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Gordon Peterson, the man (not really all that) better-known as Indio, broke a twenty year silence worthy of Thomas Pynchon last month. Was it to record another album? Perhaps a single? Were we once again going to be lucky enough to hear that desperately honest voice produce music we don’t even hear in our dreams? Holy SHIT! WAS IT?

No – the fucker came out of retirement to sue the one man responsible for awakening the world to the wonder that was the little-known 1989 album Big Harvest, which Peterson wrote and then recorded with a group of some ten other artists (including Joni Mitchell and her then-future husband.)

Recent Photo of Gordon Peterson, AKA Indio

That’s right – Peterson broke self-imposed cover to kick a lawsuit into the face and eyes of Eddie Vedder, whose singular crime was to cover Hard Sun from Peterson’s album and sing some different lyrics.

Wow, what did Vedder do, call him a “cunt” in the opening line? Openly mock his family and religion? Perhaps he gave Peterson’scredit card details out in the chorus, as well as his mother’s maiden name in the middle 8. Maybe the bassline was actually morse code for Peterson’s home address.  That’s if you CAN have an address for a camouflage netting-covered treehouse in the woods, of course.

Surprisingly (or maybe unsurprisingly) it turns out to be none of those things (not EVEN a combination.) Vedder’s only crime was to change a few lines of one verse, and miss out another half-sized verse half-way through the song.

For avoidance of doubt, here are the changes Vedder actually made in real life. You can hear Vedder’s version HERE and Indio’s HERE (that is until he sues Youtube for hosting his song FOR FREE presumably.)

Hard Sun – Lyrics comparison – Bold indicates change, red is missed out. Blue shows original lyrics.

When I walk beside her
I am the better man
when i look to leave her
I always stagger back again

Once I built an ivory tower
so I could worship from above
when I climb down to be set free
she took me in again

CHORUS
There’s a big
a big hard sun
beating on the big people
in the big hard world

When she comes to greet me
she is mercy at my feet
When I see her inner charm (original is “when I stay to pillage her”)

she just throws it back at me

Once I dug an early grave
to find a better land
she just smiled and laughed at me
and took her rules back again (original is “and took her blues back again“)

CHORUS

when I go to cross that river
she is comfort by my side
when I try to understand
she just opens up her eyes

CHORUS

Once I stood to lose her
and I saw what i had done
bowed down and threw away the hours
of her garden and her sun

So I tried to want her
I turned to see her weep
40 days and 40 nights
and its still coming down on me

Right, now for the maths. There are, including counting each repeated chorus, 220 words in this song. I’m excluding the gospel-style vocal riffing that leads out the original because they’re not really lyrics – not in terms of what Peterson has named in his lawsuit as the “artistic integrity” – that means he’s talking about structure. No-one could sing the vocal riffage with a straight face in a cover without sounding contrived. That would be worse for the artistic integrity. Anyway…

Of the 220 words, Vedder removed one iteration of the chorus- we can put this down to Radio editing, however, we’ll count it, as it IS a change. We want to be fair after all, right Gordon?

Additionally, another five WHOLE words were altered, replaced by brand-new Satan-worshipping words. Except that the Shit-sandwich line about “pillaging” a woman was eased up to a line about “inner charm” by Vedder. As the tremendous Earvolution puts it, it kind of needed to be “softened up”, since Vedder was creating the score for Into the Wild, a film about a man who dies alone in the wild.It wasn’t that good a line anyway.

So, what’s the percentage change? 46 words out of 220 is a change of 20.9% of the words. That’s INCLUDING the missed out chorus of 17 words (without this, the change is 13%.)

Nevertheless, one thing is clear. Gordon Peterson is CLEARLY up for a fight with the world. I’m up for a challenge. So here’s my challenge to Gordon Peterson.

SUE ME, TWAT! Sue me for the following changes to your song (remember, I didn’t even ask for permission to reprint these lyrics, like it asks me to in your liner notes. That’s gotta be worth a few million right?)

Hard Sun covered on the internet by Hypernation (Bold indicates changes)

When I walk beside her
I am the bigger twat
when i look to leave her
I always stagger home to my treehouse drunk on ether fumes

Once I built an ivory tower
To make up for my laughable manhood
when I climb down to be set free
Did I mention I live in a tree?

