Thursday, June 29, 2006


Big Black, "Kerosene," from 1987.


Skew's "Doom vs. Doom" puts vocals by MF Doom atop music by Earth, Sunn O))) and Jesu. It's even better than that sounds. Download it here. (I found this link on Stephen O'Malley's page. You should go check that out, too, if you're not already a regular visitor.)



Monday, June 26, 2006


DJ Shadow, "Best Foot Forward"
Muddy Waters, "The Same Thing"
Talking Heads, "Crosseyed And Painless (Live)"
Kataklysm, "Let Them Burn"
Cactus, "Evil"
Yoko Kanno, "Vitamin B"
John Zorn, "WRU"
Immortal, "Tragedies Blows At Horizon"
Led Zeppelin, "Celebration Day"
Venom, "Buried Alive"
James Brown, "You Got To Have A Mother For Me"
Cafe Tacuba, "No Controles"
Bebe, "Siete Horas"
Soul Vendors, "Darker Shade Of Black"
John Zorn, "Possession"

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Metalheads are no dumber, on average, than any other arbitrarily-defined class of people. But you wouldn't know that from reading the latest Earache Records press release, which I reproduce below for your amusement.


DECIDE are charging forward and preparing to embark on a sumer mini-tour followed up by a colossal fall tour featuring fellow aural assasins JUNGLE ROT, HURT LOCKER and DESOLATION. The tour will be in support of thier long-anticipated release,"The Stench of Redemption," and will feature repitorie that spans thier entire catalog. Here are the preliminary tour dates (more dates TBA and stated dates/venues are subject to change):


Sept. 20 - Huntington, WV @ Huntington Music Hall (Monkey Bar)
Sept. 21 - Springfield, VA @ Jaxx
Sept. 22 - Hartford, CT @ Webster Theatre
Sept. 23 - Allentown, PA @ Sterling Rock Room
Sept. 24 - Flushing, NY @ Bottoms Up
Sept. 25 - Manchester, NH @ Mark's Place
Sept. 26 - Montreal, QUEBEC @ Foufounes Electriques
Sept. 27 - Toronto, ONTARIO @ Big Bop/Reverb Room
Sept. 28 - Detroit, MI @ TBA
Sept. 29 - Cleveland, OH @ Peabody's
Sept. 30 - Dundee, IL @ Clearwater Theater
Oct. 1 - Cudahy, WI @ Vnuk's

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Here's my review of the new SF Jazz Collective disc, from the current issue of Jazziz (painting of Rod Stewart on the cover):

SF Jazz Collective
SF Jazz Collective 2
Recording technology being what it is, bands sound a lot fuller and louder than they used to. So more often than not, an octet like the SF Jazz Collective, which confronts the audience with two saxophonists, a trumpeter and a trombonist, in addition to a four-piece rhythm section (vibes, piano, bass, drums), comes at the home listener like a hurricane whirling mobile homes in its wake: more startling than truly entertaining.
This live album, from its blaring charts to the roaring audiences, seems created more in the spirit of Ted Nugent’s Double Live Gonzo than, say, Art Blakey’s many recorded club dates. The music is solid and serviceable — there’s plenty of talent on display here, from artistic director Joshua Redman and trumpeter Nicholas Payton (leaving most of his tedious Satchmo-isms at home) to Bobby Hutcherson and Renee Rosnes. Half the album is devoted to the music of John Coltrane, with four of his compositions (“Moment’s Notice,” “Naima,” “Crescent,” and “Africa”) interpreted in pairs bracketing the disc.
“Moment’s Notice” opens things on an excessively raucous note, but the other three selections, particularly “Crescent” (on which Redman leaves most of the soloing to Payton) are well done indeed. The best of the new pieces is Miguel Zenón’s “2 And 2,” which undulates moodily as the two saxophonists trade solos before Harland brings things to a crashing climax. Seventy-five minutes of this group is too much, and the horns occasionally grow overly fervid and honking, but there’s a lot to like here.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Here's my review of Fallout From The War, the new farewell-to-Century-Media disc from Shadows Fall. (Good luck with that major label deal, guys.) And for context's sake, here's what I said about The War Within.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


I saw Ornette Coleman the last time he played the JVC Jazz Festival, in 2004. I hear he played Newark in 2005, with the Bad Plus opening, but I missed that one and I’m sorry I did, because it was a Thanksgiving Day show, Newark is five minutes away by train, and I wasn’t doing anything else that day. I wasn’t planning to go to this show, because the tickets were just too pricey for my present economic status, but then a publicist e-mailed to offer me a free one. How could I turn that down? I jumped at the chance. So I got there at the appointed hour, and found that not only was I getting in free, but I was in row K (that’s 11 rows back from the stage if you know your alphabet), three seats in from the aisle. I soon discovered that I was also seated directly beside Steve Smith, which was a bonus. (Actually, there was originally a guy sitting between us, but I asked him to trade, and he quite affably did so.)

