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Archive for the ‘Korn’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: RO JAMES–Tiny Desk Concert #584(December 5, 2016).

I’d never heard of Ro James, but he reminds me a lot of Prince (never a bad thing).  He sings a kind of R&B that is more than R&B, like Prince.  Although he sings mostly in an almost rapping style, he has an admirable falsetto.  But when he starts really singing, he’s got a great roughness in his voice–just like Prince.  And the blurb tells us that it’s okay that he sounds like Prince:

Lots of us try to be cool, but the trick has always been in the subtleties; they’re what allow us to walk that thin line between cool and corny. Enter Ro James.

Ask where he’s from, and James will say, “Everywhere.” He spent his childhood and teenage years from Germany to New York, and from Hawaii to Indiana. Rosie Gaines of Prince’s New Power Generation is his aunt, so James comes by his coolness honestly. In 2013, James independently dropped his EP, Coke, Jack And Cadillacs. His debut album, Eldorado, exemplifies that cool. It’s a hazy ride that explores love, lust and other vices without the lovey-dovey clichés. The album always feels current, even as his slick wordplay and acoustic vibe could easily slide it into a ’70s or ’90s hit list.

James and his band [Marlon Lewis (drums); Greg Moore (guitar); Eric Whatley (bass)] recently stopped by the NPR Music offices to play two tracks that seem tailor-made for a Tiny Desk concert, as well as a deconstructed version of his club jam from Eldorado. His falsetto falls right in the pocket with the lead guitar of his breakout hit, “Permission.” This new arrangement of his follow-up single, “Already Knew That,” maintains the bounce of the studio version, but the restrained arrangement allows listeners to follow the playful words much better. In between songs, he asks, “Y’all hot, or is it just me?” — at which point a few in the audience immediately giggle and emphatically agree while fanning themselves. Ro James is still the coolest.

There’s not much more for me to add except that I was won over by him.  He describes “Already Knew That” as when you find somebody you like and their playing games with you: “you already knew that you want me as much as I like you.”  I was amused by the title of this song (which is the same as a Korn song and plays of a joke that we used to tell in grade school about what these letters stood for: “A.D.I.D.A.S. (All Day I)”: all day I dream about sexing you.  And yes, he was pretty hot in all that leather.

[READ: September 12, 2016] new television

In continuing with my publishing pieces from Rivka Galchen, here’s a piece about TV.

In this essay, Galchen reviews the miniseries The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, a show that I would never in a million years watch.  When the nonsense with Simpson happened the first time, I may have been the only person in American who deliberately did not tune into the slow chase.  I chose any channel that it wasn’t on. And all through the trial I tried my best to ignore everything.  Which wasn’t easy.  And now years later, it has all come back again.  And I still don’t care.

Despite my lack of interest in the show and spectacle, I did enjoy Galchen’s analysis.  I liked her comparison of the treatment of Marcia Clark to the treatment of Hillary Clinton in this election season (and we see how that turned out). #ITMFA.

Likability is about wealthy good-looking celebrities, but the most villainous character is police officer Mark Furhman, the detective who was caught on tape saying some pretty awful things about minorities.  In a real life twist that seems obvious, he’s now a regular guest on Fox News. (more…)

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Harpersmaerch13SOUNDTRACK: DEFTONES-Around the Fur (1997).

furOn this album, the band sounds older than they did on Adrenaline.  And they are, obviously, but it sounds like they grew up a bit–maybe that’s Chino Moreno’s voice.  I kind of thought that I loved this album.  Turns out I like it a lot, but that I love their next album more.  This album is a marked improvement over the first one, but doesn’t quite get to the experimental nature of their later music.

Having said that, “My Own Summer (Shove It)” is the quintessential early Deftones song.  The verses are creepy whispered (nobody whispers like Chino) with a really neat and unexpected slinky bass.  And then the chorus is huge–big loud guitars  screams and shouts of Shove It.  The post-chorus keeps that whispery style of vocal but with the heavy guitars.  It’s dramatic and really unsubtle and nobody does it like they do.  It’s hard to follow that song but “Lhabia” does an admirable job.  “Lhabia” also features Chino’s quite singing.  I love that he stretches out his words over fast chugging guitar, seemingly contradicting their sound.  “Mascara” slows things down, making for a very creepy song.  There’s no real bridge or even chorus but when the song slows down and he quietly sings “it’s too bad.  it’s too bad.  you’re married.  to me.”  It’s packs a punch.  “Around the Fur” brings in some real heaviness including some rage-filled screams at the end.

