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Archive for the ‘Depeche Mode’ Category

[POSTPONED: October 17, 2021] Ministry / Helmet / Front Line Assembly [rescheduled from July 18, 2020, April 17, 2021; moved to March 9, 2022]

indexOut of the blue, and very close to the time of the shows, this tour was cancelled and postponed until next year.

The lineup has completely changed as well.  Initially, the support was from KMFDM an Front Line Assembly.  Then KMFDM was replaced with Helmet.  Now for the show next year, we have The Melvins and Corrosion of Conformity.  I had pretty much decided i wasn’t going to go to this show anyhow, but it always lingered in the back of my mind as something I might want to do.  Of course, I’d much rather go to the Wellmont than Franklin Music hall, so it’s unlikely I’d go to this show anyhow.

~~~~

This show was moved to April which seemed reasonable at the time.  I see now that it has been pushed back to October which actually seems optimistic.  I am very bummed to see that KMFDM is no longer on the tour, as They would have been a great opener.  I like Helmet, but I think KMFDM would have been more fun.  If I’m going to one of these two shows (Montclair being the other one) it would certainly Montclair.

I’ve been a fan of Ministry for decades.  I even liked the first album With Sympathy (and listen to it now more than their hardercore stuff).  But when Land of Rape and Honey came out, it was the most intense thing in the world. It was incredible.

They put out a series of great heavy albums, although by 1999’s Filth Pig either I stopped enjoying it or they just weren’t as good.

So I guess it has been two decades since I cared about Ministry.  However, Al Jourgensen and his band keep touring and, since I’ve seen Slayer now, I thought I should see what a ministry experience is like.

I wanted to go to their show in 2018, (I was really interested in seeing opening band Igorr) but the date just didn’t work for me.

Although I hadn’t yet gotten tickets for this show, I was looking forward to this retro bill.

I liked KMFDM more in theory than actually listening to them–I have one album I think). But I always appreciated them (especially the joke that their initials stand for Kill Mother Fucking Depeche Mode–actually it is Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid, “no pity for the majority”).  Only one guy is still in the band, but I’d be curious to see what their proto-Rammstein show would be like.

Front Line Assembly was one of the few bands on the industrial label Waxtrax that I never really got into.  I liked many bands on the label, but really never had much exposure to FLA (in the days before you could listen to things online).   I’m curious what 1980s industrial music sounds like in 2020.

Now that I see that the show is also going to be at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, I will definitely try to get to that one instead.

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[POSTPONED: October 16, 2021] Ministry / Helmet / Front Line Assembly [rescheduled from July 18, 2020, April 16, 2021; moved to March 12, 2022]

indexOut of the blue, and very close to the time of the shows, this tour was cancelled and postponed until next year.

The lineup has completely changed as well.  Initially, the support was from KMFDM an Front Line Assembly.  Then KMFDM was replaced with Helmet.  Now for the show next year, we have The Melvins and Corrosion of Conformity.  I had pretty much decided i wasn’t going to go to this show anyhow, but it always lingered in the back of my mind as something I might want to do.  Of course, I’d much rather go to the Wellmont than Franklin Music Hall, although I’m in no rush to get tickets for this.

~~~~

This show was moved to April which seemed reasonable at the time.  I see now that it has been pushed back to October which actually seems optimistic.  I am very bummed to see that KMFDM is no longer on the tour, as They would have been a great opener.  I like Helmet, but I think KMFDM would have been more fun.  If I’m going to one of these two shows (Philly the other one) it would certainly be this one.

I’ve been a fan of Ministry for decades.  I even liked the first album With Sympathy (and listen to it now more than their hardercore stuff).  But when Land of Rape and Honey came out, it was the most intense thing in the world. It was incredible.

They put out a series of great heavy albums, although by 1999’s Filth Pig either I stopped enjoying it or they just weren’t as good.

So I guess it has been two decades since I cared about Ministry.  However, Al Jourgensen and his band keep touring and, since I’ve seen Slayer now, I thought I should see what a ministry experience is like.

I wanted to go to their show in 2018, (I was really interested in seeing opening band Igorr) but the date just didn’t work for me.

Although I hadn’t yet gotten tickets for this show, I was looking forward to this retro bill.

I liked KMFDM more in theory than actually listening to them–I have one album I think). But I always appreciated them (especially the joke that their initials stand for Kill Mother Fucking Depeche Mode–actually it is Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid, “no pity for the majority”).  Only one guy is still in the band, but I’d be curious to see what their proto-Rammstein show would be like.

