Green Day

Catching Up On The Week (Sept. 26 Edition)

A few #longreads for your weekend as hipsterdom reaches its apex with a Pabst-sponsored music festival in Portland, Oregon…

One of the bands appearing at the Project Pabst festival this weekend is hometown heavy metal act Red Fang.  They may be local, but they also have a worldwide reach, as evidenced by a recent interview that an Indian metal publication conducted with guitarist Bryan Giles.

Portland's most identifiable landmark is a sign with its name.

Portland’s most identifiable landmark is a sign with its name.

Pitchfork has an extensive interview with Adam Granduciel of The War on Drugs, discussing the creation of his group’s brilliant new album Lost in the Dream and all the personal struggles he endured.  Be sure to check out also this performance that the band did for The Current, featuring a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Tangled Up in Blue” (which is a perfect fit for the band).

Jeff Tweedy talks with The Quietus on the making of Sukierae with his son Spencer, discussing musical experimentation and lyrical processes among other topics.  And because I missed it when it first was published, I’m linking to another recent interview from The Quietus, this time with Karen O.

Joey Santiago talks about the legacy of the Pixies with Diffuser, and it’s always worth hearing from the legendary guitarist.

And because it’s not enough that people discuss the twentieth anniversary of Dookie, Consequence of Sound has a roundtable examining the impact of American Idiot ten years later.  I’m just glad someone stood up for Warning, which I feel is an underrated Green Day album.

And finally, some new music: after a week of dropping various hints, Thom Yorke announced the release of his second solo album, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, which is now available for purchase on BitTorrent.  It’ll definitely be making my weekend playlist.

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.

Catching Up On The Week (Apr. 4 Edition)

We’ve had some #longreads pile up over the week, so it’s a good thing the weekend is here.

Tomorrow is unfortunately a morbid twentieth anniversary, so there were plenty of Nirvana stories that were printed this week, with more certainly to follow.  Diffuser talked to a few musicians about how Nirvana personally influenced them and SPIN reprinted several memorials from legendary musicians in a slideshow.  Stereogum has a top ten list that inspires moderate eye-rolls (a real fake bold move by not including “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, and a real dumb move for not including “Sappy”, though a high ranking for “Serve the Servants” deserves a mild tip of the hat).  You can compare that list with Billboard’s ranking of their ten biggest hits on the alternative charts, which includes a couple of surprises.  And the list of presenters for the upcoming Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony was announced, which includes Michael Stipe being chosen to introduce Nirvana.

Speaking of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Rolling Stone interviewed the Hall of Fame CEO and got an inside look at some of the proceedings.  One tidbit I gathered from the piece is that there will be a Nirvana performance of some sort, though how it will actually shape out has not been revealed.

And continuing with the Nirvana theme, the AV Club gave another album a write-up in their “Permanent Records” feature, making the case that Dookie made Green Day the spiritual successor to Nirvana and I guess that grunge gave way to pop-punk?  We mentioned before that there’s going to be a lot of pieces this year about Dookie because of its 20th anniversary, but the most I can say about this piece is…it’s an article that exists.

A far better piece about the anniversary of a seminal album is Stereogum’s reflection on the ten year anniversary of Modest Mouse’s Good News For People Who Love Bad News.  We’ll do our own pieces in the future around the time Modest Mouse begins touring again at the beginning of May, but here’s a quick comment: the album is better than what old MM fans remember.

The Canadian Edition of the Huffington Post has an interview with Tokyo Police Club about the making of their new album Forcefield.  We’re debating whether or not to recommend the album and then run a review of it, but their earlier work is definitely worth checking out.  The band reveals what went on during the years since the release of Champ, and thank God they decided to go against someone’s advice to throw in some banjo.

Finally, we haven’t had the chance to show how much we love the finest heavy metal rockers from our neck of the woods, but let it be known that we are big fans of Red Fang here at RIJR.  Aaron Beam, the bassist and one of the vocalists of the band, did an interview with Songfacts that goes deep into the songwriting process of the band.  It’s amazing how so many of their songs are Frankenstein-like creations, stitched together from bits and pieces over the years, but you wouldn’t realize it just from listening because the sections fit so well.  And with the news that we discussed on our Tumblr about the retirement of David Letterman, this is the perfect time to share the video of their performance on the Late Show, with Paul Shaffer loving the song so much that he joins in on the keys.

