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All posts for the month December, 2013

By Lauren Grossman

At 21, I think women are cognizant of the underlying themes of oppression and misogyny in their lives, and begin to subvert against the sexism they experience.  In this poem, I fetishize those themes in one of my first attempts at social commentary.  I was 21 and recognizing inequality in my relationships and at work; I was beginning to form the feminist ideals that have directed my life since then.

I think I’ve found a way
To be the woman you always 
Wanted me to be,
Even though my face
Betrays my age;

It’s in my smile
It’s in my smile

So I withhold it from the world
And lend it to you for a while.

I think I’ve found a way 
To be the woman you always
Dreamed I would be,
Even though my heart
Betrays my face;

It’s in the way I move
It’s in the way I move

So I lock myself away from the world
And dance for only you.

I think I’ve found a way
To be the woman you always 
Thought I was anyways,
Even if my mind
Detests this pace;

It’s between these sheets
Between these sheets

So I keep them washed and pressed
Until, once again, we meet.

By Lauren Grossman

There was a lot going on with the planet Venus in the year 2004.  I felt very connected to these events as a Taurus.  In this poem, I mix themes of astronomy and astrology with the concept of revealing one’s true self to a romantic partner.  I was 22.

Whittling away
At the proliferation
I’ve created;
It’s time to strip me down,
Reveal myself
For what I truly am:
I am a black dot
Against the sun
That would blind your
Naked Eye
Should you stare too long.

I am nothing
To you;
You were minutes late.
Eight years will pass
Before I reappear,
Black as a gaping hole,
Against my tangerine canvas;
You’ll be nothing to me
I’ll be what I was destined to be.

By Lauren Grossman

He only damaged me irrepealably;
So I became the kind of girl who
Created detailed lists of who I am,
Sang songs to a dead man’s son,
Drew symbols on bare walls to ward off evil,
Sipped green tea and fasted for my well-being,
Gave up street cred for stability,
And otherwise paid penance for his sins.

Two years for seven, and I’m the same, but not;
Re-discovered myself in the fallout,
Stockholm Princess on the other side;
Friendly strangers don’t share in these secrets,
Imagine their faces if they could see mine,
Imagine what they’d see there if they weren’t blind:
A soul transformed by the freedom of
No Need to Hide.

In the spirit of my top ten albums last year, I scoured several end of the year lists for the best albums and movies of the year to see what exactly I missed. So, here are the ten albums I forgot to pick up/didn’t even know were being released and the top ten movies I missed as well.  -Joel

Music

  • Franz Ferdinand – Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action
  • Elton John – Diving Board
  • Arctic Monkeys – AM
  • Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork
  • Vampire Weekend – Vampires of the City
  • Paul McCartney – New
  • David Bowie – The Next Day
  • The Strokes – Comedown Machine
  • Beady Eye – BE
  • Black Sabbath – 13

Film

  • The middle 20 minutes of Thor: Dark World
  • Iron Man 3
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • Gravity
  • Sound City
  • The World’s End
  • Man of Steel
  • Despicable Me 2
  • Kick Ass 2
  • We’re The Millers

Rick’s Picks

  • The Cure
  • Outkast
  • Tool
  • Deftones
  • Have A Nice Life
  • Foo Fighters
  • Jane’s Addiction
  • Flying Lotus
  • Kitchen Knife Conspiracy (second year in a row, guys!)
  • Mastodon
  • Failure
  • Q-Tip
  • The Cult
  • David Gilmour/Stills and Nash
  • The Horrors
  • David Byrne
  • Pixies
  • Muse
  • Grizzly Bear
  • Rebreather

Sevi’s Picks

  • Flying Lotus – Title: TBA
  • Johnny Cash – Out Among The Stars
  • Raekwon – Fly Internal Luxurious Art
  • Q-Tip – The Last Zulu
  • Joey Badass – B4.Da.$$
  • Warpaint- Warpaint
  • Beck – Morning Phase
  • The Horrors – Title: TBA
  • St. Vincent – St. Vincent

Joe Sinkovich (Supporting Your Local Music)

  • Tool
  • Killer Be Killed
  • Mastodon

Tom Fratilla (bassist for Harnessing the Sun)

  • “A new one from TOOL goddamnit!”

