Tuesday, May 31, 2011

happy birthday, jaime.

How can you possible ever top something like this? Especially when the man's birthday happens to be two days after mine, I don't work well under pressure! So, you can't. But you can at least do something with a different (and harder to give orders to, I should point out) species.

Read that to the tune of 'Happy Birthday Lisa' and have a great day, bro.

And that's enough mushy cuteness, y'all go back to celebrating the macrocosmick manifestation of Satan by listening to Inquisition now, run along.

Friday, May 27, 2011

josé's band of the week - meth drinker

In case you missed it, what the fuck? What else do you have that's better to do on a goddamn Wednesday? Anyway, my band of the week is a little bunch of people on the other side of the world playing ugly and unpleasant music that you will either hate or not or whatever. Who cares. Here's an unpleasant video, too.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

30 day song challenge - day 10 - a song that makes you fall asleep

Day 10 - A song that makes you fall asleep
Ulver - EOS

There's two ways to look at this one, the most obvious is probably the negative one. When a song or an album are described as soporific, it's usually not a good thing. It's usually an exaggeration too, used as an amplified synonym for boring. Then, you can look at it another way, that it's not necessarily a bad thing that a song makes you sleepy. Take this, the opener from Ulver's amazing 2007 album 'Shadows Of The Sun'. It's obvious by listening to it why it's perceived as such a nocturnal, soothing piece, but for me its sleep effect is even deeper.

I was going through some heavy shit around the time this album came out (yes, boys and girls, I am not always this bouncing ball of sanity and health that you know and unconditionally love), and I had just acquired a habit many people have that I never really indulged in - leaving music on when you go to sleep. I listen to music during very nearly my every waking moment, but once I'm off to sleep, I turn it off. I don't mind if it's on, I can sleep anyway and I take the same 10 seconds I usually do to nod off and sleep as deeply as a dead man even if the building is collapsing around me, but around that screwed up time I felt that music to accompany my nights had become a bit of a necessity.

Me being me, I obviously compiled sleepytime playlists that I would put on before bed either randomly or picking stuff from there if I was feeling in the mood for something particular, and very naturally 'Shadows Of The Sun' started taking control of my choices for that moment. So, while I don't drop to the ground like a fainting goat whenever I listen to the first song of the album (usually the only one I listened to while still awake), it has left a slight Pavlovian residue in me and I can always feel the inner peace of impending sleep start to take over.

So, good night.

(this isn't an official video for the song or anything, but I like what this person has done with these images)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Not exactly a top, but still a 10-list - the first 10 albums I ever bought, in (what I think is) the original order. I'm positive of the first five, from then on it's a bit hazy, but still. Could have been worse, don't you think? Where did you start?

01. Manowar - 'Kings Of Metal'
02. Iron Maiden - 'Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son'
03. Metallica - 'Ride The Lightning'
04. Def Leppard - 'Hysteria'
05. Metallica - 'Master Of Puppets'
06. Slayer - 'Hell Awaits'
07. Iron Maiden - 'The Number Of The Beast'
08. The Sisters Of Mercy - 'First And Last And Always'
09. Bathory - 'Under The Sign Of The Black Mark'
10. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - 'Your Funeral... My Trial'

Thursday, May 19, 2011

josé's band of the week: the sun through a telescope

Unpleasant yet strangely fascinating one-man drone act The Sun Through A Telescope are unleashed upon your sorry ears. Be afraid.

Friday, May 13, 2011

road therapy - the man-eating tree

The Man-Eating Tree
2010 / Century Media

So I'm easing myself back into the metal in my road trips, and this is a perfect transition. Yeah, yeah, I'm a sucker for anything that's dark, melodic and preferably Finnish, Sentenced and Fall Of The Leafe are my two all-time favourites in that department, and the debut by this new band features Sentenced's drummer Vesa and Fall Of The Leafe's amazing vocalist Tuomas, so of course I embraced it with all my heart when it came out last year. No use going through big descriptions or praise again, I placed them on the top half of my 2010 top 100 list and I did a much deserved band of the week on Terrorizer about them, AND an interview on issue #203 of the same mag, so if you haven't fallen in love with 'Vine', it's all your fault, not mine.