CHORUS
There’s a big
a big hard hand
beating off the big penis
in the big hard-core

When she comes to greet me
I don’t know how to react and disappear for twenty years

When Eddie Vedder covers me

I just throw it back at him

Once I dug an early grave
to find a better land
It obviously didn’t work
So I sued a Betterman (come on Pearl Jam fans!)

CHORUS (see above)

There – I also skipped 3 verses and 2 more choruses. Go on Gordon – sue me like the malevolent weirdo you are. GO ON!

Vedder didn’t ruin your music. YOU DID.

Twat.

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Alice in Chains release their 4th studio album

PREAMBLE

Man, have I been waiting to write this review.

I remember when I first heard Alice in Chains – it was 1997, and someone at my school lent me a mixtape of several bands (that also included Pearl Jam), the opening two tracks on side A of which were Them Bones and Dam That River. I knew I had hit something that resonated, because I couldn’t stop singing the two tunes whenever I was away from my cassette deck.

And 12 years later I still can’t.

Maybe I was very green at the time, but I hadn’t heard a band do those kinds of rhythms before, not in metal or grunge. On top of that, over the thundering snarl of what should have been a “metal” song came this ethereal fallen angel voice of a man I was destined never to see live, the band’s leader Layne Staley. And the harmonies, twisted and made possible by guitarist and secondary singer and main song-writing force Jerry Cantrell. Together they were the haunted, warped version of that “frontman/lead guitarist” relationship worn by Lennon and McCartney, Jagger and Richards, you know the drill, the list goes on.

Staley’s death in 2002 was discovered three days after my birthday. I still have his obituary torn out of the Daily Telegraph somewhere.

And so, I thought, I would never be around for a new Chains release, that I’d have to just be (very) happy with their back catalogue, Staley’s only other complete (and awesome) album Mad Season and follow Jerry’s solo work, which I liked, but it had to be said, not as much as Jar of Flies, Dirt et al.

Then nothing.

But since the 2005 Tsunami concert momentum has built – first William DuVall joined the band full-time after touring previously in Cantrell’s support – and when in 2008 Alice announced after extensive touring that a new album was on the way, it seemed that the fans, at least the ones who write on the net, were supportive (read “insanely giddy at the prospect”) of a new Chains album, even with dear departed Layne out of the picture.

In August Listening party reports started hitting the net – overwhelmingly positive. Skeptical fans reserved their judgement – which was fair enough. Staley’s vocals have been often imitated (almost always poorly by the likes of Puddle of Mudd, “Worst Band In The World” Creed, Nickelback, mid-to-late-era Stone Temple Pilots, Days of the New and Godsmack whose name is even taken from a song on Dirt) – the last thing they wanted to see was a goddamned imitator IN Alice in Chains itself.

This video pretty much explains what the fans were worries about:

So to the album…

ALBUM REVIEW

As if to reference their member-by-member entry onto the stage at the MTV Unplugged show where they left off in 1996, the opener All Secrets Known is a jabby muted Cantrell riff, slowly joined by bass, then drums, then finally Staley.

Hope
A New Beginning
Time…
Time to start living
like just before we die.
There’s no going back to the place
We started from…

OK OK it’s NOT Staley. But it might as well be…DuVall’s voice must be the only one in existence that can fill Staley’s shoes. And it’s thanks to the good luck of Jerry and co that they found him out of 6 billion people. Because as the voice slowly fills the landscape, and a harmonized chorus of layered voices including Cantrell’s crescendo out and expand, you start wondering why the fuck we can’t have more music like this all the time.

The album balances slow “pretty music that makes you want to die” as drummer Sean Kinney once said quoted in Staley’s obituary with more acoustic fare, with some songs like Acid Bubble deliberately splicing very heavy with very light, and flicking the switch between them and making you fall out of your seat and fumble for the tracklist to see if you’re onto the next song yet.

INTENT OBSOLESCENCE
BUILT INTO THE SYSTEM!

