the conceit of the graphic novel HUNGRY GHOSTS (DARK HORSE, 2018) is that of an EDO-period JAPANESE PARLOR GAME called HYAKUMONOGATARI KAIDANKAI (or "a gathering of one hundred supernatural tales") that found samurai telling stories to each other about GHOULISH TALES and FOLKLORE, each snuffing out one of a hundred candles after each story. as the room got DARKER with each passing candle being snuffed out, the samurai would continue until the 100th was extinguished thus allowing for a haven for the spirits to commune in their realm. according to custom theyd stop at 99 for that EXACT reason.
given that this graphic novel was co-written by the CELEBRATED chef and television personality ANTHONY BOURDAIN shortly before his death, the spin with HUNGRY GHOSTS is that these stories are told about food-related TRANSGRESSIONS and ABOMINATIONS against nature. themes of EXCESS, GLUTTONY and GREED in the face of other's need for want in order to maintain basic survival pervade throughout these stories ranging geographically from SPAIN, FRANCE, the AMERICAN MIDWEST and JAPAN. i dont wish to give away the ending but there is a BUDDHIST karmic sense of MORALITY at play with being MODEST in your INDULGENCES, less they define or literally consume you in the process. eating meat is not the issue, but rather the MORAL IMPLICATIONS of succumbing to your NEEDS and DESIRES while maintaining the suffering of others in close proximity in the process.
for someone with such an close relationship with food and its UNIQUE potential to initiate human relationships and maintain community interactions (as dining with people is an INTIMATE experience), it is quite compelling that BOURDAIN decided to use this same trope of a collective group meal to showcase such CLASS DIVISION and MORAL DEPRAVITY at the hands of the host, guests and kitchen staff at a formal dinner hosted by a RUSSIAN billionaire with presumed ILL-GOTTEN gains. its an INTERESTING reversal that works because of how ICONIC the dinner meal is as a GLOBAL cultural and even religious institution.
i should mention that HUNGRY GHOSTS was co-written with JOEL ROSE and the tales were manifested by DISINTGUISED, TOP-TIER visual talent in PAUL POPE, JOSE VILLARRUBIA, SEBASTIAN CABROL, ALBERT PONTICELLI, LEONARDO MANCO, SAL CIPRIANO, FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA, IRENE KOH, MATEUS SANTOLOUCO and VANESSA DEL REY. definitely worth checking out.
RIP ANTHONY BOURDAIN
SPOTLIGHT | LOUIS KAHN
i dont believe i paid much attention to architecture until i discovered the work of LOUIS KAHN in the early 2000s. there is something almost ETERNAL and ELEMENTAL about the scale, material and basic nature of his forms that is deeply AFFECTING. almost in a similar manner to how a MINIMALIST MARK ROTHKO painting wipes away with all learned notions and expectations of the WESTERN ART traditions and presents a STAGGERING work seemingly completely devoid of pretension. instead it is just pure UNADULTERATED EXPRESSION.
over the years ive come close to but have never had the pleasure of physically inhabiting one of his spaces. the most NOTABLE and CELEBRATED of which include the SALK INSTITUTE FOR BIOLOGICAL STUDIES (LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA), PARLIAMENT BUILDING (DHAKA, BANGLADESH), PHILLIPPS EXETER ACADEMY LIBRARY (EXETER, NEW HAMPSHIRE), THE KIMBELL ART MUSEUM (FORT WORTH, TEXAS), YALE UNIVERSITY ART GALLERY (NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT) and the INDIAN INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT (AHMEDABAD, INDIA) among others. KAHN is renowned for his CLEVER use of concrete and repetitive basic shapes, often at a grand scale. there is a perceptible and palpable sense of WEIGHT and PERMANENCE to his designs. so much so that his constructions are often described in quasi-religious language by peers, academics and laymen alike.
there is an INCREDIBLE documentary that was directed by his son NATHANIEL KAHN entitled MY ARCHITECT: A SON'S JOURNEY (NEW YORKER FILMS, 2003) that attempts to make sense of his work through the DETACHED eyes of a child that was largely abandoned. it was as if LOUIS was so consumed with his work that all other familial priorities took a distant second place in comparison. its pretty tragic yet inspiring at the same time since NATHANIEL physically walks amongst his father's buildings and witnesses the impact they have had on disparate communities worldwide.
one of the oddest things about LOUIS is that he was found dead in a PENN STATION bathroom after suffering a heart attack. this world RENOWNED architect and ACCLAIMED professor of design at the UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA passed on in what is largely considered to be one of the great architectural travesties of all time. taken down and pushed underground in order to make way for the modern MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, the PATHETIC destruction of the old PENN STATION complex and the experience of using this new facility is described by architectural historian in the DEVASTATING quip: "one entered the city like a god; one scuttles in now like a rat." its compounded tragedy that LOUIS had the misfortune of passing away in that location of all places after a return from INDIA, waiting on a train home to PHILADELPHIA.
if you are unfamiliar with the MONUMENTAL creative work of LOUIS KAHN, definitely look him up. his example has inspired a lifelong passion in architecture for myself, something i hadnt considered beforehand. most definitely worth checking out.
RECORD REVIEW | "KORN" BY KORN
the unlikely global phenomenon that is KORN is something i still find truly fascinating. tagged with spearheading what came to be known as NU METAL (an AGGRESSIVE METAL / HIP HOP hybrid) in the 1990s, the band and its sound was most prominently rooted in the ALTERNATIVE ROCK / FUNK METAL of a previous generation of ECLECTIC bands, namely FISHBONE and FAITH NO MORE / MR BUNGLE. throw in some NEW ROMANTIC posturing a la DURAN DURAN and more than sprinkling of GANGSTER RAP like ICE CUBE and DR. DRE and you have the basic TOXIC mixture that KORN drew from in the early 1990s.
