Soundgarden

Catching Up On The Week (Sept. 18 Edition)

A large number of #longreads for your weekend reading pleasure…

Alternative Nation recently talked to Mike McCready of Pearl Jam for an extensive interview that touched on a variety of subjects, including his work in Mad Season, his songwriting approach, and what the future holds for his main gig.  As always, McCready comes off as one of the nicest guys you will find in rock.

Fellow Seattle legend and sometimes-collaborator Chris Cornell was interviewed by the AV Club for their Set List feature, wherein they took a retrospective look at his varied career so far, offering insight into the Soundgarden reunion among other topics.

Elsewhere on the AV Club, Everclear’s Sparkle and Fade was analyzed for the site’s Permanent Records feature, providing some nice perspective on an underappreciated classic.

DIY talked to Foals as they prepared for the release of What Went Down, with the band discussing their recording philosophy and attitude towards writing new material.

Bradford Cox of Deerhunter opened up for a rather bizarre interview on Grantland.

Finally, we are not sure when this article was originally published, but we just came across this look back to the recording of …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead’s classic Source Tags & Codes in Magnet, where the band discusses the making of the album as well as its effect on the rest of their career.

Advertisements

Over the Weekend (May 18 Edition)

New music, new videos, and other fun stuff as we recover from illness*…

Run The Jewels are seemingly intent on releasing videos for every track from last year’s stellar release Run The Jewels 2, and the video for “Early” might be their best one yet.  The video tackles the topic of police brutality like previous single “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)”, but opting for animation this go-around.

Ghostface Killah has been extremely busy lately, releasing 36 Seasons last year and Sour Soul with BADBADNOTGOOD earlier this year, and later this summer he will be releasing the sequel to the fantastic concept album Twelve Reasons To Die.  Today Ghostface released the first track from the collaboration with Adrian Younge, with fellow Wu-Tang member Raekwon contributing to “Return of the Savage”.  Stereogum has the SoundCloud link.

Tame Impala keeps trickling out new tracks from their upcoming album Currents, as “Eventually” was released last week.

Noisey talks to Yuck’s Max Bloom about one of his favorite new bands, and he uses the opportunity to talk about Vaadat Charigim.  It was pretty obvious that Max had great taste in 90’s indie rock considering his band’s own albums, and it sounds like he has a great ear for shoegaze as well.

Rolling Stone has the surreal short film that Soundgarden used to introduce their Superunknown tour, so those of us who were unable to attend that tour can find out what they missed.

Having previously compiled a playlist for another band with an expansive and eclectic discography (Built To Spill), the AV Club provides a service once again for those looking to get further into the music of Blur.  The result, sad to say, is not particularly good, and features the writer completely misunderstanding the Metacritic grading system (as witnessed multiple times in the comments, where she defends saying that The Magic Whip got “mixed reviews” when by their own metric Metacritic gives it a “Universal Approval” stamp).

Finally, the music world lost one of its greatest members, and a true titan, with the death of B.B. King late last week.  Billboard provides an excellent look at King’s legendary career.

*We apologize for our absence, as a stomach flu hit our writing staff with a vengeance last week.  We will run the planned Thursday post tomorrow, and then proceed as normal.  Not only did we lose two days of articles, but the illness also prevented us from covering a performance from one of our favorite live acts, Local H.  Hopefully they swing by again as soon as possible.

Covered: “Come Together”

Covered is a feature where we examine the merits of various cover songs, debating whether or not they capture the spirit and intent of the original, if the cover adds anything new, and whether or not it perhaps surpasses the original.  If we fail on those counts, at the very least we may expose you to different versions of great songs you hadn’t heard before.

Growing up, I hardly listened to The Beatles, which puts me firmly in the minority of most people.  I grew up in an immigrant household with a mother that preferred the Rolling Stones and Bob Seger and a father who didn’t listen to popular music at all, so I missed out on that omnipresent background of Beatles records that make up the soundtrack of most childhoods.  My Beatles education came much later, but it was tainted by years of reading the endless stream of praise for how the band revolutionized music and were “The Greatest Band of All-Time,” which only set me up for disappointment when I went ahead and listened to all their classic albums.  So while I can appreciate on an academic level how the Beatles influenced rock music for decades, I personally never much of a connection with their music; I can understand how the vast majority of music that I do love was influenced by The Beatles and in many cases was a copy of a copy of a copy of their work, but that does not mean I have to enjoy the original.

