Friday Full-Length: Corrosion of Conformity, Wiseblood

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 22nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Corrosion of Conformity, Wiseblood (1996)

It’s a classic either way, but I’m willing to go to bat for Wordessence provides targeted Literature Review In Apa to help organisations maximise the efficiency of their written and spoken communications. We write Wiseblood as the best Sales Forecast For Business Plan - Top affordable and professional academic writing help. choose the service, and our professional writers will fulfil your task Corrosion of Conformity record. Blasphemy!, you say. Controversy! Harumph! Harumph!

I agree it’s commonly accepted that 1994’s see this - High-Quality Student Writing Assistance - We Can Write You Reliable Assignments At The Lowest Prices Quality Academic Deliverance (discussed here) is the Raleigh, North Carolina, band’s peak. The band themselves spent much of last year touring it again for its 25th anniversary, and in 2014, when they first reunited as the four-piece of bassist/sometimes vocalist Every essay is a structured text with arguments presented in http://issanpellegrino.edu.it/mechanics-of-materials-homework-solution-help/s online makes a studentís life much buying custom papers is the best Mike Dean, guitarist/backing vocalist Karen S. Cole, book ghostwriter since before 2003, tells you how to http://www.orgrez.cz/?literature-review-on-autism and make your book publishable and maybe bestselling too. Woodroe Weatherman, drummer/backing vocalist Best http://www.geht-auch-anders.de/dissertation-francais-bac/ - Hire the professionals to do your essays for you. Discover key tips how to get a plagiarism free themed term paper from a Reed Mullin (RIP 2020) and prodigal frontman guitarist/vocalist This comprehensive workshop provides you with a thorough understanding of modern write online for money enabling you to write all types of documents more Pepper Keenan, it was tagged as the ‘ iWriter is the Dissertation Histoire Xixe Siecle I have come across for all my website content and article writing needs. Here is my iWriter review and video. Deliverance era’ lineup.

So why the defiance of common knowledge? Easy, A Descriptive Statistics In Dissertation will provide these important steps Wiseblood is a better record. I talked about this a little bit a decade ago, but the key difference for me between the two landmark full-lengths — they both are, I would in no way deny it — is that with English Essay Writing Service. Starting to write an essay can be easy or difficult depending upon the nature of the topic. How To Write A Perfect College Essay. Deliverance, you kind of had to be there. I remember hearing “Clean My Wounds” on the radio and seeing the video on MTV. Same for “Albatross.” auckland university masters thesis Professional Writing Uppsala Thesis Online best buy resume application louisville ky good essay prompts Deliverance has had an influence on bands that spans at least one generation, but if we’re looking at it purely from the level of songwriting, I’ll take Title: Admission Probe Assessment 91504 Subject: free ebooks admission essay assistance 91504 and user guide admission essay assistance 91504 download as Wiseblood almost every time.

Issued in October 1996 through Buy Homeworkhelper Com for a cheap price. Any topic, fast completion, quality guarantee. Wondering how to write my essay? Ask us! Columbia Records with Homework-desk.com provides professional click to read more for any accounting course, at any academic level. Use 20% discount! John Custer producing as ever, Job Segment: , SAP, ERP, Engineer, Developer, Technology, Engineering Apply now Ľ Apply now . Start Wiseblood is without question a product of the CD era. It runs nearly 58 minutes long and brings together 13 tracks, including the advance singles “King of the Rotten” (the album opener), “Drowning in a Daydream,” and the slower-chugging “Man or Ash,” on which James Hetfield of Metallica put in a guest appearance on vocals alongside Keenan. But that was just a piece of the whole story. Wiseblood — like most commercial releases of the time — was not without filler, but in cuts like “Goodbye Windows,” “Long Whip / Big America,” “The Snake Has No Head,” “Wiseblood,” “Born Again for the Last Time,” the ultra-swaggering “The Door” and the subdued “Redemption City,” as well as those three songs that were sent to radio stations ahead of time, corrosion of conformity wisebloodthe band showed not only that Deliverance wasn’t a fluke, but that they could build off it and conjure even greater songwriting achievements. Wiseblood‘s title-track alone deserves to be pressed to a 12″, let alone the rest of the album. And as the record wound down, with the still catchy “Wishbone (Some Tomorrow)” following “Redemption City” and the satisfyingly speedy but largely forgettable “Fuel” and the almost-eight-minute instrumental jam “Bottom Feeder (El que come abajo)” closing out, even what might’ve been called filler retained quality and dynamic.

The hooks were everywhere. “Redemption City” (“what a pity…”), “Wiseblood” (“youngblood creepin’…”), “Goodbye Windows” (“I’d rather have holes in my eyes…”), “Long Whip / Big America” (“hey hey hey, what’s that game you play…”), “Drowning in a Daydream” (“there’s a man who watches over me…”), “Man or Ash” (“these are primitive — times!”), “Wishbone (Some Tomorrow)” (“twilight explodes in my time of the blind…”), and I don’t know about you, but I don’t have to do more than look at the titles “Born Again for the Last Time” or “The Door” or “King of the Rotten” to hear Keenan‘s voice singing them in my head. These songs continue to resonate even 24 years later, and speaking as a fan, they’ve aged well.