Front Line Assembly was one of the few bands on the industrial label Waxtrax that I never really got into.  I liked many bands on the label, but really never had much exposure to FLA (in the days before you could listen to things online).   I’m curious what 1980s industrial music sounds like in 2020.

Now that I see that the show is also going to be at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, I will definitely try to get to that one instead.

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[POSTPONED: April 17, 2021] Ministry / KMFDM / Front Line Assembly [rescheduled from July 18, 2020; moved to October 17, 2021]

indexThis show was moved to April which seemed reasonable at the time.  I see now that it has been pushed back to October which actually seems optimistic.  I am very bummed to see that KMFDM is no longer on the tour, as They would have been a great opener.  I like Helmet, but I think KMFDM would have been more fun.  If I’m going to one of these two shows (Montclair being the other one) it would certainly Montclair.

I’ve been a fan of Ministry for decades.  I even liked the first album With Sympathy (and listen to it now more than their hardercore stuff).  But when Land of Rape and Honey came out, it was the most intense thing in the world. It was incredible.

They put out a series of great heavy albums, although by 1999’s Filth Pig either I stopped enjoying it or they just weren’t as good.

So I guess it has been two decades since I cared about Ministry.  However, Al Jourgensen and his band keep touring and, since I’ve seen Slayer now, I thought I should see what a ministry experience is like.

I wanted to go to their show in 2018, (I was really interested in seeing opening band Igorr) but the date just didn’t work for me.

Although I hadn’t yet gotten tickets for this show, I was looking forward to this retro bill.

I liked KMFDM more in theory than actually listening to them–I have one album I think). But I always appreciated them (especially the joke that their initials stand for Kill Mother Fucking Depeche Mode–actually it is Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid, “no pity for the majority”).  Only one guy is still in the band, but I’d be curious to see what their proto-Rammstein show would be like.

Front Line Assembly was one of the few bands on the industrial label Waxtrax that I never really got into.  I liked many bands on the label, but really never had much exposure to FLA (in the days before you could listen to things online).   I’m curious what 1980s industrial music sounds like in 2020.

Now that I see that the show is also going to be at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, I will definitely try to get to that one instead.

Read Full Post »

[POSTPONED: April 16, 2021] Ministry / KMFDM / Helmet / Front Line Assembly [rescheduled from July 18, 2020; moved to October 16, 2021]

indexThis show was moved to April which seemed reasonable at the time.  I see now that it has been pushed back to October which actually seems optimistic.  I am very bummed to see that KMFDM is no longer on the tour, as They would have been a great opener.  I like Helmet, but I think KMFDM would have been more fun.  If I’m going to one of these two shows (Philly the other one) it would certainly be this one.

I’ve been a fan of Ministry for decades.  I even liked the first album With Sympathy (and listen to it now more than their hardercore stuff).  But when Land of Rape and Honey came out, it was the most intense thing in the world. It was incredible.

They put out a series of great heavy albums, although by 1999’s Filth Pig either I stopped enjoying it or they just weren’t as good.

So I guess it has been two decades since I cared about Ministry.  However, Al Jourgensen and his band keep touring and, since I’ve seen Slayer now, I thought I should see what a ministry experience is like.

I wanted to go to their show in 2018, (I was really interested in seeing opening band Igorr) but the date just didn’t work for me.

Although I hadn’t yet gotten tickets for this show, I was looking forward to this retro bill.

I liked KMFDM more in theory than actually listening to them–I have one album I think). But I always appreciated them (especially the joke that their initials stand for Kill Mother Fucking Depeche Mode–actually it is Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid, “no pity for the majority”).  Only one guy is still in the band, but I’d be curious to see what their proto-Rammstein show would be like.

Front Line Assembly was one of the few bands on the industrial label Waxtrax that I never really got into.  I liked many bands on the label, but really never had much exposure to FLA (in the days before you could listen to things online).   I’m curious what 1980s industrial music sounds like in 2020.

Now that I see that the show is also going to be at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, I will definitely try to get to that one instead.

Read Full Post »

[POSTPONED: July 18, 2020] Ministry / KMFDM / Front Line Assembly [moved to April 17, 2021 and also April 16 at Wellmont Theater]

indexI’ve been a fan of Ministry for decades.  I even liked the first album With Sympathy (and listen to it now more than their hardercore stuff).  But when Land of rape and Honey came out, it was the most intense thing in the world. It was incredible.