Given this background, it is perhaps not a surprise that the first time that I heard “Come Together” was not when it kicked off Abbey Road, but when I heard the chorus used in a commercial.  I thought, “Hey, this is nice!  I wonder how the rest of this song goes,” though I never followed up on that desire.  So when I first heard the song in its entirety years later with the memories of its anthemic chorus still stuck in my head, I had anticipated “Come Together” to be more of an uplifting rocker, and was not prepared for the groovy verses or its low-key, bluesy feel.  However, once I adjusted my expectations, I could then appreciate Paul’s nifty and inventive bassline as well as Ringo’s perfectly-placed drumrolls.  Lennon’s lines about “toejam football” and “walrus gumboot” are all nonsense, but at least they stick in your head in a not-unpleasant manner, though I feel like the art of the non sequitur wasn’t perfected until Beck hit the scene.  It’s a groovy song, and I can see why people dig it, but it just ain’t my speed.

“Now this is more like it,” he says, knowing full well that this may destroy all of his credibility.

The Soundgarden cover has always been my favorite of all the various versions of the song because it fulfilled my simple desire of the “uplifting rocker” that I had initially expected: it’s loud and heavy and sounds like a goddamn dinosaur is stomping all over your stereo.  When analyzed with present-day ears, their cover sounds like a grunge-by-numbers take on the song, with its thundering drums, heavily-distorted guitars, and (perhaps overly-)emotive vocals. But at the time when the song was released (back in 1990 the pre-Badmotorfinger days for the Loudest Love EP/”Hands All Over” single), it was a much more innovative and imaginative approach.  Even if you’re unconvinced by that assessment, there is no denying that Kim Thayil’s guitar really wails on that fantastic McCartney riff and Chris Cornell  sings the hell out of those nonsensical lyrics, with everything working in perfect harmony for that memorable chorus.  Academically, it may not be genius, but it rocks.

For years I had been longing to have this cover on disc, but those particular releases were incredibly hard to find, even for a crate-digger like myself.  So when Soundgarden finally released their rarities collection Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path with a specific disc devoted to covers, I was beyond excited to finally having a copy of “Come Together”.  However, the initial price of the compilation was extremely high–it was quite a bit more expensive than the similar odds and sods Wilco collection Alpha Mike Foxtrot, even though the latter had a whole extra disc.  I eventually got my hands on a copy (after waiting a couple of months for the price to drop a bit and using up a gift certificate), and even on a disc filled with excellent covers somehow “Come Together” still holds up as Soundgarden’s best (though their version of “Big Bottom” comes close to topping it).

And now that I have a copy, I’m free to rock to this version and pretty much ignore the original, because I’m a total heretic [raises up a double-fisted rock-hands salute].

Over the Weekend (Feb. 2 Edition)

Videos, news, and other fun stuff as you recover from the worst playcall of all-time…

The coffee in Seattle probably tastes extra bitter today after yesterday’s Super Bowl loss, but the weekend wasn’t a total bummer for them since Friday night saw the “reunion” of supergroup Mad Season for a special event.  Blabbermouth has videos of the show which featured original members Mike McCready and Barrett Martin joining the Seattle Symphony to perform a trio of the group’s songs.  The evening also featured guest appearances from other Seattle grunge superstars like Chris Cornell, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Matt Cameron, as well as native Seattleite Duff McKagan.  As an added bonus, the stars also performed a couple of songs from the classic Temple of the Dog tribute album.

Back on the other coast, there was an epic Jack White concert that included a special appearance from Q-Tip, as well as openers Run The Jewels performing with Zach de la Rocha on the fantastic “Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck)”.  Consequence of Sound has videos of both performances because in all likelihood, you weren’t there.  Elsewhere in the city at a fall smaller venue, Hamilton Leithauser was performing, and with guitarist Paul Maroon debuted a few new songs that may be released in the future.  Considering how much we loved his solo debut, our excitement level is pretty high.

