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All posts for the month December, 2014

Amy Zerner and Monte Farber

Amy Zerner and Monte Farber

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

For over 30 years, Amy Zerner and Monte Farber have been creative forces in the arts and New Age worlds. Visual and fashion artist, Zerner and writer, Farber joined forces and began creating artistic spiritual items with their company, “The Enchanted World of Amy Zerner and Monte Farber.”
The husband and wife team forged their start with several artistic and fashion inspired tarot and divination systems. With Zerner at the helm of art and art direction, and Farber the wise words man, writing the council for their decks’ books they have become a well recognized and sought after team to not only collect from but to obtain readings from as well. Many people can benefit from their wisdom and insight. In terms of the way Farber words the systems, he speaks as someone who has indeed felt the full gambit of the human condition and he applies this insight into each interpretation of every corresponding tarot or oracle card.
Farber’s Karma Cards, published in 1988, feature astrological insights into a person’s natal birth chart and can also be read as divination by pulling cards to form sentences which give cosmic advice about how to manifest destiny.
1990’s Enchanted Tarot features traditional tarot card images and meanings. The surreal symbolism was done with embroidery/tapestries… something that had not yet been one in other systems. It was also the first effort in their line, which set the tone for the rest of their products.
In 1997, their Zerner-Farber deck was published and while it also used the embroidery/tapestries format, the symbolism delved into a wider cultural and visual perspective, especially with the use of more fantastical and whimsical interpretations that would still further their trademark of surreal and otherworldliness for which their company is aptly named.
2006 brought another such deck from the couple but with a specific theme: Love. In The True Love Tarot, Farber asks the reader such questions as, “what is love in a broad sense? What is self love?” etc. With Farber’s guidance the reader can begin to answer these questions, which must be asked and meditated upon before finding true love with another person.
Still other oracle decks such as The Relationship Deck (for all kinds of relationships) and The Healing Deck, dig even further into such topics and are meant mostly for both meditation and inspiration. As Farber states on the packs they are “little reminders” for a spiritual season or place a person might be in at that time.
Those still interested in deeper experiences can order private readings as well, private tarot/divination or astrological such as birth charts and relationships analyses are available through Farber’s website, http://montefarber.com/. There are a number of specific types of readings to choose from each emphasizing a particular aspect in a person’s life journey. In addition, they often conduct live readings, such as at conventions with their own systems.
So many people have found some amazing spiritual tidbits from these two and not surprisingly they have become a widely recognized name in the new age sections of bookstores and metaphysical shops over the last few decades. In addition to their website where they have been selling art, decks and readings, they are recently also now presenting their new storefront in East Hampton, NY. They have indeed found a true mode of living their lives through both the deeper meaning and everyday mundane lives of their business.
In fact, Farber’s motto is: “Make your life a work of art and your art a work of life.”
This past year, Zerner has also become an even more accomplished fashion designer in New York. Her spiritually inspired couture, jewelry and fashion pieces are now for sale at Bergdorf’s New York and on her website,http://amyzerner.com/, while Farber also maintains their blog on their website, http://www.theenchantedworld.com. They both continue their journey making their art to inspire and uplift in uncertain times.
An inspiring couple, Zerner and Farber live a rich life as artists both separately and together. Do visit their websites this holiday and fine some truly unique gifts of insight and inspiration this holiday season!
“Karma Cards,” c. 1988
Art by Amy Zerner, Words by Monte Farber
“The Enchanted Tarot,” c. 1990
Art/Embroidery by Amy Zerner, Words by Monte Farber
“The Zerner-Farber Tarot,” c. 1997
Art/Sewing/Embroidery by Amy Zerner, Words by Monte Farber
“The True Love Tarot,” c. 2006
Art/Sewing/Embroidery by Amy Zerner, Words by Monte Farber
Amy Zerner’s Zodiac Jewelry Collection at Bergdorf’s, c. 2014
Designs by Amy Zerner
Amy Zerner’s Jacket Collection at Amy Zerner Couture, c. 2014
Designs/Sewing/Embroidery by Amy Zerner

 

Mark Lanegan

Mark Lanegan

Grunge’s Unsung Hero Still Going Strong

Music

Ms. Rose

Scene

Poetry

By: William R. Soldan

 

This tattered perch tames

what was once a restless spring,

while plumbed are the depths

of memory.