They put out a series of great heavy albums, although by 1999’s Filth Pig either I stopped enjoying it or they just weren’t as good.

So I guess it has been two decades since I cared about Ministry.  However, Al Jourgensen and his band keep touring and, since I’ve seen Slayer now, I thought I should see what a ministry experience is like.

I wanted to go to their show in 2018, (I was really interested in seeing opening band Igorr) but the date just didn’t work for me.

Although I hadn’t yet gotten tickets for this show, I was looking forward to this retro bill.

I liked KMFDM more in theory than actually listening to them–I have one album I think). But I always appreciated them (especially the joke that their initials stand for Kill Mother Fucking Depeche Mode–actually it is Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid, “no pity for the majority”).  Only one guy is still in the band, but I’d be curious to see what their proto-Rammstein show would be like.

Front Line Assembly was one of the few bands on the industrial label Waxtrax that I never really got into.  I liked many bands on the label, but really never had much exposure to FLA (in the days before you could listen to things online).   I’m curious what 1980s industrial music sounds like in 2020.

Now that I see that the show is also going to be at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, I will definitely try to get to that one instead.

Read Full Post »

augSOUNDTRACK: YEASAYER-“Ecstatic Baby” (2019).

I220px-ER_artwork really enjoyed Yeasayer’s Odd Blood album, but I didn’t hear much about them after that. I had no idea they’d released four albums since then.

“Ecstatic Baby” is the fourth (!) single from the album.  Odd Blood had an early Depeche Mode-with-an-edge vibe.  This song is much poppier.  But I feel like the production feels kind of muted and claustrophobic.

The main melody is a fun sliding synth sound over a sliding bass.  There’s falsetto vocals that remind me a lot of pop songs from the 1980s.  But the song isn’t all that interesting.

I enjoy retro pop, but this song goes in places I don’t really like that much.

[READ: August 10, 2019] “Two Stories”

There are indeed two stories here.

“He Wants Forgiveness from Her” is written from the point of view of a boy.  The boy says he wants to be a writer.  His father is a rabbi and a man in his thirties has stopped in to ask him questions.

Essentially. the man explained, he had been engaged to a woman twelve years ago.  It is customary that when you break an engagement, you ask for the other party’s forgiveness.  But he never did.  He found someone new and moved on.  But he had been having terrible luck ever since.

His business failed, his children were stillborn.  He believed he needed forgiveness to move on.  So he asked the rabbi to call her to his office. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: THE REPLACEMENTS-Let It Be (1984).

letitbeI had posted about this record back in 2009.  This is what I write nearly ten years ago, and I’m pretty okay with it.

This is the final album the Replacements made before they moved to the majors.  This disc represents the culmination of their pre-major label sound and is one of my favorite “college albums” of the era.

The disc retains a lot of their sloppy/punk sound of the time, but the songwriting moves forward a little further.  Westerberg wrote some timeless anthems for this disc (“I Will Dare,” “Unsatisfied”).   But, they also sprinkle the disc with silly tracks…not filler exactly…more like balance.  This keeps the disc from being too ponderous.

“I Will Dare” opens the disc. It is bouncy and poppy with an irresistible chorus.   But the bulk of the album is faster and more rocking.  Unlike on their their first two discs, however, the songs run a little bit longer, and they don’t attempt the hardcore feel quite as much.

In fact, there are a few songs that are quite clearly ballads.  “Androgynous” is a piano ballad (!) that could have easily been written by Tom Waits.  “Unsatisfied” is another ballad, although this one has more instrumentation.  Nevertheless, the feeling of yearning is palpable in Westerberg’s voice.  Finally, “Answering Machine” is another flanged-guitar filled song about romance in the age of modern technology (circa 1984).

These relatively light (musically, not emotionally) songs are balanced out quite nicely by the pair of punk/nonsense songs: “Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out” and “Gary’s Got a Boner.”  They add some (more) levity to the disc.  As well as some rocking guitars.

But perhaps the most surprising song is the cover of Kiss’ “Black Diamond.”  It is surprisingly faithful to the original, (at a time when Kiss was not even ironically cool) and it rocks just as hard.

This album showcases the diverse aspects of The Replacements perfectly.  While some people say their next album Tim is their masterpiece, I am more inclined to go with Let It Be.  And, for some reason, I really like the cover.

