Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

The Recovery of Marshall Mathers – Music Review

ARTIST: Eminem
ALBUM TITLE:
Recovery
RECORD LABEL:
Aftermath/Interscope Records
RELEASED:
June 21

By Eric Stuckart
Creator, Destroyer

Eminem has always been good at two things: rapping with a skill unparalleled to most, and pissing people off, but with his last two proper releases, Encore, and his half-assed comeback effort Relapse, he managed to stop being good at both. His raps turned uninspired and many of them focused on bad accents and jokes that sometimes fell flat, and ultimately, instead of pissing off people because of his songs, he was pissing off fans, because he was turning into a bit of a joke.

Granted, Relapse was him getting all of the piss and vinegar, along with all of those pills, out of his system, so it could be understandable that he was still trying to find his footing after being numbed out of commission for close to four years. Originally he planned on releasing a sequel to Relapse, having reportedly enough material for another album, but decided scrap it when he decided that the post-Relapse recording sessions were producing much better material than anything from those sessions.

So, where does that leave Recovery? Well, it’s leaps and bounds better than anything he’s done in quite some time, that’s definitely sure. It’s a bit of a step in a new direction for the erstwhile Marshall Mathers, as longtime collaborator and producer Dr. Dre only handles production duties on one track, and you can tell which one it is without even checking the liner notes. Also, there are no goofy accents to be found, he’s considerably lightened up on dissing celebrities in his songs, and there’s not a single skit to be found on the album. And despite this all, it’s still a quite solid listen.

Much of the album’s material focuses on Em being pretty disgusted with himself, both as a person and as a rapper, along with his failures as a family man and his dealing with the loss of friend and D12 bandmate Deshaun “Proof” Holton back in 2006. There are many apologies and promises made on more than a couple of tracks. That alone makes the album live up to its title rather well.

Photo from myspace.com/eminem.

 

Despite what sounds like the makings of an adult contemporary crossover, he doesn’t slow down enough to wallow in his tears. The heavy material ends up becoming the fuel and the target upon which he manages to unleash his rage. Where Relapse was him flushing out the drugs, Recovery is him killing his old demons. And on some of the songs, you can hear the vitriol in his voice. It’s as if he’s working double-time to make up for all the time he wasted over the past five years, and it works well given the material. The wordplay and flow that he exhibits has the energy that’s been missing for quite a few albums now.

Without Dre having such a heavy influence on the album, the beats are definitely affected, and like most things, this is a double edged sword. The fresh blood definitely adds a different atmosphere to his songs, especially in “Going Through Changes” and the Just Blaze produced cut “No Love.” The former co-opts the hook from Black Sabbath’s “Changes” to good effect, while the latter samples Haddaway’s “What is Love”—don’t lie, you know that song—and features a guest verse from Lil Wayne. It’s this new approach to the beats that makes it more of an engaging listen, such as the indie rap influence in “Space Bound,” and the hook on “Almost Famous” is pretty damn inescapable.

However, the downside to not as much Dre—and it’s one of the bigger downsides—is that Dre’s got more of an ear for what sounds right, and what just doesn’t cut it, and many of the hooks on Recovery definitely pale in comparison to even Dre’s sloppiest work. Granted, most people aren’t listening to Em to hear the hooks, but a good hook only makes a great rap song even greater. Also, there are a few moments on the album where maybe he would’ve talked Eminem out of singing the chorus.

Listeners will most likely hail this as the quintessential return of Eminem upon first hearing it, but I will stay the skeptic and say rather that this is the start back in the right direction. He’s sober now, he’s as fired up as ever, and he’s got the clarity to propel his material in a more listenable direction. And for someone that’s been fighting his way back to the top for the past couple of years now that counts for a lot.

RATING: 7.75/10

Feature photo taken from alternate cover for ‘Recovery’.

