The Icky Thumpeth - White Stripes News
As you have no doubt already heard, the new White Stripes album is presently streaming in a low-quality audio format on a website hosted by that venerable bastion of all things music-related on television, MTV. To listen, simply click here.
For the visually inclined, here's the video for their lead single off Icky Thump, called "Icky Thump":
Despite being released on Warner Bros., and despite all the speculation of a return to form of the band's simple bluesy garage rock heyday, this is one bizarre album. There is no doubt that the power of this band has extended well beyond the sphere of unadulterated songwriting craftsmanship and into the murky bowels of Jack White's enigmatic, manufactured rock'n'roll star persona. What other internationally known rockstar would have the cojones to pull off the bombastic musical theater of a song like "Conquest" at the height of their chaturbate career? At least half of these songs wouldn't work at all if it weren't for the sheer presence and force of his charisma (and that's not a bad thing; it's more of a testament of Weber's theory of charismatic leadership applied to pop music).
So, perhaps while listening to this free audio stream, the always on-the-go businessman in you realizes that it would be much more convenient for your listening lifestyle if you could just plug this album into your laptop real quick like while you were waiting for your connecting flight to an important business meeting. Well, you're in luck! For fast-acting White Stripes fanatics there are 3,333 Jack and Meg USB drives available for purchase here. The 512MB drives offer up Icky Thump in "Apple Lossless Format," whatever that means.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
But maybe you're more old-fashoned than that. If you live in the United Kingdom, own a record player, and plan on picking up the current issue of the NME, you'll find a neat pressing of the 7? single "Rag and Bone" (one of the better and stranger songs off the new livejasmin album) affixed to the front cover. The downside to this ploy is, of course, that you would be stuck with a copy of the NME.
I believe Icky Thump will also be available on an ordinary CD format starting Tuesday, June 19, 2007, for those of you who still buy CDs.
Supposing the marketing geniuses at Warner Bros. still haven't nailed down your preferred method of Icky Thump consumption, you can also catch the Detroit duo on the road, although they are conspicuously staying away from their former, scorned hometown. Tour dates after the jump.
Surviving the Brutathlon
General Surgery get bloody at Maryland Deathfest V.
For my Memorial Day weekend, I decided to fly across the country to watch thirty or so death metal and grindcore bands. Maryland Deathfest takes place this time each year, and people like myself travel from all over the nation and the world to witness the event, which is probably the most highly-regarded metal festival in the country. The fest has a reputation for bringing high-quality bands from around the world, many of whom rarely ever play in America.
There was a pre-fest show on Friday night, spotlighting five bands in addition to the twenty-eight booked for the actual fest. Most of the attendees missed a solid set by New York grinders Defeatist due the doors opening about 10 minutes before they started with the line still stretching around the block. Pisschrist, an Australian crust-punk band was probably the highlight of the night, with outrageous energy and relentless d-beat drums. One-man death metal machine Putrid Pile showed what you can truly accomplish alone in your Wisconsin bedroom while Insect Warfare's and Pig Destroyer's sets were marred by poor sound that turned their respective riff circuses into a nasty wall of bassy buzz.
Fests, especially when held in a hot indoor venue with no seating, are kind of an endurance contest. I managed to see at least half of every band except one (the last one) so I could catch a plane early the next morning and after such an insane weekend of standing up watching metal, my feet and ears couldn't take it anymore. But I think I did pretty well for myself. Saprogenic and Foetopsy got it off to a great start early Saturday afternoon, and the all-female Japanese grind quartet Flagitious Idiosyncrasy in the Dilapidation miraculously managed to make the crowd mosh instead of just staring at them (chicks!). Finnish grinders Rotten Sound were one of the fastest and tightest bands of the weekend, which is definitely saying something. Lots of people expected Cock and Ball Torture (yes, that's a real band) to have a gimmicky stage show to accompany their groovy pornogrind (yes, that's a real subgenre), but I was pleased just to see three German dudes playing some killer tunes without any gimps or inflatable anything onstage. There were a healthy number of Swedish grind bands on the fest, including Regurgitate and General Surgery during the first day, both of whom showed these American punks how it's really done. There was death metal on the bill too, with longhairs Vomitory playing tight and furious and Gorerotted making their way to the US from the UK for the first time. Long-long-long-running English grinders Extreme Noise Terror kept the circle pits circling, but reuniting headliners Brutal Truth weren't exciting enough to keep me from leaving to go to bed after a couple songs.