Rick’s Picks 

  1. Black Sabbath – 13
  2. My Bloody Valentine – m b v
  3. Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks
  4. Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork
  5. Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels
  6. Palms – Palms
  7. How to Destroy Angels – Welcome Oblivion
  8. Deafheaven – Sunbather
  9. The Dillinger Escape Plan – One of Us is the Killer
  10. ALBUM – Zephaniah
  11. Savages – Silence Yourself
  12. My Dying Bride – The Manuscript
  13. Windhand – Soma
  14. Danny Brown – Old
  15. Death Grips – Government Plates
  16. Filter – The Sun Comes Out Tonight
  17. Alice in Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
  18. Newsted – Heavy Metal Music
  19. Pearl Jam – Lightning Bolt
  20. The Knife – Shaking the Habitual
  21. Gary Numan – Splinter (Songs From a Broken Mind)
  22. Depeche Mode – Delta Machine
  23. Harnessing the Sun – Sun Signs
  24. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Push the Sky Away
  25. Bad Religion – True North
  26. AFI – Burials
  27. Chelsea Wolfe – Pain is Beauty
  28. Arctic Monkeys – AM
  29. Skinny Puppy – Weapon
  30. David Bowie – The Next Day

Ms. Rose’s Picks (in chronological order)

1. Starflyer 59IAMACEO
2. ALBUMZepheniah
3. Damien YouthGhost Shallow
4. New Order – Lost Sirens
5. Yo La Tengo – Fade
6. Zeromancer – Bye-Bye Borderline
7. Jim James – Regions of Light and Sound of God
8. eels – Wonderful, Glorious
9. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Push the Sky Away
10. Johnny Marr – The Messenger
11. Stereophonics – Graffiti on the Train
12. David Bowie – The Next Day
13. Suede – Bloodsports
14. Depeche Mode – Delta Machine
15. The Flaming Lips – The Terror
16. British Sea Power – Machineries of Joy
17. The Deer Hunter – Migrant
18. Tesseract – Altered State
19. The Knife – Shaking the Habitual
20. Iron and Wine – Ghost on Ghost
21. HIM – Tears on Tape
22. My Dying Bride – The Manuscript
23. Primal Scream – More Light
24. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
25. Black Sabbath – 13
26. Sigur Ros – Kveikur
27. Franz Ferdinand – Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action
28. Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks
29. Mum – Smilewound
30. Placebo – Loud Like Love
31. Manic Street Preachers – Rewind the Film
32. HARNESSING THE SUNSun Signs
33. Moby – Innocents
34. of Montreal – Lousy with Sylvianbriar
35. Lazer KittyMoons
36. Morcheeba – Head Up High
37. AFI – Burials
38. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
39. Dream Theater – Live at Luna Park
40. Keane – The Best of Keane

Bonus: Yes, this is a re-release but it has bonus tracks and is now available on vinyl after all these years and I’m so excited for Sam Rosenthal for surpassing his Kickstarter due to devoted Projekt Records fans!

Black Tape For A Blue GirlRemnants of a Deeper Purity (Deluxe Edition/Vinyl)