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“Until my ears bleed…” — A Green Day: Rock Band Review

TITLE: Green Day: Rock Band
PLATFORM: 360, PS3, Wii
DEVELOPER: Harmonix/Demiurge
PUBLISHER: MTV Games/Electronic Arts
ESRB: T
RELESASED: June 8

By Eric Stuckart
Creator, Destroyer

The music rhythm game genre has definitely had its fair share of ups and downs, what with Activision pumping out sequels to their once-white hot Guitar Hero series at a pace that all but killed the franchise, while Rock Band creators Harmonix took the less-is-more approach, allowing their series to age like a fine wine, only releasing four full-priced titles between 2007 and ’09, as opposed to Guitar Hero‘s brain-breaking 18 games since 2005.

That makes it strangely perplexing as to why Harmonix and MTV would choose now to, in my opinion, tarnish their reputation by releasing another band-centric music game, based on the songs and the ‘history’ of Green Day. Now, I love these types of games, and even then I can’t really seem to reconcile the point of a game based on the band. Every single aspect of this game points to the developers having an obvious amount of love and respect for the band, but why? When the AC/DC: Live track pack was released, it was treated as such. As with the other track packs released, one could play the songs directly off of the track pack discs or upload them into the hard drive (for the 360 and PS3 at least) and play them on RB1 or 2). But Green Day was given the full-fledged band treatment, without much justification.

When The Beatles: Rock Band was released last September, I could understand the reasoning. The Beatles are one of the bands that could not and should not play second fiddle to a hodge-podge of songs that fare as typical set lists in these games. They deserved to have a game devoted completely to their legacy. But Green Day? Were they the voice of a generation that I never knew existed? That’s a real head scratcher for me. I feel like I’m in the dark on this. My first introduction to Green Day was through their breakthrough Dookie album and I still view it as one of the greatest alternative rock albums of the ’90s, if not a great pop punk record as well. However, beyond that, their albums haven’t had the timeless luster or nostalgic appeal that the Beatles, or I dare say, Metallica—which made for one of the greatest GH games in the series—had in the sense that they deserved to have a full video game devoted to them.

After Dookie came out, they had three mostly-awesome albums followed by a resurrection of the public interest in them in the form of American Idiot, which smartly straddled the line between the band’s desire to step out of the snotty pop punk shadows they had allowed themselves to be draped in, while still playing to their strengths and abilities to write a damn catchy hook from time to time. The album was an oddity for the times: pop punk’s response to the rock opera (an oxymoron in and of itself from a music history standpoint), based on the trials and tribulations of the overmedicated youth during our troubled times. It was more interesting of a listen than it probably should have been, but given Green Day’s pedigree, it made more sense that way.

However, because of its success, it also ended up inspiring Green Day to inundate their fans further by releasing another rock opera, 21st Century Breakdown, with plans for more on the way. This saddens me, because to be frank, the only breakdown that their last album illustrated was the breakdown of communication between them and their fans. While I’ve always been one to praise bands that follow their hearts rather than cash in and do what the fans want, it just wasn’t an interesting listen to me. It was clumsy and some of the songs were stretched out because “that’s what you do in a rock opera!” apparently. This is coming from an enormous fan of progressive rock and metal, the one genre where it’s almost expected to have overlong songs.

Image from elmundotech.wordpress.com

And this brings us to the actual game, which does things a little differently than the typical Rock Band fashion. In career mode,  the player will immediately notice that there are only three venues to play in. The game basically follows three snapshots of the group during their career, once during their early days prior to breaking out with Dookie (The Warehouse), on the tour where they recorded their live album Bullet in a Bible (Milton-Keynes), and on tour in support of 21st Century Breakdown (Fox Theatre).

Each of the venues are broken up into sets, totaling 47 songs. The Warehouse venue consists of three sets consisting of all 14 Dookie songs, Milton-Keynes is American Idiot in its entirety with seven songs from Insomniac, Nimrod, and Warning peppered throughout, and the Fox Theatre consists of 12 21st Century Breakdown‘s songs; to get the other six, players will have to download the two previously released Green Day track packs as DLC. Considering how little the game really offers in terms of features, that feels like a bit of a slap in the face to the players and fans.

