Why Chris Cornell Mattered to Me

When I woke up Thursday morning to the news that Chris Cornell had died, I was stunned. There was no warning, no news preceding it of drug problems, mental health issues, or even general health issues. There was barely any news about Chris or Soundgarden at all. So to wake up to the news that a 52 year old who I had admired and been inspired by for years had died was crushing. I woke up, checked my phone, and started crying.

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Chris Cornell is such a name in my life, with his vocal work being an essential part of my childhood and of my current teenage years. His work with Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog and Audioslave soundtracked those years for me. Even his shoutout in “Vans Song” by the Suicide Machines was a part of it.

Chris was really there for me at a time when I needed it. It came sophomore year at a point when I was lost musically, when writing music seemed impossible and my inability to do so depressed me to no end. When I discovered Temple of the Dog during that April Break, I really really needed it. Those two hits “Hunger Strike” and “Say Hello to Heaven” hit me when I needed them, they provided emotional release.

Soundgarden hit me that summer. I found a CD of “Superunknown” at the local library and didn’t think much of it when I threw it in the CD player. From the first track I knew I’d found something new. It was heavier than anything I’d ever heard at that point, with drop and down tunings and riffs for fucking days. Despite the progressive leanings of the band their songs remained catchy and would get stuck in my head. While I still can’t wrap my head around the ridiculous time signature changes they use, the warped progressive and alternative metal they put out influenced me in both subtle and blatant ways. I never would have figured out that some of my favorite tracks by them were in 15/8 or continuously shifted between 7/4 and 4/4. Tracks like “4th of July” “The Day I Tried to Live” and especially “Limo Wreck” defined my summer, it was music for oppressively hot weather.  Cornell’s four octave vocal range was hypnotizing to me, able to hit those classic rock high notes while remaining grunge and hip. He’s part of why I eventually started to sing rather than shout/yell. Soundgarden is why I started writing alternative metal influenced music.

While many will criticize this band as being overly masculine, and maybe that’s true, if anything Soundgarden redefined masculinity for me. Their lyrics are delivered with a combination of aggression and and vulnerability that I really connected with and that shaped who I am. Their music makes me feel confident without making me feel like an asshole.

Chris shaped both the music I write and who I am as a person, and while I can’t pretend I knew him at all, I feel like I did because I knew his art. Chris mattered so much to so many people and I want to let anyone reading this that you matter too and that there are people in your life who love and support you.

Rest in Power Chris Cornell

-hugh

The Albums So Far 5/11/17

Here’s another bunch of albums that were released in 2017 so far and my extremely quick thoughts on them!

Private Island – Honeymooner

Honeymooner is a local indie rock band composed of Julian Berosh and Ryan Higgins (both of which were in Daephne) and they just released a two track EP called Private Island, which is super excellent. It’s indie rock with a heavier edge that’s pretty catchy and I’d recommend it to everyone. I’ve been listening to the song “Planet” pretty much non stop for the past few days. It’s a great release.

This Old Dog – Mac Demarco

This is a super good record. It’s more somber than his past records have been, a little more introspective, but it’s still Mac Demarco, and is instantly recognizable as such. This is my favorite record of his so far, with extremely well written tracks and a very consistent mood and sound.  Fav Tracks: This Old Dog, Moonlight on the River

EP3 – Shutups

I fucking love this EP. I fucking love this band. I found out about them by wandering into a random show when visiting Portland last month and immediately fell in love. They describe their music as “thrashy, dirty, but also comfortable pop punk music that makes Tom Delonge want to squeegee his eyeballs as he prunes in his Beverly Hills jacuzzi”. And boy are they correct. They play fast paced west-coast pop punk with extremely well written hooks and truly incredible guitar playing. Live they play everything faster than on the record and it’s exhilarating. Go back and visit their previous EP as well it’s great. My favorite tracks on this one are: June, Flat Footed

Slowdive – Slowdive

This is a pretty good return to form for Slowdive, continuing their tradition of slow, floating dreamy songs that are absolutely fucking beautiful. If you’re a shoegaze/dreampop fan and you were a little worried about this reunion album, don’t be. It’s super good. Fav Tracks: Don’t Know Why, Go Get It

Baseball Practice – The Rupert Selection

A great record from local progressive rock band The Rupert Selection. They sound like a proggy Quicksand or Soundgarden, with heavy and complex riffs for fucking days. It’s totally worth a listen if you’re into that kind of stuff (I know I am). Fav Tracks: Tree Hands, Mooncats in Taxi Cabs

Other Albums I’ve Been Digging a lot:

Literally Every Single Orchid Album: Goddammit I don’t know why I put off these guys for so long. It’s real screamo folks and it kills. It’s unbelievably amazing holy fucking shit give them a shot.

