Dayton, Ohio, isn’t a big place, but it’s given the rock-set both Guided By Voices and the Deal sisters, who’ve had a guiding hand in the Pixies and the Breeders. That latter group is celebrating the twentieth anniversary of its “Last Splash,” an album that unloosed one of the most recognizable bass riffs of the last two decades. Even if “Cannonball” weren’t included on the disc, there’d be more than enough reason to revisit the 1993 work without 4AD reissuing the set as either a three-CD compendium or a seven-LP suitcase. The Breeders’ second full-length hasn’t been fetishized the way its contemporaries have—anyone who still cares about Soundgarden needs to have a heavy dose of antipsychotics prescribed to them. But there aren’t really any clunkers (“Drivin’ on 9” comes close, but were it the musical statement of a new band, there’d be a spate of faux-country popularity in the wings), just a few songs that could have gestated a bit longer. Read the rest of this entry »
If there’re folks who sit down and listen to a Goblin album from beginning to end, bless ’em. For the most part, the Italian prog ensemble trucks in truncated soundtrack stuffs best suited to murder scenes and creeping ghouls. Hooking up with the culty Dario Argento for his best-known works, the band earned acclaim in its own country immediately, seeping out slowly into the rest of the world’s consciousness as the director’s “Suspiria” became requisite viewing for film enthusiasts. Thing is, when listening to the soundtrack as a whole, quick transitions meant to signal something visual are left flailing on their own—“Black Forest” and its jazz-cum-rock guitar jam included. No doubt, these dudes shred, but if shredding is all it took for a performer to be enticing, we’d all be psyched for some new Yngwie Malmsteen (Sorry, Yngwie.). Read the rest of this entry »
Ben Gibbard of The Postal Service/Photo: Christian Holub
By Christian Holub
It was hard to take pictures of The Postal Service at the Metro on Sunday. I know some amazing photographers who probably know some amazing tricks that could have helped, but between the dark setting, the fortress of laptops obscuring beatmaster Jimmy Tamborello’s face and singer Ben Gibbard’s constant time-keeping shoulder sway, it was hard to get photos that showed human faces rather than dark, otherworldly light blurs.
Similarly, it’s hard to put a finger on why The Postal Service is so beloved. They only ever made one album together, 2003’s “Give Up,” and as Gibbard notes during the recent short YouTube documentary on the band, “Some Idealistic Future,” the album didn’t really gain serious steam until he and Tamborello had moved back to their main projects (Death Cab for Cutie and Dntel, respectively). Read the rest of this entry »
Cover by Colin Denney
Music is alive and well and living in Chicago.
While that once might have meant records and radio and bands being signed to major labels, it’s a much more complex score these days, with artists and venues more entrepreneurial than ever. But at the core is the shift in emphasis from recorded to live music, and it’s a change that’s made Chicago a town of festivals, from the city’s bedrock blues, jazz, gospel and world music festivals, to Lollapalooza and Pitchfork, to the new electronic dance music festivals—Spring Awakening, Wavefront and North Coast—as well as the explosive growth of an old one, the Chosen Few DJs Picnic. With these shifts, the players are changing too; since we last made this list of the behind-the-scenesters, the power list if you will, most of the list has changed. This year’s forty-five include twenty-six folks who were not on the list that last time in 2009. (Brian Hieggelke)
Music 45 was written by Brian Hieggelke, Dennis Polkow and Kenneth Preski, with additional contributions by Dave Cantor, Keidra Chaney, Dylan Peterson, John Wilmes and B. David Zarley. See previous years here. Read the rest of this entry »
The albums aren’t incongruous, just bound to piss off some segment of the audience Squarepusher, AKA the Britisher Tom Jenkinson, amassed over the last two decades. Arriving with the skittering jazz of “Feed Me Weird Things,” a 1996 Squarepusher might have insinuated himself into a rare groove ghetto and never left. Granted, that entire first affair is taped together with flitting drum patterns that sound more robot than human, making for a difficult balancing act. And it doesn’t work on every track—“The Swifty” being best suited for a ride in an elevator. But as quickly as Jenkinson arrived in his Squarepusher persona, he began expanding the confines of British electronic music. His third album in as many years, “Music is Rotted One Note,” found the producer further refuting the idea that electronic music need be wholly inhuman. Read the rest of this entry »
Chance the Rapper’s sophomore digi-release lets folks know he’s more than just “people with ideas.” He’s an emotive writer, a funny dude and a talented musician. And for what it’s worth, his new disc, “Acid Rap,” trumps most anything Chicago’s offered in the last few years. But what he’s left behind since issuing “#10Day” last year is a dynamic sense of composition. Lyrically, there’s no fall off—although Chance does break out that weird strangled croak a bit more often—but musically, the dusty sense of wonder’s been usurped. Everything’s slickly done and well produced. So, for those expecting thirteen tracks of De La Soul-inspired beats, it’s not here in the same volume. What Chance has replaced all that with is just about as entrancing, though. Beats are smooth, guests are plentiful—perhaps a bit too much—and the MC reflects on what he’s accomplished. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s not too hard to track down early-nineties video interviews with GZA and RZA looking like they just escaped from a “House Party” movie. Predating the Wu-Tang Clan’s long-playing debut, it’s still clear from the way the pair of cousins—Ol’ Dirty Bastard being the third blood relative—respond to questions that there’s a plan behind all the “NawImeans?” Read the rest of this entry »
For the last seventeen years, Anton Newcombe’s been a pretty public asshole. Well, probably longer, but he wasn’t recording as the Brian Jonestown Massacre at that point. The cavalcade of unknown performers passing through the band’s ranks have attested to that fact and did so in a documentary, “Dig!,” detailing the band’s history. Kicking around for such a long time, though, has allowed Newcombe to fully assimilate his influences: mostly the Stones, Dylan and sundry sixties rock. Read the rest of this entry »
Focusing his career on the political side of American life, Immortal Technique has been able to attract a sizable underground following while terrifying anyone associated with mainstream hip-hop. The NYC-based MC probably didn’t plan that second part, but with samples about the U.S. government fighting the flow of cocaine into the country while its people pay for its import, there wasn’t too much chance at radio time. The space IT occupies is an important one, speaking for those who he feels have been discouraged from voicing displeasure with the country’s standard procedures. Read the rest of this entry »
It took Company Flow less than a decade to become a mythic collective. When the trio–El-P, Bigg Jus and Mr. Len—dispersed in 2001, it had only amassed a single long-playing album, a collection of instrumentals and a handful of singles. 1997’s “Funcrusher Plus” went out of print pretty soon afterward as a result of Rawkus, the imprint that issued the recording, going belly up and the disc should have obscured CoFlo’s influence. It didn’t. Instead, it became something of a requisite study guide for everything that made East Coast hip-hop, in its underground guise, substantial. Read the rest of this entry »