If you’ve played a Rock Band game, there really isn’t much I can say about it that’s different. The game very closely follows the formula that the Beatles entry did, and there really isn’t much else to say. Successfully playing songs earn the player Cred points; beating the song gets a certain amount of Cred, while 5 starring it earns more. Cred points are used to unlock certain features in the game, such as photos and videos on disc, as well as challenges. The challenges basically just consist of arbitrary tasks such as completing a given number of songs without failing, or completing full albums. Aside from that, the game features the usual quickplay mode, allowing for players to create their own set lists, as well as another drum trainer program, this time featuring “Tre’s Greatest Hits”, a collection of beats and solos from actual Green Day songs, which is kind of cool for Rock Band drum enthusiasts.

Visually, the game looks just as good as any of the other games in the series. It has a bit of the same style as the Beatles game, whereas the band members’ looks reflect the time and place of the venue they are playing in, but I must say that the character models in the latter two venues look much better than the Dookie-era Green Day in the warehouse. I can’t put my finger on it, but they look kind of off. Perhaps it’s from years of seeing them as they look now, as the three of them really haven’t changed their appearance quite as often as they did back in the day.

The one element that Green Day: Rock Band does feature unlike The Beatles is full song exportability for play on RB1 & 2. However, this is only available to players for a ten dollar charge, or if they buy Green Day: Rock Band Plus (available on the 360 and PS3), which contains a free track export code as well as a code to download the six remaining 21st Century songs missing from the set list. This version of the game is retailing for ten dollars more, so basically that means you’re still paying to export the songs but EA is throwing the other songs in there for free.

Image from elmundotech.wordpress.com

While some Green Day fans may bitch and moan about not being able to play any of the songs off of 1,039/Smoothed Out Sloppy Hours and Kerplunk, the trio’s first two albums, it was mainly due to the fact that the master tapes are very old and need remastering before they can be utilized; talk has been made of making these songs available as downloadable content in the future. Frankly, I’m not one of these naysayers. When I think of Green Day, there are a certain number of songs that I feel are iconic, and while they (mostly) hit the nail on the head by making Dookie and American Idiot available to play, I really wish that they would have integrated more of their mid-career material into the game. Yes, 21st Century Shitzoid Break is their latest album and the band is probably viewing it like their trophy wives of the moment, but it just isn’t very interesting or fun to play. Hell, in the first set in the Fox Theater venue, they feature “Song of the Century,” an intro to the album that features nothing but vocals. It’s not playable in career mode unless a vocalist is present, and that just seems like another misfire in the whole shebang. It either should have been integrated into another one of the songs in the set list or cut, as it’s one of those unnecessary additions that just looks stupid on the developers’ part.

But back to those two first albums, I don’t care if they’re not in the game, and I’m pretty sure that MTV Games doesn’t really care too much either. If they’re anything like most businesses, they want the songs on the game that people recognize, not the songs that will serve as fan service, and I’m fine with that. Sure, it sucks that the career mode requires players to finish the game off on by playing the most boring album of Green Day’s career, but that’s who they are, and if you buy the Green Day: Rock Band, that’s what you’re getting. My recommendation: Wait ’til it drops in price, and get it for the songs that can be uploaded into Rock Band 2.

RATING: 5/10

Front page image from elmundotech.wordpress.com.

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Nachtmystium Addicts: Black Meddle, Part II – Music Review

ARTIST: Nachtmystium
ALBUM TITLE: Addicts: Black Meddle, Part II
RECORD LABEL: Century Media Records/Candlelight Records
RELEASED: June 8

By Justin Polak
Co-Founder, Ambassador to the Mushroom Kingdom

Having been a huge fan of Nachtmystium’s last album, Assassins: Black Meddle, Part I, I was pumped up for their follow up album. To me, Assassins had a hauntingly beautiful atmospheric vibe to it, and I couldn’t wait to see what else these guys were capable of. So what’s my final verdict on Addicts? To be honest, I find myself a little confused.

