I’ve been through this clip for Queens of the Stone Age‘s “I Appear Missing” a couple times now — a three-minute sample of what the interwebs tells me is a six-minute song. As someone who’s done probably more than his fair share of nerding out over the years for the work of Josh Homme, I guess it’s cool, but I’ve yet to hear anything in the actual music either in this track or the single “My God is the Sun” that’s got me really on board the dorkwagon for …Like Clockwork, the band’s first studio outing since 2007′s Era Vulgaris. After a certain point, I start to feel like the problem is my expectation and not the songs themselves. What the fuck did I think was coming?
Anyway, this one’s a little moodier than “My God is the Sun,” which was catchy and upbeat. Whoever’s gonna like it is gonna like it and whoever isn’t gonna like it isn’t gonna like it. I hate to think of myself as falling in the middle ground. Case of the sonic Mondays. Or maybe the song’s a downer and it’s got me down. Working that magic. You know how it is. Maybe I never liked rock and roll that much in the first place, or maybe I just feel like a tool feeding into a viral marketing campaign. Whatever.
Video and PR wire info:
Following the cryptic surfacing of thehttp://www.likeclockwork.tv/ and its hazy semi-clues and last night’s Adult Swim ad, Queens Of The Stone Age have unveiled a trailer scored by three minutes of the never-before-heard “I Appear Missing,” which appears in its entirety on the band’s upcoming … Like Clockwork, out June 4 on Matador Records.
Showcasing disturbingly beautiful (or beautifully disturbing?) images from the boundless imagination of … Like Clockwork visual visionary, enigmatic UK artist Boneface (brought to life by animator Liam Brazier), “I Appear Missing” is a hypnotic journey into a nightmare-scape that adds illustrative dimension to another audio glimpse of the coming storm that is … Like Clockwork. Keep Your Eyes peeled onhttp://www.likeclockwork.tv/to see what happens next…
Described by Queens principal Joshua Homme as “an audio documentary of a manic year,” … Like Clockwork is the band¹s first full length collection of all new material since 2007′s Era Vulgaris, as well as its debut release on new label partner Matador. The record can be pre-ordered on CD and vinyl now fromhttp://smarturl.it/QOTSApreorderand from iTunes athttp://smarturl.it/QOTSAlikeclockwork. iTunes pre-orders will immediately receive “My God Is The Sun.”
… Like Clockwork was produced by Joshua Homme and QOTSA, recorded by Mark Rankin with additional engineering by Justin Smith, at Josh’s studio, Pink Duck, in Burbank, California.
Yeah sure, the video of Queens of the Stone Age doing new song “My God is the Sun” at Lollapalooza in Brazil got like 300,000-plus views in a span of about 30 hours. Sure. It’s kind of a big deal. Well, fine. In case you didn’t see it on the rest of the internet, here it is. Fuck you, peer pressure.
QOTSA‘s new album, Like Clockwork, is due in June on Matador Records. You might recognize drummer Jon Theodore in the video from The Mars Volta.
Queens of the Stone Age, “My God is the Sun” live at Lollapalooza Brasil
Posted in Features on January 15th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Last year was a monster. You might say I’m still catching up on reviews for records that came out in October. Yet here we stand in 2013. It’s a whole new year and that means instead of looking back at some of the best releases, it’s time to look ahead and nerd out at what’s to come. Frankly, either way is a good time, but with some of what’s included on this list, 2013 has the potential to be yet another incredible year for lovers of the heavy.
Across a range of genres and subgenres, there are bands big and small, known and unknown, getting ready to unleash debuts, follow-ups and catalog pieces that by the time December rolls around, will have defined the course of this year. It’s always great to hold an album in your hands, to put it on and listen to it for the first or 19th time, but part of the fun is the excitement beforehand too, and that’s where we’re at now.
Some of these I’ve heard, most I haven’t, and some are only vague announcements, but when I started out putting this list together, my plan was to keep it to 10 and I wound up with twice that many because there was just too much happening to ignore. The list is alphabetical because it doesn’t make any sense to me to rate albums that aren’t out yet, and I hope if you find something you’d like to add, you’ll please feel free to leave a comment below.
Thanks in advance for reading, and enjoy:
Acid King, TBA
We begin with only the basest of speculations. Would you believe me if I told you that 2013 makes it eight years since the heavier-than-your-heavy-pants San Francisco trio Acid King released their last album, III? Of course you wouldn’t believe me. You’d be like, “Dude, no way,” but it’s true. Eight friggin’ years. They’ve hinted all along at new material, toured Europe and played fests in the States like Fall into Darkness, but really, it’s time for something new on record. Even an EP. A single! I’ll take what I can get at this point, so long as it’s Lori S. riffing it.
