1.17.2009

Listen Up 2008, pt 5

American Gothic EP + G.L.O.W. "digital 45", Smashing Pumpkins

I already reviewed this EP earlier in the year, and I also ranted at the beginning of the year about digital releases, iTunes exclusives, different retail versions and imports...

"G.L.O.W." is a song that was released, first, only for the Guitar Hero World Tour video game. "Superchrist" was released on a limited edition compilation distributed only through Guitar Center...

So, pretty much, the average SP fan isn't going to be able to get these songs — and I guess by average, I just mean me, because I'm narcissistic like that... Sure, there's videos online, but up until about a month ago, you were shit out of luck. But now you can get them, but just on iTunes — exactly like their release of American Gothic (unless you want to shell out the cash for the import CD pressing).

But I just cannot bring myself to buy the iTunes songs, because of the 120-ish bitrate of the tracks. The bass ends up thin, and there isn't as much warmth. And now that they are no longer tied to a record company, this might be the way they decide to do things, now. The Old Business way of the record-making-and-buying industry is dead, and it's us as the dedicated fans and not the casual consumers, who are increasingly getting thrown out into the grave. [EDIT: iTunes has now been allowed to remove DRM from the songs they sell, in exchange for variable pricing, YET these songs are not available in the higher bitrate, so I'm still getting fucked.]

You can now purchase concerts to download, like Pearl Jam does, which is super cool. And I guess I'd just better stop complaining, because if all the things I see as them doing "wrong" really bothered me that much, then I should just stop listening to them... So I guess I'm the asshole.

From these six songs, you get both sides of the Pumpkins... You get the focused pop mastery and sprawling loose epic jamming. It's the two sides of Corgan's Pumkins — the one where he doesn't need anybody and can just write and make music, and the one where he Needs a band, because the songs can only be realized when played Live. Good stuff. Here's downloads of all the songs, in the spirit of paying it forward...

American Gothic EP:
Rose March, Again, Again, Again (The Crux), Pox & Sunkissed

G.L.O.W. & Superchrist



Appeal To Reason, Rise Against

I really want to like this band. Vegans and into animal rights. There are songs of theirs that are punk and they get me jacked up — reminding me of Bad Religion in both their sound and in thematic lyrics... But then there's an Emo side that comes out that's self-indulgent and pompus, and I just think: "Oh, come on!"

I decided to give this album a try after watching the video for "Re-Education (Through Labor) on YouTube. Now, I like the song when I hear it on the radio, but the video is so fucking ridiculous. Young white kids with tattoos and shit blowing up a city — WHY?! What for? What's the reason? What's the message?

This was just another strike against them...

I don't know. Guess that I'm just not a part of the generation that understands this music. Getting old and set in my musical ways... My time to be impacted by this kind of music and this kind of "message" is over.

Favorite Tracks: "Collapse (Post-Amerika)", "Re-Education (Through Labor)", "The Strength To Go On", "Entertainment", and "Hairline Fracture"...




Death Magnetic, Metallica

...I cannot bring myself to listen to this piece of shit album more than once. And just for the record, this is the first Metallica album I have ever listened to in its entirety...

The fucked-up production/mastering makes the drums distorted in parts and the guitars sound like my stereo speakers are blowing — I don't even have it up past the first "notch" on my volume! The lyrics sound like the journal writings of some depressed 13 year-old that thinks he's being deep and profound, and is contributing to the literary world, but is just gonna end up changing oil for a living — not even being a proper mechanic.

And now I can see why this band has the type of audience it does...

Some of the riffs are good, but most time they don't flow in the song. Just smashed together to try and sound like some of the modern metal made by bands nowadays... Songs also go on too long. Phrases repeat and don't build or add depth or to the song's structure.

Ridiculous. Shlock. Give me Mastodon or Baroness or Pelican... These Metallica guys are worth all the punchlines and shit they get...

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