On one hand I dig how most of the songs are more melodic. Even though I know this doesn’t make me look like a “hardcore” metal fan, it has always been my belief that not every metal genre has to get in a contest of how many beats per second they can pull off. Melody can work to a band’s advantage, if pulled off correctly. Addicts certainly passes that test, and it shows. Nachtmystium even took a fairly big risk by adding clean vocals here and there, but they aren’t distracting or come off as out of place, which is a common pitfall among harder bands who try to incorporate clean vocals in their music.

On the other hand, I can’t deny that I miss the heavy atmosphere found in Assassins. Don’t get me wrong, Addicts has plenty of atmosphere, but when put up against their previous work, it pales in comparison. I am glad Nachtmystium tried something new, but their final three tracks are the only thing that come close to what made me such a huge fan of their last album. I’m hoping that their inevitable follow up will balance out the sounds of Addicts and Assassins more.

All in all, if you were a fan of Assassins, you may still find yourself a fan of their newest effort. I understand that I look like I flip-flopping more than a fish out of water, but I find myself startled by the sudden change of certain aspects of their music. Though if you examine their entire discography, you would think that I would have seen the changes coming. I’ll also admit that this album is definitely a grower. I find myself liking Addicts just a bit more with each listen.

If you like a progressive sound mixed with some psychedelic attitude, then by all means, pick up a copy of this album. You’ve obviously gathered this by now, but I must stress that if you were a big fan of Assassins you may find yourself out of place. At the end of the day, Addicts is worthy of your music collection if you are any kind of metal fan at all.

RATING: 7.5/10

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A tale to commit to Memory?: A Beneath the Sky Review

ARTIST: Beneath the Sky
ALBUM TITLE:
In Loving Memory
RECORD LABEL:
Victory Records
RELEASED:
May 11

By Eric Stuckart
Creator, Destroyer

Some of my friends know that I have a bit of a soft spot for deathcore and metalcore, if done properly. I could say it’s a guilty pleasure of mine, and wouldn’t have any sort of embarrassment admitting that. Seriously, it’s cool, man. Just don’t judge. I’m sure you’ve got your guilty pleasures as well…

At times, Beneath The Sky’s latest album, In Loving Memory, is a bit of a hard sell for me, because a lot of the impact of an album has to do with delivery. I’m not one of the scene kids that decry a band for using clean vocals at all, but I’m not sure how I feel about Kevin Stafford’s (guitarist/clean singer) vocals yet. It seems like it’s a bit of a grower, but the way the band uses them tends to stray into a bit of a gray area that doesn’t really scream unique, but it’s not totally ungeneric either.

In terms of the rest of the band’s delivery, they are quite adept at pummeling listeners, with plenty of heavy breakdowns and intense drumming, walking a fine line between well-performed if not original Swedish-influenced metalcore and sludgy deathcore.

On a whole, I like Joey Nelson’s approach to his raspy vocal delivery; it’s very reminiscent of Daniel Weyandt of Zao and I love it when vocalists just go for broke and let it out like that. It makes it sound more believable and realistic, which really goes a long way in music like this. If you don’t believe that the guy blowing his vocal chords out is behind what he’s saying, how can you as a listener? It’s only icing on the cake when he drops down to the lower register vocals.

I’d suppose the only real low point on the album is the almost rapped vocals on “A Tale From the Northside.” The vocals aren’t really rapped so much as they are sung in rhythm with the breakdown finale, and it sounds contrived. But otherwise, this is a solid release from a band that’s come a long way from their first album.

RATING: 7.5/10

Front page photo from myspace.com/beneaththesky

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Party like it’s 1999: A Taproot review.

