Talking ‘Unknown Pleasures’ at 40

Talking ‘Unknown Pleasures’ at 40

June 15 marks the 40th anniversary of Joy Division’s first full-length LP, Unknown Pleasures, and today I was a guest on Indie617‘s Morning Glory with Michael Marotta to sit down and talk about it.

The two of us discussed a variety of the record’s aspects, from the iconic cover to the fresh and “futuristic” sound of the music. You can head over to the Indie617 site to read more about the talk and listen to all the segments in the Soundcloud player below.

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‘Lords of Chaos’ Comes to Blu-ray

‘Lords of Chaos’ Comes to Blu-ray

Earlier this year, the long-awaited film adaptation of the 1998 book Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Underground, finally landed in theaters. The title shortened, Lords of Chaos had a brief run on screens before moving to on demand, and today it comes to home video.

Back in February, when it first came out, I reviewed the film for Vanyaland, and figured now was a good time to revisit. Long interested in the saga of murder, burned down churches and music that made Norway a hotbed of youthful discontent in the early 90s, I was curious as to how it would translate to the screen. Lords of Chaos is able to pull it off, due in no small part to director Jonas Åkerlund, who was a veteran of the Norwegian black metal scene. Even to those who have little to zero interest in the musical genre, the movie is well worth digging into.

35 Years Ago ‘Happy Days’ Said Goodbye

35 Years Ago ‘Happy Days’ Said Goodbye

Following an 11 season run, Happy Days said goodbye to television audiences back in the spring of 1984. The sitcom that introduced The Fonz and the inspired the phrase “jump the shark” into the pop culture lexicon had begun to drop substantially in the ratings as many major characters left as the actors portraying them pursued other opportunities in Hollywood.

I detailed the how the show, set in the mid 50s through mid 60s, had shifted its focus in the years leading up to the series finale for Ultimate Classic Rock, one where Fonzie’s style and tone shifted dramatically as he became the main focus of the episodes. There was also the return of a few beloved stars, a wedding and a breaking of the fourth wall to close it all out.

So be cool and check the piece out.

The Death of Kurt Cobain: 25 Years Later

The Death of Kurt Cobain: 25 Years Later

Today marks 25 years since the death of Kurt Cobain. The Nirvana frontman took his life in the greenhouse above the garage in his Seattle home on April 5, 1994. Over at The Daily Times, I looked back on the weeks leading up to his untimely passing, what happened when the news hit the wires and the immediate effect it had on both Cobain and Nirvana’s legacy.

Here’s a performance of “Drain You” from France exactly two months before the eve of Cobain’s death:

‘There’s No Ending When We Die’

‘There’s No Ending When We Die’

It was 1994 and the majority of my musical diet consisted of mostly everything my grandparents wouldn’t be into. If it didn’t involve a pit, encouragement to jump on and launch myself off a stage in a concert setting, I was likely spinning it less regularly. The songs that would emanate from my upstairs bedroom at their house upon waking, showering, heading out for the afternoon or the night were tailor made for driving neighbors nuts, as well as the home where I was residing.

How was it tolerated then?

Well, said grandparents had seven children before I came into this world, and they had heard it all before. My uncles blasted The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen. My aunts did the same with The Rolling Stones, The Moody Blues and The Doors. Me thinking I was pushing the envelope with Pantera elicited yawns.

Continue reading “‘There’s No Ending When We Die’”

Part of Me: Chris Cornell Calls It a Day, My Heart Breaks

It’s been two weeks since the death of Chris Cornell and still I’m not settled over getting my thoughts about it out. When John Lennon died, I was too young to grasp the…not importance, because I somehow knew it was a big deal that my favorite band ever (as a child and until now) was truly done, but the pain of those congregating outside the Dakota where the ex-Beatle lived and died was something I wasn’t mature enough to comprehend. I saw the tears in everyone’s eyes, but couldn’t join them in mourning.

Kurt Cobain was next, who retroactively got labeled the spokesman – and “John Lennon” – for my generation, but like the Dallas Cowboys being tagged “America’s Team,” that  wasn’t something which everyone agreed. I know I didn’t. Few people remember, in fact, that Nirvana’s then fresh release In Utero was polarizing at the time, and the band’s popularity was waning while Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins were blowing up. Jump ahead past to the not-so-shocking deaths of Alice in Chains’ Layne Staley in 2002 and Scott Weiland in 2015, while also realizing Bowie had been sick and Prince was on another level of stardom, Chris Cornell hit differently. Harder. Like, this was my John Lennon if there had to be a simple, tied-in-a-bow descriptive.

Soundgarden, however, had been around longer than any of those acts, were signed to a major label before them, and bridged the gap between 70s and 90s hard rock for both incoming grunge fans and leftover lovers of cock-rock. Cornell was a shirtless, lion-maned rock God without coming across as cheesy, and the guys could drop metal riffs and Beatles-esque melodies with equal effortlessness. Lyrically, Cornell’s words resonated not just because of their authenticity, but because anyone who ever went through the doldrums could identify with them. Nothing was bright and sunny; hell, the most popular song of theirs is titled “Black Hole Sun.”

Continue reading “Part of Me: Chris Cornell Calls It a Day, My Heart Breaks”

Havin’ it in Toronto

One of the musical acts I’ve been into for a couple years now is Sleaford Mods, an inventive duo out of England. Stripped down, it’s observational punk hip-hop with frontman Jason Williamson spouting off about working class struggles with a mixture of humor, anger and disbelief backed by the laptop created beats from Andrew Fearn. It’s brilliant. Iggy Pop himself has dubbed them, “The world’s greatest rock and roll band.”

Sleaford Mods: Iceland Airwaves ’15

I caught Sleaford Mods at Iceland Airwaves 2015, and despite the guys themselves being unhappy with the gig for a variety of reasons, it was one of the best times I’ve had at the festival since I started going each year.

Afterward, I got the chance to meet and talk with Fearn, who immediately enthused how my mate and I Rich were “havin’ it.” We were right up front, bouncing about and I, for one, was yelling out the lyrics to every song and Fearn was as entertained by us as we were by him.

Continue reading “Havin’ it in Toronto”