the thing about their self-titled debut KORN (EPIC, 1994) is the context of how their sound landed in the ALTERNATIVE ROCK / METAL scene of the mid-1990s. this was a moment of transition as many of the THRASH METAL bands of the 1980s were still holding on to a sound (sans METALLICA) that some in retrospect deride as "type-writer metal" which is highly TECHNICAL and contains riffage that is COMPLEX and extremely uptempo. to be considered a METAL band equated to mastering that sound. KORN changed all that. their riffs were SIMPLE and the tempo was pulled way way back. the focus was on the GROOVE, not the tempo or technical wizardry, and the lyrical content. singer JONATHAN DAVIS on tracks like "BLIND," "FAGET," "SHOOTS AND LADDERS," "CLOWN" and especially "DADDY" seemed to be exorcising some deep childhood trauma of the sexual kind, a deeply DISTURBING cultural taboo that was never part of the vernacular of heavy music before, which was itself EMPOWERING in nature. DAVIS presented, much like KURT COBAIN before him, an emotive and introspective archetype of an ALTERNATIVE MASCULINITY. one that was unleashing a PRIMAL SCREAM against the ills of society and how badly it had treated him during his most VULNERABLE years as a child. i believe that such was a paradigm shift in METAL and ALTERNATIVE ROCK as many bands seemingly modeled themselves on such in their wake to present date.
sonically the band had a UNIQUE two-headed guitar attack a la BRIAN "HEAD" WELCH and JAMES "MUNKY" SHAFFER, both tuned down multiple steps with intertwining parts that buttressed the SLOW, plodding HEAVY riffs but just as importantly enhanced the lighter counterpoint melodies (often in opening riffs). bassist REGINALD "FIELDY" ARVIZU was less a traditional musician in the MELODIC sense and acted more as an extension of the percussion section with his slapping bass lines that really forward-propelled the songs themselves beyond the FUNK drumming of original percussionist DAVID SILVERA. in totality the band presented an OFF-KILTER but sonically POWERFUL front that empowered DAVIS to brave out and expose himself lyrically. it should also be noted that this record is one of the DEFINITIVE early ROSS ROBINSON productions that pushed his career forward and no doubt helped him land later work with the likes of GLASSJAW, SLIPKNOT, LIMP BIZKIT, SEPULTURA / SOULFLY, AT THE DRIVE-IN, CANCER BATS and even THE CURE. i saw KORN once at OZZFEST 2003 and was not prepared for how HEAVY they came across live. they blew the other bands away that night and i was absolutely not expecting such beforehand.
my only gripe with KORN was how DAVIS wrapped his own MISERY in the HOMOPHOBIC tropes of schoolyard bullying. that always seemed CALLOUS and a bit unnecessary in my opinion. even if your early years were TRAUMATIC and you were severely picked on by bullies and abused by adults, what is the purpose of utilizing the language of EMASCULATION that wrongly incorporates TERRIBLE slurs against the LGBTQ community. as if they are beneath you. there is so much unadulterated RAGE and suffering in DAVIS' persona and maybe it would be NAIVE for their to be some semblance of EMPATHY or COMPASSION mixed in somewhere, but that is my feeling. it goes further as such calcifies into MISOGYNY and on some level we are all degraded for our complicity in seeking refuge in DAVIS' misguided rage, as such would play out in the needless VIOLENT outbursts of their fans (a la WOODSTOCK 94) directed at women.
in my estimation its always interesting how KORN and a lot of the NU METAL bands borrowed sonic aspects from bands like FAITH NO MORE but none of their sense of INCLUSIVITY. instead it all became a channel for something truly INSIDIOUS and on some level deeply solipsistically NARCISSISTIC. as if their suffering was UNIQUE and ISOLATED them from the human experience instead of the other way around. one could argue DAVIS suffering made him more human and like those around him, even those that felt the need to hurt him and others like him. life is a cycle of PAIN.
photo manipulation by nacrowe
i know its hard to believe now, but there was a brief moment when the JARED LETO-led ALTERNATIVE ROCK band 30 SECONDS TO MARS didnt suck.
in my opinion that moment was pretty much their first album. produced by the legendary BOB EZRIN (PINK FLOYD, LOU REED, PETER GABRIEL, KISS), their debut largely kept in check frontman LETO's UNFORTUNATE tic to over-sing and reach for ever higher notes when the song doesnt require it (as would happen on later releases). the songs are structurally AMBITIOUS and slightly PROGGY but with a UNIQUE sense of melody and MEMORABLE, CATCHY hooks. lyrically this album has none of the OVERWROUGHT and CLUNKY "message" songs of later releases. here it is all centered around a SPACE TRAVEL theme, which i am total sucker for.
sonically and stylistically their debut was like CLASSIC SPACE ROCK (HAWKWIND, PINK FLOYD) mixed with FAILURE and A PERFECT CIRCLE. it had both SCOPE and DEPTH, as well as AMBITION that it delivered in spades. for me it was a total breath of fresh air. in the years since this band has been nothing but an embarrassment. they come off as INAUTHENTIC HOLLYWOOD phonies play-acting what they think a ROCK band should be, and their new music seemingly comes from central casting, ever more BLAND and TEDIOUS with each new release. its like THE POLICE, but not in a good way.
they really need to call EZRIN again. errr, maybe like four or five albums ago.
ive been a TRICKY fan since i first discovered MASSIVE ATTACK my senior year of high school. as ive written before, that was a CRAZY year since it started out with me living and attending school in KUWAIT where my family was stationed at the time. 9/11 happened and i was quickly shipped off to live with a relative in a WHITE BREAD suburb of SACRAMENTO. my solace at the time was books and the now DEFUNCT chain of EXCELLENT local record stores called DIMPLE RECORDS. over that year i discovered everything from SKINNY PUPPY and BAUHAUS to APHEX TWIN and PORTISHEAD. it was a pretty MISERABLE year all told as i felt understandably quite ISOLATED from friends and family, but in terms of discovering music, authors and films, it was arguably the most PRODUCTIVE period of my life.
i was lucky enough to see TOOL play at ARCO ARENA that year with ADRIAN "TRICKY" THAWS opening (with MARTINA TOPLEY-BIRD in tow!) in support of his recent BLOWBACK (ANTI-, 2001) album. during this period TRICKY even cameo'd in the ELABORATE and deeply ALLEGORICAL TOOL music video for for the title-track "LATERALUS" off the recent LATERALUS (VOLCANO, 2001) album. i remember the crowd was DISINTERESTED and multiple people in my section openly feeling comfortable in public yelling out the N-WORD at him. my low opinion of SACRAMENTO and its inhabitants really hasnt shifted since. my hope is to never return there for anything, ever.
