, and I get to Seattle, and by god, Burning Witch made the list! Aaand so did more grunge than I'm comfortable culpable capable with on a metal list, but it instills pride for my city, which is good. I can stand behind it and go, Rah Rah Seattle! And those aren't cheerleader rah rahs, those are metal rah rahs.

The Highline also made the list! Good job, Dylan! My band's also played three shows there, they've been good to us, and to the entire Seattle metal scene!

Here's some Burning Witch for you pusswads.

Now here's some other Seattle metal that didn't make VH1's little list:

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Freeze: Live at the Highline 3

Summer 2015. Me, Andrew, Liz.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Ghost—acoustic in Seattle, family-friendly

Papa, the Ghouls, and my girls

The Ghost show at Silver Platters was hot, stuffy, harder for my wife and I than possibly anyone else there—and totally worth it.

Only two of the five Ghouls played the music behind Papa, which was disappointing. I had hoped for a full experience, with the keyboardist, bassist, and drummer to all perform cool, acoustic versions of their respective axes. The minimalism did provide, however, an intimate portrait of Ghost, and overall it was very enjoyable. Those boys have great stage presence.

As we all know by now, as this review is coming out quite late, the two Ghouls were the guitarists, playing acoustic guitars. Papa debuted his new Papa III outfit, sans mitre, allowing his black, shortish-long hair to flow freely.

My wife and I took the kids, which provided challenges, but we took them on, knowing there would be payoff. The waiting was the hardest part. Outside, it was one half-hour, and it wasn't terrible. The girls could run around a little. But inside, on that concrete floor, packed in with other Ghost fans, we had to wait for an hour, and it was pretty unbearable. They girls didn't understand why there was so much waiting for the band to come out. Lucy wanted to go home before the show even started. All the tall adults dwarfed them, and also had no interest in them. So they were surrounded by legs and butts. These normal things adults go through to see a show are really tough on kids. Kids have an excess of energy, until they don't—and it's downhill from there.

But we didn't stay inside the whole time. After another half-hour, I took them outside, if for nothing else than to get some air and move the limbs. We walked one block away, and lo and behold¡—yonder greasy diner appears! A perfectly nice, greasy diner with a homey feel and a Super Nintendo (unhooked), some games, and some VHS tapes in a shoe box under the square tv up on the wall. I got the kids a couple juices and we sat on some cushy benches. It was what they needed.

This was turning out to be a hard night for the kids, and as we got to relax and sit in that booth, I started to bad for them. But, I was keeping my cool, and Ghost was about to play, so my interest and excitement were maintaining. The entire Unholy / Unplugged tour was announced quite quickly before it began, and Seattle was their first stop. So I was proud to be there, and I knew it would be worth it when the show commenced. That's why I was not giving in and going home yet. The kids really had to buckle down, buck up, and stay with us, but it was going to pay off. Well, Lucy had to, really. Beatrix was fine.

Papa's costume was a surprise, but I thought it was super cool. It confused the girls a little bit. I was glad to see that the two ghouls were in their new version-three-costumes. And Megan and I knew that this time was coming, so we buckled down, bucked up, and carried the kids on our backs. It was the only way they were going to be able to see the band.

It was hot in there, at the end of a dry, hot, Seattle summer. Papa said, twice, "Boy, is it hot in here," stressing the 'boy' more the second time. He was right. With the kid on my shoulders, I was sweating bullets. Covered in sweat. My shirt was soaked before long.

Shortly after they got onstage, Papa saw Lucy on Megan's back, waved, and said, in a really nice tone of voice, "Hello, little girl!" Then, "Let's hear it for the children."

It made me really happy. I think it was lost on the girls. Lucy was in a pretty bad mood having had to wait that whole time, but I think seeing papa and the ghouls playing guitar was enough to take her out of it a bit—however, it was a lot for her to take in. They all look kind of scary, right? Those masks are creepy, they definitely pull off a great pretend-undead look. Our kids did have a good introduction to the band, having watched plenty of music and live videos of the band before the show, but seeing it in person, even this minimalist, acoustic version, nailed it home for them. People wearing masks while performing onstage are creepy.

