Jokes! Episode 4: Marc Maron, Thinky Pain

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Marc Maron is another comedian/artist that I should be into but never took the chance. Much like Hannibal Buress’ latest (That I recently reviewed here), I finally took the plunge and, boy, am I glad that I did. Besides Maron’s appearance in Mike Birbiglia’s Sleepwalk With Me and a friend of mine raving about his WTF podcast on a semi-daily basis I know nothing about the man except that apparently he’s awesome. Does Thinky Pain prove that theory? It definitely does.

Recorded at Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village, Thinky Pain sees Maron flying by the seat of his pants with a set that he seemingly makes up as he goes. And it works.  Beginning with a story about following a set by the legendary Bill Hicks, Maron scores laugh after laugh with his acerbic wit and timing. Navigating from stories focusing on using a girlfriends hangover as an excuse to satisfy a need to purchase Captain Beefheart vinyl, meeting a mystical buddha waiting in line for a burrito (After purchasing said vinyl), and his thought process when formulating ideas for jokes which leads to a great bit on autoerotic asphyxiation and ultimately, more laughs.

Then there’s Maron noting how judgmental he can be (“Fuck those shorts!”) and connecting being on the “Morning Zoo” (You need to listen to know what that is) to the Zombie Apocalypse. As a mid-30 year old a lot of Maron’s jokes really struck a chord in my funny bone but after listening to Thinky Pain it’s apparent that his humor transcends generations and it’s definitely worth checking out.

Thinky Pain is available now through Comedy Central Records at all fine digital retailers or you can go old school and pick up the vinyl version here.

 

Slighter invite you to listen to the Science Of Noise on latest.

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Like a mixture of cEvin Key’s Download project, The Prodigy, and Massive Attack infused with Front Line Assembly’s immense soundscape, Los Angeles’ Slighter take everything that’s great about electronic music in 2014 to another level on their latest.

Drum ‘n’ bass is alive and well in 2014  as almost opener “Above Ground” proves (“Losing Time” which officially opens the album gives only a slight glimpse of what’s to come). Filled with enough beats to guarantee you get your groove on and some subtle guitar lines to enhance the mood, this track is just the tip of the masterpiece iceberg on Science Of Noise.

If Massive Attack was consistently putting out records (Heligoland came out when?) or Tricky was still in Maxinquaye mode then “Caught Up” featuring Nica Brooke would be their jam with its sinister piano chords building to a massive (pun intended) beats-driven finale with Brookes’ angelic vocals floating above.

“Last Light” (featuring Wolftek) is this beautiful sonic excursion that’s equal parts Skinny Puppy creepy combined with Daft Punk’s Tron: Legacy score while “ReSet” ups the ante on expectations as to what a dance floor anthem should sound like. Later still, the pairing of the jaw-dropping body moving “Wrecked (Featuring Risk Letter)” (On par with some of The Prodigy’s best tunes) with the tweaker meets UNKLE vibe of “Deadly (Featuring Simon Latham)” is enough reason why Science Of Noise is a vital part of your music collection.

Science Of Noise is available now through Amazon and Itunes but if you like what you hear, head on over to Slighter’s bandcamp page for the deluxe edition.

 

King Buzzo goes solo on This Machine Kills Artists!

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Worshipped by Nirvana (Thanked by both Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic at Nirvana’s recent HOF induction) and Isis among others, championed by Tool, The Melvins have followed their own rules since day one. Whether bucking trends by incessantly releasing albums whenever they want (Two last year, the trilogy between 1999 and 2000), trading lineup’s every other recording (Melvins (lite) for Freak Puke, 2013’s Tres Cabrones with original drummer Mike Dillard, the Big Business lineup…), or attempting world record-breaking tours (Playing 51 dates in 51 States in 51 days!), The Melvins has only proven that you never know what’s coming next.

