UPDATE: The goal has been reached. I hope Trey Hill Band enjoys the BHAMFM Bump..
Once again, I set out to make fun of lame Kickstarter projects, and once again I stand before you not actually doing that.
I’m starting to wonder if I’ve lost my edge. Maybe in my old age I’ve mellowed, and can’t bear to mock people on the internet. I’ve really got to examine my life and see where it went wrong. I used to be mean, you know. At some point this irregular feature is going to turn into actually highlighting good and interesting things from Birmingham on Kickstarter instead of mocking stupid ones. That’s terrifying.
I have found the occasion on this very site to talk about how dumb some “Christians” are. And without going too deep into that territory, let’s just say there’s not any DC Talk in my iTunes library. I have a relatively low opinion of Christian music unless it is sung by Johnny Cash. So seeing a Kickstarter for Christian music, I expected the worst. I braced myself, and hit play on their video.
Ya’ll are alright. I still don’t know what your music sounds like, and honestly I probably wouldn’t like it. But I can’t hate on you.
As of this writing they are perilously close to not meeting their goal. I don’t remember much about church but I think if you help them reach it you get an indulgence, and then you don’t have to go to purgatory. Or something like that.
Let’s pass the offering plate around and get these boys the money. Maybe they’ll just make more videos instead. I’d be ok with that.
Hi, I’m Trey Buzzfeed presenting you video gifs of Jennifer Lawrence going “good job” or whatever. I feel like listing things has gotten to be the sad land of the uncreative but whatever, I have a job. That clearly excuses not trying. So anyway, I do my best thinking in the more aimless moments of retail, namely the times when you stand at the register and can’t leave because a customer is really close (but so far away from actually wanting to check out). That is what this comes out of. Also, I’m going to number these things because my new last name of Buzzfeed forces me to adopt everything in their site’s model.
1. Switchfoot – “Dare You to Move”
My worst nightmares are all about faux-motivational songs that because they have a positive message, every white person has to listen to it incessantly. Switchfoot tows the line between secular horseshit and Needtobreathe-like bullshit. Neither are good things to tow the line on. Also, the song has the lyric “I dare you to move like today never happened before.” Well, no shit, of course it’s never happened before because you can’t fully predict how a day will go, numbnuts.
2. One Direction – “What Makes You Beautiful”
I don’t hate One Direction, actually. I don’t really like them too much, but they tow the line of being innocuous enough to not hate and they don’t delve into the line of kind of gross double entendres like their contemporaries The Wanted (more on that later). This is probably their weakest single, though. It also does that annoying thing were music is a personal neg to its listeners. You don’t need a band of faceless pop stars to tell you that you’re beautiful. That never ends well.
3. Real McCoy – “Another Night”
Very rarely, store playlists will remind us of the period in pop where Ace of Base were the kings and Eurodance was some great shit. Also, I’m going to steal this from the Wiki for the video: “O-Jay is Real McCoy, the DJ of a pirate radio station which is powered by four men with handcycle-mounted generators.” 1994 was an epic time where Tron was a logical means to power a pirate radio station which presumably only played house music and graduated to Cibo Matto by 1997.
4. Jordin Sparks – “Battlefield”
I guess this song is supposed to be a takeoff on Pat Benatar’s famous “Love is a Battlefield” by asking “Why does love always feel like a battlefield?” But the big trouble is that it’s Jordin Sparks’ milquetoast ass asking this question. Why does love always feel like a battlefield? Because you found out your boyfriend likes video games and you freaked out that there was one outlier to your bland coupling. Or something. I think I’m projecting too much into this.
5. Bastille – “Pompeii”
Random note: I hate James Blake. I feel bad for not enjoying a guy that a lot of smart people I know do enjoy, but I can’t stand his “let’s make dubstep into a quiet genre with vague soul undertones, also I’m a British white dude” thing. That said, he’s way fucking better than Bastille. Bastille’s vocalist Dan Smith sounds like how I’d poorly impersonate James Blake’s vocals. And instead of some weird form of dub or whatever, it’s listless indie rock behind these vocals that truly claw at my face and ears.
