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Riot Fest Lineup Announced

Chicago’s Riot Fest has become one of the must-attend alternative music festivals of the year. 2013 will be no different, and dare I say it may even be the best year yet.

Breaking around 11pm (EST) last night, May 15, Riot Fest’s initial lineup announcement includes headline performances by Blink-182 and Fall Out Boy. An additional headliner will be revealed in the weeks ahead, but as far as additional confirmed acts go, you can count on seeing The Violent Femmes, Motorhead, Sublime With Rome, Rancid, AFI, Blondie, Public Enemy, Brand New, Flag, Taking Back Sunday, Rocket From The Crypt, Bad Religion, Atmosphere, The Dismemberment Plan, Dinosaur Jr, X, Devotchka, Yellowcard, Screeching Weasel, Pennywise, The Broadways, Against Me!, Bob Mould, Gwar, The Lillingtons, Best Coast, The Lawrence Arms, Say Anything, Bad Brains, Quicksand, The Selecter, Bad Books, Mission Of Burma, The Devil Wears Prada, Saves The Day, Glassjaw, Bayside, Stars, Toots and the Maytals, Peter Hook (performing a Joy Division set!), Smoking Popes, Reggie and the Full Effect, Attack Attack!, The Dear Hunter, Maps and Atlases, Surfer Blood, Chuck Ragan, Dessa, Saul Williams, Empires, Memphiskapheles, Kitten, Peelander-Z, Touche Amore, Masked Intruder, Deal’s Gone Bad, Twin Peaks, Flatfoot 56, and White Mystery.

Pretty awesome, right? Tickets start at $23 a day; the festival is being held September 13 through 15 in Chicago. Buy tickets or see the official website here. Continue reading ‘Riot Fest Lineup Announced’

Metal Monday: Classicism In Metal

Classic is a term used by people in the arts to define the highest standard of works; something that has withstood the test of time, something that has been inserted into the cultural canon. If we’re talking literature, we could use the Iliad or Odyssey as an example, or perhaps something more modern like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. These works undoubtedly shaped their medium since brought into existence. But what about classics in the world of metal specifically? Compared to most art forms, metal is still in its infancy, being somewhere around 40 years old now. Are there really any works that can be universally regarded as groundbreaking and genre-defining?

Starting with the obvious, Black Sabbath‘s early albums have to be considered since they’re widely regarded as the forefathers of metal. What about their contemporaries and bands that came shortly after? Surely Motörhead, Iron Maiden and others deserve consideration. For posterity, let’s just take the landmark works, Overkill and The Number of the Beast respectively. If we include Judas Priest, which of their works should be included? One approach would be the early work, something more landmark for less studied fans, but on the other hand Painkiller is one of the best metal albums of all time and quite a bit more aggressive than the band’s early material, making this a tough decision. The list of bands and albums goes on and on.  Continue reading ‘Metal Monday: Classicism In Metal’

Metal Monday: Metal Soundtracks

Inspired a bit by Rami’s Soundtrax column, this week’s Metal Monday focuses on the most metal movie soundtracks Hollywood has to offer. You might be wondering “Are there even enough metal movie soundtracks to make a list?” The answer is yes, absolutely. Admittedly, however, some of these albums are much better than others. While not totally metal, the idea of a metal soundtrack started with movies like This Is Spinal Tap and similar films. So, where should we start? How about with the most “Extreme” soundtrack on the list?

Continue reading ‘Metal Monday: Metal Soundtracks’

Motörhead Rebels Against Greed

Outraged by the extravagant cost of their new 15 disc box set, Motörhead has told their fans not to waste their money on the overpriced trinket. At $600, the box set’s coffin-like case houses each disc with a Motörhead skull emblem fastened to its lid. Open it up and you’ll find several singles and eight earlier albums, from their self-titled to No Remorse. In addition, the package contains some posters and a photo book.

According to CNN, frontman Lemmy Kilmister stated, ”Unfortunately greed once again rears its yapping head… I would advise against it even for the most rabid completists!”

The band claims, ”Motörhead has no control over what’s done with these early songs, and don’t want fans to think that the band is involved in putting out such a costly box set.”

If you’re simply too much of die-hard fanatic, the group recently put out a new (reasonably priced) album and DVD titled  ”The Wörld Is Yours” and “The Wörld Is Ours – Vol 1 – Everywhere Further Than Everyplace Else” late last year.

Click here to see images of the box set and its outrageous $644 price tag on Amazon.

Press Shuffle: Songs To Be Rebellious To

Punk rarely introduces itself. And it’s not like it needs an introduction (although, if you’d like one, we’ve got just the place for you to do so): this controversial culture has been touted as the voice of the anti-authoritarian youth since the ’70s and its cultural significance is undeniable. Since then, it has been adapted and transformed through its contact with other styles of music and ideologies, proliferating into dozens of subcultures, each with their unique blend of, let’s say, unrefined rock. Regardless of the musical and stylistic changes the genre has experienced throughout the years, punks have always been aggressive, dogmatic and eternally misunderstood for their unconventional lifestyle (not to mention questionable fashion choices). Love it or hate it, the music is here, doesn’t care what you think and is rearing to rock your socks off.