“Rickets” has some of that oddball guitar signature that bands like Korn would also play (Korn and Deftones are sort of the founding fathers of this genre of metal so they are allowed some similarities.  “Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away) is the most melodic thing the band has done yet.  Big full guitars and an upbeat bridge–it introduces some alt rock elements and a hint of shoegazer guitar.  It’s followed by loud guitars and real guttural screams.  I really like the ope tuning of the guitars that sound almost metallic   “Dai the Flu” opens with a great full bass sound.  “Headup” features a duet with Max Calavera of Sepultura.  The song has Calavera singing the word “Soulfly” which is the name of the band that he formed around the same time.  I wonder which came first.  The final song “MX” features a female voice questioning Chino during the chorus (and some really crazy sounds).  There’s something strangely sexy about the whole song even if the crazy sounds have it veer towards the creepy.  “MX” is listed as 35 or so minutes but it’s really only 4 minutes.  There’s two bonus things stuck in the dead air space.  A goofy thing called “bong hit” at around 19 minutes (which is indeed, a bong hit) and a hidden track at 32 minutes called “Damone.”  “Damone” is a fast song that never really lets up.

In hindsight it’s easy to see that the band were heading towards something amazing but hadn’t gotten there yet.  But at the time, this was pretty revolutionary on its own.

[READ: February 25, 2013] “#37 Guy Bleeding All Over Skype”

According to Harper’s this is an excerpt from “More Little Tales of the Internet” that was published in Conjunctions.  I’m curious to know more about the whole thing, but figured I’d write this before investigating further.  So, are there #37 of these little snippets?  Are there lots more?  Are there just a few random numbers?  I wonder.

This story is told from the point of view of a man at a business meeting.  The “guy” of the title is a big man, calling into the business meeting via Skype.  He seems to be big in terms of the company, but he also big in that he has positioned his head to be very large (mostly forehead and crown) on the screen.  The guy seems oblivious to this as he talks about the important stuff he needs to discuss (of which we learn nothing).

The narrator muses that he assumes everyone noticed things exactly when he did but nobody compared notes or anything.  Unless, he says, you thought it was some kind of technological glitch on screen, then you had to notice what happened. (more…)

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[WATCHED October-November 2012] Metal Evolution

metal evolutionVH1 aired this series last year and I was intrigued by it but figured I had no time to watch an 11 hour series on the history of heavy metal.  Of course, this being VH1, they have since re-aired the series on an almost continual loop.  So, if you’re interested, you can always catch it.

This series was created by Sam Dunn, the documentary filmmaker who made the movie Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey.  I had heard good things about the movie, but never saw it.  After watching the series, I’m definitely interested in the movie.  Dunn is a keener–A Canadian heavy metal fan who is really into his subject.  He knows his stuff and he knows what he likes (heavy metal) and what he doesn’t like (glam metal, nu metal).

The sheer number of people he interviews is impressive (as are the number of locations he travels to).  Part of me says “wow, I can’t believe he was able to interview X,” and then I remember, “X is really old and is nowhere near the level of fame that he once had.”  Given that, the few hold-outs seem surprising–did they not want to have anything to do with VH1?  Are they embarrassed at how uncool they are now?  Just watch the show guys, you can’t be as low as some.

The only mild criticism I have is that the show relies a lot on the same talking heads over and over.  Scott Ian from Anthrax, whom I love, is in every episode.  Indeed, he may be a paid VH1 spokesman at this point.  There are a few other dudes who show up a little more than they warrant, but hey, you use what you got, right?

What is impressive is the volume of music he includes with the show.  I assume that he couldn’t  get the rights to any studio recordings because every clip is live.  This is good for fans in that we get to see some cool unfamiliar live footage, but some of it is current live footage which often doesn’t compare to the heyday.  Having said that, there’s a lot of live footage from the early 80s–of bands that I never saw live anywhere.  And that’s pretty awesome.

With an 11-part documentary there’s the possibility of exhaustion and overkill, but Dunn is an excellent craftsman  he jumps around from old to new, talks about how the history impacts the current and, because of his own interests, he makes it personal rather than just informative. (more…)

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