Which brings us to the following: the release of mainman Buzz Osborne’s solo album, This Machine Kills Artists. It’s Buzz and a guitar. That’s it. If you’re looking for some metal sludgery or crazy riffage or general zaniness then you’ve come to the wrong place. Probably the most out there thing about This Machine… is how straightforward the album is as a whole.

In any case, it’s really good and shows off yet another side of Osborne. That’s not to say the album is filled with country sing-a-longs or Ryan Adams’ brand of introspective tunage. At the core, This Machine… is still Buzz Osborne being Buzz Osborne albeit a quieter version (sometimes).

Fans of his already will be bopping their heads along immediately when “Dark Brown Teeth” begins the 17-track LP. From there the many faces of Osbourne are on display. “Rough Democracy”  and “The Ripping Driving” are upbeat (For Buzz) little ditties while “Laid Back Walking” is a downtrodden Melvins-esque jam. Throughout the proceedings, Osborne displays his outstanding songwriting which further proves why he’s still one of the most prolific and versatile songwriters today.

If you’re already a Melvins/Buzz Osborne fan then it’s a no-brainer that you should pick this up. For all the rest of you googling “Who is Buzz Osborne?” after Krist Novoselic’s HOF speech, This Machine Kills Artists is your answer.

This Machine Kills Artists is available through Ipecac Recordings on June 3rd. Pre-order it here and be sure to head on over to (the) Melvins FB page to see where you can catch Buzz playing this summer.

What’s In A Name? Steak offer up some Corned Beef Colossus on latest EP!

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John Garcia recently revealed that he recorded some vocals for a band called Steak. Being a Garcia/Kyuss/Vista Chino/Slo Burn/Hermano fan, the news piqued my interest and I am happy to report that the music world is about to explode once they get a taste of Steak.

On their most recent (May 2013) release, Corned Beef Colossus, London’s Steak offer up some sumptuous sounds that are bound to fill your ear holes with delight. “Black Milk” opens the 5-track EP with Pepper Keenan-era COC swamp boogie giving way to some fuzzed out Blues For The Red Sun riffage and feels on the, ahem, colossal “Liquid Gold”. Vocalist Kippa is one of those truly exceptional vocalists. Switching from some blues-filled swagger (“Black Milk”) to some fierce growls (“Glanshammar”), Kippa delivers a performance that’s easily worth the price of admission.

That’s not to say the rest of Steak slack at all. The aforementioned “Liquid Gold” is an epic six and half minute masterpiece showcasing Reece’s intense guitar playing while “Acid Dave” hits that Kyuss sweet spot and sets up Cam and Sammy as this generations Reeder and Bjork (Sorry Nick!).

Corned Beef Colossus is available now through Steak’s bandcamp page. Get yours here. For more on Steak and info about their upcoming release, check them out on Facebook here.

 

Untitled Metal Column: Volume 4 (Godflesh, Decline & Fall)

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The news on the new Godflesh front was becoming increasingly quiet and I was wondering if A World Lit Only By Fire was ever going to see the light of day. I can only imagine that Godflesh must have sensed my concerns (Obviously!) because not only has their new album been slated for a Fall 2014 release but, to tide fans over, they’ll also be releasing an EP entitled Decline & Fall on June 2nd.

This is what you’ve been waiting for kiddies! The first new Godflesh material in 13 years (Along with the cover of Slaughter’s “F.O.D.” released as part of Decibel’s Flexi Series late last year) is here and it’s everything you hoped and dreamed for. Didja like Streetcleaner but prefer the vocal stylings a little more polished a la Selfless? Well, it looks like you got your wish here because opener “Ringer” reeks of both albums.

Want your Godflesh even more aggressive? Justin K. Broadrick’s bark is absolutely seething on “Dogbite” while “Playing With Fire” drones on with industrial aplomb. If you want the full experience, though, turn your ears towards the title track, “Decline And Fall”, which brings equal parts intensity and slight glimpses towards what the future of Godflesh hold.

If you’re feeling nostalgic for early Godflesh then Decline & Fall is sure to get you going and hyped for the upcoming full-length. It’s a nod to the past with a solid foot in the future and, hopefully, a vision of what’s to come this fall.

