Sunday, April 25, 2010

Writer’s Jukebox – DMB, Titus, and Nacht

jookbox The crew is back on board the Good Ship Jukebox.  I’m bouncing in my chair to the digital stylings of FantomenK.  Should he stick with me, you may hear more about him in coming weeks.

In the meantime, we’ve got three totally unrelated entries this week.  Steph returns to Dave Matthews, specifically his live stuff.  If a band’s going to jam, might as well hear what they’re doing while interfacing directly with an audience.  Gene went to see some Jersey band named after a Shakespeare play.  Jordasch is either talking about a prog metal band or just making up words that look like German – I haven’t decided.

Weigh in after the jump.

Stephanie – Baggo (wtf)

I know I already wrote a jukebox about it, but I’m back on a Dave Matthews Band kick. The weather is changing, and my housemates and I have been spending weekends spring-cleaning, planting gardens, having barbecues, and running late night games of beer pong/ladderball/ and baggo (or cornhole, whatever name you happen to call it). Plus, I’m on this amazing month of paid vacation (don’t be too jealous), and every activity I’m engaged in is my own. I wouldn’t say there isn’t any music better for the occasion, because upbeat reggae has also been absolutely fantastic for my mood, but the vast library of Dave Matthews music that my sister and I combine to own (including over 50 recordings of live shows from the last 15 years) has only enhanced this sort of relaxed, outdoor living that I have been enjoying so much lately.

The aforementioned wealth of live concert recordings certainly contributes to the lifespan of this music. Whereas it might be relatively easy to become tired of the seven studio albums and six live-release albums that we currently own, DMB also supports the recording and sharing of all shows, and many of these recordings are high quality – certainly high enough to sound just fine when playing outdoors on a docked iPod stereo. And each show has its own little quirks. Since DMB is inherently a Jam Band, every song can become a 12-minute instrumental soloing epic at any time. Each year the band chose to add some slightly new avenue to their shows such as the transitional “Anyone Seen the Bridge,” the revival of a certain song that hasn’t been played in years, or a four-minute long drum solo by Carter Beauford to end a 16-minute long finale of “Two Step.”

I realize that I haven’t articulated why it’s so perfect for my situation, but I’m not sure I can. It’s got fantastic lyrics, good beats, and badass instrumentals. It’s laid back and intense at the same time. It’s never let me down and I don’t think I will ever get tired of it; I can’t when it reminds so strongly of such Good, Good Times.

JordaschIn a Nutshell

Jukebox, you caught me in the rarest of forms: in the midst of a metal phase.

Well, not exactly a wholly inclusive metal phase since I'm pretty much just wearing out my copy of Nachtmystium's prog/black-metal clusterfuck of brilliance, Assassins: Black Meddle, Pt. 1.  And yes, that is a Pink Floyd reference, if you were listening.  Good thing, too; if their prog thing went any farther than Floyd, I'd probably have checked out.  Rush can eat my ass.

Some people debate if the album's truly "kvlt," but I like how songwriter/vocalist Blake Judd tempers what's still a fairly unrelenting black metal assault with some squelchy electronics and fucking saxophone (it works).  I appreciate our black metal forefathers as much as the next sweaty, beardy, dude, but records like Darkthrone's A Blaze in the Northern Sky can be a tad mind-numbing.  Maybe that's the point, though.

But if you want some pummeling, old school shit, you'll still get it in spades.  There's a point at the beginning of "Your True Enemy" where the guitar sounds like a the unsheathing of the saber of death.  The flood of blastbeats and rolling thunder guitar that follows is beyond satisfying.  Stereogum's Brandon Stosuy just premiered "No Funeral," a song from Addicts: Black Meddle, Pt.2, the new album from the Nacht (no one calls them that) due out in June.  That I'm a fan of Judd's experiments is clear, but I like a bit more metal in my experimental black metal.  This one's got horror movie synths and a killer robotic drum line, but it's not quite my cup of tea.  Could be a grower, though.

Other metal-related stuff?  Chicago drone doom duo Locrian put out a new record in March called Territories.  I saw these dudes last summer and wasn't blown away, but this thing sounds like a huge step forward.  Check out "The Columnless Arcade" (featuring none other than Blake fuckin' Judd).
Weirdly enough, my metal phase follows a month-long obsession with Pet Sounds (beloved rightly by my fellow bloggers) and an extended affair with my lady love, country music (Johnny Cash's second posthumous album, released in February, is full of excellent stuff).  That stuff, plus a bit of Arvo Pärt, Guided by Voices, the new Charlotte Gainsbourg, and the Hold Steady's new single, "Hurricane J," and you've got Jordasch in a nutshell.

Gene – Jersey Represent!

Last night, I went to see Titus Andronicus play Maxwell's as the last stop on their 53-day tour.  The band has been getting a lot of praise for the latest album, The Monitor, and being from NJ, they sold out the place.  The band played a 90+ minute set (with only a few breaks) filled with their sprawling hard-rock anthems.  If their pedigree was unclear, they started the set with "A More Perfect Union" which jumps off with the line, "tramps like us, baby we were born to die."  Belted out with anything less than the most sincere vitriol, this would be cheap conjuring, but Titus Andronicus pulls off the reveille without having to wink.  Their energy is incessant and contagious.  On the last stop on their tour, in front of their parents and an audience of loyal NJ fans, they delivered a hell of a show for 10 bucks.