Friday, January 30, 2009

A Defense of "Get On Your Boots"

Let me preface this track review with this caveat: I'm not saying this as a U2 fan. I am a U2 fan, but I genuinely think "Get On Your Boots" is a pretty decent song. That said, is it a great song? Does it have the fire and immediacy of the first five tracks of The Joshua Tree? No. It is not a great U2 work, and I'll admit the hook is essentially a reworking of the hook of "City of Blinding Lights."

Whereas U2's last album was almost buffoonishly mediocre; it was a showcase of terrible songwriting and meandering song structures. It was defiantly unhooky and the best track probably belonged on a Christian contemporary album.

Expecting a renaissance of Joshua Tree U2 is dumb, because if someone rerecords the same album over and over again we give them shit for being uncreative. "Get On Your Boots" is essentially a nice pop single: it's not going to save your soul, but it's got a nice bluesy riff and and alright rock-driving hook. The songwriting is already exponentially better than it was on How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, and if you listen close you can hear some latent guitar work akin to the noodlings on Boy and October. Sure, making the pre-hook "Sexy boots, get on your boots" is dumb, and the verses seem to be completely irrelevant to the chorus. But the music is tight; U2's whole sonic aesthetic is about being one unit. The rhythm section is pretty cohesive, and the Edge is doing something that doesn't involve a lot of delay for a change. It's as dancy as anything since "Discotheque," and Bono sounds like he's at least been doing vocal warmups or something.

Since users on Stereogum are probably empirically dudes who listened to Crooked Rain Crooked Rain and the rest of that shit, I'm not going to hold their opinions in huge esteem. Is that single-minded? Perhaps: but if I wrote off a pretty solid band based on a single I wouldn't listen to music. I'm confident about No Line on the Horizon.

All this said the new Springsteen album is pretty meh.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What's Goin On

So recently there has been some news on some pretty big-name bands. New tracks have been released and artists have given a taste of what they have to offer fans during live sets. For the most part, so far so good ... with one fairly glaring exception in my opinion. Let me say this in the simplest way possible, U2's latest effort entitled "Get on Your Boots" kind of sucks. Hard. One Stereogum user said it best when they stated that it, "Seems a bit of a mess." I feel like Bono doesn't care anymore. He's phoning everything in. The lyrics are pretty generic and said without any kind of meaning or feeling. The same goes for the rest of the band. Everything from the weak, ordinary guitar intro to the meh "drum solo (?)." Hopefully, "Get on Your Boots" is not a sign of things to come on the band's upcoming album No Line On The Horizon. Click here if you wanna take a listen.

Not too long ago, Mastodon gave their fans a crease in the jeans when they released the album art for their up-coming record, Crack the Skye. If that's not enough for you, then hold your fucking horses. Mastodon also released the first single off the LP, entitled "Divinations." On a side-note, the single also has a badass cover. The track begins with a Deliverance-esque banjo intro and quickly explodes into a torrent of fast guitars, heavy drums, sludgy bass, and a soaring chorus. Translation: Brutal, Brutal Metal. Kind of reminds me of "Capillarian Crest" from Blood Mountain.Overall, this track makes my penis hard, like most, and is an extremely promising cut from the band's new album which drops March 24th. You can check out the album art on the bottom of the post.

Last but far from least, the Arctic Monkeys have been playing some of their new material live lately and responses have been pretty promising. While Homme's influence is not without a trace here, it is certainly not as prominent as many expected. It seems as though Turner and crew have traded in their brattiness for a much darker feel.Me Likey. Turner's vocals are a little more reminiscent of his work with "The Last Shadow Puppets" and the rest of the band, as usual, have come up with some pretty slick, tightly organized music. If you want to hear for yourself click here. The Arctics are currently wrapping up their untitled third album.

Artist to Watch: Mark Gormley

Back in the day (cue the sepia-tinged flashback), a day that I personally do not remember but have witnessed on some late-'80s-to-early-'90s sitcom schlock, wannabe quasi-musicians could bring their talent to the visual level by going to the local mall and find a trendy, unique establishment that would make this dream a reality. Of course, I’m referencing those places where people go in booths with sombreros and acoustic guitars, record a terribly gaudy music video for a premium, and get a VHS of it (I don’t even know what that is, either.) Well, in the fast-paced technological present-day, any hack with a shoddy video camera or even webcam can make a representative music video of the discordant cacophony they call “music” by uploading it to the all-powerful YouTube. In the face of adversity, however, one brave stoic man dares to be different.

