as a music fan its always INTRIGUING to learn about the behind-the-scenes inner-workings and machinations of CONSEQUENTIAL operators like PRODUCERS, MANAGERS, ENGINEERS and even ROADIES. in his engaging memoir LUNCH WITH THE WILD FRONTIERS: A HISTORY OF BRITPOP AND EXCESS IN 13 1/2 CHAPTERS (JAWBONE PRESS, 2019), you are introduced to the world of IMAGINATIVE media manipulations and greasy pole climbing that is PUBLIC RELATIONS through PHILL (now JANE) SAVIDGE of the noted now-DEFUNCT firm of SAVAGE & BEST. at the height of the BRITPOP movement in the 1990s, this PUBLIC RELATIONS firm was at the center of the BRITISH YOUTH CULTURE having represented heavy-hitters of the period including SUEDE, PULP, ELASTICA and THE VERVE among many others. LUNCH WITH THE WILD FRONTIERS is basically a guided tour through the period and how he was able to adroitly manipulate PRESS COVERAGE and keep his clients and their new projects square in the BRITISH public's notoriously FICKLE focus and attention.
so in essence this book is really about the fine art of BULLSHITTING.
SAVIDGE seems to be such a PRETERNATURAL talent at the art of NETWORKING and HYPE-BUILDING that his memoir showcases him in the same room serving the interests of everyone from DAVE STEWART (EURYTHMICS), KEITH ALLEN and ANDREW LLOYD WEBER to PAUL ALLEN, DAMIEN HIRST, A. R. RAHMAN, JARVIS COCKER and even LOU REED. its all very INCREDIBLE and FASCINATING, but you get the sense throughout that SAVIDGE is a very USEFUL instrument for effectuating a DESIRABLE outcome, be it PRESS about a nightclub or a new band in a very specific BRITISH periodical. to that end he is singularly focused and uniquely poised to perpetually create what we now refer to in the digital era as "content." the dude was a constant producer of CONTENT that effectuated BENEFICIAL outcomes for his clients and provided unique access as a gatekeeper to a new generation of innovators pushing culture. long-term though, it is never made clear how said ATTENTION benefited everyone. seems like a never-ending hamster wheel of DRUGS, LIES and HYPE. plus with the never satiated public consumption of said CONTENT, there is always the threat of being overtaken and replaced by newer, younger, hipper artists and individuals involved in ever more DESIRABLE and DEBAUCHED situation. it seems in retrospect that the cheque written by SAVAGE & BEST was sadly delivered to the following generation of subsequent artists to pay up. some with UNFORTUNATE results.
even though this memoir chronologically doesnt overlap with the likes of AMY WINEHOUSE or PETE DOHERTY, it was never that far from my attention the darker aspects of chasing down and falling into this type of RABBIT HOLE. despite all of the GLAMOUR and DETACHED AFFECTION related to PRESS COVERAGE, you also get the sense that one's IDENTITY and PUBLIC PERSONA is what is at stake and being bartered over in the process. some get LOST.
what is so COMPELLING about this book is how little i learned about SAVIDGE as an individual away from his MANIPULATIONS in the ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY. he is a complete CYPHER. it is probably what made him such a great PUBLIC RELATIONS agent.
LUNCH WITH THE WILD FRONTIERS is definitely an INTERESTING book with a UNIQUE perspective on the BRITISH MUSIC INDUSTRY during the BRITPOP period. definitely worth checking out.
ever since returning stateside around the summer of 2017 i basically have jumped right back into GUITAR playing in earnest. not to say i ever stopped since brought and/or collected them during my time overseas, but being home with my family's extensive collection of INSTRUMENTS made me dive right in again.
ive always had a few PEDALS laying around, an old trapezoidal ELECTRO-HARMONIX MEMORY MAN and FREQUENCY ANALYZER from the early 2000s and several BOSS PEDALS from time immemorial. but ive come to collect used PEDALS and love the sonic FREEDOM and EXPRESSION they afford me, if only in my apartment. for me it is less about learning songs, scales and technical aspects of the INSTRUMENT and more about unabashed and uninformed experimenting with sound. i find it THERAPEUTIC, FUN and TRANSFORMATIVE. often times i look at the time and find that an hour has come and gone and i am still entranced on first position cowboy chords ringing out. no idea how my neighbors feel.
whats cool about the WHAT'S ON YOUR PEDALBOARD? series on internet music equipment retailer SWEETWATER's online YOUTUBE channel is how it showcases the thought process behind a signal chain. unfortunately most of the guests are PROMINENT GUITAR YOUTUBERS and influencers of varying TALENT and/or TASTE, but i found particularly COMPELLING are the episodes where actual MODERN PEDALS MAKERS are interviewed. past participants include JAMIE STILLMAN (EARTHQUAKER DEVICES), JOSH SCOTT (JHS PEDALS), COLT WESTBROOK (WALRUS AUDIO) and FILIPE PAMPURI (BEETRONICS FX). i continue to find it beyond interesting that so many of these innovative companies come from places off the beaten path like AKRON, OH (EARTHQUAKER DEVICES), JACKSON, MS (JHS PEDALS) OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (WALRUS AUDIO) and BRASIL (BEETRONICS FX). not to mention other modern companies like CHASE BLISS (ANOKA, MN), OLD BLOOD NOISE ENDEAVORS (OKLAHOMA CITY, OK), STONE DEAF FX (MANCHESTER, UK), CATALINBREAD PEDALS (PORTLAND, OR), DEATH BY AUDIO (QUEENS, NY), KEELEY ELECTRONICS (OKLAHOMA CITY, OK), HUDSON ELECTRONICS (HUTTON, EAST YORKSHIRE, UK) and historic firms like PRO CO (KALAMAZOO, MI), MXR (ROCHESTER, NY) and DOD ELECTRONICS (SALT LAKE CITY, UT). it just goes to show that like ROCK N ROLL, the PEDAL game is very much a DIY effort straight from people's garages, which is beyond cool in my opinion..