 

A child’s shaggy hair,

tangled back in the freeway breeze

as he tangles toward the unfamiliar:

tilted houses on dead end streets

and blurring rest-stop vacancies.

 

And now,

in this autumn,

as days gone still

still echo on the wall,

such remnants of the here and gone

reach out,

search for purchase in the space between

 

a latchkey kid

and part-time reverie.

By: William R. Soldan

 

The centuries are conspirators against the sanity and majesty of the soul.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance”

 

Laboring to leave a mark

among masses,

alighting on the fact that

the genius of the dead is

not the genius of today.

 

The codes by which,

and the casts in which we live,

an assemblage

of stagnant associations

and murmured assents.

 

The external—

all that fortifies the mold—

holds no answer to

Who am I?

but instead diverts,

unhinges thoughts

better realized in the coolness

of solitude.

 

This conspiracy works

to pin down and disallow

all but the most palatable projections

 

I no longer refrain

from lending myself

to this immediacy,

to not simply adopt

from the worn furrows

of the past;

to trust the first

unapologetic perception

rather than the lazy embrace

of habit,

of things written

but so seldom considered.

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

220px-Monuments_to_an_Elegy_album_cover_from_Smashing_Pumpkins

Artist: The Smashing Pumpkins

Album: Monuments To An Elegy

Release Date: 12/9/14

Rating: 7/10

It’s almost rare to hear news of Billy Corgan and music in the same equation. However, when he’s not posing with cats, starting a wrestling franchise, taking stabs at Soundgarden and Dave Grohl, or just generally bashing every other musician from the heyday of the 90’s alternative scene, he’s still making music under the Smashing Pumpkins name.

This is all rather unfortunate, because since their semi-reunion in 2007, the Smashing Pumpkins have put out two really good records. 2007’s guitar-driven Zeitgeist and 2012’s post-punk/space rock-oriented Oceania both feature the two sonic elements that made the Pumpkins great. However, neither really hit their mark or struck a chord with the mass audience of their glory days. Corgan, the sole original member, has also come under heavy criticism for everything from his selection of lineup members to riding the wave of 90’s nostalgia for an easy cash grab.

Despite not seeing the same success enjoyed by former peers such as Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails, the Smashing Pumpkins have soldiered on and have released some good music over the years.

Monuments to An Elegy, the band’s latest offering, continues even further with the depth and exploration of who The Smashing Pumpkins are and what they could ultimately be. The album combines elements of the band’s past with ripping, fuzz-heavy guitars, and meets them with a more synthesizer-driven sound heard on newer releases. For the most part, the two components seem to find a pretty good balance, and sonically, Monuments to An Elegy flows rather well, making for a very interesting and natural progression in the band’s catalog.

Billy Corgan posing for the cover of "Paws Chicago" magazine in 2014.

Billy Corgan posing for the cover of “Paws Chicago” magazine in 2014.

Leading off with the track “Tiberius,” the album flashes hints of the band’s classic, dirty guitar-rock sound, with subtle synths that complement the riffage well. Tracks like “Being Beige” and “One and All,” featuring none other than Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee, continue with an up-beat, hard rock feel that speaks to fans of Siamese Dream and Gish.

From there, more synthpop sounding tracks like “Run2me” and “Drum + Fife” take hold, veering away from the vibe and losing the listener somewhat. The standout “Monuments” boasts another hard rocker before descending into the ill-conceived, Depeche Mode-esque “Dorian,” and finally climaxing with the decent rocker, “Anti-Hero.”

As a whole, Monuments to An Elegy is a really interesting chapter in the Smashing Pumpkins’ history. The band began implementing synthesizers as early as 1995’s breakthrough hit, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, before completely embracing the late 90’s electronica phase with 1998’s Adore. Monuments sounds like a good fit between Mellon Collie and Adore, featuring both high-energy rockers and driving synth-rock.

Overall, Monuments to An Elegy is a very good and relevant release from a band that’s over a quarter-century into their career. The biggest issue however, is whether a not you can call the Smashing Pumpkins a band at this point. The music feels very similar to Corgan’s 2005 solo album, Walking Shades. And without the dynamic of the powerhouse drumming of Jimmy Chamberlin and guitar wizardry of James Iha from the band’s classic lineup, it feels very much like another solo Corgan record. If one can set that fact aside and take the music at face value, than Monuments is a pretty decent album.

