Skip to content

Thrilling Thursday

May 30, 2013

Well, I’m back after a very long haitus, thanks to grad school and an interruption called life. And, of course, what better way to start a comeback by drooling over QotSA (Surprised? Didn’t think so, ha!)

Thank Jeebus! Queens of the Stone Age’s release date for their first album in 6 got dang years, …Like Clockwork, is approaching fast. For those who don’t know, SHAME ON YOU and mark your calendars for June 4th.

...Like Clockwork album cover art by Bonehead.

…Like Clockwork album cover art by Bonehead.

I was honestly disappointed with their “sneak peak” videos of new songs on their website and on youtube (the visuals by UK artist, Bonehead, are badass and coincide with the overall feel of the gloomy album, but my initial disappointment lied in the music).

HOWEVER, after the Queens announced that their entire album was available to stream for FREE on iTunes for a limited time before their official release, like the extreme QotSA fan that I am and despite my initial impression, I sped right over to iTunes to take a listen….And HOLY BALLS, was I blown away. Disappointed, no more.

So, to get all of this excitement out of my body before I explode, I am going to share with the interwebz my track-by-track review of …Like Clockwork. Though, probably only 1 person even reads this blog…and that person probably only read this because they accidentally stumbled upon it…but your noticing is much appreciated regardless!

Before I start my probably-longer-than-ever-needed rant, I would like to share some other constructive reviews. I have heard both a lot of negative and positive opinions (with some respectable mixed/neutral reviews in between). For example:  I agree with The New York Daily News’ review in which it is reminiscent of horror movie soundtrack motifs. But in Farber’s sub-title heading he claims, it’s QotSA’s “best CD yet.” I love QotSA and I thoroughly love this album, but I think it still falls short of being the best…the best albums (in my opinion) being their self-titled and Songs for the Deaf. I enjoyed Billboard’s review, because they also broke it down track by track and gave some insight into which musicians played on which tracks. It is indeed QotSa’s “most potent lineup…” like EVER! The thing that is disappointing the most is that I could not decipher each guest’s influence and sound as much as I would like to…or at times, not at all. I’ll elaborate later, don’t worry! Under the Gun also reiterates this point and makes a very valid argument that despite some disappointment, this album was very well written in that it is very “friendly and accessible.” At least, accessible to avid and smart music-goers that don’t just sit around listening to bands like Nickleback (ugh, barf). However I disagree that not all of the songs are “memorable” or as “clever” as previous albums and most …Like Clockwork tracks are now more “filler” songs….I disagree because, quite frankly, I’ve already been humming most of the songs like a mad (wo)man and embarrassing myself at work.

1. Keep Your Eyes Peeled – I think the dragging strut of the drum and bass line really carry this song well, perfectly offset by the wailing guitar interruptions, Homme’s softer vocals and simple piano line during the verses. Not too sure who tracked the bass but it sounded very Nick Oliveri styled. I also keep finding myself singing “If life is but a dream…then, WAKE ME!” as I rock my shoulders and hips to and fro. Per Billboard’s review (linked above) Jake Shears assists with vocals. Again, I can’t really decipher the guests on this track but when I think Jake Shears and/or the Scissor Sisters my mind doesn’t immediately think of QotSA nor this song. But his vocals do add a nice and pretty touch to the swooning chorus.

2. I Sat By the Ocean – The album picks up tempo with the second track and, for some reason, reminds me of Them Crooked Vultures’ song, Bandoliers (possibly because of the more pop-like feel of the clapping bridge, Shuman-esque bass lines, the theatrical crescendo of the chorus only to abruptly return to the simpler verse, and familiarity of Homme’s vocal and guitar melodies). I’ve always thought of Josh Homme as a modern, hard rocking, ginger version of Elvis Presley…and his clever lyrics (“I sat by the ocean and drank a potion, baby, to erase you,” c’mon, tell me that line isn’t catchy?!) paired with his tasteful vocal range and inflections (I’m officially creating the term the “Homme twang”) only furthers my point. Oh, and back to Shuman awesomeness, if you haven’t heard one of his other bands, Mini Mansions, you need to go do so now, it rocks hard!