Chances are, the above isn’t the final art for Argentinian Los Natas-offshoot Ararat‘s forthcoming III, but frontman Sergio Chotsourian has posted a few demos over the last several months and the logo image came from that. Either way, with as far as last year’s II(review here) went in expanding their sound, I can’t wait to hear the final versions of the tracks for the next one. They’re still flying under a lot of people’s radar, it seems, but Ararat are quickly becoming one of South America’s best heavy psych acts. Do yourself a favor and keep an eye out.
Brooklyn trio Bezoar‘s 2012 debut, Wyt Deth, might have been my favorite album that I never reviewed last year, and needless to say, that’s not a mistake I’m going to make twice. The new songs I’ve heard the three-piece play live have ruled and an alliance with engineer Stephen Conover (whose discography includes Rza and Method Man) is intriguing to say the least. I’m sure whatever Bezoar come out with, the performances from bassist/vocalist Sara Villard, guitarist Tyler Villard and drummer Justin Sherrell will be as hard to pin down as the debut was. It’s a record I’m already looking forward to being challenged by.
Blaak Heat Shujaa, The Edge of an Era
Due out April 9, Blaak Heat Shujaa‘s The Edge of an Era will mark the full-length debut for the ambitious trio (now based in L.A.) on Tee Pee Records following on the heels of the impressive The Storm Generation EP (review here). From the Scott Reeder production to the band’s engaging heavy psych/desert rock blend, this one seems bound to win Blaak Heat Shujaa a lot of new friends, and if the advance EP is anything to go by, The Edge of an Eracould prove to be aptly-titled indeed.
Black Pyramid, Adversarial
No release date yet, but so far as I know, Adversarial, which is Massachusetts doom rockers Black Pyramid‘s third album and first to be fronted by guitarist/vocalist Darryl Shepard, is recorded, mixed and mastered. Song titles include “Swing the Scimitar,” “Onyx and Obsidian,” “Issus,” “Bleed Out” and “Aphelion” (the latter was also released as a limited single in 2012 by Transubstans as a split with Odyssey), and having seen the band live with this lineup, expect no less than a beheading. Also watch for word from the recently announced side-project from Shepard and bassist Dave Gein, The Scimitar.
Black Sabbath, 13
There was a bit of a shitstorm this past weekend when the title of Black Sabbath‘s first Ozzy Osbourne-fronted album since 1978 was revealed in a press release. Nonetheless, 13is set for release in June and will feature Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine on drums in place of Bill Ward, who last year was engaged in a well-publicized contract dispute with the band. Bummer though that is and as crappy and generic a title as 13 makes — especially this year — let’s not forget that Heaven and Hell‘s The Devil You Know also had a crap title and it was awesome. I’m not sure if I’m willing to stake anticipation on the difference between the vocals of Ronnie James Dio circa 2010 and Ozzy Osbourne in 2013, or Rick Rubin‘s production, but hell, is Geezer Butler playing bass on it? Yes? Well, okay then, I’ll listen. The world can do a lot worse than that and another batch of Tony Iommi riffs, whatever else may be in store.
Clutch, Earth Rocker
It’s a ripper. With Earth Rocker, Clutch reunite with Blast Tyrant producer Machine and the results are a record varied enough to keep some of the recent blues elements of the past couple albums (“Gone Cold”) while also showcasing a reinvigorated love of straight-up heavy rock numbers on tracks like “Crucial Velocity,” “Book, Saddle & Go” and “Cyborg Betty.” Longtime Clutch fans can expect a bigger guitar sound from Tim Sult, killer layering and much personality from vocalist Neil Fallon and yet another stellar performance from the best rhythm section in American heavy, bassist Dan Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster. No doubt in my mind it’ll prove one of the year’s best when 2013 is done. Once more unto the breach!
Devil to Pay, Fate is Your Muse
Last month, I hosted a Devil to Pay video premiere for the Indianapolis-based rockers’ new track, “This Train Won’t Stop,” from the 7″ single of the same name that precedes the release of their Ripple Music debut full-length (fourth overall), Fate is Your Muse. If the 575-plus Thee Facebook “Likes” are anything to go by, anticipation for the album is pretty high. Reasonably so. When I saw Devil to Pay at last year’s SHoD fest, the new material was killer and the band seemed more confident than ever before. Stoked to hear how that translates to a studio recording and how the band has grown since 2009′s Heavily Ever After.
Egypt, Become the Sun
Technically speaking, Become the Sun is the full-length debut from North Dakota doomers Egypt. The band released their self-titled demo through MeteorCity in 2009 (review here), were broken up at the time, and reassembled with a new guitarist for Become the Sun– which is the only album on this list to have already been reviewed. I don’t know about a physical release date, but it’s available now digitally through iTunes and other outlets, and however you do so, it’s worth tracking down to get the chance to listen to it. Underrated Midwestern riffing, hopefully with a CD/LP issue coming soon.