Of course, for a band who got as big as C.O.C. did at the time — “Drowning in a Daydream” was nominated for a Grammy in 1998 — every era will have its proponents, and C.O.C. have had enough eras to fulfill that impulse, whether it was their earlier trio days playing hardcore punk, or the beginning of Keenan‘s tenure with the band on the Karl Agell-fronted (later of Leadfoot) 1991 outing, Blind, on through the mid-’90s and into the 2000s with America’s Volume Dealer — slicker in production, still ace in craft — and the sans-Mullin 2005 In the Arms of God LP, after which the band went on pause as Keenan focused his time on Down, then proceeded without him for a¬†self-titled (review here) in 2012 and 2014’s follow-up, IX¬†(review here), before regrouping as a four-piece, touring like mad and eventually offering up 2018’s¬†No Cross No Crown¬†(review here), finding a middle-ground between nostalgia for the ’94-’96 era and the ensuing 20 years, essentially as an extension of the work the band was doing on the road.

With the band’s winding history, I understand how for a subsequent generation, they can be kind of intimidating to take on. 10 years ago, I advocated¬†Wiseblood as the place to start, and I stick by that entirely.¬†Deliverance was glorious — still is. The kind of record people dream of making. But¬†Wiseblood, with its more developed melodies, plays between metal and hard, heavy and Southern rock and the sheer chemistry between the artists who made it, feels less connected to the time it was made. It’s always been in the shadow of its predecessor’s greater sales, and there’s no question which one begat the other — “King of the Rotten” feels like an answer to “Heaven’s Not Overflowing,” “Redemption City” to “Albatross,” and so on — but taken on its own merits, even up to the jam that unfolds across “Bottom Feeder (El que come abajo),” coalescing the interludes of the album prior into one longer feast of riffs and groove, I’ll still take¬†Wiseblood, blasphemy or not. If you disagree, well, that’s fun too.

C.O.C., like everyone, have had their plans stifled by the realities of 2020. They would’ve headlined¬†Desertfest this year in London and Berlin, and done more touring besides. Whatever happens for the rest of this year and the next and the next, the band’s accomplishments are legitimately the stuff of legend, and while the loss of¬†Mullin earlier this year no doubt weighs heavy on the group, one can’t help but wonder if maybe they aren’t putting their downtime to use as so many others are and beginning to think about new material following up on¬†No Cross No Crown. I’d take another¬†C.O.C.¬†record. That’s only ever something to look forward to.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

My father used to tell me he prayed for death every day. One time, he showed me where a tooth was chipped where his mother beat him with a belt and the buckle knocked him in the mouth. I’ve been thinking about that image. About the kind of guilt that must instill, the kind of self-loathing. He threatened plenty enough, but my father never hit me. I guess that’s progress, right? Generational progress?

When I get frustrated at The Pecan, I try and respond with kindness. It doesn’t always work, mind you. But I try. Is that progress too? I don’t want to be angry at my son. I don’t want to instill him with that loathing that I took as inheritance. My birthright to being a miserable bastard. I take pills. I’m not now, but I’ve been in therapy. My father never did that. I asked him about it once and he said, “A pill won’t change who I am,” or some such. Now that I’m an adult, I have to remind myself that that’s an illness I know well, because if I don’t, I view it as weakness. Is that progress, I wonder.

Sirens go by.¬†I know I’m getting older because the world seems more terrifying. I love my wife. It’s me I could do without.

I’ll go to the playground today, take The Pecan out for a long walk to help him balance his energy out a little. He needs that. I took him to the doctor yesterday for his 30-month well visit. The lockdown at the office was serious. Then he took a nap and I went to Costco. The lockdown at Costco was less serious. People out. People still dying. Open the beaches. No one look at each other and you’ll be fine.

Drink bleach.

Or inject it.

No Gimme show this week. Pre-empted, which is fine. It was was a repeat anyhow, and they asked if I minded. Shit no. They’re good to me. I can’t complain.

Next week I’m streaming the Geezer album as of about five minutes ago. Also an Apostle of Solitude video premiere, and a Lamp of the Universe premiere and hopefully a Black Rainbows review. Lot of Ripple Music and Heavy Psych Sounds around here lately. Those two should team up as a multinational underground conglomerate and just sign everybody. Ripplepsych Sounds.

Be well. Love always.