these participating BOUTIQUE manufacturers professionally think specifically about PEDALBOARDS in depth and its INTRIGUING to see how they go about utilizing their own product, as well as those of others. with someone like STILLMAN, his company is renowned for the manufacturing of sonic vehicles for an ever-expanding tone palette that covers both BRUTAL sonic AGGRESSION and PLACID zen AMBIENCE, so it comes as no surprise that his PEDALBOARD walks that divide. plus in a former life he was a touring POST-HARDCORE musician in bands from the same scene as THE BLACK KEYS (whom he has made PEDALS for), so it all kinda makes sense. SCOTT on the other hand is an avowed first-order GUITAR PEDAL nerd with MIDDLE-OF-THE-ROAD, INOFFENSIVE musical tastes (think PEARL JAM, DAVE MATHEWS BAND and SPOON), so it makes sense that his product line as well as his board contains faithful, HIGH QUALITY reproductions of much sought-after PEDALS. those of which that are prohibitively overpriced on the secondary market and or incredibly scarce. so it makes sense that his PEDALBOARD has a more CONVENTIONAL appeal to traditionally CELEBRATED tones that most GUITAR players enjoy. aint nothing wrong with that. i feel like the other two participants fall somewhere in-between STILLMAN and SCOTT.
anyway, i love GUITAR PEDALS and could watch stuff like this all day, every day. definitely worth checking out if you are into that sorta thing.
back in the day, ILLINOIS-based INDUSTRIAL-tinged ALTERNATIVE ROCK band STABBING WESTWARD were often unfairly tagged by critics as NINE INCH NAILS soundalikes and essentially OPPORTUNISTIC wannabes. it makes sense given that INDUSTRIAL MUSIC was largely a MISUNDERSTOOD underground affair until the genius of TRENT REZNOR and NINE INCH NAILS elevated the form from obscurity and found a national audience, especially with the ICONIC release of THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL (INTERSCOPE, 1994). pre-NINE INCH NAILS, national music critics were largely unfamiliar with or ignored entirely INNOVATIVE acts like SKINNY PUPPY, THROBBING GRISTLE, FRONT 242 or MINISTRY. so i understand why STABBING WESTWARD took flack for sounding tangentially similar to a major buzz band of the moment when they released their WITHER BLISTER BURN + PEEL (COLUMBIA, 1995) album.
but STABBING WESTWARD is its own thing. to my ears they have more in common with the ALTERNATIVE ROCK / METAL wing of INDUSTRIAL-influenced music; acts like FILTER, GRAVITY KILLS, RAMMSTEIN and even early MARILYN MANSON who basically utilized SAMPLING and DRUM MACHINES to augment their TRADITIONAL ROCK AND ROLL sound. NINE INCH NAILS is an entirely different part of that spectrum / continuum having effectively carved out their own respected niche in the process. the thrill of STABBING WESTWARD is in WELL-CONSTRUCTED singles like "SHAME" and "WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO?" that showcase the CHARGED, EXISTENTIAL howling of CHARISMATIC frontman CHRISTOPHER HALL, who often comes across as someone on the verge of a PSYCHOTIC break from this world. it is almost operatic in nature given the theatrical dynamics of their approach to songwriting, each song is almost a case study in longing, unrequited LOVE or bitter ENVY. its always FULL-TILT, TORQUED emotions and the EXISTENTIAL fear of subsuming ones identity to the paralysis of EXPLOSIVE romantic PAIN with STABBING WESTWARD.
or such is how i perceived their appeal when i learned of the group from a classmate and friend in the late 1990s while a sophomore at a boarding school in NEW ENGLAND. i remember being surrounded by people of INCREDIBLE means and access with their CHARMED lives seemingly on hold for them to finish high school and feeling alienated by it all. my peer group was on a different level and deep down i just felt like a lost dunce from ORANGE COUNTY who somehow through a break in the time-space continuum found myself attending alongside them. STABBING WESTWARD and the sound of WITHER BLISTER BURN + PEEL is SOCIAL ISOLATION personified. it remains an important FORMATIVE record in my life, especially at such PIVOTAL state in my life. even in retrospect, it is most definitely worth checking out.
recently ive been totally entranced by the INTOXICATING sound of the GUADALAJARA-based three-piece INDIE ROCK / SHOEGAZE band NORWAYY, who have a intimately DELICATE yet emotionally POWERFUL sound that lingers long after the song ends in the best tradition of SLOWDIVE, JAPANESE BREAKFAST, BROADCAST, LUSH and MY BLOODY VALENTINE. i just cant get over how dynamic their sound is, from HAZY fragile verses to these commanding, VIBRANT widescreen choruses.
can't rant about them any more profusely. NORWAYY is definitely worth checking out.
parodies by nacrowe
there are just too many TRANSFORMATIVE bands that have been on the iconic BRITISH label 4AD RECORDS. acts like BAUHAUS, SCOTT WALKER, PIXIES, THE BIRTHDAY PARTY, LUSH and COCTEAU TWINS, not to mention STEREOLAB, CAMERA OBSCURA, THE BREEDERS, THIEVERY CORPORATION or more recent acts like GRIMES, DEERHUNTER, ST. VINCENT, TUNE-YARDS, ZOMBY, MARK LANEGAN (RIP), PURITY RING and TWIN SHADOW. for the past 4+ decades, it just feels like every successive generation of EXCEPTIONAL musicians with an EXPERIMENTAL and INNOVATIVE edge somehow find themselves on this amazing label.
as someone who is interested in music and constantly jaded by the seeming triviality and copycat nature of new material (even personally experienced the internal pressures and incentive structures of such as a former co-owner of a recording studio), it is A GIFT to have a resource like 4AD available to seek out new acts that are pushing the boundary. whether i am ready for such or not is a different matter, but i love and appreciate the opportunity to be confronted with THE FUTURE by a curation i inherently trust. and that best describes my relationship with 4AD as a listener and music consumer: TRUST.
and there are other labels i similarly TRUST as well, namely FAT POSSUM, DOMINO, MUTE, WARP and MATADOR, but first among equals has always been 4AD. im always looking forward to what NEW SOUNDS theyve found and unleashed on the world.
embedded below is a DEER GOD RADIO episode on nonprofit internet radio station MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC that originally aired about two and half years just before the pandemic. the 4AD RECORDS playlist showcases a whole host of ECLECTIC music from throughout their CELEBRATED catalogue. enjoy!
i first experienced THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (20TH CENTURY FOX, 1975) film my sophomore year of high school in the basement lounge of my dorm at the time with several of my clued-in, more culturally SOPHISTICATED classmates. without any warning i remembered being particularly irked by how they wouldnt shut up during the beginning of the film, only to quickly realize that this somewhat choreographed element was part of the INTERACTIVE charm at the heart of the movie. from there on out i was MESMERIZED by this two-pronged assault on my senses, and nobody was even dressed up for the performance!