The Flying Eyes, TBA
Currently holed up in Lord Baltimore Studios with producer Rob Girardi, Baltimore’s The Flying Eyes are reportedly putting the finishing touches on the follow-up to 2011′s immersive Done So Wrong, an album full of young energy and old soul. Along with Blaak Heat Shujaa above, I consider these dudes to be right at the forefront of the next generation of American heavy psych and I’m excited to hear what kind of pastoral blues works its way into their tracks when the album finally gets released. They’re a band you’re probably going to hear a lot about this year, so be forewarned.
Gozu, The Fury of a Patient Man
The melodicism of Boston-based Gozu‘s second Small Stone full-length, The Fury of a Patient Man (I swear I just typed “The Fury of a Patient Mrs.”) is no less striking than its album cover. I’ve had this one for a while, have gotten to know it pretty well and my plan is to review it next week, so keep an eye out for that, but for now, I’ll just say that the sophomore outing is a fitting answer to the potential of Gozu‘s 2010 debut, Locust Season (review here) and marks the beginning of what already looks like another strong year for Small Stone. I never thought I’d be so into a song called “Traci Lords.”
Halfway to Gone, TBA
What I’d really like to see happen is for Halfway to Gone – who are high on my list of New Jersey hometown heroes and who haven’t had a new LP out since their 2004 self-titled — to put out a new record in 2013, for it to lay waste to everyone who hears it, and for the band to finally get the recognition they’ve long since deserved. I’ve been charged up on revisiting their three albums since I saw them at the Brighton Bar this past July and after a long wait, rumors, breakups, makeups, etc., I’ve got my hopes up that this year is when these dudes pull it together and make a new one happen. It’s been too long and this band is too good to just let it go.
Kings Destroy, TBA
Confession time: I have the Kings Destroy record. I’ve had it for a bit now. It rules. I don’t know when you’re gonna hear it, but it’s strange and eerie and kind of off the wall stylistically and it doesn’t really sound like anything else out there. Last I heard they’re looking for a label, and whoever ends up with it is lucky. I use a lot of descriptors for bands and their albums, but rarely will I go so far as to call something unique. This album is. If you’ve had the chance to check out songs like “The Toe” and “Turul” live, you know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t, then stick around because with all the sessions I’ve had with the tracks, I still feel outclassed by what these guys are doing. Shine on, you doomed weirdos.
The Kings of Frog Island, Volume IV
I keep going back to the video for “Long Live the King” that Leicester, UK, fuzz rockers The Kings of Frog Island put up back in October. No, really, I keep going back. It’s a good song and I keep listening to it. Just about any other details regarding their fourth album and first without guitarist/vocalist Mat Bethancourt (Josiah, Cherry Choke), Volume IV, are nil, but periodic updates on the band’s Thee Facebooks have it that progress on the recording is being made, and in the meantime, I don’t seem to have any trouble paying return visits to “Long Live the King.” Hopefully Elektrohasch stays on board for a CD release, and hopefully it happens soon.
Several times over the last couple months I’ve had occasion to say it to people and I’ll say it here as well: I think Lo-Pan are the best American stoner rock band going right now. I was interested to see how they handled the bigger stage for their opening slot for High on Fire and Goatwhore (review here), and as ever, they killed. I haven’t the faintest idea what their recording plans might be, if they’ll even sit still long enough to put an album to tape in time to have it out in 2013 — I suspect it depends on what tour offers come up in the meantime — but new songs “Colossus” and “Eastern Seas” bode well for their being able to continue the course of momentum that the excellence of 2011′s Salvador(review here) and all their hard work before and since has put them on.
Queens of the Stone Age, TBA
It probably wouldn’t be fair to call the upcoming Queens of the Stone Age album a reunion between Josh Homme and Dave Grohl since the two also played together in Them Crooked Vultures and Grohl only drummed on Songs for the Deaf, but it’s exciting news anyway and could mean good things are coming from QOTSA, whose last outing was 2007′s comparatively lackluster Era Vulgaris. The big questions here are how the time apart from the band may or may not have affected Homme‘s songwriting and where he’s decided he wants to take the Queens sound. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Sungrazer & The Machine, Split
With the Strikes and Gutters tour already booked to support it (dates above; or here), Dutch upstart heavy psych jammers The Machine and Sungrazer have teamed up for a split release as well that’s bound to feature some of the year’s best fuzz. The two bands have a lot in common, but they’re pretty distinct from each other sonically too, and with The Machine guitarist/vocalist David Eering helming the recording, you can safely bet it’ll capture the live, jammy feel both groups share. Latest word has it that the mastered tracks are in-house, so watch for more to come as we get closer to the Valentine’s Day launch of the tour.
