anything that junkhead posts

Kvelertak – Nattesferd


junkheadv1tmbKvelertak – Nattesferd

2010 was not my year. It whipped by super fast and little was accomplished. When 2011 hit, I was anxious to see what totally awesome metal I missed. Norwegian band Kvelertak’s self-titled debut popped up on every best list, with critics heralding their intense “black ‘n’ roll” sound. That’s black metal and hard rock for all you squares. It was impressive, coming out of nowhere with it’s mix of black tremolo and gargantuan party riffs punctuated with maniacal screams. Songs like “Offernat” and “Fossegrim” often pop in my head, their mix of extreme and conventional metal sounds ringing in my memory. 2013’s Meir wasn’t really an impressive follow-up, but I had high hopes for Nattesferd. Would it be more extreme? Would they turn straight cock rock? The answer is a little complicated.

“Dendrofil for Yggdrasil” is the only black ‘n’ roll sounding song on the album. It’s a horrible way to start, hinting that the album will be more of the same before veering far off with the next track, “1985”. It’s got a lot of Thin Lizzy in it’s blood, with harmonizing guitars and soaring chorus melodies straight out of “The Boys Are Back in Town”

“Svartmesse” kicks off with the iconic guitar part from Stevie Nicks’s “Edge of Seventeen” before plodding off into ultra hard rock stupidity. “Nattesferd” and “Bronsegud” keep up a similar tone, pulling you in with tasty arena ready sounds.

Things almost fall off track with “Ondskapens Galakse”, a slow crawl through one riff for five minutes, before shifting back with the dynamic “Berserkr”. Every sound on the album is here: acoustic guitar webs, brisk extreme, and stomping riffs. “Heksebrann” might be the best track, a nine minute epic that goes from mid-tempo atmospherics to mid-tempo rocker. Things end on strangely traditional Sabbath territory with some bluesy power chord crunch on “Nekrodamus”.

In this day and age, anyone who can rock with this much conviction without sounding like pure novelty a la Andrew WK is my fucking savior, but the black ‘n’ roll bullshit has to go. That first track really bogs down an otherwise cool album, one that’s so focused on rockin’ it Thin Lizzy style that you forget hard rock is beyond passe. It’s time to sell out in a major way, and I hope this album proves popular enough to turn them into a full fledged Van Halen clone.


Silversun Pickups – The Fillmore 5/8/16


junkheadv1tmbSilversun Pickups – The Fillmore 5/8/16

Alternative radio stations are the last bastion for ’90s rock lovers, but I simply can’t stand them. Detroit’s “Rock Alternative”, 89X, plays everything they did when I was growing up between ’93 and ’03 and nothing else. It’s a parallel universe where people still enjoy Staind, Hoobastank, and Papa Roach. Anyone who lives there are normally infantile Gen-X wannabes, as the actual Gen-Xers have moved on to worrying about their 401K and junk.

So I’m caught in the middle of all this at 89X’s annual birthday bash, a place where socially stagnated weirdos congregated to eat ONION RINGS and watch their favorite lesser superstars. The announcers kept talking about how the evening’s performers have been on the radio, but I don’t believe them. All I ever hear is “Spoonman” and “Freak on a Leash”.

Joywave were the most insufferable trash ever. They had this giant banner that joked how the audience should be sad they weren’t headlining. Too bad they just fucking suck, although I’ve seen them dancing around on the music video station at Planet Fitness. Bland pop/hip-hop is the name of the game, and the lead singer’s a fucking idiot. Fail to see how this is any alternative to mainstream radio. There were plenty of normies who knew all the words. This honestly was my least favorite concert experience of all time.

The second act, Foals, looked like they could deliver the goods, but then they only played Led Zepplin-y riffs with non-melodic screams or dull dance-rock straight out of ’06. Actually, they only did the idiot Zepplin with screams part twice, so most of it sounded like a tuneless version of the Killers. The singer came down and crowd surfed twice, which was a nice Everyman gesture the audience really appreciated. My girlfriend says he’s an Iggy Pop rip-off for it, and I don’t doubt her. Being English, the singer also said “cheers” one time and all the girls around me talked about it for twenty minutes like it was an invitation to suck his dick.