Enter the fierce presence of one Mark Gormley. In a day and age when these newfangled music videos are getting a tad complex, Mr. Gormley takes it back to square one with simplistic, uncorrelated music videos and intense and powerful genre-blurring tunes. “Without You” seems to be the hit of the moment, which features a mind-numbing guitar crunch right out of the early Metallica notebook and an ear-piercing, shrill vocal style that could up against the most respected in the metal community. The heart-wrenching music is contrasted with the seemingly random images of a beach, outer space and other stock photos. If his musical complexity is any indicator, the video’s seemingly cryptic and bone-chilling tone likely has a deeper meaning to it. Regardless of the imagery, Gormley refuses to budge or let anything get to him, as he stands bravely and croons his emotions. “Little Wings” changes it up, doing the act that indie-forever quintet Fleet Foxes have been using to skyrocket to fame: A simple acoustic guitar hook is repeated as Gormley displays his best folk falsetto, amid pseudo-psychedelic backdrops of neon butterflies and seagulls. Robin Pecknold, eat your heart out. “Beginnings” is a rocking little number that Gormley wrote many years ago, and it still has a seething vitality today, with the universality of its message and the typical, powerful Gormsley music video. The man never smiles because he is so intense and every syllable he spits is from the heart.

In an ever-changing musical landscape, Mark Gormley has been idly standing amidst it for four fucking decades. The facts remain: He looks like the quiet high school science teacher or the questionable neighbor who lives alone and has a rusty 1996 Chevrolet Express van down the street. His music sounds like it was made using Microsoft’s new, completely unnecessary software Songsmith. His videos consist of nothing more than him not moving in front of spontaneous images that alternate every so often. The introductions to the videos are confounding. In fact, the whole damn concept of a Mark Gormley in 2009 is a mindfuck because of the simple fact that it is 100% legitimate. No trace of irony can be detected even if they are examined with the proverbial fine-tooth comb. A man this serious about his music should be lauded, raised upon shoulders and heralded as the second coming of Christ. Or, like, Led Zeppelin, if you’re secular. M-Gorm is the real deal and needs to be treated as such. Watch everything he has ever done. Examine it. Revel in it. Enjoy it. Buy his record. Put it in a ghetto blaster and walk around a populated area spreading the Good Word of Gormley. Send him fan mail. Join his fan club. If he doesn’t have one, make one. Sport the Gormstache. Fuck Animal Collective, Mark Gormley may be the Best Everything of 2009.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Consider this dystopian vignette. Apparently someone thought it would be a good idea to have Led Zeppelin (an overrated band to begin with) tour without their gimmicky lead singer Robert Plant; during this lead-singerless period they would have a fill-in. Another someone (perhaps the same someone) had an idea that the dude from shitty pseudo-Christian alt-rock outfit Alter Bridge should fill in and be a lead singer. For Led Zeppelin.

Now before you punch in the code to your panic room with a copy of Oracular Spectacular and wait for it all to blow over, consider bringing a twelve-gauge in with you in case the real trouble starts. Being the other guys in Alter Bridge is a hard life; they used to be in Creed. BUT CREED MIGHT BE GETTING BACK TOGETHER BECAUSE THE OTHER TOOL FROM ALTER BRIDGE MIGHT BE SINGING FOR LED ZEPPELIN.

Is your mind blown right now? Good. Because this was only a test. Some intelligent individual nipped this all in the bud. It could have happened. Do you feel how close you were to death? Did you hug your dog? The series of terrifying articles is hosted on, I suggest you look at them and appreciate how narrowly Earth avoided another Creed tour.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cassette Musique Exclusive: Interview with The Limousines

Thanks to the wonders of AOL Instant Messenger I was able to snag some mono-a-mono time with Eric Victorino, the former lead vocalist of Strata and brainchild behind electro-pop group The Limousines. Topics covered in the interview included plans for a debut LP, as well as the possibility of a headlining tour. So, without further ado, actual dialogue from the conversation that took place:

DevillnMyShoebox (3:55:34PM): Hey Eric, I'm a big fan of Strata and The Limousines. I was surfing on your MySpace page the other day and came across your screenname, and was wondering if I could ask you a few questions...Hopefully this isn't intrusive or annoying...But anyway, I was curious if The Limousines have an LP planned for release this year?
Screennamewitheld (3:59:45PM): yeah
DevillnMyShoebox (3:59:48PM): AWESOME!!! And any plans for a nationwide tour?
Screennamewitheld (4:05:12PM): nope
DevillnMyShoebox (4:05:20PM): Thanks a lot Eric!

