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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mastodon Share “High Road” Off Upcoming Album Once More Round the Sun

Following 2011′s The Hunter, Mastodon will release its next full-length, Once More Around the Sun, this year. Today they’ve shared its first track, “High Road”, as SPIN points out. Listen above. According to SPIN, the record will be out sometime in June on Warner Brothers.

Produced by Nick Raskulinecz (Deftones, Alice in Chains), Once More Around the Sun is “60-or-so minutes of pure, authentic Mastodon,” as singer/bassist Troy Sanders told Paste. According to Paste, highlights include “Ember City” and “Diamonds in the Witch House,” which features guest vocals from Neurosis’ Scott Kelly.

Sanders told Paste:
A lot of people ask us if it kicks off where The Hunter left off. And to a large degree, I suppose yes. We recorded it and took it on the road with us, and then we headed back to our rehearsal space and started working out ideas. I’ve had a lot of time to ingest this record, and it’s solid. It’s a large slab of granite. I’m once again completely proud of these guys.”

Mastodon are on the road this spring and summer:

04-28 Seattle, WA – Showbox Sodo
04-29 Portland, OR – Roseland Theater
05-01 Oakland, CA – Fox Theater
05-02 Los Angeles, CA – Club Nokia
05-03 Las Vegas, NV – House of Blues
05-04 Salt Lake City, UT – The Depot
05-07 Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
05-08 Chicago, IL – The Riviera Theater
05-09 Pittsburgh, PA – Stage AE
05-10 Toronto, Ontario – Sound Academy
05-12 Buffalo, NY – The Town Ballroom
05-13 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
05-15 New York, NY – Terminal 5
05-16 Boston, MA – The Palladium
05-17 Philadelphia, PA – Electric Factory
05-18 Columbus, OH – Rock On The Range
05-28 Helsinki, Finland – Sonisphere Festival
05-30 Stockholm, Sweden – STHLM Fields Festival
06-01 Oslo, Norway – Sonisphere Festival
06-03 Horsens, Dernmark – Jailhouse Rock Festival
06-04 Hamburg, Germany – Imtech Arena
06-06 Nurburgring, Germany – Rock Am Ring
06-07 Bavaria, Germany – Rock Im Park
06-09 Landgraff, Holland – Pinkpop
06-11 Pratteln, Switzerland – Z7 KONZERTFABRIK
06-13 Manchester, TN – Bonnaroo
06-20 Montebello, Quebec – Amnesia Rockfest
06-26 Zwolle, Netherlands – Hedon
06-27 Amsterdam, Netherlands – Melkweg
06-28 Dessel, Belgium – Graspop
06-29 Moscow, Russia – Moscow Park Live
07-03 Arras, France – Main Square Festival
07-04 Paris, France – Le Zénith
07-06 Knebworth, England – Sonisphere
07-18 Nordfjordeid, Norway – Malakoff Rock Festival
07-19 Tromsø, Norway – Bukta Open Air Festival
09-06 Raleigh, North Carolina – Hopscotch Music Festival

Black Flag and FLAG Settle Trademark Lawsuit

In August of last year, Black Flag founder Greg Ginn—who is currently leading the Black Flag reunion project—sued his former bandmates Keith Morris, Chuck Dukowski, Dez Cadena, and Bill Stevenson. Along with Descendents guitarist Stephen Egerton, they’d started another Black Flag reunion project, called FLAG. Ginn claimed that the name “FLAG” and their logo were rights owned exclusively by his label, SST. Ginn sought an injunction against their tour, but lost.

Now a settlement has finally been reached in the trademark case, as The Hollywood Reporter notes. On April 10, both groups declared that they’d reached a settlement. “FLAG gets to be FLAG, and Black Flag as it is presently known continues to be Black Flag,” Evan Cohen, the attorney for Greg Ginn, told The Hollywood Reporter.

Watch FLAG play “My War” last year:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Afghan Whigs – Do To The Beast (Album Review)

Let’s get the obligatory comments out of the way: 16 years is a long time between albums. A child born the day the last studio album from The Afghan Whigs, 1965, was released would reach driving age here in the US this coming October. Front man and undisputed Whigs leader, Greg Dulli, has alluded in interviews to “the legacy” he and his bandmates “are engaging”; despite the length of the layoff and the Whigs’ canonical cult status, though, the break doesn’t seem that long due to Dulli’s continued activity with his other projects, The Twilight Singers and The Gutter Twins, his collaboration with Mark Lanegan. Dulli has also indicated that the Whigs’ return to the studio after an improbable 2012 reunion was a natural next step as The Twilight Singers, originating as a trip-hop/electronica influenced side project, had evolved to a more rock-oriented sound in the vein of the Whigs. This is a bit of a Catch-22 as it blunts not only the onus of history and expectation but also the dramatic “comeback” effect.

