Nine Inch Nails “Hesitation Marks”


Nine Inch Nails “Hesitation Marks”     (2013)NIN-SM-digital_0

I’ve been a huge fan of Nine Inch Nails since I came across a copy of The Downward Spiral as a teenager. I don’t know that there exists a better record for an angry, lost and depressed teenager to hear. The songs were violent, loud and made me feel like someone else knew what I was going through. I was in love. It wasn’t long before I was listening to Pretty Hate Machine and Broken. I bought The Fragile soon after it came out and even bought a second copy after I lost the first. I went to a listening party for With Teeth before it came out.

 

Then things kind of went downhill. Ghosts is an interesting album, but it’s not what I think of when I’m thinking of NIN. Year Zero is a good album, but it kind of drags toward the end. The Slip is good, but I wouldn’t pay for it.

 

So I guess I was hoping that Hesitation Marks would be a return to form for one of my favorite bands. I was hoping for a return to the visceral raging cock-rock that made me want to scream along and be happy about being depressed. But instead it just makes me depressed. The most fitting thing about this album is the title. It’s a cry for help all right; just not the kind we’ve come to expect from Trent Reznor.

 

“Copy of a” and “Came Back Haunted” are both good tunes with some interesting keyboard work, but they don’t get my blood moving. “All Time Low” has a funky beat I don’t think I’ve ever heard in a Nine Inch Nails song. “I Would For You” is probably the highest energy track on the album. It’s good, but I’m not sure how to take a NIN’s love song. “In Two” is a fast-paced noise fest, but not enough to save the album. The best guitar comes in “While I’m Still Here,” but lasts barely long enough to be registered. And Reznor does work out his vocal chords a bit on this record, hitting some higher notes than I’ve ever heard from him.

I’d like to forget all about “Everything.” Let’s just pretend that song doesn’t exist.

 

But in the end, it’s not the music that I’m disappointed in, but the lack of rage. At no point on this album is there screaming. There is no “Hey God!” or “Slave Screams!” or “Don’t You Fucking Know What You Are!” and that’s the aspect that’s lacking more than the loud guitars or heavy drums.

 

Even this picture makes me surprisingly less angry.

Even this picture makes me extremely less angry.

Sure, Mariqueen Maandig is one very, very beautiful woman and I fully relate to how it would be hard to be seething with animosity when you can have sex with her anytime you like. I’m sure I wouldn’t be very pissed off if I could tap that. And I’m not angry at her for taking “my” Trent away from me. Mr. Reznor has as much right as anyone else to a happy life. But Mrs. Maandig, if you’re reading this, could you be just a little bit more of a bitch so we could get some more good songs out of him.

 

Don’t be too much of a bitch though, we don’t want another Kurt Cobain.

 

Hesitation Marksputs me in mind of Soundgarden’s King Animal. I loved Soundgarden growing up, but still haven’t been able to get into that album much. Maybe it’s because I’m older or because I won’t be dubbing the album to a cassette tape to listen to in a Walkman. But while King Animal sounds like a mediocre album made by a great band, Hesitation Marks is an album made by a once-great band becoming mediocre.

 

I’ll be catching the live show on October 5 and hopefully it’ll be as good as when I saw them back in 1999 at my first rock concert. But this may be the last tour before they fade into oblivion with Pearl Jam and The Smashing Pumpkins.

If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy How To Destroy Angels “Welcome Oblivion” or Alice in Chains “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here.”

 

 

Anything That Can Go Wrong 9


The Interview (Part 1)1416197-rq_2102e9_13

It’s been a while since I’ve checked in on my friends in Ockym’s Razyr. So, I thought it would be a great time to sit down and catch up with them. I stopped by front man Adam Gillis’s apartment and let the tape recorder run.

I’m not sure if things are looking up for them now… or if they’re still heading down. I’ll let you decide.

The Audible Stew: So what’s been happening since the last time I saw you guys?

Adam Gillis: I’m not sure where to start. How long has it been?

AS: Well, let me see. Josh had just moved in with you and Paul and you were trying to get Harry caught up on the songs.

