Happy New Year


Statler and WaldorfI don’t know if there’s reason to believe that this year will be better than the last, but let’s hope.

2017 can’t be much worse than 2016. Please Universe, don’t make me eat those words.

Seriously though, 2016 can suck a bag of dicks.

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The Best of 2016


Ahhh, it is finally time for my favorite blogging activity of the year: the “best of” list. I’ve come across a few already filled with death metal and/or indie rock that I have never heard, but I hope this list will have a little something for everyone. Then again, I didn’t see anything from my Amazon wishlist the last time I went to FYE so I’m pretty sure I’m out of touch with the times.

Bloody Hammers Lovely Sort of Death – This album popped up on my radar courtesy of Mr. 1537 and managed to beat out Al Jourgenson’s Surgical Meth Machine and Green Day’s Revolution Radio for the low spot on this list. I’m sure those artists will be pretty upset about that.

 

The Descendents  Hypercaffium Spazzium – This was a pretty good record, but it felt a little too of the moment. This album definitely sounds like it was made in 2016 and you can hear a lot of modern influence. For my money, I’d recommend Cool to be You.

Otep Generation Doom I got a little grief for enjoying this one, but I’m a sucker for militant, butch lesbians with anger problems.

Helmet Dead to the World – I managed to catch these guys live twice this year, which is unheard of for me at the ripe old age of 33. But they managed to impress both times (even with their singer being at the ripe old age of 56).

 

David Bowie Blackstar I would have loved to have listened to this one more, but I stayed away from it because of recent problems with depression. Hopefully next year I’ll get to spend a little more time with it.

 

Garbage Strange Little Birds

 

Weezer – The White Album After several lackluster albums Weezer have somehow managed to redeem themselves with the awesome Everything Will Be Alright In The End and now this one.

 

Rachel Bloom – My new favorite Jewess. Is that a racist term?

Local H Hey Killer (2015) This is one I picked up after reading a best of list for last year and it’s remained in constant rotation. This is my favorite track off the album. I was more disappointed that they didn’t play this when I saw them open for Helmet than I was by the omission of “Bound for the Floor.”

 

Leonard Cohen You Want it Darker – I’m not going to lie, when I listened to Popular Problems in 2014 I wasn’t thrilled. I’m not sure why, but something about it didn’t resonate with me. That’s definitely not the case with this album. This would still be in the top spot even if he hadn’t died this year. But it’s as great a swan song as anyone can imagine.

 

Don’t Dwell On What Is Passed Away…


Leonard Cohen "The Future"When I first got my copy of Leonard Cohen’s album “The Future” I remember thinking that the cover image would make a really cool tattoo. Hearing the song “Anthem” reinforced the idea. “Bought and sold and bought again, the dove is never free.” I think that’s one of the most beautiful lines ever written.

But like a lot of ideas I filed it away somewhere in my mind and didn’t think about it for two decades.

Then a few things happened this year that brought it up again. Of course, the death of Leonard Cohen had me thinking about “Anthem” more than any other song. The line “Don’t dwell on what is passed away, or what is yet to be” is one that can be appropriate when anyone dies. I think I’m going to update my will to include that track along with Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust” and AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” as tunes I’d like played at my funeral.

But more than that, I’ve suffered from a really severe and long lasting depression for the last quarter of this year and that line is one that I really feel is good to latch on to. I mean, I’m depressed because I’m dwelling on what has passed away and what is yet to be. I suppose that’s probably what makes most people depressed.

Anthem TattooSo with that perfect storm in mind I walked into a tattoo shop last week and had someone mark me up. It was done more to help me get over the depression (which it seems to be helping) than as a way to commemorate Leonard Cohen, but I think it’s the best tattoo I have.

I think it’ll help me to live in the moment, and if I ever forget I just need to find a mirror.

 

 

 

 

The Best (Or Worst) Description of a Band Ever


Life of AgonyAs a writer I’m interested in the written word. I’ve been an avid reader since I was young. I read Stephen King’s The Stand while I was still in grammar school. I remember wanting to be an archaeologist at one point, but that dream fell by the wayside pretty quickly and I started writing. I’ve been writing most of my life, whether in a journal, a short story or this blog. Even if I never make any money from it, I’m not lying when I say I’m a writer.

I’m hypersensitive to the way words go together as well as punctuation. One of my biggest pet peeves is using punctuation correctly. If you use an exclamation point in a text with me I assume you’re excited. If you end the message with an ellipsis I assume you have more to say. I don’t mean to be a Grammar Nazi, but I feel it’s essential to use the tools you have to communicate effectively, especially when using a medium where you cannot use voice inflection and body language. So that’s why IT’S VERY important to CORRectly Use punctuation and GRAMMAR to convey intentions!!!!

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard is “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” So whenever I come upon a really great way of describing something it gives me the greatest feeling in the world. I’ve noticed a few people like the “Smoke on the Water Principle (SWP).” I’m sure I wasn’t the first person to notice that, but I managed to give it a simple, clever name that’s memorable (much like the main riff to “Smoke on the Water”).

I’ve also coined terms that haven’t really stuck like “Mask Metal” (the sub-genre of heavy metal where the masks are more important than the music (Slipknot, Mushroomhead, Lordi)). I was also really proud of the term “slut pop,” but I managed to piss at least one person off with that. That describes music like Britney Spears or Miley Cyrus where a girl’s figure and risque behavior is more important than the music. I can’t remember if I didn’t consider that the term would be offensive or if I considered it and just didn’t care.

Type O NegativeIt’s always fun to try to perfectly describe a band’s sound. It’s a challenge I engage in on a near weekly basis. I remember a long time ago I was having a few beers and listening to some tunes with a friend and we put on Life of Agony. Have you ever listened to Life of Agony? Wikipedia describes them as an alternative metal band. I’ve also heard them described as New York hardcore, but neither of these descriptions really hits the nail on the head.

We were trying to come up with a great description for Life of Agony. I wanted to compare them to Soundgarden. This probably has something to do with the video for “This Time” and the singer’s haircut. Yes, both bands were popular in the early-to-mid nineties, but the similarities end there. LoA has more of a stripped down punk vibe while Soundgarden were a Zepplinesque riff machine.

We kept brainstorming, but nothing was quite right. Then we got it. I can’t remember which one of us said it, but we found the perfect sentence to describe this band.

“Life of Agony sounds like Type O Negative would if they didn’t suck.”

That sent both of us into laughing fits and hysterics. Not only does it perfectly sum up the sound of the band, but it’s also hilarious. It’s important to note that both of us are fans of Type O Negative. I really enjoy Type O Negative. But lets face it they are a little goofy. However, if you take away the goth, the keyboards, the enormous penis, the song about hair dye and insert the original drummer: you get Life of Agony.