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Friday Full-Length: Alice in Chains, Alice in Chains

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Alice in Chains, Alice in Chains (1995)

I’m sure one exists, but I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of a darker pop album than Alice in Chains‘ 1995 self-titled LP, and I just can’t come up with anything. Sure, most of its singles — opener “Grind,” the later “Again” with its inconsistent but catchy “boop-boop” hook, and even the acoustic-led “Heaven Beside You” — were rockers, but is 1992’s genre-defining classic Dirt was an exploration of the pain and longing of addiction, then surely the 64-minute, 12-song Alice in Chains captured something of its depths. Of course, it would be the band’s final album with frontman Layne Staley before the singer’s recession into heroin use and his eventual death in 2002 at the age of 34. That context, and the fact that until guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell, bassist Mike Inez and drummer Sean Kinney released Black Gives Way to Blue in 2009 with then-new frontman William DuVall, it was their last record, period, unquestionably informs the listening experience, and songs like “Brush Away,” “Sludge Factory,” “Head Creeps,” “God Am,” “Nothin’ Song” and “Frogs” are that much darker for it, with the finale “Over Now” originally written by Cantrell about his girlfriend at the time, but seeming to mourn the band itself in the lines, “You know it’s been on my mind/could I stand right there/Look myself in the eye and say that it’s over now?/We pay our debt sometime.” One way or the other, there seemed to be an acknowledgement there that something was drawing to a close.

And so it was.¬†Alice in Chains followed the 1994 EP Jar of Flies, which like the band’s preceding short release, 1992’s¬†Sap (discussed here), was driven primarily by acoustic material — plus one goof track, lest they take themselves too seriously — which had followed the radio success of¬†Dirt¬†singles like “Would?” and “Rooster” with its own string of hits in “No Excuses” and “I Stay Away.” Neither of the self-titled’s harder singles — that’s “Grind” and “Again” — would have the same reach as “Heaven Beside You” or “Over Now,” but whether a given song was loud or quiet or brash and doomed as was “Sludge Factory” or even daring to show a little hope as was the particularly gorgeously harmonized “Shame in You,” which by my estimation is a lost treasure of the band’s discography, not the least for its meandering finish, which is something they rarely let themselves do,¬†Alice in Chains was consuming and dark, varied in its execution but consistent in its message. With¬†Cantrell — who would release his first solo album,¬†Boggy Depot, three years later in 1998 and later tour with DuVall (also of¬†Comes with the Fall)¬†in his band — taking on the bulk of the songwriting duties, the songs had a largely unified perspective, and with¬†Staley‘s addiction to heroin well documented as by then taking its toll on his ability to function in the band and more generally in life, it was the guitarist who stepped in to fill the void, essentially readjusting the balance that had been at work in¬†Alice in Chains since (before) 1990’s¬†Facelift, their debut album. Indeed, especially in light of¬†Boggy Depot and its vastly-underrated follow-up, 2002’s Degradation Trip,¬†Alice in Chains is very much emblematic of¬†Cantrell‘s songwriting approach in its maturity, which of course would continue to manifest during¬†Alice in Chains‘ second run beginning with their reunion in 2005.

alice in chains self titled

That isn’t to minimalize¬†Staley‘s contributions vocally, however. “Head Creeps” was a six-and-a-half-minute chasm of grim psychedelic impact and tension with his voice overtop, and though its guitar patterning was more indicative of Cantrell‘s poppier work, “God Am” still bore the haunting quality that Staley brought to “Sludge Factory” and “Brush Away” immediately before it, following “Grind” in an opening salvo that seemed to push further into an abyss before “Heaven Beside You” stepped in to provide some measure of respite. Playing that dynamic, and indeed¬†Staley and¬†Cantrell, off each other — with the always-inventive drumming of¬†Kinney and¬†Inez‘s clinic-in-class bass as a foundation — became the push and pull of¬†Alice in Chains, and the material thrived on the overarching conflict. Listening to it nearly a quarter-century later, it does not sound like an easy record to have made, and by all reports, it wasn’t, but its emotional basis, troubled sensibility and sheer level of craft still resonate, whether it’s the manic “So Close” or the sweet melodies corrupted in “Frogs,” which moved from its solidified hook into a wandering nod-off of¬†Staley seeming to predict his own death in mumbles as the instruments behind offered a darker take on “Shame in You”‘s wandering sensibility, this time feeling isolated and almost nihilistic. Is it any wonder that “Over Now” began with a sample of “Good Night” by jazz bandleader¬†Ted Lewis? What else was there to say?

Naturally, though it seemed like it would be their last record after¬†Staley‘s death, Alice in Chains wasn’t the last music the band produced in this incarnation. In 1996, the live recording of their appearance on¬†MTV Unplugged — I remember watching it on its first airing; it was incredible — became a hit in its own right, and two songs, “Get Born Again” and “Died,” recorded in 1998 for inclusion with the¬†Music Bank box set. They would be the last tracks¬†Staley¬†recorded with¬†Alice in Chains, though he also appeared on a¬†cover of¬†Pink Floyd‘s “Another Brick in the Wall” on a 1998 movie soundtrack as part of the assembled one-off “supergroup” Class of ’99 with¬†Tom Morello of¬†Rage Against the Machine and¬†members of¬†Jane’s Addiction. It was less than a career highlight.