The Swedish fuzz juggernauts’ fourth album overall, this will be Truckfighters‘ first with new drummer McKenzo alongside the core songwriting duo of Dango and Ozo. They’ve been teasing recording updates and threatening song clips, but as soon as I run into something concrete, I’ll share. I’m especially looking forward to the Truckfighters album since it means they’ll likely come back to the US for another tour, and since 2009′s Mania (review here) was so damned brilliant. Not sure on a release date, but it’s high on the list of necessities anyway, however low it may appear alphabetically.
Valley of the Sun, TBA
All I’m going on in including Ohio-based desert rockers Valley of the Sun on this list is a New Year’s message they put out there that read, “Happy New Year, Brothers and Sisters!!! You can count on a Valley of the Sun full-length in 2013.” Hey, I’ve relied on less before, and even if you want to call it wishful thinking, the Cincinnati trio are due a debut full-length behind 2011′s righteous The Sayings of the Seers EP (review here). Even if it doesn’t show up until November or December, I’ll basically take it whenever the band gets around to releasing. Riffs are welcome year-round.
Well, I mean, yeah. Right? Yeah, well, sure. I mean. Well. Yeah. I mean, sure. Right? It’s a supergroup with YOB‘s Mike Scheidt on vocals, John Cobbett of Hammers of Misfortune on guitar, Sigrid Sheie of Hammers of Misfortune on bass and Aesop Dekker of Agalloch and Worm Ouroboros on drums. Album’s done, set for release on Profound Lore. So, I mean, you know, yeah. Definitely. No music has made its way to the public yet — though that can’t be far off — but either way, sign me the fuck up. Anywhere this one goes, I’m interested to find out how it gets there.
Vista Chino, TBA
After that lawsuit, it’s not like they could go ahead and call the band Kyuss Still Lives!, so the recently-announced Vista Chino makes for a decent alternative and is much less likely to provoke litigation. But still, the Kyuss Lives! outgrowth featuring former Kyuss members John Garcia, Nick Oliveri and Brant Bjork along with guitarist Bruno Fevery is of immediate consequence. I’m not sure what the timing on the release is, but they’ve already been through enough to get to this point that one hopes a new album surfaces before the end of 2013. What I want to know next is who’s recording the damn thing.
Yawning Man, Gravity is Good for You
Not much has been said in the time since I interviewed Gary Arce, guitarist and founder of influential desert rock stalwarts Yawning Man, about the 2LP Gravity is Good for Yourelease (the Raymond Pettibon cover for which you can see above), but the band has been confirmed for Desertfest since then and they’re playing in L.A. on Jan. 25, so they’re active for sure and presumably there’s been some progress on the album itself. It remains to be seen what form it will take when it surfaces, and the lineup of the band seems somewhat nebulous as well, but when there’s a desert, there’s Yawning Man, and there’s always a desert. 2010′s Nomadic Pursuits(review here) was a triumph, and deserves a follow-up.
Anyone else notice that the “20 Albums to Watch for” list has 22 albums on it? Maybe I wanted to see if you were paying attention. Maybe I can’t count. Maybe I just felt like including one more. Maybe I had 21 and then added Vista Chino after someone left a comment about it. The possibilities are endless.
So too is the list of bands I could’ve included here. Even as I was about halfway through, a new Darkthrone track surfaced from an album due Feb. 25 called The Underground Resistance, and news/rumors abound of various substance concerning offerings from YOB, Eggnogg, When the Deadbolt Breaks, Mars Red Sky, Asteroid, Apostle of Solitude, Windhand, Phantom Glue, the supergroup Corrections House, Kingsnake, Sasquatch — I’ve already made my feelings known on the prospect of a new Sleep record — news went up yesterday about Inter Arma‘s new one, and you know Wino‘s gonna have an album or two out before the end of the year, and he’s always up to something good, so 20, 22, 35, it could just as easily go on forever. Or at least very least the whole year.
If there’s anything I forgot, anything you want to include or dispute, comments are welcome and encouraged.
Some awesome people involved in this faux behind-the-scenes clip of Queens of the Stone Age working on their new album, due in the first half of 2013. Talking with frontman Josh Homme for most of the video is British comic actor Matt Berry, who’s probably best known for playing the boss, Douglas Reynholm, on the sitcom The IT Crowd, but who’s also been in excellent stuff like Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace and the gosh-I-wish-they-made-more-episodes-of-it show Snuff Box, both of which are recommended viewing for anyone who can get ahold of them.
Joining Berry in finding the “Secrets of the Sound” is Steve Agee, who was on The Sarah SilvermanProgram as Brian Posehn‘s pot-smoking, video-game-loving boyfriend. The clip of Agee “interviewing” QOTSA bassist Michael Shuman is pretty awesome, as is the footage of Berry with guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen, whom I don’t think I’ve ever seen outside of a sport jacket and open button-down. Everyone’s gotta have a uniform, I guess.