Now it has to be said that some parts of the album are a little weak. Your Decision, destined for radio release soon, is surprisingly conventional compared with what wonderous acoustic beauty we had on Jar of Flies. And while most of Last of My Kind is incredible, one lyric about “fucking liars” is so surprisingly out of place (the band have always impressed me with their vocal quality, which happened not to include swear-words) that it feels like the album is about to take a turn for the worse .

By far the strongest tracks are the already released Check My Brain, a bendy semi-tone scaled snake of a track, and A Looking in View, an 804 minute epic featuring some of the best riffs in Chains’ career. Add to that the opener, and my personal favourite Private Hell – listen to this whilst looking at the album art-work of the mother and daughter on a moonscape and I swear you can feel the cold desolate atmosphere creep in – wonderful lilting echoed “Uh-Huh”s and subtle key-changes make this the star track on the album and put’s it in my five favourite Alice songs.

I excuse myself I’m used to my little cell
I amuse myself in my very own private hell…

Something about the riffs and tight harmonized DuVall/Cantrell partnership draws contemplation out of the listener. It’s currently on repeat anywhere I go. And no you can’t play your own music in “your own house”, not now that we have this. Move over.

The final track, the eponymous track with Elton John subtly on piano, and the first overtly Staley-related song the band have made, is the hardest to listen to emotionally; especially if you’ve watched the Electronic Press Kit Video Alice released a few hours ago. Members of the band were breaking down in tears, Kinney describes a panic attack that gripped him and reduced him to sitting on a bathroom floor, and Cantrell suffered a three-week migraine brought on by “undigested grief” after he had penned the ballad.

Show me ANY song in mainstream music that has that much emotional weight behind it. Yeah, thought not.

Black Gives Way To Blue is a band wearing it’s heart on its sleeve, as the cover subtly implies. The brutal bitter-sweet Alice in Wonderland vibe is still there, preserved in the mock-Victorian art-work, filthy guitars, Kinney’s fantastic tasteful breakbeat drumming, Mike Inez’s distant thunder detuned “bass of death” and Cantrell’s enviable song-writing skill topped off with those harmonic vocals. A storming success with a few minor hiccups. To be honest the first thing I thought once I had heard this album once through was;

“Man, when are they going to release the next one?”

Until then, I have a new set of songs to have on repeat.

Well, the rumours of the completed album appear to be true – as the days have gone by my Google Alert fro “Chinese Democracy has slowly become busier and busier until yesterday what I was looking for finally made its appearance.

Leaked finished studio tracks.

How do we know they’re real? Well, unlike many of the other tracks, the hosting of these anywhere on the internet was followed almost immediately by the now well-known team of Axl Rose’s Lawyers, self-defeatingly issuing Cease and Desist letters like it’s National Cease and Desist Letter Day (can you think of a better comparison? Go ahead bitch.) – So, it would see, these are the real deal.

Here’s what was released a short while ago (practically CD quality if you know where to find it online. It is worth noting that until now the list of all the tracks GNR fans knew about was fairly stable. The emergence of 3 new songs is a surprise. Moreover, the fact that the track names are not yet known means that amid all the leaks there has been some well kept secrets. In fact, one or two of the new tracks are among the better offerings.

1. Better
Very similar to the very recently released rough drafts. Crisp, balanced and with a killer middle 8th riff at 2.44 worthy of the GNR days of yore. Weirdly though, it lacks a certain energy. Try it out for yourself.

2. Chinese Democracy
The way this has been produced makes it the almost 100% contender for Title track. Again very similar to the rough draft released in 2007 except the end bit’s been remixed and modified. It starts with a bunch of Chinese people talking, which seems an all too unsubtle reference to Chinese Democracy. Then the opening riff drops and your face flies off in awesomeness. I love this track – worth the wait.

3. IRS
One of the tracks that has only had very bad live copies flying round the net…UNTIL NOW! Mix of acoustic and electric guitars. Apart from the slight squawking sound Axl is making, the riffs are killer, good energy. ery Solid Rock, on par with some of the tracks on Angel Down by Axl’s buddy and fellow 2008 music releaser (let’s hope) Seb Bach.