Sevi’s Picks

  1. King Krule – 6 Feet Beneath The Moon
  2. Deafheaven – Sunbather
  3. Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels
  4. Tim Hecker – Virgins
  5. Fire! Orchestra – Exit!
  6. These New Puritans – Field of Reeds
  7. Earl Sweatshirt – Doris
  8. The Knife – Shaking the Habitual
  9. Darkside – Psychic
  10. Danny Brown – Old
  11. Oneohtrix Point Never – R Plus Seven
  12. The Haxan Cloak – Excavation
  13. Kanye West – Yeezus
  14. Disclosure – Settle
  15. Baths – Obsidan
  16. Death Grips – Government Plates
  17. Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest
  18. Tyler, the Creator – Wolf
  19. Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap
  20. Grouper – The Man Who Died In His Boat
  21. Iceage – You’re Nothing
  22. Fuzz – Fuzz
  23. Savages – Silence Yourself
  24. My Bloody Valentine – m b v
  25. James Blake – Overgrown
  26. NickCave and the Bad Seeds – Push the Sky Away
  27. Bill Callahan – Dream River
  28. Young Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse
  29. Ty Segall – Sleeper
  30. Melt Banana – Fetch  

 Joe Sinkovich (Supporting Your Local Music)

  1. NOFX – Selfentitledment
  2. Red fang – Whales and Leeches
  3. Gogol Bordello – Pura Vida Conspiracy
  4. Clutch – Earth Rocker
  5. The Dillinger Escape Plan – One of Us is the Killer

Brandon Judeh (Correspondent)

  1. Cage the Elephant – Melophobia
  2.  Nirvana – In Utero (20th Anniversary Box Set Reissue)
  3. Tomahawk – Oddfellows
  4. Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork
  5. Pearl Jam – Lightning Bolt
  6. Melvins – Everybody Loves Sausages
  7. Palms – Palms
  8. Beck – Song Reader
  9. John Fogerty – Wrote a Song for Everyone
  10. A Perfect Circle – Stone and Echo (Live)

Tom Fratilla (bassist for Harnessing the Sun)

  1. Tomahawk – Oddfellows
  2. Alice in Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
  3. Unsane – Wreck
  4. Kyleas – Ultraviolet
  5. Whores – Clean

Artist of the Year: Queens of the Stone Age
Album of the Year: My Bloody Valentine – m b v
Song of the Year: “My God is the Sun” by Queens of the Stone Age
Best Music Video: The Dillinger Escape Plan – When I Lost My Bet
Best Collaboration: El-P and Killer Mike – Run the Jewels
Best Live Act: Nine Inch Nails
Best Local Live Act: Harnessing the Sun
Comeback of the Year: My Bloody Valentine
Best New Artist: Deafheaven
Lifetime Achievement: Black Sabbath

Experimental artist and Pink Floyd founder, Syd Barrett.

Experimental artist and Pink Floyd founder, Syd Barrett.

By Jennifer Elizabeth Rose (Social/Cultural Writer and Music/Arts Historian)

For decades Experimental Rock has developed, undeveloped and done 360 degree turns. We can say that Experimental Music started with Classical and Jazz but in Rock the first pioneers lied seemingly quiet and dormant under their more traditional rock and roll peers since the early 60’s until listeners were ready for the next “thing.”

Luckily, the social and cultural climate was becoming more interested in outside or even foreign idea(ls), modes of thinking, fashion and art. This would of course inevitably happen in music as well. The most popular music of course was rock and roll. And one of the grandfathers, Frank Zappa, composer, producer, album art designer and director, while known for his dozens of records with The Mothers of Invention and solo actually had a rough start getting into music… Business wise. Though in his youth he studied advanced composers while still partaking in his generation’s R&B and Roll and Roll he was at first (like most innovators) overlooked as the standout artist he would grow to become.

He began writing contemporary classical in his youth and attempted to front projects before his first well known one, Captain Beefheart. He recorded some tracks with the name The Soots but they were turned down due to having no selling point. In the early 60’s, (at the height of Beatlemania) he began recording and experimenting with multiple overdubs, tape manipulation and less likely instrumentation. As a film composer he paid the bills and managed to take over what became his own studio, Studio Z. In addition, he started as guitarist with The Mothers, which managed to get paying gigs.

While Zappa made ends meet he still did it creatively though he was producing and writing songs for other groups throughout the early and mid 60’s. Actually, though none of them achieved much commercial success, he managed to get his music heard on a late night syndicated show, hosted by Steve Allen wherein he did what well he pleased with experimentation and sonic architectures.