The banter and introductions before each song were really charming, and I think Papa was trying out some new material, and just the overall showrunner, frontman-type of personality he had been developing since day one, when they looked more like zombies, and he was Papa Emeritus I, skull-faced.

So they opened with "Jigolo Har Megiddo," busted into "Ghuleh / Zombie Queen," and did their Roky Erickson cover, "If You Have Ghosts." Then it was done! And we were all like, wut? And then people were already hurrying, from the back corner of the crowd across the room from us, to get in line to get the signed lithographs and meet the band.

It was nice to not have to carry the kid anymore, though. Part of me thought, "Bless you, gentlemen, a mercifully short show." And the rest of me thought, "I'm a show veteran and Ghost devotee, play more you wusses!" I see now why they cut it short—free show, plus save time for the meet-and-greet. So it's fine.

We hit the line somewhere near the very back, which sucked. It took a long time after that to reach the band, and I think Lucy was near her wits' end. She did cry, and Megan took them outside for a few minutes, during which the line moved maybe 10 feet. I could tell Lucy was thinking, "I endured a shitload of waiting already, we got three songs, it's nighttime, I'm tired, and I now have to wait longer? Screw you guys."

Beatrix, in a fine mood, ran around the aisles and played a little hide-and-seek with me, and checked out the books and dvds. My girl.

Though it was worth the wait for me, I think Megan and Lucy would have rather split. I will never forget, however, the experience I had with Papa, the Ghouls, and my girls.

We got the posters from a few publicity people, had our names written on post-its so Papa would know how to spell our names without us having to, ahem, spell them out, and proceeded toward the band. The Ghouls sat at a table, with stamps. They did not have to sign anything, they just stamped their respective symbols.

Speaking with the guitarists and Papa was fun, interesting, and a little confusing.

Rhythm guitar was first. He tried to give my kids a high-five, I think Beatrix was down. I tried to tell him I can't understand him through a mask, and that he must emote. Durrrr, yeah like a guy who's worn a mask for years has never thought of that. I guess my emphasis was more of how you have to talk to kids. Maybe I wish he was more like a Yo Gabba Gabba! type of character? I dunno. It was really hard to hear him.

Then the other one, lead guitar, Gibson "Explorer" player. "Are you the one I keep seeing on all these interviews and videos?" I asked.

He laughed, which was good to hear, held up his hands and said, "I don't know. Maybe?"

Then it was time for Papa. I love this guy. I told him that my family have been fans of Ghost since the first album, and he nodded in appreciation and thanked me. There was a smile behind his mask, I could tell. And he looked tired of saying thank you. The icy blue contact in his left eye creeped me out a little bit. He quickly asked, leaning back just a little, "Is this your family?"

I said yes, and told him my kids know the words to all their songs. And it's true, they do. He showed great interest in engaging with my kids, as he got down on one knee almost immediately. Lucy stood off behind mama. Beatrix, however, ever the socialite, was holding this makeshift fan that Silver Platters employees had handed out to line-standers, the helpful dudes they are. It had a cheesy, emo band logo on it, and Beatrix had been referring to it as a sign, instead of a fan. Not too for off, right? So she holds it up and says to Papa, "I've got a sign."

He looked confused, and said, "You want me to sign this?" It was loud in there and Bibi was intimidated by this scary-looking dude.

I felt in that moment, the boys could use some coaching as to how to deal with kids. I would have loved it if they could have just lifted off the masks for one, turned-away-from-the-crowd-second, just to show my kids they were real people. But, such is the nature of the band. When my kids are older, they'll understand. We had to hurry along—I had to allow Megan time to talk to the dudes too, and there were people waiting behind us.