4. Madagascar
Another one I only ever heard as a live bootleg. Starts with a grand brass intro and then strings as per previous versions. The central piece of the song is great, reminiscent of the November Rain era. Then it’s interrupted by a montage of speech samples set to a James Bond-esque string backing, to fairly cool effect. No-one can argue Axl’s got a pretty good range of styles on this new disc.

5. Rhiad and the Bedouins
I was anticipating this on the playlist already – eager to see what mysterious new tunes we are to be treated to. Choppy guitars, Axl’s high pitched voice, some interesting minor keys used. Just doesn’t sound like Guns N Roses. Then again, it’s not is it…fast and energetic though.

6. “New Song” (Title unknown as yet)
Much more softly sung. Middle of the road. Not too much to say.

7. If The World
Cool funky rock song – with guitars overlaid in different positions in the surround sound. Spanish guitars too! I wonder if Buckethead’s in this one. Very solid song. One of the best of the nine. It makes me want to buy the album rather than download it from Axl’s very own computer whilst singing Velvet Revolver songs. Like I will.

8. The Blues
And we’re back on familiar ground. A sort of modern version “Guess That’s Why they Call it the Blues” – lots of string arrangements, piano, multiple guitars. One thing true of this track as well as all the others is that there are a lot of things going on in the song. With songs like these it works; with the louder and heavier ones, however, it becomes crowded.

9. There was a Time
This was the first one I heard off the album back in 2006. This is the 3rd version I’ve heard and it’s starting to sound overproduced. The main remix here is the bass track and the opening track. Some very impressive shredding here (most likely Buckethead) but come on – when all’s said and done…

Give me Slash any day.

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Rage Against the Machine
Stream of Justice (Late 2008, Epic)

https://i0.wp.com/www.morecowbell.net/images/posts/2007/06/ratm-alpine.jpg

There isn’t an indie-politically-motivated-rap-metal-crossover fan that didn’t immediately cry bittersweet tears of happy when RATM released their latest offering in 2008. The song “Shit on you, I Won’t Comply” made major international headlines when it received accidental airplay during a military funeral in Carolina, instead of “Runaway Train” by Soul Asylum. Michael Moore directed the band’s single “My guitar is my Flag, I strum as a Salute” by videoing the band breaking into The UK House of Lords and generally jumping up and down on the seats before being sternly told off. ard, heavy, meaningful. 8/10

Alice in Chains
FaceDirt (Roadrunner, Nov 2008 )

Alice-In-Chains-Live--Unreleased-296967.jpg

AiC decided that a dead lead singer shouldn’t stop them, just as it didn’t stop Nirvana, The Beatles or Queen. The result is the searing, grunge manifesto of FaceDirt, which was released for the stocking-filler market at Christmas 2008. Ten tracks feature Jerry Cantrell, Mike Inez, the king of breakbeat rock drumming Sean Kinney and Comes with the Fall-Guy Wiliam DuVall, who does a superb job on lyrics. The album comes with a toy blade, a black dress doll you can stick pins in and other really really obscurely referenced toy spin-offs. 7/10

Fugees
I hear Voices…Wait, no you Don’t. (Jan 2009)

The+Fugees-150x150.jpg

Despite rumours of mental illness, hatred and black-on-black racism within the group, the Fugees came together in early 2009 to produce the seminal, nay fluid “I hear Voices…wait, no you don’t”. Wyclef Jean’s half-crooning, half rapping style was hampered by the fact that he chose to produce the album as he was singing it. The consequential button twisting noises, second takes sung right after first takes and not edited out, and constant suggestions about pitch tone and feeling spoken into the microphone as the other members sing severely hampers this album. 4/10

Guns ‘N’ Roses
Chinese Democracy (Spring 2009)

After only 16 tiny years wait, One 6th of Guns N Roses and a Third of all other bands got together finally to produce the symphonic, chronic, catatonic Chinese Democracy. Originally designed to coincide with the Beijing Olympics, the deadline was missed when Axl Rose, the sole remaining member of the GNR lineup, pulled the digital masters off the CD printing machine because “the horns aren’t quite fruity enough in Silkworms.” The completed 39 track album comes as a special edition with real 89 piece orchestra delivered to the home of each customer, who play along to each track in the listener’s lounge room. Price $8,000. Epic. 10/10

