Posts tagged “Metallica

The 2011 “Listen Up!” Awards: Handing Out The Harleys

So here we are, entering the home stretch of the year 2011. And if you actually believe that whole stupid Mayan apocalypse theory, we’re entering the home stretch of the human race. On that happy note, we’re going to be seeing some year-end lists popping up some time in the next couple of weeks. I figure I might as well submit my own, but just as I did last time I’ll be looking at unconventional categories (read: totally arbitrary distinctions that I made up myself). It’s time for the 2011 Harleys!

Who's a good little award statuette? YOU ARE! Come here and let me scratch you!

The fun begins, as always, after the jump. Bring on the first award!

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Watch That First Step, Mac – It’s A Lulu

I’m not entirely sure how eager people were to hear the results of a collaboration between Lou Reed and Metallica. To just about anyone outside the studio in which Lulu, the fruit of this collaboration, was conceived, this seemed like a mismatch of epic proportions. Reed is a long-tenured experimental art-rocker from the Velvet Underground and is also known for solo hits like “Walk On The Wild Side” and “Perfect Day.” And Metallica – well, who isn’t familiar with Metallica on some level? They’re titans of heavy metal who need no introduction. The artists themselves seem pretty excited though – they decided to work together after performing at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary concert and have been hyping this record as one of the highlights of each of their careers.

I’m not familiar with the work of Lou Reed. I know him as the guy who did “Walk On The Wild Side” and inexplicably thought it was a good idea to release a double album filled with nothing but guitar feedback; I wouldn’t know a Velvet Underground song if it pulled a Mike Tyson and bit my ear off. Meanwhile, I see myself as a casual fan of Metallica. I dig their first five records, I like a few of the Load/ReLoad era singles, I think St. Anger is irredeemably flawed and yet still an honest artistic expression, and Death Magnetic is a step in the right direction. I was only somewhat curious to hear what Reed and Metallica would sound like together. But that curiosity was especially piqued when early reviews proclaimed that Lulu was now officially the worst thing Metallica’s name had ever been attached to – yes, St. Anger had finally been bested (or is that worsted?). I simply had to experience this thing for myself.

Let’s get my verdict out of the way right now: Lulu is an absolutely terrible album. It’s still streaming online as I write this, but please take my word for it. Don’t listen to this.

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BLAST FROM THE PAST #4: Linkin Park

A recent episode of South Park posited that there comes a time in your life when everything you once loved as a kid starts looking like crap once you’re older. While I will certainly admit to growing more critical and cynical as I’ve grown, I’d like to think people don’t change that much. Some things in life never get old – I’ll probably always have a soft spot for U2 and Green Day, for the Three Stooges and Looney Tunes cartoons (and South Park, for that matter), for Super Mario Bros. 3 and Final Fantasy VII. Then there are things that give you little to no sense of pride or nostalgia, things that make you look back and wonder, “Why the hell did I ever like that?” And for me, sometimes I look back to my teenage years and try to figure out why it took me so long to grow out of nu-metal, though I do give that particular phase credit for helping me get into heavier music.

I was never a hardcore fan of that whole late-‘90s, early-double-0s scene, but I did get my feet wet. I liked Korn’s singles back then, but never bought any of their albums. I could never really get into the Deftones (and still haven’t, even though I’ve heard lots of good things about them) or P.O.D. I flat-out didn’t like Disturbed at all (and still don’t). System Of A Down? They were okay, but I never really got into their stuff either. I didn’t hear anything by Slipknot for the first time until long after the nu-metal craze had hit its peak, though I’d seen plenty of their merchandise around school. There was a brief period where I actually considered getting that Crazy Town album with “Butterfly” on it – yes, I once thought the guys who horrifically mutilated “New Noise” by Refused were at least competent musicians. I was totally ready to buy Kid Rock as an “American Bad Ass” until I found out that he took that riff from an old Metallica song (for the record, I’m usually OK with sampling as long as you make interesting alterations or additions to the sample; leaving the sample as it is comes off as lazy, like all you did was make up new lyrics to someone else’s song). And who the hell were Primer 55 and Ill Niño? I certainly didn’t know.

Really, there were (and are) only a handful of albums in my collection that probably qualify as nu-metal at all: the first three Limp Bizkit albums, Infest by Papa Roach, The Lonely Position of Neutral by Trust Company, and of course the required soundtracks for any angsty teenager’s life from 2000 to 2004, Hybrid Theory and Meteora by Linkin Park.

