Friday, January 16, 2015

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Muffs, "Weird Boy Next Door"

Don't feel bad for Kim Shattuck. After being brought in for the Pixies' tour as the best possible replacement for Kim Deal, Shattuck was ingloriously kicked out before she could put her prints on the band's new recordings. Pixies' loss, as Shattuck's comeback record with the Muffs wipes the floor with Black Francis and co.'s toothless Indie Cindy.

Kicking off the perfectly-titled Whoop Dee Doo, "Weird Boy Next Door" is as instant as anything the Muffs have recorded, or any rock music I heard in 2014. Pop-punk has been played out since Woodstock '94, but it's a blast to hear Shattuck play it louder and gnarlier than ever on an ode to someone she should probably stop thinking about.

Friday, January 2, 2015

"Blackened" in Reverse

One of my favorite Metallica songs is "Blackened", the raging environmentalist anthem that kicks off ...And Justice for All. I've listened to it thousands of times and put it on numerous mix tapes. I've explored live, demo, remastered and enhanced (see ...And Justice for Jason) versions, but I've never heard it sound like this before.

Some fan reversed and uploaded the song's intro, the haunting yet grandiose collection of chords, which the band backmasked for dramatic effect on the recorded version. This uncovers another great progression from an era when Metallica was practically spewing them out. It doesn't sound quite as cool here as it does in reverse, but it speaks volumes to Metallica's artistry--nearly any other thrash band would be content to have this on a record, but Metallica will play it backwards, inside out or bassless to get the fiercest result.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Kinks, "Father Christmas"

Punk rock never had a bigger year than 1977, with Never Mind the Bollocks, The Clash, Rocket to Russia, Marquee Moon, Blank Generation, Damned Damned Damned, In the City and Iggy Pop's two Berlin records near the top of a year flooded with great music. It might have been a bittersweet time for the Kinks, whose proto-punk garage rock and cockney insolence had its fingerprints all over punk and metal but hadn't had a major hit in years (although hit covers from both Van Halen and The Jam were just a few months away).

Thus Kinks rose to the occasion with possibly the most punk rock thing they could have done, a new song about a department store Santa getting jumped by a gang of kids who want money instead of toys ("Father Christmas, give us some money / Don't mess around with those silly toys / We'll beat you up if you don't hand it over / We want your bread, so don't make us annoyed"). It's catchier than "Christmas Wrapping", funnier than "Christmas at Ground Zero" and infinitely more agreeable than "Do They Know It's Christmas?".