my first TRICKY album was the ICONIC MAXINQUAYE (4TH & B'WAY, 1995), which i bought at the LEGENDARY TOWER RECORDS in SAN FRANCISCO on my last day in CALIFORNIA after high school graduation before flying home to NEW JERSEY to meet up with my family. by that point i was familiar with TRIP HOP acts like MASSIVE ATTACK, PORTISHEAD, THIEVERY CORPORATION, DJ SHADOW and SNEAKER PIMPS, but with TRICKY there was a real PALPABLE sense of synesthesia between the HAZY atmospherics and his deeply personal songwriting. whats more, he had this ANGELIC female singer named MARTINA TOPLEY-BIRD (whose solo material over the years is well worth checking out on its own merit) sing what presumably are his parts written in his voice. to have a woman speak from the first-person perspective was initially deeply JARRING but really gets at the UNIVERSALITY of TRICKY's perspective as a narrator in his own sonic universe. it also gets at the work of famed psychologist CARL JUNG and his description of the ANIMUS / ANIMA phenomena at the heart of the human psyche. in essence we all have parts of our psyche rooted in the other sex: ANIMUS is the unconscious MASCULINE SIDE of a woman and ANIMA is the unconscious FEMININE SIDE of a man. such is so deeply ingrained that it transcends our conscious psyche. on some level TRICKY is playing with this idea and it works BRILLIANTLY as TOPLEY-BIRD feels like an alternate aspect of his personality commenting on a fleeting EMOTION from an ETHEREAL distant plane a la a GREEK CHORUS. i found the whole thing completely INTOXICATING and very much shifted my expectations of what GREAT music could sound like and the need to push limitations.
TRICKY is one of my favorite artists and i am always looking forward to his latest work, irregardless of whether it hits me as hard as MAXINQUAYE did that first time. the dude is on his own trip and he's exploring realms of sonic artistry that i feel only a few others have ever truly thought to explore: people like KARLHEINZ STOCKHAUSEN, KATE BUSH, JIMI HENDRIX, LOU REED, BJORK, SCOTT WALKER, CHELSEA WOLFE, PHILIP GLASS or even FRANK ZAPPA. people that bend music to their will and not the other way around.
embedded below is a DEER GOD RADIO episode on nonprofit internet radio station MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC that originally aired in early 2021. the playlist includes music from throughout TRICKY's SINGULAR catalogue. enjoy!
i feel like i can still smell that dank aroma of weed coming from countless neighboring dormitory rooms in both college and high school (i went to a boarding school) with EXODUS (ISLAND, 1977) by the BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS blaring from somewhere in the mix. on that account alone i should probably detest this record but it is a testament to its songwriting and production that i cant help but be intoxicated by its charms as this is arguably the DEFINITIVE album that cemented the REPUTATION and LEGACY of MARLEY as a FIRST-RATE musician and EMERGING GLOBAL ICON.
EXODUS was recorded in the UNITED KINGDOM in the year following the assassination attempt on MARLEY's life in JAMAICA, so its themes are very much centered around personal as well as RELIGIOUS and POLITICAL LIBERATION. in the RASTAFARIAN religion there is much consternation focused on JAMAICA's past as a former colonial possession of the great modern day BABYLON in ENGLAND. as a the mixed son of a BRITISH plantation overseer, who later gained worldwide acclaim and attention in BRITAIN, MARLEY is very much the physical embodiment of this cultural tension between the two island nations. so when you listen to a song like "EXODUS," it works on a multitude of levels, not least of which is a commentary on the previous year's national elections in JAMAICA. "JAMMING" in spite of its being entirely coopted as mindless background music by AMERICAN retail and local beach supply shops and restaurants worldwide, the song is very much about the PERSONAL LIBERATION found in community and living a RIGHTEOUS LIFESTYLE. the idea that your ability to psychically separate yourself from your oppressor is not only a POLITICAL and CULTURAL DISSOCIATION but also a MENTAL one as well. on a deeper level it is a vital necessity that one must LIBERATE their mind from the worldview of those that persecute them, which is much more INSIDIOUS and DIFFICULT to achieve. "JAMMING" seems to be very much about that establishment of a new culture and sense of SOCIAL COHESION and STABILITY around an EMERGING COMMUNITY. more explicitly this same sentiment is seen on the "ONE LOVE / PEOPLE GET READY" medley, although despite its UBIQUITY in recent decades, i consider it one of the weaker tracks on the album.
my favorite track bar none from EXODUS is "WAITING IN VAIN," which is reportedly about his extra-marital affair with CANADIAN-JAMAICAN model and former miss world CINDY BREAKSPEARE, whom he fathered DAMIAN MARLEY with before passing at age 36 from cancer. the song is very much about the BITTERSWEET and TORMENTED feeling of romantic limbo when LOVE is hinted at but not explicitly reciprocated. with its LILTING melody and GENTLE upbeat momentum it is very difficult to listen to that song on a sonic level and not be swept up with that UPLIFTING yet paradoxically FOREBODING emotion, even before hearing any lyrics. in my opinion it is quite the achievement and really showcases MARLEY's power as a songwriter as it is the perfect encapsulation of the potential for LIBERATION through interpersonal CONNECTION, LOVE and one's SEXUALITY.
if you are unfamiliar with MARLEY, EXODUS is no doubt a very good place to start. like much of his post-LEE "SCRATCH" PERRY catalogue, MARLEY at his peak created a HYBRID sound that kept the VIBE and POLITICS of his earlier ROOTS REGGAE material while also incorporating the clean production and TRADITIONAL song structures that made his music accessible to the sensibilities of a BRITISH and later AMERICAN and WORLDWIDE public. the GRACE he walked that line with is arguably why he is still such an ICON in world culture on the ELEVATED plane of ELVIS PRESLEY, JOHN LENNON or MICHAEL JACKSON. required listening in my opinion.