written by RICHARD O'BRIEN, who plays the character of RIFF RAFF in the film adaptation of the stage show, the THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW musical is a bit of paean to all things B-MOVIE and CULT CLASSIC-related from revered rudimentary early SCI-FI, MONSTER and HORROR genre films to the schlocky HERSCHEL GORDON LEWIS, WILLIAM CASTLE, JAMES WHALE and ROGER CORMAN end of the cinematic spectrum. the plot loosely revolves around a newly-wed MIDDLE AMERICAN square couple (played by BARRY BOSTWICK and SUSAN SARANDON) whose car breaks down near an old VICTORIAN mansion on a rainy night, only to be confronted with the PHANTASMAGORICAL interior world of the transvestite mad scientist DR FRANK-N-FURTER (played by TIM CURRY) and his band of merry pranksters.
i gotta be honest, the plot is not that important. the music and the spectacle of it all is what is key to appreciating THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW. songs like "SCIENCE FICTION/DOUBLE FEATURE," "DAMMIT JANET," "SWEET TRANSVESTITE," "THE TIME WARP" and "I CAN MAKE YOU A MAN" transport you to an alternate utopia that is seemingly INCLUSIVE and CELEBRATORY of the diversity of human experience in all its forms and variations. all of these songs are ICONIC, as well as the various PARTICIPATIVE audience elements that have been utilized over the years. what is key is that there is a potential for experiencing the film anew each time you watch it as the interactive lines shift with each new audience. for me the key song of the film is "FANFARE/DON'T DREAM IT" which has the IMMORTAL line of "dont dream it, be it." i can only imagine being a LGBTQ teenager in the 1970s watching this film and feeling empowered by the sheer bravado and force of will of the characters to fearlessly manifest their sense of IDENTITY on the world. CURRY, for his participation, is at the peak of his powers and i can only describe his performance as generationally BRILLIANT. despite the obvious sheer camp and exaggerated artifice involved in the film, at the heart of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW is a message of SELF-EMPOWERMENT and unadulterated COURAGE to BE TRUE TO ONESELF, even in the face of an INTOLERANT and often CRUEL world full of SELFISH, INSECURE, UNENLIGHTENED beings that act out of FEAR. the film asks its audience to be likewise unrelentingly AUTHENTIC without self-consciousness, even if society turns a cross eye in your direction.
dont dream it, be it.
THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW is an ICONIC film with an absolutely TIMELESS, KILLER soundtrack. most definitely worth checking out. again and again and again.
my introduction to the CINEMATIC work of KEVIN SMITH is intertwined with my family's relocation from SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA to NEW JERSEY in the mid-90s. during that period we were only stateside for the summer months as we were living abroad in NIGERIA at the time as part of my parent's work, but found ourselves every year at a distant relative's JERSEY SHORE home in a SUBURBAN town called MIDDLETOWN just off EXIT 114 on the GARDEN STATE PARKWAY. we've more or less been based in the same general area ever since, despite several stints abroad. it was our adopted base and has become our home.
SMITH, much like BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN (or to a much lesser extent BON JOVI) is a prominent part of the cultural fabric of that community, as he grew up in HIGHLANDS and famously worked at the QUICK STOP in nearby LEONARDO by the naval base (both part of MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP), before pursuing the most IMPROBABLE of FILM CAREERS. the retrospective CLERK (1091 PICTURES, 2021) documentary follows SMITH's career trajectory and examines how successes and failures effected his sense of IDENTITY. in essence, he learned along the way that he personified a certain AMERICAN archetype revolving around supposed NERDISH pursuits (i.e. comic books, STAR WARS, hockey?) that endeared him to a surprisingly abundant yet dormant national community of likeminded SELF-IDENTIFIED DORKS. this career pivot towards online fan forums (long before social media), touring speaking engagements and later podcasting made him more immediately available and on INTIMATE terms with his audience. yes, he is a noted SCREENWRITER and FILMMAKER with an identifiably specific, working-class ethos and voice to his work, but he has now made a second career of professionally being, in essence, KEVIN SMITH. his fans have basically been riding shotgun with him for years now, supporting his privately distributed INDIE FILMS and learning about his gains (new projects) and setbacks (including a recent HEART ATTACK that led him to go vegan and lose weight).
recently i watched a retrospective documentary on QUENTIN TARANTINO, in which there is mention of a statement he made after learning about the MASSIVE court case against former MIRAMAX / THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY chairman and elite producer HARVEY WEINSTEIN. he noted that he knew enough to know something and did nothing end stop. it was an ANEMIC response that really made TARANTINO look TERRIBLE and surprisingly IMPOTENT. SMITH, likewise, had many of his more WELL-KNOWN and critically REVERED films distributed through MIRAMAX over the years. learning about the WEINSTEIN allegations shocked him to his core, enough to immediately vow to donate all future residual earnings from those films to the nonprofit WOMEN IN FILM, an advocacy group for GENDER EQUALITY in the FILM INDUSTRY. which is pretty incredible.
im just continually relieved that someone from my area has gone on to create great work on such a massive scale while still remaining part of the local JERSEY SHORE community. its just something about MONMOUTH COUNTY where sightings of FAMOUS residents like DEBORAH HARRY (LINCROFT), BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN (COLTS NECK), BON JOVI (RUMSON) and KEVIN SMITH (RED BANK) are met with shrugs. they are just regular people getting on with their lives in peace. success for some is something to aspire to, but these people seemingly didnt lose themselves along the way and remained available and local. i respect them for that and im glad they are from my area.
originally published as issue #22 in the EIGHTBALL series, the graphic novel ICE HAVEN (PANTHEON, 2005) by CELEBRATED ALTERNATIVE COMICS cartoonist DANIEL CLOWES is a compelling KALEIDOSCOPIC depiction of an AMERICAN small town's inhabitants with interweaving personal narratives that sometimes resolve and other times continue onward unabated such as is the case in real life. LOVE, DEATH, LOSS, MARRIAGE, SEX and DIVORCE find their way into one's life trajectory much as JEALOUSY, PRIDE, ART, PARANOIA, HISTORY and PREJUDICE do as well. CLOWES' makes CLEVER use of differing art styles in his panels to represent the UNIQUE worldview and perspective of different said inhabitants, whether they be INNOCENT children or SCHEMING adults.