The Silversun Pickups is a really odd duck, mixing radio-ready guitar walls with synth-pop elements. In the studio, they always comes off as super polished bordering phony; live, they’re a rock-‘n’-roll steamroller that you wouldn’t mind being crushed by. The synths pop, the vocals are way more energetic, the drummer’s going friggin’ nuts, and the guitars provide a thick wall of distortion.

My girlfriend’s really into their newest album, Better Nature, and they played almost everything off it. It’s pretty radio-ready, less indie rock and more ’80s retro, although the loud ass live presentation probably wouldn’t bode well with the arena crowd used to hearing Miley Cyrus lip-sync over the studio tracks. Too many signs of life here. Silversun live marks a crucial point in my life where I realize that their songs are at least sort of okay.

I was glad to be away from the annoying crowd. One dude tried to push his way in front of me right before the encore, putting his hand on my chest and leaving it their for twenty seconds like I was supposed to give a shit. Then he took it off and held his hand in front of my chest for another minute and a half. Drunk Gen-X wannabes ruin everything.

Joywave: F

Foals: D

Silversun Pickups: B

Baroness – The Machine Shop 5/6/16


junkheadv1tmbBaroness – The Machine Shop 5/6/16

There’s so much in life that feel’s dishonest and manufactured. After going to your nearest big chain supermarket and stuffing a cart full of processed foods, you’ll stand in line with tons of folks buried in their cellphones who could give two shits about if you live or die. The drive home is blocked by tons of cars, giant metal objects that make you forget there’s a person inside there. The roads are lined with giant billboards, selling you big smiling faces that guarantee absolute joy and love in a bottle of Coca-Cola.

Popular music reflects this culture. It’s filled with plastic people playing generic music constructed by suited executives. Their mentality: whatever sells is what we produce. Turning on any top 40 radio station will often yield the same big hit singles endlessly regurgitated by today’s big name artists.

Phonies and con-bands aren’t solely relegated to the mainstream. Many underground metal, punk, and hip-hop do the exact same thing, boasting how hard, evil, political, or criminal they truly are. No matter how many times you hear these messages, it’s easy to see which ones are total fabrications.

Sometimes though, you’ll hear musicians bare themselves to you. It’s a visceral experience, and while it might not always be pleasant, sometimes there’s nothing more real than a band bleeding through their guitars.

Baroness’s Purple does just that on every level. The music is a concise attack, with barreling riffs and a pounding rhythm section. It’s a much more aggressive stance than their previous few albums, taking as much influence from the noise-punk of Fugazi as it does the band’s sludge forefathers. Lyrical content is now much more human. It often breaks corporeality in strange ways that are simultaneously foreign and instantly relatable, with rib cages, bones, and eyes being manipulated by troubling forces. There’s a general sense that all words contained within are spoken from experience, a thought that many have already discussed at length in light of the band’s nearly fatal bus crash back in 2012. Purple is direct, immediate, and incredibly sincere, traits that are sorely lacking in our culture.

So when I heard the band was touring for the album, I was pretty excited. I love Purple, and while my girlfriend and I at first were questioning whether or not we’d bother going after a busy past few weeks, Ay-hole convinced me to go. Significant others in tow, we drove the hour and a half to see Baroness at the Machine Shop in Flint.

Flint’s supposed to be Michigan’s worst city, but the venue is only a couple blocks into the city. It’s a pretty suburban location, although the Machine Shop tries really hard to identify with the biker and metal crowd. Hogs were hung up on the ceiling and a projector screen played metal music videos from the past two decades non-stop until the concert began.


After a short wait, Youth Code took the stage. If you like Skinny Puppy, you’ll think Youth Code is okay. They’re a pretty conventional industrial band, a surprising choice to open for Baroness. I figure since the band’s now running their own label, Abraxan Hymns, they probably felt like going with something less predictable. If former label Relapse Records booked it, there’d have been a crappy metalcore, which is decidedly worse than a Skinny Puppy clone.

