Catching Up On The Week (May 16th Edition)

The weather up here in the Pacific NW has decided to morph into summer early this year, but for those of you who aren’t as lucky, we have plenty of #longreads to keep you busy this weekend.

First, we have more drummer news.  We mentioned before on our Tumblr about the proposed Will Ferrell/Chad Smith drum-off, and now we finally have a time and place: Thursday, May 22nd on The Tonight Show.  Be sure to read this Rolling Stone article to catch up on all the hilarious trash talk.

As a musician, I’ve heard and shared my fair share of drummer jokes.  Here’s one of my favorites:

A new customer walks into the new store on the block that sells brains. There are three glass cases, each containing a nice wet quivering grey brain. The first one says “Doctor”, and it costs $10. The second says “Astrophysicist” and costs $100. The third says “Drummer” and costs $10,000. The customer is confused, and questions the salesperson. “I don’t get it…why would I want a drummer’s brain for $10,000 when I can get an a doctor’s for $10?”. The salesman replies, “Because it’s never been used.” 

Now, drummers may be able to claim to have the last laugh, as a new study shows that they’re intuitive problem-solvers.  The article then goes on to explain the importance of rhythm in learning and brain function, and is worth reading in full.  Kudos for drummers, but remember that guitarists are totally special too.

Wayne Coyne Trapped In A Ball

Wayne Coyne Trapped In A Ball

A couple of weeks back, we linked to an article which detailed some of the circumstances of Kliph Scurlock’s firing from the Flaming Lips, and we feel it would probably be good to link to an update on the reasoning behind the move.

In a recent post, we discussed the random brilliance of parts of the Godzilla soundtrack, and asked why aren’t there more songs with random Godzilla noises.  Apparently, we weren’t alone with such questions, and someone took it upon themselves to make sure that the world is filled with more Godzilla “remixes”.

This week, the AV Club had a couple of good appreciation pieces.  First, they updated their series “Fear of a Punk Decade” with a look back at 1998, mainly through the lens of the release of Refused’s seminal album The Shape of Punk to Come.  You can probably tell that we’re pretty big fans of Refused (take a look at our cover banner), so we’re always grateful for any mention of the band.  The other big event covered is the release of At the Drive-In’s In/Casino/Out, which mirrored Refused’s attempts to shape post-hardcore punk, and served as a glimpse to their magnum opus Relationship of Command which would be released a few years later.  Then there’s a piece on Ratatat’s self-titled debut, and how it would unknowingly influence alternative and electronic music later on in the decade.

Finally, Pitchfork has a couple of articles that I’m looking forward to reading this weekend, one an interview with Fucked Up as they prepare for the release of their long-awaited album Glass Boys, and the other an extended profile of Sharon Van Etten.

So, How’d That Happen? — “Godzilla”

With the newest iteration of Godzilla being released this Friday, now is as good a time as any to ask this question: how did possibly the greatest song in the entire Rage Against The Machine catalog end up on the soundtrack to an incredibly shitty film?

Mind you, I have no answers or inside knowledge as to how it occurred.  Yes, there is a mention of the beloved monster in the lyrics.  Of course, the full line is “Godzilla?  Pure motherfuckin’ filler, get your eyes off the real killer.”  I would never excuse entertainment executives of ignoring salient context, but you would think someone would have said at some point “this song is kind of mocking the very existence of this movie, is it a great idea to include it on the soundtrack?”  I would imagine if this question was so posed, that the answer was “Any publicity is good publicity; we’re just being edgy, kids eat that shit up.”

But that distracts a bit from my original point, that this is some of Rage Against The Machine’s finest work.  It doesn’t feature any incredible guitar theatrics from Tom Morello (the solo is basically just one tremolo’d wah note played multiple times, like a whacked-out version of the memorable one-note solo from Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl”), but it does feature a groovy riff and a rocking coda, and some of Zach de la Rocha’s best lyrics.  It’s such a great song that I spent years trying to find the Australian import of The Battle of Los Angeles so I could have the song on an actual Rage album, and not some crappy soundtrack where I’d have to skip around to get to the good stuff.  I did end up finding a certain version of the “Guerrilla Radio” single that included the track, so it all ended up working pretty well.

That said, there were some hidden gems on that soundtrack.  I always thought that “A320” fitted nicely along with other well-known classic Foo Fighters tracks, and is definitely their most underrated song.  I could listen to that ever-escalating coda forever.  And then there’s “Deeper Underground”, which I’m told is one of Jamiroquai’s better songs, at least from that period (confirmation from RIJR has yet to take place).  Finally, we have the remixed version of “Brain Stew” which not only adds some nice electronic touches, but also includes well-placed Godzilla screams.  I’ve always said that we need more Godzilla remixes of songs, and it’s too bad that no one has taken on that mantle.  Can’t you imagine how bitching a Godzilla remix of The Shins’ “New Slang” would be?  It would totally take that song to another level.

I can only hope to be pleasantly surprised this weekend, and that we find out that history repeats itself and we randomly get another brilliant Rage Against The Machine song.  It would definitely help take the sting out of the Blazers’ elimination a little bit.