AG: Oh. Wow. You have been away for a while. Paul is no longer with the band.

AS: Really? When did that happen?

AG: It’s been about a month, I guess. We just came home from work one day and he was gone. All of his stuff was out of the apartment. His TV, his Shoes, his guitars, everything. He just got it into his mind that he was leaving and he didn’t say anything to me or Josh. He just took off. Didn’t even have the balls to say anything to our faces. Just sneaked out like the snake in the grass motherfucker he turned out to be.

AS: Why do you call him that?

AG: Oh yeah. I guess if you weren’t here for that you don’t know about him and Nora.

AS: What about them?

AG: They were fucking behind my back.

AS: What? No shit?

AG: No shit. After he moved out I didn’t hear from Nora for a few hours. No calls, no texts, nothing. Which is strange. We usually are texting each other all the time. So I went over to her house and who do I see there? Paul. He’d already moved in with her. It turned into a pretty ugly scene with some pretty mean words going back and forth, but we took off before any punches were thrown or the cops showed up. I still want to pound his face in though. I’m just hoping I come across him in a dark alley sometime.

AS: I don’t know man. He’s a pretty big guy.

AG: The harder they fall man.

AS: So anyway. What happened with Ockym’s Razyr after that.

AG: Well, we’ve been on hiatus for a few weeks since that happened. I was feeling pretty bummed. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue making music anymore after that. I mean, when one of your best friends… someone you love like a brother does something like that. It sort of makes it hard to want to keep going. I was in a really dark place for a while.

AS: That’s understandable. What made you change your mind?

AG: Well, Hal and Josh were real adamant on not stopping. They really helped to keep the idea of not breaking up away and pushed me to keep going. Tiffany was really great too.

AS: Tiffany?

AG: Yeah, she’s my new girl. She really helped me to forget about Nora and put some of that anger behind me. Plus there’s the fans. The still really want to see me holding a mic.

AS: How many fans do you guys have?

AG: We’re almost to 2000 on our Facebook page. And we’re number 12 on Reverbnation.

AS: Overall for the area?

AG: No, just for metal.

AS: Well, that’s still pretty good.

AG: Yeah, I think once we get out there and start playing again things will fall into place and start picking up again. It sucks to have to have had to take a break, but what are you gonna do?

AS: Any word on what Paul is up to?

AG: Yeah, I guess he’s part of the Murphy’s Law reunion.

AS: Murphy’s Law? Weren’t they pretty big about a decade ago.

AG: Yeah. Now they’re getting back together and he’s gonna be the guitarist. I don’t even know what the hell Murphy’s Law means.

45730-Keanu-whoa-rmnZAS: Really? It’s the idea that anything that can eventually will go wrong. You named your last album after it.

AG: I thought that was Occam’s Razor.

AS: No, that’s the idea that the simplest solution is usually the correct one.

AG: Are you sure?

AS: Yes.

AG: Oh. Well I guess we’ve got a title for the next album then. Cheers!

 

If you liked this post you may also enjoy Anything That Can Go Wrong 8

Almost All In Good Fun – “Fire. Safe. Cigarettes.”


Almost All In Good Fun – “Fire. Safe. Cigarettes.” (2013)

cover

I expected to be disappointed by Almost All In Good Fun’s album Fire.Safe.Cigarettes. Not because I don’t enjoy their songs when I hear them live, because they’re young goofballs or for any other good reason, but because I’ve heard quite a bit of hype about it and few things can live up to that much hype.

Astonishingly though, this album does.

I think I’m correct to question the quality of a local bands output. I’ve come across many bands who pull off a fine performance onstage and produce CDs completely devoid of all the energy and groove that made me love their performance. I’ve also heard CDs that were quite good from bands I thought were awful in a live setting.