That said, you still had the chance to watch some excellent live performances from your couch this weekend, but if you missed out, we got you covered.  D’Angelo made his Saturday Night Live debut with songs from his new album Black Messiah, and The Black Keys went through a quick set on Austin City Limits featuring mostly recent material.  Stereogum has the links to the appropriate videos.

We also have a couple of new music videos this week.  First, Deerhoof released the video for “Black Pitch” from La Isla Bonita, and it revolves around singer Satomi Matsuzak enjoying the coastal scenery despite the cold temperature outside.

Then we have Run The Jewels’s second appearance in today’s linkfest, since they just put out a video for “Lie, Cheat, Steal”.

If you’re in the mood for lists which prominently feature the Pixies, we have a couple for you.  First, there’s PASTE ranking the 80 Best Albums of the 80’s, and then there’s Consequence of Sound looking at the Top 10 4AD albums for that record label’s thirty-fifth anniversary.

Have some fun thinking about the fact that Rick Rubin is now doing annotations for Genius, and then hurrying over to see what the guru has to say about the great songs that he worked on (and his thoughts on songs he did not).

Finally, spend the day listening to albums from the one holiday-appropriate band that there is for February 2.  We’ll help get you started.

Catching Up On The Week (Nov. 28 Edition)

Some #longreads as you awaken from the Thanksgiving food coma…

We’re going to put the spotlight on Seattle this weekend, since we have multiple articles discussing the city’s place in music history.  First, Seattle Weekly talks to Bruce Pavitt, co-founder of the now-legendary independent label Sub Pop.  Next, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a profile of Dave Grohl as the Emerald City episode of his Sonic Highways is set to air.  And finally, Kim Thayil of Soundgarden talks to Loudwire about the band’s new rarities release Echo of Miles.

Seattle, though often grey, is still pretty.

Seattle, though often grey, is still pretty.

We’ve been enjoying the latest album from TV on the Radio these past couple of weeks, and before we unveil our official review on Tuesday, read up on the making of the new album with profiles in both the New York Times and Consequence of Sound.

The Atlantic has an article about how the internet helped spark a revival of interest in Nick Drake, far more than he had enjoyed in his brief life and career.  While we mentioned the seminal Volkswagen ad in our “Pink Moon” Covered feature, this piece helps fill in some additional interesting details.

In the past we’ve looked at different aspects of the streaming debate, mainly focusing our attention on Spotify and their payout model.  East Bay Ray of the Dead Kennedys sheds some insight on another service we’ve neglected, YouTube, showing how the company pays even less to artists than its competitors.

Though he’s mainly known for the off-center comedic empire he’s built with partner Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim has had a successful side-gig as a director of music videos.  The AV Club interviews Eric for its Random Reels feature, and he sheds insights on such videos as the frightening “We Are Water” video he did for HEALTH (and cited in our Scariest Videos list) as well as the weirdly gorgeous “Wishes” video from Beach House.

And finally, Pitchfork has multiple articles worth checking out this weekend.  Be sure to read this pleasant interview with Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker, then check out this analysis of the importance of Top 40 radio and the significance of different genre stations.  And finally, proving that the publication actually has a sense of humor, here’s “The Most Crucial And Yet Totally Overlooked Releases of 2014 and a Pre-Emptive Guide to 2015.”

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.]

Continue reading

Over the Weekend (Oct. 27 Edition)

News and new videos that have nothing to do with Halloween…

It’s always worth checking out the music videos that OK Go produces, and today’s release of “I Won’t Let You Down” is no exception.  Check out the band as they construct an elaborate routine with the help of a few (hundred) friends.

This weekend was the annual Bridge School Benefit, and I’m sure additional videos will be trickling out over the next few days, but so far there have been two featuring Pearl Jam that are definitely worth viewing.  First, there’s the band hanging out with “Uncle Neil” as they perform “Throw Your Hatred Down”, a track from the Pearl Jam-backed Neil Young album Mirror Ball.