The performance would have been cooler, but the singer/screamer lady kept spitting all over the place. Eventually, the sequencer/screamer dude joined in, and everyone was pretty grossed out. Also, the front woman kept telling people to shut the fuck up if they yelled for Baroness during her rambling between-song banter. Michigan people are too chill for that crap. Their set was pretty short, and only about twenty minutes later Baroness took the stage.

When the opening notes of “Kerosene” started spewing out of John Baizley’s guitar, the entire audience went nuts. Half the crowd were screaming the words along, including myself. The pit was going, and the head-banging began. I was not expecting the audience to go so nuts, especially for a track off Baroness’s newest album. People normally like to hear their old favorites, but in this bar, every song was a favorite. The energy did not let up through “March to the Sea” or “Morningstar”. We were all part of a big community, united by our appreciation for a single band.


Things slowed down for “Board Up the House” and “Green Theme”, but the crowd quickly bounced back for “The Iron Bell” and “If I Have to Wake Up”. The latter in particular is absolutely phenomenal live, turning Purple’s slowest song into a massive burning power ballad with blaring bass and pounding drums.

“Fugue” and the danceable “Little Things” were great, but “Chlorine & Wine” was definitely the show’s climax. The band couldn’t help but smile when the entire audience joined in for the line “I’ve never felt so uncomfortably numb”. The crowd was deafening, overpowering the amps for a few short moments. It’s amazing that an audience could believe in a single referential lyric so much.


My head-banging was in full blast after that. “Try to Disappear”, “Desperation Burns”, “The Gnashing”, and “Shock Me” was a series of direct hits, their tight hard rock riffs seething into the crowd. Most of the audience was getting pretty tired, but I kept it up. At some point, a guy threw corn on the stage. Aside from cow dung, that’s about the only gift Michigan has to give. The encore was pretty sleepy at first. “Isak” received a warm but repressed reception from the crowd, but the closing “Take My Bones Away” sparked the final insanity for the night.

Afterwards, I was mentally and emotionally exhausted. I probably concussed myself with my head-bang game, and the crowd quickly scattered to the merch table and outside to meet the band. Baizley was outside signing stuff. I gave him a hug, although I probably should have given everyone in attendance some love as well. This concert experience can not be replicated, with a band playing the entirety of their latest and greatest album and an audience who absolutely knows it. Music doesn’t get more sincere than that.

Youth Code: C+
Baroness: A

Amon Amarth and Entombed A.D. – Saint Andrew’s Hall 5/2/16


junkheadv1tmbAmon Amarth and Entombed A.D. – Saint Andrew’s Hall 5/2/16

These last few weeks have been brutal for me. Aside from my normal day job, I’ve also been helping my girlfriend with her work over the weekends. I’d love to sit at home and relax, but it’s not happening until this upcoming Friday.

5/2 was pretty bad. My body was aching, my head was throbbing, and morale was dismally low. A weekend of long work days and longer party-filled nights caught up to me and I still had to make it to work at 7 AM. Somehow, I blinked my eye and it was over. I was parking my car in front of my house, and I felt like doing nothing. The missus and I crashed on the couch when I got home from work, basking in the much-needed relief provided by a simple cushion. We discussed the prospect of going to Amon Amarth. Last week we knew that we would be too tired, but for some reason, it popped into my head that going wasn’t a bad idea.

Within half an hour, I was at Saint Andrew’s Hall, surrounded by fat sweaty metalheads and skinny nerdy metalheads. As I walked in, Entombed A.D. was taking the stage, holding their guitars aloft while an annoying intro boomed over the speakers. People were already packed on the main floor like sardines, so we trudged up to the balcony.

Entombed A.D. is one of those bands that aren’t nearly as good as they sound on paper, but only a little bit. Essentially the band Entombed without their original guitarist, their current two albums are both okay, but neither matched Entombed classics like Morning Star or Left Hand Path. Eventually, they’re going to drop a totally dynamite album. Third time’s a charm, right?

That said, the set was pretty awesome. Amon Amarth’s elevated drums took up a ton of the stage, so Entombed’s drummer had to set up on the stage floor, leaving very little leg room for singer Lars-Goran Petrov and friends at the front. If they head banged any harder, they would have accidentally hit the audience.