6. OneRepublic – “Stop and Stare”
This has a parallel to the Switchfoot song, but with even less of the “oh, this is about Jesus” theme to make it mean something to the listener in a way that’s deeper than “oh, just be yourself or whatever.”
7. Bodeans – “Closer to Free”
This is the part of the playlist where 90s alt rock nostalgia hits. Well, 90s alt rock bullshit nostalgia, anyway. Also, this was the theme for Party of Five. So, umm, that’s about all I can say. The Bodeans are from Wisconsin so, umm, go Packers?
8. Muse – “Madness”
For the longest time, I was obsessed with Muse. My belief was that their 2003 record Absolution was one of the best records I’ve ever heard and despite what I’m about to say, I do still like the three or four albums that opened up their mainstream career. But I guess I grew up. And I admit, it’s not like Muse were this great artistic endeavor. They have gotten slagged for either sounding like Radiohead (in their earlier stuff) or Queen (in their far later stuff). They made absurd rock operas about the apocalypse. Still, this Muse is not very good. It’s only a little better than the one that “wants to reconcile the violence in your heart.” Alas, we just grow older and more absurd, I guess.
9. Bruno Mars – “Just the Way You Are”
I feel like the cottage cheese industry that brought us One Direction has a hand in Bruno Mars songs as well. Just a hunch. Literally everything I said about One Direction applies here. Other than a few missteps, like not figuring out that gorillas have really short sex sessions or being a massive whiner on “Grenade” or the existence of “The Lazy Song,” Bruno’s pretty good. This song really isn’t, though. It’s the type of hollow falsehood that it takes a man like Bruno Mars to say a person is beautiful. But whatever. Pop music and all that horseshit.
10. Tonic – “You Wanted More”
In high school, I had the biggest damn crush on a girl who said her favorite band was Tonic. For context, that was several years after this song was released. Also, the Tonic thing was unrelated. I just liked brunettes who looked like Devin from Friday Night Lights (which explains why I’ve been single for three years, since most of those crushes tend to end like Landry’s attempt at romance with Devin; at the very least Crucifictorius never had to break up and they kept the band together because the music means the most). Oh, Tonic? Meh.
11. Lorde – “Team”
I feel like I’ve been way too critical of Lorde. I can’t expect much of the audience Lorde has managed to court to have heard The Knife, so this 17 year old Australian girl is their first taste of the minimalist approach that has permeated the indie scene over the past decade. I don’t know if she has anything to say other than that pop music sucks in how it addresses an actual reality. (Ironically, Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” is basically the closest to a song a lower to middle-class person can aspire to do, because we’ve all been to thrift shops. We’ve never been 2 Chainz.) That said, I don’t know if she has to do that yet. “Team” is about exasperation as much as its hook, and sometimes that’s great to see in the pop arena.
12. Owl City – “Fireflies”
This isn’t bad because it’s a complete takeoff of The Postal Service. It’s bad because it’s a fucking song about fireflies.
13. Sugar Ray – “Fly”
This isn’t bad because it’s white people trying to do reggae–wait, that is why it’s bad.
14. Haim – “The Wire”
I retroactively apologize for making fun of Haim so much, because they are so damn good. “The Wire” sounds like all the influences you expect, but it’s also just so damn clean. I can’t think of a song that can thrash a bit but get to its hook efficiently. God, I hope this gets popular. Rock needs badass chicks from Cali again.
15. The Lumineers – “Ho Hey”
16. Blessid Union of Souls – “Hey Leonardo”
Boy, speaking of Buzzfeed, this is what happens when Buzzfeed travels back to 1999 and becomes a song. There’s absurd references to Tyson Beckford, the title of the song is referencing teen idol Leo DiCaprio before he becomes acting’s MVP, and it’s also dumb and adds nothing to the conversation other than a thousand references. So, the past 1300 words you’ve read in a nutshell.