We walked out, to our car, headed for blessed home. We had parked behind Silver Platters, and the cargo bay door was open, and we could see the band's backs inside its frame, sitting at the table, diligently stamping, signing autographs, and receiving praise. It was a good ending to the night. I remember being really honored to see these rock stars as people.

We got on a plane three mornings later, and spent the next two weeks in Michigan, the first vacation my family had had in five years. It was lovely. Ghost provided an introduction to that vacation. It took a lot of work to attend that show, but it was totally worth it.

Here are some pictures of the show via Seattle Music Insider.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Ghost: Unholy / Unplugged tour—pre-show jitters

Tonight, Ghost is playing a free show at Silver Platters in SODO in Seattle.

I ordered a vinyl and cd both of Meliora so that Megan and I could both have wristbands, and have one kid apiece to wrangle.

On the Ghost FB page, they said Papa and a few Ghouls have arrived in Seattle, and to come early! Eff yeah!

I took the kids to Trading Musician yesterday to get earplugs. They're set. It'll be their first legit show. We all love Ghost in this house, we're a Ghost family.

I wonder what the heck they're going to do with acoustic guitars? What's the keyboardist gonna do? Will they still be masked? Ooooooooooooo

We get signed lithographs, and "preferential treatment," according to the guy at the record store!


Friday, June 19, 2015

Spotify and Amazon may be dying, but I'm eating them up!

Well, I did for my last birthday, anyway. And my kids' birthdays. Everything was ordered from Amazon, and it was great—cheap, delivered quickly, and everything correct in the packages. There's a lot of controls for quality in place, ensuring that people get what they paid for on Amazon.

Could you imagine the PR fiasco that would ensue if there weren't those assurances in place? Imagine getting something in the mail you ordered, only it's not the right thing. You're incredibly far away from the seller. You don't have their number. You have to put effort into sending it back, and then waiting more weeks to maybe get the actual thing you ordered.

Anyway. This is a music blog. I just read this Cracked article by Jason Iannone, entitled, "6 Famous Companies You Had No Clue Were Dying." One of the companies is Amazon. I'm just glad they're here, and that I have access thru mail to basically anything I want!

It's good.
Same with Spotify. Last month I became a paying subscriber, after years of listening with ads. Now that I'm a paying member, the sound, selection, and flow of music is better. It pays to subscribe to Spotify. Who knows, maybe if enough people do it, they'll start to make some money?

It's a tough sell. The more aggressive they get with trying to get people to pay—increasing limits on free listening—the more they risk alienating people. Offering deals on paid subscription? Now that's smart advice—that's what got me to subscribe. Also it was just the right time for me. It felt right.

The cool thing about Spotify is that they don't throw shit in your face as aggressively as cable does. Now cable? That big ass thing can die—I don't care. PR agencies will have to find new strategies to market their clients. Cable's getting them less and less eyeballs as time goes by.

Not to mention that the cable industry is giant, and when it topples it's going to both make a huge BOOM and kick up a lot of dust, and make more room for smarter, more modern versions. The more shows that go straight to Netflix and Hulu (a company too anchored to cable, IMO), the more cable TV's influence decreases, and conversely the more power show creators have to get their work in front of viewers.

Why is cable dying? I blame the ads. They talk to me like I'm a moron. On cable, is it just me, or do the ads talk down to you more than on Hulu or Spotify? It seems like the direction advertising between shows and songs is going is to treat us more like adults. It's evil in its own way—smart people need smarter tricks to be tricked—but companies have to make money.

I haven't subscribed to cable TV in my entire life, and I've never felt like I've been missing out on anything—especially when I broke down, subscribed to Hulu, and saw that everything on cable is still pretty stupid and unwatchable. The suspension of disbelief required just seems like a waste of my time—for the shows, not the ads. For the ads, it's a given—MUTE.

What's good TV for me lately? I dunno, this is a music blog.

Let's get back to Spotify. They totally rule. Great selection. I hope they can come up with a new model to attract sponsors and advertisers, and a new way to advertise. Banner ads are okay, and I don't really mind them. But it's not enough. There needs to be something new, something bigger, something cleaner.

