Nine Inch Nails

Review: Low – Ones and Sixes

What Low has accomplished over the course of their two-decade-plus career is truly astonishing.  Not only have they never come close to releasing a mediocre album, but they still sound as vibrant as ever, with their creative spark still burning bright.  Though as pioneers of the “slowcore” genre they are known for their minimalist tendencies, Low still is finding new sounds to explore and ideas to develop, which makes Ones and Sixes an excellent addition to their brilliant discography.

Ones and Sixes is an excellent summation of the different paths the band has pursued since the release of Things We Lost In The Fire.  The band alternates between the warmer milieu of their recent work (C’mon and The Invisible Way) with a dip back into the icier moods of albums like Drums and Guns. The influence of that often-overlooked album really shines through with the incorporation of electronic drums on tracks like “Congregation” and “Gentle”, the latter of which evokes a more downbeat version of With Teeth-era Nine Inch Nails.

These dark, mysterious tracks fit perfectly alongside soaring guitar-based ballads, like the dazzling “Lies”, which may have one of the most gorgeous climaxes that the band has ever recorded.  This sublime moment is immediately followed by the epic “Landslide”, which is possibly Low’s heaviest work to date.  With its heavy distortion and extended dissonant outro, it is sure to be a highlight of the group’s upcoming live show.

There are other intriguing subtle production touches on Ones and Sixes, most notably the use of some natural distortion in the recording and mixing process that gives a rawer feel to certain moments, providing a nice contrast to the otherwise pristine tone found throughout the record.  In addition to their inspired instrumental experimentation, Low once again makes great use of the harmonies of the husband-and-wife team of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, with each also given their own time to shine.  Their hauntingly alluring vocals are perfect complements to the exquisitely constructed melodies, and that combination together should be more than enough to draw in new listeners.  Of course, this should come as no surprise to old fans, since Low has been consistently excellent for a number of years, but they will certainly be pleased to hear that the band has created an excellent capstone for their fine work of the past decade.

Random note: I have not seen an explanation of the title, but my guess is that “Ones and Sixes” is a reference to dice, and the minimum/maximum that one can get; therefore, the record might be seen as an exploration of highs and lows.  Just a theory.


An Incomplete List of SCARY Music Videos

We here at Rust Is Just Right enjoy the Halloween season, especially since it gives us the perfect reason to indulge in our love of all things horror.  So, of course we’re going to use the holiday as an opportunity to show some of our favorite scary music videos.  We don’t think we have the authority to say that these are the scariest, or that these selections form any definitive list, but we hope you enjoy them in all their terrifying glory.

Before the revival of the zombie craze truly took hold, Phantom Planet made a great video depicting the making of a low-budget zombie horror story for their single “Big Brat”.

I remember jumping for the remote to try and change the channel as quickly as possible once the faces started melting and the shit truly hit the fan when I saw Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” for the first time.

Before Daft Punk won the hearts of the people with Random Access Memories, they had the worst record sales of their career with Human After All.  This may have been partially due to their horrifying video for “Primetime of Your Life”.  Though they more than capably proved their point about the perils of eating disorders, the skeleton motif may have been too effective.

[So that we don’t stress your browser, we’ve got plenty more videos (including a few legitimately terrifying ones) on the next page.]

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A List of the Most Infuriating Radio Edits Due to Time Constraints

Having spent some time working at a radio station, I understand many of the problems and concerns that come with writing up a playlist and fitting music into the right slots, in addition to the more general concern of finding and maintaining listeners.  So I understand the point of cutting songs down into more manageable slices so they can be shuffled in and out more easily, as well as avoid the possibility of driving away potential ears if an unpleasant song goes on too long.  This is especially the case when songs from bands new to a station’s playlist get added; it’s best to approach with caution to make sure that your listeners are fans.

However, I find that once songs are dropped from current rotation but are maintained in the station’s library shouldn’t have to encounter those same difficulties.  Once a band becomes an accepted part of the format, it makes little sense to me why the radio should continue to play the shortened version of a song, especially when in the meantime many fans went out and bought the album or song and got used to the way it was intended to be played.  With that in mind, here is a short list of the songs that stations need to replace with their album versions immediately.