The nine-minute video was also directed and edited by Liam Lynch, who has worked with QOTSA and Foo Fighters in the past (he appeared on Queens‘ last album, Era Vulgaris, in 2007), and who created Sifl and Olly and has directed a host of stuff for Tenacious D. One big family.
Also watch for: Josh Homme art, the dog dragging its ass on the rug, “the Swayz,” etc. Dig it:
If Probot taught us anything, it’s that when Dave Grohl decides to take on a passion project, the results have the potential to kick some serious ass. And just about a week after it was subtly announced Grohl had rejoined Queens of the Stone Age on drums, the PR wire sent over these clips from a documentary he’s produced called Sound City, about the studio of the same name. There are a bunch of “musical memories” interview snippets on the movie’s YuberTubes channel, but here are a few choice ones, along with some background on the studio and Grohl‘s involvement.
Again, courtesy of the PR wire:
Grohl was inspired to create SOUND CITY the film after purchasing that same recording console last year as Sound City announced its closing. Built in 1972, it is considered by many to be the crown jewel of analog recording equipment, having recorded such artists as Johnny Cash, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Guns and Roses, Nirvana, Cheap Trick, Rage Against the Machine, Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Fear and countless other musical legends over the past 40 years.
Grohl’s personal connection to Sound City dates back over 20 years, to the 1991 recording of Nirvana’s breakthrough album, Nevermind. Selling over 30 million copies worldwide, Nevermind not only changed the entire modern musical landscape, but also forever altered the course of Grohl’s life.
A couple weeks ago, I asked the question above: “What are the 10 greatest stoner rock records?” It was kind of just something I was throwing out there to see what came back. Nothing scientific, pretty vague on what “stoner rock” actually meant as a genre designation. Basically just trying to get a spur-of-the-moment response, like an inkblot test for riffs. First thing that comes to mind.
The response was awesome, so before anything else, thank you to everyone who contributed a list to the original post. I was taken aback by the number of replies that came in — a total 73 comments — and the resultant breadth of records named reads like a wishlist of the damned. Some people were pretty orthodox in their definition of the genre, and some more open in the bands they included, but working from everyone’s lists, I tallied up the votes, and while I don’t necessarily agree with all the choices personally (I added my own list as a comment to the initial post, so I won’t bother reprinting it), it was a blast to see what emerged on top. The people have spoken.
I tried to be as fair as I could in the tallying. There were some comments left that were individual songs and not albums, and those I didn’t count, but everything else went in, even if it was only mentioned once, and when someone said, for example, “Melvins – all,” I actually added a tally to everything by the Melvins that everyone else had said. Again, it’s not really a scientific thing polling demographic data, but it was a lot of fun.
Okay, here’s the list:
The Top 10 Greatest Stoner Rock Records Poll Results:
1. Kyuss, Welcome to Sky Valley (41 votes)
2. Sleep, Sleep’s Holy Mountain (27 votes)
3. Black Sabbath, Master of Reality (19 votes)
4. Kyuss,Blues for the Red Sun (18 votes)
5. Monster Magnet,Spine of God (15 votes)
5. Sleep,Dopesmoker(15 votes)
7. Electric Wizard, Dopethrone(14 votes)
7. Fu Manchu, In Search Of… (14 votes)
9. Queens of the Stone Age, Queens of the Stone Age (12 votes)
10. Fu Manchu, The Action is Go (10 votes)
As you can see, some real classics in there, and Welcome to Sky Valleywas far and away the winner, picked by 41 out of the 73 people (myself included), with Sleep and Black Sabbath behind. There were two ties at numbers five and seven, but beyond that, it’s a pretty clear picture of where people are at with their favorites.
What about everything else? Well, it was all counted. I broke all the entries down by number of votes and listed them by artist with albums in chronological order.
This past weekend was my local record show at the firehouse in scenic Wayne, New Jersey. Cobbling myself together from semi-hungover morning-after fragments, I took my two coin repositories — a dog with its tongue sticking out and a Yankee cap — to the bank: $84. Not enough money to really live large, but I was more than willing to take it. The Patient Mrs., bless her heart, waited in the car while I entered the firehouse fray. It was packed.
The dude I bought Amon Düül II‘s Carnival in Babylon from told me I should get Yeti and Wolf City too, and if he had them, I might have. I didn’t tell him I’d seen the band, it being too early for conversations of that magnitude and the generally claustrophobic air of the crowd preventing it. Beatles vinyl abounded, always tempting on an existential level, but I stuck to CDs despite eying a Sly Stone cassette and wound up with Firebird‘s Double Diamond (review here), and from a table in the back, an original issue Diary of a Madman and the first Nativity in Black Black Sabbath tribute, which I probably didn’t already own because I’ll never listen to it. Well, now I own it and I’ll never listen to it.