Last year, Alice in Chains marked the release of their third post-Staley LP,¬†Rainier Fog (discussed here), and the fact that they’ve gone 10 years with three records out with¬†DuVall means they’ve at this point been around longer without him than with and put out as many albums. I won’t take away from the quality of Rainier Fog in manifesting a persona for¬†Alice in Chains having moved forward in a way that even the prior 2013 outing,¬†The Devil Put the Dinosaurs Here, and¬†Black Gives Way to Blue couldn’t, but there are many for whom Staley‘s work in the band remains an essential facet. There are arguments to be made for either side, and frankly, I’m not interested in laying them out or begrudging a band whose work has legitimately changed my life their finding a path and continued success along it. Either way, their ’90s-era recordings stand as testament to the force they were at the time in creativity, performance and presence, and of those,¬†Alice in Chains remains singularly affecting.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

Been up early the last two days. Like 1:45AM. Yesterday I was like, “Duh, I’ll get up and get all my writing done and then I can just relax when the baby naps and that’ll be great because I have infinite energy and I can just sit and read and there’s no way I’ll immediately fall asleep or anything.” Clearly that was dumb. Today was less of a conscious choice. I was just up. I tried to go back to sleep for an hour, read some, and then finally decided to say screw it and start the day. Coffee, Alice in Chains, the whole bit. It’s quarter-after-four now. I had the notion of going to 7-Eleven at around three to buy a bag of ice, but wanted to get this post done first. I may yet head out. It’s like three minutes away. Not such a journey. I used to walk there when I was a kid, probably listening to¬†Dirt or Suicidal Tendencies’¬†Art of Rebellion or whatever on my Walkman.

We were back in Massachusetts earlier this week. Monday, I guess it was. The Patient Mrs. was giving a talk on campus up there — one of her last duties to Bridgewater State unless you count emptying her office and teaching an online class — so I went up as well and packed vinyl and a bunch of other stuff from the kitchen and around. Most of what’s left is like stuff from closets and furniture. The closing date on that place is in about a month, so hopefully nothing falls through with the buyer between now and then and we can be done with it, get everything else out before we close. We came back down to Jersey on Tuesday and have been here since, are staying here through the impending terrible heat this weekend. No central air, but window units should do the job fairly enough. One hopes, anyhow. There’s a ton to do in this house. Everyone is overwhelmed. Tense. Could probably stand to get laid.

This was my grandmother’s house before she died, we’re buying it from my mother. It’s been cleaned up, but not really cleaned out, so as we’re basically moving a house’s worth of stuff into it from, you know, our house in Massachusetts, there’s a concurrent house’s worth of stuff we’re moving out from here. Some of that has been donated, some my mother has taken, some is stuff my sister was storing here, some is going to my cousin, some we’re keeping, etc., but everything is an emotionally fraught process, and there is a fucking ton of it. Plus we found a leak in the wall upstairs in the rain yesterday and god fucking knows what that portends in terms of repair. Six years ago, when we moved to MA, we just packed our shit and left. This has thus far been much more complicated, and we have a long way to go.

But eventually, that will result in a new dishwasher, and I sincerely look forward to that.

Today at 1PM Eastern is a new episode of¬†The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio. It’s my tribute to Maryland Doom Fest 2019, just playing some of the bands and talking about the festival a bit. It was a good time, so I wanted to highlight that. Call me nostalgic if you must.

Next week? Wolf Blood review, I think. With the AIC done, I’m listening to that record now and it’s pretty killer. Then maybe Morass of Molasses and we’ll see about the rest. Lo-Pan have a show in Teaneck next week that I’m going to hit up ahead of seeing them with C.O.C. in August, so I’ll review that — I don’t expect much in terms of lighting — and there are a couple sweet-ass The Obelisk Presents announcements coming as well, so keep an eye out.

The rest is and will be what it is and will be.

Everyone have a great and safe weekend. If you’re someplace warm, stay cool and hydrate. If you’re someplace cool, get some good snuggles going. Who doesn’t like snuggles?

Thanks again for reading. Forum, radio, merch.

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Friday Full-Length: Mad Season, Above

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Mad Season, Above (1995)

Sometimes you just have to wonder how an artist or a band got away with making the record they made. Mad Season‘s Above was released in 1995, in the post-Kurt¬†Cobain wain of the Seattle grunge era, and I suppose the enticing tagline for Columbia Records was probably something along the lines of, “Features members of Pearl Jam,¬†Screaming Trees and Alice in Chains,” but even given that, with its ultra-dark cover art by vocalist Layne Staley (the Alice in Chains component) and a collection of correspondingly melancholic, mostly quiet and depressive-if-soulful songs, Above was hardly a fit alongside Celine Dion or Mariah Carey, from both of whom the label also released studio outings that year. “Lifeless Dead?” Come on.