5. Nine Inch Nails – “Closer”

Now I understand why stations would want to play the radio edit of this song, if simply for the convenience of not going in to edit all the non-PACIFICA approved language themselves.  I say this even though I know all of us twenty years later know exactly what Trent wants to do to someone like an animal.  My main problem is that it also chops off close to two minutes of pure instrumental genius near the end.  I know it’s tough for radio stations to have plain music without vocals playing for extended periods of time, but throw the audience a bone once in a while and toss in the full version every once in a while.  We’re sophisticated consumers at this point, and we know what to expect.

4. Silversun Pickups – “Lazy Eye”

If you only listened to this song when it came on the radio, you would have no idea that this song contains the most beautiful feedback-drenched guitar solo since the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Drown”.  That is, unless you listened to my old radio station.  Our station never got a radio-ready copy of the single, and instead we just played the album version of the song that we had from when we played the song on our specialty new music show.  We simply dropped that version into regular rotation, and somehow managed to survive with a six-minute song getting heavy rotation for a few months.  It can be done.

3. The Black Keys – “Little Black Submarines”

It makes sense that our ultra-hyperactive generation can’t sit still enough through two acoustic verses, that we have to get to the RAWK immediately.  But this kills the beauty of the song in my eyes.  In the radio edit, the acoustic beginning serves as mere prelude to the heavy second part of the song, and especially with the fact that the backing organ comes in so early in this version it feels inevitable that the distortion is going to kick in soon.  With the album version, the first part feels more complete, as if we are listening to two equal songs together.  By drawing out the soft beginning, it also gives more weight and emotion to that kickass second half, and it feels more earned.

2. Interpol – “PDA”; Interpol – “Obstacle 1”

We’ve got a tie at this spot, since I can’t choose between the two of them which edit is worse.  With “Obstacle 1”, the bridge is severely cut, and in a rarity, we even lose some lyrics.  While some may be pleased that there are people that never heard the line “Her stories are boring and stuff”, they miss the opportunity to marvel at Sam Fogarino’s shuffling drums and some more of Carlos D’s unique basslines.

The hatchet-job is even worse with “PDA”, as the ending is completely chopped off in an absolutely graceless manner.  The interplay between the different guitars is one of Interpol’s best musical moments, but apparently we shouldn’t be allowed to appreciate that.

1. Deftones – “Change (In the House of Flies)”

The video version of the breakthrough hit from the Deftones cuts even more than the radio version, but I’ll allow it because 1) the video is pretty great and 2) it helped the band reach a massive new audience.  But the radio version commits the unforgivable sin of fading out just before Abe Cunningham’s drums kick in once again with one of the best fills of the decade as the song ramps up one more time before gradually winding down for the finish.  The minimal damage that would be done by letting the song linger for thirty seconds longer is what puts this edit at the top of my list.


The Black Keys – Strange Times

I think this is a great song that would benefit if they cut out a repetition of the chorus at the end, as it would benefit from being leaner and meaner.  Luckily, at some point the band realized this, and the band has performed a shortened version when they play it live.

Catching Up On The Week (Sept. 5 Edition)

A few #longreads as you prepare yourself for the fact that you’re going to have to watch Jimmy Fallon next Tuesday…

Speaking of The Replacements, here’s an interview that USA Today conducted with R.E.M.’s Mike Mills talking about one of their musical heroes, Big Star.  That band’s first two albums are getting reissues this week, so for those people that haven’t been able to find a used copy all of these years you are now in luck and now have no reason not to own and love #1 Record and Radio City.  Mills is an expert on the subject, considering he wrote the liner notes for the reissues and is touring as a part of the musical collaboration project that does a live cover of Big Star’s Third/Sister Lovers album.  And if you’re still in need of some convincing about the significance of Big Star, check out this entry of the “Primer” feature of the AV Club covering the career of frontman Alex Chilton.

The Wall Street Journal has an inside look at the collaboration between director David Fincher and composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, providing fascinating insights into the nuts-and-bolts of their unique method of scoring films.  Considering how great their previous collaborations have been (The Social Network and Girl With The Dragon Tattoo are two of the only film scores I listen to with any regularity), you should be eager to hear their work on the upcoming Gone Girl.

The AV Club has a couple of extended features to check out, with the first being a dual interview with Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie and Travis Morrison of The Dismemberment Plan, and the second being a look at how those “rock and roll cruises” that have become popular in recent years are put together.