The concept of putting ads inside of and between shows and movies on Hulu or cable, and between songs on Spotify and Pandora, is archaic. It needs to go away. We need a new way to advertise. Internet holds the key. It's going to take some inspired entrepreneurship to design the next big thing. Meanwhile, everyone's waiting, suspending disbelief, grinding their teeth during the ads.

Or worse, people succumb to the ads, actually get tricked by their dumbass trickery, and buy, buy, buy. When ads come on in my house, they get muted. My wife and kids do it now, too. It's so nice. None of us want to hear that shit, not even my 4- and 6-year-olds.

And I feel proud of myself for instilling this in them. It hopefully means they'll be less susceptible to bullshit as they grow and become adults. My older one is already really guarded, and more introverted than her sister. She's more like me than her mom, I think. But my dad always muted the ads when we'd watch cable tv as a family, doing the "TGIF" thing one of those major networks, with shows like "Boy Meets World," and "Family Matters," and that one with Patrick Duffy and Suzanne Somers. Good times, great shows for me as a pre-teen. I ate that shit up.

And I still love eating up great products. The only problem is—they need money to survive! And I'm poor! Maybe some wealth distribution needs to happen? Bernie Sanders, anyone?

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Ghost is beginning to tease out new material from "Meliora"

May 29, Ghost posts this video on their website:

Ghost B.C.: "The Summoning"

Today, they release this new song, "Cirice," the first teaser track from their upcoming album "Meliora."

Ghost B.C.: Cirice

I'm so excited to hear this album! Meliora should, by all accounts, rule. I mean, judging from the classic golden-quality of their previous releases, always satisfying, always just the right amount of tasteful and gory.

"Cirice" sounds like a combination of If You Have Ghost and Infestissumam material, which makes sense. There's a cool extension of the measure length in there, making it mathy and prog-y.

I hope they can change their style on this one in further new ways, like they did with surf-rock with "Ghuleh/Zombie Queen." They should go full disco on one song, and full metal on another.

I hope they don't make a boring album. Ghost, don't be boring. Don't!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Watch the video for Froth's "Postcard Radio" and see the new stuff kids are doing these days

Here's a great new song from LA band Froth, with a fun video directed by Riley Blakeway (bottom of this entry). I found it thru Burger Records' YouTube page, "Burger Television / Burger TV."

Not everything on Burger Records rocks me hard, but sometimes I find real gems on there. I like to watch the episodes of BRGRTV, just to see what's going on in LA with the young kids. Burger Records are only getting bigger and bigger, and what they represent is beautiful.

"Postcard Radio" really stuck out to me. The first time I heard it, I was watching the video too. Absorbing the entire package at once was what needed to happen. It all works together beautifully.

"Postcard Radio" contains lots of styles, like shoegaze, garage, indie, and surf, but Froth takes it all in a modern, inventive direction.

I also like the lyric, "Had my foot in the door / trying to cut my toes off"

If you want to discover new music—what the kids are doing these days—check out Burger Records.

Noisey premiered this video back on April 1. The album is available now on Burger. So it's new, dude. This is the new stuff. Oldies, start listening to what the kids are doing. It'll do you good.

Don't just sit there like an idiot and say, "I don't understand this, I don't get it, it's not from my time as a youngster," because that makes you out of touch, and boring, and avoidable, and so sadly inevitable.

Here's a Stereogum premiere of another song, "Turn it Off," from Froth's new album, Bleak, which was released this month. This week, even. There are a few great lines in this write-up, like " ... explosive beach rock," and " ... a tight psychedelic sound that practically oozes California sunbeams through the speakers."

Very descriptive, on-point writing, Aaron Lindenberg!

Froth on Bandcamp
Froth on Facebook

On with the show.

Froth - 'Postcard Radio' from Riley Blakeway on Vimeo.
Froth - "Postcard Radio" from their forthcoming album, Bleak.