3. The Vampyre Of Time And Memory – I must say that …Like Clockwork is most definitely their more ballad heavy album yet, but not in a bad way by any means. When Homme asks “Does anyone ever get this right?” the answer is…FUCK YES. They got it right with …Like Clockwork and this song. I would love to see the album’s booklet to see who laid down what for each track, but in my opinion, this sounds like a heavily Shuman influenced song, as well. It feels like a very relatable and tasteful ballad, much thanks from the soft vocal harmonies and echoing cries of Homme’s guitar solo.

4. If I Had A Tail – Oh em geez, what can I not say about this song? If this song, from the 4 count in of the drums to the very end, does not make you get up and shake your ass then you need to see a Neurologist right now because your body and/or ears must not be working properly. My favorite sexy song of QotSA past was always “Make It With You.” But I think I have a new favorite QotSA baby-making track. To be honest when I initially heard this song and the first lines of “Gitchy Gitchy, Oh La La” I was kind of thrown off and thinking it was going to turn into a terrible version of “Lady Marmalade” (don’t worry it doesn’t). Dave Grohl lays down the drums, and granted you can hear very Grohl-ish hard and staccato drumming, it’s not his heaviest contribution. Mark Lanegan also assists on raw vocals with “Ooh’s” and “Ah’s” during the latter part of the chorus. This kind of disappointed me because hearing that he was going to be on the album, I was hoping he would have lend a bigger part. Nonetheless it added a cool and gritty contrast to Homme’s vocals. Overall, this song is just flat out badass: Homme’s smooth vocals wailing sardonic lyrics, sexy and straightforward verses complimented by a heavier and grungy chorus ending with in-your-face guitar and drum lines, and just overall sex appeal.

5. My God Is The Sun – Shuman and Grohl definitely shine on this track bringing back some of the more hard hitting qualities of QotSA. I feel like this is also the most dynamic song on the album with the fitting contrasts of each instrument/musician parts: Grohl’s simple tambourine entrance leading up to his more typical pounding of the drums (I always imagine Animal from the Muppets when I think of Dave Grohl) and intermittent drum stops transitioning each section of the song; Driving guitar lines (I can’t help but think of the intro to first Kyuss’ song I ever heard –  50 Million Year Trip) that echo and play with Homme’s vocals; The soft eerie “Ooh’s” in the bridge that abruptly shift into a hard and loud chorus; And the theatrical ending that reminds me of a trippy circus and the entire album of Lullabies to Paralyze. The production is just phenomenal on this song – I strongly recommend listening to this album all over again with badass headphones to get the full effect (my ear friends of choice, Denon AH-NC732 noise cancelling headphones, just saying).

6. Kalopsia – The men prove, again, that they’re clever and badass when it comes to contrast. I don’t know what to say about this song other than it being the personification of a creative, eerie yet beautiful, colorful, and bi-polar nightmare. I think their animated music video is a perfect visual depiction of what I mean. Trent Reznor’s presence is also fully felt and appreciated on this track.

7. Fairweather Friends – This song is just flat out epic and very reminiscent, in my opinion, of Them Crooked Vultures’ song Dead End Friends (granted, the TCV song is at a faster tempo, maybe the subject matter or song title is initiating the familiarity). Per Billboard’s review Elton John lends his piano skills, which add a very nice touch, Grohl jumps back on the drums without overpowering the song, and I definitely agree that Homme’s reminding everyone how badass he is on guitar during this song.

8. Smooth Sailing – Another sexy ass song…period. Homme shows off his vocal range again…and I don’t know about you but I’m reminded of Muse’s groovy Supermassive Black Hole and can totally picture this played in a fancy rocker strip club. Homme’s vocals are definitely smooth and sail above the rawness and grit of the rest of the song. The lyrics are also genius on this track – “I blow my load over the status quo, here we go!” If I weren’t a female, I’d “blow my load” over this song.

9. I Appear Missing – Again, the theatric feel and chord progressions feel very reminiscent to their Lullabies to Paralyze album. There’s a very eerie and addicting quality to this song that is best described visually by their short video in which a seemingly very injured man awake from an assumed coma, creepily floats over the desert landscape, and at the end of the song as the keys, drums, and guitar pound in a sense of urgency, the man falls to his death from the LA (?) skyline.