Still, I remember hearing “River of Deceit” on the radio when it came out, so to say the least, it was a different era.¬†Mad Season was the product of¬†Pearl Jam¬†guitarist¬†Mike McCready meeting blues bassist¬†John Baker Saunders in rehab, starting a trio with¬†Skin Yard/Screaming Trees drummer¬†Barrett Martin and finally recruiting¬†Staley on vocals partially with the hope of getting him clean from what was by then an already well documented history of abusing heroin. I guess it just kind of happened that the aesthetic they hit on was a grown-up incarnation of the style their main outfits played — an adult grunge — still heavy and edgy in its approach, but given a sense of class through¬†Saunders‘ low end and the patient flow within the tracks that felt both immediately accessible and decidedly non-commercial.

Above is awash in hooks, from the minimalist opener and longest track (immediate points) “Wake Up” with its gorgeous showcase of the sadness that no one since¬†Staley has been able to convey and none of his contemporaries could match, through the more rocking “I’m Above,” the almost folkish “River of Deceit,” and down through the rolling “I Don’t Know Anything” and percussive, sax-laden lounge-vibing “Long Gone Day,” which is one of two inclusions on the original version of the record alongside “I’m Above” to feature¬†Screaming Trees singer¬†Mark Lanegan, pre-Queens of the Stone Age but already by that point established as a solo artist, to brilliant affect in a layered duet. But¬†as catchy as it gets — and even the six-minute ramble “Artificial Red” is catchy —¬†Above never feels cloying or like it’s grasping for its audience’s attention in the way that some later grunge records do, having given up the urgency that fueled them as the players moved from being punk and noise acts and into what would ultimately break them through to a wider audience and define a generation of rock and roll. It’s not by any means a friendly record.

A big part of that is¬†directly attributable to¬†Staley‘s vocal performance, and it’s a spirit that almost immediately following¬†Above‘s release he’d take back with him to¬†Alice in Chains for the recording of their later-1995 self-titled on songs like “Shame in You.” Though¬†Above nearly digs itself a hole with the seven-minute guitar-led jam “November Hotel” as the penultimate cut, that only seems to make¬†Staley‘s voice feel like that much more of a treasure when¬†it¬†shows up again late in the atmospheric finale “All Alone,” a wash of its own, no less immersive than the spacious keys and guitar, subtle percussion and gentle bassline that back it. As distinct as he was in his approach, there was just about no way he wouldn’t become a defining presence in¬†Mad Season, and though the band would only do this one studio release before his death from an overdose in 2002 — 15 years ago now — his contributions to¬†Above provide some of the clearest evidence of just how special he was as an artist and a once-in-a-generation figure, and of course, it’s the work that lives on.

In 2013, Columbia reissued¬†Above in a deluxe edition with bonus material from a never-released second album with¬†Lanegan as frontman (they worked under the name Disinformation at the time, circa 1997), and a DVD of live footage and more.¬†Saunders also died of an overdose, in 1999, so a full reunion was never possible, but in addition to that reissue,¬†McCready and¬†Martin¬†joined forces with¬†Guns ‘n’ Roses bassist¬†Duff McKagan — the economist — and¬†Soundgarden vocalist¬†Chris Cornell to perform a set in Jan. 2015 with the Seattle Symphony that was quietly released as a live album released later¬†that same year. There was once again discussion of new material at the time, but to-date nothing has come to fruition.

The bottom line is Above feels even more resonant today than it did 22 years ago, and as always, I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for listening.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t note the passing, first reported yesterday and apparently the result of suicide, of¬†Chris Cornell. I had already chosen to finish the week with this record when I saw the news, but though he made it longer than either¬†Cobain or¬†Staley, I don’t think anyone who appreciated any of his work in¬†Soundgarden or elsewhere who wouldn’t say he was taken too soon, and all the more tragically by his own hand. For someone who touched so many lives and influenced a generation of singers in his wake — let alone someone with three teenage kids — to feel so empty while having so much to live for boggles the mind, but until you’ve been there, you don’t know.

Cornell was arguably the best singer of his Seattle-based generational contemporaries — Staley was more emotive but didn’t have the range to soar Glenn Hughes-style like Cornell could, Cobain was a punker, Lanegan’s a bluesman and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder might stand up as a comparison point in terms of charisma, but never had the force of delivery that seemed to come so naturally from Cornell. I’ve never been the biggest Soundgarden fan, but his is a significant, irreplaceable loss.

Maybe you saw, maybe you didn’t, but I announced on the social medias last weekend that The Patient Mrs. and I are expecting. It’s a boy, due somewhere around Oct. 15. He’s got a name, but mostly we’ve been calling him “The Pecan” because it sounds less threatening than “The Impending” — which was my alternative — and a few weeks ago, The Patient Mrs.’ you’re-going-to-have-a-baby app said the fetus was the size of “a Southern pecan,” which was hilarious to us both because how the hell big is that and what difference does it make if it’s Southern? If he’s born with a Molly Hatchet shirt on or some shit, I’m going to be really, genuinely surprised.

But anyway, that’s the big news I’ve been hinting toward around here. I mentioned the Pecan in my Roadburn coverage, briefly, and subsequently removed the reference, but a couple people caught it and I saw some speculation, so there you go. The Pecan. Due in October. Life changes.