Director, Riley Blakeway
Cinematography, Riley Blakeway / Joo Joo Ashworth
Gaffer, Anthony Ferrara
Film and Telecine, Fotokem Los Angeles
Colorist, Christian Soleta
Featuring: Froth & Monica Cometa, Liv Marsico, Samira Winter, Sasami Ashworth,
Special thanks, CRAP Eyewear (
Shot on Kodak 16mm film


Friday, April 10, 2015

Zev Deans is a brilliant music video director

Here, watch some Zev Deans videos while you read me talking about him

Once again, Zev Deans has created a metal music video that is at once simple yet complex, human yet monstrous, stunning, measured, unhurried, evil, and disturbing in that very Zev Deans-type of way.

I just love this guy. Okay, it's time for a blog post where I gush about Zev.

This is his newest work, a music video for Behemoth's "Messe Noir," released on YouTube just yesterday, April 9.

Deans' visual style is very pleasurable for me as a general viewer, and a lover of metal. Combined with Behemoth's monstrous-yet-accessible style, "Messe Noir" is endemic of the new, evil, delicious directions metal's been travelling these past few decades, with the help of bands as varied as Chelsea Wolfe, Portal, and Behemoth.

Here are Zev's videos for those artists. In my mind. this newest video is a meeting in the middle between Chelsea Wolfe's "Mer,"

and Portal's "Curtain."

"Curtain" and Portal are pure insanity, while Chelsea Wolfe and "Mer" are more restrained indie madness. Behemoth and "Messe Noir" are what you'd get if you mixed the two in a pot, right?

I've got to say, I don't really like Nergal's vocal style, but whatever. Deans picks artists who will let him go all out and get evil as fuck, and it's awesome. And did I just see he did something for Liturgy's amazing new album, "The Ark Work"?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Review: Leviathan, "Scar Sighted"

Early this month, Wrest released his new album as Leviathan, "Scar Sighted." Listen to it below, via Profound Lore on Bandcamp.

The bio there, where you can listen to the whole thing for free (as well as on Spotify—thank you, Wrest, for going to Profound Lore for this one), infers that this album is more like "Massive Conspiracy Against All Life," which is my favorite by Leviathan.

If one word could describe Leviathan, it would be "brutal." But he's such a complex writer that one word alone doesn't do his music justice. Wrest sticks to a place of dark depression and a love of death and suicide, and he wallows there, conjuring monsters and making universes of pain.

Here's a great review of "Scar Sighted" by Metal Injection writer J. Andrew Zalucky.

I've always loved this guy, this Wrest, this Jef Whitehed, this multi-genre, insane, one-of-a-kind-album-maker. But my least favorite album was his last, "True Traitor, True Whore." It's full of hatred for a woman, which is maybe the most played-out concept in music history. He also took the vowels out of the word "Leviathan" on the CD, and I'm like, what are you, texting me?

The music is cool, but all over the place, and it doesn't grab me. I can't get behind that much hatred directed at one person. In my opinion Wrest really went off on a tangent there, and if he'd just forgotten about that broad, he would have made a much better album than "True Traitor, True Whore."

Sure, she took him to court, and she probably took a lot of time and money from him, but he sounds like a mess of a person too, judging by his reaction. Profiting from an album fully devoted to debasing her is a form of poetic justice, but is it fair? We don't know. Only they know. I bet they think about it every day, and how stupid they both were, and how their dirty laundry was aired out publicly.

Wrest's life is insane. Whatever. I don't care. There's a divide there, between the life of the artist and their music, and IMO it's significant enough that listening to effed-up people's music is morally excusable—for the listener. And Wrest's music speaks volumes, and that's what I want. With "Scar Sighted," he delivers.

It's really relieving to hear Wrest's return to form on "Scar Sighted," both from the standpoint of a black metal fan, and a fan of Leviathan. The tracks are dense, and never leave the listener bored. He made a great album here, revealing secrets with each listen.