Don't beat yourself up if you haven't, though. My wife hasn't either, and that's kinda the point of this post. I got a funny moment with her in the car today. As the majority of us male metalheads have to contend with compromise mixes and sort-of-soft-metal albums to play when in the company of our better halves, me, when I drove off this afternoon with her and 'Vine' started playing, I got a vocal complaint of "god, not this sappy stuff again! Can't we have someone shouting?". That's right. Turns out she had spent the best part of the day listening to Orchid (the American screamo pioneers), Pulling Teeth and His Hero Is Gone, and her tolerance for deep feelings, especially the ones displayed on the outrageously gorgeous 'Of Birth For Passing' ballad which I insist on singing out loud with my hand on my heart, is an absolute zero. She's across the room with headphones on right now, probably listening to Celeste or Cobra Noir or some other noisy shit. Just to avoid the quiet Jenny Hoyston/William Elliott Whitmore country noir emanating from my speakers.

I'm such a wuss.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Did you miss the sorry sight of cool people being subjected to obnoxious questions, over a few minutes of awkward embarrassment? No? Who cares, I'll post it anyway. The latest victim is none other than Pedro Roque, the first countrymen I've managed to convince to take this beating. Pedro is a good friend and total kickass photographer, as you can see from his flickr account, which is full of musical photographic goodness. If you're in a band, hire him now for your next photoshoot, you won't regret it. If he doesn't want to do it, hire me instead then. If I don't want to do it either, it's because your band sucks. Give up.

1. Obvious question for starters - when did this photo disease strike you?
I've had this disease since I was very young, I've always been an enthusiast about photos, I liked spending some film on school field trips and whatnot... but it really struck me for real about five years ago when I started following some friends' bands and decided to save some change to buy a digital camera.

2. Did those first photos suck badly? What equipment did you use back then?
Haha, yeah, the first photos were nothing special, but they were enough to help friends... the equipment I had didn't have anything to do with what I have now, a Nikon D80 with a Nikkor 18-135 3.5-5.6!

3. I've never seen you with great big cannons, and I find your photos infinitely more interesting than those taken by many people who break their backs carrying backpacks full of expensive junk. Do you think super photo equipment is a bit overrated?
Yeah, I do. In my opinion you don't have to have high-end equipment to take quality pictures. I wouldn't mind having better material in my hands, but my current finances don't allow that and I have to make do with what I have... sometimes it boggles my mind to see some "boys" with high-end material and making ZERO use of what they have!

4. In various states of sobriety, you've told me a few times recently that you're "the punk photographer," hence the title I gave you up there. Discuss.
Hahaha, that's true! It's all about attitude! I'm a guy with little formal training in this, I just took a basic mini-course and from then on I learned from studying other people's photography... and it's the equipment thing again, I have what I have and I make do with it. So it's all very D.I.Y! One other thing is the fact that I'm one of the few photographers who hangs around for the "afterhours", to take photos of the degradation, quite often also participating in it, as you surely noticed during SWR...
[I noticed, but I might not remember everything. Ahem.]

5. On the subject of sobriety, do you find the lack of it affects the results of your photos positively or negatively? I confess I've taken photos totally off my head and some of them are among the best I've taken. I try not to make a correlation...
That's a good question... I've reached the conclusion that I can have good results both ways, it all depends on the feeling of the show. Lately I haven't had many sober gigs, which probably means that it does affect the "creative process"!

6. You're probably the first photographer I've ever seen to take photos while stagediving. What other crazy goals can you still have beyond that?
Tough question. I think I've achieved all those goals! And I've been lucky that my camera hasn't suffered worse consequences. But I don't know... maybe setting the timer, throwing the camera in the air, stagediving and catching it from there. I think I'm inventing a new extreme sport.
[from punk photographer to jackass photographer, one small step!]

7. Would you be able to do a session with D'ZRT or some hideous shit like that for a lot of money?
Yeah, I totally would! You have to make a living, unfortunately. Worse that could happen would be for D'ZRT to look like Arcturus!
[I'm sure Sverd just felt a little flash of pain in his heart]

8. What was your favourite show to photograph, ever?
I've had over 350 bands gone through my lens, so that's a tough one... I'll pick Municipal Waste in Corroios, not just because I managed good shots of the band, but also great ones of people flying around and slapping each other! It was a difficult "birth", but I like the more fucked up shows, they're more exciting despite the risks you take with your equipment.