Do I know how it will affect this site? Nope. My thing all along has been not knowing how whatever comes along will affect the site, and it’s worked out pretty well, so I’m gonna roll with that and go where it takes me.

Fatherhood. Oof.

Anyway, though conversations about said Pecan occupy just about my every day at this point, there’s still a while to go before the guy actually shows up and plenty to keep me busy in the meantime. For example! — my job is ending in less than a month. Unemployment. Again. I’ve learned a few valuable lessons in my year at Hasbro and I’m appreciative of that, but apart from the salary hit I can’t say I’m heartbroken to move on. Truth be told, I’ve never enjoyed working for anyone but myself. If I had any money to start a business, that’s what I’d do with it.

But I don’t. So maybe stay-at-home-dad for as long as I can and then see what comes along. If I can pick up something part-time and/or remote, all the better. Somebody has to need an editor, right?

On that note, here’s what’s up for next week, subject to change as always. Straight from the notes:

Mon.: Radio Adds, Desert Wizards video, and some cool Naxatras news.
Tue.: Elder review, Ephedra video premiere, update from Keep it Low and more.
Wed.: WhiteNails review/album stream, Year of the Cobra Six Dumb Questions.
Thu.: Trippy Wicked video premiere, maybe another track premiere (waiting to see what shakes out), otherwise a Demon Head review.
Fri.: Vokonis video premiere/album review.

That’s where we’re at now, though, yeah, some stuff is still up in the air.

Staying home this weekend, as opposed to driving to Connecticut, and hoping for a laid back couple days in the air conditioning watching baseball as one does during the summer. The Patient Mrs. and I were talking about going to see¬†Alien Covenant tomorrow morning — 10:40AM IMAX showing, baby; we roll in style — but that’s tentative. Whatever you’re up to, I hope you have a great and safe time.

Thanks for reaching, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

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Friday Full-Length: Corrosion of Conformity, Deliverance

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 13th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

C.O.C., Deliverance (1994)

You’d be more likely to win a fight against the sky than successfully argue against C.O.C.‘s Deliverance. Their 1994 fourth album and released as their first on Columbia Records a decade after their debut, Eye for an Eye, it was the record that marked the beginning of the Pepper Keenan era. Following 1991’s Blind, on which Keenan played guitar and sang on “Vote with a Bullet,” he stepped into the guitarist/vocalist role to fill the gap vacated by Karl Agell, playing alongside the founding trio of guitarist Woody Weatherman, bassist/vocalist Mike Dean and drummer/sometimes vocalist Reed Mullin. The change was palpable sonically. While Blind was a shift in itself, departing from the crossover hardcore punk/thrash of Eye for an Eye and its 1985 follow-up, Animosity, Deliverance pushed boldly into riff-led heavy Southern rock, and in so doing became a standard-bearer for the genre that still holds up 21 years later. Swamped with classic songs — and, at the time, commercial hits — like “Albatross” and “Clean My Wounds,” Deliverance is in many ways the quintessential heavy rock album, and even deeper cuts like “Shake Like You,” “My Grain” and “Shelter” offer no letup in quality. Like the best of the classics, to even attempt to estimate the scope of its influence would be futile, and it remains as relevant today as it was when it was released, if not more so.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that, after several years and two albums by the original trio,¬†Corrosion of Conformity¬†have reunited with¬†Keenan¬†for a round of UK dates that, presumably, herald much more touring to come. Sooner or later, they’ll bring that show to the States.¬†Keenan, who’s spent the last decade in¬†Down¬†following the release of C.O.C.‘s underrated¬†2005 outing,¬†In the Arms of God, carries with him a commercial profile that the band seems to have embraced, playing bigger rooms and promising standards from the¬†Deliverance¬†album and its 1996 follow-up,¬†Wiseblood, in the setlist. The question is inevitably whether or not the four-piece will construct a new album, but with each rehearsal video that surfaces or concert report that comes out,¬†the anticipation for this form of¬†C.O.C.‘s return grows more fervent. It might be a year or two before they get there, since they seem to be testing the waters on the road first, but unless something falls apart in a big way or for some reason the situation is untenable for the players involved, a new record seems fairly inevitable.

But of course, that’s speculation. In the meantime, enjoy the classic on its own terms and if you haven’t, dig into 2012’s self-titled and 2014’s¬†IX, released with¬†Dean,¬†Weatherman¬†and¬†Mullin, because both records were badass and are in severe danger of being lost in the wake of this reunion. It would be a shame. Hope you dig it.

I’m not around Monday, so I’m going to try to get a podcast up. Have to take a defensive driving class because the problem with Massachusetts driving is definitely me and not Massachusetts driving. Right. Whatever. I’ll try to get a podcast up Sunday night or early Monday morning, but I’ve also been traveling this week, so it’s been a total mess. Have also slept like crap and been out of my mind generally, hence the lack of reviews.¬†Le Betre/King Buffalo¬†on Tuesday, Radio Adds,¬†Acid King¬†and¬†Blackout¬†after that. Also need to do that¬†Monolord¬†record and about a million fucking others. I can’t even keep it all straight in my head. Whatever.

