Catching Up On The Week (May 8 Edition)

Some #longreads as you make plans for Mother’s Day

In case you were unaware, Mother’s Day is this Sunday, so let this be a reminder to make plans if you have not done so already.  Over the years, there have been plenty of tributes to Dear Mama, though few of them are truly memorable.  The AV Club takes a closer look at an overlooked effort from Menomena, examining the backstory from their album Moms and one of its most personal tracks, “Baton”.

The biggest release of the week was My Morning Jacket’s latest album, The Waterfall.  While we work on our own review of the record, we recommend that you read this Stereogum essay to help provide some perspective, as it analyzes the album not only within the My Morning Jacket discography but in context of trends of the past decade in rock as a whole.

This week’s most entertaining piece was the oral history of the immortal Redman episode of Cribs, courtesy of Thrillist.  Yes, Redman actually lived in that tiny apartment.

Rolling Stone interviewed Dennis Lyxzén to get the story of how after their successful reunion tour that the time was finally right for Refused to record a follow-up to their classic The Shape of Punk to Come, and what to expect from Freedom.

Trunkworthy published an ode to one of our favorite Wilco albums, the underappreciated Summerteeth.  To this day, it is still one of my favorite records, and hopefully when Wilco stops by later this summer they play more than a few cuts from it.


Over the Weekend (Apr. 27 Edition)

New music, new videos, and news to help kickstart your week…

Even though they recently announced a string of tour dates this summer, we have to believe that no one was prepared for the news from this morning: Refused are coming out with a new album.  In addition to announcing that Freedom will be released on June 30, the band released their first new song in nearly two decades, the furious “Elektra”.  REFUSED ARE NOT FUCKING DEAD!

More good news this morning, as the Deftones gave more details about their follow-up to Koi No Yokan.  While the new album is not yet complete, the good news is that it should be released by the end of September.

Last week, Speedy Ortiz released their new album Foil Deer and on Friday we linked to an extensive interview with the band.  Today, we are sharing their video for “The Graduates”, featuring the band ingesting an interesting item, resulting in a bizarre karaoke session with a giant rabbit, among other escapades.

Speedy Ortiz is not the only band exploring psychedelic substances, as Death From Above 1979’s new video for “Virgins” features a group of Amish teens experimenting with mushrooms.  The results are rather unsettling.

And speaking of unsettling, electronic noise-rock band HEALTH are finally releasing a follow-up to Get Color in August, and they shared the video for lead single “New Coke” over the weekend.  Be warned, that is real vomit in the video; that is probably that is all that needs to be said in order to prepare you.

Killer Mike had a very busy weekend–on Friday, he gave a lecture at MIT on race and politics, and on Saturday he represented the Huffington Post at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, which explains this fantastic selfie with Arianna Huffington completing the Run The Jewels logo.

Proving that we here at Rust Is Just Right are trendsetters, the AV Club released a Best Of list from 2014 in April 2015.  This time it is their Band Names of the Year list, which runs down all the terrible band names they came across in the past year, which is always a good time.

And finally, for those looking for a quick time-waster at work, NME has a slideshow explaining the stories behind 50 iconic album covers of indie rock (though the term “indie” is stretched beyond its limits for this piece).

Over the Weekend (Apr. 6 Edition)

New videos and other fun stuff as you fill in the hours around the NCAA championship game…

Lots of new songs and videos to get through this week, so let’s get straight to the action.  After announcing a North American tour and releasing a new track (the groovy epic “Let It Happen”), Tame Impala has finally revealed some details about their followup to the fantastic Lonerism.  The album Currents will be available later this year, and to help celebrate the news the band released another track, the slow-burning “‘Cause I’m A Man”.

My Morning Jacket continues to leak out new songs from their upcoming album The Waterfall, sharing the ballad “Spring (Among the Living)” last week.  My immediate reaction was to say that it is a more dramatic version of “Victory Dance” from Circuital, but with a seriously ripping guitar solo.

Kendrick Lamar is doing the rounds in promoting his album, which involves things like talking to MTV about the origins of the album title to doing radio interviews discussing how he did the Tupac interview that closes To Pimp a Butterfly, as well as announcing his engagement (congrats, btw).  Kendrick also released the music video for the new album’s latest single, “King Kunta”, which features a performance in his hometown of Compton.

The National have shared a previously unreleased track from the Trouble Will Find Me sessions, a song called “Sunshine On My Back” that features Sharon Van Etten on vocals.  The band explained in a Facebook post various options for people to purchase the track.

Most of us were not able to make it down to Austin for SXSW this year, but NPR is doing us a real solid favor by hosting video of TV on the Radio’s performance at the festival.

