I Believe that Their New CD is Called Douchebags Of The Universe
I really thought that Metallica, easily the most hyper-litigious band in the history of music, had hit rock bottom when they sued Victoria’s Secret over the name of an eyeliner pencil that contained the word “Metallica” in the description of the shade. Apparently, I was incorrect in that assumption. This post from Arstechnica.com about Metallica’s management requesting that bloggers remove reviews of its newest album proves that these guys have, in fact, hit bottom and started to dig. It’s nice to see that Metallica didn’t want the reputation they earned from the Napster debacle to be forgotten.
Note: It appears that the story at the link above has been updated in Metallica’s favor!
The new CD by NYC-based psychedelic pop-electronic outfit, MGMT, is my favorite album of the year so far. That lofty classification puts it in the company of exactly one other CD, Opeth’s Watershed,, which is just insane. To me, MGMT sound like what might happen if “Waiting On A Friend”-era Mick Jagger teamed up with Beck. The songs, oh yes, they are so good, and the album is produced by Mercury Rev’s Dave Fridmann, so you know it sounds amazing. I’ve been listening to Oracular Spectacular all morning and I’m not even close to being sick of it. Every song on the CD is great but I’m particularly fond of the single, “Time to Pretend”; a combination ode to/indictment of the Rock Star Lifestyle that praises/slams everyone from Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix to members of Duran Duran. Check out the lyrics:
“I’m feeling rough, I’m feeling raw, I’m in the prime of my life.
Let’s make some music, make some money, find some models for wives.
I’ll move to Paris, shoot some heroin, and fuck with the stars.
You man the island and the cocaine and the elegant cars.
This is our decision, to live fast and die young.
We’ve got the vision, now let’s have some fun.
Yeah, it’s overwhelming, but what else can we do.
Get jobs in offices, and wake up for the morning commute.
Forget about our mothers and our friends
We’re fated to pretend
I’ll miss the playgrounds and the animals and digging up worms
I’ll miss the comfort of my mother and the weight of the world
I’ll miss my sister, miss my father, miss my dog and my home
Yeah, I’ll miss the boredom and the freedom and the time spent alone.
There’s really nothing, nothing we can do
Love must be forgotten, life can always start up anew.
The models will have children, we’ll get a divorce
We’ll find some more models, everything must run its course.
We’ll choke on our vomit and that will be the end
We were fated to pretend
Warrant, Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich
Original Release Date: March 1989
Re-Released: August 2004
Hair Metal bands were often distinguished by singers who could actually sing, and few vocalists of that era had a set of pipes rivaling that of Jani Lane. Warrant’s debut, Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich draws heavily from the members’ blues rock influences while thoroughly wallowing in pop-metal excess. The mindless pursuit of hedonism rarely sounded as beguiling as it does on the rousing “Down Boys,” while the ultra-schmaltzy ballad “Heaven” was probably the theme song of every metalhead wedding in 1989. Buttressing the excellent vocals and tight, catchy tunes are guitarist Joey Allen’s solos, which are flashy without succumbing to self-indulgent wankery. Achieving platinum sales and number-one chart status shortly before Grunge buried ‘80s Metal forever, D.R.F.S.R. closed out the final decade of Rock ‘N’ Roll decadence in high style.
– Gail Worley
Sometimes She Cries
So Damn Pretty (Should Be Against The Law)
In The Sticks
Only A Man (Demo)
All Night Long (Demo)
This article was originally written for Metal Edge Magazine. With the magazines’ dissolution, the article has been added to the content base of The Worley Gig for our readers’ enjoyment.
Initially, I was very resistant to the idea of Kentucky-based, Southern Rock Revivalists, Black Stone Cherry for two sharply pointed reasons. One being that unless a “Southern Rock” band is going to improve on Molly Hatchet’s “Flirting With Disaster” or Greg Allman’s “I’m No Angel,” why even bother? The other being that 99% of modern hard rock sounds like ass. But Black Stone Cherry come on like Soundgarden-meets-The Allman Brothers. My god, what a much needed gasp of fresh air in the vacuum! Not to mention, but you can see I am about to, their drummer, John Fred Young (check out the guy on the far left with that crazy mane of dark curly hair) is what we used to call in my day a stone solid fox. And having a little eye candy in the band never hurts.
#9. Little Answers, Earlymay
Remember back when music that passed for adult contemporary rock actually had balls? Neither do I. But if I were programming the Adult Contemporary format at radio today I’d scrap the Kelly Clarkson and Michael Bolton and flood it with songs by amazing bands like The Verve Pipe and Earlymay. Little Answers comes highly recommended if you like U2 but wish Bono would just get over himself already.
