duminică, 23 ianuarie 2011

Trent Reznor: "No wonder people steal music" and the Fragile revisited

I caught this tidbit off of the NINHotline recently. Trent's last blogpost made it into a Digg article and attraced so much attention that the dudes (Alex Albrecht and Kevin Ross) over at Diggnation featured it in one of their podcasts. They do a fabulous job summing up Trent's views of music file sharing, his disapproval of how the record industry openly screw over fans, etc. Basically, the post backs up just how much Trent gets how this generation of music listeners function. Up yours, Lars! Poop on a stick indeed.

Like I've said so many times...TRENT LOVES US (and of course we love Trent too.) See, it's one big appreciation orgy.

Anyhow, this gives me a good excuse to post about a NIN album that came out in 1999. I've been wanting to revisit the Fragile for some time now. I can see all the NINers rolling their heavily made up eyes at me all in unison right now, but I have to say it is definitively my favorite NIN album of all time. I do love Downward Spiral but just 1st half in all honesty and I think heavy rotation of some of the songs on the radio while growing up causes me to not play TDS all that often at home. Sounding incredibly trite, I'll go ahead and say The Fragile has aged like a fine wine revelaing it's complexities with each listen. It's taken me several years to even bother with analysing the lyrics because music itself is so intricate. Add to that Trent's confessions of drug and alcohol abuse during the album and the liner notes suddenly take on a whole new meaning.

I'll admit, I'm kind of a heel when it comes to talking about Trent's lyrics. I think it has to do with the AAA or ABABABABA rhyming scheme and over use of the words: fade away, believe, echo, hands and knees, skin, deep(er), eye...you get the picture, but fundamentally he's better than most, so I'll shut the fuck up. Surprisingly when I did take a gander at the lyrics for the song "Even Deeper" (one of the best off of the massive 2 disc album) I found well written prose:

I woke up today
To find myself in the other place
With a trail of my footprints
From where I ran away
It seems everything Ive heard
Just might be true
And you know me
(well you think you do)
Sometimes, I have everything-
Yet I wish I felt something

Do you know how far this has gone?
Just how damaged have I become?
When I think I can overcome
It runs even deeper

In in a dream Im a different me
With a perfect you
We fit perfectly
And for once in my life I feel complete-
And I still want to ruin it
Afraid to look
As clear as day
This plan has long been underway

I hear them call
I cannot stay
The voice inviting me away

Do you know how far this has gone?
Just how damaged have I become?
When I think I can overcome
It runs even deeper
Everything that matters is gone
All the hands of hope have withdrawn
Could you try to help me hang on?
It runs...

Im straight
I wont crack
On my way
And I cant turn back
Im okay
Im on track
On my way
And I cant turn back
I stayed
On this track
Gone too far
And I cant come back
I stayed
On this track
Lost my way
Cant come back

In the spirit of sharing music, I've got a link to one of my favorite NIN songs off of one of the "rare" singles, We're in This Together Now pt. 3 which I believes goe for the low low price of $89.99 used on Amazon.com at the moment. It's a fucking sexy track with a groovy beat and heavy base. Hearing Trent harshly whisper "Give it to me..." makes me weak in the knees every single time, let me tell ya!

Live at Elysium with Chant

It was an apocalyptic night anyhow - weather not withstanding, my husband was actually going out with us to see Chant! All that storming and lightning though, it was hard to not feel charged up already, so it was kind of a bummer that when we got there, the club was pretty dead. It was early though, so there was still hope.

The opening act had come all the way from Brownsville, which, if you're not a Texan you've quite possibly never heard of ... for me, having grown up in Corpus and visited Brownsville a few times, it was kinda surreal getting to see Sin D.N.A. up there with their Macbook and keyboard, rockin' out hardcore. Didn't go with my memories of Brownsville to be sure, and props to them for that! Fortunately, more people seemed to arrive during the set - I'd been worried for them that they'd be playing to a rain-dead crowd after traveling so far.
But really, Chant was what I'd been waiting ... god at that point what, three weeks to see? And just watching everyone setting things up for his show was a sight to behold - I pointed out to my husband that some nights, that's as entertaining as the performances themselves when someone has enough gear and enough people running around with it. You get to recognizing faces, as so many people in the local scene are friends and help each other out, you spot folks from other bands helping haul gear about, and it's really very heartwarming - I like that there's cross pollination going on, not just tiny little insular circles of divadom! Makes me happy. I didn't stop to count the drums as they loaded up the stage, but I couldn't figure out where there was still going to be room for Bradley when they were done. Yeah, there were that many.