Bobot Adrenaline - YOU'RE MOSHING

Dumb Bomb” – Bobot Adrenaline: Short, sweet, and to the point. This is punk rock at its purest. One of the finest tracks in the OurStage Punk Channel.

Pieces of Four” – Sinister Trailerpark Magic: This trio of Canadian siblings brings to the genre a quality often overlooked in punk: good songwriting. Their songs usually clock more than than your typical punk track, but keep the listener involved with their eclectic style.

Personality Overload” – The Beat Seekers: In a sea of over-produced pop-punk songs, “Personality Overload” provides a balance between catchy and gritty that is infectious.

Gasoline Whiskey” – The Boston Thieves: Reminiscent of early Mötorhead, this band (interestingly from Chicago, considering their name) bring the speed and energy that get your blood pumping. If they need a song that will get people going at a concert, then here they have it.

See You In Hell” – The Resignators: Ska revival is one of those sub genres that will never die. It’s too much fun for us to let it go!

Kill The Youth” – Our Future Leaders: Even with a compressor smashing this song to a flat mush, it manages to blaze its way into our head. This proves that music comes first and will always shine. Also, lo-fi punk? YES PLEASE!

My Pint” – The Bastard Suns: Recipe for a sick punk anthem: play fast, play furious/write about hanging out with the bros and having a good time/mix with a few pints of alcohol/add gang vocals to taste.

Have any tunes in particular that you care to share? Disagree with any of the picks? Want a theme in particular to be Shuffled? Let us know by dropping a comment!

Listen to previous Press Shuffle playlists over at 8tracks.com.

The EditoriaList: Top Seven Senseless Appearances In Rock Documentaries

You’re sitting there, enjoying Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, when all of a sudden Gore Vidal appears on screen to discuss the political implications of Bieber’s evolving hairstyle. OK, that didn’t happen, but the following actual rock doc commentators are just as jarringly inappropriate:

 

 

7. Stones in Exile
Will.i.am, Sheryl Crow, Liz Phair

I don’t even want to hear what Will.i.am thinks about The Black Eyed Peas, never mind what he has to say about The Rolling Stones’ masterpiece Exile on Main Street. Sheryl Crow shows up to tell us how much musicians revere the album. Was there literally no one else available? Due respect to Sheryl Crow, but her music doesn’t exactly evoke the gritty swinging awesomeness of Exile. And finally, Liz Phair seems to be included strictly by virtue of the reference in the title of her first LP, Exile in Guyville.

6. The Flaming Lips: The Fearless Freaks
Adam Goldberg, Christina Ricci, Juliette Lewis

Unless they have some direct connection with the artists, I can’t get down with listening to actors talk about being a fan. Yeah, I’m a fan, too, that’s why I’m watching this. What possible insight are you providing me? What’s that you say? Yes, I know, I feel the same way. We’re both fans, you see. Wait, did you produce their last record? Oh, me neither. I think these three actors are all great, but what are the chances that the (at the time) romantically-linked Goldberg and Ricci each have something independently valuable to add to my understanding or appreciation of The Flaming Lips?

Continue reading ‘The EditoriaList: Top Seven Senseless Appearances In Rock Documentaries’

Metal Monday: Women In Metal Who Rock The Hardest

Women in metal–a subject that often starts heated arguments filled with strong opinions and misconceptions. Many stigmas exist about female metal musicians, especially metal vocalists: they’re inferior and can’t bring it as hard as the men can. This article will debunk that ideology. Just because the genre’s more famous leading ladies include Amy Lee of Evanescence and Christina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil doesn’t mean that every other female follows in their footsteps. This ideology has existed for quite some time now, even classic bands like Girlschool saw a strong amount of prejudice throughout their career. In an interview with Lemmy of Mötorhead from Metal: A Headbanger’s Ball he recounted someone who said, after a Girlschool performance “She was pretty good, for a girl” and he responded “Well, f*** you, she’s better than you are!”

Women are infiltrating the metal world. They’re not all singers who only have angelic voices and fit into the “pretty girl” role. More and more, they’re taking on the “badass” persona, and are even playing other instruments in bands, as opposed to just being vocalists. Jeanne Sagan of All That Remains, Marta Peterson or Bleeding Through and Karin Axelsson of Sonic Syndicate have all been holding it down on bass for their bands for years now. Liz Buckingham has been rocking the guitar in Electric Wizard since 2003 and Laura Christine has been playing guitar in a bunch of metal bands lately though she’s best known for her work with Warface. You even have some bands that are primarily women, like Zeenon, who are known for playing really great death metal insted of being “hot metal chicks”.

Candace Kucsulain from Walls of Jericho

Now comes the problem of image. As routinely acknowledged by women metal musicians, being good isn’t always enough—you’ve also got to be really good looking (strongly expressed by the band Kittie in an interview for Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey). For a while the expected role of any woman in metal was to either be a groupie or be attractive and little else (not to say there weren’t people who broke free of that, Doro Pesch being a famous example). As more women entered the metal scene, many that were on par with their male peers, the stigma of women being less talented than men slowly and surely phased out almost completely. Though it’s still a pretty lopsided ration of men to women, it’s certainly not as skewed as it once was, and the public eye looks at women a bit differently than it used to. Unfortunately, certain metal publications still focus heavily on women’s looks, such as Revolver‘s annual “Hottest Chicks In Metal” feature.