Neutral Milk Hotel & Catching Up On The Week (Feb. 7 Edition)

A few quick links you may have missed this week and worthy of your time this weekend

I am of the generation that grew up in the wake of In The Aeroplane Over The Sea—not in the era from when the album was first released, but in the ensuing years where it became totem of alternative/indie rock culture.  Like many, I became obsessed with the album and the story of Jeff Mangum, the reclusive genius who became the J.D. Salinger of rock.  I was ecstatic when Jeff Mangum returned to the stage, and witnessed two amazing performances in Portland and Eugene (I remarked at the time that only Jeff Mangum could get a Portland crowd to scream “I love you, Jesus Christ!”).  But even there was something that was missing from those performances, and that was the rickety junkyard orchestra quality of the album itself, provided by a full backing band.  “Holland, 1945” will always be one of the greatest songs ever written, regardless of how it’s performed, but it loses something without those horns and that fuzz bass and those barely-restrained chaotic drums.  So even though I had the good fortune to see those previous two performances, I still jumped at the opportunity to see Neutral Milk Hotel as a whole for the reunion tour.

There are those that express some reservations to this.  Steven Hyden of Grantland wrote about his reaction to the return of Mangum and Neutral Milk Hotel, and he took a much more pessimistic stance.  I do agree to some extent the cult-like devotion of some fans is a turn-off (while I have listened to the album over a hundred times, I haven’t memorized the entire lyric sheet as it seems most audiences have), but I wouldn’t go so far as to say as a result that I like the album “less”.  And personally I think it’s unfair to call out any band for their possible motivations for reuniting, even if it’s to say that you don’t care that their intentions may be less than noble.  I can see points being made about post-boomer generations now realizing how much fun it can be to indulge in nostalgia, this overlooks the fact that there were younger generations who never got a chance to experience things firsthand, so why piss on their opportunity to do so?  I didn’t get a chance to see Dinosaur Jr. the first time around, but I’m sure as shit enjoying their late-period renaissance; Pavement was before my time, but seeing their reunion in Central Park was one of the greatest live performances I’ve ever seen.

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Continuing our previous coverage of the 20th anniversary of Dookie, Consequence of Sound asked various writers and musicians about their memories of the album.  What struck me is how many were my age at the time (around 9 years old), and led me to wonder whether any bands that are currently popular with 9 year olds will have any critical respect twenty years later.  I’m going to say probably not.

Here’s an interesting article that details how useless it can be to talk about a musician’s social media presence.  The number of followers and likes are generally useless figures, and discussion of those immaterial numbers take away from any discussion of the music itself.  However, there’s a twist in this story of how exactly an artist gained all those Twitter followers.

One of my favorite weekends of the year is NBA All-Star Weekend, and this year will be especially great because I’ll be cheering for two Blazers.  Kudos to LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard, the latter of whom will be the first player to participate in five events during the weekend.  What does this news have to do with music?  Just the fact that they’ve got an outstanding musical lineup for the weekend, with Kendrick Lamar performing before the Dunk Contest, Pharrell in the pre-game ceremony, and Janelle Monáe performing with Trombone Shorty, Dr. John, and Earth, Wind & Fire at half-time.  That’s probably the best lineup that I remember for the event, if only for the fact that Phillip Phillips is not involved.

And finally, as the Winter Olympics begin, enjoy this video of a Russian Police Choir performing “Get Lucky” as a part of the Opening Ceremonies.  I didn’t see much of the festivities, but I’m pretty sure this has to be one of the top highlights.

Over The Weekend (Feb. 3 Edition)

Because nostalgia always sells, you’re going to see a lot of retrospectives this year for some important albums.  A couple of weeks back there was an excellent oral history of Pavement’s Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain from Stereogum, and now it looks like it’s time for Green Day’s Dookie to get its moment in the sun.  SPIN reprinted its profile of the band from back in 1994, and  Stereogum took a quick look back with this retrospective.  After we take a moment to contemplate the fact that an album called “Dookie” sold over 10 million copies and is remembered with great fondness, and that somehow the bratty young punks of Green Day are still making albums, take a look at what I believe is the most amazing part of both articles: that there was an incident where, of all people, Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys was assaulted and accused of being a “sellout”.

Not surprisingly, the scenewide furor that has resulted combines the brutal energy of hardcore with all its lack of clearheadedness. Most inexcusably, at Gilman Street in May, former Dead Kennedys singer, Jello Biafra, was assaulted repeatedly and seriously injured by a punk kid while a crowd chanted “sellout” and “rock star.”

Because words apparently mean whatever we want them to mean.

Keeping up with the Green Day theme, AllMusic takes a look at the recent history of Green Day and what’s happened to the band since they decided to release a trio of albums.  For curiosity’s sake, it’s worth a quick glance.

And finally, Pitchfork had an interesting look at “synesthesia” and its connection to different musicians.  It’s definitely worth clicking the link, if only to see Pharrell’s amazing Technicolor hat.