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Top 5 Favorite Bass Guitar Songs

What do you think of when you think about your favorite bands? Maybe their singer has a great voice, one that could get you ready to kick some ass or move you to tears, depending on the band or the song. Or maybe their guitarists come up with some of the coolest riffs and solos you’ve ever heard, making you want to air guitar along, boot up your copy of Rock Band, or even learn the instrument yourself. Or maybe the drummer is just completely insane, pounding away at the skins like he’s got an extra pair of arms.

But there’s another guy in the band whose contributions can be pretty easy to overlook since his instrument of choice is usually lower in the mix than everything else. Yet without him, the band’s sound wouldn’t be quite as full. And if you listen closely, you just might hear something cool in its own right. Today, my friends, we gather to celebrate perhaps the most underrated instrument in rock n’ roll — the bass.

My top 5 favorite bass songs are coming up after the jump. And I know a lot of big-name bassists are absent from this list. So really it’s more like my favorite bass songs among the stuff I listen to most often. But feel free to list your favorites in the comments!

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Top 5 Favorite Driving Songs

Everyone’s got songs that they love listening to while driving their cars. The music brightens your mood and makes you want to sing along. It’s something fun to do between stopping at that stupid red light that always catches you while you’re in a hurry and cussing out the jackass who just cut you off so he could drive under the damn speed limit even though there’s nobody behind you for about half a mile. And you’d better enjoy it while it lasts because once you get to work the only station you’ll be listening to all day will be the soft-rock/adult contemporary station that plays “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train three times an hour.

In other cases, the music is full of fast-paced rhythms and heavy riffage that makes your adrenaline start to flow, and you start thrashing the steering wheel all around, driving like a maniac… WHIPLASH!

…I’m sorry, that wasn’t very funny. See, if you start driving like a maniac, it puts you at risk to hit a telephone pole or something, and then your head will jerk backwards and you might actually get whiplash. Or at least that was a problem before they started putting those headrests on the front seats. Well, the whiplash part, anyway. I’m pretty sure maniacs crashing into stuff is still an issue.

So now I’m gonna hit you with a couple honorable mentions, and then the top 5 will follow after the jump.

HONORABLE MENTION #1:

Queens Of The Stone Age, “Go With The Flow”

HONORABLE MENTION #2:

Muse, “Knights Of Cydonia”

(Incidentally, these songs also happen to have two of the coolest music videos ever made. Coincidence, or part of something greater? … It’s a coincidence.)

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Colin’s Collection: The Class of 2010

My last Colin’s Collection post was written about a year ago, around the time I picked up Spoon’s Transference. Over the past 12 months I’ve added quite a bit of music to the ol’ collection, though not as much as plenty of other people. I’ve seen posts by random people who don’t work for music magazines or professional music blogs who have more albums in their “favorites of the year” lists than I bought all year, period. Also, I’m one of those weirdos who still likes to have a physical copy of an album and doesn’t download much music at all.

Spoon's liner notes: Proof that I'm not the only weirdo.

So aside from the aforementioned Transference, what other music did I pick up in 2010? Don’t touch that dial — or mouse… or whatever… because the list is coming up after the jump.

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Sept. 18, 2009: Show #24

All right! The new semester is well underway, and I’ve got another playlist to post here for you all. Twenty-four shows, man. And I somehow still haven’t completely run out of ideas for Top 5 lists! Which reminds me… it’s been a really long time since the last time I posted a Top 5 writeup. Maybe I’ll get around to doing it this weekend. It would make more sense for me to post the next one some time in December, seeing as how it was a Christmas special, but I’d rather just post them in the order they were aired. Makes it easier for me to keep track of which ones I’ve done and which ones I haven’t done. I might get around to finally posting it here soon… but until then, sit tight.

Also, before I begin, I would like to dedicate this playlist to the one and only Jack Bauer, what with this being the 24th show and all.

Jack Bauer is the only man to have ever survived a roundhouse kick to the face from Chuck Norris. True story.

Jack Bauer is the only man to have ever survived a roundhouse kick to the face from Chuck Norris. True story.

And now, on with the playlist!