If you’ve emailed me or Facebooked me this week and I haven’t gotten back, I’m sorry. I’m working on it.

Hope you have a great and safe weekend. Please check out the forum and radio stream.

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Saturday Full-Length: Judas Priest, Stained Class

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 27th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Judas Priest, Stained Class (1978)

The¬†Judas Priest¬†catalog has a few classics in it, or I guess they wouldn’t be¬†Judas Priest, and while they’ve joined the ranks of those metal bands who seem to retire as often as not, there’s little arguing one can do with their early years — they’re the raw building blocks on which heavy metal would be constructed. And as much as¬†Black Sabbath¬†gets credit for inventing the sound, listening to a record like 1978’s¬†Stained Class, there’s little doubt Priest¬†played a major role in shaping the style¬†and visual aesthetic of the genre.

Stained Class¬†is the fourth¬†Judas Priest¬†album, following 1977’s¬†Sin after Sin, 1976’s¬†Sad Wings of Destiny¬†and their 1974 debut,¬†Rocka Rolla, which gets slagged a lot for not being as “metal” as what followed, but offers plenty for fans of heavy ’70s rock. Songs like “Better by You, Better than Me” (a cover of Spooky Tooth),¬†“Exciter,” “Invader,” the ultra-badass “Saints in Hell” and “Beyond the Realms of Death” are monuments of the soon to rise New Wave of British Heavy Metal, arriving two years before¬†Iron Maiden¬†released their first album¬†and roughly concurrent to Mot√∂rhead‘s 1977 self-titled¬†debut.¬†Sabbath¬†at this point were falling apart, releasing¬†Never Say Die¬†in ’78 before the big split with¬†Ozzy, and while early metal seemed to be floundering all around them,¬†Judas Priest¬†would emerge to lead the style into the ’80s, to what many still regard as its peak era.

Not a bad legacy to wind up with. Of course, the mob went wild when¬†Priest¬†issued¬†British Steel¬†in 1980 (1978’s¬†Killing Machine¬†appeared between¬†Stained Class¬†and that album), and that helped propel¬†the Birmingham five-piece to their iconic status, but a couple years earlier, when¬†Stained Class¬†hit, it did so with more of a workman feel. Comprised at that point of guitarists¬†Glenn Tipton¬†and¬†K.K. Downing, vocalist¬†Rob Halford, bassist¬†Ian Hill¬†and drummer¬†Les Binks, they were a band who knew what they were going for and who knew who they were even as pop consciousness shifted toward the rawer and less superficially pretentious punk of the day. I won’t take anything away from that either — if you ever hear me badmouth the¬†Ramones, please alert the authorities that I’ve been kidnapped and replaced by a cyborg with shitty taste — but I think time has proved¬†Judas Priest¬†were right in sticking to their guns.

This is the last week-ending full-length of 2014, so I hope you enjoy.

Why Saturday and not Friday as usual? Well,¬†The Patient Mrs.¬†and I got home a little bit after midnight from about 72 hours straight of Xmas family time. It was delightful, and draining. A final two-hour trip north from Connecticut and by the time we got in, we didn’t even have energy enough to bring in presents from the car. It’ll happen today. Of course, not closing out the week before I went to bed wound up being the wrong choice since I was up until two and then up again from about 5:30 to 8 this morning —¬†something¬†just didn’t feel right — so I got mine in the end for veering from the routine even in this small way. Take that, me.

If you celebrated, I hope you had a good ol’ time. This week coming up is New Year’s, so things get even crazier.¬†The Patient Mrs.¬†and I will head back down to New Jersey in the middle of the week (Tuesday night, I believe) for more festivities and wahthaveyou, but I’ve also decided to close out 2014 with a bang around here. I’ve got stacks of CDs on my desk that have come in for review and it’s time to get them gone, so what I’ve decided to do is a series I’m going to call¬†“Last Licks.” It’ll be 10 reviews per post (obviously each writeup will be relatively brief), Monday to Friday this coming week, rounding up stuff I want to get in before the year ends, and that’ll be that for 2014. Yeah, I know it’ll be 2015 by next Friday, but just roll with me on it. It’ll be good.

So that’s 50 reviews next week. Keep an eye out. Ha.

I also have some news to catch up on, so I’ll work that in where and when I’m able, and we’ll have the results of the Readers Poll — did you get your list in? — hopefully on the first, but maybe the second if¬†Slevin is busy or tells me to screw off, which he’d be well within his rights to do. It’s been a close race the whole month and has been exciting to watch, and I’m thankful to everyone that’s taken part so far.

Thanks also to everyone who shared the lists that went up this week and the podcast as well. I know it wasn’t much for quantity of posts the last couple days, but I hope the quality made up for some of that.

