Soundgarden were my band. ‘Black Hole Sun’ came on MTV some time in the early summer of 1994 and I was transfixed. Before that moment, ‘rock’ was a big ugly thing to me, for older kids who drank in the park or hung out at the Wellington Monument with candles and baggy clothes when Kurt Cobain topped himself. So this was a strange feeling, hearing that song, with Chris Cornell’s soulful voice and Kim Thayil’s colourful guitar lines, alluring and scary at the same time. I didn’t even hear the album Superunknown till months later, when I got a CD player for Christmas. I’ve probably played it hundreds if not thousands of times since then. I still have the original CD.
The academic tone meant I really only skimmed this (lo, the spectre of TL;DR!) but I thought it still worth a link: as the format matures with the freedom accorded by the availability of the necessary technology (for production and distribution alike) we’ll need deeper critical studies of some kind to grow along with it. [c/o 5it] #link
A few days ago on Twitter, I wondered out loud how many artists from the classic era of SST Records (from 1980 to 1997, though some would cut it off at 1989 or earlier) are still going today. By still going, I meant still active as a performing and recording entity, whether as an ensemble or solo artist, that released records under the same name (or as essentially the same entity) on SST.
For all the relatively big-name acts who did their time on the label, there are few intact in 2017, and pretty much all of them took a break at some point between recording for SST and now. Indeed, if Sonic Youth hadn’t broken up a few years ago, they would have been the only career band still actively recording and touring straight through from their SST days.
Midori Takada’s 1983 LP Through The Looking Glass. Prompted by this short profile in the Guardian upon its recent reissue, which has promptly sold out. And it isn’t available digitally, for some stupid reason. So here you go. #video
Sound artist Ranjit Bhatnagar (moonmilk on MeFi) set himself the challenge of building a sound-making instrument of some kind each day in February, and he’s done it every year for the past decade. And they’re kind of amazing. #link
Late with this owing to a busy week: a long-delayed round-up some of my favourite sounds from the last couple of years. Emphasis on the ‘some’, mind you, as all I can think of now are the records I forgot to include. Such is life. #link
An audio tribute by Tristan Bath upon the death of label founder Hideo Ikeezumi. Some beautiful noise here, my favourites being acoustic bass solo improviser Motoharu Yoshizawa and the ghostly Shizuoka’s ‘Bloodspattered Blossom’. #link
Since Rolling Stone is all about embracing subcultures now, whether it be wrestling or whatever, it’s about time they paid tribute to a genre that’s, I don’t know, about 30 years old by my calendar? (Seriously, though, this is a nice sit-down-and-chat, and the new album I’m spinning now is worth a listen.) #link
The latest episode of Fractured “gets down and dirty" with Limerick-based death metallers Zealot Cult. #video
The headline is unfortunate (the problem is hardly unaddressed; it’s a perennial topic of discussion among metalheads) though the article is a good one. Ah, the moral quandary of separating the art from the artist! But seriously, aside from metal's propensity for permitting transgressive ideas without the attendant responsibility, the article points out the blatant hypocrisy that arises when artists use their art as a platform for their political agenda, even if the art doesn’t relate to it directly. How do you feel about your Burzum records now? #link
Good to see the festival finally respond to this, even if that response still constitutes some waffle over the meaning and intention of the boilerplate legal text. Basically, there’s no fucking around when it comes to the horror clown’s America. And for many artists, it’ll surely see the value of showcasing at SXSW plummet compared to online avenues like Bandcamp. #link
Justin Pearson (The Locust, Retox, Three One G, etc) talks about his musical journey, as well as the gear that comprises his signature sound. He’s refreshingly candid about his lack of traditional technique, which gives me hope for cracking the secret of the bass. #video
“I recognize that we're recognized as a metal label. By percentage, we have probably put out more metal than anything else, but there's probably a lot of stuff that people don't realize we've done. Even though I was a teenager at the time, part of the reason I chose the name Relapse was that there are some names that could have sounded more metal. I wanted something that was vague and wouldn't necessarily pigeonhole us.” A noble philosophy, to be sure. But Relapse is undoubtedly a big-time label in the metal ‘underground’, with little patience these days for the more experimental stuff (they dropped Pyrrhon after one record, for shame). #link
Some of this is snark, naturally. But most of it is dead on, as they say up here in Dundalk. #link
Weasel Walter did this quick remastering of Essential Logic’s Beat Rhythm News LP, and I’m kicking myself for not hearing the album sooner as this kind of off-kilter, bass-heavy post-punk is exactly my thing. #video