Every Single King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard Album: See previous piece I wrote about why they’re the best.

MM3 – Meta Meta: This is latin punk-jazz and it kills. It just kills.

Deep Dives: A History of Post Punk

Today on my show from 2:20-4 I will be covering a history of post punk, from garage-psych through post punk, post hardcore through math rock! There’s a lot of ground to cover but I’m doing my best with the time I have.

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The Stranglers

  • Monk Time – The Monks
  • Venus in Furs – The Velvet Underground
  • 30 Seconds Over Tokyo – Pere Ubu
  • See No Evil – Television
  • Dead Loss Angeles – The Stranglers
  • Reuters – Wire
  • Mister Ray – Suicide
  • Designed to Kill – The Contortions
  • Jocko Homo – DEVO
  • Armalite Rifle – Gang Of Four
  • Mother-Sister! – The Fall
  • Weatherbox – Mission of Burma
  • Stay Here – Swans
  • Shit From An Old Notebook – Minutemen
  • This Charming Man – The Smiths
  • Jak – Volcano Suns
  • The Power of Independent Trucking – Big Black
  • Repeater – Fugazi
  • Only Shallow
  • My Bloody Valentine
  • Breadcrumb Trail – Slint
  • Making Money For The Freak Machines
  • Crow – Shellac
  • Skip Tracer – Sonic Youth
  • Pickpocket – At The Drive-In
  • Biblical Violence – Hella
  • Men For Miles – Ought
  • Dust – Parquet Courts
  • Mother – Idles

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/1299856436/playlist/64Y5YhY2JW7BsmZb6hE4GN

Taking Over The World: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

This is the beginning of a new segment on this blog called “Taking Over The World”. This will be a rare segment and will only surface when I think a band is about to or is in the process of taking over the world. This is a rare occurrence, as a live show or album has to be not only amazing, but groundbreaking and inventive. I listen to a lot of music, and it’s extremely rarely that I find a band that’s taking over the world.

I found a band that’s doing so as we speak. They are called King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard and they are the best fucking thing to happen to music since Godspeed You! Black Emperor. This is a band that’s hilarious, wildly inventive, innovative, unique, and just so fucking good.

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King Gizzard is an Australian psychedelic rock band that has flirted and subsequently made passionate passionate love with so many genres it’s hard to pinpoint where they fall exactly. Garage rock, 60’s psych pop, progressive rock, punk, heavy metal, surf rock, spaghetti western, blues, and latin jazz are all genres they’ve experimented with and utilized. Each album of theirs sounds distinctly different from the last. Their experimentation doesn’t end simply at genre. They bring unique instruments that aren’t usually seen on rock records in the 2010’s. They have flutes, clarinet, harmonica, upright bass, turkish flute, baglama, and fiddle. They even experimented with custom microtonal bananas on their latest record “Flying Microtonal Banana”, which is fucking crazy. No western music album that uses microtones has been this good since Satori by Flower Travellin’ Band, and that was in nineteen seventy fucking one. And this record is even better than that.

Their songs are unconventional yet hooky, experimental yet tangible. They don’t go overboard, they’re not pretentious. They do what they feel is right, and what they feel is right has worked really fucking well so far.

This band brings an energy to each record that I haven’t heard from any band ever. Each performance is so fucking caffeinated it’s unbelievable. I mean jesus christ these guys are insane. Watch any live performance and you will feel the energy flowing into you.

Here’s a rundown of their major releases thus far (there are a fucking lot of them for band that’s only been around since 2011).