THE STONE ROSES: MADE OF STONE (WARP FILMS, 2013) documentary is a INTRIGUING cultural artifact of sorts as it presents an insider's view of the LEGENDARY MANCHESTER ALTERNATIVE ROCK band's reunion in the early 2010s after nearly 15 years apart. in the history of BRITISH music, THE STONE ROSES were a bit of a TRANSITIONAL band between INDIE scene of the 1980s and what would become BRITPOP, especially as it relates to fellow MANCUNIANS in OASIS. LIAM GALLAGHER's brief cameo backstage at the first reunion finds him adamantly attesting that THE STONE ROSES are the greatest MANCHESTER band ever (which is saying something given that THE SMITHS, BUZZCOCKS, JOY DIVISION / NEW ORDER and THE FALL are from the northern city as well). their initial fall is the stuff of ROCK AND ROLL cliche, given that fighting their label and then management inevitably manifested in them turning on each other as well during the recording of their second album. for a brief SHINING moment in the early 1990s, especially their CELEBRATED gig at SPIKE ISLAND, the band was on top of the BRITISH music world and critical darling abroad in AMERICA. they basically set the table for OASIS, no question about it.
for me the most interesting part of this documentary is not the capstone 2012 performance footage of the band at HEATON PARK in MANCHESTER (mirroring their SPIKE ISLAND gig), but rather the more INTIMATE coverage of their initial rehearsals at remote home in WARRINGTON. it was during this rehearsal footage that you very much got a sense of the MUSICAL CONNECTION between the four players with all the unspoken nods, looks and grins that come with long embedded musical cues that manifest themselves physically and psychically with past compositions played to perfection in the present. the ENERGY is palpable. its that special ALCHEMY that only GIFTED musicians with a strong musical bond and chemistry bring to the table, which for the listener is nothing less than pure MAGIC. case in point is their rehearsal performance of "WATERFALLS." watching it you could feel their MUTUAL EXCITEMENT and ELATION.
i like to view that core SPARK as the central feature of this documentary. seeing how it ebbs and flows when outsiders and hangers-on and even technical difficulties come into the picture, such as their disastrous warm-up gig in AMSTERDAM when the drummer departed the gig pre-encore. this mirrored his similarly SPONTANEOUS departure from the band more than a decade before, spurring their demise as a band and creative entity. such would ultimately be the case a few years later when the band split again. i feel that just like JANE'S ADDICTION, these long stretches of indefinite hiatuses only make the inevitable reunion that much more POTENT and SPECIAL. my hope is that they do so with some shows stateside next go around.
they are definitely a SEMINAL band well worth checking out. IAN BROWN is a CHARISMATIC, ICONIC frontman and a BRITISH original. here's hoping they figure it all out again.
i'll admit i was late to MAC MILLER. i was aware of him by reputation via various online music publication, but the little i saw of him, including those early music videos, left me with the UNDERWHELMED impression that i was witnessing the second coming of white frat rapper ASHER ROTH, whom i absolutely DETESTED. interestingly it wasnt until i was teaching high school abroad in VENEZUELA that some of my clued-in HIP HOP-minded seniors urged me to give his new material a second look, this being around the WATCHING MOVIES WITH THE SOUND OFF (ROSTRUM, 2013) era. what i witnessed was something more CONFESSIONAL, INTROSPECTIVE and AUTHENTIC then the BRASH, ENERGETIC, DERIVATIVE and JUVENILE early material i associated with him. that was when my opinion shifted on MAC MILLER. plus i learned shortly thereafter that my cousin's studio in BROOKLYN was utilized for sessions for the follow-up GO:OD AM (WARNER BROS, 2015) album. just want to make biases apparent upfront.
all that being said, PAUL CANTOR in his restrained and sobering biography MOST DOPE: THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE OF MAC MILLER (ABRAMS, 2022) about the doomed PITTSBURGH rapper, who was only 26 when he passed on from a drug overdose in LOS ANGELES after years of SELF ABUSE, a portrait emerges about an exuberant talent with a pure love of music finding his way to COMMERCIAL SUCCESS and hard-won ARTISTIC CREDIBILITY in a notoriously SAVAGE and often CANNIBALISTIC entertainment industry largely alone. and its that last part that is difficult to not emphasize further, as MAC MILLER gained success with no cosigns and negligible community support (or even help from onetime label-mate and fellow PITTSBURGHER WIZ KHALIFA). his journey was one that was largely SELF-PROPELLED and SELF-NAVIGATED. it was a journey of continual ARTISTIC EVOLUTION in spite of major setbacks like naysaying critical gatekeepers at prominent online music blogs, the CULTURAL APPROPRIATION claims / baggage / guilt / privilege that comes with being a caucasian rapper and a spiraling ADDICTION that insulated him from both the public, his inner circle and even his family.
when you think of cultural figures like AMY WINEHOUSE, HEATH LEDGER, JIMI HENDRIX, PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN or PRINCE among countless others that passed on from a acute drug usage there is a sense that beyond the TRAGEDY of their demise is the idea that their PUBLIC PERSONA and CHARISMATIC APPEAL functioned to effectively insulate them from outsiders rendering help. when so much outside capital investment and livelihoods are riding on the ability of an artist or actor to perform it creates a unique dynamic and incentive structure that is not always beneficial to the creative individual at the center of it. when my cousin and i had our recording studio, i remember having long discussions about what type of behavior we would or would not tolerate by our clientele. this after one rapper was particularly abusive after an extended bender. my argument was that if the dude dies on our premises, that such is that something we want on our conscious, irrespective of a recording studio being technically part of the service and hospitality industry. even hotels will boot out unruly patrons. the next morning after that heated discussion news came out that MAC MILLER had passed. an artist my cousin actually engineered sessions with.
the story of MAC MILLER is one of a CHARISMATIC, highly EMPATHETIC musician making it big despite all the odds based on his WORK ETHIC, WARM DEMEANOR, MARKETABILITY and artistic INSTINCTS to INNOVATE and EVOLVE. it is also the story of a person that became more ISOLATED as he gained more clout to the point that nobody could call him out. which was to his own detriment. this is some TRAGIC HERO level shit. if i was still teaching SOPHOCLES' ATIGONE, CHINUA ACHEBE's THINGS FALL APART, SHAKESPEARE's MACBETH or HAMLET or even F SCOTT FITZGERALD's THE GREAT GATSBY to secondary school students the figure of MAC MILLER would be a prescient modern example of such noble figure with a TRAGIC CHARACTER FLAW.
he was only 26. years later it is still SAD.
MOST DOPE is a WELL-CONSTRUCTED, exhaustively RESEARCHED book that details INTIMATE aspects of MAC MILLER's life narrative without reading as EXPLOITATIVE or SENSATIONALISTIC, which is ever more astounding given its publication only a few short years following the untimely demise of the CELEBRATED lyricist.
check out HERE this recent streaming video episode of DEER GOD RADIO celebrating the ALTERNATIVE ROCK band WEEZER!
past episodes of DEER GOD RADIO are available here at the DEER GOD website as well as in the MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC archives.
