Some new (and old) music writing

Been a while since I updated on that general front!

New: my interview with Ben Chasny of Six Organs of Admittance at the Quietus, tying into the release of his latest album Asleep on the Floodplain. Ben’s always been a good fellow to talk with and this was definitely another treat to do.

Old: from last week, another Quietus interview, this time with Peter Koppes of the Church. (Still can’t believe I had to miss the show; thanks for nothing, flu or whatever you were.) I’ve also been chugging along with Beat Blvd. reviews all this time for the OC Weekly — my latest entries were for the Aquabats and Barrett Johnson.

Even older: the news of the new Radiohead album reminded me of one of the projects I most enjoyed doing, Countdown to IN RAINBOWS. (The first two posts are there and then you’ll want to go forward chronologically post by post.) They’re slightly parallel to the Not Just the Ticket project — and no, I haven’t forgotten about that, but I really did need to downshift — and they were great fun to work on in such a compressed period of time.

Today on the Quietus, my interview with Ben Chasny of Six Organs of Admittance

This interview was done a couple of months back around the time of the release of the RTZ comp but functions better now as more of a stand-alone collection of reflections on music, technology and art — and if that sounds too vague, trust me, this was some very thoughtful stuff. Part of it very much made me think of M. Matos’s Slow Listening Movement, but the issues touched on cover wider areas than that. To quote a section:

…the other day I came across the first Sun City Girls LP on a blog. It’s absolutely out of print, no way I will probably ever see it in a store or on eBay for a sum I could afford, so that left me with a clear conscience about downloading it for free. But I realized, how much pleasure would I get from it anyway? Why do that? Just to say I have it, that I have heard it? I decided not to download it because it would be much more enjoyable to at least share the experience with someone else. Maybe someone will play it for me one day. Until then, it’s just information.

And I do believe we are becoming addicted to information. You only need to look at those people who have hard drives filled with songs that they have never even listened to. They are not even collecting music. They are collecting information. And the more people become addicted to information and the faster they can obtain that information, the less they will be able to contemplate that information, and it is the contemplation of the information which makes it art.

And there’s much more besides, ranging from Paul Virilio to the value of community. Pleasure of an interview and I have to thank Ben again for taking the time and placing such thought into his answers.

Up at the Quietus — a brief Melvins/ATP piece

Did the interview with Buzz O. while he was out on the road with the band — more staccato than the Metal Edge piece I did with him and I’m not entirely happy with my writing on this one. But you can be the judge!

Up at The Quietus — a Mars review by yours truly

After a couple of earlier reviews, this piece on the new Mars compilation is my first formal piece for the site — and I’ll be working on more soon! Great stuff, that Mars comp, so check it out — a quote from my piece:

If every innovation becomes a hidebound reference point then theoretically the work of Mars should be nothing but boring classic rock at this point. An extreme sentiment, perhaps, but when listening to this short, half-hour long collection of eleven songs, initially one might wonder what the shouting was all about. The chug of ‘3E’ betrays the New York group’s origins jamming over Velvet Underground songs, and is spiked with the kind of nervously friendly edge that became tagged as New Wave more than No Wave. ‘11,000 Volts’ manages the neat trick of predicting both early Martin Hannett productions and the kind of dissonance with which Sonic Youth began their career. Then ‘Helen Forsdale’ starts, guitar as scraggly hyperspeed mosquito freakout and vocals as half-comprehensible chant, and things turn…wrong. In the right way.

While I’m at it — and as long as we’re talking about NYC acts that started in the seventies — check out my editor Luke Turner’s review of the new Suicide box set, which I really need to get!

A little update on the Quietus

Been working on a variety of things that will be due for them — hopefully soon! — but in the meantime they’ve got a mash-up contest going while there’s a recent piece up from Chris Roberts about Heath Ledger’s Joker that’s worth a read, though I’d actually argue that there are few reactions I’ve seen or heard which have consciously viewed his work in The Dark Knight as a ‘coded suicide note,’ which makes this less of a cutting observation than planned. But more on that and other recent takes tomorrow, when I’ll have more to say about that film yet again — though this photo from the Quietus story is worth a showcase:

...and puppy dog tails, that's what Jokers are made of.

It may well be the most iconic image from the entire movie, in the end.

The Quietus fully redesigns and launches

The site had earlier renamed itself to the Quietus but had kept its initial design; now, however, it’s fully up with a design overhaul. It’s been fun to be a small part of it so far — I’ll be working on a piece next week that’s going to be a main feature if it all shakes down properly, so we’ll see how that goes! Jarvis Cocker talking about Sheffield hometown heroes of a time, Artery, is there for the reading in the meantime, among numerous other pieces.

Another Quietus review up for Windsor for the Derby

I admit I keep blinking and missing whenever these appear! Then again last week I was a bit groggy. This was for Windsor for the Derby’s quite good new album How We Lost. A sample:

Tampa, Florida outfit Windsor for the Derby must occasionally feel like they’re rather out of time and place. For a while in the late nineties, however foolish it might seem now, it appeared that the church of rock had suffered an irreparable schism between nü-metal and post-rock, a genre mysteriously born after people started listening to Slint albums.

More stuff from me appearing on The Quietus soon!