The new songs comprised most of the set, all containing a much more pronounced death metal influence than the average Entombed song. The band was tight, Petrov was great, and the crowd could have cared less. No one reacted to anything, regardless of how awesome the solos or choruses were. It was a big communal case of the motherfuckin’ mondays.

I’m surprised the band pretended to leave for the encore, because nobody said a damn thing and half the band members didn’t leave at all. They finally cruised through “Wolverine Blues” and “Left Hand Path”, both of which had a little less energy than their newer material. The crowd responded with a few woos and metal horns before they left.

My girlfriend and I snuck up pretty close to the stage. Only twenty-five minutes passed before Amon Amarth, with obligatory spoken word audio about vikings booming as they stepped on. Kicking off with “The Pursuit of Vikings”, the band stormed through a variety of their newer tracks first, Johan Hegg providing witty commentary between each song.

I’ve never seen the band, and I was instantly impressed. While Johan Soderberg is a little stiff and he has this “I whip my hair back and forth/I whip my hair back and forth” thing going on, everything always comes together when the band starts their in unison head-banging routine. I wonder how much practice they had to get in before they all rolled their heads the same way. Not only that, but imagine how crucial maintaining a similar hair length becomes.

Other theatrics included a duo of viking warriors with weapons. They came out with swords a couple times and bows for “One Thousand Burning Arrows”, although the armor-clad men never did anything. I would have loved to see the band members fight their foes.

The crowd was pretty cold towards their new stuff until they started playing older tracks, which . I was glad “Thousand Years of Oppression” made it into the set, but “Death In Fire” made everyone go nuts. Crowdsurfing, screaming, moshing, it was the first time all evening anyone seemed to realize they were at a concert.

“Runes to My Memory” cooled it back down until “Raise Your Horns”, the one new track everyone liked. They all pulled out giant horn goblets and drank a bunch of beer from them. The audience went nuts, and everyone pretended to know the words. “Guardians of Asgaard” and “Twilight of the Thunder God” followed with even more excitement. The whole crew around me only seemed to awaken when the latter’s opening riff came on, which is unfortunate considering it closed the night.

Honestly, the band was on fire the entire night. Not a single note was missed, and the band tried really hard to wake us assholes up.

Afterwards, we went home and drank beers because Amon Amarth made it look sooo cool. I spent the whole evening screaming and head-banging, which left me with a sore throat and neck the next day. My boss came in for a crucial performance evaluation that day, but I think I did okay. I should have been too tired and miserable to do anything, but I mean, in the end, if you’re happy, doesn’t everything else follow suit?

And both bands made me very happy. While Entombed A.D. was obviously thrown off by the crowd’s indifference near the end of their set, Amon Amarth played the same as they would in front of the small Detroit crowd as they would at Wacken Open Air. Except y’know, they didn’t row out a viking ship or anything because they barely had enough room to scratch their armpit.

Entombed A.D. performance: B

Amon Amarth performance: A-

Thor – Keep the Dogs Away


junkheadv1tmbThor – Keep the Dogs Away

I try not to idolize my favorite entertainers. My girlfriend sells a lot of her art at conventions, and often there are rows of washed-up has-beens cluttering the con floor. I have no reason to talk to these people. Even if Lori Petty’s was cool in the made-for-TV film Bates Motel 25 years ago, it doesn’t mean I need to talk to her. What am I supposed to say anyway? Am I supposed to gush over Tank Girl or just blab about the current weather conditions in the immediate area? Both would have the same detachment. The best case scenario is I remember the interaction for the rest of my life and Lori goes home, gets wasted, fucks her husband, and gives two shits about everything.

Still, it’s impossible to not have an idol or two. There’s only one musician I can say I ever wanted to meet, and back in November, I got to live my dream. Canadian rock God Jon-Mikl Thor came to a small bar that was literally three blocks away from my house. To a small crowd of about twenty people, Thor played a then-new documentary, I Am Thor, and a whole concert.


Thor and me. I’m friggin’ handsome.

It started out on a very intimate note. Thor and the mostly reunited ’80s lineup of his eponymous band took the stage for a short discussion with the audience. The band asked questions about Detroit, talked about their experience playing at the infamous Harpos years ago, and cracked jokes about each other. Thor and his band were baring themselves to the crowd, giving the rest of the night greater emotional resonance.