in many ways, this narrative experiment at the heart of ICE HAVEN reminds me of the IDIOSYNCRATIC DAVID BYRNE film TRUE STORIES (WARNER BROS, 1986) and how said film juxtaposes various aspects of RURAL TEXAN life and CULTURE without editorializing or passing judgment on the subject. BYRNE throughout is just a PASSIVE observer providing brief glimpses on the then rapid industrial expansion of the microchip industry and its effects on the landscape and how such informed how inhabitants viewed and identified themselves. with ICE HAVEN, CLOWES has a comic critic embedded in the mix who acts as a GREEK chorus, providing UN-AUTHORITATIVE insight and commentary on the action at hand. this is a distracting device of sorts and CLOWES' actual opinion is never elucidated specifically to the reader. it is just another voice to add to the mix.
and that is ultimately how i see this graphic novel in general, as in INTERESTING composite shot of a community, warts and all. there are some people with AMBITION with good intentions and others set to EXPLOIT circumstances to their own benefit in completely BAD FAITH, just like in real life. i dont get the feeling that CLOWES is making any META-COMMENTARY on specific aspects of modern AMERICAN LIFE, more just attempting to showcase the mechanizations of it and for the reader to get a sense of how the pieces potentially fit together.
ICE HAVEN is an INTRIGUING achievement and well worth checking out.
what a great concept.
A.V. UNDERCOVER was a CURATED LIVE PERFORMANCE web series produced by THE ONION entertainment offshoot THE A.V. CLUB that ran for seven seasons and had 310 episodes from 2010-2017. at the heart of it was the premise of a listener-derived list of songs that participating BANDS and ARTISTS would choose from, the catch being that ARTISTS performing further in the season had less choice over the material and made for some truly UNLIKELY covers.
and therein lies this LIVE MUSIC series REMARKABLE lasting cultural pull. the idea of GWAR covering the PET SHOP BOYS' "WEST END GIRLS," SEBADOH covering RUSH's "LIMELIGHT" or COHEED AND CAMBRIA covering THE SMITHS' "A RUSH AND A PUSH AND THE LAND IS OURS" is something i am absolutely here for. i am glad to live in a universe where this stuff exists. past participants include CHARLI XCX, THE GET-UP KIDS, DEERHOOF, NADA SURF, THE COATHANGERS, RISE AGAINST, TED LEO AND THE PHARMACISTS, DUM DUM GIRLS, COURTNEY BARNETT, THE POLYPHONIC SPREE, AGAINST ME!, KURT VILE, LE BUTCHERETTES, WRYE OAK and GROUPLOVE covering everyone from BIG STAR, THE GO-GOs, BLUR, NEW ORDER and NIRVANA to KATE BUSH, THE BREEDERS, ANDREW W.K., NINE INCH NAILS, NEIL YOUNG, THE CLASH, ADAM ANT, TEARS FOR FEARS, MILEY CYRUS and even THE BACKSTREET BOYS among countless others.
honestly, what is there not to love. definitely worth checking out.
SHANGRI-LA DEE DA (ATLANTIC, 2001) can effectively be considered the STONE TEMPLE PILOTS creative swan song as it is the last record to include a fully engaged SCOTT WEILAND at the arguable height of his powers as a lyricist and singer. the strained post-VELVET REVOLVER reunion follow-up STONE TEMPLE PILOTS (ATLANTIC, 2010) album nearly a decade later found a CHEMICALLY DIMINISHED WEILAND literally mailing in his contributions via an outside studio from the band, which the surviving members have admitted in recent years were embarrassingly SUBPAR. but on SHANGRI-LA DEE DA he was in fine form.
like with all things STONE TEMPLE PILOTS-related, TRAGEDY and MISSED OPPORTUNITIES abound with SHANGRI-LA DEE DA. the record was a throwback of sorts to the harder-edge AGGRESSIVE sound of the band's debut CORE (ATLANTIC, 1992), effectively shedding the PSYCHEDELIC, GLAM and POWER POP elements the band had interwoven into their sound over the following records. tracks like "DUMB LOVE," "REGENERATION," "HOLLYWOOD BITCH" and "COMA" are some of the hardest hitting tracks the band had ever produced this side of "DOWN" of NO. 4 (ATLANTIC, 1999) or "PIECE OF PIE," "WICKED GARDEN," "SIN" or "DEAD & BLOATED" off CORE. to my ears those songs comprised the key tracks of the album, but you wouldnt know that by the fact taht ATLANTIC RECORDS chose "DAYS OF THE WEEK," a TUNEFUL middle-of-the-road POWER POP outlier on an otherwise PUMMELING album, as the first single. such became a minor radio hit, but the record kind of fizzled in the public imagination thereafter and the WEILAND saga and DOWNWARD SPIRAL continued from then on. i just dont understand how "COMA" was not a single as it is such a POWERFUL, CRUSHINGLY BELLIGERENT track.
the context of SHANGRI-LA DEE DA's reception was that in 2001 you had the back-to-basics INDIE ROCK REVIVAL happening with bands like THE WHITE STRIPES and THE STROKES in full command of the zeitgeist, much as NU METAL bands like KORN and LIMP BIZKIT had only a few years earlier. the STONE TEMPLE PILOTS, even during the ALTERNATIVE ROCK explosion of the early 90s, was always a bit of an outsider. back then they were a gifted SAN DIEGO band accused of aping and exploiting the SEATTLE scene, which is laughable now, but it belies the point that they were always seemingly proving themselves time and again in a HOSTILE marketplace that didnt view them as a natural fit. for whatever reason, later POST-GRUNGE peers in FOO FIGHTERS could transcend such but the STONE TEMPLE PILOTS, especially in the later years of their career, could not catch a break. despite how strong some of these tracks are off SHANGRI-LA DEE DA, it was effectively a CULTURAL ANACHRONISM even before its release. not sure it ever really had a chance.
i remember coming across the album at the now long-DEFUNCT DIMPLE RECORDS in SACRAMENTO my senior year of high school and being particularly taken with the other STANDOUT track, "A SONG FOR SLEEPING." that track is lyrically a love letter of sorts from WEILAND to his newborn son NOAH, with him celebrating their future together and all the activities and life events yet to come. it is a HOPEFUL song that is rather SENTIMENTAL and TOUCHING. and in retrospect senselessly TRAGIC. of course now we know that WEILAND didnt make it to his son's 16th birthday when he died in SAD, PATHETIC fashion from a long overdue drug overdose on a tour bus in MINNESOTA in 2015. its not quite on the level of JOHN LENNON and the hauntingly MOVING DOUBLE FANTASY () track "BEAUTIFUL BOY," but it is sadly of that same unintended genre of a song yearning to see a new child through their development into adulthood only to have their life cut short in the process. very much a UNFORTUNATE state of affairs.