9. So have you ever destroyed any equipment? On that very same Municipal Waste show I broke a 1500€-worth Canon EF 24-105mm f/4. WHILE PACKING IT, AFTER TAKING PHOTOS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MOSHPIT. Talk about lame. On the last SWR I also broke my Nissin flash, some random stagediver fell on me during Ratos de Porão. Do I win the money-burning competition?
You certainly win that one, I've never broken anything, haha! Luckily, I've only had bruises and a pair of broken glasses. The only thing that I've had broken, and quite recently too, was my SB-600 flash, but because of a burnt wire.

10. Right, I'm depressed now, so enough about photos then. Give us your coolest five albums of the year so far, please.
In no particular order:
Primordial - Redemption At The Puritans Hand
Deafheaven - Roads To Judah
Wormrot - Dirge
Graveyard - Hisingen Blues
Trap Them - Darker Handcraft

And thanks for the interview, mister |m| ...we'll see each other during some festival's degradation!
[you're spotting a pattern here, aren't you, dear reader?]

30 day song challenge - day 09 - a song that you can dance to

Day 09 - A song that you can dance to
Slayer - Hell Awaits

Well, obviously. And I can do every single one of these moves, I tell you.

Monday, May 9, 2011

road therapy - bobb trimble / leonard cohen

Bobb Trimble
Iron Curtain Innocence

Leonard Cohen
Songs Of Love And Hate
1971 / Columbia

After two long festivals very far from home this past month and a couple of brain-destroyingly noisy shows (Mayhem and a delightful package of Hate Eternal / Obscura / Beneath The Massacre / Defiled), I'm not in the mood to blast some Nile or Gnaw in the car, okay? Well, that's not entirely true, because they've both been spinning there in the last few days, but for reasons of preservation of the little sanity I have left, it's been the less loud stuff that has dominated my vehicular comings and goings. Less loud, but not wimpy either, and these two old gems are in fact severely heavy-going shit.

Although the name was familiar to me after having read random things about his life and that hideous Jex Thoth cover of one of his songs, I decided to plunge into the widely unknown world of Bobb Trimble after my pal Don wrote about him in his usual hilarious manner. Turns out he was perfectly right - 'Iron Curtain Innocence', the first and most fascinating of Bobb's two early 80s impossibly rare albums, is a hell of a trippy rollercoaster of feelings and moods. First you'll fall in love with the gorgeously dreamy female voice on those first two songs, then you'll feel all weirded out (or not, I'm not judging here) when you realize that's Bobb and not some female guest, then you'll think you'll have the wrong download because the album gets totally different after the two initial songs (which, by the way, are perfectly placed for driving - when you're all settled in the car and well on your way to wherever you're going to go, lullabied by the two creepy yet soothing starting pieces, the album can start properly with 'When The Raven Calls'), and then you'll notice all the crazy but also profound things happening in the lyrics and all the little "wait, what?" moments in the music itself. Don puts it perfectly in his entry, describing the effect: "Next thing you know you are singing the songs in your head while you are at work and then BAM it is one of your favorite records. That crazy bastard now controls your brain," he says, and that's exactly what happens. So see you in a week when you'll be humming cute apocalyptic/incomprehensible stuff like "the streets are all empty and I'm burning alive - I'll take mine well done." I wonder how I haven't driven off the Vasco da Gama bridge yet.

Well, maybe because I have a gritty slice of reality like 'Songs Of Love And Hate' to pull me back down to the planet. That's right, kids, there was an album called that before Godflesh did it. Well, kids probably don't know Godflesh either, so screw that. Go back to your new Arch Enemy records, or whatever shit it is you enjoy these days. I'm ranting, but it's Leonard's fault. This record stirs stuff in me at a very basic level. 'Songs Of Love And Hate', as I've half-drunkenly debated before, is a fucking doom album, only without any metal in it. The dread-ridden minimalism of 'Avalanche', the endless sorrow of 'Famous Blue Raincoat', the down-in-the-bottom, hopeless drunken rambling of 'Diamonds In The Mine' or 'Sing Another Song, Boys' and the unexpected tenderness of 'Love Calls You By Your Name', everything is raw, true and deeply human about this album. And with enough of a glimmer of hope to keep me off the edge of long bridges.