Mazzy Star – “California”

Mazzy StarYou might be aware that I’ve been on an aggressive music spree as of late — more or less influenced by the stuff I was working on as a writer at Alarm up until recently, which was some of the mathiest, metalliest, screamiest music I’ve been exposed to since my college roommate was a fan of Scandinavian metal. But now, a slice of life from my high school days arrives in the form of a new Mazzy Star track and a new Mazzy Star album — their first in 17 years. No, I wasn’t actually in high school when Among My Swan came out in 1996, but I was when I discovered their minor radio hit “Fade Into You” as well when Hope Sandoval launched the Warm Inventions project with Colm Ó Cíosóig of My Bloody Valentine. MBV was another of my favorites, both then and now. The connections were there, and I made them swiftly.
Continue reading

Spotlight: Torture

Metallica - Kill 'Em All

Megaforce; 1983

The headlines across the globe yesterday were lit up with news of Pope Benedict XVI’s impending resignation, but on U.S. networks, another interesting story appeared, which concerned the man from SEAL Team 6 who fired the shots that killed Osama bin Laden. The online publication of Esquire‘s sprawling 15,000-word feature is the first time the “Shooter” has told his side of the story, and its details make for an interesting read to say the least.

One of the more minor details of the article jumped out at me. About halfway through, the Shooter mentions interrogation tactics, which, although he insists they were non-violent, did involve Metallica possibly at their thrashiest:

When we first started the war in Iraq, we were using Metallica music to soften people up before we interrogated them … Metallica got wind of this and they said, ‘Hey, please don’t use our music because we don’t want to promote violence.’ I thought, Dude, you have an album called Kill ‘Em All.

Continue reading

My Bloody Valentine — m b v

My Bloody Valentine - m b v

Self-released; 2013

Do you remember the assorted drills you went through as a school-faring child? Fire, earthquake, tornado, lockdown, etc. There were a million different scenarios that the administrators thought of that could potentially harm you and your young friends. Maybe those drills went well — maybe every time those raucous bells and whistles exploded into the classroom, you and your tiny peers defied them, lining up neatly and walking out of the room calmly in a single file line to the designated place.

But probably not. And definitely not when someone gets word, rumor or truth, that it’s the real thing.

Drills are drills. Emergencies are emergencies. And those who grew up in the early Cold War days know all too well that preparing for an emergency like, say, a nuclear bomb, with — oh, I don’t know — cowering under a plywood desk, does nothing to ease your mind from fear and panic and running around like a blind, stuck pig on fire.

Well here it is, children. This is not a drill. My Bloody Valentine has come out with a new album.

Continue reading

Two Beatles-related news items

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts ClubTwo things Beatle-related have happened in the last day or so, one saddening and one possibly maddening.

First, master sitarist Ravi Shankar has died at the age of 92, leaving behind a staggering legacy of musical genius that seemed to touch a majority of the keystones of modern Western music. A statement released by his family stated that Shankar died in San Diego after having undergone heart-valve replacement surgery to aid upper respiratory and heart problems.

Continue reading

Sacred Bones call fans to the Mojave

Pappy & Harriet's Pioneertown Palace

Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

Record label Sacred Bones has been responsible for some of the more interesting psych sounds as of late, focusing less on the sunny garage trends of Segall and Dwyer and dipping into the brown acid with Zola, Ripley and The Men. This year marks their 5th anniversary releasing reverb-soaked gems, and to celebrate, the label has put together a show featuring a big chunk of its currently-touring artist roster, to be held at Pappy and Harriet’s in the faux-Old West locale of Pioneertown, which is just north of the Palm Springs in the shadow of the San Bernadino Mountains and had, in 2006, a population of 350. (Fun fact: the town was originally built as a live-on movie set for Westerns in the 1940s.)

December 21st is the date that the label has chosen for their desert freakout, which will most likely play out like Coachella without the damned teenyboppers or maybe even (if you’re lucky) the dark side of Burning Man. On the bill are SB staples Psychic Ills, who will probably bring their Spacemen 3-brand opium den pillows, and twisted sonic temptress Zola Jesus, who I’m told will perform her set on a white satin sheet billowing in the desert wind.

While I know less about some of the other artists performing that night, listening to some of their work has me convinced the show will be out of this world. Pop. 1280 has a gritty edge that sounds like the no wave offspring of Trent Reznor and a grizzly bear, and Wymond Miles‘ reverb-soaked verses seems to always be singing the sad song that’s plays you off into the night.

A few of these artists (as well as some that work regularly with SB) can be found on Todo Muere, Vol. 2, which is the label’s Record Store Day compilation from 2012. Check out Sacred Bones’ Facebook page for info on the event and get tickets from the label’s site.

Wayne Coyne decides to fly extra heavy…

Wayne Coyne

Wayne Coyne on stage with large hands.

… by adding a deactivated frag grenade to his carry on luggage.

Apparently, Coyne, the lead singer for the Flaming Lips, took the grenade, a party decoration which was gutted and painted gold, and nonchalantly tossed it in his bag. Of course, when the bag went through security at Will Rogers Airport, alarms went off and the terminal was shutdown until it was determined that the grenade was harmless.

You might know Coyne as the mastermind behind “7 Skies H3“, the Lips’ 24-hour-long song, or the Gummy Song Skull/Fetus releases, where USB drives containing mp3s were encased in an edible gummy brain and fetus, respectively. The band is also known to be active on Twitter, where they’ve made a common practice of actually conversing with their fans, and at least once appearing at one’s house party for an impromptu performance. These past events might lead one to believe that the grenade debacle was part of another stunt, but according to Coyne, it wasn’t at all.

The singer took back to his Twitter account to say, “Sorry Sorry Sorry!! Everyone that was inconvenienced because of my grenade at OKC airport!!” — a line that sounds uncannily like just another non-sequitor in Coyne’s standard on-stage banter.

Billy Corgan to auction private live performance

Billy Corgan visits PAWS Chicago

Billy Corgan visits PAWS Chicago on Oct 13, 2011; Photo by Sparenga Photography

In case you folks didn’t know, Billy Corgan loves cute furry animals. He also loves his hometown of Chicago. When you put the two together, you get PAWS Chicago, ostensibly the city’s most famous no-kill shelter, and when you throw in the Smashing Pumpkins frontman into the mix, you get a private performance for four to be auctioned off at the PAWS Fur Ball.

The 11th Annual PAWS Chicago Fur Ball, which is slated to happen tomorrow night, November 9, is a ritzy black tie event that draws big names in both guests and benefactors, which shows in the steep price tag on ticket prices — $400 per person and $250 for guests under 35. You are afforded an option that is rare in events such as this, though: you can bring your pet (for an additional $100 per wagging tail). All proceeds from the event will go towards funding PAWS Chicago’s efforts.

Corgan, who is always public about his love for Chicago, is no stranger to public appearances in Chicago, where he is known as an avid sports fan and occasionally attends Cubs games. He is also a long-time source of rock-god controversy as of late, going on the record about past suicidal tendencies and his anger towards modern rock posturing.

It’s good to see, though, that Corgan has his eye on altruistic pursuits such as the Fur Ball. The private performance itself will be at the BIC-headed troubadour’s 1930s-styled tea house, Madame ZuZu’s in Highland Park, which opened in September. The question now is how much ball’s attendees will actually fork over for the auction item and if they can bring their pets too.