Friday, March 11, 2005

D, VII

DJ Shadow- Private Press

Again, I’m not listening to my DJ albums to gain hints on technique or anything like that- background music. (If I want to see a live DJ, it’s going to be DJ TGL II every time.) My limited exposure to the genre tells me that ‘Private Press’ is way less rudimentary than ‘Preemptive Strike,’ and that there are some pretty good songs of the sort that go on mix tapes/CD’s when you feel like you need a break from music with vocals.

Don Caballero- Singles Breaking Up
Don Caballero- American Don


You guessed it- another singles comp! ‘Singles Breaking Up’ starts with the instru-metal stylings that sent kids all over the country scrambling to the basement to practice time changes and not sing to ‘em. Balls the size of Texas to name their debut album ‘For Respect,’ but it made sense- they got it in spades, spawned legions of limp imitators. By the end of ‘Singles,’ the original muse has been replaced by way more tricky technical lines and over-the-top drumming, songs that would have fit comfortably on an album titled ‘For Calculus Students.’

They named it ‘American Don’ instead, picking up where ‘What Burns Never Returns’ left off. Their crazy mathrock sounds more mutated, like Morse Code picked up on some giant radar dish in South America, transmission from smart, cocky aliens.

(Mathrock for dummies: play the ‘juhjuggaJAHjuggaJAHJAHjuggaJAH’ part twice, then the ‘JugjugJAHjuggajuggaJAHJAH’ four times except for every third repetition, when you remove the last ‘JAHJAH’ and replace it with ‘juggajuggaJAHjuggaJAH.’ Got that? Good. Now we’ll move onto the second minute of the song.)

It should come as no surprise that the work of Battles is alluded to in ‘American Don’- experimentation with finger-tapped loops that presaged all of the calc-rock that Battles plays nowadays. Shared members, etc.

I’m still convinced that this shit makes you smarter. A bunch of my friends have kids now- I’ll take full credit when Orlando Bagley wins a Nobel for inventing the cancer vaccine after spending his formative years listening to Don Cab pumped into his crib (okay, and Bitch Magnet, fine.)

Drowningman- Rock And Roll Killing Machine

The same basic cloth as a lot of the tech metal/hardcore stuff- Converge, Coalesce- except that Drowningman:

a) starts to infuse little hints of melody into their songs, sometimes subtle, other times obvious. It’s a great tactic- the listener is lulled into a false sense of security, thinking that the metal has stopped and the melody has begun. The band, of course, then hits said listener over the head with another screamy, chunky riff, and the hit feels twice as hard because of the anticipated/alluded-to melody.

b) doesn’t rely solely on the trick, which, if you think about it, isn’t that far off from what the Pixies or even Nirvana used to do, the whole soft-loud dichotomy. Granted, Drowningman’s scheme would probably read ‘pretty loud-really loud,’ but now I’m just splitting semantic hairs.

c) writes songs that are like three to four minutes long. Too many bands can’t end a song to save their lives.

d) has intelligible lyrics, despite having screamy vocals.

e) has a visible sense of humor about the whole thing. Witness some of their song titles:

-‘Last Week’s Minutes From The Meeting Of The Secret Society Of Your Friends Who Actually Hate You.’
-This Year’s Most Fashionable Signs Of Weakness
-If God Loves A Winner He’s Going To Want To Fuck Me In A Minute (Born To Break Even.)

23 Comments:

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8:01 PM  
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3:22 PM  
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3:45 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

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10:56 PM  
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Best regards,

Wayne

12:54 AM  
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9:47 PM  
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