Decline & Fall is available through Avalanche Records on June 2nd. Get a copy here and here. North American fans can get their copy on bandcamp now.

Untitled Metal Column: Volume 3 (Prong, Ruining Lives)

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Prong can do no wrong in my book and, to be honest, I’m just happy they still exist because there seemed to be a time where that might not be the case anymore (Happily, that reality is in the distant past). Not only is Prong reinvigorated after 2012’s jaw dropping Carved Into Stone but the band has bounced back with one of the quickest turnarounds for a new studio album ever (For Prong, anyway).

The result is Ruining Lives which is undoubtedly more straightforward and more vicious than its predecessor. Probably the greatest surprise to be found on Ruining Lives is the amount of melody found within. Sure, it’s Prong through and through but RL succeeds the most when it takes the elements that made Carved Into Stone so great and experiments further. Where as CIS experimented with song structure, RL focuses instead on mastermind Tommy Victor using his voice in another way: to actually sing! Sure, the snarls and sneers are still there but the overall vocal presence on this one suggests a more mature Victor as lead vocalist.

For every thrasher like “The Barriers” and “The Book Of Change” (And boy, are those two thrashy!) there’s a pummeling song like “Windows Shut” with a chorus that’s just out of this world for Prong. Or take “Remove, Separate Self” which combines all the shredding Prong is synonymous for with another chorus that makes the song destined to be the next great crowd pleaser . Producer Steve Evetts returns once again to craft this next Prong classic along with new members Art Cruz and Jason Christopher on drums and bass, respectively.

Ruining Lives triumphs and strengths (Which is the whole of the album) also further proves why Victor is a staple when it comes to new albums by legendary personalities like Glenn Danzig and Al Jourgensen and why he has constantly served as a mentor for so many young musicians because at this point, and with the bass/drum revolving door within, Prong IS Tommy Victor. Prong band camp perhaps?

Ruining Lives is available now everywhere. Get your copy here now!

 

Jokes! Episode 3: Patton Oswalt, Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time

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Let’s get one thing straight: I love Patton Oswalt. Not in the crazy way Paul Aufiero loved the NY Giants in Big Fan but in a totally platonic “he’s a cool guy” sort of way. I proudly wore a “sadness bowl” badge on my lanyard for work after Werewolves & Lollipops came out. He inspired a fun-filled night of drinking and Death Bed as well because of that album! Currently I enjoy his stints on Justified and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.E.L.D  as I wear my Shirts And Destroy tee with an Oswalt quote about the Boston Marathon Bombers (I don’t really wear the shirt while watching shows he’s on, just wanted to mention I own it).

That said, stand up comedy-wise I fell out of love with Oswalt when Warner Bros. snatched him up and he released My Weakness Is Strong in 2009. I don’t know what it was about that album but it didn’t seem to have the bite of his previous efforts. Cut to today and his latest album, Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time, and Patton has won me back. Back on Comedy Central Records since 2011’s Finest Hour and being a newer Dad has done wonders for the man and his comedic stylings.

Here, Oswalt’s notorious wit is in full effect as he talks about being an equally great and awful Dad, what adorable racism is, and being an undercover comedian to catch prostitutes (Not really). He also shares why you should or shouldn’t live in Maine, Florida, and Berlin (Apologies to those who already live there). And that just barely scratches the surface of Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time, a brilliant return to form by Oswalt.

Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time is available now everywhere! Try Amazon or Itunes or go right to the source at Comedy Central.

 

Kristen Ford bids Boston adieu at the Middle East on May 24th!

download Courage comes in many forms. There’s facing your fears head on, quitting a job you hate to take care of your kids, running into a burning building while others run away, or leaving behind the city you know and love to live in a van and tour full time. While those are some extreme ends of the courage spectrum, it’s the latter that we’re talking about today because that’s scary and that takes a lot of courage. Which is what brings us to Boston’s own Kristen Ford who will be saying goodbye to Boston for a while but not before gracing us with one last show at the Middle East (Tonight!) which also serves as a record release for her new album, Dinosaur.