The documentary was phenomenal, especially for a Thor archaeologist like myself. Many new facts are initially discussed about the artist’s early career, my favorite being that Thor was drugged and kidnapped during his first major label contractual discussions. Halfway through, Thor’s mainstream rock career ends due to a bout with depression. The film fast forwards to 1998 as Thor attempts to make a big comeback. Everything after is like the ultimate outsider musician story, a wasteland in which rock ‘n’ roll draws no money and one eccentric man must build up his legacy without the aid of a top 40 hit.

After the film, Thor took the stage. This metal dude and I sung every word to almost all the tracks, and Thor even complimented my singing ability when he passed me the mic for a line in “Let the Blood Run Red”. Donning a variety of masks and wagging around a bunch of hammers, Thor blurted through all his ’80s classics and the title track from his 1977 debut Keep the Dogs Away.

This album’s about to be reissued by Cleopatra, a goth label that’s recently began reissuing some curios from the ’70s. Whether it’s worth picking up is more about what hard rock genres you can tolerate, as Thor and the gang didn’t really create a cohesive sound.

The album opens with a huge three-track wallop. “Keep the Dogs Away” is a straightforward Kiss-romp. With a brisk tempo and tons of cool guitar fills, Thor always notes that this track was his greatest hit, charting somewhere in Alaska. “Sleeping Giant” which drops the tempo to a lumbering singalong that could easily be re-written for an episode of Sesame Street, a greater compliment than you’ll ever know. The gritty power ballad “Catch a Tiger” finds Thor imitating Lou Reed’s sing-speak.

Onward, things start getting a little shaky. “I’m So Proud” has a terrible bluesy riff and “Tell Me Lies” is only saved by a cool double tracked solo. Things get better with “Military Matters”, a proto-Manowar track that probably would have sounded cooler without the goofy Spanish guitar riff that’s constantly playing. Psychedelia starts creeping in, with “Superhero” and “Wasted” featuring some weird lyrics and drugged out guitars. “Rosie” brings in some muscular power pop before “Thunder” closes the album with a constipated ’60s garage-psych sound.

There’s really too much going on for it to be deemed a classic. It sounds like the band copies Kiss the first half and adds this big Doors influence for the second, shifting from awesome and stupid to lame and stupid very quickly. Lyrical evidence: “sometimes I feel that I’m wasted/sometimes I feel that I’m wasted/sometimes I feel that I’m wasted/sometimes I feel that I’m wasted”.

The CD version of the reissue adds almost twenty other early tracks, including the awesomely glam Thor & The Imps tracks from 1975. An additional live show from 1980 will also be included, making it the best archive of pre-Only The Strong Thor you’ll get. I’m assuming it will be most of the footage from the An-Thor-logy set, but I’ll pick it up just in case.


So yeah, the concert ended and I had Thor sign everything I own. He was particularly excited to see a copy of Keep the Dogs Away. Was he glad to see that there was still some interest in the soon-to-be re-released album? Or was he mad that I won’t need to buy another copy? Either way, I’ll probably get one anyway.

Keep the Dogs Away original album: C+
Keep the Dogs Away deluxe: B+
I Am Thor documentary: B+
Thor concert: A-

69 Eyes – Universal Monsters


junkheadv1tmb69 Eyes – Universal Monsters

Some bands have a singular sound that they can never change. Not only would die hard fans be pissed, but the critical gestapo would also question their sanity. Why fix what ain’t broken?

The 69 Eyes are clearly in that category, and the grind is starting to wear their goth metal schtick thin. They’re still the same ole Sisters of Mercy-meets-Billy Idol act, but no casual listener could make a distinction between “Jet Fighter Plane”, “Dolce Vita”, “Jerusalem”, or virtually any other track here.

Of course, this isn’t a bad thing. The pop-metal guitars and driving drums blend effortlessly with gloomy vocals and synth-pop tinsel all over again. Everything is beyond immediate, thrusting you into a coffin-ridden world of reckless abandon where the ghouls are reeling and the ghosts are rocking.