Dr Dre
Detox (Aftermath 2009)

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Dre, of NWA and Chronic Fame, hasn’t realised that his music is only ever played ironically these days. In fact, poor Dre’s dress sense is the first to be “mimicked expensively” as poor youths from round the world holed themselves up the face in credit card debt to drench themselves in jewels and puffy jackets worht $4000 “because if was hilarious and Ironic.” Standout tracks are ” Still infirm but Still in the Game”, “Ridin’ in my Stanna” and “Rap so hard my dentures come out” but overall it sounds more like Weid Al taking the piss. 4/10

Eminem
King Mathers (Shady Records, 2009)

Never one to disappoint or indeed shy from telling the world to suck it’s own penis, Eminem re-emerged with hist first studio album in 5 years. Raucousness, clever rhymes, real recorded executions of his enemies, and excellent guests make this the come-back album of the millenium. Tracks that shine include “F*ck You in the Knee”, “What Rhymes with Blunt, Shunt and Stunt, Your Face Does” and “Something Something Baby Mother”. 11/10

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I’m hardly a mouth-frothing fan of Coldplay, but the new video for Violet Hill, produced by Between The Eyes cuts together archive footage of politicians such as Bush and Blair singing, dancing and playing music to the time of the song.

Additional horrifying footage of the dead of war, terrorist training videos and such makes this a macabre celebration of destruction and oblivion by the elected and selected of the world.

Good work.

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This band of three women play, as one commentator puts it “like the twin towers coming down.”

A bass, a guitar and a set of drums, and a load of rhythm so crazed it would send an asylum insane, songs are instrumental, long, fast, and become gradually more layered as new movements are introduced.

It’s really quite something. The above video, and a few others on Youtube, are entertaining and fun. Check them out.

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From The Age Blogs: Noise Pollution

According to the blog post in The Age, Trent Resznor, producer of the experimental Saul Williams album The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust is lamenting that after releasing the album online for free, “only” 28,322 paid the $5 fee for getting the good version, after the 150,000 free downloads had been reached.

The Age Blogger goes on to state that “once again consumer response, on the internet at least, has shown a disinclination to pay over the opportunity to get something for nothing, thus undermining the project itself. ”

But of course this is complete trash.

The article itself mentions that Williams’ previous album sold 33,000 copies. A drop to 28,000 (and change) is pretty amazing, considering the album is very available for free on the net even after Williams’ site stopped giving it away. And after all, that’s $141,000 in hard cash, presumably going straight to the pair, as they work independently, thanks to the net. And no money is spent on marketing. Add to that that now there are DRM free tracks of Saul Williams circulating like none of his other albums EVER did.

Williams is not famous by any means. But he is awesome. And now more people know that.
More exposure, no marketing, no record company, as well as sales of over $100,000 in the face of the get it for free option.

I would have though Reznor had his own studio too – isn’t this enough money?

 Sixtyone

http://www.thesixtyone.com is a music discovery site with a points system. You log in, you rate music (“bumping” a song will lift its points, and hence its status in the charts they have.)

The service is free, so it’s a really awesome music discovery/internet radio site, and has been set up by two guys who quit their jobs in the hope of doing something new for the digital content distribution future. Their financing seems to come out of their own pocket, plus donations, plus a significant deal must come through advertising.

So it’s really amazing that when users complained that adverts were interrupting their music experience, TSO removed them – just like that. How refreshingly awesome is that?

Now it’s up to the users to finance their experience. Having studied the Radiohead and Tim McIntire models of ‘selling it for free’ I reckon they stand a damn good chance of survival.

On a separate note – how much do you reckon an artist actually gets from you? If let’s say, Jerry Cantrell broguht out 3 albums, if I bought them as per usual, how much would he get? 10 cents an album? More? So, If I download them for free , and send him ten dollars, wouldn’t he be better off?

Just food for thought. Anyone out there?

Looks like the rockers who inspired Glastonbury in the first place are set to Headline in 2008 at the historic festival.

Bet all those morons who paid junior’s college money to see them play the ‘One-off’ feel like they got the rug pulled from under them.

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