Mmmm but the show started, and I was right out there up front row with Ms. Adzuki and a few other folks, dancing to the pounding beat. See, I have a major weakness for drumming ... I've been to more than a few drum circles and bonfires, so it's safe to say I had pretty high expectations going into this. It was awesome though - the pounding sound tripped that tribal earth momma switch and I proceeded to thrash myself into an asthma attack... not that I let a little thing like THAT stop me. *grin* A brief break and I was back up front, back in the thick of the rhythm, dancing in ways I usually reserve for the privacy of my living room (probably much to the chagrin of my downstairs neighbors). The only thing I found myself wanting for the whole night was maybe an ashiko or a djembe or one of those great big taiko drums, but I'll be damned if I have any idea where he could have put even one more skin with all the other drums on stage.

At one point, Bradley made a nod to the other bands playing that night, commenting that the last band of the evening would "make everyone want to have sex." I laughed, because the mad power of the drums, visually and audially overwhelming me, already had me *quite* hot and bothered, and I couldn't imagine anyone else really topping that. There was this one beautiful moment, in fact, where Bradley came over to where the buckets and satellite dish were rigged and started wailing on them, and I happened to be right in front of that set. Water, whether deliberatly there or leftover from the pouring rain outside, spattered out and all over me, and I about fell over right there. It was this wonderfully organic, visceral moment you can only get from live performance. I can still feel it, cold droplets of water hitting my burning skin and practically steaming off me, I'd been dancing so hard. Rawr!

I sent the hubby to get cash so I could buy the Chant: Beginnings CD and the DVD he had out for sale, and I love them, but oh man, it's nothing compared to the live show. Chant is actually about to go on a tour in Florida with a few stops on the way this month, and if he's near you, GO. Sincerely. And dress light and flexible, 'cause you're going to want to be able to *move* for this one. And when the show's over, see if you can catch up with Mr. Bradley B. He's an absolute sweetheart of a man, a real treat to talk with if you get the chance. I kept thinkin' how I was kinda sorry I didn't have a silver Sharpie with me, I'd have gotten him to sign my black Chuck Taylors, seeing as how he'd gotten them moving so much, I thought maybe he'd been playing them, too.

(Included photo by Olivia, from Chant's MySpace pics. Someday I'll get my Sidekick to take a decent picture I can use!)

Via Satellite: Cities are Temples

My friend Shawn has the best taste in music, so when he tells me to check out a band, I know it'll be good. I was suprised to learn that 2 of the members are from The Album Leaf another band I recently learned of that I really dig (I first heard of them when I watched the Moog Documentary...and congrats to Tim Reese on his recent marriage to longtime girlfriend Jennifer, BTW.)

Be sure to read their profile on the CD Baby page. They're very frank about the growing pains this group experienced when they first started up and I think this has a lot to do with why the words "intelligent" and "poignant" are often associated with them. There's a quote from the Tim Reece, the drummer:

"The hype was never what brought people to this band, it was the music."

I have to agree because up until my friend Shawn mentioned Via Satellite, I had never heard of them and yet, I purchased the album Cities are Temples immedately after hearing their 30 second song clips on CD Baby.

Here's Shawn's review:
I think this is a really great band. They've got a really cool, laid back, "intellectual"
electronica sound - it reminds me somewhat of David Bowie's Heathen album. According to their biography, they're a trio: an ex-minister, a lit major, and an artist/psychologist. Sounds like an interesting combination of folks to me.

The Poem Adept: Songs for the Long Lonely Drive

I'm a relative newcomer to Found Magazine having only discovered the website a few monts ago. I have, however, been a huge fan of Post Secret for some time though, so you can imagine my excitement when I realized the two fellows who started their respective projects, Davy Rothbart and Frank Warren, were coming through my town for a lecture. I had a blast at the event, but what was unexpected was a performance by Davy Rothbart's brother, Peter Rothbart of The Poem Adept.

Peter, who has a gentle vox similar to Paul Taylor and performed on acoustic guitar, writes a lot of songs inspired by found objects. Sometimes he even incorporates the written text on the various notes in these finds into his lyrics. The finished product is often poignant and sensitive. Somethimes they're rip roaringly funny. For instance, one of the songs he performed was a "cover" of "The Booty Don't Stop" (you can hear the original song and even purchase a CD version off of the Found website). This was adapted from a cassette tape found in Ypsilanti, Michigan that belonged to an aspiring rapper named Tim Schreiber. Whether Tim is flattered or mortified, I'm not sure... Let me tell you, people were rolling on the floor laughing their heads off with this one.

