Thursday, August 25, 2016

Black Sabbath - After Forever

Coming back home to my native environment in the Midwest during August is a toss up, however it's one that's worked pretty much to my favor two years in a row. But I ain't pushing it; back to October from here on out. I miss Autumn, a season we don't have where we live now. That said, I can't complain; for two years in a row I've gotten a minimum of the hot, muggy crap and instead had some really nice thunderstorms and a generally cooler atmosphere than I would have expected. In the midst of that kind of cooler temperature I've been able to hit the woods and explore some old haunts. I spent a lot of time in the forest preserves of the greater Chicagoland area during my formative years and one of the things that always accompanied them - other than a particular green and leafy vegetable consumed via smoke inhalation - is Black Sabbath. It is, in a word, in my blood.

I still listen to Sabbath on a somewhat regular basis, going through seemingly unprompted jags from time to time back home in my adopted Los Angeles, but it's not quite the same. And usually there's a whole host of new music that demands my making new Chicago memories with when I come home to visit. This year though, maybe because of the rain and the forest preserves, I'm stuck on an Endless Loop of Sabbath while I'm here. And "After Forever", a song I've always loved as part of the overall oeuvre of the band but never really focused too much on for its individual traits within that oeuvre, has become something of an obsession for me at the moment.

Master of Reality, the record upon which the track in question is found, has never been one of the go-to Sabbath records for me. Well, really the entire run of albums the band put out with John "Ozzy" Osbourne are go-to records, but within that run there are favorites I harbor. Mine have always been the Eponymous first record, Vol. 4 and the band's masterpiece, Sabotage. Surprisingly to many, even their often maligned second to last with John, Technical Ecstasy probably clocks more yearly spins that M.O.R. Which is interesting when you stop to consider that at least three of the tracks on M.O.R. are among my favorite Sabbath tracks. "Into the Void" was one of the first tracks I ever heard by the band and both that and "Lord of the World" have what might be my favorite riffs by Iommi. And the quiet "Solitude" has always captivated me with it's eerie, serene beauty. Despite all this, the record has always struck me as a bit abbreviated. "Embryo" and "Orchid", the two instrumentals that serve as introductions for longer, thicker tracks are both beautiful, but when you have a thirty second and a two minute instrumental that count as two of eight tracks that comprise a record, weeeellll... And yes, several of the other tracks are rather meaty, but I still always feel M.O.R. is over before it begins.

Anyway, because of this stigma I've created for my relationship with this record - still an amazing record - "After Forever" has spent the last fifteen years perpetually slipping below my radar. So I guess now, while the rain's flowing and the forest preserves of my hometown call to me, I'll give it its due.

Volume knob set firmly at 11.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Gravitysays_i - Quantum Unknown (Riveted Eye) Official Audio

I'm currently traveling in the Midwest and amidst the endless hours of trying to see all my friends, trying to eat all the food that I so dearly miss (but am glad I do not consume save for once a year) and the subsequent celebratory imbibing that accompanies both there have been few quiet moments for peace.

Not a complaint.

Still, at 40 there is no possible way I can keep up the pace I have in years past on these trips and I find myself in need of a few hours of downtime.

This morning was it. Rest and relaxation with a head full of hauntings, most good, some undetermined at this point. My book is done - in the hands of my first two 'beta readers' and I'm working on a new short story. While doing so I realized there's a whole host of things I haven't gotten to yet, not the least of which is the new record by Gravitysays_i, a record the group's publicist very graciously sent me and I haven't had a chance to ingest yet. So I spent some time this morning sipping hot, black coffee and giving Quantum Unknown a first go round. Not only was I not disappointed (I was completely unfamiliar with Gravitysays_i previously) but I found it was the perfect record to spend a couple of hours decompressing and taking an account of the 'inner landscape' after all this hullabaloo. Give the first officially released song a gander and then grab Quantum Unknown from Inner Ear Records on September 16th.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Ritual Howls - Spirit Murder

best band photo ever?
So this dropped yesterday. The new album by Ritual Howls, Into the Water, is a breathtakingly dark contemplation on - these ears - broken cityscapes, dangerous situations and the endless enigma of frustration that defines modern life.

Song title sooo makes me think of Barry Adamson's Soul Murder. Just saying.

Yeah, it's fucking fantastic. Buy it here.

Well, This is a Surprise: Metallica's Hard Wired

I never thought I'd be posting a Metallica song on this blog - certainly not one written after 1988. But I'll be damned if this isn't a great, very old school without sounding contrived (ahem, death magnetic) track that, while Some Kind of Monster may have forever killed my opinion of these guys as artists, well, I can jam to this. Or at least the vestiges of 16 year old Shawn that still blares Master of Puppets now and again can. Shit, just listen to that fucking solo - it sounds straight off Kill 'Em All.

Fucking terrible album cover though, so I didn't use that as the graphic.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

New Pixies song Talent

The announcement for the next Pixies record Head Carrier entered the world via email sometime within the previous month. Being on their mailing list I saw it, however in the constant 75 mph I've been moving I still haven't really had a chance to listen to or read anything about it other than the fact that it drops on 9/30 and you can pre-order it in many different forms HERE.

The initial reunited-era Pixies record Indy Cindy seemed to catch a lot of flak online - not really sure what that was about because to me, as a long-time fan of the band, and one that honestly would have preferred Mr. Black continue his solo career to reuniting the past, I La La LOVED it. Indy Cindy sounded like the next logical step from 1991's Trompe Le Monde, so I am very much looking forward to Head Carrier.

But let's get another Grand Duchy or Black Francis record sometime soon (OR Frank Black and the Catholics for that matter- now we're talking!)