Artist of the Year: Run the Jewels

Album of the Year: Behemoth – The Satanist

Song of the Year: Run the Jewels – “Blockbuster Night, Part 1”

Best Music Video: Behemoth – “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel”

Best Collaboration: Scott Walker/Sunn O)))Soused

Best Live Act: Behemoth

Best Local/Regional Live Act: Orwellian 

Best Album (Local/Regional Act): First in SpaceIn the Red

Comeback of the Year: TIE: Faith No More & Pink Floyd

Best New Artist: TIE: Youth Code & My Gold Mask

Lifetime Achievement: Faith No More

Rick (Raw Alternative Editor-in-Chief)

  • Tool (third year in a row!)
  • Faith No More
  • The Cure
  • Kitchen Knife Conspiracy (third year in a row!)
  • Pilot the Mind
  • Sleep Projections
  • Black Sabbath
  • Radiohead
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • Marilyn Manson
  • Raekwon
  • Phantomas

Sevi (Raw Alternative Editor)

  • Panda Bear – Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper
  • Joey Bada$$ – B4.Da.$$
  • Murder by Death – Big Dark Love
  • Faith No More
  • Bob Dylan – Shadows in the Night
  • Raekwon – Fly International Luxurious Art
  • Mount Eerie – Sauna
  • Frank Turner

Brandon Judeh (Raw Alternative Music Writer)

  • Faith No More
  • Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor
  • Black Sabbath
  • King Diamond
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • Slayer
  • Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Chasing Yesterday

Matt Servenack (Resinaut)

  • Torche
  • Houndmouth
  • Napalm Death

Rick (Raw Alternative Editor-in-Chief)

  1. Run the Jewels – RTJ2
  2. Behemoth – The Satanist
  3. Have A Nice Life – The Unnatural World
  4. OFF! – Wasted Years
  5. Swans – To Be Kind
  6. Mastodon – Once More ‘Round the Sun
  7. Death From Above 1979 – The Physical World
  8. Scott Walker/Sunn O))) – Soused
  9. Floor – Oblation
  10. Crosses – Crosses
  11. Beck – Morning Phase
  12. Lo-Pan – Colossus
  13. Interpol – El Pintor
  14. Youth Code – A Place to Stand
  15. Electric Wizard – Time to Die
  16. First In Space – In The Red
  17. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Hypnotic Eye
  18. Aphex Twin – Syro
  19. King Buzzo – This Machine Kills Artists
  20. Flying Lotus – You’re Dead!

Sevi (Raw Alternative Editor)

  1. Swans – To Be Kind
  2. Run The Jewels – RTJ2
  3. Flying Lotus – You’re Dead!
  4. Scott Walker/Sunn O))) – Soused
  5. Aphex Twin – Syro
  6. Moodie Black – Nausea
  7. clipping. – CLPPNG
  8. KAIRON; IRSE! – UJUBASAJUBA
  9. Mac DeMarco – Salad Days
  10. Freddie Gibbs/Madlib – Piñata
  11. Caribou – Our Love
  12. Perfume Genius – Too Bright
  13. BADBADNOTGOOD -BBNG2
  14. Open Mike Eagle – Dark Comedy
  15. Rating – So It Goes
  16. Grouper – Ruins
  17. Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire for No Witness
  18. Perfect Pussy – Say Yes to Love
  19. Owen Pallett – In Conflict
  20. White Lung – Deep Fantasy

Brandon Judeh (Raw Alternative Writer)

  1. King Buzzo – This Machine Kills Artists
  2. Royal Blood – Royal Blood
  3. Beck – Morning Phase
  4. Jack White – Lazaretto
  5. Mark Lanegan – Phantom Radio
  6. Melvins – Hold It In
  7. Smashing Pumpkins – Monuments to an Elegy
  8. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Hypnotic Eye
  9. Pink Floyd – Endless River
  10. St. Vincent- St. Vincent

Brad Whiterstine (The Days Before Empires)

1. The Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt
2.Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
3. The Menzingers – Rented World
4. 500 Miles to Memphis – Stand There and Bleed
5. Chuck Ragan – Till Midnight
6. Cory Branan – The No Hit Wonder
7. PUP – PUP
8. Ryan Adams – self titled
9. Rise Against – The Black Market
10. Chevelle – La Gargola

Matt Servenack (Resinaut)