1. Foo Fighters, “In Your Honor” (In Your Honor)

2. Radiohead, “Just” (The Bends)

3. The Fall Of Troy, “Oh! The Casino!” (Manipulator)

4. We Are Scientists, “Lousy Reputation” (With Love And Squalor)

5. Pavement, “Passat Dream” (Brighten The Corners)

6. Interpol, “Rest My Chemistry” (Our Love To Admire)

7. Modest Mouse, “Florida” (We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank)

8. Arctic Monkeys, “Brianstorm” (Favourite Worst Nightmare)

9. Early Man, “Four Walls” (Closing In)

10. High On Fire, “Cometh Down Hessian” (Blessed Black Wings)

11. Metallica, “For Whom The Bell Tolls” (Ride The Lightning)

12. Mastodon, “Naked Burn” (Leviathan)

13. Slayer, “Reborn” (Reign In Blood)

14. Gojira, “Backbone” (From Mars To Sirius)

15. The Sword, “Under The Boughs” (Gods Of The Earth)

16. Minus The Bear, “Women We Haven’t Met Yet” (Highly Refined Pirates)

17. The Whigs, “I Got Ideas” (Mission Control)

18. Kings Of Leon, “Pistol Of Fire” (Aha Shake Heartbreak)

19. Cave In, “Anchor” (Antenna)

20. Deerhunter, “Focus Group” (Weird Era Continued)

21. The Decemberists, “Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)” (The Crane Wife)

22. U2, “Staring At The Sun” (Pop)

23. Muse, “Supermassive Black Hole” (Black Holes & Revelations)

24. The National, “Slow Show” (Boxer)

25. Bloc Party, “Pioneers” (Silent Alarm)

26. Queens Of The Stone Age, “Go With The Flow” (Songs For The Deaf)

27. My Morning Jacket, “One Big Holiday” (It Still Moves)

28. Radiohead, “There There (The Boney King Of Nowhere)” (Hail To The Thief)

One last thing: I’d like to thank my parents for sending me a copy of the new RX Bandits album Mandala for my birthday. I’d been looking all over for that album, having just gotten into the band over the summer, and couldn’t find it. Oh, and thanks to everyone who listened to the show tonight as well. Keep tuning in every Friday from 4-6 p.m. on WMUC2, and keep watching this space.


When Bad Songs Happen To Good Bands #4

I suppose it’s fitting that Pop is the album where U2 embraced irony the most, because it’s perhaps U2’s least popular album ever. I say “perhaps” because at least people might still be able to name a song from it. Quick — name a song from October. Any song from October. You have ten seconds and you’re not allowed to look at iTunes, Wikipedia, Amazon, or any other site that would give you the answers. Oh, and the title track doesn’t count.

Just how un-beloved is Pop? Even U2 themselves have all but abandoned this album. Only five of its 12 songs have been performed live since the PopMart Tour in 1997. They even stopped playing a few songs from Pop during the tour that was meant to promote it! The only Pop song they’ve played live in full since 2001 is “Discotheque.” And before they released All That You Can’t Leave Behind, the “comeback” album that “brought them back to their roots,” they said, “We’re reapplying for the position of best band in the world.” Translation: “Hey guys! Sorry Pop sucked so much! Our bad! Here, look, we’re going to stop all this wacky experimentation now! It’s okay to like us again!” Cue the opening chords of “Beautiful Day.”

Of course, when an experimental album contains the worst song of said band’s career, it’s easier to understand when people condemn them for stepping out of their comfort zone. That’s the kind of thing that happens… When Bad Songs Happen To Good Bands.

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May 15, 2009: Show #22

Here it is, folks… the last of my playlists from the 2008-09 school year. An emotional moment, I know. But I plan to be back for the Fall ’09 semester, having submitted my returning DJ application today. So far I’m thinking my biggest issue will be thinking up ideas for new Top 5 lists. If you’ve got any ideas for lists, I’m all ears. Check the Top 5 page on this site so you’ll know which lists I’ve already done — I’d rather not repeat myself, after all.

Anyway, here’s the playlist from May 15, 2009.