And finally, Pitchfork has an Op-Ed that pushes for a return to mono.

Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails, Live at the Sleep Country Amphitheater

There are few things that would convince our crew to venture into the depths of southern Washington, but it shouldn’t be a surprise that a concert co-headlined by two of the greatest bands of the 90’s would qualify in that select list.  Yes, after months of talking about this unlikely partnership (check out everything we’ve written mentioning the tour by clicking on either of the band’s tags above), we here at Rust Is Just Right were finally able to witness the collaboration in person.  Both groups had wowed us with memorable shows in 2013, but the question remained whether either band could impress us once again in 2014.

This is the best photograph I have to commemorate the show.

This is the best photograph I have to commemorate the show.

Based purely on the logistics of the different stage setups, it made sense for Soundgarden to come on first.  However, once the introductory rumblings of Badmotorfinger‘s “Searching With My Good Eye Closed”  began to snake its way throughout the amphitheater, it was clear that the band had no interest in treating their slot as if they were merely an opening act, and thankfully, the audience reciprocated by standing up and raucously cheering.  This isn’t always the case–years ago, when Queens of the Stone Age and Nine Inch Nails toured together, I remember that the audience at the Rose Garden collectively decided to keep sitting through the entirety of QOTSA’s set, even though the band had clearly established itself post-Songs of the Deaf as one of the top bands in rock.  It can be a frustrating experience trying to rock out while staying firmly planted in your seat.

Soundgarden was impeccably tight and in fine form, as the reunion has shown that they still have the capability to line up their incredibly complex musical parts with astonishing ease, while extensively touring once again has improved their ear for balancing the sound mix in an arena setting.   To the crowd’s delight, the band focused on mainly their classic early material, with several cuts from both Superunknown and Badmotorfinger representing the majority of the set.  Hearing deeper cuts like the one-two punch of “My Wave” and “Let Me Drown” made my night, but the crowd’s biggest response was actually for Down on the Upside‘s “Burden In My Hand” (a fine choice if you ask me).  It’s a pleasure to see guitar-god Kim Thayil playing once again, and he effortlessly pulled off astonishingly sophisticated leads without breaking a sweat, and it was a blast to watch Ben Shepherd attack his bass in his own bizarre and unique way.  Matt Chamberlain proved to be a fully capable replacement for the legendary Matt Cameron behind the kit, creating another interesting link between the history of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.  It takes real talent to line up the intricate drum part of “Rusty Cage” with the weaving guitar and basslines, but Chamberlain was able to pull it off. The biggest wild card at a Soundgarden show is usually Chris Cornell’s voice, and for the majority of the show it was on point.  It takes some adjustment on the part of the audience to realize that it’s impossible to pull of the multi-tracking vocals of the albums, but once that’s accepted, you can just marvel at the ability of Cornell to maintain that ridiculous range at his age.  Personally, I would think that it’d be easier if he settled on a lower register as he ages, but he’s still able to hit all those big screams and high notes.

Soundgarden begins rumbling...

Soundgarden begins rumbling…

Amazingly enough, we had yet another headliner to see.  With last year’s Tension tour, Nine Inch Nails provided some of the most amazing visuals ever developed for a rock show, setting the bar extremely high for this show.  The theme this time seemed to emphasize the minimalist element of Hesitation Marks and bring it to the live show.  The show began with Trent singing “Copy of A”  on a bare stage, with different musicians gradually joining with small keyboards and electronic percussion.   Eventually both the light show and the musical setup became more complex, building layers on layers throughout the set. For this tour, Trent stuck with a roster of only three other musicians to play the multitude of parts that make up a Nine Inch Nails song, switching out instruments with each track in a remarkable display of versatility.

Since the impetus of this tour was mainly nostalgia-based, commemorating the twentieth anniversary of The Downward Spiral, and that album along with Pretty Hate Machine made up most of the set.  Trent still mixed in a fair amount of material from the latest album, but unfortunately for us, not a single track from The Fragile despite our specific plea from last week; at least we did get “Gave Up” as a consolation.  But the goal wasn’t to just provide a rehash of the hits–time and time again, the band reworked old favorites with inspired new arrangements (though I wish that at some point Trent would leave the outro to “Closer” alone, because I believe that it’s fairly close to sheer instrumental perfection).

