INFANT ANNIHILATOR is another objectively amazing band name in the lofty tradition of other EXTREME METAL/DEATH METAL luminaries who are unafraid to have truly moronic monikers like CATTLE DECAPITATION, PIG DESTROYER, REGURGITATE, BLOOD TSUNAMI, ROTTING CHRIST, NAPALM DEATH, DEFECATION, HOODED MENACE, DYING FETUS, MORBID ANGEL, TOXIC HOLOCAUST and of course ANAL CUNT. i for one love it when METAL bands stop taking themselves too seriously and embrace the ridiculousness that is life. or is that death?
definitely check out the british DEATHGRIND band INFANT ANNIHILATOR and their awesomely kitschy videos. its about time an EXTREME METAL band did a full-blown BOY BAND parody. can't believe it took this long. maybe BLINK-182 got there first?
honestly when i first heard Flint, Michigan-based METAL band KING 810 through my cousin when he was working on their record at the former [the end] studio in greenpoint years ago i didn't know what to make of them. they were so intense it was suffocating. in many respects you can see the influence of NYHC breakdowns and JONATHAN DAVIS' histrionics as pinpoints of their sound, but really it seemed they had one emotion: anger.
listening to them made me realize how much humor is a part of metal, going back SPINAL TAP and their send-up of the ridiculous theatricality of it all. its hard not to see that when thinking of KING DIAMOND or IRON MAIDEN, but it equally holds firm with any artist. they all have a shtick no matter how well-crafted or intentioned. with KING 810 their whole identity and raison d'être is a primal scream reaction to their upbringing in the famously impoverished and perpetually violent former automotive production town Flint. in many ways Flint is a stand in for america itself, with the fall of the automotive industry so to went our collective ability to self-determine our own individual destiny a la the american dream. KING 810 come off like the lost boys of a discarded america.
you may see where i am going with this. when i heard these guys a few years ago their earnestness was intense to the point of parody. it was like, this is what a band sounds like that takes themselves FARRRRRR too seriously and have no sense of levity whatsoever.
post-TRUMP this band sounds a lot different. it sounds like a group of individuals that have lost hope in any institution (political, religious or otherwise) other than themselves. their video for "alpha & omega" is a case in point on the catholic churches famously corrupt practices surround child sex crimes and priests. its over the top intense, but maybe that is what is need right now culturally, someone to just lay it all out there.
either way KING 810 is worth checking out.
i am the biggest sucker for a good pop hook.
it is basically my achilles' heel when it comes to being a fan of music. as much as i love to bask in dissonance and aural chaos, there is an equal part of me that could easily listen to CHEAP TRICK all day.
2000s band SHINY TOY GUNS and especially their debut WE ARE PILOTS (UNIVERSAL 2006) is just one of those records in my opinion that still hits that sweet spot in spite of the band's corny overdone image. i don't believe in guilty pleasures, but i would definitely put both the debut albums by LINKIN PARK and 30 SECONDS TO MARS in similar standing with SHINY TOY GUNS. again, call me what you will but great melodies are great melodies.
with respect to SHINY TOY GUNS, i listened to their debut years after its release during my PEACE CORPS years in ALBANIA. to me listening to this record represented the ultimate distraction from what i was living through at the time, namely having limited water and losing 40 pounds in 3 months (seriously) due to lack of food. having been abroad so long i always find it interesting what remnants of home you hold onto, and for some reason this album along with LADY GAGA's BORN THIS WAY (INTERSCOPE 2011), MASTODON's THE HUNTER (REPRISE, 2011) and LADYTRON's GRAVITY THE SEDUCER (NETTWERK, 2011) were basically my soundtrack to being in a desperately poor yet expansively gorgeous eastern european nation with limited means of outside contact. i believe now that all four records were escapist in nature and listening to any of them brings me immediately back to cold winters, sightings of wolf packs and post-communist paranoia/curiosity about my being in a community of strangers.
maybe the music worked because i felt like i was on another planet. if you've ever spent any time in eastern europe, that may not exactly be the worst comparison in the world.
i hate SACRAMENTO.
thats not a secret to most people who know me. i moved there abruptly my senior year of high school in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 from all places, KUWAIT. looking back i appreciate the sacrifice my uncle and aunt took in bringing me in without much notice and did their best with a moody, intransigent teenager.