#8. Richard Butler
I wasn’t much of a fan of LoveSpitLove, former Psychedelic Furs frontman Richard Butler’s first post-Furs outting. But on Butler’s sublime debut solo excursion, he won me over with moody, soporific songs that sound like they were written by a less acid-damaged version of Julian Cope rather than a guy who was once married to notorious groupie Bebe Buell for about fifteen minutes. Downside: Abysmal cover art that makes him look like he has the plague, or something worse.
#7. All Blown Up, The Blank Stares
The Blank Stares are a band from San Francisco who contacted me through Myspace and asked if they could send me their CD. Now, I don’t want all you independent, undiscovered, unsigned, un-good bands out there to get any ideas, but if your shit sounds like The Beatles, feel free to look me up.
#6. Hot One
A Power-Quarter based in NYC that also features rock chick bass legend Emm Gryner, Hot One “observes the tradition of rock and roll as a medium for social protest, a la the Clash, Public Enemy, Psychic TV, Woody Guthrie, Minor Threat, the MC5.” I took that statement off their Myspace page. I love Hot One’s sexy glam rock/power pop amalgam (favorite cut, “Sexy Soldier”), but I also dig that they throw in a little George Bush hating on the side.
\ #5. Tunnel Vision Brilliance, Scott Reeder
Is there a serious metal head alive who doesn’t/didn’t worship Kyuss? Because if there is I want to know who they are so I beat their faces in. Former Kyuss bassist Scott Reeder is a fucking genius for making the best Pink Floyd album since Wish You Were Here. Heavy Mettle indeed.
#4. Elf Titled, The Advantage
Six Words: “Nintendo Game Theme Song Cover Band.” Nothing more needs to be said. This CD is brilliant from start to finish. And I’ve never played Nintendo in my life.
#3. Electric Satisfaction, Crash Kelly
Canadian Rockers Crash Kelly excell at producing stellar Modern Glam Trash for people like me who go out of their way to live in the past.
#2. Yeah!, Def Leppard
Seriously, how can you possibly go wrong if you’re already Def Leppard — who are, without a doubt, a genius band — and you decide to make an album of covers that includes Badfinger’s “No Matter What” and Mott The Hoople’s “Golden Age of Rock & Roll”? How can you go wrong, I ask yez?
#1. Never Hear The End of It, Sloan
I have to thank n=my buddy Frank Griggs for sending me this Sloan album on the fly when he was doing their publicity last fall, because otherwise I never would have heard the BEST ALBUM OF 2006! No amount of clever compound adjectives can fully describe how awesome this CD is. Those tasteless dicks over at Rolling Stone only gave Never Hear The End Of It three-out-of-five stars, but here’s their review:
“For more than a decade, Sloan have been big in their native Canada without even reaching Guided by Voices-level fame stateside. With thirty, count-’em, thirty songs (several of which bleed together and clock in under two minutes), their eighth studio album is a power-pop record that flows like the Minutemen’s Double Nickels on the Dime — but with glam rock and acoustic balladry in the mix.”
So just go out and buy it already.
These are some genius discs that didn’t quite make into the Top Ten, mostly because I could only fit ten selections into a list of ten. Logistics, you know.
1. Benevento Russo Duo, Play, Pause, Stop
2. Dirty Royals, Obsessed America EP
3. David Gilmour, On An Island
4. Ambulance, New English EP
5. Gosling, Here Is…
6. Hellacopters, Rock & Roll is Dead
7. American Hearthbreak
8. Barrett Martin, Earthspeaker
9. Wired All Wrong, Break Out The Battle Tapes
10. (Guilty Pleasure) Taylor Hicks
Don’t even start with me on this one. I may be a self-confessed huge fan of American Idol, but nobody was more surprised than me when I fell in love with former spazz Taylor Hick’s fake Elvis swagger and his “Takin’ It To The Streets” mock-soul funk. This album is probably the best piece of commercial “product” that the big corporate machine has crapped out since I even listened to mainstream pop radio. And thank god someone got him to dye his hair.
Back in March of last year, my friend and fellow rock journalist, Nicole, phoned me up to read me an ad she’d just seen somewhere on line. “You’ll never believe this,” she says to me – which is what she always says when she’s about to hip me to something that’s totally ridiculous. “Rolling Stone is looking for writers just out of college to intern at the magazine for some stupid Reality TV Show!
The irony is, I didn’t have any problem believing it at all.