1. Eyehategod – Eyehategod
2. Floor – Oblation
3. Lo-Pan – Colossus
4. Rich Robinson – The Ceaseless Sight
5. Electric Wizard – Time To Die
6. YOB – Clearing the Path to Ascend
7. Godflesh – A World Only Lit By Fire
8. Obliterations – Poison Everything
9. Shellac – Dude Incredible
10. All Them Witches – Lightning at the Door
11. Spiral Shades – Hypnosis Sessions
12. Pig Destroyer – Mass and Volume
13. Chris Robinson Brotherhood – Phosphorescent Harvest
14. Pallbearer – Foundations of Burden
15. Earth – Primitive and Deadly
16. Rival Sons – Great Western Valkyrie
17. Truckfighters – Universe
18. Budos Band – Burnt Offering
19. Fu Manchu – Gigantoid
20. Conan – Blood Eagle

Joe Carbon (Baroque Monody/Amnesty for Astronauts)

  1. Slash – World on Fire
  2. Slash – World on Fire
  3. Slash – World on Fire
  4. Slash – World on Fire
  5. You get the point…

Jimmy Martin (The JimmyFro Podcast)

  1. Third Class – Hymns From Some Small Town
  2. Future Islands – Singles
  3. St.Vincent – St. Vincent
  4. First In Space – In The Red
  5. Phoenix Rising – Phoenix Rising
  6. Pearl & The Beard – Beast
  7. Wretch – Warriors
  8. The Front Bottoms – Rose
  9. Baroque Monody – Empress(III)/Emperor(IV)
  10. Jones for Revival – Jones for Revival

Chris Parlamas (Bunderthird)

 1. Angels and Airwaves – The Dreamwalker
2. Jack White – Lazaretto
3. Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways
4. Smashing Pumpkins – Monuments To An Elegy
5. Weezer – Everything Will Be Alright in the End
6. Christina Perri – Head or Heart
7. Say Anything – Hebrews
8. Weird Al Yankovic – Mandatory Fun
9. Gerard Way – Hesitant Alien
10. Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
11. 2d6 – 1d12: 2d6 Sells Out

Lucas Goleb (Resinaut)

  1. Lo Pan – Colossus
  2. Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band – Black Power Flower
  3. Truckfighters – Universe
  4. Down – Down IV Vol. II
  5. Causa Sui – Live at Freak Valley
  6. Wo Fat – The Conjuring
  7. Lionize – Jetpack Soundtrack
  8. Greenleaf – Trails & Passes
  9. Mars Red Sky – Stranded in Arcadia
  10. Valley of the Sun – Electric Talons of the Thunderhawk
El-P and Killer Mike, AKA Run the Jewels.

El-P and Killer Mike, AKA Run the Jewels.

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

And so, another year has come to pass. 2014 offered up a number of exceptional music festivals, buzz worthy releases and reunions that most fans never saw coming. Yes, who would have thought both Wu-Tang Clan and Pink Floyd would deliver new music? And that is just the very tip of the iceberg. Alternative rock and metal artists enjoyed the most chart success in years, while underground rap and hip-hop were right behind them. Some of the biggest contenders in classic rock also proved their staying power and overall relevance by knocking today’s contemporary acts right out of the top spot. And let’s not for U2’s ultimate troll, providing Apple consumers with a largely unwanted product.

2014 was definitely a great year for indie and alternative rock. Iconic artists like Morrissey, J Mascis, Beck, Johnny Marr and the Swans all dropped well-received new records this year. But it’s the relative new-comers who have made quite possibly the biggest impression. Acts like alt-j, St. Vincent, Iceage, Perfect Pussy and The War on Drugs all made quite a splash, topping the bill at many major festivals and influencing a next generation of young alternative garage acts. Post-punk acts Death From Above 1979 and Interpol also marked their return, releasing two great albums respectively.

Classic alternative acts saw their share of success as well. The Foo Fighters’ new album, Sonic Highways, went right to the top of the charts, and successful tours from bands like Pearl Jam and the co-headlining jaunt from Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden drew in fans by the millions. Plus, high-profile reunions from Primus and Faith No More prove that this ear of rock bands still have a lot to say, and the fans want to hear it!