Either way – or both – I suspect Dulli isn’t arsed, he just plays and, as tempting as it is to drum up frothy-mouthed anticipation for Do To The Beast, I think it best we listeners approach the album in kind – with an informed, referential ear to the past, not viewing that past as a cop with sirens blaring in the rearview. Last we heard from Dulli & Co, they had fully and flawlessly integrated the gritty and grimy soul on 1998’s 1965 they had been increasingly referencing on prior outings. That having operated as a more hedonistic take on the druggy and violent sexual obsession the band continually explored through that purple patch beginning with 1992’s Congregation, Dulli is sensible enough to recognize musings on “the way you make your ass shake” or self-depictions as a pig with a “dick for a brain” are unseemly and sophomoric for a guy on the doorstep of 50, so Do To The Beast does not pick up where the Whigs left off – not in that manner anyway.

The Afghan Whigs has always been Dulli’s more personal and confessional outlet while The Twilight Singers served as a more abstract and vague channel for his continued ruminations on morality and mortality, spirituality and sexuality. Since Dulli has weathered and aged through his Singers’ material, Do To The Beast is a decidedly more mature venture than the Whigs’ 1990s output, injecting it with a gravity and solemnity commensurate with Dulli’s current station in life. Where the album does pick up in terms of pulling forward any threads of the Whigs’ past is that of the role of denouement to those earlier albums’ headiness and youthful tension. This isn’t to say Do To The Beast is bereft of these qualities – on the contrary, it is chock full of them – but this time around, they exist as part of an endgame.

Lead track “Parked Outside” kicks things off with a lead-footed, pile driver of a riff; it’s straight ahead rock greased in grunge, like a steroid-plumped track left off 1996’s Black Love, but it’s a grand entrance and proof that aging has not begotten mellowing. Dulli shreds his throat raw here but, despite the rambunctiousness, he divulges a sentiment quite at odds with his surroundings and rarely disclosed in Whigs song: “You’re gonna make me / break down and cryyyyyy”. This anguish, conveyed here in red-eyed, red-throated fury, pervades Do To The Beast, giving it its over-arching motif – after all the skirt-chasing and powder sniffing, this is Dulli’s cycle of grief. Stinging with remorse, he croaks, “it kills to watch you love another”, against the bass drum and piano stomp of “It Kills” and ruefully admits, “now you’re gone/and you ain’t coming back”, on the near jangle-pop of “Lost In The Woods”.

After such a layoff recording as The Afghan Whigs, and perhaps in deference to their past, Do To The Beast is fittingly a travelogue of sorts for Dulli. The Twilight Singers’ 2011 Dynamite Steps was arguably the most sonically diverse album Dulli had attached his name to and Do To The Beast deliciously one-ups it. “Parked Outside” and “Royal Cream” are the only bile-filled rockers in the grand Whigs style here, while the band explores exotic, sinister funk on “Matamoros”, breezy, dustbowl acoustics on the Western-tinged “Algiers”, and flavors of foothills folk music on “Can Rova”. Guest vocalist, R&B/soul man Van Hunt, offers a grappling-for-your-soul howl at “It Kills”s climax while Mark McGuire, late of his band Emeralds and one of several guest guitarists filling in for departed original Whig, Rick McCollum, embellishes “The Lottery”s chorus with a flickering, delay-effect riff. In less capable hands, this could all melt into a soupy mess, but Dulli is the unifying force; every Afghan Whigs song sounds like an Afghan Whigs song due simply to his presence.

Each of these environs follows Dulli as he courses forth toward his target – as Dulli has put it, “walked through the neighborhoods of my life” – which is his final stage of grief, one that lies beyond Acceptance…Retribution. Dulli fashions himself a flame in “I Am Fire”, a perfectly ideal destroyer, one that assaults all senses and itself extinguishes after rendering its devastation. On the closer, “These Sticks”, the band pushes every button – thundering toms, wailing horns, swelling strings – building to its dizzying peak, Dulli yowling, “tie these sticks around my heart / be there when it blows apart”; he ends Do To The Beast just as he began it – almost. After the wires are severed and doors slam shut, the last we hear from Dulli is a barely audible murmur, “I’ve come to make you pay”.