If the 2004 show was like Ornette paying tribute to John Zorn’s version of him as heard on Spy Vs. Spy, headlong and wild but stopping and starting on a dime, this was the Ornette of In All Languages. At least, that’s how it sounded at the beginning. He was accompanied by son Denardo on drums, and three bassists – Tony Falanga and Greg Cohen, who’ve been with him for a few years now (they were in the 2004 band, too), and new or rather returned-to-the-fold addition Al McDowell, playing a headless electric that looked kinda like the guitar Dr. Know, from the Bad Brains, used to play. McDowell was also the only one not dressed for the occasion, wearing what looked like a prison jumpsuit rather than the dress shirts and trousers the other bandmembers had on, or a shiny suit like Ornette’s. But never mind that.

The music was different right from the start. Coleman plays in a narrow and piercing range on the alto these days; he started his first two tunes’ solos on the exact same note, as though they (a bebop sprint and a bluesy ballad, respectively) were two halves of a whole. Between his reverberating lines, Denardo destroying his kit behind a Plexiglas barrier, and McDowell’s liquidy bass, the band’s stage positioning seemed to mirror its sound. Falanga and Cohen were being pushed to the sides of the action, both onstage and in the mix. By the third or fourth piece, though, the engineer had figured out the proper balances, and everyone could be heard quite clearly – Falanga, in fact, began to become a second lead voice.

The seeming solipsism of the band was somewhat astonishing, given how cleanly they could bring even the most frantic piece to a dead stop. McDowell occasionally watched the boss’s back, but none of the others, Ornette included, ever gave any outward impression, while playing, of monitoring their coworkers’ activities. (There were brief discussions between pieces, late in the set.) And yet it all fit together, seamless and gorgeous. After 40 years Ornette still can’t play a real trumpet solo, but his violin break on the third piece – accompanied by bow-work from Falanga and Cohen – was searing.

Denardo Coleman is never going to magically become a subtle and nuanced drummer, but his John Bonham overhand smashes and apocalyptic bass-pedal booms became real assets on the sixth piece. Cohen and Falanga laid down harmonium-like bowed drones over which Ornette soloed first moodily and then more loudly, as Denardo detonated bomb after bomb behind them. It was like an alternate soundtrack to that Werner Herzog movie filmed in Kuwait post-Gulf War I, the one with all the burning oil fire footage. The violin solo had too much gypsy squealing to sustain the ominous mood, though, and McDowell’s fusiony runs seemed like he was trying too hard to be included. It was unclear what he thought he was adding to the piece.

Ornette took his longest trumpet solo of the evening (that is, more than just three or four quick, rippling outbursts – as Steve pointed out, it seemed like he was using the trumpet to cue the band that things were about to change, something like what Miles Davis did in his mid-1970s funk-rock group) on the seventh piece, a relatively short and fast one driven by Denardo’s trainlike hi-hat. It felt almost like a thought-out statement on the horn, but he was distracted or disturbed by a high-pitched keening from Falanga’s bowed bass, and cut himself off again.

He all but sat out the next number, a ballad with a melody not unlike “Amazing Grace” – Falanga dominated, and it was quite beautiful. The next two numbers were upbeat, the first a calypso groove with McDowell sounding like a steel drummer and the other two bassists creating a throbbing but generally static foundation. Ornette’s soloing was bright and lively. That was followed by a bluesy strut similar to “When The Saints Go Marching In.” The final piece of the main set was explosive – more Spy Vs. Spy than anything else that evening. McDowell was oddly inaudible as the other four erupted all over each other like a mosh pit. Denardo’s solo would have fit well on the first Obituary album.

Then, there was the encore – “Lonely Woman.” Falanga introduced the piece with an almost violin-like moaning, and Ornette’s work on the melody was still heartbreakingly beautiful. It was a nice gift to the audience, after eleven pieces of unrecorded (so far – there’s a rumor of an album later this year, though) music on which Ornette offered no commentary.

Overall, it was a great counterpoint to the set I saw two years ago, the pieces longer and more meditative (even the fast ones) than the hyper blurts of 2004, and if there is a studio album coming, I hope it’s a multi-disc set to encompass all the phenomenal music he’s been putting out there in the last few years. Ornette Coleman may not have gone away, but fuck, is he ever back.

