Thursday, September 28, 2006

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Here's me taking apart some Norwegian band called 120 days, at PTW.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Here's my PTW write-up on the thoroughly undistinguished Canuck-punk outfit the Cancer Bats. Now I'm gonna go spend a week or so listening to the 9CD Robert Plant solo boxed set, which just arrived. Big '80s drum sounds, ahoy!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


This morning’s long-ass commute-into-NYC playlist:

Fushitsusha, “Untitled,” Live II
Bad Brains, “We Will Not,” Rock For Light
Ornette Coleman, “W.R.U.,” Ornette!
Judas Priest, “Some Heads Are Gonna Roll,” Metalogy
Judah Tafari Eskender, “Rastafari Tell You,” Best Of Studio One
Trivium, “Washing Me Away In The Tides,” Ascendancy
Waylon Jennings, “The Chokin’ Kind,” Nashville Rebel
Pantera, “Cowboys From Hell,” Far Beyond The Great Southern Cowboys’ Vulgar Hits
Aerosmith, “Spaced,” Get Your Wings
Grant Green, “Moon River,” The Complete Quartets With Sonny Clark
Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Comin’ Home,” The Essential Lynyrd Skynyrd
Aphex Twin, “Pissed Up In SE1,” Analord
Cardinal Rex Jim Lawson, “Nume Inye,” Lagos All Routes
Witchman, “Amok,” Explorimenting Beats
Iced Earth, “Burnt Offerings,” The Blessed
Cactus, “Underneath The Arches,” ’Ot ’n’ Sweaty
The Pogues, “The Old Main Drag,” Rum, Sodomy & The Lash
Sunny Murray, “Giblets,” An Even Break (Never Give A Sucker)
Grachan Moncur III, “Monk In Wonderland,” Evolution
Superpitcher, “Shadows,” Total 2

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


This month in The Wire:

Sound Grammar
Sound Grammar

The quartet behind Sound Grammar have been touring since 2003, and the effect of all that roadwork is immediately audible. In 2003, they were aggressive, tearing into these pieces as though their working model was John Zorn's hardcore interpretation of the Coleman oeuvre, Spy Vs. Spy. Coleman barely engaged with group or audience, whipping his musicians through the material like a basketball coach assigning wind sprints. By April of this year, the same pieces had expanded into meditative, almost ambling journeys, the basses of Greg Cohen and Tony Falanga operating in harmolodic fashion as lead and rhythm instruments, Denardo Coleman keeping a relentless beat and his father going wherever the music took him.
Sound Grammar was recorded at a German concert in October 2005, and documents an in-between phase of the group's development. Cohen and Falanga are given occasional rein over the melody, but not as much as they've had in more recent performances, and Denardo plays remarkably well, sounding ideally suited to the music.
Ornette is, of course, Ornette. His violin and trumpet playing lacks the subtlety of his saxophone, but is judiciously deployed. His melodies are instantly recognizable - they bounce, full of a joy that renders his extensive use of a bent blues vocabulary almost paradoxical. This is as true of new pieces like "Sleep Talking" and "Matador" as of 1985's "Song X" or 1959's "Turnaround," both reappraised here. Sadly, the thrilling version of "Lonely Woman" performed as an encore at recent concerts doesn't appear. Ornette hasn't released a record in a decade, and this one is more a postcard from the road than a manifesto. At nearly 80, he's already moved beyond what's documented here.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Okay, this "hipster metal" roundtable settles it: I need a subscription to Decibel.

(And one to Italian Vogue too, it seems.)


A brief piece on Lamb Of God for Westword, and a review of Light This City, on paperthinwalls.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


The new Mastodon disc, Blood Mountain, comes out today; I bought mine at lunchtime, along with the new Rapture disc. On first listen, BM is a definite step forward from the already awesome Leviathan. The vocals are cleaner, but the guitar riffs are just as ferocious and possibly even more intricate than before, as are the drums. The songs are all in the five-minute range, which actually works in their favor - some of those Leviathan tracks didn't know when to end. Of course, there'll be a tidal wave of hype, and this Ben Ratliff piece is part of it, but it's much better than the rest of the "metal - not just for dumbasses anymore" stuff the Times has been printing this year. (BTW, the Boris/Sunn album ain't much at all. Get the new Isis instead.)

Friday, September 08, 2006


Moral law is an invention of mankind for the disenfranchisement of the powerful in favor of the weak. Historical law subverts it at every turn. A moral view can never be proven right or wrong by any ultimate test. A man falling dead in a duel is not thought thereby to be proven in error as to his views. His very involvement in such a trial gives evidence of a new and broader view. The willingness of the principals to forgo further argument as the triviality which it in fact is and to petition directly the chambers of the historical absolute clearly indicates of how little moment are the opinions and of what great moment the divergences thereof. For the argument is indeed trivial, but not so the separate wills thereby made manifest. Man's vanity may well approach the infinite in capacity but his knowledge remains imperfect and howevermuch he comes to value his judgements ultimately he must submit them before a higher court. Here there can be no special pleading. Here are considerations of equity and rectitude and moral right rendered void and without warrant and here are the views of the litigants despised. Decisions of life and death, of what shall be and what shall not, beggar all question of right. In elections of these magnitudes are all lesser ones subsumed, moral, spiritual, natural.

—Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian

Thursday, September 07, 2006


My thoughts on the new Motörhead album, Kiss Of Death. It came out last week, and you should still buy it, but don't expect it to tear your world down like their last two. In fact, you could probably get the reissues first. Those live bonus discs really do deserve my highest praise-phrase: they are ass-rapingly great.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


I spent the "holiday" weekend writing a 6000 word story on an artist to be named later (the editor gets mad when I give the game away in advance), so I'm tired. Here's a link to my review of Ecstatic Sunshine at PTW.