In 2013, Mackenzie Scott (who performs under the name “Torres”) came bursting out the gates with a debut that was intimate, honest, and powerful. Over sparse production and reverberated guitars, she displayed her vocal prowess, moving from hushed whispers to impassioned, operatic swells of aggravation. Each track dealt with emotional stories of struggle and realization, but for the most part, they provided glimmers of hope when in their most dire state.
“What are the two most important things to know in the world? One is to be nice to other people. Two, the greatest songwriter of modern times is Bob Dylan. That’s all you need to know in life.”
– David Letterman
When I first heard the news, I was leery. “Bob Dylan to appear on David Letterman’s second to last episode.” I’m a huge Bob Dylan fan (the blog is named after him, after all), but I’ve not been much of a fan of his work over the past decade. Whether it be the debacle that was his Grammy performance at the 2011 Grammy Awards or the joke of a Christmas album that he released in 2009, Dylan’s old age is showing in his most recent efforts.
Brett Morgen’s HBO documentary Montage of Heck is a gut-punch for anyone who grew up listening to Nirvana and lived through the eventual suicide of Kurt Cobain. In the film, Cobain’s life is told through his own home videos, journals, and drawings, all conveying the troubled life of a genius that never truly felt accepted by those around him and the world as a whole. As I watched this therapeutic film, I couldn’t help but wonder if we’d ever have another artist come along that has as big of an impact on a generation as Kurt had on Generation X. In a musical landscape that is littered with Justin Beibers and Taylor Swifts, where are those kids who were weaned by Nirvana from birth and why hasn’t that influence resonated in the music of today?
In what could only be a sign from beyond, the latest METZ album, II, arrived in the mail the day after I viewed the documentary. On their sophomore release, this trio of 20-somethings from Calgary, Canada burst from the confines of the recording studio with a frenzied dissonance and unbridled fury that could only come from the womb of Nirvana.
In this episode aptly titled “Cinco De Metal,” we take a look at some of the best metal albums to come out so far in 2015, including Torche, Sannhet, Sumac, and An Autumn For Crippled Children. We also check out a new track from Lightning Bolt, and revisit classics from Black Sabbath and Jimi Hendrix. Check it out HERE or subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher (search keyword: BDWPS).
Sannhet “Enemy Victorian”
Sumac “Thorn in the Lion’s Paw”
Lightning Bolt “The Metal East”
An Autumn for Crippled Children “Converging Towards the Light”
Black Sabbath “Hand of Doom”
Jimi Hendrix “All Along the Watchtower”
Carrie & Lowell
[Asthmatic Kitty; 2015]
An air of mystery has surrounded much of Sufjan Steven’s prolific career. His success is due in large part to his ability to write memorable stories with universal themes that connect with a wide-range of listeners, yet there has always been an ambiguity in whether the stories he tells are based on real life experiences or just plots he’s pulled from old issues of the Chicago Tribune and The Detroit Free Press. I suppose it doesn’t really matter if a song is drawn straight from a songwriter’s life – Bruce Springsteen never worked in a factory, Bob Dylan never worked on Maggie’s Farm, and Johnny Cash never shot a man in Reno (that we know of).
Regardless, the listening experience is always going to be heightened when you know it’s drawn from the songwriter’s real life experiences, which has made Sufjan’s questionably personal songs all the more confounding. Did he really lose a childhood friend to a wasp bite? Did he ever live in a trailer park and own a snowmobile? Was he ever a best man, and did he in fact wear a tux that was a size too small?
You already know I’m a music junkie, but this obsession is almost matched with my fervor for San Antonio Spurs basketball. I spend many-a-night combing my two favorite things – there’s nothing better than a Spurs game set to some good ol’ doom metal. Despite the reality that BDWPS.com is a music blog, I’ve found ways over the years to sneak a little bit of this Spurs fandom into posts. In the past I’ve compared legendary music producer Steve Albini to Spurs coach Greg Popovich, I’ve used a prog-rock video from Hocus Pocus to express my joy after a big Spurs win, and I’ve even used the Spurs as an excuse for why I haven’t blogged lately.
Last year I even used an entire post to try and convince the BDWPS faithful that Spurs power forward Matt Bonner is the DIY hero of the NBA by pointing out his friendships with the likes of Arcade Fire and War On Drugs, his shoe deal with the unlikely New Balance, his sandwich blog, and his various comedic videos posted to YouTube over the years.
Since my earlier attempt to post the latest podcast had an error (I apologize!), I re-uploaded the file late last week, and it should be good to go. If you have any issues, let me know.
On this month’s episode I discuss my week at SXSW and some new music from Dan Deacon, Viet Cong, Courtney Barnett, and Doomtree. I also discuss classic tracks from Gang of Four, Jimi Hendrix, and Bob Dylan. Check out the podcast HERE or better yet, subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher (search: BDWPS).
Dan Deacon “Meme Generator”
Viet Cong “Continental Shelf”
Gang of Four “Damaged Goods”
Courtney Barnett “Dead Fox”
Modest Mouse “Coyotes”
Jimi Hendrix “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”
Bob Dylan “You Ain’t Goin’ No Where”