ARTIST: Taproot
ALBUM TITLE:
Plead the Fifth
RECORD LABEL:
Victory Records
RELEASED:
May 11

By Eric Stuckart
Creator, Destroyer

About ten years ago this month, Taproot unleashed their debut album, Gift, onto an audience swept up in the big nü metal wave, the red-headed bastard child that fused metal’s hostility with white suburbia’s then obsession with urban culture. I know I discussed this at length awhile back, but it’s like I just can’t escape it.

Taproot’s one of the bands that’s refused to call it a day, and during the time between Gift, and their fifth album, the aptly titled Plead the Fifth, flirted with alt-rock’s more melodic tendencies, even working with Billy Corgan on their third album, Blue Sky Research. On a smaller scale, the band has used singer Stephen Richard’s nasally clean voice to temper much of their aggressive tendencies with melodic choruses.

But with the return a lot of that era’s trends unfortunately returning—Limp Bizkit is back together and touring, Korn is releasing a “back to basics” album later in the year, Insane Clown Posse got down with magnets and unwittingly released the biggest video of their careers—it seems like Taproot is attempting to go back to their older tricks as well. Many of the songs have a dated sound, more simplistic riffing, and a few of them even feature some ill-advised rapped/shouted vocals. And the nü metal comparisons are inescapable for the band: “Words Don’t Mean a Thing” sounds more like Korn than Korn has sounded like in probably close to 8 years. The only time the band ever really seems to get their asses in gear is on a short breakdown during Plead the Fifth‘s final song, “Stares”, which makes a strong case for too little, too late.

I suppose if you strain your ears hard enough you could hear some of Richard’s rap-sounding vocals being kind of similar to hardcore bands like Snapcase, but using that argument would be like saying that a tractor and a Dodge Viper are kind of similar because they both use gas powered engines.

I’ll be honest, after the initial luster of Gift, and Welcome, their follow-upwore off, Taproot wasn’t really the band I went back to when I felt like reliving my high school musical memories, but if you still wear the kind of baggy pants that you can only buy at Hot Topic nowadays and still like to jump mosh at ‘metal’ shows, then  you’ll probably lap this up like the second coming. In a matter of speaking, it kind of is though; it’s just that no one was praying for it.

RATING: 5.5/10

Front page photo from myspace.com/taproot.

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New band, same as the old band: A How To Destroy Angels Review

ARTIST: How To Destroy Angels
ALBUM TITLE:
How To Destroy Angels
RECORD LABEL:
Null Corporation (Self-Released)
RELEASED:
June 1

By Eric Stuckart
Creator, Destroyer

So anyone reading this who actually believed Trent Reznor when he said he was taking a long break from music, go put on your dunce hat and sit in the corner for being ridiculous. You are a ridiculous person, now you get time out. For the rest of us waiting for his next move, it’s here, and it’s free (more on that ‘free’ bit later…).

How To Destroy Angels is the Nine Inch Nails frontman’s latest musical project. Consisting of himself and longtime collaborator/bandmate Atticus Ross, along with Reznor’s wife, Mariqueen Maandig, handling vocals, it is the next evolutionary step from Nails’ last album, The Slip, mixed with some of Year Zero’s more abrasive beat-driven moments.

The eponymous six song EP gives a brief taste of what to expect from the band. While I could spout off a couple of paragraphs describing the music, that wouldn’t do the service that saying that this sounds pretty much like latter day Nine Inch Nails with a slight pinch of Portishead thrown in for good measure. Whether she was trying to or not, Maandig sounds eerily like a female version of Reznor when he does his quiet, contemplative singing style.

Photo from wikipedia.org

Haunting keyboard lines cuddle up against pulsating, sometimes danceable beats, and Maandig wisely plays to her strengths, giving a breathy, subdued performance. The EP’s pacing is done so in a manner that builds up tension, peaking at the disco-esque “Fur Lined”, only to gradually phase out with the piano and static laden “A Drowning”.

