With all the beautiful debuts, great returns, and stellar collaborations this year, I’m still baffled by people who complain about the current state of music. I couldn’t even cover all of 2015’s great releases, but here are the ones I listened to and loved the most.
Unless otherwise noted, each album is linked to its Bandcamp page so you can have a listen and support the artists, if you are so inclined.
Deafheaven New Bermuda (ANTI-): Let’s not kid ourselves, when a band does a record as good as Sunbather (Deathwish, 2013), …
Opinions often vary widely on the most important bands and records of any era, but only a few dare dispute the reign of Slayer and their thrash watermark Reign in Blood (Def Jam, 1986). There has always been a weird rift between punk and metal, but thrash was the first sub-genre to draw heavily from both. The two major movements have since spawned such tributaries as grindcore, metalcore, murdercore, power violence, and various strains of post-metal. “What do you think would get a bigger reaction: a Minor Threat cover or …
In honor of the release of Slayer‘s new record, World Painted Blood, I interpolated the old Sherwin-Williams “Cover the Earth” logo. I was always reminded of this design by the title “World Painted Blood,” so here it is:
I entered the design into their World Painted Blood photo contest. You can see it on the Slayer site here.
Slayer’s World Painted Blood comes out on November 3rd.
There is no other metal band that compares to Slayer. No other band has been together as long, destroyed as much stuff, ripped as hard, nor kept their collective foot so heavy on the pedal. Slayer has never let up. Ever.
I finally got to see them wreck shit live on stage at the Mayhem Festival on August 14th in San Antonio, Texas. Thanks to Matt and Nate Bailie, whom I’ve known since the ninth grade, I can now die happy. The set list included “Psychopathy Red” from their forthcoming World …
Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.
The line above has been attributed to several voices — Elvis Costello, Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, and Lester Bangs, among others — but if the roof is on fire, I say we dance. Continuum’s 33 1/3 Series, helmed by the insightful and inimitable David Barker, is good books all about good records. Not just “good” records, but records that changed the face of music in one way or another — records that set the roof aflame, and the two I just read — …
As much as I think it’s cool that I can update a tiny piece of text on my website from my phone (that little speech bubble on the right side), I’m still wondering and exploring what kind of utility Twitter and its ilk are really offering. I often find my friends’ posts mildly interesting — especially when viewed over time — but “mildly interesting” does not a useful communication tool make.
Brian Tunney conducted this interview with me for the impecable DIG BMX Magazine. Here’s an excerpt: “The impetus behind frontwheeldrive.com remains to collect and spread the word about cultural artifacts and the people that make them. I try not to limit the subject matter anymore because I view the mind as an ecology. For any ecology to grow and flourish, it needs diversity. New stuff comes not from the well-defined fields, but from the interaction between them. Allowing theorists, artists, BMXers, musicians, skateboarders, etc. to rub shoulders, frontwheeldrive.com attempts to …
“Big wheel, big spin, big money, no whammies
Don’t save me a seat when you get to the Grammys” — nomadboy
So, against my better judgment, I watched the Grammys the other night. This viewing experiment reminded me both of how much I love music and how far away my tastes are from “Grammy material.” I made a quick trip to Lou’s Records in Encinitas, California prior to the show, and my purchases there should prove more than my point.
For the past three years, Thirsty Ear’s Blue Series has been quietly building an arsenal of some of the most interesting collaborations available on wax. They’ve teamed up their Blue Series Continuum jazz band with innovative rappers, producers, and musicians including Antipop Consortium, El-P, DJ Wally, Saul Williams, Meat Beat Manifesto, and DJ Spooky, among many others. The results are neither Hip-hop nor Jazz, but ride the lines between those and several other genres.
“Our mission is to put the fear back into hardcore,” says stern Kiss It Goodbye guitarist Keith. Rarely does a band actually scare me, but given these guys’ varied backgrounds — believe me, no one is safe.
“Two of us were in Deadguy, three from Rorscach, one from Die 116, one from No Escape, and one from a German band called Ambush,” Keith says of this four-piece. He added it all up for me, but I couldn’t explain it to someone else even if I wanted to.
“Very, very few things come …