The second track, "The Smoke of Their Torment," kicks off the full-band-Leviathan feel, with downtuned guitars, sounding like they were equalized with an 80s metal sensibility. There's just enough emphasis on the bass that it's audible and keeps this insane sound grounded. Sweet riffs, total Leviathan style—always dissonant—distorted, yet clear. At any given time there are about seven or eight sounds happening. It's beautiful how Wrest controls chaos.

This song sounds like it could have been on Massive Conspiracy Against All Life. What sets it apart are the samples he throws in there, some dude saying, "Every fucking thing that crawls is gonna pay," and some other awesome stuff near the end of the song. Worshipping the beast and other such black metal nonsense.

"Dawn Vibration," track 3, also begins with sweet fucking guitars and some indescribably ambient weirdness. Exactly what I want.

As always, Wrest's drums are impeccable—well-recorded, well-played, well-mixed. He's a musical titan, this guy, his massive catalogue standing as testament.

At this point in Wrest's career, he reminds me of Jim Thirlwell—he does what he wants, finds work where he needs it, and supports himself with business knowledge and ruthless dedication to his art.

So, yeah, this is good shit. Sound Review-Approved. You're welcome, Leviathan, this review will make you famous.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Double Dragon 2 Soundtrack

So my 3yo wanted to listed to some "Double Dragon II" music, because, along with Zelda tunes, that game's music has been on her brain lately.

We looked around on Spotify, our usual source for video game music covers. And since we couldn't find the music to the first level, I was like, you know what, YouTube is probably gonna have what you want.

I found it. Here it is. 8-bit tunes in their original 8-bit glory.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

All you ever need to know about Social Distortion

I dislike Sublime pretty heavily, and Social D was never that great to me. When they started they were really important to punks, and punks helped keep them alive, so that's good, good on them punks. But then Mike Ness started to not be on like heroin all the time so they suck now

There, that's my unedited, rambling FB comment on a friend's post. Her original thought was that she had to come out as not liking The Ramones as if she were making a big reveal.

It's okay to dislike things! When people complain and react strongly to ask what the heck is wrong with you, that means they're not giving you the freedom to like whatever you want, freedom you deserve.

So hate away, naysayers! It's healthy to have strong opinions, and it's good practice to stick to them, to make the bar high for changing your mind on it. Because then, someone's going to have to come up with a really strong and convincing argument, challenging both them and yourself, increasing the marketplace of ideas for all mankind.

Cause like I said, Sublime sux.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Summer Glau on Speakeasy with Paul F Tompkins

Summer Glau, whilst 8 months pregnant!

Isn't she beautiful, with that long shiny hair and the pregnant glow? Her personality is also not that far off from River too, so she just kind of makes prolonged eye contact with Paul. It's really great to see her talking about Firefly and her start in the acting community, learning to do TV.

This is January 5, 2015's episode of a Made Man Production, from the series "Speakeasy With Paul F. Tompkins."

Love you Paul, love you Summer. You both are so wonderful.

Summer was the name of my first crush, and I haven't heard from her since 5th grade.

Is there going to be a Mr. Show reunion or what? Is David Cross really doing some kinda crowdfunding thing?

Does Steve Albini still hate crowdfunding like when Amanda Palmer did it to make an album?

I bet Glau's training as a dancer was what made her slaying Reavers in "Serenity" so great.

And Paul, you look so good, your fucking SUIT? Dark purple, with the cufflinks? Uh. Love it.

She's a good listener. She probably doesn't to do so many interviews like this. Paul's so classy the way he does this. It's a real talk, unscripted. It's what I want to do. Something honest, raw, and pure, like Speakeasy. It's amazing.

It's more entertaining than most TV for me right now, this Speakeasy series. I really feel like I get to know the guests.

It's something the age of the internet has given us. This is a more beautiful corner of the internet.

I didn't realize ballet was so hard on the human body.

"I was doing it on the sly..."