A band imploding

A band imploding

So it’s a little surprising that Fire.Safe.Cigarettes. captures the raw energy and enthusiasm of the band without watering down their sound to a bland, lifeless mush. All the hard rocking elements I love when seeing the band: the energy, the spontaneity, the humor and the cohesion are all present. The other thing I notice here but don’t often see in local music is that all the instruments work together to compliment each other instead of wrestling for the top spot in the mix. Even the omnipresent lead guitar doesn’t overpower the rest of the mix but serves to enhance what’s already going on. It’s like guitar/bass/drum/bongo combination comes together to form a stone arch with the keystone being a well written song.

Here's Chad smashing his bass...

Here’s Chad smashing his bass…

“Ax2igF” is a silly yet catchy chanting of the bands name. “Olding” mixes some funky hillbilly guitar leads with sweet pop songwriting to create the oddest love song this side of Meatloaf. I love the whisper/scream dynamics on “Ohiowa” as well as the tongue-in-cheek, self-deprecating lyrics “my chest hurts/just complaining.” “Last Cigarette” is the track I would pick for a single if it were my choice. The verse features one of those guitar riffs that gets stuck in your head and refuses to leave and is paired with an irresistible singalong chorus. “HEY!” could almost be thought off as a ripoff of Nirvana’s “tourette’s” were it not for the incessant lead guitar weaving through it. “Going out west” would make a good second single. I think it’s about using welfare money to go on a trip to California and ends with the chant “Fight fire with fire and we’ll burn this town down.” This has always been a great closer for the live show.

My biggest complaint about the album is that it comes at the end of what I thought was the

...and here he is getting tackled.

…and here he is getting tackled.

beginning of a promising career. It’s been less than a year since I first heard them (at Taste the Scene Knees Freeze) and now they’re already passing into the ashes of a band that once was. They played one helluva farewell show where they stumbled through a half dozen songs and smashed their instruments. I’m not sure if the highlight was watching the bass player get tackled by the sound guy or hearing them asked to come back when they get a new project together.

I’m sure we’ll all be waiting for that new project.

Until then, you can download Fire.Safe.Cigarettes. for free here

If you enjoyed this post, check out the blog I’ve been doing for Break Your F’n records here

 

Whoops!


You’d think that a guy who writes a music blog would be an expert in music, but you’d be surprised. I’ve spent most of my life believing I was a fan of Industrial Music. I love bands like Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Marilyn Manson and Rammstein. I also enjoy, to a lesser degree, KMFDM, Skinny Puppy, Lords of Acid, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult and others of the same persuasion.

Of course a lot of this has to do with my personal interpretation of what industrial is. If you ask me for my definition I will tell you this:

This to me defines Industrial Music. The main thing is the noises in the background that sound like hydraulic pumps, but there is also the guitar tone. To me industrial doesn’t just conjure up the thought of music, but also cul-de-sacs on the outskirts of towns filled with factories. I’ve always thought of industrial through bands like NIN, Ministry and Fear Factory and the rhythms of the machines I run at work.

I’ve been aware that there were opposing views for a while, but those views were never more apparent than at the Cleveland Music Fest 2013’s Goth/Industrial night. Most bands eschewed the idea that Industrial is a sub-genre of rock or metal and instead found it to be a sub-genre of techno (or electronic dance music if you want to be a dick about it).

You know, I can’t argue about which view is right or which is wrong. I’ll be happy to step back and say I’m more a fan of rock with electronic elements. I tend to think of rock bands as composed of vocals, guitar, bass and drums. If you want to throw a keyboard or saxophone in there I’m fine with it, but I don’t understand the idea that a person programming a lot of noises into a computer and then singing over it on a stage constitutes performance. I guess I’m a bit of a purist there, but it seems to me like the lower the chances of a mistake the more life you take out of a performance. If your band is just drum machines and keyboard loops coming out of a PC I find it extremely hard to take it seriously. At a certain point it just becomes DIY karaoke and I don’t know if I’m supposed to take ecstasy and rave or mosh.

I like Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers and Aphex Twin, but I can’t tell the difference between Ambient, House, Acid House, Trance, Breakbeat, Drum and Bass, Industrial or any of the other countless styles of techno.

No, I don’t know what the hell Dubstep sounds like and I don’t know it when I hear it. This

Apparently now you're considered a musician to play the mixer.