 

For over four years Kristen Ford has been a staple of the Boston indie rock scene. Whether singing the national anthem at Fenway, playing all over the area with her band or organizing various queer dance parties or open mics, Kristen has constantly given back to the place she calls home. On Dinosaur, Ford is poised to break out of Boston and conquer the world. Just listen to her subtle vocoder vox on “El Camino” that breaks into cries of “Music’s gonna save my soul” or the soul scorching guitar cries that complement Ford’s heartfelt words on “Be Your Girl” and tell me that Dinosaur isn’t an album destined for great things. If ever an album was meant to be taken live on the road cross country, it was this one.

 

Produced by Jesse Ciarmataro (AKA Quill, who will be one of the support acts this evening along with Goli and the George Woods Band) and Dan Cardinal at Dimension Sounds in Jamaica Plain, Dinosaur will be available at the show tonight. However, if you’re impatient you can grab it over on bandcamp now When you get tired of Boston Calling (And you will!), head on over to the Middle East in Cambridge to say goodbye to Kristen and wish her luck (And maybe buy some merch, too?). Doors are at 6:30 (18+, $10) and tickets are available here. For more on Kristen Ford, head on over here and here.

 

Front Line Assembly rules all, releases remix album ECHOES!

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Let it be known that I do not like remix albums. At all. Of my favorite artists to do so, there’s only a handful that I find tolerable (Nine Inch Nails’ Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D, Death From Above 1979’s Romance Bloody Romance: Remixes & B-Sides immediately come to mind). I guess I just tend to like the originals more and I’m usually just impatient waiting for another studio album. That said, with a remix artist roster like the one Front Line Assembly has but together for ECHOES, the remix companion to last year’s ECHOGENETIC, my skepticism has been quelled because this is a remix album that’s actually worth a damn.

It doesn’t get much better than this line up: Former FLA-er Rhys Fulber, upstarts Youth Code, Cyanotic, tweaker, and the indomitable force that is Primitive Race are just a few of the artists reinterpreting songs from Bill Leeb, Jeremy Inkel, and Jared Slingerland’s latest opus.

Doing a track-by-track would be a disservice to ECHOES as the the album needs to be experienced as a whole but I will say that it really hits the sweet spot and kicks into high gear when Blush Response’s (Joey Blush of Scar The Martyr) version of “Echogenetic” strikes. Then you get Henrik Blackstrom’s “Exhale”, HECQ’s “Prototyp”, Slighter’s “Leveled”…what I’m saying is, listen to it! It’s epic and undeniably Front Line Assembly at the core.

Did I mention that ECHOES also features two BRAND NEW SONGS? Well, it does! Co-written by Sneaker Pimps’ (Gone, but not forgotten!) Ian Pickering, “Contagion” which opens the album is the result if Delerium and FLA were to make an album together (And yes, I know what the connection is there) while “Next War” is a heavy dance track more in tone with last year’s ECHOGENETIC without the dubstep.

You can get all this and more if you shell out for the digital version of ECHOES on Itunes which features 4 bonus tracks or go with the standard edition which is also available now through Metropolis Records.

 

Tomboy slows down on “Hang Out”, further teasing upcoming EP.

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“Hang Out” might be a slow burn compared to last single “Roll Out” but shows the range of things to come on Tomboy’s upcoming EP, due this summer.

William Shore’s brilliant beats and beautiful synths create a spacious sonic landscape that serves as the backdrop for Sarah Aument’s breathy, enticing vocals. Aument hints at even greater things previewing a smooth cadence early on in “Hang Out” that gives a slight Beyonce vibe (Hey, Beyonce is a great singer!).

If “Roll Out” got you excited for Tomboy then “Hang Out” will only further your obsession with Tomboy.

Listen to “Hang Out” below and stay tuned for more details on Tomboy’s upcoming EP.