You can see why I went with a photo of the ticket as the lead

You can see why I went with a photo of the ticket as the lead

With the extensive production that Trent and company brings for each tour, it’s difficult to recap all the specific details of the elaborate visual components of the show. One particularly memorable song was “Reptile”, whose lights used a solely green motif, and when mixed with the mechanical sound effects of the songs recalled the kind of scene you would expect if you found yourself about to enter an arena to face off against the Mortal Kombat character. Another highlight was “The Great Destroyer”, which synced up to distorted, fuzzed-out images of violence, war, and various politicians to great effect (while also subtly integrating various configurations of red, white, and blue lights). It also set itself apart in that the song was one of the few times where the light show ventured beyond the abstract images and lights and into actual graphic images.

As impressive as the visuals were (and it’s hard to overstate just how groundbreaking each Nine Inch Nails tour is in this regard), they never overshadowed the musical performance.  I can say this even though I was disappointed to miss out on more than a few personal favorites (though considering the band’s extensive catalog, that’s to be expected). Trent was a constant display of barely pent-up rage and viciously attacked the microphone with each song, as if he was grappling with an unseen enemy when delivering his vocals.  The other musicians  effortlessly switched between samplers and instruments, showing their full capability of handling both the analog and the digital as well as matching the intensity of their ringleader.

As expected, exiting the amphitheater was a nightmare on all levels, and we enjoyed another early-90’s classic, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) in nearly its entirety before even reaching the interstate.  At least I-5 south was a breeze after that–here’s to small miracles.

A Quick Letter to Trent Reznor

Tomorrow night, we here at Rust Is Just Right are heading up to the wastelands of southern Washington, which means our readers will soon see an end to the mentions of a tour we’ve been talking about since the beginning of this site.  That’s right, the mega-tour of 90’s powerhouse co-headliners Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails is making its way to the Portland area (without the initially-invited Death Grips, however).  Though we saw both of these acts on their own respective tours last year, we were suitably impressed with their comeback performances that it was a no-brainer to shell out the big bucks to see these guys once again, if only for the possibility of a few changes to the setlist.  To that end, we would like to formally request for Trent Reznor to dig deep and play some cuts from The Fragile at tomorrow’s show.

Nine Inch Nails became superstars with the critical and commercial success of 1994’s The Downward Spiral (the album whose twentieth anniversary is nominally the impetus for this tour), but it wasn’t until they released its follow-up The Fragile in 1999 that I climbed aboard the bandwagon.  I was too young to appreciate TDS when it came out–it was simply too dark and scary for a kid who was still in elementary school, and I remember just seeing glimpses of the “Closer” video gave me nightmares (it didn’t occur to me that there was an actual song behind the video that could be played on the radio until years later).  I had none of these issues when The Fragile came out, and even though it’s a behemoth of a double album, I enjoyed devouring and analyzing the music for hours on end.

The reputation of The Fragile has suffered a bit over the years due to comparisons to the ridiculous sales numbers of The Downward Spiral, and this analysis has cast a shadow onto the album’s artistic merits as a result, with many now concluding that it doesn’t measure up as a worthy successor.  I would argue that as great as TDS is, it is with The Fragile that Trent Reznor truly proved his genius and bona fides as a composer.  The album plays as an industrial rock symphony, with melodic ideas and figures that pop up in different variations throughout, giving a musical coherence to the work.  Individual instruments are recorded with precision, providing ample space when required but also allowed to bleed together to create new gorgeous tones like a shoegaze record.  Reznor also balances between natural and artificial tones with expert mixing both live and processed instrumentation.  It is obvious to the listener that every second was planned and recorded with care, and the result is an album that even at its most brutal and devastating sounds absolutely gorgeous.

It looks that the band is playing a few of the usual suspects from this album on this tour, but I hope that Trent flips the script a bit and pulls off a couple of surprises.  The crowd, which is full of diehards like me that grew up with The Fragile and listen to it on a regular basis, would go nuts if the band whipped out the epic instrumental “Just Like You Imagined” and lose their shit if they got to hear “Into the Void” once again.  But I’ll be honest, the one song that I desperately want to hear is the one embedded above, the song that convinced me of the brilliance of Nine Inch Nails, “We’re In This Together”.  I love the relentless drumbeat that drives the song, utilizing a trickier pattern than appears at first listen, I love the ever-evolving vocal melodies that emphasize and build on the emotions of the lyrics, but most of all, I love the fucking guitar in this song, especially one of the greatest noise-freakout solos I’ve ever heard.  I realize the difficulty of putting all the elements of this song together live (which is why it’s only been done a handful of times), but I’m telling you, the fans would go crazy if it actually happened, and we will forgive any and all mistakes just for the gesture.