Legendary punk rockers Refused announced a new tour last week, this time emphasizing smaller venues.  If you are unaware how much we love the band, you should take note that the header photo that graces this site comes from their reunion show at the Roseland from a few years ago.  Unfortunately, though it would have been amazing to see them perform at the Doug Fir, tickets sold out in about two seconds, so it is unlikely RIJR will be able to review the show.

Maybe our inability to purchase tickets was due to the fact that we forgot to post the latest Run The Jewels video.  Killer Mike and El-P released the video to the fantastic “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)” which features a memorable appearance from Rage Against the Machine’s Zack de la Rocha.  Enjoy the symbolism.

And finally, watch another one of those “let’s see what today’s teenagers know about the 90’s” videos.  This one has kids listen to various 90’s songs, and for the most part they didn’t do too badly.  I can forgive these guys for not knowing Ace of Base or how the non-rockers were unfamiliar with Tool’s “Sober”, but it pains me that so few knew who Coolio was or could identify Green Day’s first big hit.

Review: Fucked Up – Glass Boys

My introduction to Fucked Up was through their album The Chemistry of Common Life, and that initial listen was the first time since Refused’s The Shape of Punk to Come that I was excited about the direction of punk rock.  It’s hard to forget that opening of “Son The Father”, with the faint strains of flute dissolving into a gradual cascade of guitars to form an immense wall of sound, only to be punctured by the howling screech of Damian Abraham.  It was then that all hell broke loose, and the assault didn’t let up for the rest of the album.  It was amazing to hear hardcore punk escape from the box that it had built around itself over the years–here we had all the aggression and fury of the classics, but with music that didn’t focus on the same drumbeat or the same tired melodies.  It was clear Fucked Up wasn’t content with repeating the same old formula, and that’s what made them so exciting.

They reached for the stars with their next album, David Comes To Life, an epic rock opera with a complex and detailed storyline.  It scored rave reviews from critics, but personally I never fully connected with the album, simply due to its sheer length.  It may speak more to my diminished attention span more than anything, but it’s hard to keep engaged with an album that is going 110 mph for 80 minutes; after an initial giddiness that comes from listening to the first third of the record, songs started to bleed into each other and it became a chore to finish the album.  For someone like me who prefers to listen to full albums at a time, this is a problem.

Thankfully, Glass Boys is a leaner machine, and it works to the album’s benefit.  “Echo Boomer” begins the album in much the same way that “Son The Father” did, using an initial soft touch before packing a wallop; this time, with the flute replaced by a toy piano before the guitars kick in.  There’s a better sense of balance throughout the album as a whole, with a natural ebb and flow in tempo and dynamics.  “Sun Glass” opens up with the strumming of a summery acoustic guitar, before it kicks the door down with its call-and-response chorus.  “Sacred young, feel the sun, vermillion” are not the usual lyrics to a hardcore song, but it speaks to how the band is deciding how to view their place within the hardcore scene; later on, the line “We all get replaced, retconned and upstaged, life turns a page” states the fear directly.  It’s also one of the best lines I’ve heard all year.

The album hits a rough patch in the middle; the songs individually are fine, but when listening in context with the rest of the album and after the rousing opening, they suffer in comparison.  However, the album picks up again with the thrilling final three tracks.  “Led By Hand” has an intriguing minor-key melody that’s elevated by it’s sing-along background vocals, reminiscent of The Men in the Open Your Heart era.  “The Great Divide” ramps the tempo up and it sounds like it’s the most fun the band has had in years.  And the title track finishes the album with a blast, keeping the energy up but providing the cathartic resolution that the album needs with each repetition of “Glass Boys”.  The album ends as it began, with solo piano, but it captures a more subdued mood (if anything, it reminds me most of the end to Faith No More’s “Epic”–if that’s the inspiration, then it’s the perfect nod to conclude the album).

Glass Boys ends up being the album that fulfills the promise of The Chemistry of Common Life better than David Comes to Life did.*  Whereas Refused’s magnum opus showed how punk rock didn’t have to be confined to a specific genre, and could incorporate musical ideas ranging from electronica to jazz, Glass Boys shows that you can have all the intensity of hardcore without being constrained by the same formula time and time again.  Yes, Damian Abraham’s gruff bark will be the first thing that gets the neophyte’s attention, as well as the ferocity of the attack from the music.  But there is scope and sweep to the album behind it that helps amplify the band’s search for meaning, as they reflect on their place within the music world and their relationship with their audience.  It’s a coherent, cohesive statement, and despite the themes of the album, hopefully this is the beginning of a new chapter for Fucked Up.

*I saw this pointed out somewhere on the internet, but it is rather interesting that the artwork of David Comes to Life and Glass Boys seem to have been switched–the statue of David is used for Glass Boys, and two glass light bulbs are used for David Comes to Life (in the shape of a heart (fitting the Queen of Hearts character) or testicles (if held upside-down)).  Considering the time in between the albums and the tension within the band during that time period, it would be amazing to find out if this was indeed planned.

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.