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i remember back in the late 1990s during my sophomore year when i was involved with my high school's radio station that the the two girls before my show, who were absolutely INTIMIDATING ass-kicking PUNK ROCKERS that played everything from CRASS and M.D.C. to CRO-MAGS, G.B.H. and D.O.A. on their show would end every set inexplicably with BRITISH ALTERNATIVE ROCK band REPUBLICA's "READY TO GO" single. that ICONIC HIGH-ENERGY track from their self-titled debut REPUBLICA (RCA, 1996) album made little to no sense as a closing track to a set made up of 80s HARDCORE songs, other than it being HARD-DRIVING and sonically EMPOWERING. its the type of song that makes you want to run through a brick wall, which i guess one could say the same about quality PUNK ROCK as well.
fronted by the ENIGMATIC vocalist SAFFRON, whose accent i have never been able to pinpoint with any specificity, REPUBLICA has a sound that feels very of the moment in the mid-1990s when electronic acts like DAFT PUNK, THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS, THE PRODIGY, THE CRYSTAL METHOD, FATBOY SLIM, BASEMENT JAXX and MOBY became PROMINENT and EMERGING ALTERNATIVE ROCK bands attempted to split the difference with the COMPELLING hybrid likes of SNEAKER PIMPS and GARBAGE. with "READY TO GO" the band landed on a POWERFUL sound that has been utilized in car commercials ever since as a shorthand code for YOUNG, URBAN and SOPHISTICATED. other singles from the album "BLOKE" and "DROP DEAD GORGEOUS" are SERVICEABLE but lack the live wire ENERGY and INCREDIBLE sense of FORWARD PROPULSION that marks REPUBLICA's TRANSCENDENT, CELEBRATED single.
and that is kind of unfortunate in retrospect, because REPUBLICA is very much an ANONYMOUS ONE-HIT WONDER with a UBIQUITOUS single that has far outshined the group in the popular consciousness. in comparing their work to GARBAGE's first record, their just seems to be more EMOTIVE weight and lyrical heft to relate to from SHIRLEY MANSON's odes to fear and insecurity that mark their debut. SAFFRON in comparison is a bit of an INSCRUTABLE cypher who fronted a track that could very easily be dismissed as an almost-dance track. same thing with singer KELLI ALI and her work with the SNEAKER PIMPS. there is a there there and with REPUBLICA that sense of INTIMACY never projected itself on an audience. at least how i understand it. in short: INCREDIBLE single, LACKLUSTER record.
CHECK OUT THIS BAND | GHOST CAR
im really digging the PUNCHY GARAGE ROCK sound of LONDON-based INDIE ROCK outfit GHOST CAR. their sound at times ranges from the TWEE and POWER POP and of the spectrum of MINIMALIST ROCK AND ROLL to full on SHOEGAZE with LUSH textures and waves of distortion. the constant is a penchant for strong hooks and MEMORABLE melodies
im curious to hear what they come up with moving forward. GHOST CAR is definitely worth checking out.
i get it.
some people are sick of the sight of DAVE GROHL. in recent years he has been omnipresent in documentaries related to anything and everything ROCK N ROLL. lazy journalists refer to him as "the nicest guy in the music industry" (which makes my lizard brain immediately counter with, yeah, to journalists) and he has become something of the TORCH BEARER for the HUMAN ELEMENT in music writ large during an era of PITCH CORRECTION and DIGITAL MANIPULATION in the production of music. so i get the eye rolls and shirking at yet another testimonial to his supposed GREATNESS.
what gets me about GROHL is his capacity to be INCLUSIVE to musicians. he's collaborated on COUNTLESS projects for other artists (MELVINS, EARTHLINGS?, TENACIOUS D, KILLING JOKE, THE PRODIGY, DAVID BOWIE, NINE INCH NAILS), been in numerous bands (NIRVANA, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, FOO FIGHTERS, SCREAM, THEM CROOKED VULTURES) and initiated projects designed to showcase the talents of others like PROBOT (LEMMY KILMISTER, MAX CAVALERA, KING DIAMOND, WINO, CRONOS), TEENAGE TIME KILLERS (JELLO BIAFRA, NEIL FALLON, MATT SKIBA, RANDY BLYTHE) and the SOUND CITY soundtrack (LEE VING, PAUL MCCARTNEY, RICK SPRINGFIELD, CHRIS GOSS, STEVIE NICKS). oh yeah and he made the FOO FIGHTERS record an album of straight-up FUNKY BEE-GEE covers. you should be dancing, indeed.
its one thing to be an advocate for a community, another entirely to put ENERGY into being a CREATIVE RESOURCE for them to access. GROHL, given his unique cultural cache and commercial success with NIRVANA and FOO FIGHTERS, has time and again leveraged such a platform to spotlight those around him and causes he believes in. i just dont see it as SELFISH. the man has gone through more than his share of suffering from the very public premature passing of his friends and former bandmates that would crush less a person. hes carried on the spirit and legacy of his friend KURT COBAIN for decades and i imagine the same will be the case with TAYLOR HAWKINS. all i can say is godspeed.
embedded below is a DEER GOD RADIO episode on nonprofit internet radio station MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC that originally aired at the end of 2021. the playlist includes music from throughout the DAVE GROHL's infamous catalogue. enjoy!
seemingly all metalheads have their own favorite BLACK SABBATH album that they will endlessly advocate on behalf of and for me such is undoubtedly their third release MASTER OF REALITY (WARNER BROS, 1971). more than their debut BLACK SABBATH (review linked HERE) or their universally CELEBRATED follow-up PARANOID (WARNER BROS, 1970), MASTER OF REALITY is the record that cemented their reputation for being UNGODLY HEAVY and provided the template for EXTREME DOOM, STONER and SLUDGE METAL sub-genres that followed in its wake. HERALDED songs like "CHILDREN OF THE GRAVE," "AFTER FOREVER," "SWEET LEAF," "LORD OF THIS WORLD" and my all-time favorite BLACK SABBATH song "INTO THE VOID" are all QUINTESSENTIAL TONY IOMMI with PRODDING riffs that still SNARL and hold their weight more than half a century later. yes i said a half century, those SIGNATURE riffs that are as RELEVANT today as they were 50+ years ago which is beyond RIDICULOUS and showcases why their legacy endures.