The dynamic duo of rappers El-P and Killer Mike (AKA Run the Jewels), also took the underground by storm with their sophomore collaboration disc, RTJ2. The record featured many high profile guests including Rage Against the Machine’s Zack de la Rocha and Blink-182 drummer-extraordinaire Travis Barker, and took no prisoners. Dropping alongside the massive reunions of Outkast and Wu-Tang Clan, hip-hop is seeing a new golden age, where classic and contemporary alternative acts of the genre are lining up, providing a much needed breath of fresh air among its massive commercialized market.

Punk rock had it’s share dominance this year. The successful Punk Rock Summer Nationals tour brought together big names like The Offspring, Bad Religion, Pennywise and the Vandals all on one bill. Punk acts as diverse as OFF!, The Gaslight Anthem, The Damned and Against Me! released gritty, brutal records that show maturity and loyalty to the genre’s ethos.

Metal fans had to much to rejoice in 2014. Big contemporary players like Slipknot, Machine Head, In Flames and Mastodon took to the top of the charts, along with genre staples like Judas Priest and Exodus, who experienced the highest first-week sales and chart positions of their entire career. A standout release was Behemoth’s massive opus, The Satanist. The controversial Polish Blackened Death Metal act released both a chart topper and a game changer, bringing wide attention to the act in America, who had previous only seen moderate success.

Fans of Doom and Sludge metal had arguably an even better year in 2014. Heavy hitters Crowbar and Electric Wizard kept it, well, heavy! Not to mention Sludge pioneers the Melvins and the Columbus, Ohio underground sensation Lo-Pan dropping two massive records, keeping fans more than pleased. The bands Floor and Sleep also released new music, proving the sub-genre as relevant and powerful as ever.

Classic Rock artists like David Bowie, Nel Young, Paul McCartney and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released new music, with the latter seeing their first number one album ever. But perhaps the biggest surprise of 2014 was the return of Pink Floyd. The members have been very active in recent years, with the act’s notable leaders, David Gilmour and Roger Waters, both touring worldwide and occasionally making guest appearances at each other’s shows. However, most fans had dropped the idea of a full-fledged reunion, after a one-off 20-minute set at Live 8 in 2005 and the death of founding member and keyboardist Rick Wright in 2008. But by late summer, surviving members Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason announced a (somewhat) new Pink Floyd album was in the works. The Endless River was released in November, featuring unreleased material featuring Wright, re-recorded with a few new additions. Waters, who officially left the band in 1984, was not involved in the project. The album went straight to the top of the charts, knocking contemporary pop princess Taylor Swift off her fluffy throne.

Many of music’s mega-stars also pulled some noteworthy stunts. Taylor Swift, or most likely her label reps, pulled her latest release off Spotify and other popular music streaming services, forcing fans to purchase the physical copy. U2, took the opposite approach, and gave their new album, Songs of Innocence, away for free via Apple products. Both stunts garnered the acts equal publicity and equal dismay from the public. While Swift seemingly took a stance for the current value of music, U2 received a lot of heat for the ostensibly generous move, with high-profile acts like Pink Floyd and Foo Fighters criticizing them for “devaluing” music. This only goes to show that 15 years after the explosion of Napster, the music industry, as well as some of today’s top artists, are still on unstable ground. As of 2014, the future of the music industry was murky at best.

Let’s not forget who we lost in 2014. Iconic folk singer and activist Pete Seeger left us early in the year, while legendary blues guitarist Johnny Winter and punk icon Tommy Ramone of the Ramones passed in the summer. Ohio rock legend Denis T. Menass of classic rockers Left End also passed away in the summer, before his former band was honored at the Youngstown Music Awards later in the year. Bass virtuoso and Cream founder Jack Bruce left us in October, while the heavy metal community lost former Static-X frontman Wayne Static and Black Tusk bassist Jonathan Athon both in November. Later in the year, Jack White’s touring keyboardist Isaiah “Ikey” Owens and Small Faces Ian McLagan had passed away. For a complete tribute of 2014’s fallen musicians, visit here.

Although rock music, in all of it’s various sub-genre’s and identities, is not the dominant force in music that it once was, it is no where near out of the equation. While pop and country largely dominate the charts, and reality television continues to pump out one manufactured one-hit wonder after another, the real music fans have spoken the loudest. In 2014, rock, alternative, and especially metal acts, have pushed the highest number of physical album sales, proving their loyalty to their art. And as we move further into the digital age, where the value of music is constantly being questioned, it is the fans, all of you, who’ll ultimately deliver the final answer!

Cheers to 2015! Go out to shows, support local/regional/independent music, and keep buying records!!