Scream Meme

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Sep 052013
 
It’s a simple question: Is there a better, more iconic rock scream than Roger Daltrey‘s wail in “Won’t Get Fooled Again”?

It could be a wordless scream, or just one word like Daltrey’s “yeah!” Maybe it’s a whole line or verse or song belted out with rage or destroyed vocal cords. Perhaps something less old school, like Trent Reznor in “Head Like a Hole” or Billy Corgan‘s rat in a “caaaaaage” in “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”.

Does Robert Plant have anything to bring to the challenge here? To start things off, I submit the “Immigrant Song” wailing as a top contender to the throne.
Please offer up your best candidates!
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Jun 142012
 

You know David Pajo, or you know of him.

I can barely think of a more Zelig-like character in contemporary rock, swiftly changing identities as he works his way through so much of what we listen to.

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Pajo played multiple instruments in various hardcore outfits in his native Louisville, rising to prominence as a founder of the dynamic Slint. He is a restless musician, consistently in the habit of packing his guitar case, and making stops with the likes of Tortoise, Stereolab, Will Oldham, Royal Trux, The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, Interpol, Mogwai (aka the Scottish Slint Fan Club), and in the ill-advised Zwan.

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He is no less chameleonic with his solo peregrinations, recording under the monikers Pajo, Evila, Dead Child, Aerial M, Papa M, and simply M. Depends on the day of the week, and his music can range from lonely corn-cob pipe musings to Math-rock instrumentals to whispered Eliot Smith-style vocals to living-room black metal to acoustic Misfits covers that make you do a double-take with the liner notes.

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I admire and enjoy the guts in Pajo’s music, and that it is somewhat unclassifiable. There’s a certain kind of hard to pin down nomadic Americana to his sounds. Regardless of the setting he’s playing in, it’s music that has a vibrant force, speaking from an emotional and experiential basis.

Do you hear it?

Here’s Dave Pajo with Tortoise.

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Jan 052009
 

The world moves and it swivels and bops

My infatuation with female bass players is well documented and this thread could easily, especially for me, be a flippant, voyeuristic look at hot chicks thumping basses (don’t worry we’ll get there), but the truth is that I feel that there is a deeper connection between the bass and the female that is primitive and intoxicating.

Nothing against men bass players but more so, I feel, than any other instrument, the bass and woman have a unique connection. In fact I would haphazardly postulate that there are more female bass players in rock bands than female any-other-instrument players. The sexist hypothesis might be that the bass is easier to play. Well that’s as may be. But, regardless, I think women are drawn to play the bass.

My theory is that bass-chicks are modern-day Fertility Goddesses.

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Dec 152008
 


In 2001, Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins drummer/sidekick Jimmy Chamberlain, and members of Slint, Tortoise, Chavez, Toto, and A Perfect Circle, and launched Zwan, a Tin Machine-like “this is a real band, mannnnnnn” supergroup. (OK, maybe no one from Toto was involved.) The band released one album, Mary Star of the Sea, in 2003, before breaking up.

To my ears, in limited exposure, Zwan sounded a lot like Smashing Pumpkins. To my eyes, the bassist was a notch hotter. Until now, I had no idea the band’s full name was initially True Poets of Zwan. That fact notwithstanding, is it time we revisit Zwan for consideration of a Critical Upgrade, wouldn’t you agree?
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Dec 112008
 

Is it just me, or does this highly entertaining interview with the head Smashing Pumpkin say something about The Limits of Winner Rock?

Energy we can do something with. Apathy we can’t work with. Who’s above us? Who’s lighting the culture on fire? Nobody. We don’t have to live in that world. We have the biggest manager [Irving Azoff] in the world. He tells us we can get there, we will get there. We will crack the egg like we did in ‘92, without doing something embarrassing like working with Timbaland. We will find how to do our thing and make it work. I can write songs. We’re big boys. We’ll do it.

Is this what happens when you treat every single musical endeavor like you’re entering the ring? Is Corgan emulating post-game press conference-speak to an almost ridiculous level here?

Let me be blunt. When Bruce Springsteen puts out a new album I pay attention. Same with Neil Young. Because they’re major artists who have something to say. I consider us in that category. When we do something it should be taken seriously, even when we’re off. If we’re marginalized by the culture, we’re not going to play dead and say thank you for our B-plus status.

Admirable chutzpah, to the say the least, but I want to tell Bill: Saying so doesn’t make it so!

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Jan 312007
 

Is there any city as cool as Chicago that has produced a legacy of such insignificant rock bands? I’m not talking about Chicago’s excellent R&B and Blues scenes, but rather the Windy City’s white-boy rock lineage.

Starting with the 1960’s, the Second City gave us such musical luminaries as The Shadows of Night, The Buckinghams (kind of a drag, indeed!), The Cryin’ Shames, New Colony Six, The Ides of March, and of course, Chicago. With the exception of Chicago (the band), the compete sum of the above mentioned bands’ hits could barely fill a Greatest Hits CD (believe me, I know my GH collections).

The 1970s gave us, if we consider the broad Chicago region, Styx, Cheap Trick, Shoes, Survivor, and that’s probably – thankfully – it. With the exception of the number of strings that a bass guitar can hold, none of these bands is going down in history as having changed anything.
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