There you have it folks, straight from the horse's mouth - The Limousines will be releasing an LP sometime this year, and they may or may not, one way or another, whether it be as a headlining or supporting act, tour. As always, Eric was really engaging and a delight to talk to, so if you get a chance, hit him up sometime.

Expect more in-depth artist interviews such as the one above as Cassette Musique garners more street cred among the indie culturati.

Friday, January 16, 2009

News Flash: Gorillaz demos, Fleet Foxes on SNL and more

- Guinness Book of World Records’ Most Successful Virtual Band, Gorillaz, premiered demos from their forthcoming as-of-yet untitled third record on UK’s Radio 1 on Wednesday evening. Mastermind Damon Albarn, who is also currently hard at work on new Blur material, hosted the show and premiered unfinished demos of three songs presumably going to be on the new album in one shape or another. Obviously, these are unfinished versions of songs, but it still provides some excitement and anticipation for LP No. 3. Links to download and stream “Broken,” “Electric Shock,” and “Stylo/Binge” are here, as is the entire setlist that Mr. Albarn played while hijacking the British radio waves. Eagles of Death Metal, Damon? Awesome.

Their self-titled debut was named the best of 2008 by influential music websites Pitchfork and Stereogum, and now they will be harmonizing softly on live television. Seattle’s very own Fleet Foxes are to perform “Blue Ridge Mountains” (from the aforementioned eponymous LP) and “Mykonos” (from their Sun Giant EP, also released in 2008) on the upcoming January 17 episode of Saturday Night Live. The episode will be hosted by Rosario Dawson, who will be promoting her new, apparently subpar film Seven Pounds, which also features Big Willie. I guess Seattle ain’t known just for that grunge stuff anymore.

Fledgling Capitol Records plan on milking former labelmates Radiohead for what their worth by re-releasing their first three albums (Pablo Honey, The Bends and OK Computer) as expanded, 2xCD collector’s editions. The bonus discs will sport all of the B-sides and live tracks that correspond to the singles, EPs and BBC Radio 1 sessions released in conjunction with these albums. In addition, DVDs will be bundled to make Special Collector’s Editions, which will feature music videos and live performances. While it is certainly easy to say “unnecessary,” some of the material on the bonus disc is rare and will now be properly re-released in a convenient manner. Die-hard fans need not bother, since all of the songs are out there in one form or another. Here is the laborious track listing. The re-issues are due out March 24.

Previously mentioned as one of Andrew’s most anticipated albums of 2009, U2’s twelfth studio album, No Line on the Horizon, finally has some artwork and tracks to go along with the album name.

The album cover is pretty cool, minimalistic yet purposeful, and done by Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. The track listing is below. Try to think of what each song might sound like based solely on the title:
1. "No Line on the Horizon"
2. "Magnificent"
3. "Moment of Surrender"
4. "Unknown Caller"
5. "I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight”
6. “Get On Your Boots”
7. "Stand Up Comedy"
8. "Fez – Being Born"
9. "White as Snow"
10. "Breathe"
11. "Cedars of Lebanon"
“Get On Your Boots” will be the first single, available for download on February 15. No Line on the Horizon, meanwhile, will hit stores in about a hundred different variations on March 3 in the U.S.

Once-respected, heavily influential metal gods Metallica and equally influential hip-hop group Run D.M.C. headline the latest candidates inducted into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame for the Class of ’09. Run D.M.C. are just the second hip-hop group to gain entrance into the prestigious institution, the first being Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five back in 2006. Meanwhile, as two deserving groups make it into the Hall of Fame, many other deserving groups are snubbed. The ceremony will be on VH1 on April 4.