1. Mastodon, “Quintessence” (Crack The Skye)

2. Intronaut, “Australopithecus” (Prehistoricisms)

3. Slayer, “Dissident Aggressor” (South Of Heaven)

4. Metallica, “Escape” (Ride The Lightning)

5. Baroness, “O’Appalachia” (Red Album)

6. Between The Buried And Me, “Prequel To The Sequel” (Colors)

7. High On Fire, “Fury Whip” (Death Is This Communion)

8. The Sword, “March Of The Lor” (Age Of Winters)

9. At The Drive-In, “Mannequin Republic” (Relationship Of Command)

10. Green Day, “Peacemaker” (21st Century Breakdown)

11. Queens Of The Stone Age, “Auto Pilot” (Rated R)

12. Radiohead, “Where I End And You Begin (The Sky Is Falling In)” (Hail To The Thief)

13. My Morning Jacket, “Two Halves” (Evil Urges)

14. Minus The Bear, “Fulfill The Dream” (Menos El Oso)

15. Interpol, “Next Exit” (Antics)

16. Pavement, “Starlings Of The Slipstream” (Brighten The Corners)

17. Foo Fighters, “Miracle” (In Your Honor)

18. Kings Of Leon, “Revelry” (Only By The Night)

19. Blur, “No Distance Left To Run” (13)

20. The National, “Racing Like A Pro” (Boxer)

21. Weezer, “The Good Life” (Pinkerton)

22. Bloc Party, “Rhododendrons” (“Hunting For Witches” single)

23. Nirvana, “You Know You’re Right” (Nirvana)

24. The Beatles, “Eleanor Rigby” (Revolver)

25. Radiohead, “No Surprises” (OK Computer)

Well, that covers it for all the playlist posts. Be sure to watch this space for updates about next semester’s show times, and also for all the Internet-only content.


April 24, 2009: Show #19

Hey everyone! I’ve finally returned to the blogosphere. My exams have all been taken, my papers have all been written, and an entire apartment’s worth of my stuff has been crammed into an SUV and driven back to Pennsylvania. I’m still not entirely sure how we pulled that last part off. Apparently the Ford Freestyle has more cargo room than I’ve ever given it credit for. Either that, or my mom’s a packing genius. I think I’ll go with a little of column A and a little of column B.

So on to the next playlist post! And hoo boy, do I remember this show well. This aired during a time when my computer had been all screwed up and I was relying mainly on YouTube (with some help from Myspace and Last.fm and the like) to do my shows. On April 24, 2009, I realized why relying on YouTube can result in total disaster. Stuff was taking too long to load and then there would be additional sound effects in the videos that I didn’t want being played. But as much as I’d like to give this show the Wayside School treatment — there is no 19th story in Wayside School and no 19th Listen Up! show — I can’t pretend it didn’t happen. Here’s the playlist from that show, and thankfully things went much more smoothly with subsequent shows.

1. Green Day, “Know Your Enemy” (21st Century Breakdown)

2. Blur, “Parklife” (Parklife)

3. Weezer, “Possibilities” (Maladroit)

4. Jupiter One, “Countdown” (Jupiter One)

5. Queens Of The Stone Age, “3’s & 7’s” (Era Vulgaris)

6. The Sword, “Iron Swan” (Age Of Winters)

7. High On Fire, “Waste Of Tiamat” (Death Is This Communion)

8. Between The Buried And Me, “Viridian” (Colors)

9. Metallica, “Whiplash” (live in Athens, Greece — originally on Kill ‘Em All)

10. Fierce Allegiance, “No Way Out” (The Meaning Of Sacrifice)

11. Mastodon, “Aqua Dementia” (Leviathan)

12. Radiohead, “Knives Out” (Amnesiac) — dammit, I forgot to play my cell phone ringtone on the air that day. With the help of Audacity, I made the first 20 seconds of “Knives Out” my custom ringtone. My text message alert, in case you’re curious, is the end of the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” with Ringo Starr yelling, “I’VE GOT BLISTERS ON MY FINGERS!”

13. Rancid, “Time Bomb” (…And Out Come The Wolves)

14. Deerhunter, “Agoraphobia” (Microcastle)

15. Thrice, “Image Of The Invisible” (Vheissu)

16. Solar Powered Sun Destroyer, “Some Assembly Required” (live on WMUC Third Rail Radio 4/19/09, originally on Intromission EP)

17. Interpol, “The Heinrich Maneuver” (Our Love To Admire)

18. Bloc Party, “Mercury” (Intimacy)

19. The National, “Brainy” (Boxer)

20. My Morning Jacket, “Evil Urges” (Evil Urges)

21. Kings Of Leon, “Taper Jean Girl” (Aha Shake Heartbreak)

22. The Hold Steady, “Stuck Between Stations” (Boys And Girls In America)

23. Muse, “Starlight” (Black Holes & Revelations)

24. Foo Fighters, “All My Life” (One By One)

25. Radiohead, “2+2 = 5 (The Lukewarm)” (Hail To The Thief)

26. Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (Nevermind)

So what was the real lesson? If you rely on your computer to do your radio shows, God help you if it gets a virus and stops working. Also, don’t leave things in the fridge. And as always, join my Facebook group if you’ve got an account and keep watching this space.