Best Fit album review, vol 6

Somehow I forgot to add this entry to the series. Oh well.

Anyhow, back in October I wrote about the then-new (and likely final) Dillinger Escape Plan record, Dissociation. It’s fucking fantastic.

The review also has one of my favorite paragraphs I’ve written in a while:

If Dissociation truly is DEP’s final record, they’re at least going out in peak form. Whether this is their best record is a matter of personal taste more than any kind of qualitative argument. This album doesn’t feel so much like the work of a band trying to make a career-high album as much as a band using a great record to remind us why they’ve made so many in the first place. Most bands would love to end on a high note; DEP actually did it.

Extreme music is gonna miss these guys.

Singles Round-up, February 3

Lotta polically-tinged singles released this week, which shouldn’t be a surprise.

Depeche Mode | “Where’s The Revolution”
Because of course they wrote this song. Not that we didn’t need it (or need the question asked), but c’mon. That’s maybe a little too on-the-nose for you guys. And this is all despite the fact that it’s a great song. Their best offerings haunt you to the core, and the ghostly vocals and paranoid, itchy production here do not disappoint. Martin Gore’s lyrics are eerily descriptive, too: “They manipulate and threaten/ With terror as a weapon/ Scare you till you’re stupefied/ Wear you down until you’re on their side”.

Havok | “Ingsoc”
Not only is this a seven-minute single, it’s the band’s longest song to date. It’s also better than anything on their last record. David Sanchez’s snarl gives the 1984-inspired lyrics some serious venom. Previous single “Hang ‘Em High” was a rousing cry for action, but here Sanchez sound like a cornered animal. 2017 will likely gonna produce a lot of angry music, and (literal) thrashers like Havok will lead the way.

Vince Staples | “BagBak”
What a run: Hell Can Wait EP, Summertime ’06, Prima Donna EP, and now this – a three-minute banger with no fat. Over a pulsing beat from Ray Brady, Staples bluntly avoids his civic duty on some reasonable grounds (Prison system broken, racial war commotion/ Until the president get ashy, Vincent won’t be votin'”), and opines for a companion with his undercutting humor (“This is for my future baby mama/ Hope your skin is black as midnight”). Vince Staples is on a goddamn roll, and I can’t wait to hear what’s next.

Mastodon | “Show Yourself”
So yeah, the band that made Remission and Leviathan isn’t coming back. The second single released from the upcoming Emperor of Sand LP is further proof that metal just isn’t what Mastodon does anymore. They’re still great songwriters, they can still write a killer melody when they feel like it, and Brann Dailor is still rock’s best drummer. But that doesn’t lessen the pain of losing the band that was once capable of knocking down a fucking brick wall.

Nickelback | “Feed The Machine”
I was surprised they were still a thing, too. The chugga-chugga riff is heavier than I expected, given that rock music of the ’10s isn’t exactly loud. It’s a welcome change of pace, if only for that reason. Lyrically, the song can be read as a comment on current events with somewhat sharp lines like, “Baiting every hook with filthy lies/ Another charlatan to idolize”. But this is a Nickelback song, so it’s also got this: “But now it’s your turn/ The ashes will burn/ And wither away”. Basically it’s big, dumb, arena rock ear candy requiring no thought, and no one does that better than these guys.

Shepherd Express pieces, vol. 1-3

So I started writing freelance for The Shepherd Express. I’ll be putting links to my work here as it’s written and published.

1: Profile of Milwaukee newcomers Dreamhouse. Remember when Paramore were a rock band? Yeah, they do that.

2: Profile of Milwaukee-based record label, Innocuous Records. They specialize in skweee music, with artists from around the world on its roster.

3: Concert review of Vinyl Theatre, a Milwaukee band that’s basically if the Killers went pop-punk.

Hundred Word Reviews: Run The Jewels | ‘Run The Jewels 3’

pitchfork rtj3

It’s fitting RTJ’s website crashed upon RTJ3’s release, considering that’s basically what happened to the country after the election. RTJ2 was the sound of fury incarnate; RTJ3 is the sound of paranoid, what-the-fuck-happens-now chaos. El’s production casts a seasick spectre over the proceedings with an eerie haze coating pulsing, twitching, and seething molotov cocktails whose gravity might pull them apart at any moment. That said, RTJ3 is also further proof El and Mike are the best (and funniest) shit-talkers in the game: “Physical fitness/ Bitch, we run this/ Paraplegics, you don’t run shit”. No record is more essential in 2016.