Today, there are more bands fronted by women who put on the tough guise and bring it just as hard as any man around, and this is likely due to the influx of women into metal and the shifting of mindsets. In Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey, Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy talks about adopting a tougher style and persona in order to feel powerful on stage. She also speaks about how young girls come up to her after shows  to talk about how her performance inspire them. Most metalheads know Angela, who happens to have one of the best guttural screams live in the whole metal genre, but there are a lot of other bands out there that don’t get quite the same press. OurStage’s own Abnormality (whose song “Visions” was featured in a Rock Band game) is one of these bands. While listening to Mallika’s vocals, it’s nearly impossible to tell she’s a woman, and it’s refreshing to hear a female fronting a brutal death metal band. Other women who rock the guttural vocals and the tough guise include (and is certainly not limited to): Otep Shamaya of Otep, Krysta Cameron of Iwrestledabearonce, Candace Kucsulain of Walls of Jericho, Mel Mongeon of Fuck The Facts and Alissa White-Gluz of The Agonist.

Still think that all bands with women are like Evanescence, Lacuna Coil, Epica, Nightwish, In This Moment and the like? I can’t really see how you could. If you still need convincing, check out this video of Angela Gossow and Arch Enemy commanding a crowd in Japan to the tune of their song “Tyrants of the Rising Sun”

Metal Monday: Are The Swedes Best At Metal?

There are certain countries that are considered to be a cut above the rest in terms of the metal they produce. At the top of the metal food chain are countries like Canada, Finland, Italy, Sweden, Norway, the UK and the US—but who reigns supreme in the metal world? There is a strong case to be made for each of these countries, but in the last two decades it’s hard to argue against Sweden as metal’s capital.

Alternative metal band, Katatonia

Though Sweden might not have the most metal bands out of all these countries (that title probably belongs to the US), they have birthed a few bands in the last few decades that have gone on to pioneer, revolutionize, or create a new sub-genre of metal. Bands such as In Flames, Dark Tranquillity and At The Gates are the forefathers melodic death metal (and what would be come to known as the “Gothenburg sound”). Meshuggah are often considered one of the most unique metal bands of today, inspiring countless bands to come after them are—they’re also often cited as the main influence for the recent trend of “djent” bands). Opeth is largely considered the pinnacle for progressive death metal bands, with each of their nine full-length albums earning extremely positive critical response. Candlemass is one of the original epic doom metal bands that would carve the modern and current definition of doom metal.

The legendary Dark Tranquillity

Even if you take out the list of heavily influential metal bands that shaped the current lay of the metal land, you’re still left with a list of massively talented bands: Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, Katatonia, Bathory, Hypocrisy, Bloodbath, Soilwork, Scar Symmetry, Cult of Luna, and the list goes on. One of the biggest deciding factors, in addition to the quality of these bands, is their longevity. Even pioneering bands like Dark Tranquillity, Opeth and Meshuggah are still putting out landmark releases. That’s what it’s all about: sustained, high quality, albums year after year.

Of course, there can be strong arguments made for any of the aforementioned countries—the UK produced Motörhead, Black Sabbath and Judas Priest and creating the entire genre of metal. The US can be credited for producing the “big four” of thrash, among countless other great bands. Still, even considering all of the arguments for other countries to reign supreme, it’s hard to argue against Sweden.

Metal Monday: Metal Covers Of Non-Metal Songs

Cover tunes have been a big part of pop music in the last few decades, and an even bigger part of music throughout history (though the idea of a cover tune is rather new, they’re historically known as standards). Some covers are well known to be remakes, other times people don’t even know songs they love are covers. For example, you might not know Jimi Hendrix wasn’t the original performer of “All Along The Watchtower” —that one’s a Bob Dylan song. But, cover songs aren’t only for rock and pop artists.  Metal artists do their fair share of covers as well, sometimes even full albums (See Overkill, Rage Against The Machine and Evergreen Terrace).

Personally, I think metal musicians covering songs that weren’t originally metal songs is rather brilliant. Here are some great renditions of songs that are decidedly more heavy than their originals:

  1. “Still Fly” by Big Tymers, as covered by The Devil Wears Prada for the compilation Punk Goes Crunk
  2. “Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears, as covered by August Burns Red for the Punk Goes Pop Vol. 2 compilation
  3. “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, as performed by Children of Bodom on their album Skeletons In The Closet
  4. “The Sound Of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel, as performed by Nevermore on their album Dead Heart In A Dead World
  5. “Everything Counts” by Depeche Mode, as covered by In Flames on their 1997 album Whoracle
  6. “White Room” by Cream, as performed by Demons & Wizards as a bonus track on their self-titled album
  7. “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” by Elton John, as performed by Flotsam & Jetsam on their album No Place For Disgrace
  8. “Louie Louie” by The Kingsmen, as performed by Motörhead

 


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