After getting enough sleep, I was able to muster the energy to come back for more. The second day brought Canadian weirdos Fuck the Facts, who integrated boinky electronics and a tiny but ferocious female vocalist into a tight and memorable set. Jigsore Terror and Birdflesh (who both share their inhumanly gnarly drummer with General Surgery) both brought the house down with their unyielding old-school grind assaults. Hooded marauders Ghoul played an all-too-brief set of catchy and bouncy splatterthrash and those crazy Cripple Bastards from Italy won the award for Band Who Looks Most Like They Really Mean What They're Saying. Gut did what everyone was hoping Cock and Ball Torture wouldn't do and brought PG-13 strippers and an obnoxious posse along with forgettable and sloppy grind. Polish grinders Dead Infection made their US debut in a performance that was still admirable despite the terrible sound mix, and classic death metallers Malevolent Creation played a solid set of death-by-the-books. Zyklon went on last, and a couple jasmin live friends stayed for one song but left when they started singing with clean vocals.
Because, you see, clean vocals are not what this is all about. It's about demonic pitch-shifted growls and blood-curdling shrieks. It's about playing as fast as you can. It's about t-shirts with band names and slogans that are totally inappropriate to wear anywhere but at a metal show. It's about seeing some dude in the parking lot shredding on his guitar and growling for a few crusties sitting on the ground. It's about trying to hold it as long as you can to avoid using the disgusting bathroom. It's about headbanging and friendly circle pits. And most of all, it's about watching as many loud bands as your body will allow and being able to wake up the next day to tell the tale.
If any of you have made it this far with our humble site, almost one year of digital existence despite an increasing rate of infrequent posting, then you truly are a remarkable person. Or perhaps you're not one of the faithful few who refreshes this webpage every day with the unfulfilled hope of a religious devotional; perhaps you just stumbled upon us for the very first time by accident after searching elbo.ws for some topical additions to your tiki torch-themed wedding later this summer and had the great fortune of finding the embarassingly infectious Elvis Presley movie love song on this post, in which case lucky you, because that song's not half bad. As a matter of fact, out of this entire list of completely inappropriate wedding songs, the Elvis tune was the only one that slipped through the cracks and made it onto the reception playlist of my otherwise un-Hawaiian wedding. (And in case you're wondering, yes, this is my roundabout way of offering an excuse for not having personally posted anything since late March. What can I say - the wedding was wonderful when the big day finally came around, but all the preparations leading up to it can be very consuming, both financially and mentally, and waxing poetically on the importance of newly discovered pop music just drifted down on my list of priorities. Sorry.)
With all the time I spent trying to uncover the perfect unoffensive, family-friendly dance party playlist for my wedding, it was inevitable that my thoughts would turn to finding the most deceptively unsuitable songs for a wedding. These are all songs about falling in love with the wrong person, falling in love for the wrong reasons, and other such obstacles (political, cultural, physical) to a happy union. Of course, these songs were easy to pick out of the pack thanks to their song titles. Can you think of any others better suited for this list?
Ah, it's good to be back, reader(s). Perhaps with the one-year anniversary looming it's time that we hold a commitment ceremony of sorts to let it be known that we, the Post-Rockist (website), are committed to you, post-rockist (collective). At least we can count on you to uphold your end of the bargain.
Release the Stars
Not Ready to Love from Release the Stars
The Tower of Learning from Poses
Rufus Wainwright's newest work, Release the Stars, is typical of Rufus's entire catalog of songs-sophisticated lyrically and musically, offering several different variations on love, hate, self-doubt, and self-aggrandizement with his own special elixir of pathos and playfulness.
Ugh. I hate the need to sum artists' work with big general concepts that can't tell the entire story. I mean, that's the part that always holds me up, you know? It's like a game show question, almost: "Scotter, for the block, describe Rufus Wainwright's new album in 60 words, using at least 5 descriptive adjectives, 3 adverbs, and a simile." And I'm clutching for words, spending far too much time on Dictionary.com, sweating, wishing I could just give up, completely stop writing about music altogether.
An ulcer, surely, will be my eventual reward.
I'd much rather take a closer look, delve a bit, talk in specifics, let myself go and talk about the subtlety inherent in just one or two tracks, and let the rest fend for themselves.
And so, my dear Post-Rockists, welcome to today's lecture.
Critics and fans are right to think that Wainwright's music is baroque compared to his pop contemporaries, but that doesn't mean that his music isn't formulaic. I don't mean that in a negative sense-all music is formulaic in the strictest sense of the term: Each composition is composed of forms that the musician has picked, forms derived from other works, derived from other works, derived from other works. And now that we have such a wealth of songs by Rufus, we can begin to make comparisons in form. Musically he is getting better and better, but he is still the same songwriter using the same tools and making many of the same musical moves.
Let us take "Not Ready to Love" from the new album and compare it to "The Tower of Learning," from 2001's Poses. Both songs have the same structure dynamically and aim for a climactic moment at almost the exact midpoint the song, when, lyrically, the entire narrative path turns. Really, they are the same song about the same thing, but in reverse.