A Matter Of Life And Death
Is it better to burn out than to fade away? Yes. Mind you, I love Maiden-and I say this with great pride. It’s like the band gave the first four or five albums so much heart that now there’s nothing left to give. A Matter Of Life And Death was exactly what I figured it would be-better then most records out there, but Maiden’s worst. I actually never even got through an entire song. It’s sad to say, but these guys were once young and on fire, and they’re now old and … old. Sorry. Your number-one fan.-Andrew Forgash
The Crane Wife
The Decemberists is a “literary band” if there is such a thing. Instead of writing ballads about their girlfriends or whatever else people usually sing about, the group weaves stories steeped in epic tales from history and literature. It’s all very interesting, kind of like reading a book that has footnote markers attached to every sentence. You like it, but you suspect you’d like it even more if you took the time to read all the footnotes and find out what the hell they were talking about. For instance, the album name and title track “The Crane Wife” references a Japanese folk tale, and so on and so forth.
Anyway, all you really need to know is that this album is the same weaving, folk-inspired rock as albums past-perhaps a little grander and deeper this time around, it being the crew’s first major-label release. There’re plenty of hooks in there, but nothing too poppy. There’re dark moments and light ones, plus some elaborate, almost psychedelic numbers, too. At over 60 minutes long, it’s way more intriguing than listening to a book on tape.-Jennifer Sherowski
If Mastodon is the new monster of rock, the band has kicked the ass of music by pulling in the right mix of metal, prog, and straight-up hard rock. This explains why the crowd at a Mastodon show includes everyone from old-school stoners to indie-rock purists and n–metalheads. It seems like successful bands today do a better job of blending the right mix of past music genres to create a new audience.
Blood Mountain is Rush’s 2112 reincarnated with the heaviest Tool/Metallica rhythms thrown in and some of the most technical drum blasting you’ll hear this year.
If you wanna have a great time and drown out the pain, listen to this record while your dentist scrapes the plaque from beneath your gums. I’m telling you, Blood Mountain is the perfect soundtrack for any invasive dental work involving motor tools, scraping, and heavy pressure.-Vince LaVecchia
Andreas Wiig’s “Ten Songs For Waking Up Early And Rocking The Mountain All Day Long” Playlist
1. Turbonegro, “Self Destructo Blues”
2. M-tley Cr-e, “Girls, Girls, Girls”
3. Marion Raven, “Heads Will Roll”
4. The Clash, “Rock The Casbah”
5. Metallica, “Enter Sandman”
6. AC/DC, “Back In Black”
7. Dire Straights, “Money For Nothing”
8. Nirvana, “Lithium”
9. Van Halen, “Panama”
10. AC/DC, “Touch Too Much”
(second page, to go with Serfas live show photo)
Shoulda Woulda Coulda
Four live shows I blew it by missing.
By Jennifer Sherowski
I usually make a practice of not listening to anything that TWS Senior Photographer Scott Serfas says, but man, he really would not stop talking about this band Jakalope. “They’re from Vancouver, blah blah blah,” I’d hear. Or, “The lead singer’s so hot, yata yata.” Well, I finally gave the band a listen-and wow, I guess I really owe Scott an apology for tuning him out all these years. It’s powerful driving stuff, rooted in thumping industrial, but cut with an organic rock element and expansive, nearly cute female vocals – la The Sounds. Oh, and the point is, Scott said that Jakalope puts on a wicked good show-but I missed it.
The Pogues-with Shane MMacGowan!
San Francisco, California
Before there was The Dropkick Murphys or Flogging Molly, there was The Pogues-a British-based Irish band about on par with The Clash as far as importance goes. The Pogues produced a giant library of anthemic songs about the state of Irish culture, politics, and just general bloody matters of the gut and heart. The band officially broke up in 1996, but legendary lead singer/founder Shane MacGowan had cut out long before that. Well, here they are, a decade later, playing a few dates together again like one big happy family … and I couldn’t get my arse to SF to see it. Bollocks!
For the most part, I’ve relinquished all urges to attend mellow shows-even if I love the band. Why? Because I am old and usually can’t stay awake through that stuff. I’d much rather see a rockin’ band I’ve never even heard of, simply because it’s hard to fall asleep when yer eardrums are thus being pillaged. However, Mojave 3 is an exception. The music is subtle and slow, with gentle textures and a certain wispiness. Pretty would be the word, I guess. They played at the Aladdin, an awesome old sit-down theater, and I really blew it by not going and finding a dim corner to post up in and sip on something warm and dark while spacing out and letting the big beautiful music fill me up.
A county fair somewhere in America’s Midwest
This guy is on my “three bands I’d pay 80 bucks to see live” list, and that’s saying a lot. What I wouldn’t do to sit on a hay bail and listen to that rich, smoky voice launch into “Bloody Merry Morning” or “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.” Obviously, his songs are all about cowboys and the lonesome life of a rambler, but they have a way of piercing the very center of the human condition. Everyone’s got at least a little cowboy in them, after all. Anyway, my constant Internet vigil of his Web site informed me that his 2006 tour didn’t take him anywhere near me or my place of residence. Willie, where are you?