Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween edition

Via the Time Out NY blog, a review of Saturday night's Danzig Legacy event at Hammerstein Ballroom.

And above, a vintage Danzig performance from The Jon Stewart Show. (Hearing J.S. pronounce the title of Danzig's Thrall—Demonsweatlive EP makes my day.)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Into the Void; Buildings on Fire

I'm happy to share my Pitchfork review of Dischord's new Void rarities compilation, Sessions 1981–83. If you're looking for a quick intro to these guys—at their best, possibly the most off-the-rails hardcore band of them all—try "Think", from the immortal Faith/Void. If you're already a fan, you will eat Sessions up.


I'm loving the new Will Hermes book, Love Goes to Buildings on Fire. It's a panorama of NYC music from 1973 through 1977, touching on rock, punk, jazz, salsa, classical, hip-hop, disco and more. In other words, you get to see how, e.g., Bruce Springsteen, Television, Rashied Ali, Eddie Palmieri, Steve Reich, Afrika Bambaataa and Tom Moulton (the latter's name is new to me, and the story of how he originated the modern dance mix is fascinating) played on the same field during the same era. I can't think of too many writers who could juggle all these narratives while keeping the blend brisk and reader-friendly. This book gets you visualizing history and thirsting for the records in question.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Loutallica speaks

I was fortunate enough to interview Lou Reed and Lars Ulrich for GQ. (Many thanks to Will Welch for the opportunity.) You can read the transcript here. As several have commented, yes, Mr. Reed was intent on giving me the third degree; that's okay—it made for a lively interview. Mr. Ulrich, on the other hand, was a sweetheart—one of the more patient, thoughtful folks I've had the opportunity to speak with on the record.

The occasion is, obviously, Lulu, the new Reed/Metallica collaborative LP. Folks are already lining up to drub this release, and that saddens me a bit. The fact is, it's a significant work that deserves your time and effort. I only got to hear it twice before my interview, and the first time through, I was put off by it; it seemed underorganized, underedited—a failed experiment. On the second spin, though, I felt differently: This big, shaggy thing started to cohere, and I began to admire the ballsiness of the endeavor. Lulu is awkward in spots, and it is in many ways a taxing listen, but it is emphatically not crap. Spend some decent time with it before you write it off.

I think this record is going to be an interesting litmus test: I can see Metallica die-hards hating the Reed aspect, and Reed fans scoffing at Metallica's contribution. Who is it for then? I'm not really sure, but I admire the follow-through all the same. As far as my own perspective, I'm obviously a lifelong Metallica freak, but Lou Reed (both solo and with the Velvet Undeground) has never really clicked with me. I relished the opportunity to try again in preparation for this interview, and I found a few records that really spoke to me, including The Blue Mask and, yes, Metal Machine Music. My opinion of Lulu is still in flux, which is a good thing; the highest compliment I can pay the record is that I'm excited to spend more time with it.

Why not listen for yourself?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

CMJ +3

Looking for lively, polyphonic CMJ coverage? Follow Time Out NY Music on Twitter. A bunch of writers, including myself, will be out, about and Tweeting madly all week.


Also, three blogs I've been enjoying lately:

Anything-goes creator and connoisseur of challenging sounds Weasel Walter (late of the Flying Luttenbachers, currently free-jazz-focused) blogs eloquently, unpretentiously. This close reading of Beefheart's "Hair Pie: Bake 2" blew my mind.

That's How Kids Die
Neck in neck with Invisible Oranges (currently in the midst of an impressive reboot after the departure of site guru Cosmo Lee) for the title of my favorite metal blog. Josh Haun is a passionate, open-minded listener and a clear, forceful writer. His nascent "Top 100 Metal Albums"—unlike so many of its counterparts, a totally freeform affair—looks like an extra-meaty long-term blog-ject. Here's a great entry on Type O Negative's October Rust.

Burning Ambulance
Phil Freeman is all over his beat—jazz, metal, etc.—and I admire that. He writes for a bunch of other publications, but this site (and its accompanying print journal) is his baby, and he makes sure to keep it well fed. He's been especially strong lately on reissues, including those of Death's Human and Julius Hemphill's Dogon A.D. These are the kinds of pieces that will bring new listeners on board re: such classics.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Review: The Miles Davis Quintet

Via Pitchfork, a full-length review of that Miles Davis Quintet archival set I was raving about earlier.

Monday, October 03, 2011

First Hand News: Lindsey Buckingham live

Laal and I have been on a major Fleetwood Mac kick over the past few weeks, so it was a treat for us to be able to check out the Lindsey Buckingham show at Town Hall last Tuesday. Despite some isolated tepid spots, a seriously intense performance. Vocally and guitar-wise, the man still has that old snarl. Here's my review. Can't wait to investigate Lindsey's solo stuff more.