Friday, June 16, 2006


At approx. 1PM, I'll be interviewing Oderus Urungus of GWAR. (On the phone, not in person, sadly.)
At approx. 8PM, I'll be seeing Ornette Coleman at Carnegie Hall.

Beat that!


From out the apartment door to sitting down at my desk:

Stevie Wonder, "You And I"
Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Born On The Bayou"
Thelonious Monk, "Crepuscule With Nellie"
Mahavishnu Orchestra, "The Noonward Race"
The Blasters, "What Will Lucy Do?"
AC/DC, "Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be (Live)"
The Mighty Upsetter, "Kung Fu Man"
Ghostface Killah, "Marvel"
Black Army Jacket, "Galactus"
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, "Learning To Fly"
Cecil Taylor/Bill Dixon/Tony Oxley, "T/CxB"
Graveland, "The Night Of Fullmoon"
Miles Davis, "Pharaoh's Dance"

Thursday, June 15, 2006


I say nice things about Chimaira and Mushroomhead, and not so nice things about Dope and the Autumn Offering.

Also, from the new issue of Relix (Michael Franti cover):

If only this album was instrumental. Then it would be possible to focus on the grooves, which are more solid than not. Unfortunately, Berry's voice pierces through the bass-heavy, glossy mix, and lyrics like "We rockin' down racism every day/We rockin' down racism in every way" squiggle into the listener's brain like malign larvae. [Whatever, dude.] Still, it's hard to deny the appeal of touches like the analog synth blurts on "Axe Forgets" or the pleasant acoustic guitar and percussion intro to "Why Do We." Berry is a white dude from California who moved to Africa and internalized the continent's rhythmic vitality. His arrangements and production job indicate he's got the musical aspect of his work firmly in hand. [Now he should shut up.]

[Stuff in brackets was in original text, but removed by editor for fear of offending hippies.]

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


If I had more money, I could start a record label and release the incredible performance by Borbetomagus (with guest sax from Bruce Lamont of Yakuza), recorded in Chicago in, I think, 2004, that I'm listening to right now. It's unique among Borbeto documents, not just because of the guest shot, but also because of the droning, low-end-fixated opening track, 22 minutes of groan and rumble that's more floor-shaking than anything they've done since bassist Adam Nodelman left. The usual staticky bursts of skronk are still very present, even more so on the second lengthy blowout (of three), but the way this thing sort of slowly sucks you in is unprecedented for these dudes.

The label that had originally planned to release it dropped the ball, and now it exists in CD-R limbo. I've got a copy, Lamont's got one (he sent me mine), presumably the Borbeto dudes have copies...and that's about it, I'd bet. A shame, too; the world needs to hear this thing.

Monday, June 12, 2006


Got all three Lordi CDs (plus the "It Snows In Hell" and "Hard Rock Hallelujah" singles) in today's mail. I e-mailed their management the day after they won Eurovision - I guess the shipping time to New York from Finland wasn't bad. The latest album, The Arockalypse, sounds kinda like In Flames circa Soundtrack To Your Escape. They're much more technically skilled than GWAR, I'll give 'em that. Their makeup looks better in the album photos, too. And there's a cameo vocal from Udo Dirkschneider on "They Only Come Out At Night," which is probably only a selling point to me.

I also got Lemmy's rockabilly album today. It's kinda disappointing - I'd expected more aggression, but this is a sit-down affair, three dudes (the other two are guitarist Danny B. Harvey of the Rockats, and drummer Slim Jim Phantom of the Stray Cats) playing semi-acoustic versions of old Buddy Holly and Sun Sessions-era Elvis songs ("Not Fade Away," "Trying To Get To You," "Peggy Sue Got Married," "Lawdy Miss Clawdy"). It's not a bad album, but it's more Nonesuch-era Charlie Feathers than, say, Sun-era Charlie Feathers. Lots of overdubs, too - piano parts, backing vocals (weird to hear Lemmy back himself up) and the like. Something like this should have been done plugged in and standing up, one take per song. I hear there's also a live DVD. That'll probably be a lot better.

And speaking of DVDs, the highlight of my month is the arrival of the Minutemen documentary We Jam Econo. Plexifilm, the same outfit that released Sun Ra's Space Is The Place, has really done this one up right - a two-disc set including three live performances, tons of extra movie footage, interviews, music videos ("This Ain't No Picnic," "Ack Ack Ack" and "King Of The Hill") and a totally lush booklet. The Minutemen changed my life in high school; maybe they changed yours, too. Get this thing.