that being said, SACRAMENTO objectively did suck. the jingoistic, right-wing, muslim-baiting horseshit i had to deal with daily by the kids out there (and some teachers) was a test of patience on my part. one of the unfortunate things about living abroad that most people don't realize is coming home and having to smile and listen to people talk about things they know nothing of. you just have to sit and take it. thats it. its unavoidable and completely isolating.
so its been my longstanding belief that nothing good ever came out of SACRAMENTO, with the exceptions being DEFTONES and DEATH GRIPS. well, a few years ago i added CHELSEA WOLFE to that list.
holt shit is she the real deal. her music is a viscerally affecting amalgam of FOLK, POST-PUNK, DOOM METAL and GOTH rock. had i only known that someone my age from neighboring ROSEVILLE was gonna create such potent material years on i might've been a little nicer back then.
i know as a music fan there are times i feel jaded, like i've heard everything before. and then you come across something new and unexpected like MY BLOODY VALENTINE, APHEX TWIN, MASSIVE ATTACK or even A TRIBE CALLED QUEST at different stages of your life which just seem to open doors and make you reconsider whole genres of music.
at a certain point the swedish duo FIRST AID KIT did that for me with regards to modern country music, a genre i openly despise. the Söderberg sisters and their lilting haunted harmonies are jaw-dropping and transcend genre. i can't listen to them and not get emotional.
and i'm not the only one. in recent years they've played formal affairs honoring past cultural icons like PATTI SMITH and EMMYLOU HARRIS and brought them to tears. think about that, they made PATTI SMITH cry listening to her own song.
please do yourself a favor and check them out.
photo manipulation by nacrowe
growing up in SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA in the mid-90s means i was very much aware of local legendary LOS ANGELES rock station KROQ 106.7FM. it is almost absurd to consider the amount of bands that have broke big internationally due to exposure at this single radio station. i still think its incredible that such a corporate entity still had room for the esoteric pursuits of legendary resident taste-makers like RODNEY BINGENHEIMER.
my problem was that in this pre-internet age (yep i am that old) i oftentimes didn't know who the bands were since the rotation of songs weren't often tagged by the DJs, which makes sense given how ubiquitous these songs must have been to their regular audience. as a child and later a preteen, i was definitely not that clued in unfortunately.
it wasn't until years later in middle school abroad in NIGERIA that i realized songs i was familiar with were by bands like ALICE IN CHAINS ("MAN IN THE BOX"), NIRVANA (obscure b-side "SAPPY"), SPACEHOG ("IN THE MEANTIME") and THE BREEDERS ("CANNONBALL").
one of these bands was ELASTICA and the song was "CONNECTION." i distinctly remember hearing that song while waiting in line for SPACE MOUNTAIN at DISNEYLAND in elementary school. sadly, i didn't rediscover this band until high school in the early 2000s after relocating to SACRAMENTO from KUWAIT during my senior year. to me their debut album ELASTICA (GEFFEN, 1992) is a perfect album, easily the best thing to come out of the whole 90s BRITPOP movement (check out this BOOK REVIEW i did if you are unfamiliar with that scene). what i loved about it aside from JUSTINE FRISCHMANN's snarky, seductive crooning was angular guitar work which after further investigation introduced met to POST-PUNK bands that influenced them like WIRE and GANG OF FOUR. the inter-textual nature of art where different scenes, eras and modes are referenced and re-appropriated is something i've always appreciated. ELASTICA to me is an example of a stellar band that encourages me to stay curious, dig further and expand my ears to different sounds. i don't tend to fixate, if anything each new great band i learn about only serves as a new nexus point for other new discoveries.
if you aren't familiar with ELASTICA, check out either of their two releases. along with THE SMITHS, they are on my bucket-list of bands i hope and pray to see play live on day. nobody is cooler than JUSTINE FRISCHMANN. no one.
dallas' POWER TRIP is just a great, no-bullshit, throwback metal band that splits the difference between SLAYER and PANTERA.
if you are into metal, this will be a real treat. badass riffage, loud incoherent lyrics about brutality, group shouted vocals, you know, the works.