Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest

Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
2009; Warp Records; Brooklyn, NY

Two Weeks is an amazing song. Lets just start with that. It has a unique interesting sound, its catchy as fuck, in ricochets around in your head for days, and it doesn't fade with repeated listens. Amazing. And, ok, its impact isn't that much, which is to say it won't have any great effect on any one's life, and its lyrics are actually meaningless and just go to fill in the space for the operatic vocals, but so what? Its a summer song, and those things aren't always necessary. Relax. As the song says: "Take it easy, Take your time"

The thing is...

These kind of things carry over through the rest of the album. But not all of the songs have the ability to negate them like Two Weeks does. They all hold the interesting and enjoyable sound, but to be honest, they're not as catchy, not as memorable, not as good. The album gets boring at an alarming pace, and sitting through the entire thing can be a frustrating experience that leaves you, well, really really wanting to blast some fucking Jesus Lizard.

So why all the hype? Well, the indie community is legendary for its album-centric attitude, and it would be hard for all of us to admit such a brilliant single came off such a dud. But to be honest, I don't know why this band is so big. Am I missing something? That question has been bouncing around torturing me for months. Is there really more to this album that everyone else is seeing? And so I listen to it again and again but still the facts remain. This album just doesn't do it.

So then I get mad. Indie-pop is one of my favorite genres and there is so much good out there. Hundreds of amazing bands are popping up at every turn and fucking Grizzly Bear's album hits number 6 on the charts? I don't know.

Whatever, man. Its summer. Don't sweat it. Sit back. Take it easy...


Roisin Dubh

Thin Lizzy: Black Rose-A Rock Legend
1979; Vertigo; London/Paris

Heart and intensity are two things that really, really, really matter to me in music. Moreso than anything else. You've got those two things, I'll give you a listen.

I've been fretting over how to write the review for this album for weeks and weeks. Here's all you really have to know: This is one of the most heartfelt, intense albums you will ever hear. It's not that the vocals are jagged, because they're not, and it's not that the guitars are particularly heavy or distorted, because they're not. It's not because Brian Downey and Phil Lynott are one of the most underrated rhythm sections in music history, although that's certainly part of it.

"In my youth I'm getting older."

One line. One line is all it takes to realize you're listening to something special, sometimes.

Every single lyric, every word, comes from an entirely real place. Every line Lynott sings, God rest his sole, he meant with all his heart and soul. People talk about Jailbreak as being Thin Lizzy's breakthrough album, and maybe it was in terms of sales and popularity, but Black Rose-A Rock Legend is their absolute creative peak. Maybe the absolute creative peak of heavy rock in the '70s. Did I go there? Yes.

Listen: Jailbreak, while very good, was pretty much just a collection of songs. Black Rose sounds like it could be all taking place on the same street-gang violence, sadomasochism, alcoholism and an intensely bitter breakup all form the tapestry of the Toughest Street in Town. There's light at the end of the tunnel, though. That guy who broke up with his girlfriend? At least he's not still with that bitch. The alcoholic? He's stumbling home to his family as we speak. This is not a bleak piece of work-this is an album that says, "This is life. This is the people who live it. This is the good, and the bad, and this is how we make it beautiful, every day."

Fuck all that, though, if the musicianship isn't up to snuff. Good thing Gary Moore is one of the most underrated guitarists of all time, as he makes every song on this album one that you're going to remember. Good thing Lynott and Downey back that sweet-ass guitar up with one of the most ass-rumblingly awesome rhythm sections in recent memory. Good thing Lynott, whether he's sad or furious or overjoyed, can squeeze every tiny bit of that emotion out of any lyric he sings and just make it explode, turn it from just a word into something magical, something that means something, something that can touch your spirit.

"Do Anything You Want To Do" and "Toughest Street In Town" are both guaranteed to send you bolting up out of your seat. Then we move onto the cautionary "S&M" and I think to myself, "This album CAN'T be this good all the way through". And then, hey, even with the two misses, "Sarah" and "With Love", it is. It is exactly that fucking good.

Look. Stuart's had this dilemma when he writes for this blog before, when he loves something so, so much that he just can't put it into words. Music that makes him bounce up and down and makes it so that he just never, ever wants to come down. I hadn't felt that in so, so long. Maybe not since Quadrophenia. I heard that album two years ago. Two years since any collective piece of music has filled me with such life, such a love for music and the people who make it.