At one point in my career, when I was kicking the ass of the rock journalism world and editors were calling me at a fairly steady clip, I spent about three years writing CD reviews for Rolling Stone online. It stung a little bit that I was never able to penetrate the print publication, but once a couple of my friends started working at RS, I got over it. One woman, an intern who eventually cracked enough breaking news stories to secure a staff writer position, left after three years of banging her head against a glass ceiling. The other, hired as an associate editor, went out of his way to champion bands that actually wrote songs and knew how to play their instruments. He was fired after a couple of years when he refused to stop writing about good bands and just cover hip-hop “artists” and faceless, flavor-of-the-week wankers. I don’t know why I was surprised, considering the fact that I was once asked to remove the word “flanged” from a CD review because the editor did not know what the word meant. Another review of mine – a 50 word-count blurb on the latest Bettie Serveert CD – never ran because another editor felt I did not make enough references in my review to the band’s seven previous releases. In a fifty word review. Right.
And let’s not forget that Rolling Stone once fired the greatest living rock critic Jim DeRogatis, because he wrote a negative review of a Hootie and The Blowfish album. I wish I were making that up. The Future of Music Journalism?
Here’s a brief encapsulation of what we’re likely in for on I’m From Rolling Stone, (Sundays at 10 PM on MTV) from Heather Havrilesky’s “I Like To Watch” column on Salon.com.
“Of course, how interesting would this show be if there were competent professionals involved? The first two episodes of I’m From Rolling Stone suggest that, just as spitty outbursts and drunken street fights are the main event on The Real World, any amusement we can find here is going to come from witnessing the flailings of young people about to bungle their first big job in a wide variety of ways. Russell, the only experienced reporter, is a smooth, intelligent interviewer and a solid writer, but he has a criminal history and it’s pretty obvious that they chose him because he appears to have a habit of slacking or quitting when the going gets tough. Krystal, a poet, not only seems likely to produce overwritten prose, but also romanticizes Rolling Stone to an extent that’s bound to make reality disappointing. Tika seems foolishly overconfident, Krishtine comes off as lazy and disrespectful, Peter seems to be a drunk, and Colin appears to have a pea-size brain and the poise of a nervous squirrel. In short, I’m From Rolling Stone is an exercise in sadism that’s so mean-spirited and condescending, it could only have been dreamed up by someone who works in the wild and wonderful world of magazines.”
Oh, awesome. Like we need another reason for people to not take journalists seriously. Honestly, this line of work is challenging enough with pathological douche bags like Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair fabricating news stories, getting fired from their respective publications and then getting book deals to reward them for their lack of character!
We don’t need Rolling Stone – a magazine I once worshipped and lionized to the point where writing for them was for many years my ultimate career goal – imbuing the TV viewing public with the indelible impression that we’re all a bunch of binge-drinking, air headed, unprofessional clowns. Jesus, way to shoot yourselves in the foot Rolling Stone!
As a special New Year’s treat, here’s a preview of my Top Ten Favorite CDs of the year, to be elaborated on in my upcoming 2005 Year End Rewind! Enjoy!
1. Crash Kelly, Penny Pills (Liquor & Poker)
When I got the advance of this album last winter, I predicted that Penny Pills would be my favorite CD of the year 2006 and, no surprise here, I was right. Embracing a full-on 70s sensibility of Alice Cooper’s School’s Out and T Rex at its most glam, Penny Pills is the only drug you need.
2. Lake Trout, Not Them, You (PALM)
Baltimore’s Lake Trout bring us acid rock for the aughts and are one of the best live bands around.
3. Kasabian, S/T (RCA)
Kasabian are such a great band I can’t even believe they’re signed to a major label, let alone RCA. Which reminds me of joke:
Q: How do you stop the spread of AIDS?
A: Let BMG distribute it.
4. Eric Anders, More Regrets (Baggage Room)
Eric Anders is an obscure, independent singer songwriter whose unaffected ability to turn a phrase and otherworldly knack for arranging transcendent, melancholy melodies would have made him superstar, you know, if records still sold based on talent.
5. Porcupine Tree, Deadwing (LAVA)
I still love the Prog rock and nobody bends the mind quite like the dark masters of the genre, Steven Wilson’s Porcupine Tree.
6. Turbonegro, Party Animals (Liquor & Poker)
What’s going on up there in Scandinavia that gives bands hailing from that part of the world such superior ass kicking power in the Rock & Roll arena? Norway’s Turbonegro might say it’s a higher tolerance for alcohol.
7. The Greenhornes, East Grand Blues EP (V2)
The Greenhornes play fuzz-toned garage rock that’s impressively faithful to the sonic hallmarks of the classic British Invasion bands (Beatles, Stones, Yardbirds) and their counterparts in the original wave of American garage rock. East Grand Blues EP completely obviates the need for The Strokes to ever make another record.
8. Fear Factory, Transgression (Liquid 8)
Managing to stay authentically dangerous without becoming a parody of itself, heavy metal juggernauts Fear Factory have in Burton Bell and Raymond Herrera the best lead vocalist and the best drummer, respectively, in the genre today.