It will be hard for Reznor to ever completely ditch comparisons to NIN, especially when he’s still making music that falls in line with his former band, but I’m of the opinion that it’s better that an artist does what he does well rather than fail at something different just for the sake of looking or sounding different.

While rumors abound that The Slip wasn’t actually the final, er, nail in the coffin, and that NIN will continue as a studio-only project, at least we have something new to enjoy from the man who is always keeping his fans guessing his next move.

Adopting a status quo that he’s been using since his record deal with Interscope  disintegrated, the EP is free and will have a domestic release on cd on July 6, with a vinyl release coming in the near future. To get the album for free, go here. All you have to do is enter your email address. For audiophiles, $2 will get the EP in your choice of three forms of lossless audio (24-bit 44.1kHz WAV, 16-bit FLAC, Apple Lossless), as well as a music video for “The Space in Between”, or you can buy some merch and get the hi-def version for free.

RATING: 9/10

For more information, visit their website here.

Front page photo from myspace.com.

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Too many cooks…A Sage Francis review

ARTIST: Sage Francis
ALBUM TITLE:
Li(f)e
RECORD LABEL:
Anti-
RELEASED:
May 11

By Eric Stuckart
Creator, Destroyer

We all go through growing pains. These things are common in all walks of life, both physically and figuratively. It’s the outcome of these things that usually yield the most exciting results, but like puberty, it can account for some awkward moments in the interim.

That being said, that’s how I’m approaching Sage Francis’ latest foray into indie rap, Li(f)e. Moving from punk label Epitaph Records to Anti-, Epitaph’s more artist-oriented indie label, there is definitely a change in the tone of his music. His last album, Human the Death Dance, briefly flirted with indie rock and country-western guitar laced samples, and this one makes the full transition, employing members of Califone, as well as a number of other big names in the genre, going the organic route. Most of the background music works well with Francis’ husky world-weary delivery, but something tells me that he’s still working out the kinks.

However, he opens strongly, with “Little Houdini”, a slight departure in itself, as it’s one of his few ventures outside of autobiographical material. It tells the tale of Christopher Daniel Gay, a real-life car thief who escaped police custody three times, the first time to visit each of his dying parents, and the third time to escape for good. His rhymes start off in spoken word form, slowly picking up the pace until the catchy sing-song chorus breaks through, spoken through the perspective of Gay’s mother.

It’s also one of his most hip hop sounding songs on the album. When he’s on and he jells with the music, it’s as good and as moving, if not better, than anything he’s recorded in the past. “Diamonds and Pearls,” featuring members of DeVotchKa, has a particularly emotional heft that takes a left turn about halfway through into an orchestral swoon. It’s one of his most inspired moments on the album.

He’s still cutting his anger with religious imagery, and his storytelling is still top notch, but not all of the songs fire off with the urgency of his past material. It may just be due to the slow, alt-country flavor of much of the music, which at times just sounds like he’s rapping over rather than rapping with, but I don’t get the same vibe. As I had said before, this is clearly a work in progress, and it works a hell of a lot more than it fails, but when your last two albums are pretty much recommended listening save for a segue or two and this one has a couple of misfires, one can only hope that he’s still planning his next move. With guest spots including the likes of Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie), Jason Lytle (Grandaddy), Tim Fite, and the late Mark Linkous (Sparklehorse), it could have just been a case of too many cooks in the kitchen. We’ll find out next time.

RATING: 7.5/10

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Evelyn Evelyn: A Concept Gone too Far?

By Kelly Fisher
Staff Writer, The Chosen One

Image from bso.org

I love Amanda Palmer. I love that she is bringing a sense of theatrics and actual showmanship back to music. I love that she has this whimsical/possibly fictional marriage to Neil Gaiman, of whom I have the utmost respect. I love, love, love her music.