Do To The Beast leaves you emotionally wrought. Where Dulli had previously played the sleaze we reveled in living vicariously through, here he has us choking back tears for him, the violent aggressor. The album has an air of closure, the Whigs pull out all their musical stops and Dulli seems to find an end, albeit not the happiest one. Mum’s the word on what the future holds, and it’s hardly fair to speculate just as this album is dropping, but if Do To The Beast is The Afghan Whigs’ final statement, it is a towering one. It may not be the best album this year and it certainly won’t be one of the most influential or contemporary – there are slews of reviews here for those well-deserved albums – but it may rank among the most important.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Conflicting Reports Cloud AC/DC’s Future

There’s either very sad news or very good news for AC/DC and their fans as two conflicting reports have surfaced online.

First, Australian radio station 3AW entertainment reporter Peter Ford stated that the band was close to announcing their retirement and that “the tour will not happen and we will never see AC/DC perform again or record again.” Ford also tweeted that there was “some sad detail behind” behind their decision. The rumor could have some credence given the fact that frontman Brian Johnson had stated in a previous interview that recording of their new album had been delayed due to one of the band members being seriously ill. The new rumor also suggests that guitarist Malcolm Young has “returned to Australia to live with his family and for his own personal reasons he may not want to continue with the band.”

But the above rumor later took a back seat as a conflicting report stated that the band was not retiring and had in fact booked studio time for their new album. According to The Australian, the group has booked a six-week stint set to begin May 1 in Vancouver to lay down music for their next album, which would be their first since 2008′s ‘Black Ice.’ Johnson had stated earlier this year that he was confident that a new album would get done and that it would coincide with a tour.

So while the booking of studio time suggests that a new album may be in the works, it’s also possible that the time was booked before circumstances changed. Stay tuned for more updates as these conflicting rumors sort themselves out.

Although AC/DC singer Brian Johnson just revealed in a new interview that the band would not be breaking up, AC/DC have just released their first official statement addressing the reports that have surfaced over the past few days. The band states that guitarist Malcolm Young will be “taking a break from the band due to ill health,” but also makes it clear that AC/DC will continue to make music.

For quite some time, it has been rumored that one member of AC/DC has been dealing with serious health issues. The band remained quiet about the matter, but since countless conflicting reports have been swirling around the Internet the past few days, AC/DC have finally confirmed the ill health of Malcolm Young.

It was reported on April 15 that Young had suffered a stroke, while a source reportedly close to the Young family claimed Malcolm could be dealing with Alzheimer’s, dementia or even cancer. The source also says Malcolm Young has had difficulty communication and remembering “familiar faces.”

AC/DC finally made Malcolm Young’s ill health public in the following statement posted on the band’s Facebook page:

After forty years of life dedicated to AC/DC, guitarist and founding member Malcolm Young is taking a break from the band due to ill health. Malcolm would like to thank the group’s diehard legions of fans worldwide for their never-ending love and support.

In light of this news, AC/DC asks that Malcolm and his family’s privacy be respected during this time. The band will continue to make music.

AC/DC are scheduled to start jamming possible new material in May. “We’re going to pick up some guitars, have a plonk, and see if anybody has got any tunes or ideas,” Brian Johnson tells the Telegraph. “If anything happens, we’ll record it.”

Stay tuned for AC/DC news and updates on the health of Malcolm Young as reports are made public.

The Black Keys Share New Song “Turn Blue”

The Black Keys’ new album Turn Blue, the Danger Mouse-produced follow-up to 2011′s El Camino, is out May 13. Following their single “Fever”, check out another new song from the album, “Turn Blue”.

Monday, April 14, 2014

listen to Sigur Ros’ song from last night’s ‘Game of Thrones’

We knew Sigur Ros were going to be in Season 4 of Game of Thrones and their appearance happened on last night’s (4/13) episode, “The Lion and the Rose,” where they were — I’m treading lightly around spoilers — part of a very eventful wedding celebration. They sang their version of Lanister anthem “The Rains of Castamere” which was sung by The National during a closing-credits sequence back in Season 1. It was a great episode in what should be a very juicy season. The band were only in the episode for a minute or so, but you can stream the full version of the song below…

Beck Plays Coachella: Full Set Video

Beck took the stage at Coachella last night for an hour-long, discography-spanning set packed with more than a few suprises, including an alternate version of “Gamma Ray” and a cover of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love.” Check out the full set below; “I Feel Love” kicks in around the 16:28 mark.