[READ: July 1, 2016] Let It Be

I have often thought I should read this series.  Of course, the last time I thought about it, there were 50-some books in the series and that seemed like way too many.  Well as of June 2017, there are 120 books in the series, which is an insane series to jump into.

But at work, four of the books came across my desk and if that’s not an invitation to read something, I don’t now what is.  So I’ve decided to read these four and we’ll see if that leads to more.

This was an interesting book to start with because it really set the tone for the series, by which I mean, as far as I can tell, anything goes.

Colin Meloy (this was written when The Decemberists were just starting to get a buzz around them.  In fact he references his girlfriend who is now his wife) makes this a very personal account about his childhood and his exposure to this album (and others) from his uncle.  So this book is a lot more about (young) Colin and his friend than the ‘Mats, but it’s obvious that the ‘Mats made Meloy who he is.   There’s very little in the way of production information or “research” (until the end).  Rather, it’s just a good story–from a future storyteller. (more…)

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CV1_TNY_06_23_14Booth.inddSOUNDTRACK: NADA SURF-If I Had a Hi-Fi (2010).

nadaI have enjoyed Nada Surf more with each album.  But for some reason, I never bothered checking out this covers album.  Which is my loss.  Covers albums fall into all different categories–bands that try to ape the original exactly, bands that mess around with the original, and band who take the songs and make them their own.  In this case Nada Surf takes all of these songs and makes them sound just like Nada Surf songs.  Sometimes, they make them sound unlike the original and give them specific Nada Surfisms.

I didn’t know all of the songs on this record.  In fact, I knew very few of them (which is a pretty unusual way to run a  covers record, no?  This falls into the “introduce your fans to songs you love category).

I knew “Enjoy the Silence” (Depeche Mode) which is incredibly different.  Obviously, the original is synthy, but while Nada Surf keep it dark, they add a bit of jangly chords and change the way some of the verses end (the way they do “and forgettable” is so intriguing).  Even the ba bas at the end transform the whole nature of the song.  “Love Goes On!” (The Go-Betweens) is a song I knew a little and Nada Surf sounds an awful lot like the original (but I like the way they make the chorus even bigger).   “Love and Anger” (Kate Bush) is similar to the original but with that Nada Surf twist.  It’s not big and epic and Matthew Caws doesn’t try to hit her notes (he does have a high voice though), but it’s a gorgeous rendition.  “Question” (Moody Blues) is probably the most famous song on the disc.  Nada Surf rocks the song pretty hard.  The pick up the tempo, but slow it down just right for the slow part.  It’s quite faithful, without being in any way proggy.

The rest of the songs I didn’t know.  And some of the bands I’ve never heard of (!).  “Electrocution” (Bill Fox) opens the records and while I don’t know if it’s any different, it could be a great original jangly pop song from Nada Surf.   “Janine” (Arthur Russell) is only a minute long. It’s a pretty, delicate acoustic guitar song.  “You Were So Warm” (Dwight Twilley).  I don’t know that I’ve ever heard a Dwight Twilley song, so I have no idea how this compares, but I like the way the last long of “Janine” is the chorus to this song.  I rather assume the original is not as poppy as this (but I don’t know Twilley, so why do I think that?–Turns out I was entirely wrong, the original sounds an awful lot like this version).

“The Agony of Laffitte” (Spoon).  I know Spoon, but not this song.  I can imagine how Spoon performed it, and I imagine that Nada Surf have smoothed the song out and made it prettier and slightly less dramatic.  “Bye Bye Beauté” (Coralie Clément) is sung in French. I’ve never heard of the original performer.  I don’t know how the original sounds, but this could easily be a Nada Surf song (they have done songs in French before) and the harmonies are beautiful.  Speaking of French, the also do “Evolución” (Mercromina) in French (“ev-oh-loo-see-own” is much more fun to sing than “ev-oh-loo-shun”).  This song starts out slow with a cello stating the melody.  It then turns into a dark acoustic guitar song, minor key and tension-filled.  Vocals don’t come in until a minute and a half in (the song is 5 minutes).  I’m not sure what the song is about, but even the catchy chorus is kinda dark.

“Bright Side” (Soft Pack).  Soft Pack is another band I’ve never heard of.  This song is a fun almost punk track–fast and catchy with simple lyrics a fun chorus (and ahhh backing vocals).  The disc ends with “I Remembered What I Was Going to Say” (The Silly Pillows) another band I’ve never heard of.  It is played on prepared piano in a waltz style.  Perhaps unexpectedly, it has no words.  It’s a nice capper to the album

Incidentally, the cover is a wonder line drawing that is fun to stare at and the liner notes (which would be much much easier to read on vinyl) are just jam packed with information about the original artists.