9. Black Halos, Alive Without Control (Liquor & Poker)
My hands down favorite band to see live and, individually, my very favorite group of band dudes to hang out with, Vancouver’s Black Halos sweat Rock & Roll from every pore. I just adore them.
10. Peppers Ghost, Shake The Hand that Shook The World (Hybrid)
For about four years, I wrote a monthly column (and the ocassional short feature or cover story) for this national Indie-rock slanted music magazine that paid shit, when they even paid me, and had weird editorial guidelines like not letting writers use the word “THAT” in any reviews or articles unless it was a quote. WTF?
I put up with it for a long time because, even though the pay was next-to-nada, I could use my column to write about almost any CDs I liked and I figured the national exposure couldn’t hurt my profile. With discipline (and rigid use of the “find/replace” feature in Word) I eventually learned to write without using the word “THAT” even when it made no sense, knowing the magazine would just take the word out anyway, indiscriminately, for their own twisted reasons. The thing is, after four years of this bullshit, I just got sick and tired of having my work ruined. Not to yank my own chain here, but I’m a pretty decent writer. I’ve got nothing against an editor tightening up a feature article or fact checking any of my investigative reporting, but — jesus god! — leave a 250 word CD review the fuck alone, will ya?
I resigned from that magazine last month and, along with the day I bailed on AOL, it was one of the happiest recent days of my life. Since they ruined the last column I wrote (and my friend Frank is all over my ass to add some new stuff to this blog) I decided to reprint two of that column’s reviews here. So they could run free…although I think the word “THAT” is still missing.
Mondo Generator, A Drug Problem That Never Existed
The many and varied side-projects perpetuated by members of Queens of The Stoneage progress along their merry madcap way with the release of the sophomore CD from Mondo Generator. As the three-steps -to-the-right-of-Mr-Bungle spawn of Queens’ guitarist Josh Homme and bassist Nick Oliveri, A Drug Problem That Never Existed(on Mike Patton’s Ipecac records), provides a bit more of a challenging listen than the latest release from label mates, Tomahawk. Nevertheless, the album is not without its unique and special charm. A Drug Problem That Never Existedreunites Nick and Josh with former Kyuss bandmate, drummer Brant Bjork and QOTSA guitarist Dave Catching, adding a little yin energy from chick bassist, Molly Maguire (earthlings?, Yellow #5). Everyone does his or her best to make this aural trip to the loony bin one you won’t soon be forgetting.
From the acoustic, pseudo-folk ballads (“All I Can Do,” “Day I Die”) to Tazmanian Devil-inspired art punk (“F.Y. I’m Free”) listening to this album made me wonder what the hell was going through the mind of whoever wrote “Girl’s Like Christ,” and just what do the lyrics, “Do the headright, baby” even mean? Stick around after Mark Lanegan’s sublime appearance as guest vocalist on “Four Corners,” for a hilariously deadpan commercial promotion of upcoming Ipecac label releases — which may or may not be a joke. Mondo Generator is mainly a studio project, but the group has been known to play random live dates, including a recent NYC slot opening for Tomahawk. Should the band schedule a live performance anywhere near your vicinity, it is recommended you do whatever it takes to make the show. Co-produced by infamous nut job/instigator of the controversial, Blag Dahlia of The Dwarves, A Drug Problem that Never Existeddelivers fourteen more reasons why Rehab is for quitters.
Mensen, Oslo City
Since the apparent disappearance of The Lunachicks and L7, the premature demise of the truly brilliant Betty Blowtorch, and realizing Kittie just plain suck,The Donnas have done an admirable job of spearheading the Chicks Who Rock Like Guys movement. But let’s face the music and dance here: one spin of Oslo City, the sophomore LP from Norwegian garage rockers, Mensen, will quickly separate the girls from the grrrls. Okay, so the band is technically three chicks and a guy –- just like late great British upstarts, Kenickie –- with the inclusion of bassist Rambling Roy. But from the first few seconds of Mary Currie’s bratty vocals and Christine Sixteen (awesome name)’s fierce guitar attack on “Keep Up!,” it’s clear the ladies are running the show. Not to slight the guys at all: Roy’s solid bass backbone and Oslo City’s co-production courtesy of Nicke Anderssen — of Mensen’s GearHead Records label mates, The Hellacopters — add to the band’s serious balls factor. And it’s all good in Oslo City, where the rock slows down once or twice but never, ever stops as Mensen mix and match rock styles with equal finesse. “Bosnia” is as heartfelt and sentimental as a Shangri-La’s tune from the 50’s, while “Piece of My Heart” captures a 70’s punk energy to rival Black Flag’s “Nervous Breakdown.” With the relentlessly tuneful yet ass-kicking ferocity of “Start Over Again” and “One Way Street,” Mensen revs up the hotrod rock, leaving Sahara Hot Nights to eat its dust.