Apparently now you’re considered a musician if you play the mixer.

may have quite a bit to do with me not actually caring so please stop trying to explain it to me. When it comes to dubstep I feel like an old man hearing Elvis in the ’50’s. It’s all noise to me and I’m sure it will all be a passing phase.

ALSO

I keep referring to a band from Cleveland called VENT as ‘Hardcore.’ This term may have been correctly used to describe them in the late 80’s/early 90’s when bands like Suicidal tendencies, Bad Brains and Corrosion of Conformity were considered Hardcore. Now the term requires the modifier “punk” after it (Hardcore Punk) so as not to confuse it with a genre or music featuring metalcore, skacore,emocore and numerous other -core styles as well as bands like Every Time I Dies, Bleeding Through, Atreyu and As I Lay Dying and seems like a bit of an insult to me.

Sorry guys.

If you liked this post you may also enjoy Goggles Optional or Industrial Solstice, but probably not.

Even More Awesome Movie Gigs


Nearly instantly after I posted More Awesome Movie Gigs I began to think of other movies I should have included. Thankfully, I still work in a factory and still have a lot of time to think about stupid stuff to put in blogs.

So I now present to you (drum-roll) Even More Awesome Movie Gigs!

——————————————————————————————————————–

Brothers of the Head (2005) – I’m not sure why more people haven’t seen this movie.

Son in Law (1993)– B-B-B-Buff the wood

Sling Blade (1996)

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

Ferris Buehler’s Day Off (1986)

The Love Guru (2008) – Not really a gig, but I loved hearing “More Than Words” on sitars.

The Crying Game (1992)

Wayne’s World (1992) – Was this the one with Alice Cooper? Or was that Wayne’s World 2? I want the one with Alice Cooper.

Josie_and_the_Pussycats_film_posterJosie & the Pussycats (2001) – I never actually saw this movie, but judging by the poster there were some awesome movie gigs in it.

Accepted (2006)

Almost Famous (2000) – How the hell did I forget this one?

Hairspray (1988)

PCU (1994) – Tonight at the Pit: EVERYONE! GETS! LAID!

 

This is 40 (2012) – I don’t know if this qualifies as an awesome gig. I can’t even remember who that guy was.

The Muppets (2011)

Tommy Boy (1995)

The Doors (1991)

School of Rock (2003)

Pink Flamingos (1972) – You will never listen to the song ‘Surfin’ Bird’ the same after the Egg Lady’s birthday party

Walk Hard (2007)

The Blues Brothers (1980)

Walk the Line (2005)

Old School (2003) – Come on Snoop! We’re going streaking!

Juno (2007)

Billy Madison (1995) – Who was that band playing “Billy passed the third grade…”

What’s Love Got To Do With It? (1993)- Not that Angela Bassett did a poor job in this film, but if Tina Turner was built like that why didn’t SHE beat up on Ike?

Up In Smoke (1978)

In Case You Haven’t Noticed…


Why I’m not covering live shows

 

In case you haven’t noticed already I haven’t been covering live shows. This isn’t an accident, I’ve thought about it and made a conscious decision to steer clear of doing live reviews. It was something I liked doing and my live reviews always got a lot more hits than these humorous pieces and essays. I was tempted to share my thoughts after the Cleveland Music Fest’s Goth/Industrial night on Sunday, but I have not for several reasons:

 

  1. I’ve already covered nearly all the local bands in my area

    I live in a pretty small town and there aren’t a whole lot of local bands. I started this blog to promote the bands I’m friends with and see all the time, but it quickly became apparent that I would have to expand the scope of my writing unless I wanted to do posts about The Gunt Punchers, Almost All In Good Fun, Syringe and Exostra every week. Writing about the same ten bands is quite boring for me, so I can only assume how boring it must be for you to read about the same bands.

  2. I’ve been experiencing some burnoutBurnout2

    I had a hard time believing it when I heard that sports writers hate sports, but after a few months of going to shows nearly every weekend with the intention of writing <1000 words about them I me starting to hate going to shows. Doing the blog changed the way I felt about something I’ve loved all my life.