Yet the album never manages to top the best tracks off previous triumphs Angels or Back in Blood. The best here is “Lady Darkness”, and only the minutiae pushes it a little closer to excellence. Realistically, cool guitar rhythms and a subtle organ/piano combo won’t elevate you too high when you’ve made a career out of rewriting one song.

Even so, I’ll probably listen to Universal Monsters a hundred times. There’s always going to be something special about the bastard love child of Danzig and Tears for Fears.


Not So Cold – A Warm Wave Compilation


junkheadv1tmbNot So Cold – A Warm Wave Compilation (The Complete Collection)

This German compilation is a beautiful reminder that while popular trends push forward, barren pulses and beep-boops will always have a place in the electro hipster deep inside that dark void you call a soul. This same electro hipster will be irritated by the album’s title, as none of these thirty-five tracks are remotely warm and calling them not so cold is a sad marketing ploy. Every track freezes you in a giant glacier, with cool synths, low beats, and spartan guitars. Homogeneity is the key: it might as well have been made by one person.

Unfortunately, many of these darkwave/post-industrial/minimalist/synthwave/electro couldn’t scramble together anything worth zhen Euro if their Leben davon abhinge. The first five tracks are total throwaways, with the opener by veterans Absolute Body Control being the worst. Repeating the line “Take a deep breath” until the listener starts pulling nose hairs to pass the time is not a good idea.

At Hante’s “Falling From Grace”, everything comes together. It’s a glorious funeral procession, one of those dirges that recalls the comforts of depression. There’s no way they could have plagiarized Faith-era Cure anymore. From there, the people start stealing liberally from all your cold wave faves: KaS Product and Asylum Party get ravaged for ideas in the most glorious of ways. There’s not a single new concept the entire runtime. It’s minimalism’s equivalent to potato chips, delightful enough to make you reach for another handful even though it’s all empty calories.

So let that inner electro hipster get fat, obese even, off this greasy, salty trash. With awful electro-house garbage shitting on everybody’s ears nowadays, he really deserves it. Buy it here.


Young Thug – Slime Season 3


junkheadv1tmbYoung Thug – Slime Season 3

In many ways, Slime Season 3 should be typical. The beats are sparse as the latest style dictates, but here they don’t matter. Light sizzles and pulses exist only to make way for a voice, the bitchy little auto-tuned yelp of Young Thug.

Why it’s compelling is hard to explain. Thug is so fucking annoying that you’ll probably want to punch your speakers the second he comes on, but he knows how to wrap his voice into a pop-friendly package. His flow, hooks, and percussive spurts all come to a fine point early on with tracks like “Drippin” and “Memo”. A couple tracks give Thug a solid minute of time to just move freely over space, and they’d be pretty appealing to even the most mainstream ear.

Not surprisingly, the finest moments are all straightforward pop. “We ran out of digits/We ran out of money/We ran out of digits/We ran out of money/We ran out some digits/We ran out some mon-aaay” will be looping through your head for hours*. “Worth It” is the most honest hood ballad you’re likely to find, and “Tattoos” is the only time a delicious beat sneaks alongside the vocal gymnastics.

Nothing sticks out as particularly bad, but “Problem” and “Slime Shit” are standard trap garbage in comparison. Losing all of the slick style, they’re all “Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-BLAH (‘EY!)/Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-BLAH (SKIRR)”, probably a bid by Thug to keep one of his feet grounded in the ghetto.

But Thug can’t fight it; he sold his soul years ago and mainstream vampire blood is in his veins. A couple top 40 hits will do that to you. Thank the corporate shills for that.


*This is clearly an example of Ay-hole’s Track Five Conspiracy©. I’m tagging this post as such.

Lita Ford – Time Capsule


junkheadv1tmbLita Ford – Time Capsule

In a desperate attempt to make some quick cash, Lita Ford pulls out her cauldron and eye of newt to revive the hulking golem that was pop metal. Filling the room with that witch’s brew steam, she emerges from the mist with a beast that mostly succeeds.

For the ’80s hags, this album will be total gold. It kicks off with two reelin’ power ballads, “Where Will I Find My Heart Tonight” and “Killing Kind.” The latter would fit nicely on Bat Out of Hell II, complete with Meat Loaf clone duet that screams overblown. Later, Lita plows through all your favorite Ratt and Motley Crue rewrites once again, with “Rotten to the Core” digging it’s talon-like hooks into your brain immediately.

