P.O.S has been dogged by health issues these past few years. After struggling through kidney failure, and later recovering from a transplant for said kidney, he’s been off the road and out of the studio for much of the past four years. But thankfully, he’s back in fighting form and still creating vital, urgent music.
“sleepdrone/superposition” is a nine-minute track full of atmosphere, menace, vitriol, and even a little hope. It also features an absolute barn full of guests, ranging from Kathleen Hanna from Bikini Kill, Astronautilus, and Allan Kingdom. But for a track with as many guest musicians on it as this one, it works surprisingly well. “sleepdrone” is full of nuance and texture due to its constantly shifting beat, vocals, and lyrical topics, which range from self-determination and the will to continue fighting in the face of adversity, the murders of Mike Brown and Eric Garner, and even references to quantum physics.
If this song proves any one thing, it’s that Stef hasn’t lost any of the piss and vinegar or love of noisiness that made his name in the Minneapolis scene and beyond. If anything, he’s come back even stronger and more experimental than before, and even though it’s yet to be seen if this is from an upcoming album or not, the future looks bright for P.O.S.
Unless it wasn’t obvious from the heavy quotes in the title, this isn’t really an “interview”, unfortunately. Death Grips have been notoriously mum about band matters, inspirations, touring – just about any sort of information you could get out of a band normally – for the past four years, and it doesn’t seem like that’s gonna change anytime soon.
But it’s not entirely a fake out, either. There IS an interview being conducted underneath that greenish, VHS-filtered haze, but we’re not privy to the audio of it. Instead, the band has released another burst of instrumental tracks to accompany the video, akin to one of their two releases from last year, “Fashion Week”. There’s flashes of the styles found on both that album and last year’s double album “The Powers That B”, so it’s not especially exciting or boundary pushing for the band, but it’s another solid collection of aggressive electronic tracks. If anything, it’s an appetizer for the fans who have been waiting since October for their newest project, “Bottomless Pit”, the same way they those fans over with “Fashion Week”‘s ‘Jenny Death When’ troll. But in the end, and on the chance of giving this thing a very surface level reading, it’s clear that Death Grips are telling us only one thing matters about them, and there’s only one thing about them you need to know: their music.
A lot of things can be said about Dillinger signing with Sumerian Records, things both positive and negative, but the one clear benefit there has definitely been their video budget. As with the track “When I Lost My Bet”, the band have now released a new video for “Paranoia Shields”, directed by Mitch Massie, which brings to mind the same visual feel of Nine Inch Nail’s videos in the ’90s. It’s creepy, unnerving, and schizophrenic, leaping from scene to scene with little reason, evoking more mood than story. But like most music videos, it doesn’t need a coherent plot, and its visual aesthetic is what makes it a compelling video among a sea of cobbled-together live performance pastiches (besides the fact that the track it’s supporting is one of the highlights of the band’s 2013 release, One of Us is the Killer). Check out the video for yourself below, and get ready for a ride.
It’s been a good week for new music from old bands. Yesterday, hardcore punk legends Refused announced that they were not, in fact, fucking dead, and were actually releasing a new album titled Freedom, in June. They were also kind enough to drop the first track from it, titled “Elektra”, which was co-produced with famous Swedish producer Shellback (which to me is a little odd, considering the fact that the rest of his resume is studded with huge popstars…but the song is just fucking good), as well as a video for the track. Besides the new music, they will be touring with (coincidentally or not), another reformed heavy cult band, who you may know by the name of Faith No More, and those dates can be found here.
Refused weren’t the only big comeback this week, though. British math-metallers SikTh, hailed as one of the original forerunners of ‘djent’, way before that was even a thing, have announced that they will be recording a new EP (their first new material since 2006’s Death of a Dead Day), as well as running through a short five-date trek through the UK. On the down-side, there’s no convenient link to a new song from these guys like Refused, so I’ll have to deny you the instant gratification this time. But it will be here soon enough, and you can finally be assured that there will be new music from this classic heavy, schizophrenic metal band.
So, are you glad to have both of these bands back? Or should they have stayed dead and buried? What’s your take?
Post-rock mainstays God is an Astronaut have announced the release of their newest album, Helios | Erebus for June 21st. The preview video they’ve provided swerves between two very distinct samples, one which features stomping drums and a driving electric guitar riff, while the other is almost total ambience. Neither sound is new for the band, but the first clip bangs around with a production quality and energy that’s a bit more rare in their work. GIAA is one of the most consistent bands in the genre, and it’s doubtful that they’ll change that now – Helios | Erebus is sure to be another solid entry in their catalog.
Lately, it’s easy to feel like you’ve stepped into a time machine. Gas prices are plummeting, the next election is shaping up to be Round 2 of Bush vs. Clinton, and now, Beck has won a Grammy.
The win comes completely out of left field, as the famously quirky musician was pitted up against two of the hottest properties in music right now: Beyonce and Sam Smith. With competition like that, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the rest of the nominees could be safely ignored. But Morning Phase must have left quite the mark on Grammy voters, because it took home the prize for Album of the Year, giving Beck his first win in over a decade (as well as Best Rock Album and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical earlier in the night).
Morning Phase was one of my personal favorite albums from last year, and one of the few I’ve found myself unable to review, because words simply don’t do it justice. To see it sweep away Album of the Year from two hugely popular musicians is wonderful to see, considering how often the Grammy’s favor popularity over artistic merit (as also evidenced by Aphex Twin’s shocking win for Best Electronic Album tonight as well). If you haven’t heard Morning Phase yet, now is as good a time as ever, if only so you’ll be in touch with the big winners of the night (but preferably to enjoy the slow burn of a finely crafted folk album).
We’ve reached a cultural tipping point. We are now printing famous suicide notes on t-shirts.
The suicide note in question is Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, and the shirts are being proliferated by a Thai eBay seller. Out of respect for that fact that I refuse to direct any traffic to said seller, I’m not posting the link. But an item like this represents the very depth of our desire to commercialize anything and everything and romanticize depression and suicide, turning the final missive of a deeply troubled human being into a piece of clothing to be worn and shown off with pride. Surely no true fan of Nirvana, or even Kurt, would entertain the thought of purchasing and wearing such a shirt, as they should be very familiar with how confrontational the man was with publicity and spotlight. This is absolutely not what he would have wanted.
While we obviously all have the right to free expression, there’s something to be said for exercising good taste and respecting someone who was obviously damaged enough to end his own life. Turning that into something to be glamorized is downright disgusting, and even by writing this, I feel bad that I’m giving it any attention at all. But it also allows us to take a look at ourselves and the people who think this is a good idea, and to consider what this says about both them and our treatment of mental illness and suicide. If someone you loved committed suicide, and someone was making money off of their last words by branding them on clothing, how would you feel about that? Sometimes we forget to take into account that celebrities, and even people in general, all have their own thoughts and feelings, and in the process of forgetting we walk all over them.
But the takeaway from this is simple: don’t buy a shirt with someone’s fucking suicide note on it. Seriously.