The Velvet Underground was also experimenting, though eventually more known as a Psychedelic band (subgenre) their use of instrumentation was outside of the framework though they did still compose “hooky” melody lines.

These two artists were pinnacle in the many that were to follow experimentation, even the Beach Boys (a pop group) were on board, as composer Brian Wilson always admired advanced composition and the famous Pet Sounds resulted.

Onto England, Syd Barrett and his project, The Pink Floyd formed and their first record The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, was recorded in 1967 (the same year of the aforementioned musical developments were made alongside in the US.) The Infamous Summer of Love was the name of this music explosion in American but also in England. Pink Floyd was on board this movement whether Syd knew it or not, as were the Beatles. In fact, the first Pink Floyd record was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, by former Beatles engineer Norman Smith.The Beatles were recording, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which also put experimental rock into the limelight in their own psychedelic pop/rock way. In August, Pink Floyd’s “Arnold Layne” reached honorable status on the English charts in part due to their other single, “See Emily Play.” The full length, Piper at the Gates of Dawn was unexpectedly successful in England, hitting the top of the album charts and subsequently their third single the very baroque pop, “Apples and Oranges,” perhaps because it was about a common theme, love.

During their British tour with Jimi Hendrix in November 1967, around the time of his third hit single, several guitarists began to replace Barrett though he was a the brainchild of the band because of his legendary erratic behavior, which was due to a chemical imbalance made worse by LSD use. Speculation suggests that though he achieved commercial success it aggravated him and his schizophrenia. He was soon to be seemingly forgotten. Nonetheless, he remains an innovator in sonic exploration and (often bizarre) rhythmic experimentation and overall, a master architect of guitar.

In later years, he reemerged as a “bedroom” songwriter of odd little ditties that were melodic but still arrhythmic. Lyrics might have not been as relatable as many songwriters are known for but they allowed for more abstract understanding such as achieved by daydreaming or meditation. One feels like fly on the wall of a man trying to distinguish between lucid dreams or his waking on a Sunday morning as he tries to make as mundane  a decision about whether to have coffee or tea.

Hendrix, on tour with Barrett and early Pink Floyd rose to his success in 1967 as well but in terms of what he wanted this music to be called he once was very defensive. He was quoted as saying:

“We don’t want to be classed in any category… If it must have a tag, I’d like it to be called, ‘Free Feeling’. It’s a mixture of rock, freak-out, rave and blues.”

Though not known as a pop artist, he appeared on British television shows, Ready Steady Go! and the Top of the Pops, though his single, “Hey Joe,” made a small splash in 1966.

In Spring 1967, The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s singles, “Purple Haze” and “The Wind Cries Mary” and the album Are You Experienced? joined the queue with the Beatles and Pink Floyd. And through Zappa, Barrett and Hendrix experimental rock had a large impact and subsequently Psychedelic and Space Rock which was born in the sixties and of course even more sub and sub-genres flourished throughout the seventies until today.

Throughout the seventies, Pink Floyd kept going with the Psychedelic elements into Space Rock and finally to Concept(ual) Rock. Alongside the ever changing climate of the seventies Zappa continued his career and in Europe, Kraftwerk introduced us to electronic instrumentation which was then considered extremely progressive with their first LP, “Autobahn.” Though many electronic elements were used it was still classified as rock and led to yet another subgenre, Krautrock.

Sonic Youth began experimenting back in America and of course became the example for many new bands and defied subgenres into the 00’s. In both rock and electronic, composer, Brian Eno and Thom Yorke of the very successful Radiohead, began to become household names to many musicians to the present day when it comes to experimental and sonic architecture, much like Zappa. Modern Baroque Pop artists such as the Animal Collective and Arcade Fire also have owe much to these innovators who influenced even the previously mentioned former “bubble gum” writers like Lennon/McCartney, Brian Wilson who continue to impact every songwriter in ANY genre.