10. …Like Clockwork – A perfect ending to the album. Elton John comes in again on piano with Josh Homme’s pretty vocals to introduce this last track. The crescendo of the song is perfectly executed with a slow and gentle introduction followed by acoustic guitar, then a harder wailing guitar line and drums offset by more “Ooh’s,” only to be overtaken by an orchestral climax, returning to the back and forth of musical contrasts, and ending with an unresolved cry of violins.

In a nut shell: Yes, the guest lineup is misleading and audibly difficult to decipher a times. Yes, this album is no pounding-young-Queens of the Stone Age (even their more straight forward songs from Songs for the Deaf, like “Do It Again” and “Gonna Leave” were much more raw and gritty than any on this album). Yes, this album is less guitar-solo driven. BUT…the fluid climaxes of the album as a whole and within each song, the perfect balance of ballads, gloom, vaudevillian theatrics, and addicting hooks, just enough sexy grit, the clever lyrics, and the overall production quality is what makes this album and QotSA stand above a lot of other tenure bands still trying to crank out shit music after 20+ years. This album definitely redeemed QotSA after Era Vulgaris and feels like their most mature sound yet. I feel that every band and album that is a derivative, product, or collaboration of QotSA members has given much influence to this album in the most perfect way possible (i.e. I can hear a lot of sounds from their past albums like Lullabies to Paralyze, a little progressive pinch from Them Crooked Vultures, some sexy wit of Eagles of Death Metal, a hint of psychedelic from Mini Mansions, the urgent and driving feel from Kyuss, etc.).

So, thank you Queens of the Stone Age and friends for delivering …Like Clockwork after many long awaited years.

To wrap up this rant and until next time, if you haven’t heard enough about Josh Homme here’s some cool edu-ma-cation from the man himself in regards to guitar playing:

Watch out 2012…Albums to look for this year.

February 8, 2012

Well 2011 was a little bit of a bust in my opinion, mainly because I was disappointed with Jay & Kanye’s Watch the Throne. Hopefully this will prove to be a much better year, afterall the world is apparently “ending” and you have to save the best for last.

Albums that have already been released that are on my “to listen” list:

Mark Lanegan – Blues Funeral

Air – Le Voyage de la Lune (another sexy album? We’ll see.)

Albums to be released later that I am anticipating:

02/07 – Of Montreal – Paralytic Stalks (I like some of their stuff, so I’m willing to take a listen)

02/14 – Sleigh Bells – Reign of Terror  (Just in time for Valentine’s Day, how appropriate. I LOVED their first album, but their single off of this upcoming album wasn’t too great.)

03/26 – Miike Snow – Happy to You (Because their song Cult Logic was badass!)

03/26 – The Shins – Port of Morrow  (Wouldn’t hurt to take a listen, c’mon.)

03/27 – The Mars Volta – Noctourniquet  (Wasn’t a fan of the last two albums and hopefully Omar got his shenangigans out of his system.)

06/2012 – Missy Elliott

06/2012 – Timbaland

Albums with TBA release dates/titles:

Deftones

John Mayer – Born and Raised (DON’T HATE! He’s a great guitarist, just shouldn’t waste his skills on pop music for screaming pre-pubescent girls. I always end up downloading his albums in hopes he has had sense knocked into him, but end up deleting them right after out of disappointment.)

Kid Cudi – Man on the Moon III

The Killers – Battle Born (expected this summer according to Wikipedia)

Lady Gaga (Again, don’t hate. She’s odd, I know, but she’s got a beautifully trained voice.)

MGMT – MGMT

Metallica (Hopefully without Lou Reed.)

Muse

QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE (You know I will be all over this release like a sorority girl on Plan B.)

Rage Against the Machine

Smashing Pumpkins – Oceania

Soundgarden (??????? Apparently everyone’s making comebacks.)

The Strokes

Tenacious D – Rise of the Phoenix  (Because I have a funny bone and adore Jack Black.)

Tool

Wolfmother

Well…that’s it for now. I will keep you guys (and gals) updated on these albums, unless Grad school kills me first.

Dave Grohl + new sitcom?!?!?!