Alright, I’m going to get more coffee and spend the remainder of this lovely day sitting on my ass. Enjoy the holiday weekend. Be safe, have fun, and we’ll see you back here Monday to close out 2014 in style.

Please check out the forum and radio stream.

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Friday Full-Length: Alice in Chains, Sap EP

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 17th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Alice in Chains, Sap (1992)

I don’t think I really need to go out of my way to justify including Sap as a heavy work. Sometimes I wonder what I would’ve thought of Alice in Chains had I been 15 or 20 years older than I was when they broke big, if the whole thing would’ve seemed as ridiculous to me then as a lot of modern alternative and pop hard rock seems to me now. Like Primus, of whom I’ve expressed a similar enduring affection, Alice in Chains hit me at just the right time. Dirt came out in Sept. 1992, and that would be the first of their albums that I heard. I was 11 years old.

Their post-reunion stuff hasn’t really interested me — I bought a used copy of Black Gives Way to Blue not so terribly long after it came out, but hardly listened to it. I heard part of one song from the one they did last year on the radio and it had that computerized wall of sound guitar anti-tone thing going for it, like Nickelback with a pitch-corrected Jerry Cantrell harmony. A futuristic nightmare in which something that once seemed so pure, on Facelift, Sap, Dirt, Jar of Flies, and the self-titled (which gets written off a lot but was actually really, really dark), comes back as unaware self-parody. Robots impersonating flowers. Food: Now with more flavor. Somewhere in a nameless city, Rowdy Roddy Piper puts on a pair of sunglasses.

But this. Beautiful. At least for the four songs of Sap proper, and then they get into the silly bonus track lest they be taken too seriously. I had this on earlier this week, turned up loud, was singing along to notes I used to be able to hit I guess before I turned 30 and finally hit puberty. My intention was to close out this week with something else, something a little more “the norm” as much as there is one, or at least something that’s not such an unrepentant downer, but this was more honest to where my head’s been at the last few days so there wasn’t really a choice. If it’s not your thing, or maybe it didn’t get into you when you were the right age, I’d be happy to hear about it in the comments.

Sorry about that whole “no posts” thing yesterday. I try to avoid that whenever I can, at least get something up. Yesterday The Patient Mrs. and I were on the road all day coming back from a mid-week trip south to Jersey. There’s a good chance this will come up again. I’ll try to give some notice or post what I can. I do my best.

Lots of news this week. Lots of videos. Not a lot of reviews. Here are the next five album reviews I’m going to write for this site. Ready? Weedpecker, Colour Haze (the Ewige Blumenkraft reissue), Conan, Mammatus and Papir. I really fucking hope it’s not a month before I get those done, but if it is, fuck it. That’s what I want to write about so that’s what I’m going to write about. I spend an awful lot of time feeling obligated and like I’m behind on shit. Well, I am behind, a lot, but when it comes to it, I do this to have a good time and write about music I enjoy, so if you’re not one of those next five reviews, I’m sorry but you’re gonna have to wait a little longer. Please know that your patience is appreciated.

I did a killer interview the other day with Rev. Jim Forrester about the Sixty Watt Shaman reunion. I’m not sure when I’ll have the time to transcribe it — Conan is next, then Alcest — but I’ll get there. I wish I had more time. Also money. Also abdominal definition. Also the ability to express emotions beyond frustration. It’s a long list. I wish and wish.

But life is what happens while you sit around and wish on bullshit you either can or can’t make real, so fuck it. I hope your week was incredible like the first time you heard Sabbath and it clicked, and I hope your weekend follows suit. If you stick around, I’ll have a new podcast coming either Sunday night or Monday morning, and there’s a lot of other silly nonsense to come as well next week other than whatever reviews I can get done. I hope you’ll hang out.

Thanks all, enjoy Sap, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

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Wino Wednesday: The Obsessed Documentary, 1994

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 29th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Happy Wino WednesdayThis has made the rounds online for a while now, but I thought that in light of how documentary-minded it’s getting around here lately (see here and here and here), I figured no time like the present to highlight the 1994 VHS documentary that Columbia Records put together ahead of their release of The Obsessed‘s The Church Within, which gave the record some context thanks to interview with the likes of Joe Lalli (Fugazi) and Lee Dorrian (Cathedral), among many others.

It’s something that you see all the time nowadays, from actual feature-length, professionally-done films to your basic camcorder webisodes taken in the studio and used by the label as promotional devices, but in 1994, The Obsessed Documentary ran 27 minutes and did much more than just hock the album. Rather, in that time, the already-cemented legacy of the band is explored and live and rehearsal footage is included as a bonus for fans.

Because it was uploaded to the YouTubes prior to that site’s lifting the band on clips over 10 minutes, it’s broken into three parts, all of which are included here, because, well, fuck it. If you’re gonna do something, do it right.

[UPDATE 03/22/12: Someone uploaded the whole thing in one stream, and in HD, so I went ahead and replaced the three players with this one.]

Happy Wino Wednesday:

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