Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Unsung Heroes of 2006

Every year, a number of albums are released that receive very little press and become buried under the heap of critically acclaimed releases. Last year, one of my favorite records, "Following the Tracks, Forcing Motion Through Phases" (Slave Union) by Pyramids, completely flew below the hardcore community's nose. Virtually unknown even among their modern hardcore peers, Pyramids plays the melodic, epic type of screamo practiced by bands like Envy, City of Caterpillar, Amanda Woodward, and Raein. An intertwining vocal attack, ferocious intensity, and crushingly intense melodies all make Pyramids one of my favorite bands of the past few years. I received this album too late to include it in my year end list, but if I revised it, "Following the Tracks" would be at the top. Please give this album a shot if you are at all interested in epic screamo.

Pyramids - Stationed


Monday, January 22, 2007

The Northwest

I have been out in Washington visiting relatives and colleges, here is part of my trip:

So, today was the day set aside for visiting Evergreen. more on that later. Anyways, on the way down from Bellingham, we stopped again in Seattle, and I went to the Experience Music Project. The EMP is this giant Frank Gehry designed building, with what one would assume to be a museum inside of it. Alas, there is a museum, but it is tiny, and it costs $15 with AAA dicounts...Everything they had was really cool (they had the body-manequin from the cover of Nirvana's In Utero), but there was not a lot of it. There was only one display case dedicated to Grundge, and one to Punk. They had an entire Jimi Hendrix Gallery, which was really cool. I saw one of the fragments from his Strat that he set on fire at the Monterey Pop Festival. Speaking of guitars, they had parts from a bunch of Kurt's guitars, they had one of Krist Novoselic's Ibanez Jazz Bass copies, Dave Grohl's drum kit, and Kim Thayal's, or however you spell it, Guild SG-like guitars (soundgarden's guitar player). They had two of Mark Arm's fuzz pedals! Anyways, right now I'm in the library at Evergreen. This might be the drug mecca of the world. It's like Bonnaroo on Crystal Meth. Anyways, I really like Evergreen. It comes off as being a big slacker school, but in reality it's not. A lot of the guys here are really driven. The great thing about not having a whole bunch of degrees, is that a student can use any of the college's facilities. I'm particularly interested in the film editing suite, and the studio, where Nirvana and Sleater-Kinney recorded. I'm enjoying myself quite a bit, and chances are, I'll be out here next year, so yeah, I think that's about it. I've remained sober, even though it has been very tempting to indulge myself in such primative fare.

I've recently acquired two Locust 7", both of which are amazing, and early 60's pressing of a Charlie Parker album, and Bob Dylan's John Wesley Harding, all on vinyl. Hell yes. Saturday we went and saw Kurt Cobain's house, and someone is living there...

When I get home, I will yell at Charlie and Hoang to write in this.


Tuesday, January 2, 2007

It tends to bother me when someone says "I wish I lived during the xx's"; the xx's being a variable representing whichever decade person y mentioned. I will write how this bothers me as a function of music, so as to contain my ranting and inconsistant grammer.

When you say "I wish I lived in the 60's, 70's, or 80's", the chances are that you don't really want to. The glory of living today is that we are able to find music from any decade before. If you lived in, say, 1982, and were obsessed with Minor Threat, you couldn't listen to Fugazi because they simply did not exist. As time progresses, the sheer quantity of artists naturally increases, and thus, you know, it makes more sense to wish you lived now. If you lived in the 60's and like T.Rex, well too bad, you have a few years until their greatest album, Electric Warrior comes out.

I think that, as with any decade, we feel like we are on the verge of something great. It's that generic feeling, that in most cases is complete fiction. Look at the past 7 years; musically, has anything spectacular happened? Punk Rock left the underground, America still worships bubble gum pop, etc, etc, etc... Two years ago, retro was the cool thing, with bands like Jet and Louis XIV hypothetically leading this new, great, retro revolution. Even if the whole "retro rock" suceeded, it wouldn't be anything new. Sure, I like listening to some bands that you may consider retro (Brian Jonestown Massacre, Louis XIV to name a few), but it wouldn't be anything new. It seemed as if it was a desperate movement fronted by guys who gave up on trying to create a new sound. The Beatles could have continued to be a teeny-bopper band, but instead they continuously reinvented themselves, and in each incarnation, they were still the most revolutionary band.

I'm frustratingly awaiting the revolution of a new, higher form of music. Until then...I don't know, I'll keep banging my head up against a wall.

T.Rex "Jeepster"