Queens of the Stone Age Run Through Hits at Coachella: Full Set Video

Saturday night, Queens of the Stone Age performed at Coachella. In addition to running through a series of their Like Clockwork singles, they shared some of their previous hits, including “A Song for the Dead”, “Feel Good Hit of the Summer”, and “No One Knows”. Watch their full set below.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Watch the entire Outkast Coachella reunion performance

OutKast, after a nearly decade-long hiatus, reunited at Coachella last night to play the first of their 40 scheduled festival performances. And, as the screaming fans can attest, the set was pretty momentous. Andre 3000 and Big Boi together ran down hits from their 20-year-long careers, including B.O.B. and Rosa Parks, as well as several from their solo stints. Artists Janelle Monae and Future also graced the stage to move the crowd.

This marked the first time OutKast appeared together since the release of 2006′s Idlewild. Watch the entire hour-and-a-half set below if you happened to miss the live appearance. The band will play at Coachella one more time before heading off for more festivals throughout the summer, including Governor’s Ball in New York City and the Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Nirvana Played a Surprise 16-Song Set Last Night in Brooklyn

Following their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame performance and induction last night, the remaining members of Nirvana took the stage again at Brooklyn’s Saint Vitus. The show was invite only and if you were one of the 230 people inside, I am very jealous of you…

The part of Kurt Cobain was played by an all-star cast including Joan Jett, St. Vincent’s Annie Clark, Dinosaur Jr’s J. Mascis, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, and Deer Tick’s John McCauley. I’m assuming Courtney Love was nowhere to be found during this show.


Smells Like Teen Spirit (with Joan Jett)
Breed (with Joan Jett)
In Bloom (with Joan Jett)
Territorial Pissings (with Joan Jett)
Drain You (with J. Mascis)
Penny Royal Tea (with J. Mascis)
School (with J. Mascis)
Lithium (with Annie Clark)
About A Girl (with Annie Clark)
Heart Shaped Box (with Annie Clark)
Serve the Servantsm (with John Mccaluey)
Scentless Apprentice (with John Mccaluey)
Tourette’s (with John Mccaluey)
Aneurysm (with Kim Gordon)
Negative Creep (with Kim Gordon)
Moist Vagina (with Kim Gordon)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Off!- Wasted Years (Album Review)

If you are in any way interested in punk music, you’re sure to have caught the Black Flag/FLAG debacle that hardcore godhead Greg Ginn instigated last year. He basically sued his former bandmates in FLAG (and, for some reason, Henry Rollins, who has nothing to do with either incarnation) to gain complete control of the brand ‘Black Flag’.

Ginn is notorious amongst the bands he’s released on his seminal label SST. The lawsuit he filed is now closed, with the judge ruling that, amongst other things, Ginn has no right to stop the his ex-bandmates playing Black Flag songs and he certainly has no right to sue Rollins, who never left the band anyway. Ginn’s brother, Raymond Pettibon, drew the original, iconic Black Flag artwork, and he stood to gain nothing from the lawsuit.

Off!, like FLAG, is another punk supergroup that ‘true’ fans are willing to succeed with all their hearts. Cult phenomenon Keith Morris leads both, having built his reputation in Black Flag and the equally estimable Circle Jerks. Morris is joined by Burning Brides frontman Dimitri Coats on guitar, Red Kross’ powerhouse bassist Steven Shane McDonald and Rocket From The Crypt/Hot Snakes/Earthless drummer Mario Rubalcaba. Between all of the members of Off!, they’ve recorded some of the best punk, hardcore, post-hardcore and power-pop records of the past 35 years. Punk pedigree: Done.

Off!’s two previous album releases have gone down a storm in the punk community and elsewhere – their compilation First Four EPs (featuring artwork by, you guessed it, Raymond Pettibon) was a refreshing blast of biting hardcore that crammed 16 songs into 18 minutes. Their self-titled debut album went one better – it was recorded in two days and featured 16 tunes in a 15-minute blastathon. Not one single track was wasted.

Wasted Years features another 16 blasters to add to your ‘essential punk’ playlist. For those of us that don’t own iPods or any music-playing device other than ‘ye olde stereo’, tapes are still available for your punk compilations – don’t fret.

Opener Void You Out clatters around your brain with chopping, spiralling riffs and Morris’ signature bark, which hasn’t changed in 30 years. Next cut Red White & Black goes into complete hyperdrive – the rhythm seems to be constantly speeding away from Morris, before slowing into a heavy sludgy grind for mere seconds, then the blistering pace returns. Legion Of Evil alternates between Black Sabbath doom and buzzsaw punk with equal ferocity. No Easy Escape follows the same pattern – bilious sludge followed by cranked-up riffage.