Lita almost tricks you into thinking it’s 1988 again, but not before Time Capsule gets bogged down by general goofiness. “Mr. Corruption” has a sleazy fake arena mix, with space-jam drum fills and a weird, bloated guitar sound. The instrumental jack off “Little Wing” is best skipped; anyone who’s actually picked up a guitar will laugh at the incredibly basic blues scales Lita trips through. It’s immediately followed by the similar solo showcase “On the Fast Track”, an utterly worthless exercise on an album otherwise filled with real songs.

So yeah, this is better than most Frontiers Records drivel, but worse than that Van Halen song off the film Twister. The one where the CG cow flies by.



John Carpenter Lost Themes II

tinyjunkheadv1a Windows Movie Maker used to be good. It’s terrible now. I use iSkysoft movie editor or something.
tinyayholev1a Could I get an older Windows movie Maker?
tinyjunkheadv1a I don’t think so, what Windows does he have?
tinyayholev1a Windows 7. When can you do the dialogue?
tinyjunkheadv1a Now.
tinyayholev1a Okay, lemme get ready.
tinyjunkheadv1a Hold on, I gotta do something.
tinyayholev1a I’m just going to sit here then.
tinyjunkheadv1a Alright, I’m ready.
tinyayholev1a So, featured above is the standard issue Lost Themes II “die-cut jacket with printed inner sleeve.” There is a bonus track available for download and on the CD release. It’s called “Real Xeno” and is a rockin march.
tinyjunkheadv1a Alright, let’s start this.
tinyayholev1a You there, Josh?
tinyjunkheadv1a You go ahead.
tinyayholev1a The introduction of the album is excellent, almost a four minute build
tinyjunkheadv1a So that’s how we’re starting it? We should be like…we’ve been waiting months.
tinyayholev1a I dunno. I already started with the bonus track.
tinyjunkheadv1a Or talk about your Record Store Day experience getting it.
tinyayholev1a There I was, after work. I was like, “where is the record store day stuff?” And the man behind the counter pointed straight down at the cardboard box in front of me. “That’s what’s left.”
tinyjunkheadv1a And the only thing in there was John Carpenter’s Lost Themes II.
tinyayholev1a That and one thousand copies of “Cavern of Anti-Matter.”
tinyjunkheadv1a What is that? If I made an album of rubber band noises I’d probably call it that.
tinyayholev1a It was a 12″ clear vinyl in a clear plastic bag. It looked a lot like wall art from Pier One.
tinyjunkheadv1a I’m glad you got Lost Themes II. Ay-hole had me come over the next day and listen to the whole thing. Then we had a bonfire and burned all his mail.
tinyayholev1a Honestly, the real reason I went to record store day was to get the Lush box set. I was lucky to nab Lost Themes II as well. It did officially come out on Friday, the day before, but I apparently get a bonus download track, which I assume comes with every purchase. I was super excited to listen to it, really. The whole album, that is.
tinyjunkheadv1a I thought it would be better than Lost Themes I. The sample tracks online were really rockin’, so I figured the whole album would have a new vibe.
tinyayholev1a It is slightly more rocky at times and most of the tracks seem to be more divided than the first. There are lots of little themes.
tinyjunkheadv1a A lot of the tracks are broken up into different little bits. Most borrow liberally from John Carpenter’s large body of work, but there’s definitely some fresh variations on the old motifs. One thing that I sort of liked about the album was how the first and second side had different feels.
tinyayholev1a If by “different feels,” you mean, the second side was a remix of last years album and Escape From New York, yes. I think the second side had one track that stood out, other than the guitar solo on “Dark Blues,” and that stand out track would be the final track, “Utopian Facade.”
tinyjunkheadv1a Well, the first side has a lot of rockers. The synth bubbles in “Distant Dream”, “Angels Asylum”, and “Windy Death” have all the pounding snares and stoic guitar work. Side two is a little more bland. “Bela Lugosi” has to be the most vanilla synthscape ever made.
tinyayholev1a That is the most adequate description. I think I’ve spent 15-30 minutes thinking about that track alone, trying to describe it. I think it’s quite an accomplishment, when you put it that way. Perhaps he intended the second half to be more experimental.