i think SHANGRI-LA DEE DA is a STRONG STONE TEMPLE PILOTS record that was expertly pulled off by the LONG-SUFFERING DELEO BROTHERS and drummer ERIC WRETZ, the UNSUNG heroes (by far) of the band. my personal preference is for PURPLE (ATLANTIC, 1994) and TINY MUSIC... SONGS FROM THE VATICAN GIFT SHOP (ATLANTIC, 1996) as the DEFINITIVE records the band ever released and the perfect starting point. but SHANGRI-LA DEE DA is definitely worth checking out nonetheless.
upstate NEW YORK's THE BOBBY LEES are one of the most PROVOCATIVE and ENERGETIC GARAGE ROCK bands i have come across in quite a while. there is just something oxymoronic about their STRUCTURED and COMPOSED sense of outright LOOSENESS, as if the band is some kind of KINETIC high wire act, that brings to mind the likes of bands past such as THE STOOGES, THE NEW YORK DOLLS, 70s-era ROLLING STONES and even AT THE DRIVE-IN. part of that undoubtedly is due to the CHARISMATIC and UNHINGED persona of front-woman SAM QUARTIN, who looks every bit as committed as IGGY POP, POLY STYRENE, DARBY CRASH and LIAM GALLAGHER before her.
its just so cool to see this new generation of like-minded PUNK / GARAGE bands in THE CHATS, DEATH VALLEY GIRLS and AMYL & THE SNIFFERS pushing music forward while revitalizing past forms and genres to a new, more JUDGMENTAL and CLAUSTROPHOBIC DIGITAL AGE. looking forward to following this band for years to come.
in short, THE BOBBY LEES are definitely worth checking out.
i remember back in undergrad having papers galore to write every few weeks and the STRAIN that such put on me MENTALLY and EMOTIONALLY throughout my college experience. somewhere along the way during that period i came across the APHEX TWIN debut SELECTED AMBIENT WORKS 85-92 (R&S, 1992) and became completely TRANSFIXED by it. it became almost like an armor i put on that shielded me from the world when i was writing. i can remember listening to that specific album on headphones in places like the library, my dorm room, the cafeteria, the computer lab and even empty classrooms writing away on my laptop blissfully OBLIVIOUS and UNCONCERNED with the outside world. it helped me focus.
for me that experience of SENSORY TRANSMUTATION is what makes AMBIENT MUSIC so ENTHRALLING as a genre. it is an EXPERIMENTAL form that is not concerned with traditional sound structures as much as it is the flow between AURAL LANDSCAPES and the ALTERED MIND-STATES such projects over your senses. when done well it almost feels like music that is inextricably linked to your EMOTIONS and deeply felt MEMORIES that trigger such. there is also a disconnect between the music and your EXPERIENTIAL, routine appreciation of being awake and cognitively alert in a material world. the music almost forces you to be succumbed by an AMORPHOUS PSYCHIC REALM where geography and time-space have no meaning. APHEX TWIN would soothe and eventually calm me down into a RELAXED MIND-STATE that would thus allow me to just express in my writing devoid of an merciless superego that bashes away at my insecurities, which is my daily lived experience. i could move beyond that.
over the years ive come across many other NOTABLE AMBIENT artists including AUTECHRE, BOARDS OF CANADA, SEAFEEL and BRIAN ENO (whom i previously was aware of through his CELEBRATED production catalogue and initial work with ROXY MUSIC). that sense of music without precedent or signifiers or history or embedded meaning is something that still appeals to me. it is part of what makes AMBIENT music so REVOLUTIONARY and TRANSCENDENT in my opinion. it also became a vehicle for later appreciating other EXPERIMENTAL genres like POST ROCK / POST METAL and KRAUTROCK as well as DRONE METAL and MINIMALIST classical composers like PHILIP GLASS and STEVE REICH.
embedded below is a DEER GOD RADIO episode on nonprofit internet radio station MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC that originally aired about two and half years during the pandemic when the station first allowed DJs back in the studio. the ECLECTIC playlist showcases a whole host of DIVERSE AMBIENT artists. enjoy!
when i first came across the nine-peace IOWAN monolith that is SLIPKNOT at OZZFEST 99, their unrelentingly AGGRESSIVE aural ASSAULT and demented mask-and-coveralls PRESENTATION seemed to be NEXT LEVEL everything in terms of METAL. their RICK ROBINSON-produced debut SLIPKNOT (ROADRUNNER, 1999) seemed to likewise be an exercise in controlled VIOLENCE and ever-so reigned in sonic CHAOS. that whole period of the band was lightning in a bottle and very much established the bar for TONE, SHOWMANSHIP and outright ANTAGONISM in METAL for at least the next decade.
by the time they re-upped with ROBINSON again for their follow-up IOWA (ROADRUNNER, 1999), the band had EVOLVED significantly as SONGWRITERS yet were able to somehow able to balance and maintain the AGGRESSION of their debut. this progression can be heard throughout IOWA on tracks like "THE HERETIC ANTHEM," "LEFT BEHIND," "PEOPLE = SHIT," "NEW ABORTION," "MY PLAGUE" and "DISASTERPIECE."
my recollection of the record was that i thought there was no way possible to follow-up such an INTENSE debut record, that it was pointless trying to outdo it on its own terms. when i heard IOWA i realized that the band actually had songs with discernible MEMORABLE HOOKS throughout. at this point STONE SOUR was not a viable entity and singer COREY TAYLOR hadnt yet publicly exercise his CLEAN SINGING talents, much less bring them into the fold with SLIPKNOT. for me, and i could be alone here, IOWA is the last EXTREME SLIPKNOT album before TAYLOR STREAMLINED (and id argue DILUTED) it with more MAINSTREAM post-GRUNGE elements.
the other thing that comes to mind when i listen to IOWA is the fact that it was released shortly before 9/11 and how that album was a soundtrack to that period, especially feelings of LOSS, ISOLATION, DESPAIR and CONFUSION. SLIPKNOT, much like SLAYER, was always superb at translating ANGER and BELLIGERENCE into WELL-COMPOSED songs. it is definitely music that is definitely operating at the extremes of EMOTION, TECHNICAL MUSICIANSHIP and IMAGINATION and is not for the faint of heart. my sense is that such nuance gets lost on a listening public that latches on to the SHOWMANSHIP of their PRESENTATION. taken as a whole, the band and its IMAGE showcase an in-group gang mentality that seemed like an apt metaphor for the country after 9/11 and all the MINDLESS JINGOISM and EMPTY FLAG-WAVING of the period. in many ways, we havent moved forward from such as a country, even if the band and its sound very much has.