But don’t substitute “Gave Up”.  That one is great.

And if the guys in Soundgarden are taking requests, please play “Tighter & Tighter”.  It’s not necessary that you have Mike McCready come help you out, but we definitely would love it if he decided to help out on this one.

Feats of Strength: Pavement

We here at Rust Is Just Right like to analyze and explain the more technical aspects of music, especially with our Feats of Strength feature.  Though we often take the time to praise the intricate and complex nature of many songs, there’s something to be said to the merits of amateurism.  Sometimes, we love the simple things.

Pavement initially built its reputation along these lines, and in their early career they were tagged with the “slacker” identity.  For the most part, this was an unfair and incorrect assessment of their skills as musician.  While Pavement often seemed like they could just effortlessly toss off quirky little rock songs, there was actually a lot of structure and technique inherent in their work.  In other words, it can take a lot of work to sound that casual.

There was one area where the initial impression of Pavement was correct, and that was with their drumming.  This is captured perfectly with the opening track “Summer Babe (Winter Version)” from their classic debut Slanted & Enchanted.  Gary Young’s inexpert style contrasted with the more complicated patterns that were popular at the time; the drumming is filled with lots of space and rarely settles into a groove, and filled with idiosyncratic little fills that always stick out when listening (especially those little hi-hat rolls at the end of each phrase of the verse).  It always seems on the verge of collapse, but it never completely falls apart.

This “shitty” drumming style is different from a “simple” drumming style: we’re not talking about someone playing a basic pattern without any flourishes or nuance, like your standard Pink Floyd or AC/DC track; we’re talking about musicians who the listener might assume are unable to use all four limbs at the same time and keep a regular drumbeat.  “Summer Babe” is a perfect example the latter, and of how shitty drumming actually serves the song.  In this case, it helps maintain a loose feel throughout the song; you hear the same effect with many Tame Impala tracks, where the drumming serves to augment certain melodic ideas, but otherwise steps out of the way and tries not to weigh down the spacey ambiance.  Compare that style to Nine Inch Nails’s “Piggy”, where Trent Reznor’s chaotic drumming at the end of the song gives the sense that the entire song is about to break down; it’s “order” being systematically destroyed.  In fact, Trent handled the drums for the ending personally, because he felt that his more capable drumming partners made it sound too professional.

It’s true that drumming is incredibly important to a song; however, shitty drumming can also serve a purpose as well.

Over the Weekend (July 21 Edition)

New music, new videos, goofy contests…let’s get this week started.

Spoon decided to hit the ground running as they kicked off their week.  They released a great (almost) one-shot video for “Do You”, which sees Britt Daniel slowly driving away from what seems to be the wreckage of the night before, until a surprising reveal at the end.  They also released a new song, “Inside Out”, which while not a full-fledged video, does include some trippy visuals.  And the band did a live chat with fans over at Consequence of Sound this afternoon, and you can find the complete transcript here.

Hamilton Leithauser stopped by NPR today and performed one of their Tiny Desk Concerts, which you can catch right here on the NPR website.

The recent death of Tommy Ramone means that there are no surviving members of the original group.  While this is a bummer, the folks at Funny or Die decided to look on the bright side of the situation, and imagine what the reunion in heaven would be like.  And it’s always good to see Dave Foley.

After that, you should probably go yell at The AV Club for saying unkind words about Next’s classic “Too Close”.  Yes, it’s about a boner, but it’s the best song about dancing with a boner ever.

BBC Radio 2 is having a poll to determine the greatest guitar riff of all time, and though those of us in the States are unable to vote, we can at least take a look at the possible selections.  Honestly, there are some pretty good choices on the list.

And finally, the Soundgarden/Nine Inch Nails joint tour kicked off this weekend in Vegas, and Rolling Stone has a rave review of the show.  I’m definitely excited to see these guys soon.