A few days ago I was feeling bad-and this is a true story-I was feeling bad because Phil Lynott was dead, and I would never, ever be able to tell him how much this album means to me. How much I absolutely love with all my heart what he decided to do with his life, and the art that just pours out of his soul every time he opens his mouth.

Look at me! I'm speaking nonsense again! I want this all the time. I want to feel like I do when I listen to "Roisin Dubh(Black Rose): A Rock Legend", the final song on the album, all of the time. I never, ever want to come down from this high. I just want to laugh and dance and love everyone when I'm listening to this music. Nothing can touch me. Nothing can hurt me. I can only give, I can only love.

Fuck it. This is one of the greatest albums ever made. Nothing captures life and energy, in all it's forms, good and bad, like this album. It has enough heart, soul, fire, rage, grace, charm and wisdom to line up ever album of the past ten years and blow them out of the water, forever.

This is every bit of why I love rock and roll, why I love music, condensed into one album. It's a masterpiece of honesty and love, an absolute masterpiece, and the world is a better place because it exists.

A Rock Legend.

od damn fucking right it is.

  1. Do Anything You Want To – 3:53
  2. Toughest Street in Town – 4:01
  3. S&M – 4:05
  4. Waiting For An Alibi– 3:30
  5. Sarah – 4:20
  6. Got to Give It Up – 4:24
  7. Get Out Of Here – 3:37
  8. With Love – 4:38
  9. Róisín Dubh (Black Rose): A Rock Legend – 7:06


Noise; and Wolf Eyes - Burned Mind

There came a time in my life, this past January, where I had to decide how far I was going to take it. I had spent some years of cutting my ears on Sex Pistols and early Clash, and then later Gun Club, Glen Branca, Minor Threat, Nirvana's Bleach, Pixies, Modest Mouse, Liars, Hella, Black Pus and on and on. Which is to say, I like violent music. I like really violent music. As far as passion could push it. This was, and is, acceptable in the community. There were many people I know who only listened to violent music: punk and metal. But... that wasn't good enough for me. The punk being consumed around me was generally angry, but also fun. People upset at the world who's proposed solution was booze, drugs, sex, and graffiti. Metal as well was almost too fun, indulging in high concepts and overly macho fantasies. It seemed more the anger of an oppressor then the anger of the resistance. And wile these genres have worth in their own way, and I've come to greatly enjoy both of them, they never quite gave me what I was looking for.

The thing is, I didn't want solutions, I just wanted the anger. The hippies and the early punks both knew there was something wrong with the world. The difference is that the hippies thought that love could solve it. The punks didn't pretend to know what was going to work, they just knew the situation at hand did not work and they wanted to destroy it. And though both very quickly dissolved into self indulgence until they forgot about the outside world altogether, both the love and the anger, its that punk nihilism that I felt the need for.

And so I hitched my wagon on to the least melodic forms of punk, and onto noise rock and no wave and post punk and jagged experimental. I started listening to music that any decent person would switch off in an instant, and then burn the disk. And I kept pushing it, it never was enough. CJ once made a comment that I am in love with feedback. I guess you could say that's true, anything to push the noise further.

Wolf Eyes is the farthest I've gone so far. A band that sits just across the boundary between noise rock and noise music. This is screeching violent thrashing music. Its damaging, and listening to it is borderline self abuse. None the less, it is brilliant and every listen reviles more depth, but its that primal passion and anger that really drives the album. And though I'm not always in the mood for it there have come times when I need this album.

Its a ubiquitous cliche for adults to listen to resent music and say "its just noise", a phrase dating back to the Beatles, to Elvis, to Charlie Parker, probably further. But... we are young and we are angry. We are furious. And to express that, to even really feel that, we need just noise. Just loud music with no music behind it. Just volume. And we need to keep pushing it.

And this is the point I'm willing to go to right now. Perhaps I will soon become more desensitized and have to look into Merzbow and No Fun Fest and beyond for my fix, but at the moment this is what speaks to me. I feel as though its the sound and the feelings that everyone has, but of what I've herd only Wolf Eyes has had the bravery to express it.

I don't think my ears will ever forgive me, though.

Wolf Eyes - Burned Mind
2004; Sub Pop; Ann Arbor, Michigan

1. Dead in a Boat
2. Stabbed in the Face
3. Reaper’s Gong
4. Village Oblivia
5. Urine Burn
6. Rattlesnake Shake
7. Burned Mind
8. Ancient Delay
9. Black Vomit

sometimes we freak and laugh all day