IOWA is a MODERN METAL classic and is most definitely worth revisiting.
its difficult to downplay the cultural impact of THE NATIONAL LAMPOON on MODERN HUMOR. what are now considered heralded comedic institutions such as SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE (NBC, 1975-present), ANIMAL HOUSE (UNIVERSAL, 1978), CADDYSHACK (WARNER BROS, 1980) and even THE SIMPSONS (FOX, 1989-present), were built on the collective INSPIRED work of generations of WRITERS (PJ O'ROURKE, MICHAEL O'DONOGHUE, GEORGE W.S. TROW, ANNE BEATS, SEAN KELLY, MIKE REISS, AL JEAN, TONY HENDRA), ARTISTS (SAM GROSS, CHARLES RODRIGUES, M.K. BROWN, RICK MEYEROWITZ, BRUCE MCCALL, GAHAN WILSON) and COMEDIANS (JOHN BELUSHI, GILDA RADNER, BILL MURRAY, HAROLD RAMIS, CHEVY CHASE) famously associated with the publication. the publication, which was started by two preternaturally GIFTED HARVARD undergrads DOUGLAS KENNEY and HENRY BEARD in 1970, grew to be unrivaled in its INTELLIGENT deconstruction of cultural and political events, while simultaneously producing some of the RAUNCHIEST, borderline OBSCENE material meant to probe and titillate at the same time. its beyond INTERESTING that they had both poles so expertly covered during a period of such cultural and political turmoil in the UNITED STATES with the VIETNAM WAR sill very much in effect as well as the aftermath of the FEMINIST, ENVIRONMENTALIST and CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENTS from the previous decade.
i feel i understand why the DRUNK, STONED, BRILLIANT, DEAD: THE STORY OF THE NATIONAL LAMPOON (NETFLIX, 2015) documentary came out when it did almost a decade ago. the SAD reality is that those involved with THE NATIONAL LAMPOON are dying of old age. in fact numerous PROMINENT WRITERS interviewed for this film have passed away just in the past three years. in many ways this film is meant as a testament to their legacy in-their-own-words a la recent efforts to the same effect by other INFLUENTIAL upstart and/or legacy publications like MAD, CURVE, PLAYBOY, BIG BROTHER and CREEM. not to mention the surviving members of MONTY PYTHON, who are a comedic universe and institution unto themselves to rival that of THE NATIONAL LAMPOON. one aspect of this retrospective lens a work in this film that i found COMPELLING was how the HUMOR itself wasnt examined that deeply, i.e. all the SEX-CRAZED stuff from an obvious MALE GAZE perspective that would absolutely not play in recent decades. it feels that such an examination is meant for another film by another party as DRUNK, STONED, BRILLIANT, DEAD seems more concerned with faithfully explaining their mindset as they saw it. not how such somewhat RETROGRADE comedic tropes would fit into our current more INCLUSIVE era. given how influential films like ANIMAL HOUSE and CADDYSHACK have been on subsequent decades of comedic films, a cottage industry unto itself, that examination would be fruitful if pursued elsewhere no doubt.
i appreciate this film for what it is: a timely reminder of the legacy of a major publication that helped mold AMERICAN HUMOR. interview participants beyond the surviving WRITERS, ARTISTS and COMEDIANS included numerous ACTORS (KEVIN BACON, TIM MATHESON, BEVERLEY D'ANGELO, JOHN GOODMAN, BILLY BOB THORNTON & MEAT LOAF) and DIRECTORS (JUDD APATOW & IVAN REITMAN). its an INSANE story but i still feel this film was a bit of a hagiography and a bit of a MISSED OPPORTUNITY to examine how their comedic perspective was reshaped, morphed or completely discarded down the line by subsequent HUMORISTS, COMEDIANS and WRITERS since the publication went under in 1998.
the INCREDIBLE personal narrative of VENERATED guitarist BRIAN TRISTAN, a.k.a. KID CONGO POWERS, very much mirrors that of the UNIQUE and TRANSFORMATIVE power of ROCK AND ROLL itself. if anything, as a DEVOUT fan and ASTUTE devotee of music, the young native-born ANGELENO found a vehicle of ESCAPISM that recast his IDENTITY as a HOMOSEXUAL and second-generation son of MEXICAN immigrants. first it was through GLAM ROCK / GLITTER scene of the early 1970s in LOS ANGELES and then came the cultural title wave that was PUNK ROCK. whats COMPELLING about POWERS experience is that he was not a musician but a journalist during this period, writing for several fanzines and even starting the WEST COAST fan club, of which he served as president, for THE RAMONES of all things. his connection to PUNK ROCK was both an EMOTIONAL and INTELLECTUAL exercise,
it was only a chance meeting with UNKNOWN songwriter JEFFREY LEE PIERCE (himself president of the BLONDIE WEST COAST fan club) at a PERE UBU show that the seed of becoming a musician was planted. and it is that LIFE-CHANGING event that makes POWERS memoir SOME NEW KIND OF KICK (HACHETTE, 2022) such a UNIQUE, almost MYSTICAL, story. what drew people to his playing was not his playing technique, but his AURA. such was the case when POISON IVY and LUX INTERIOR from THE CRAMPS poached him from the PIERCE-led PUNK outfit THE GUN CLUB. there was a certain special alchemy at play that enabled POWERS to unconsciously blend in with his new cohorts without any words being spoken about that process. his ability to collaborate is seemingly MAGICAL. such was also the case when NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS took interest in his services. its an INTRIGUING dynamic to consider that for a musician with issues surrounding IDENTITY issues related to his SEXUALITY and RACE that were exacerbated by CHILDHOOD TRAUMA (the unsolved MURDER of a cousin at a young age) and years of serial ABUSE of narcotics, that for him his very calling card was his adept ability to be molded and reconfigured in new ARTISTIC contexts.