Then there was the Temple of the Dog “reunion” as Chris Cornell joined in to sing “Hunger Strike”:

Speaking of Chris Cornell, his regular gig Soundgarden today released a brand new song, “Storm”, which you can stream here.  It’s got a nice, dark groove driven by Ben Shepherd’s bass, and might be deemed a spookier cousin to “Superunknown”.  It will appear on the band’s upcoming rarities compilation, Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path, whose tracklist can be viewed here.  The three disc set is scheduled to be released on November 24.

Wayne Coyne talks to NPR about the upcoming With A Little Help From My Fwends, the Sgt. Pepper cover album that The Flaming Lips recorded with several of their colleagues, ranging from J Mascis and Maynard James Keenan to Dr. Dog and My Morning Jacket to Tegan & Sara and Miley Cyrus.

My Morning Jacket also announced today a charity single cover of Woody Guthrie’s classic “This Land Is Your Land”, which is now available on iTunes.

Finally, Wilco is set to perform three songs this evening on The Tonight Show (though not all of them will probably be broadcast), featuring tracks from their upcoming rarities compilation.  In addition, Herbie Hancock will be sitting in with The Roots, so tonight might be the time to try to stomach Jimmy Fallon.

Over the Weekend (Sept. 8 Edition)

News, interviews, and goofy fun videos as you deal with a full work week…

In preparation for the release of Death From Above 1979’s new album The Physical World tomorrow, you should check out Noisey’s profile of the band.  If that’s not enough to get you pumped, well, you could always go back and read our piece on the brilliance of You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine.

As Radiohead begins preparations for a new album, drummer Philip Selway is about to release his second solo album, Weatherhouse, on October 7.  Today, the band posted the SoundCloud link to the gorgeous “It Will End In Tears”, and is definitely worth a listen.

Soundgarden/Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron gives some advice to aspiring musicians in this interview with Guitar Center.

SPIN is jumping in on the “let’s revisit 1994” bandwagon, providing a top 100 list of the “Best Alternative Songs” of that year.

And finally have some fun watching Nicki Minaj attempting to teach the various parts to her dance from the “Anaconda” video to fashion models.

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.

Over the Weekend (Sept. 2 Edition)

New music and videos for your recovery from the Labor Day Weekend…

Peter Matthew Bauer released the video for “You Are The Chapel”, the majestic closer to his stellar debut album.  It’s a mix of both performance and lyric video, with a slight twist on the latter as you’ll see:

Spoon did a “Secret Show” for MySpace, and the site has posted their performance of “The Rent I Pay”.  The direct link has been pretty spotty, so if necessary, check out the band’s Facebook page for an alternate link; and if they upload more, we’ll be sure to send you over that way.

There are two new albums that will be released next week that we have our eyes on, and you can listen to their streams now in preparation.  Death From Above 1979’s The Physical World is streaming on iTunes, and NPR has had a stream available for Interpol’s El Pintor since last week.  For more discussion of El Pintor, Gigwise has a series of interviews with the band as well as an exclusive documentary covering the making of the new album.

Those aren’t the only albums coming out next week; Better Than Ezra was one of the bands that I loved from my youth, and not only are they still kicking, they have a new release next week with All Together Now.  Billboard is hosting a stream if you want to check it out.

And now, a look at some art: Gigwise has pictures of the cool accompanying art for the new Aphex Twin album Syro, and Paste Magazine talks to Josh Graham, the artist behind the projections used by Soundgarden for their recent tour with Nine Inch Nails.

Faith No More is releasing its first new album in 18 years, according to an interview that Rolling Stone conducted with bassist Bill Gould.  And while there is no confirmation of a Sleater-Kinney reunion, Sub Pop is releasing a massive boxset of remastered versions of their previous studio albums.

Frontman for The Strokes Julian Casablancas is set to release another solo album called Tyranny in a couple of weeks, and just released “Human Sadness” as its first single, a rather unorthodox choice considering it’s an 11-minute song.

TV on the Radio provided more information for their new album today, announcing that Seeds will be released on November 18, and also provided a list of tour dates for the fall.  Also, the band posted the first single “Happy Idiot”, complete with lyric video.

Didn’t get the chance to catch Kanye West on his latest tour?  SPIN has the link to his performance for the Made In America festival this weekend, where he performed in both LA and Philadelphia.