Yet, I am at a loss as to how I should feel about her newest project, Evelyn Evelyn. If you haven’t heard of it, you can read the back story on her blog. Basically, Evelyn Evelyn is Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley dressing in what is now known as “crip drag” (it’s literally a specially constructed two-person dress), pretending to be conjoined twins Eve and Lyn. The plot thickens. They are not only pretending to be conjoined twins, but conjoined twins who were in the circus and molested as children. The twins are then rescued by Palmer and Webley and allowed to make the music they always dreamed of.

Now, when I first heard of this project I thought it was hilarious. The story is campy, absurd and a bit perverse. I then went on to listen to the album, which I have to admit is pretty good. The music itself is quirky and fun, and the album does a good job of maintaining the air of absolute seriousness that surrounds the project (Webley and Palmer to this day refuse to admit they are in fact Eve and Lyn). I did however notice something missing. There are no songs about the twins dealing with their disability, their abuse, or their tumultuous childhood. This confused me. Palmer is known for her lyrics about mental illness, physical/emotional abuse, physical disability and transgender/identity issues. She has not only written about these topics, but has been applauded for her sympathy and support in their respective causes. That is, up until now.

The first and most passionate opposition to the project seems to have been voiced by DisabledFeminists.com blogger “Annaham.” Annaham says: “…there is a chasm of difference between at least acknowledging that there are people like this (in this case, conjoined twins) who do exist and that they probably are affected by ableism [“discrimination or prejudice against individuals with disabilities” —merriam-webster.com], and outright appropriation of this uniqueness in the name of art.”

She adds: “This is particularly disappointing given that Palmer has written some great, quite un-stereotypical songs about PWDs [people with disabilities –ed.] and people with mental health conditions… There are other, more creative ways to portray people with disabilities that don’t rely on facile stereotypes or on the ways that PWDs are already represented in popular culture… Representing Evelyn Evelyn as variously inspiring, freakish, weird and a ‘wonder’ just reinforces existing stereotypes about PWDs…”

Palmer and Justin Webley (right), known here as Evelyn Evelyn. Photo from theendofirony.net

Palmer tried to backpeddle at this point by posting a more in-depth backstory of Evelyn Evelyn on her blog. Unfortunately, that didn’t help. In fact it seemed to have fueled the fire, sparking some nasty comments. Some went so far as to compare Palmer and Webley in Evelyn Evelyn costume to white people wearing blackface. The controversy really blew up when Palmer tweeted that she was putting “disabled feminists” at her “mental periphery” in order to focus on her daily work. Palmer likely just meant that she was setting the issue aside for a bit, but the already angry objectors interpreted the statement as Palmer willingly further marginalizing disabled people and feminists.

Palmer once again responded in detail, saying: “offending or belittling disabled people or people who have a history of sexual abuse could not be farther from our intention. we generally don’t like to offend and belittle ANYONE, but if there is anybody that we especially don’t want to alienate with this project, it is the people who might already feel marginalized and dismissed in our society. especially when that type of alienation is a major recurring theme throughout the whole Evelyn Evelyn record.”

I think at this point she is just beating a dead horse in even trying to apologize or justify this project. Whether or not her intentions were admirable (I believe they were), she has offended people. I don’t think at this point anyone is questioning her intentions, but rather the actual ramifications of her actions. The problem is that she does not actually know what it is like to have this particular disability. Nor does she know how it feels to have it thrown in her face in an obviously jovial and inconsequential manner. I for one truly do believe she did not set out to hurt anyone; however the fact remains that she has.

This lays the foundation for my Evelyn Evelyn inner debate. As I stated earlier, I love the theatrics of it all. When Palmer was carried on stage in a funeral shroud as Neil Gaiman read her eulogy at her performance in Chicago, I was amazed. The levels she goes to in order to create an environment for her music are as disturbing as they are beautiful. I believe that Palmer just wants to create another shocking environment for her audience, but in this case the circumstances are different. Like me, other fans are confused about how to feel. As of now, you can Google the band’s name, and your results will be a myriad of angry protestors and confused hipsters. I really wish I could continue to back Palmer on this; I still wholly enjoy the album and the videos that have been released thus far. Unfortunately, I now feel a bit guilty for liking it so much, and there is nothing I hate more than feeling feelings.