OZZY OSBOURNE is likewise firing on all cylinders through this album, celebrating both the potential for EXPANSIVE CONSCIOUSNESS provided by MARIJUANA as well as warning HUMANITY against the SURGING drumbeat of a NUCLEAR APOCALYPSE spurred by competition between rival nations. his voice never sounded more POWERFUL and his lyrics more COHESIVE and PENETRATING. its just a VALIANT, INCREDIBLE effort on all fronts and presciently addresses on cultural touchstones related to INDIVIDUAL FREEDOMS and STATE-SANCTIONED VIOLENCE that have only festered and further DIVIDED DEMOCRATIC NATIONS in the decades since. in retrospect, his fears and INSECURITIES a few generations before were WELL-FOUNDED and there is a sense of DREAD and LACK OF HOPE at a potential solution being salvaged from this wreckage. MASTER OF REALITY is both an exercise in ESCAPISM from the HARSH REALITIES of the period (i.e. VIETNAM CONFLICT) as well as a DAMNING indictment at the forces that seek to divide us and allow for us to stare deep into the VOID of our own DESTRUCTION.
as long as their are TYRANTS, foreign and domestic, that seek to subjugate and enslave us, the MASTER OF REALITY will be the soundtrack to both the rise of such DESTRUCTIVE POLITICAL, ECONOMIC and GOVERNMENTAL SYSTEMS and the popular revolution that seeks its eventual DOWNFALL. in other words, this record will only prove to be more RELEVANT as the new century continues and competition for dwindling resources in an altered INHOSPITABLE CLIMATE carries on unabated.
MASTER OF REALITY is required listening. end stop.
FILM REVIEW | LAST SHOP STANDING
i feel like i joyously spend an INORDINATE about of my free time running around to small INDEPENDENT RECORD SHOPS in NEW JERSEY, places like STATION 1 BOOKS & VINYL in POMPTON LAKES, VINYL ADDICTION in NORTH ARLINGTON, REVILLA GROOVES & GEAR in MILLTOWN, LOFIDELIC RECORDS in BELMAR, PRINCETON RECORD EXCHANGE in PRINCETON and even JACK'S MUSIC SHOPPE in RED BANK. its all a part of a sickness i believe, a sickness to explore and discover new sounds. i feel strongly that music is a SOCIAL ACTIVITY in nature, as most of the TRANSCENDENT stuff i have come across was through close FRIENDS, FAMILY and knowledgable RECORD STORE OWNERS and CLERKS.
the decade-old documentary LAST SHOP STANDING: THE RISE, FALL, AND REBIRTH OF THE INDEPENDENT RECORD SHOP (BLUE HIPPO, 2012) really gets at the heart of the matter, providing a BRITISH perspective on the RECORD BUYING EXPERIENCE and its rollercoaster history throughout the decades. interview participants include countless stewards of SMALL RECORD SHOPS from across the island as well as NOTABLE ENGLISH musicians like PAUL WELLER (THE JAM), JOHNNY MARR (THE SMITHS), NORMAN COOK (aka FATBOY SLIM), BILLY BRAGG, CLINT BOON (INSPIRAL CARPETS), RICHARD HAWLEY (LONGPIGS) and NERINA PALLOT. in a sense, the history the RECORD STORE in the UNITED KINGDOM, is one of the environmental, technological and social forces that have disconnected the public from the VINYL LP, the CELEBRATED gold standard of global music collectors and enthusiasts. from early ROCKABILLY and ROCK N ROLL in the 1950s through the 1970s, the industry was on a skyrocketing trajectory to the point that PAYOLA and CHART MANIPULATION became the norm, SMALL RECORD SHOPS being the focal point of such underhanded activities. by the 1980s the COMPACT DISC was introduced and promoted as the new industry standard, with record companies even utilizing INFERIORLY produced VINYL to help push the transition forward. this coupled with SUPERMARKETS cutting in on the action, often with much wider marketshare than NEIGHBORHOOD RECORD SHOPS and at loss-leading pricing schemes, pushed more than 90% most into bankruptcy during the decade. the end of the 1990s wasnt much better as DIGITAL DOWNLADING and PIRACY became rampant and basically killed COMPACT DISC sales, which had been price gouging for nearly two decades at that point.
what saved the LOCAL RECORD SHOP was the return of VINYL as a sought-after CULTURAL ARTIFACT in the age of DIGITAL MUSIC and later STREAMING. STORES also diversified their inventories with RELATED PARAPHERNALIA like BOOKS, TICKETS, INSTRUMENTS and CLOTHING to supplement their revenue. some even use their space for live performances by local musicians. by 2012 when the documentary was filmed, the INDEPENDENT RECORD SHOP INDUSTRY was in fairly good shape, with record labels seeing them once again as partners and providing them with exclusive releases and workable margins to help ensure their longterm viability. i can only speak for my EXPERIENCE stateside, but their seems to be a healthy informal mutual support network between these INDEPENDENT RECORD STOPS. you can see such by way of how many EMPLOYEES of the recently shuttered NEW JERSEY cultural landmark VINTAGE VINYL of FORDS, a seminal RECORD STORE that had past in-store performances and signings by everyone from OZZY OSBOURNE, DESCENDENTS, TAKING BACK SUNDAY, ROB ZOMBIE, BOUNCING SOULS, TYPE O NEGATIVE, LESLIE WEST, SLAYER, JIMMY EAT WORLD, MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE, NEW FOUND GLORY, THURSDAY, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE and THE SHINS among many others, still working at the other aforementioned local RECORD SHOPS. that expertise is still valued and HUMAN TOUCH still sought after by STORE OWNERS, which is HEARTENING.
its nice to know that in a world of ALGORITHMS and CURATED PLAYLISTS, there are still ways of discovering new art via ACTUAL, not simulated SOCIAL INTERACTION. for me that is the crux of the RECORD BUYING EXPERIENCE and what differentiates GREAT RECORD SHOPS from their IMMENSE DIGITAL COMPETITION.