Over Our Heads is one of the most ‘classic punk’ cuts here – it rolls in on a righteous McDonald bass groove and slashes and rips for about a minute of Dead Kennedys style ferocity. Hypnotized is one of the ‘slower’ numbers – but its disillusioned, anti-authoritarian message has more time to set in when paired with a relatively languorous grind.

It Didn’t Matter To Me follows, and Morris is barking about loss-leaders and scratching at the walls like he’s just figured the world out. We all know he figured it out a long time ago. Dig the way he sings (!) “Never-ending”, it’s one of the best tonal moments on the record. There’s no time to gather your thoughts before Exorcized bangs in with a distinctly Motor City flavour – think the MC5 mainlining speed and you’re near the mark. Best-title award goes to Death Trip On The Party Train, a track which features stinging chords and some highlight-reel lyrics: “Close the curtains/Erase the night/Like it never existed”.

Defiance abounds in I Won’t Be A Casualty, and All I Can Grab follows that up with crushing classic hardcore. Time’s Not On Your Side gives the listeners’ ears a tiny respite by mixing up the furious thrashing with almost-jazzy guitar manoeuvres. “Fuck with me, I’ll fuck with you!” go Morris’ lyrics, and boy do you believe him. Any track that features the lyrics “syphilitic bastards” and “contaminated offspring” is surely a winner, but placed as they are in the bruising Meet Your God, they have extra resonance. And the 67 second shred of Mr Useless is a blast – “It’s time to go, Mr Useless!” The closing one-two of You Must Be Damned and the title track Wasted Years is a sublime way to close the record. You Must Be Damned is a chiming, shifting cut underpinned by rad spiralling riffs. Wasted Years is a blistering cut that hammers Morris’ point home against an off-kilter rhythm and serrated riffs.

The themes, as you’d expect, are largely to do with government mind-control, negative propaganda getting everybody to hate each other, disillusionment… Morris sounds as though he’s as angry with corporations and capitalism as he’s ever been. Off! are the premier, numero uno punk band in the world, and nobody else comes close.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sweet Apple – “Wish You Could Stay (A Little Longer)” (Feat. Mark Lanegan) Video + Stream The Golden Age Of Glitter

J Mascis’ band Sweet Apple is kind of a supergroup with two members of Cobra Verde, one from Witch, and on the recent single “Wish You Could Stay,” with Mark Lanegan. The band-directed video for the song, which appears on the band’s new album The Golden Age Of Glitter, follows each member throwing a paper airplane which eventually makes its way to the next member. Watch it below.

The Golden Age of Glitter is out now on Tee Pee Records.

Will Joan Jett Perform With Nirvana Members at Rock Hall Induction?

There has been much mystery shrouding what Nirvana would do in terms of a performance at their Rock Hall induction, but Nirvana’s Facebook page may have offered a significant clue.

A new photo has gone up featuring a full instrumental set up with one of the instruments looking an awful lot like Joan Jett‘s guitar. With Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic currently in New York to be inducted and Foo Fighters and Nirvana cohort Pat Smear never too far away, it’s safe to infer that the trio could be joined by Jett at the Rock Hall. In fact, Alternative Nation points out that all three of the other instruments pictured were used by Grohl, Novoselic and Smear during their time in Nirvana.

Furthermore, Grohl and his band have a history of rocking with Jett in the past, appearing with the singer on ‘The Late Show With David Letterman.’

The Nirvana Facebook posting of the instruments can be seen below:


Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Having returned from a triumphant co-headlining Australia/New Zealand jaunt with NIN, Queens Of The Stone Age have wasted no time in teaming with director Hiro Murai (Childish Gambino, St. Vincent) for the just unveiled cinematic mini-epic for “Smooth Sailing,” the latest single from the hailed, hailed and more hailed international #1 album …Like Clockwork (Matador).

The definitely NSFW “Smooth Sailing” follows QOTSA’s Joshua Homme and cohorts on a delirious adventure that blossoms from garden variety drunken shenanigans to possibly the most nightmarishly accurate live action interpretation of a QOTSA song to date. Seriously, “Smooth Sailing” lends a new meaning to 3-D musical cinema-that is, it turns the 3 D’s into Drinking, Drugs and Death.

Thee Oh Sees Share Psychedelic “Drop” Video

So much for that indefinite hiatus—California psych fixtures Thee Oh Sees are releasing a new full-length, Drop, on April 19 (Record Store Day) via frontman John Dwyer’s label Castle Face. Following a video for “The Lens”, they’ve shared another clip—a web of retro, black-and-white psychedelia for the title track, made by artist Arthur Carvalho