I picked it up because it was the third in a three-for-$10 deal with the guy selling it, and along with Diary of a Madman, the deal was rounded out by the jewel case version of Lullabies to Paralyze, by Queens of the Stone Age. I’ve owned this record since it came out. I had both the jewel case and digipak editions previously, but gave the hard plastic one away to my sister’s husband when he said he dug it. They were both promos, and I still have the digipak, but it’d been years since my last listen. Every time I get a fancypants digipak like that, the comic book collector in me comes right out. I don’t want to bend the corners.
Plus, when I’m reaching for Queens of the Stone Age — which I am not infrequently; it comes in waves — I’m usually going for the 1998 self-titled or 2002′s Songs for the Deaf. Rated R less so, but every now and again it hits the spot, and the last album (to date), 2007′s Era Vulgaris, just about never. So paying the three-and-a-third dollars for Lullabies to Paralyze was a chance to revisit these songs, which I always recall being a sucker for when the album came out, however overshadowed they may have wound up being by their Dave Grohl-infused predecessors.
Grohl‘s absence and that of bassist Nick Oliveri are all over Lullabies to Paralyze, which means that as much as it was guitarist/vocalist Josh Homme‘s stated mission to continue from where the band had left off three years earlier on Songs for the Deaf — starting with Mark Lanegan singing “This Lullaby” to the tune of Chris Goss‘ vocal on Songs for the Deaf epilogue “Mosquito Song” supports the argument of flowing one into the next — it simply wasn’t going to happen. And ultimately, it didn’t. The album’s character turned out to be more a show of Homme‘s songwriting than anything else.
And that might have more to do with Oliveri being out of the band than Grohl, who, despite being one of his generation’s finest rock drummers (and a capable songwriter to boot) probably didn’t have much to do with the construction of the actual riffs or the arrangements on Songs for the Deaf. Oliveri, on the other hand, fronted the band for that album’s opener, “Millionaire,” and comparing that to “Medication,” which seems to be going for some of the same immediacy and abrasion sonically, the effect simply isn’t the same. Homme‘s semi-blown-out approach is still no match for Oliveri‘s druggy screams, and Lullabies to Paralyze was lacking both that edge and diversity.
Not that the album didn’t have its share of diversity. From the near-bubblegum infectiousness of “In My Head” — a song that seemed to both realize and revel in how catchy it was — to the sexed-up shimmy of “Skin on Skin” and the vague threats of “‘You’ve Got a Killer Scene There, Man,’” Lullabies to Paralyze worked within a variety of moods and atmospheres, but it wasn’t the same, and in directly linking itself to Songs for the Deaf, it seemed like it wanted to be, and was confused as a result.
Performance-wise, however, it might be the best vocal outing of Homme‘s career. “Everybody Knows that You are Insane” proved early on that he could carry the band on his own, “Tangled up in Plaid” confirmed mastery of his falsetto and the smooth transitions into and out of it, and “I Never Came” showed he could convey emotion without being cartoonish or sappy. The single “Little Sister,” along with “Burn the Witch” and “Long Slow Goodbye” and “Broken Box” were affirmations of Homme‘s songcraft, and “Tangled up in Plaid” showed there was hope for life after Oliveri, featuring Alain Johannes‘ bass line as one of the album’s highlights.
But however accomplished, Lullabies to Paralyze was the point at which Queens of the Stone Age became Homme‘s and Homme‘s alone, because although Joey Castillo held his own on drums in the wake of Grohl and Troy van Leeuwen contributed on guitar amid guest performances vocal and otherwise from the likes of producer Joe Barresi, Chris Goss, Lanegan, Shirley Manson (of Garbage),Billy Gibbons (of Z.Z. Top), Jessie “The Devil” Hughes and others, it was Homme himself who emerged as the one steering the ship. More than ever before, it was easy to see Queens of the Stone Age as Josh Homme‘s band, and that became the pivotal difference between Lullabies to Paralyze and anything the group had done previously.
I don’t know if I’ll speak to the enduring appeal of the album, since however much I’ve enjoyed getting to know it again, I’ve already owned it from before it was actually released and haven’t listened to it in years, but it’s a cool record nonetheless, and probably undervalued in the QOTSA catalog for the quality of Homme‘s songwriting and what it meant in terms of the changing personality of the band. Not bad for $3, in any case.