PAIL: The Last Soundtrack

I can tell you the first time I listened to PAIL's new CD The Lost Soundtrack I was very shocked to discover it was a home recording. This is a fantastic sounding album that's well mixed and produced professionally. The 10 songs feature adept guitar work, head-banging concert friendly tunes and soaring harmonies. Unlike many bands out there, I am happy to report that the album yields a fair representation of what the band sound like live. Furthermore, the album itself contains 2 quicktime movie videos.

If you like groups like Killing Joke, Ministry or Motorhead, you'll probably love PAIL. Frankly, if you've got any leanings towards goth rock, punk or metal, you'll enjoy these guys. I personally think the sound construction is similar Lacuna Coil with the female harmonies and they cite Filter as an influence, but frankly, Mike Titsworth has a much richer deeper vox than those two.

The lyrical content is definitely noteworthy and I'm glad they're included them the liners. Morgan and Titsworth are able to conjure interesting imagery through their words urging the listener to track back and reinterpret the possible alternate meanings. Take the song "Bitter End" for instance:

The bitter end was sweet like the fruit that fell from the trees
Meat from the apple had rotten away, dusted the breeze
And from this end came seeds that would later lay flowers at her feet
Everything that I've heard heard about fresh start tears me apart
because all my fears approach as the bitter end nears
I'll tell you why
You wonder why I break my heart?
So you won't die
I wonder how a fresh start could open our eyes and make us realize
Just a kiss for the kids
Time waits for no one
and that end was this
Just a kiss to set her free from the likes of me

Band Members:
Benjamin Morgan - Guitar
Mike Titsworth -Vox, Guitar
Rachel Titsworth - Keyboard, Vox
Brad Schumerbeck - Drums
Shannon Deane - Bass
Russell McCoy - Guitar

Upcoming Shows:
July 20th @ 10pm Red Eye Fly (Austin, TX)
August 24 @ 10pm Elysium (Austin, TX)

Listen to:
"The Bitter End"
"The Line"

PAIL performing an older song called "New" live:

PAIL's official website (you can purchase albums through their official website)
PAIL's Myspace
PAIL's Garage Band Profile

(photo by Ricardo Acevedo)

Before I'm 100% done with this post, let me vent a bit...

It's took me a while to write up this review because of the circumstances surrounding my experience with PAIL's release of The Last Soundtrack. Although the concert surrounding the release was entertaining, it was entertaining and energy packed for all the wrong reasons. Fortunately, that had nothing to do with the band's performance (which was darn good given what they had to work with).


There, I said it.

Now, I don't know the whole story surrounding why the usual sound guy wasn't there, but as an outsider I was definitely a little vexed. Not only is it unfair for the band, it makes the venue seem unprofessional and ill prepared, pisses off an ass load of fans and makes the musicians cranky, fucking nervous and/or livid. The release extravaganza at Elysium was on June 15th and PAIL was the headliner with two supporting acts that are in my top 10 list of Austin Bands, Chant and subNatural. which would have been a phenomenal experience. But given that sound check didn't end until 9:45pm and SubNatural was supposed to go on at 10:00, the show was delayed by a full hour. Furthermore, Chant didn't even get a sound check which baffles me given the complexity of the multiple percussion rigs. I would imagine they're not that easy to mic. This oversight led to Bradley only being able to hear a screeching loud version of himself and himself only through the right channel of his IEM, which doesn't quite work when your show is dependent on precision and the need to hear a backing track. Well shit...you can imagine tempers were flying and things were tense. The audience was right there with the musicians emotionally the whole way through though.

How did they handle all of this?

Sammi will probably give more detail at some point, but Bradley/Chant took the angry route, banging on his cans with more ferocity than ever and yelling at the sound guy to fix the levels on his IEM while still playing, SubNatural just made the best of things and eventually the lead, Ritch, went off and took matters into his own hands and usurped the sound booth. PAIL laughed things off despite the fact that the first 2 songs of the set were laden with feedback, the bass kept cutting in and out, and no one could hear Mike's vox.

I have to say though, the line "My x-girlfriend got fucked in the nose by a monkey" caught me off guard while he yammered with the audience. We all got fucked in the nose, so to speak, but you know these are seasoned performers when they can take a bad situation and turn it into something memorable.