Many artists and subgenres developed merely from musicians wanting to think outside the perimeters of rock and roll song structure and instrumentation. Very obvious references to Jazz, notably Acid or Progressive Jazz have been made especially early one all but at the core Experimental Rock is about using other elements and bringing them back to rock whilst being inventive yet not “being weird for the sake of being weird…” as Hendrix once remarked.

Picks of the Week leading to this article:

  • “Room Full of Mirrors,” Jimi Hendrix
  • “Joe’s Garage,” Frank Zappa
  • “Interstellar Overdrive,” Syd Barrett/Pink Floyd
  • “Octopus,” Syd Barrett

Frank Zappa

Syd Barrett (live with Pink Floyd)

Syd Barrett (Solo)

Sonic Youth

Brian Eno

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

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Artist: Fuzz

Album: Fuzz

Release Date: 10/1/13

Rating: 4.4/5

Accomplished Noise Rock veteran Ty Segall is known for his prolific songwriting and lust for loudness. This point is proven throughout his extensive work with the Ty Segall Band and White Fence. Nothing changes as he now steps behind the drum kit for his new trio, Fuzz.

Fuzz is pure and unabashed Stoner Rock inspired by the likes of early 70’s hard rockers Hawkwind and T-Rex, dragged through a wall of fuzzed out amplifiers. Instead of love songs or political rousers, Fuzz tackles lyrical themes of death and murder through a very poetic lense.

Guitarist Charles Moothart and bassist Roland Cosio create an obliterating wall of sound that’s coupled with some raw production, giving the tracks a warm sounding power not heard on many modern releases. And with Segall pulling double duty as drummer and frontman on the group’s self-titled debut, his signature charm shines throughout the record.

Kicking off with the powerful “Earthen Gate,” the opening track features a wall of meaty guitars. From there, the sludgy “Sleigh Ride” and the trippy “What’s In My Head?” give a fresh twist on vintage fuzz-driven heavy Rock and Roll. That album’s midway shining point comes with the epic fourth track, “Hazemaze,” an orgy of noise-heavy guitars and Black Sabbath-era Ozzy vocals.

“Loose Sutures” features some unique and applaud-worthy fretwork from Moothart over a slamming groove set by Cosio and on “Preacher,” Segall channels his inner Johnny Rotten for a Sex Pistols-meets-Sabbath bombast of Punk Rock fury. Finally, Fuzz concludes with the cynical “Raise” and epic climax of “One.”

For vintage heavy rock or neo-Stoner Rock done right, look no further than Fuzz. The band and the album showcases little versatility, but instead proves to be a balls-to-the-wall powerhouse of a record. Fuzz relies heavily on its power, but the solid musicianship makes it a worth while endeavor. All in all, Fuzz is the perfect record to play whizzing down the highway or taking part in various recreational activities. However, listen responsibly, and do not engage in both action at the same time.

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The Replacements performing at Riot Fest 2013.

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

As another year comes to pass, we again reflect on all that was in music. 2013 was a year that saw many music legends return and sadly, a few of them check out. Heavy hitters like Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys and Queens of the Stone Age dropped exceptional high-energy rockers, while relative new-comers Deafheaven, Savages and Disclosure continued to push the limits of artistic integrity. And not to mention there was a slew of colossal comebacks from some of the biggest and most influential forces in music.

Early in 2013, the iconic David Bowie announced a new album, his first of new original material in over a decade. The result was The Next Day. Released in March, The Next Day is a quiet yet moving record that perfectly showcases how gracefully Bowie has aged and how sharp his musical wit still remains.

February saw the release of the highly anticipated third album from Shoegaze/Dream-Pop pioneers My Bloody Valentine. In late 2012, guitarist and mastermind Kevin Shields teased fans saying that an album was being mixed and will be released timely. This was a huge deal for fans, considering that it hade been 22 years since the release of their seminal classic, Loveless. The band followed through, and m b v was released just a little over a month into the year. Not only was it worth the wait, but it proved My Bloody Valentine was still capable of creating really good music as it held up perfectly next to Loveless, and proved itself to be one of the best records of the year.