Posted in audiObelisk on November 20th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster
I have absolutely no information about this track, when it was recorded, or for what reason, where, how, etc. All I know is that Obelisk attendee David sent me an email with a link in it to Soundcloud (to answer your next question, yes, I follow every link that gets sent to me in emails because I understand nothing about how the internet works), and it’s a Queens of the Stone Age cover of Tom Waits‘ “Going out West” that kicks ass. It’s nigh on 1AM, and the player says it was uploaded four hours ago, so there you have it. Thought I’d share, so here it is:
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 15th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster
…Or December if you, like me, are of a more CD-buying persuasion. Queens of the Stone Age‘s first album — hard to get considering the massive success the band had after it — is one of the heftiest slabs of buried treasure I’ve ever come across. I’m sure Josh Homme‘s decision to reissue the album through his Rekords Rekords imprint (with subtly changed artwork and extra tracks, no less) comes in no small part as a response to the people who’ve been paying considerable amounts of cash for the self-titled on eBay, Amazon, etc. It’s worth whatever they’re charging.
Vinyl’s out Black Friday with CD to follow shortly thereafter. The PR wire has this:
The track listing for Queens of the Stone Age, a reissue of Queens of the Stone Age‘s critically-lauded 1998 self-titled debut, reflects the band’s original vision for the album with three tracks that were initially cut from the record reinstated.
The sought after and long out of print album arrives in-stores on Black Friday (Nov. 26) via Joshua Homme‘s own Rekords Rekords as a special bundled package featuring the album both as a 180 gram double-gatefold, double LP and a digital download card (a straight CD release will follow on Dec. 7).
The three additional songs are “The Bronze,” “These Aren’t the Droids You’re Looking For,” and “Spiders and Vinegaroons.”
Queens of the Stone Age track listing:
1. Regular John
3. If Only
4. Walkin’ on the Sidewalks
5. You Would Know
6. The Bronze
7. How to Handle a Rope (A Lesson in the Lariat)
9. Hispanic Impressions
10. You Can’t Quit Me Baby
11. These Aren’t the Droids You’re Looking For
12. Give the Mule What He Wants
13. Spiders and Vinegaroons
14. I Was a Teenage Hand Model
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 24th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster
Dear Mr. Homme,
I’d be remiss if I didn’t start off saying thanks for the many years of ass kickery. Having never spoken to you either in-person or via telephone (the closest I’ve yet come was being blown off in 2005), this feels an appropriate avenue to mention that, although there’ve been highs and lows, hard rock probably wouldn’t be the same in 2010 without your having been in it for about two decades now. So yeah, much appreciated.
On to the business at hand: By now I’m sure you’ve seen the video of your former Kyuss cohorts, Nick Oliveri, Brant Bjork and John Garcia playing together at Hellfest in France during a Garcia Plays Kyuss set. If you missed it, here it is:
Pretty badass, I know. Now, the thing of it is, I can’t imagine you haven’t watched that and thought to yourself, perhaps more than ever before, that maybe it’s time to get Kyuss back together. I’m not going to urge you not to do it. Rather, the purpose of this letter is to ask that, if you do decide it’s time for a Kyuss reunion, to do it the right way.
By that I mean no shows. Think of all the reunions going on; bands get back together and they’re all so excited to be playing again — or they’re just doing it for cash — that they book a tour, and yeah, it can be great, but it’s a nostalgic thing. If Kyuss‘ music has proved to be anything, it’s timeless, and to see a reunion come about that’s just based on, “Hey, let’s trot out ‘Allen’s Wrench’ for the folks who didn’t get to see it,” would be disappointing and lame. I think that’s also why it hasn’t happened yet.
That’s not a slag on Garcia Plays Kyuss. I saw them in April and it was great to hear him sing those songs. But if you’re going to revive a band like Kyuss, whose popularity came after their breakup, the way to do it is to put out an album first. I know the music is a lot different, but the best-handled reunion I’ve ever seen was that of Celtic Frost (until it fell apart, anyway). They announced they were back together, and immediately started writing. They took as long as it needed to take to write — in their case it was about five years — and they put out a killer album in Monotheist, and only then did they start booking tours. It was a triumphant return, the shows sold out, the record was great, and most importantly, fans had a context for who Celtic Frost was in the present, instead of who they were when they put out Into the Pandemonium or To Mega Therion.
What I’m saying is, it’s been 13 years since Kyuss ended, and a lot has happened in that time. If you decide to bring Kyuss back, don’t just do it to play the greatest hits, do it as a creative endeavor. That way no one on either side, fan or artist, goes into it thinking things will be just like they were on Blues for the Red Sun, which is a ridiculous expectation but a prevalent one nonetheless. Write first, get Chris Goss to produce, and put out a Kyuss album. Then tour. You’ll find that what Kyuss was is entirely preserved, and what Kyuss is today can honor that while at the same time offer a glimpse of how time has changed you guys as players. As a fan, I just think Kyuss deserves more than the usual “one more go” reunion, and felt compelled to share my thoughts. On the off-chance you see them, thanks for reading.