in essence he literally lost himself in the music. and the DRUGS.
i had a PERIPATETIC childhood being shuttled between CALIFORNIA, NIGERIA, KUWAIT and MASSACHUSETTS and feel a certain kinship in understanding the REPETITIVE EMOTIONAL and PSYCHOLOGICAL STRESS of constant readjustment to unknown surroundings and new social contexts, but this level of navigation described in SOME NEW KIND OF KICK is beyond me. and it was all so public being a touring musician and all. i cant imagine the INTESTINAL FORTITUDE it took to submerge your IDENTITY into that of the ARTISTIC ambitions of your cohorts. especially with regards to your SEXUALITY. at the end of the book he is at the funeral of former bandmate, who himself was a closeted HOMOSEXUAL. something POWERS only learns after his death. obviously it was a different era when the majority of the contents of this book take place, between mid-1970s and the mid-1990s.
there have been quite a few books published in recent years that have focused on the early LOS ANGELES PUNK ROCK scene of the late 1970s and POWER's addition most definitely gives a palpable introduction to the DIVERSITY and INCLUSION at the heart of the scene, before the second-wave heathens transferred it into something more sonically BRUTAL, intellectually ENFEEBLED and aesthetically RIGID. i would definitely recommend this memoir along with other standouts like UNDER THE BIG BLACK SUN by JOHN DOE of X (review linked HERE), VIOLENCE GIRL: A CHICANA PUNK STORY by ALICE BAG of THE BAGS(review linked HERE) and MY DAMAGE: THE STORY OF A PUNK ROCK SURVIVOR by KEITH MORRIS of THE CIRCLE JERKS / BLACK FLAG / OFF! (review linked HERE) as worthy of consideration into further understanding this deeply FASCINATING scene.
parody by nacrowe
its been a while since ive been able to be on air with a new DEER GOD RADIO episode and tonight promises to be an ENJOYABLE one for the ages with a playlist dedicated to the late BRITISH POWERHOUSE SINGER-SONGWRITER AMY WINEHOUSE. was an admirer of hers, like so many, in the immediate aftermath of her second and final release BACK IN BLACK (ISLAND, 2006) and was absolutely gutted by her subsequent spiral into DRUG and ALCOHOL ADDICTION and eventual PREMATURE DEMISE. only months apart in age, her permanent stasis forever as a 27 year-old just reminds me of how much ive aged in the interim (!) and how much MUSIC, ARTISTRY and COMPASSION she had left to give the world.
should be a FUN one that starts tonight around 6PM EST on the NONPROFIT internet RADIO STATION MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC, live from NEW YORK CITY. been looking forward to this one for a long time. tune in and enjoy.
as with anything METALLICA-related, you have to go into it with MEASURED expectations and a REALISTIC perspective. the knee-jerk (and patently unfair) response is to compare every new release with what that TRANSCENDENT string of releases they created back in the 1980s as 20-somethings. the band is pushing sixty now so it is just not reasonable to expect them to be recreating something with the RELENTLESS FIRE and ENERGY of RIDE THE LIGHTNING (MEGAFORCE, 1984) or MASTER OF PUPPETS (ELEKTRA, 1986) at this point. personally, i am just grateful that they are still around as a FUNCTIONING, creatively VIABLE entity unlike so many of their former prominent peers in SLAYER, PANTERA, DEATH, WHITE ZOMBIE, SOUNDGARDEN, BLACK SABBATH and so on. im not being facetious, i honestly love the fact that there are still METALLICA albums to look forward to every few years.
but how good is the new album 72 SEASONS (BLACKENED, 2023) ? all things considered its PRETTY GOOD. with METALLICA there seems to be three big eras in their career. first there were the CLIFF BURTON years plus ...AND JUSTICE FOR ALL (ELEKTRA, 1988) that all happened in the 1980s. then you have the 1990s albums plus ST. ANGER (ELEKTRA, 2003) that saw them both STREAMLINE and EXPERIMENT with the formula with varying results. id argue that everything from DEATH MAGNETIC (WARNER BROS, 2008) on is a revisit to the spirit of the early 1980s material and era but with a sense of production and song construction prowess that they gained in the second phase of their career.
like DEATH MAGNETIC and HARDWIRED TO SELF DESTRUCT (BLACKENED, 2016), 72 SEASONS basic lives in MID-TEMPO territory with songs that dont take off or soar technically like their early material. part of that is due to drummer LARS ULRICH and his RENOWNED hesitancy (or inability) to utilize double kicks to real push these songs forward. such is not new and is a feature of the later METALLICA sound. another feature are the KIRK HAMMETT IMPROVISATIONAL guitar solos which often seem rather OFF-THE-CUFF and sadly not as orchestrated or thought through as his REVERED earlier work with the band. i feel strongly that JAMES HETFIELD and his rhythm guitar playing, as well as bassist ROBERT TRUJILLO's SLIPPERY and SLINKY counterpoint note choices, is where the band excels sonically. there is definitely something special that has been established between those two players over the past decade or so that finds them either LOCKED IN or revolving around one another almost arguably in a JAZZ kinda way. STANDOUT tracks include "SCREAMING SUICIDE," "IF DARKNESS HAD A SON," "72 SEASONS," "SHADOWS FOLLOW" and the MOTORHEAD-inflected "LUX ÆTERNA." overall i think this is the sound of a band playing to their strengths and incorporating elements that they enjoy from throughout their career.
would i recommend this record? maybe. id still say youre better off getting familiar with RIDE THE LIGHTNING, MASTER OF PUPPETS and ....AND JUSTICE FOR ALL before exploring the rest of their catalogue. better to start with what made them SPECIAL first before becoming acquainted with their subsequent IDIOSYNCRATIC choices that led them to their current position as elder statesmen.
photo manipulation by nacrowe
the BROOKLYN NOIR-tinged GOTH FOLK duo CHARMING DISASTER is a MINIMAL affair. armed with a VIVID imagination and modest setup that includes a UKULELE, ACOUSTIC GUITAR and a DIMINUTIVE single SUITCASE attached to a bass drum pedal. the SPARSE sonic elements effectively put the emphasis on the NARRATIVE-based lyrics and songwriting of one ELLIA BISKER and JEFF MORRIS, armed with a litany of literary influences ranging from the OCCULT, HORROR and MAGICK to ROMAN NOIR , TRADITIONAL GOTHIC FICTION and even TRUE CRIME.