Over the Weekend (July 7 Edition)

Hope everyone had a fun holiday weekend, with all fingers and toes still intact.  On to the news and videos:

Big news last week as Death Grips broke up, just in time for me to miss seeing them on their tour with Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails.  To tell you the truth, I wasn’t fully expecting the group to show up, considering their history, but it’s a bummer nonetheless.  The “break-up” makes sense, in either their own narrative of being an art project or an outsider’s perspective of being a pure troll-job.  At least we can say that a lot of rich people gave them money, and they repaid that debt by giving the public a lot of cool music for free.

Some might say that the biggest news was the leak that Pink Floyd is releasing a new album, but this is only significant for people who never listened to The Division Bell and don’t care that Roger Waters is not involved in the new project.  Still, if you’re looking for an excuse to turn out the lights and fire up Wish You Were Here, might as well make it this one.

Or you could listen to “Wish I Was Here”, a collaboration between Cat Power and Coldplay for the new Zach Braff film of the same name.  I don’t remember much of the movie “Garden State”, but if it got more people to listen to The Shins, I’m perfectly fine with its existence.  I still get chills listening to “New Slang”.

Continuing with another (un)expected collaboration, Rolling Stone has the latest video to result from the Miley Cyrus/Flaming Lips partnership, this time with special guest Moby.  Yes, drugs were involved.

Jack White is continuing to clear out his vault, and announced the release of a single from his band The Dead Weather, along with a live album from The White Stripes.  Pitchfork has the details if you’re interested.

If you’re in the mood for some reading, you could do better than read the AV Club’s Hatesong feature, which continues to be a waste of time for most everybody involved.  This past week saw a comedian complain about Rage Against the Machine’s “Bulls On Parade” because…he was in 8th grade and didn’t like his classmates that liked the song.  AV Club, you’re better than this.

If you need something to lift up your spirits after that, no worries: we finally have a new song from Death From Above 1979.  The track “Trainwreck 1979” made its debut on Zane Lowe’s program on BBC Radio 1, and you can catch it at about the 1 hour and 54 minute mark.  Be sure to set your cursor back a couple of minutes before that, as Zane explains the significance of You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine to many music fans, even if it never sold all that much.  It reminds me of “Sexy Results”, but a quicker and dirtier version of it.  In other words, it’s grimy, but still has a good dance beat.

[Edited to add:] The band has uploaded a lyric video for “Trainwreck 1979” and have also included information to pre-order the new album The Physical World on their Facebook page.

Still bored?  Check out some Best Albums So Far lists, courtesy of Relix and Stephen Thomas Erlewine.  Several the albums we’ve touted appear on both lists, so good news for us, but they should also provide the opportunity to discover other new artists as well.

And last but not least, Spoon continues to release new tracks from its upcoming release, They Want My Soul.  The band released “Do You”, plus Brit stopped by the BBC Radio 6 studio to do a quick acoustic show and interview.

Catching Up On The Week (May 2nd Edition)

We’ve got some nice, light articles for you this weekend, mirroring the gorgeous weather we’ve been experiencing this week (at least here in the Pacific Northwest).

Last week we had an article that provided some interesting trivia about Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures, and this week we have an article about its successor band, New Order.  The AVClub has an article about the single “Ceremony”, which bridged the two bands.  Kevin McFarland makes a convincing case for how the song provided an effective transition between the two eras.

The Wild Magazine has an extended interview with M.I.A. that’s worth checking out.  I didn’t get a chance to post anything about Matangi in the 2013 roundup, but I enjoyed the album and felt that it was a significant step up from its predecessor, MAYA.  But now I have a great excuse to post the video for “Bad Girls”, because it’s pretty damn cool.

Steven Hyden listened to the new Damon Albarn solo album, and while he hasn’t completely accounted for his sin of choosing Oasis over Blur in the mid-90’s Britpop battles, he does use the occasion to ponder why there aren’t any big band beefs any more.  Let’s just hope that this eventually leads to a listen of Parklife at some point.

The Flaming Lips recently fired long-time drummer Kliph Scurlock from the band, and Pitchfork has a message from Kliph that explains the situation and dynamic in the band.

And finally, great news for those of us in the Northwest, as the Nine Inch Nails/Soundgarden/Death Grips touring juggernaut announced additional dates in Sacramento, Portland (actually Clark County in Washington), and Seattle.  It feels good to not dread making a trip 800 miles down I-5.