Friday, June 09, 2006


Answer each question with the first random song your iPod coughs up. Here goes...

1. How does the world see you? Naked City, "Slan." A 30-second burst of grinding guitars and high-pitched screeching. Yeah, probably.

2. Will I have a happy life? "Siberian Khatru," Yes. My life will be filled with tempo changes and outbursts of wild masturbation. Sounds pretty happy to me.

3. What do my friends think of me? "Pastime Paradise," Stevie Wonder. I'm wasting my life.

4. Do people secretly lust after me? "La Pipa De La Paz," Aterciopelados. Latina hippie chicks do, apparently. Score!

5. How can I make myself happy? "The Codex Necro," Anaal Nathrakh. By being more necro. Works for me.

6. What should I do with my life? "Natural Genocide," Krisiun. Yeah, I don't know if I'm feeling particularly genocidal, but thanks for the suggestion.

7. Will I ever have children? "Being Sucked In Again," Wire. So that's a maybe.

8. What is some good advice for me? "Reelin' and Rockin' (Live)," Chuck Berry. If you get some on your finger, wipe it on the wall. Always good advice.

9. How will I be remembered? "You'll Never Love Me Now," Merle Haggard. Thanks, iPod. Genocide's lookin' more appealing.

10. What's my signature dance song? "Scarface," Geto Boys. What more need be said, really?

11. What's my current theme song? "Nefertiti," Miles Davis. I'm okay with that.

12. What do others think my current theme song is? "Big Fat Ma and Skinny Pa," Louis Armstrong. Don't be talkin' about my wife that way, iPod.

13. What shall they play at my funeral? "Money Tree," Merle Haggard. So my wife's gonna leave my busted ass before I die? Jesus, iPod, you're pretty misogynist today.

14. What type of women do I like? "Sex God Missy," Tad. Damn, it's a good thing I don't have any Mentors or GG Allin on here.

15. How's my love life? "Lethal Tendencies," Hallows Eve. "Out of love/Out of mind/Out of food/Out of time." Nice one, iPod.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


The new Tony Allen disc, Lagos No Shaking, is on Honest Jons/Astralwerks just like the recent Lagos All Routes and Lagos Chop Up compilations, and just like those two albums, it kicks ass. It's well-produced, but lacks the studio gloss of some of his mid-1990s stuff. It was recorded in Nigeria, with some older-generation musicians, and really has an organic, warm feel. And it comes out on Tuesday. Highly recommended.


I would have posted this earlier, but I didn't get a copy of the disc until 6/7/06 (and anyway, I think Blogger shit the bed yesterday). Anyhow, the new Deicide album The Stench Of Redemption, which comes out on Earache on I think August 22, is really fucking good. This is directly traceable to the recent departure of the guitarist Hoffman brothers and their replacement by Jack Owen (ex-Cannibal Corpse) and Ralph Santolla (ex-Death). Every solo on this album is a precise, concise, technical marvel. Gone are the tedious whammy-bar squeals masquerading as solos that were all over Scars Of The Crucifix, replaced with actual guitar solos! Plus, the album is actually album-length; a full 39 minutes, not the 26-minute fob-off the last one was. (I think that was just the result of Glen devoting most of his energy to the recording of Vital Remains' mind-crushing Dechristianize more or less at the same time, but it was a real slap in the face to Deicide fans nonetheless.)

I know it's gonna be almost three months before the album drops, but seriously, bookmark this post and come back in August. Deicide are a whole new band, The Stench Of Redemption is a fucking killer album, very probably destined for my year-end list, and you're gonna need to own one more than you've needed to own a Deicide release in a long time.

Friday, June 02, 2006


I watched the National Spelling Bee finals last night. What, you didn't? What are you, some kind of anti-intellectual knuckle-dragger? Tense stuff; I thought for sure the fix was in when the little Canadian girl who placed second got five French words in a row. There's no way that's random chance. Still, it all worked out fine in the end. Represent, New Jersey! Better her than some of the creepy autistic dudes up there. Yoiks.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

IF YOU'RE IN CLEVELAND THIS WEEK... should be at the Vader/Kataklysm/Destruction show. (Sadly, the Necrophagist/Arsis/Neuraxis tour is not hitting Cleveland; I caught them at BB King's on Monday night, and was completely blown away. I mentioned this batch o' bands in the previous post, and anyway I don't know if I can express my feelings any better than my fellow show-goer Steve Smith did, though, so go read his description of it all.)