February 3, 2012

Dave Grohl has an obvious funny bone, as previously seen in Hot Buns and Fresh Pots. But he’s taking it a step futher, reportedly via Deadline, in the form of producing a FX sitcom with the writing/actor of Dana Gould (voice acted on some Simpsons episodes a long with other funnies). This sitcom apparently “centers on a rock band on the verge of mega-stardom who finds itself on the verge of breaking up and is forced to seek professional help in a last-ditch effort to stay together. Unfortunately, they end up with a misanthropic couple’s therapist from Agoura on the brink of divorce.” Sounds like a less brutal version of Metalocalypse (which, on a side note, I am desparately waiting for it to return to Adult Swim). No set dates of when to quite look out for this Dave Grohl – Dan Gould creation, but considering how obsessed I am with QotSA I will keep an eye out for y’all.

TGIF

September 29, 2011

It’s been a rollercoaster of a week so thank goodness it’s Friday. I finally got a breather to add some updates from the week:

  • Feist streams her new album, Metals, six days early to release date. This is going on my to-do list but check it out via CoS.
  • Roger Waters joins the Foo on Fallon for Pink Floyd week…awesome. Watch it over at Stereogum.
  • Progressive rock super hero band? I think, yes. Cedric from Mars Volta teams up with some pretty awesome and noteworthy people to form new band – Anywhere.
  • Despite my utter distaste for Radiohead’s newest album, King of Limbs, and the constant remix hatin’ thereafter, their performance on the Colbert Report was quite awesome. I have a feeling Stephen Colbert’s sardonic wit contributed to my tolerance. Check it via CoS.
  • Done Waiting exposes the lack of plan to release Blakroc 2. This was the biggest disappointment of the week. Apparently the trailer was an unauthorized leak and my dreams are crushed. So please disregard my earlier posts of excitement.
  • And to brighten up that last point check out Duck Sauce’s hilarity at it’s best:

So sorry….

September 21, 2011

If you don't get this picture reference, then sucks for you. You need some more South Park in your life....

I deeply apologize for being M.I.A. these past, nearly, two weeks due to full-time graduate school, (throwing fits for not being able to attend this year’s ACL, after all AND accidentally missing a Gary Clark Jr. show in San Antonio, Tx), full-time work, and semi-joining new bands then quitting them abruptly. Despite using extreme sleep deprivation as an excuse I haven’t missed too much of anything that’s noteworthy in the musical world. What I have missed, and maybe even you too, is:

  • Frank Ocean keeps on doing what he does best…everything. I’m LOVING the new song/video for “Swim Good.”
  • Daft Punk disappoints and releases an unreleased 1994 song, “Drive,” which, in my opinion, sounds like a drunken house D.J. regurgitated an old DAFT PUNK song after too many Jack & Cokes.
  • I get mixed feelings over teaser clip of a Lou Reed & Metallica song from Lulu. Check it via CoS.
  • I have put “streaming Mastodon’s ‘The Hunter’…” on my to-do list of study breaks. You should too.
  • …And if you couldn’t get enough of Frank Ocean, peep his video for his hypnotic song (and personal fave) “Thinking About You.”

Well…I’ll see you in another few days…or weeks.

Hells Yes

September 9, 2011

This Thursday calls for a slew of biased updates:

  • Chelsea Lately (whom I’ve grown to not hate, lately) interviews Dave Grohl…yum. It gets real…and real funny. I think the audio is off, but whatevs.

 

 

  • Explosions in the Sky come out with their second ever music video and it’s super cute. Badass song too. Check it via Billboard.

 

  • The Duke Spirit’s Bruiser (thank goodness for a new album!) is laid out via CoS. The chick has an awesome voice and they rock out in their newest video for “Surrender.” Check it below.

 

 

  • …and then he teams up with The Knux for their new video of “Run.” If you haven’t figured out that the Knux are beyond super awesome by now, congrats, you probably live under a rock and/or are deaf and humorless.

“This right here!” Thursday

September 2, 2011
  • This right here, is my summer jam! Simply addicting, ill lyrics and awesome sampling.

 

  • This right here, rocks. Smashing Pumpkins make a record club. Billy Corgan still looks like a mole rat.

 

  • This right here, is beyond inconceivably awesome. ICP + Jack White, covering Mozart = “Leck Mich Im Arsch”…? Seriously.

 

  • This right here, I’m only posting because I love Dave Navarro. Jane’s Addiction releases new video for “Irresistible Force” while having cosmic sex and convinces me their lead singer is a tad on the gay side.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.