  3. I’ve had people threatened to kick my ass

    I’m the type of person that values honesty and began this blog under the assumption that most people share that view. If my band is awful, I’d like to know about it. I’m a big fan of constructive criticism. Of course, I’m dealing with maniacally narcissistic people that cannot hear anyone disagree with them without seeing red. While I could always look out at the bored faces in an audience to gauge whether or not people were enjoying my band, some people have had to read this blog to realize that they’re not as great as they think they are. I’ve had quite a few enjoy these posts and give me positive feedback, but there have been those who have wished and/or threatened bodily harm and made slanderous accusations as to my sexual preference. I don’t want to make my local scene sound melodramatic or 6093123685_1079bae241homophobic but… well, it is. While threats to “mop the floor with my face” confirm that I’m doing a good job with honesty, they also remind me that i’m writing about very amateur groups. And as such

  4. I’ve caught myself editing myself

    I’m not a good fighter. It’s been proved that I can take a punch to the face reasonably well, but I’m really not good at dishing it back out. While I don’t take these threats very seriously, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me and I’ve amended my writing to try not to upset anybody. I feel I’ve done a good job at times, Scio Showcase is a good piece that captures some humorous, good-natured barbs with descriptions of the bands and didn’t prompt any threatened ass-beatings, but feeling that I’m not being 100% honest really bothers me.

 

So all this begs the question: Will I cover live shows in the future?

Of course I will. Not only do I plan to give you a review of Nine Inch Nails at the Wolstein Center on October 5 and (hopefully) GWAR in November, but eventually I’ll end my moratorium on live shows and write about local groups again. Right now there’s some upheaval in the local scene. Bands are breaking up and new ones are forming. Therefore there will be some new groups to cover. If I only cover live shows once or twice a month I’m probably not going to get burnout.

And maybe I’ll try to stay away from those groups that take themselves extremely seriously so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings. I like to know if a person in a band is giving me attitude because I wrote a negative review of if it’s just because he’s a pompous asshole.

 

The part that amuses me most is that I write posts like this to address the bands who asked me about when I’m going to post a review of the show. I write stuff like this for the bands I cover and they never read anything other than the post where I talk about them. I think a lot of people would understand what I’m trying to do here if they would read About and Why I’d be a Horrible Talent Scout.

 

Then again, I get higher ratings when I talk a little shit…

Are You Lost?


A few months ago something crazy happened. My blog started to receive several clicks everyday even when I hadn’t promoted it. I spent the first year or so of this experiment pasting links to every Twitter, Facebook and Google + account I have trying to get people to read this and now people are just wandering in and checking it out.

 

I’d like to think that it’s because I’m such a great writer that people are coming to read about my thoughts on things and enjoy my exquisite prose. Of course, what’s really happening is that people are typing crazy things into search engines and ending up here. After reading my fellow blogger Mike Delano’s posts about what search terms lead folks to his site I thought it would be fun to share what leads people here.

 

the contemporaries – singing group cleveland oh 1966 – No, we don’t have that here.

 

pictures of boobs at rock on the range 2013 – There are several searches like this leading to my site. I’m sorry I didn’t get any pictures of breasts and just a few bad shots of David Draiman

The only boob I saw at Rock on the Range

The only boob I saw at Rock on the Range

 

 

99 red balloons ukulele chords – Gosh, I wish I knew this

 

gunt – The fact that this term leads to this site lets me know I’m doing something right

 

vortex strip club in akron ohio – No, The Vortex is across the street from the strip club.

 

almost famous rocks mass – I’m not sure if this means a band called Almost Famous played a great show in Boston or if Catholics are starting to have christian rock bands at their services

 

ioanna gika age – Eh?

 

can hardcore guys vent to girls – This is the one that made me want to write this post. This poor sap was looking for a “Dear Abby” type of answer and instead got my review of Cleveland hardcore band VENT. I think this is a good question for Vinnie Paul or Joey Jordison but I’ll try to answer it.

No, you shouldn’t vent to your girlfriend. It’s too likely that your septum ring will get caught in her spiked leather choker.