[READ: September 18, 2012] “Madame Lazarus”

Another story with a dog.  This one begins in a rather amusing manner.  An older gay man has just received a small terrier as a present from his younger lover, James.  The narrator is worried about his boyfriend staying around (he is so young and beautiful, while the narrator, who has just retired, is getting older and older).  The narrator doesn’t like the dog, but decides it will be one more thing to tie him to the James, so he decides to keep her.  He names her Cordelia.

The story is set in Paris, and the older man walks the dog around the city.  But mostly he thinks about his age and his past.  He says that anyone his age is amazed that he survived the Nazis much less lived to be an old man. He also thinks of his ex-wife, Simone, whom he meets for lunch from time to time.

The story seems like a sweet story of age and love, lost love, but love nonetheless.  But then the flashback introduces some darker moments. (more…)

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CV1_TNY_06_10_13Schossow.inddSOUNDTRACK: GAUNTLET HAIR-“Bad Apples” (2013).

stillsThis was the third song that NPR played in their summer preview show and I was a little concerned about the state of summer music because I didn’t love any of the first three songs.

Gauntlet Hair (what a crazy name) plays a kind of early-sounding Depeche Mode music with rather sedate and uninspired vocals.  I liked the second half more than the first half, probably because there was more instrumental music.

Indeed, as the song ends and the Depeche Mode-vibe comes to the fore, I rather got into it.  Especially the pianos at the end.

Shame about the vocals.

[READ: June 18, 2013] “Happy Trails”

I haven’t read a lot by Sherman Alexie, but I have enjoyed what I’ve read.

This story was quite short and was all about the disappearance and presumed death of his Uncle Hector.

One day Hector said he was going to hitchhike to Spokane.   He walked out the door and was never head from again.  The narrator says that Hector was his favorite relative (although he later says that he really wasn’t that great of a guy).

As the story picks up, it is four decades later and the narrator has decided to have a funeral for him.  His mother says that she doesn’t think he’s actually dead but the narrator says that it has been forty years, he could have come back or written a letter.  Or called. (more…)

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htthinkSOUNDTRACK: DEPECHE MODE-“Fly on the Windscreen” (1986).

flyonEvery time I use the phrase ‘death is everywhere” (which I don’t do often, but which I do do below) I think of this song.

I forgot how synthy this song sounds when it opens–two different very synthy sounds.  After the vocals (which feature Dave Gahan’s voice at its strongest) the guitars come in and the song sounds a bit more complex.

It’s funny how the song which starts with the dark verses and  “death is everywhere” can have the cool and rather sweet bridge of “Come here, touch me, kiss me, touch me, now.”  (Gahan’s o’s are so wide when he sings, it’s great).

This song really marks the transition of Depeche Mode from synth pop to darker more angsty music.  Indeed, all of Black Celebration, with its noisy percussions and unusual instrumentation and of course, Martin Gore’s dark lyrics, shows a band transitioning to new levels of greatness.

[READ: May 30, 2013] How to Think the Unthinkable

This play was created and produced for the Fringe Festival.  I tend to think of the Fringe Festival as, you know, stuff on the Fringe, so I imagined that this play that was “After Sophocle’s Antigone” would be a modern and possibly weird update of the story.  And it starts off that way with a guard coming back with three clothespins.  He explains that he always draws the short straw and he was the one sent off to get clothespins to block the noses of the other guards.  You see, they have been sitting watch over this body for a few days and he is starting to smell pretty bad.

But when the guard, Tom, arrives, he discovers that the other two guards (Roy and Bo) have fallen asleep and the body is gone.  Tom freaks out, he tells them (and us) that the body (of Polynices) cannot possibly be given a proper burial.  Polynices was a traitor to King Creon and his punishment is to be left to rot outside of the city walls.  How could they have let someone take and bury his body?  They were tired.  See, it’s funny.

Indeed, the other guards have no answer and are more or less comic relief.  Until Haemon shows up.  Haemon is Creon’s son.  He is super annoyed because he was the one who vouched for Tom and the others.  Now he looks bad and Creon will be pissed.

Cut to Creon ensuring the City Elder that he plays no favorites and if even his son is found guilty of a crime—like burying Polynices–well, the full force of punishment will come onto him as well.  Like any Greek tragedy, you can see the set up. (more…)

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