Read Annaham’s full response to Evelyn Evelyn here.

Read Amanda Palmer’s side of the story here.

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Isis breaking up

Photo from www.dailyrindblog.com

By Eric Stuckart
Creator, Destroyer

After 13 years, post-metal heavyweights Isis are calling it a day. According to their blog, “This end isn’t something that occurred over night and it hasn’t been brought about by a single cataclysmic fracture in the band. Simply put, ISIS has done everything we wanted to do, said everything we wanted to say.”

After their upcoming tour, which is scheduled to hit a number of clubs throughout the U.S. and Canada, ending in late June, they plan to finish up some projects, such as a final EP and compiling some live material for future releases.

Formed in Boston and relocated to Los Angeles, Isis had garnered themselves much acclaim in the underground metal and hardcore scenes, and is viewed by many as pioneers of the post-metal movement started by such bands as Godflesh and Neurosis.

Their later material moved further away from the tendencies of their more aggressive beginnings, incorporating more atmospheric passages and melodic vocals, emphasizing less cacophonic outbursts in their music.

Their latest album, Wavering Radiant, just celebrated its one year anniversary, having been released May 5, 2009.

Go to their website for more information.

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Dead Weather: “Sea of Cowards” – Music Review

ARTIST: The Dead Weather
ALBUM TITLE:
Sea of Cowards
RECORD LABEL:
Third Man Records
RELEASED:
May 11, 2010

By Kelly Fisher
Staff Writer

I am fairly certain that everything Jack White touches turns to gold. Of course he’ll tell you its just shiny brass and take a long drag off a cigarette while walking away mid-sentence. His brazen attitude and reclusive nature can definitely be heard in the experimental nature of this latest album. I get the feeling that White finally feels like he is making the music that he wants with this collaboration. His mates in The Dead Weather are just insane enough to create a sense of madness while keeping their sound concise and playing their instruments well.

Those mates are the always lovely vocalist/guitar player, Alison Mosshart (The Kills), drummer/ vocalist/guitar player Jack White (White Stripes, The Raconteurs), guitarist/keyboardist Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age) and bassist/drummer Jack Lawrence (The Raconteurs). It is almost as if White was sitting around listening to his iPod one day and decided to pluck these artists from their respective projects to make the music that he could only hear in his head at the time.

With the bands first album, Horehound, the proverbial ball was just getting rolling. It was just a taste of the band’s sound which is most easily described as a byproduct of garage rock, hard rock, boogie, and dark witty lyrics, with riffs both stark and heavy. This style remains steady through Sea of Cowards, but with a decidedly experimental, piano driven backbone that just wasn’t as strong in Horehound.

The mixture of this style along with gloomy, love-ridden lyrics creates a tangible atmosphere that I just don’t see with many artists these days. Mosshart’s sultry and powerful voice beckons the listener to see what she sees and feel what she feels and White’s vocals lend a hand without overpowering her. The duet between Mosshart and White, “Die by the Drop,” exemplifies the chemistry between the two vocalists. When together, you are not only forced into the heartsick mind of Mosshart, but also the callous, unforgiving mind of White. Then in “I’m Mad,” Mosshart and White are at once convincingly enraged and flirting with insanity. This is how the album seems to work; forcing you to feel both in love and in rage from one song to the next.

Overall, I would say Sea of Cowards is just as impressive, if not more, than Horehound. This seems to be a hard thing to achieve for collaborative bands such as Eagles of Death Metal, The Postal Service or the Raconteurs at this point. Even the Gorillaz (though they have staying power) can’t seem to keep a steady rhythm. Typically these situations tend to fizzle out after the initial hype, or if nothing else the members crawl back to their former bands. I am, however, happy to report that I don’t see that happening with The Dead Weather. I think they may just have a few more collective tricks up their sleeve…

RATING: 9/10

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