Sincerely, Some Dude You’ve Never Heard Of
Heaping Pismire Taskmaster
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 31st, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster
Here in the States, today is Memorial Day, which is basically yet another excuse for everyone to get their jingoism going and glorify war, blow fingers off with fireworks and blah blah blah. What it means to me is the official start of grilling season. True, I hate the heat and I have in fact been grilling all winter, but now it’s the season, which means eating outside, which means grilling music. Killer.
Because I’m all about sharing, here are my seven favorite barbecue records, presented in the order in which they should be played:
1. Black Sabbath, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. What this says is, “I am here to grill. I don’t care what else happens in the universe, I am going to have a good time and that is that. Now rock with me as I cook this meat.” Perfect starter album.
2. C.O.C., Wiseblood. Like Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, it’s a fun collection of songs, but Wiseblood is a little thicker sound-wise. It’s great to sing-along to, and the groove seems to run throughout the whole album, so it’s consistent too. A definite necessity.
3. Greenleaf, Agents of Ahriman. By now you’ve had a few beers and it’s time to let loose. Greenleaf‘s Agents of Ahriman is catchy, rocking and has a freedom to its sound that seems to be made for the outdoors.
4. Queens of the Stone Age, Songs for the Deaf. I confess, I love this record regardless of the food and/or climate surrounding. I try to take it everywhere, so it comes out for grilling for sure. “Go with the Flow?” Come on, man. Can’t beat that.
5. Fu Manchu, King of the Road. The last of the real rockers on the list, it’s great to finish the meal with some righteous fuzzery, and for that, there’s nowhere to go but to Fu Manchu. If you’ve got ice cream for dessert, this’ll work with it.
6. Monster Magnet, Spine of God. You’ve rocked, you’ve stuffed yourself, you’re probably more than a little intoxicated and you feel like if you ever even see another burger, your heart will explode in your chest. Clearly you’ve yanked on the spine of god and it’s time for some penance.
7. Masters of Reality, Flak ‘n Flight. This is for your cleanup. When you’ve drunkenly insulted all your relatives or friends and they’ve left and it’s just you and the mess. You put this one on and sing along as you throw away paper plates, beer bottles and the bloody packaging that once contained the meat now blocking up your colon. It’ll help ease the pain.
I’ve also found that Enslaved‘s Ruun album is great for cleanups, so if it persists longer than Flak ‘n Flight lasts, you might want to have that on-hand for reinforcements. Or maybe you just want to sit on a plastic chair in the dark for a while. It’s good for that too.
Of course, if you’re in it for the full-day barbecue experience, you’re going to need more than seven albums, but hopefully this is a decent start. If you have any longtime favorites, leave a comment and let me know about them. You can never have too much grilling music.
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 10th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster
Here’s why I like the internet: Like probably countless others who’ve posted it, I got this story from Blabbermouth. They, in turn, attribute it to The Pulse of Radio, who say it came from NME. The spread of information is fantastic. No wonder they call it “viral.”
But yes, Queens of the Stone Age are reportedly going to reissue Rated R this summer. One can only assume it will be the feel good hit thereof, and show up before the Rekords Rekords version of the self-titled, which I think was supposed to be out sometime last year. So it goes. Was Rated R even out of print? I don’t know. If nothing else, this story proves I’ll go to any length to get all girly over another Josh Homme video. Such a sucker:
The Pulse of Radio reports that Queens of the Stone Age will reissue their second album, 2000′s Rated R, this summer, according to NME.com. The re-release, which will probably arrive in July, will include B-sides and live recordings. Frontman Josh Homme said, “Am I surprised Queens have survived to the point where we have reissues? Yes! And that all the people (other players) on Rated R are alive too.”
I’ve been knee-deep in a semester-ending term paper the last couple days, which should hopefully account for the relative lack of posts. It’s just about done (and by that I mean I’m ready to say “fuck it” and walk away), but I thought in the meantime I’d share this badass video of Queens of the Stone Age doing “Avon,” a song which has been playing over and over on my mental jukebox since picking up Desert Sessions Vol. 3 & 4 at Roadburn. It’s the band probably when they were at their peak, in 2002, with Dave Grohl on drums and Nick Oliveri on bass.
As I said yesterday, Diane Kamikaze‘s DJ set at the Iron Man show has me on a big kick for the first, self-titled Queens of the Stone Age album. I was initially just going to post the studio version of “Mexicola,” maybe with some homemade picture slideshow or whatever I could find, but then I came across this excellent live version filmed for the From the Basement tv show in the UK last year. Killer stuff. In case you’re wondering who’s in the band, other than Josh Homme, it’s Joey Castillo, Troy Van Leeuwen, Michael Shuman and Dean Fertita. Enjoy.