Let’s talk about the rockin first half some more.
“White Pulse” is the bee’s knees. It has this repetitive synth pulse melody and some excellently mixed background strings. For exploratory music, this one can be used in almost any atmosphere, and short of two minutes in we have an post industrial breakdown.
tinyjunkheadv1a It sets the tone for the whole first side. Songs are broken up into multiple movements, fluctuating from slow and brooding to mid-tempo and pounding. “Angel’s Asylum” has got to be the single though. It’s not far off from a slick electroclash except for the awesome acoustic guitar breakdown at the end.
tinyayholev1a It is one of the two available tracks on bandcamp. It does just about everything right. It’d make a good clubbin’ song, if it was acceptable to put real music on at the club.
Actually, I think now I have a new touchtones favorite.
I wonder what Cody and Daniel Davies influenced.
tinyjunkheadv1a Cody probably plays guitar. Cody’s a guitarist name.
Daniel probably wrote “Bela Lugosi”. That sounds like a Daniel thing to do.
tinyayholev1a I was not aware Daniel and John had such an intimate relationship. Apparently, John thinks of him as his godson.
tinyjunkheadv1a It’s best to do that when you share creative endeavors. I like to think of you as my son, Ay-hole.
tinyayholev1a And I think of you as my distant father from a washed up rock band.
tinyjunkheadv1a Or a washed up film career.
tinyayholev1a What do you think of the bonus track?
tinyjunkheadv1a I felt like it was left off the LP with good reason. The pieces don’t really mesh, and it doesn’t really start cooking until the third section.
tinyayholev1a … which ends approximately immediately.
tinyjunkheadv1a Yeah, I don’t get why that was thrown in. Two and a half minutes of random leftovers.
tinyayholev1a I still think the whole album is better than most, but the difference in quality between the first and second sides seems like too great a chasm to cross.
tinyjunkheadv1a The crossing isn’t so bad. The second side clicks occasionally, but the whole collective goes into cruise control. It felt like Lost Themes 17, where they totally run out of any new ideas.
If Lost Themes II is already half hackneyed, I hope they end it on the next one.
tinyayholev1a Maybe Daniel will make an entire concept album, John and Cody will steal it and an crazy chase scene will ensue.
tinyjunkheadv1a Maybe that’s already what’s happening. The kids are capitalizing off daddy’s big name with all their Escape from New York copies.
tinyayholev1a John is in a wheelchair, locked in a room with nothing except a catheter and a food tube. In an effort to break free, he uses his own excrement as a corrosive and melts the hinges off the door. Crazy chase scene ensues.
tinyjunkheadv1a I’m guessing John Carpenter’s vegetarian. I wonder how much tofu and spinach you’d have to eat for your poop to corrode solid steel. Or titanium.
tinyayholev1a Vegetarian poop is brutal. The smell alone could gas a WWI trench.
tinyjunkheadv1a So the real question is, are you going to buy the Lost Themes II remix LP.
tinyayholev1a I’m guessing it will come out for Halloween, like the last one. Probably not, unless there’s some cool demos. The first Lost Themes was better on the whole.
tinyjunkheadv1a Yeah, at least between the two of us, we have one and a half good albums.
tinyayholev1a Between the two of us, like you do not want that comment to appear in the dialogue, or the first half of LTII is good, so our combined LT interest is only the one and one half?
tinyjunkheadv1a Definitely the latter.
That bonfire was pretty sweet though.
tinyayholev1a It was. We burned all of my mail.
Polica is playing tonight, probably right now, at the Blind Pig. I’d go if Mothxr wasn’t.
tinyjunkheadv1a I wish I could afford to go to that John Carpenter concert.
I mean, I could, but then I couldn’t buy dozens of records better than LTII.
tinyayholev1a Too bad I didn’t get a free ticket with my purchase. It would have been awesome.
Wrapping it up, there are a variety of flavors to purchase the first side of Lost Theme II. You can find them for half the price of a brick and mortar store at http://www.sacredbonesrecords.com/