FRIENDSHIPS and ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS are prone to change and ultimately ATROPHY, much like the universe and its accelerated cosmic expansion that leaves us all ISOLATED and devoid of meaningful interaction. or such is the underlying guiding principle at play in the graphic novel OUR EXPANDING UNIVERSE (TOP SHELF PRODUCTIONS, 2015) by ALEX ROBINSON, which follows the changes that CHILDBIRTH brings to the FRIENDSHIP of three men in their late thirties as they navigate RESPONSIBILITY and the quickly changing demands put on them by their PARTNERS. what feels like a DRIFTING APART and reordering of priorities is actually just the natural evolution of a healthy functioning adult.
in this narrative there are two extremes presented.
one of the three male FRIENDS is a confirmed bachelor with no long term ROMANTIC PROSPECTS on the horizon. TALKATIVE with numerous pet theories and prone to OVER-INTELLECTUALIZE just about anything, this dude does not have to implement his concepts into actual practice through any kind of MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIP and is basically reliving a younger version of himself who smokes pot and seemingly plays XBOX all day. he never has to be truly VULNERABLE and thus make any meaningful GROWTH as a person.
another of the three males is married with two CHILDREN but has cheated on his wife at least twice. this is due to his perceived sexual needs that cannot be provided by a PARTNER who has physically CHANGED due to the EXTREME demands of childbirth. though economically stable as a teacher and nurturing and THOUGHTFUL as a supposed model of adult RESPONSIBILITY, his HYPOCRISY showcases the DOUBLE STANDARD of how men and women perceive their POWER in RELATIONSHIPS and how such alters over time and with the addition of CHILDREN in the mix.
its an interesting mix since the third male friend is basically navigating the impending birth of his DAUGHTER with his PARTNER with these two DYSFUNCTIONAL models of TROUBLED MASCULINITY. seemingly the glue in this close-knit group of friends, he is EMOTIONALLY AVAILABLE and somewhat NONJUDGMENTAL about their SHORTCOMINGS. he is EMPATHETIC to a point and makes his own life decisions related to his FAMILY informed but INDEPENDENT of their opinion. and i think such a dynamic is HEALTHY. its not indicative of a loss of supposed INTIMACY over time or the atrophying of the cosmic order as our collective FATE, it is a man growing into his own decision-making process as his PERSPECTIVE and RESPONSIBILITIES expand.
i personally have never had a CHILD but have been around people my age who have going back twenty years. i can only begin to imagine and appreciate the significance of such a TRANSFORMATIVE experience as CHILDBIRTH and the manner in which such an UNCONDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITY responsibility must have for one's sense of IDENTITY and relationship to the outside world. i have witnessed FRIENDS and FAMILY transition gracefully into such a role and others struggle. but at its core i never felt that such a transition was indicative of my stature being minimized. if anything it just meant more LOVE, more COMPASSION, more LIFE in the mix. if at all this expanding community was MOVING FOWARD together, albeit slightly REDEFINED.
i really enjoyed how much this graphic novel thoughtfully illustrated how navigating these tense waters of ADULT RESPONSIBILITY was a manifestation of owning one's own SHORTCOMINGS and addressing them head on. if anything we are all on that same trajectory whether we choose to accept such or not. OUR EXPANDING UNIVERSE is a THOUGHTFUL comic book well worth checking out.
SPOTLIGHT | JABLINSKI GAMES
comedian JACK BLACK's YOUTUBE channel JABLINSKI GAMES started out as a pre-PANDEMIC CREATIVE EXPERIMENT that seemingly was more about engaging with his two young boys over video games then a master plan for global UBIQUITY. but over the course of the PANDEMIC it transformed into a vehicle to keep things light for his family and communicate HOPE and HUMOR to his fanbase, which at the time was in short supply and much needed. its incredibly endearing to see a grown man with such limitless JOY and ENTHUSIASM for life and to have a kid that is beyond embarrassed by his public outbursts. i cant even imagine.
while the channel does showcase his love for SKATEBOARDING, vintage BOARD GAMES, 80s ARCADE favorites (DONKEY KONG, SPACE INVADERS, etc) and more than a HEALTHY helping of RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2, the focus does noticeably shift when he is involved without outside project. in which case the channel transforms into more of a traditional vlog with BLACK touring with TENACIOUS D or cavorting with DWAYNE 'THE ROCK' JOHNSON or KEVIN HART on some latest iteration of the JUMANJI franchise.
the dude is hilarious, but at the center of his world is his FAMILY and it comes off unambiguously how much he absolutely ADORES his WIFE and CHILDREN. im a big CHRIS FARLEY fan and from the jump i saw similar COMEDIC tropes in BLACK going back to his cameos on MR SHOW, but the two could not be more different. BLACK is INCLUSIVE and very much about including everyone in his LIFELONG PASSIONS for MUSIC and ART while FARLEY was motivated out of a deep well of pain and trauma and saw his own outlandish behavior as a cry for attention and help that ultimately went unnoticed and unmitigated. you cant help but watch FARLEY's work and not become crestfallen that he was unable to secure and find UNCONDITIONAL LOVE like BLACK.
at least that is what comes to my mind when watching JABLINSKI GAMES. definitely worth checking out.
RECORD REVIEW | "TANG" BY NYLON
i recently came across a cassette copy of the TANG (DEFECTIVE TAPES, 2021) EP by local ASBURY PARK INDIE ROCK band NYLON at a record store i frequent in BELMAR. it was suggested to me by the owner of the place based on other past stuff ive gotten from there. with these types of blind purchases it is always a toss up, but ive been lucky in the past to be turned on to some truly great artists (THE GET UP KIDS, DRAB MAJESTY, BROADCAST, YEAH YEAH YEAHS, SWANS and TORI Y MOI for starters) in this manner.
with its SKITTISH, ANGULAR patterns and ENERGETIC, KINETIC, FORWARD-LEANING rhythms that seekingly shift without warning, the TANG EP to my ear has POST PUNK written all over it. this sense of EXTREME dynamics is readily apparent on the PROPULSIVE opening two tracks "NO BOTHER" and "CONGRATULATIONS", which have an almost classic JITTERY GANG OF FOUR or WIRE feel to it. which is a good thing. even though that sort of vibe has been repeated down the line by everyone from ELASTICA to BLOC PARTY to LA VIDA BOHEME, its a sound i appreciate and never tire of so i can look past its apparent DERIVATIVENESS.
as with all good EPs, the experience of listening to it functions as a aperitif, gently nudging the listener to seek out further material. so on that count this a very SUCCESSFUL release as now i am on the hunt for more material by the group including their previous self-distributed digital single and split releases on BANDCAMP. NEW JERSEY's NYLON is definitely a band worth checking out and keeping a future eye on.
i recently came across the LOS ANGELES-based EXPERIMENTAL multi-media artist GENEVA JACUZZI, whose penchant for SYNTH-POP driven AVANT POP excursions is only matched by her wildly creative DIY music videos and art installations. referring to her as a musician or recording artist is a bit reductive since what she does is more akin to UNDERGROUND PERFORMANCE ART, less LADY GAGA and more LYDIA LUNCH in my opinion.
looking forward to what she puts out next as well as any future NYC-based events planned. if anything, her work is most definitely worth checking out.