we were lucky to have filmed and recorded them performing "BLACKSNAKE" and "DAYS ARE NUMBERED" as part of our pre-pandemic live performance series KREISCHER MANSION SESSIONS and have MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC to thank for making the introduction. lately they have been continuing a livestream program they initiated during the pandemic and are currently on tour nationwide in support of their most recent SUPER NATURAL HISTORY release.
personally i really appreciate their ARTISTRY and PRETERNATURAL LYRICAL eye for OBSERVATIONAL DETAILS and gifted ability to flesh out a THEME in a MEMORABLE, WELL-CRAFTED song. CHARMING DISASTER is definitely worth checking out.
parodies by nacrowe
i am a total sucker for pop HOOKS.
as much as i also love BRUTALLY DISSONANT sonic assaults on the senses and UNCONVENTIONAL song structures and soundscapes (a la BIG BLACK, SWANS, EINSTURZENDE NEUBAUTEN, LOU REED and THROBBING GRISTLE), there is something to be said about listening to a WELL-CONSTRUCTED, ORCHESTRATED and PRODUCED piece of music that is LUSH and designed to delight the ears (a la THE BEACH BOYS, HARRY NILSSON, ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA). case in point: CHEAP TRICK. they didnt invent the wheel, but they sure as hell perfected the ROCK AND ROLL pop song template they inherited from THE BEATLES. and that is kind of the point of POWER POP, it being a LOOSE genre of like-minded 1970s and 80s musicians that took the earlier, STRIPPED-BACK aural aesthetic of the pre-PSYCHEDELIC early 1960s BEATLES records and attempted to write songs with every bit the same knack for MELODY, HARMONY and HOOKS, HOOKS, HOOKS.
in a lot of ways, the later PUNK ROCK bands were a more AGGRESSIVE, CONFRONTATIONAL cousin to the POWER POP movement as they both were attempting to return ROCK AND ROLL to its more pure and ELEMENTAL CHUCK BERRY energy rather than the BLOATED and UNATTAINABLE PROGRESSIVE ROCK of the period. i find myself consistently look back to POWER POP from this era, along with early 1970s GLAM ROCK, to find INTERESTING bands that sought to make SIMPLE, MEMORABLE music that hit you directly in the heart, rather than the brain. the more i listen to POWER POP, the more convinced i am that THE RAMONES were secret admirers of the genre.
embedded below is a DEER GOD RADIO episode on nonprofit internet radio station MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC that originally aired about three years ago on new years day 2020. the playlist includes POWER POP music from throughout the 1970s and 80s, as well as a few more recent bands that expand on the genre. enjoy!
what is there to say about NIRVANA's NEVERMIND (DGC, 1991) album that hasnt already been said again and again and again over the past three decades ad nauseam.
forget GRUNGE or ALTERNATIVE ROCK, NEVERMIND is arguably the most CELEBRATED ROCK AND ROLL album of all-time, right there with the likes of THE BEATLES' REVOLVER (PARLOPHONE, 1966) or SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND (PARLOPHONE, 1967), BOB DYLAN's BLONDE ON BLONDE (COLUMBIA, 1966) or HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED (COLUMBIA, 1965), THE VELVET UNDERGROUND's THE VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO (VERVE, 1967), LED ZEPPELIN's LED ZEPPELIN IV (ATLANTIC, 1971), THE CLASH'S LONDON CALLING (CBS, 1979), AC/DC's BACK IN BLACK (ATLANTIC, 1980), and THE SEX PISTOLS' NEVER MIND THE BOLLOCKS, HERE'S THE SEX PISTOLS (WARNER BROS, 1977). unlike those records NEVERMIND made an immediate impact on AMERICAN CULTURE, effectively establishing overnight long simmering UNDERGROUND INDIE and PUNK ROCK scenes as the new mainstream gatekeepers and arbiters of quality and taste writ large. with NEVERMIND, much like with the fossil record, there is a definite delineation of a NEW EPOCH, one in which we are still very much experience decades later. the BRITISH INVASION reacquainted AMERICA with its MUSICAL CULTURE while helping establish ROCK AND ROLL as a vehicle, while later PUNK ROCK revitalized ROCK AND ROLL when it became stale and predictable, but only NIRVANA and NEVERMIND effectively bridged those two movements together in one band, one expression. GIFTED SONGWRITING and AUTHENTIC ATTITUDE.
so now that i got all that out of the way. my recollection of the album, which i got as a christmas gift along with IN UTERO (DGC, 1993) from my parents while on vacation in SAN FRANCISCO in 1994, were the songs. and not just the singles. there is a sense when listening to tracks like "ON A PLAIN," "DRAIN YOU," "BREED," "LOUNGE ACT," "TERRITORIAL PISSINGS" and "STAY AWAY" that what you are experiencing is the aural equivalent of SOCIAL ALIENATION and general DISSATISTFACTION. its not even about the words necessarily, which are often associative wordplay schemes rather than COGENT articulations. the brilliance and genius of NIRVANA and KURT COBAIN as a songwriter was his preternatural ability to seamlessly translate an EMOTIONAL STATE. his songs are unique unto him and the COMPLEX undercurrent of PAIN, DESPAIR and HELPLESSNESS that make them so POWERFUL. even after years of WELL-INTENTIONED acolytes futilely attempting to manufacturing his STEEZE, NEVERMIND still stands UNBLEMISHED as a near PERFECT expression of our individual capacity to locate what we hate about society staring straight back at us within ourselves.
it makes sense that COBAIN was AMBIVELANT about the album and its UNEXPECTED commercial and artistic SUCCESS. he seemed to feel a myriad of ways about multiple aspects of his life. i dont want to glorify MENTAL ILLNESS, but that CONFLICTED MIND-STATE no doubt contributed to a record of such EMOTIONAL RESONANCE and COMPLEXITY, even on a purely sonic level. for me that unique listening experience divorced from pre-frontal cortex intellectualizing is what separates NEVERMIND from everything else. every time i hear it i feel a weight lifted from my shoulders, a sense of RELEASE and TRANSCENDENCE from the MUCK of life.
its been that way ever since i first heard "SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT" from a SHAKEYS PIZZA jukebox at an after-game soccer party when i was starting second grade in 1991. i knew that deep well of feeling and identified with it immediately on impact.
what a REMARKABLE gift that was to the world.
RIP KURT COBAIN