One of the biggest comebacks of 2013 was certainly the return of Black Sabbath, and for many reasons. It was to be the first new record with original singer Ozzy Osbourne in 35 years. Shortly after the band officially announced their reunion plans in late 2011, guitarist Tony Iommi was diagnosed with cancer. After a year of undergoing treatments, and surviving the unfortunate resignation of original drummer Bill Ward, Black Sabbath released 13 this summer and made the entire spectrum of Heavy Metal drop to its knees. 13 was a crushing, bluesy, heavy-riffing affair that reminded everyone again just why this band was so important to not only Heavy Metal, but Rock and Roll as a whole.

Alternative Rock saw the return of two of its most influential and important figures: Queens of the Stone Age and Nine Inch Nails. QOTSA’s …Like Clockwork, their first record in six years, was a swinging, groove-heavy Rock and Roll party with an all-star cast of guest musicians (Dave Grohl, Julian Casablancas, Trent Reznor, Elton John). Cuts like “My God is the Sun” and “I Appear Missing” hadn’t hit as hard since 2002’s Songs For the Deaf. NIN’s electro-funky Hesitation Marks harked back to 1994’s The Downward Spiral, with an older and more bitter Reznor at the helm. Although not quite as abrasive as their earlier records, new cuts like “Copy of A,” “Came Back Haunted” and “In Two,” as well as the highly visual and conceptual Tension 2013 North American Tour, still hold Nine Inch Nails to their standard of crushing electronic heaviness and dark prowess.

Don’t call it a comeback, they’ve been here for years… Industrial-tinged Alt-Metalers Filter delivered The Sun Comes Out Tonight, their most concise and impactful record since their 1999 hit, Title of Record. Led by the singles “What Do You Say” and “Surprise,” the band are seeing a career renaissance, as fans continue to discover and rediscover their severely underrated and under-the-radar releases, 2008’s Anthems For the Damned and 2011’s The Trouble with Angels.

Indie Rock pioneers Neutral Milk Hotel and The Replacements also had quite the eventful summer in 2013, both returning from decade-long hiatuses. Neutral Milk Hotel returned for a handful of festival dates and small venue affairs, hinting at the possibility of new material in 2014. Elliott Smith resurrected the legendary Replacements for a handful of performances as well as a covers EP. New material hasn’t been confirmed, but fans remain hopeful entering the new year that The Replacements haven’t quite said everything that they need to just yet.

Finally, with 2014 looming, Art-Rockers Failure and Hip-Hop titans Outkast have announced reunion performances throughout 2014, leaving fans ecstatic for the possibility of extensive tours and new material.

Unfortunately, 2013 had it’s share of major losses in the world of music. Country music legends George Jones and Ray Price bid farewell, passing away of natural causes after leading long and wonderful careers. Deftones bassist Chi Cheng, who was placed in a semi-conscious coma following a motorcycle crash in 2008, passed away on April 13. Thrash Metal experienced a major loss when one of its key players, Slayer guitarist Jeff Henneman, passed away on May 2 due to complications following a spider bite. The Doors’ iconic composer and keyboardist, Ray Manzarek, succumbed to cancer at age 71 on May 20. In many ways, Manzarek remains the father Psychedelic music, as his signature atmospheric organ tones provided the perfect backdrop to Jim Morrison’s gothic poetry and soulful swagger. And last but certainly not least, Oct. 27 saw the passing of the legendary Lou Reed. Reed was the founder of 60’s Art-Rock trailblazers The Velvet Underground and enjoyed an extremely successful and influential solo career that continued right up until his death.

Although 2013 saw the loss of a major chunk of diverse and influential musicians, there is no doubt their work will love on in the years and generations to come!