with the E. JEAN CARROLL case now in the rearview and former DISGRACED president DONALD TRUMP forever officially legally branded a SEXUAL PREDATOR, it has come to my attention yet again that the "LOCKER ROOM TALK" video we shot over five years ago with our friends in DOLLTITS is still as RELEVANT as ever. i cant even adequately express how proud i am with the project and what it meant to do something CREATIVE and THOUGHT-PROVOKING during such a BLEAK and DEPRESSING time in our nation's recent history.
of course all credit goes to DOLLTITS, especially THERINA BELLA, for writing such a COMPELLING song which cleverly utilized TRUMP's DEMENTED ramblings from his INFAMOUS ACCESS HOLLYWOOD tape and contextualized them in a three and half minute pop song. much like the lawyers for CARROLL in her civil defamation suit, DOLLTITS let TRUMP do the heavy lifting in parading his WARPED MISOGYNY for the whole world to see. i feel grateful to the group for allowing me an outlet and opportunity to channel my immense FRUSTRATION into a fitting visual counterpoint to their PROVOCATIVE song (along with the INSTRUMENTAL technical assistance of co-director LJ AVALOS). its the first extended video i ever edited in totality and while some of the cuts make me cringe ever so slightly since my skills have greatly improved over the years, the TONE and MESSAGE i stand 100% behind. even though the group is no more i am certain that THERINA and MAGIE feel a similar sense of pride looking back at the experience. special thanks is also due to JON CARAMANICA of THE NEW YORK TIMES for giving the song and video mention in his column (link HERE) and providing some initial widespread publicity.
it just feels like that song and that video is the gift that keeps on giving as the ACCESS HOLLYWOOD tape as a CULTURAL ARTIFACT just seems like it will never die. so much of what TRUMP has done to DEGRADE and TARNISH our POLITICAL DISCOURSE and sense of NATIONAL IDENTITY has disappeared down our COLLECTIVE MEMORY hole as we futilely attempted to understand and come to terms with the next offense of the man or one of his goons. but not that tape and his UNRESTRAINED affirmation that for male celebrities SEXUAL TRANSGRESSIONS are not just socially ACCEPTABLE but in essence explicitly ENCOURAGED.
what a CREEP. glad to play my (very) small role in culturally bringing the bastard down. hopefully with all this current LITIGATION and potential future INDICTMENTS swirling around him, he will never come close to power again. here's hoping at least.
i have a VISCERAL memory of being at OZZFEST 99 as a teenager walking the grounds of the PNC BANK ARTS CENTER in NEW JERSEY when over the loudspeaker they started playing "STRIPSEARCH" off of FAITH NO MORE's ALBUM OF THE YEAR (REPRISE, 1997) record which had only been out for two years at that point. the mixture of that repeated synth line that climaxed into a hard-hitting syncopated rhythm and MIKE PATTON's soaring vocals was an incredibly arresting experience, especially at that volume level. it was absolutely STUNNING.
every FAITH NO MORE album has a DIFFERENT vibe and ALBUM OF THE YEAR had a distinctive FUNERARY aesthetic from the artwork and their penchant to play live this cycle in suits, down to DIRGE-Y tracks like "ASHES TO ASHES," "LAST CUP OF SORROW," "PATHS OF GLORY," "COLLISION" and "HELPLESS." it felt like a wake. it wasnt until i recently read the EXCELLENT FAITH NO MORE biography SMALL VICTORIES (review linked HERE) by ADRIAN HARTE that i learned that this interpretation wasnt an anomaly, as the band members were in fact consciously saying goodbye to the project with this record. throughout its production, bassist and longtime resident producer BILLY GOULD, drummer MIKE BORDIN and new guitarist JON HUDSON basically conceived and wrote most of the material. that ascending synth line on "STRIPSEARCH" i am so enamored with, that was HUDSON, not keyboardist RODNEY BOTTUM as i had expected. this was the second album, the other being KING FOR A DAY, FOOL FOR A LIFETIME (REPRISE, 1995) that BOTTUM effectively checked out creatively from the group during the writing process, as he was more involved with IMPERIAL TEEN at this stage, to the immense FRUSTRATION of GOULD.
when the material was in a somewhat finalized state, PATTON was brought in and he contributed vocals, which was the same basic process utilized on THE REAL THING (REPRISE, 1989) when he joined the group. it was a risk, as GOULD and HUDSON had no assurances that PATTON would even like the music, as at this point PATTON was heavily involved with his other project MR. BUNGLE, not to mention that he had moved full time to BOLOGNA with his ITALIAN wife. despite such PATTON got involved straight away and even brought three tracks with him including "NAKED IN FRONT OF THE COMPUTER," "GOT THAT FEELING" and "HOME SICK HOME." as a listener i always found this album to be one of the most consistent in terms of songwriting but had absolutely no idea that it was recorded in such a DISJOINTED manner with the new guy HUDSON pulling so much creative weight in the process.
one other INTERESTING aside about the record is the influence of GOULD's travels throughout EASTERN EUROPE, specifically ALBANIA, on specific songs. "MOUTH TO MOUTH" and its SKITTISH heavily-SYNCOPATED feel was inspired by the TURKISH-influenced street music that he encountered in ALBANIA. as a former PEACE CORPS volunteer that was stationed for a little over two years in that particular country, its absolutely tantalizing to think of where he went (writer's note: i messaged GOULD on TWITTER this very question and he wrote back, responses linked HERE and HERE). likewise the closing song "PRISTINA" is named after the capital of KOSOVO, an ethnically ALBANIAN city that i likewise was lucky enough to visit several times due to its relative proximity to KUKES were i was initially stationed. obviously his travels there predated by a few years the SERBIAN invasion during the KOSOVO WAR that began in 1998. i wonder what he took from the experience and if he's been back post-conflict. the song itself almost functions as an epic sendoff to one of the great ALTERNATIVE ROCK bands that ever was. its just unfortunate that it was released during a period in music history where NU METAL was beginning to break out and FAITH NO MORE were effectively largely discarded by less adventurous and less gifted musicians that traded in self-pity, homophobia and misogyny who likewise saw them as cultural forefathers. in retrospect it makes perfect sense that they got out while the going was still relatively good.
that is until they reconvened for the INCREDIBLE SOL INVICTUS (RECLAMATION, 2015) almost two decades later. with full participation and without missing a beat.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR is required listening in my opinion by a seminal band for the ages. most definitely worth checking out for the uninitiated.