  • Willoughby’s Beach: A hooky garage rock EP that’s pretty good! Fav Tracks: Let It Bleed, Dead Beat

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  • 12 Bar Bruise: Their debut LP, they continue their brand of weird hooky noisy garage on this record. As with the last EP, they’re not free of their influences yet. Fav Tracks: Muckraker, Garage Liddiard

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  • Eyes Like The Sky: A truly bizarre spaghetti-western spoken world album. Fav Tracks: Evil Man, The God Man’s Goat Lust

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  • Float Along – Fill Your Lungs: King Gizzard start to incorporate more psychedelic sounds into this record, they’re starting to come into their own here. Fav Tracks: Let Me Mend The Past, Float Along – Fill Your Lungs

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  • Oddments: A floating psychedelic record, not as stylistically focused as other albums but still great. It varies from psych rock to weirdo folk. Fav Tracks: Work This Time, It’s Got Old, Alluda Majaka, Homeless Man in Addidas

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  • I’m In Your Mind Fuzz: This album sets up the sci-fi trilogy that they’d pursue on Nonagon Infinity and presumably the upcoming Murder of the Universe. It’s dense and heavy psych-rock that just doesn’t let up. Fav Tracks: Slow Jam 1, Satan Speeds Up

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  • Quarters: An album split into four ten minute songs that range from latin jazz to floating psych-rock. Fav Track: The River

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  • Paper Maché Dream Balloon: A bunch of entirely acoustic 60’s psych pop style songs that are extremely catchy and fun. The use of flute and clarinet on this album is really well done and it will be stuck in your head for days. Fav Tracks: Time=$$$, Bone, Paper Maché

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  • Nonagon Infinity: A dense dense intense psychedelic garage-punk record. I mean jesus this thing has so many layers and is so fast that you barely have time to process it. Every song flows from one to the next, creating a cohesive listening experience, with the last song flowing back into the first to create the “infinity”. Fav Tracks: People Vultures, Gamma Knife, Big Fig Waspa1566708845_10.jpg
  • Flying Microtonal Banana: An experimentation into the realm of microtones (notes we don’t have in western music, notes between notes if you will). Reminiscent of Flower Travellin’ Band, it’s a heavy, often slow psychedelic rock album. It’s droney and quite meditative. Fav Tracks: Anoxia, Nuclear Fusion

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  • Murder Of The Universe: It’s not out yet but based on the teaser tracks and the live performance of “Lord of Lightning” it’s gonna be dense crazy noisy wild psych rock channelled through Volume 1- era Sleep. I’m so fucking excited for this record y’all have no idea. Fav Tracks (so far): Lord of Lightning, Digital Black

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I truly hope that I have converted at least one more person to the cult of King Gizz, for they truly are an incredibly special band. It’s brilliant, experimental, and fun music that truly connects and is pushing the envelope in todays music world.

ALL HAIL KING GIZZ

ALL HAIL PEOPLE VULTURES

– hugh

 

Deep Dives: A History of Punk

Hey everyone I’ve got my radio show today, and I’m doing a history of punk up through the year 2000! I start with garage rock, move to early punk through hardcore, emo to crossover thrash!

 

  • Strychnine – The Sonics
  • Monk Time – The Monks
  • Kick Out The Jams – MC5
  • Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • I Wanna Be Your Dog – The Stooges
  • Search and Destroy – The Stooges
  • Personality Crisis – The New York Dolls
  • Judy is a Punk – The Ramones
  • Sonic Reducer – The Dead Boys
  • Love Comes in Spurts – Richard Hell & The Voidoids
  • Bodies – Sex Pistols
  • No No No – Generation X
  • Reuters – Wire
  • Fix Me – Black Flag
  • Suspect Device – Black Flag
  • Dead Loss Angeles – The Stranglers
  • The Prisoner – D.O.A
  • Where Eagles Dare – The Misfits
  • Pay To Cum – Bad Brains
  • Paid Vacation – Circle Jerks
  • Straight Edge – Minor Threat
  • Suburban Home – Descendents
  • Subliminal – Suicidal Tendencies
  • Shit From An Old Notebook
  • Nothing Left Inside – Black Flag
  • For Want Of – D.R.I
  • New Direction – Gorilla Biscuits
  • Sound System – Operation Ivy
  • Shut The Door – Fugazi
  • No Spiritual Surrender – Inside Out
  • Green Day – Green Day
  • Audience – Farside
  • Single White Female – The Movielife