17. Ellie Goulding – “Fire”
Ellie Goulding’s got just a weird enough voice that it strikes me when I hear it. She’s like the mainstream Joanna Newsom in that regard in how just incredibly strange her voice sounds in comparison to everything around her. That also pushes “Fire” to be a song I enjoy quite a bit when I hear it. It’s not better than “Lights” but what is?
18. No Doubt – “Just a Girl”
19. The Cardigans – “Lovefool”
“Lovefool” is fucking amazing and I will tell you why. The other great thing about the 1990s was the amount of insipid pop that had darker implications. Third Eye Blind’s “Semi Charmed Life” hid heroin abuse behind its doo-doo-doos. Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” was super obnoxious and also a glorious mocking of the submissive plastic world drawn from the Barbie archetype. But none were a greater bite than “Lovefool,” a song that is actually about a woman so obsessed with her lover that she is being driven insane by that obsession as well as by the likelihood that he doesn’t really love her back. It is placed in a saccharine rhythm inspired by love songs, but is really a pisstake on them all.
20. Christina Perri – “A Thousand Years”
This song annoys me. The main takeoff on the song is Perri saying “I have loved you for a thousand years.” But of course, that’s fucking impossible. I hate to destroy the mood of Jennifer Lawrence gifs, but every single human on earth has died before reaching the age of 1000. Admittedly, this is a song from the Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 soundtrack, so I guess we’re supposed to see it from the perspective of the vampires who live forever? But they don’t live to 1000 in the film, either. The romance between Edward and Bella happens when Bella is 18 and Edward is less than 1000. When Perri says “a thousand years,” does she mean forever? Is there a better, less impossible way to say that? There has to be.
21. Panic at the Disco – “Nine in the Afternoon”
I guess I could whine about this one, too, but this is about unusual circumstances that aren’t impossible and also trying to sound like The Beatles. It’s way better than it has any right to be.
Behemoth are, without exaggeration, legends on the metal scene, godfathers of Polish metal, and one of the progenitors of the blackened metal subgenre. Begun in 1991 in the Prussian Gdansk/Danzig area, the band started out mirroring underground brethren, Vader, as well as being shaped by ultra-technical, classically-inspired acts like Morbid Angel. And, yet, the band still managed to release tracks that seemed to be purely black metal.
They were, in short, an excellent band with little direction.
No one wants to pigeon-hole versatile, talented musicians as being solely “riffy, tech-death,” or “thrash-inspired, black metal,” but that’s exactly where Behemoth found themselves for the first decade of their career. But, importantly, those early comparisons are salient as the band matured.
Early Behemoth “From the Pagan Vastlands”
In 2000, despite several successful releases, the band wholly switched gears — lyrically and thematically. Gone were the Germanic neo-pagan overtures. Gone also were the pure Vader-homage death metal tracks. Gone as well were the Satyricon inspired-black metal tunes. Inserted into their stead was an admixture of Eastern harmonies, thrashy riffs, black metal tremolo backing, tech-death virtuosity, bombastic orchestral pieces, and broad-reaching lyrical themes of global, holistic evil. You know what? It paid off. Behemoth moved from being a mainstay of the European underground to something much bigger, much more complete, more complex -and, ultimately, something that spawned the genre of blackened metal.
Classic blackened Behemoth “Ov Fire and the Void”
Enter the past decade, where Behemoth have seen both their most commercial success and their most adversity as persons and musicians, notably ever-rotating members, the trial in Poland for blasphemy, the cancer of front-man Nergal, the seemingly-annual ritual of switching labels. Behemoth, frankly, could not catch a break -even as their albums were more critically and commercially acclaimed. Now, in 2014, and with no small fanfare, we gladly review Behemoth’s latest offering, The Satanist.
It is impossible to soft-sell this record, because, frankly, The Satanist is the finest album that Behemoth has produced in a career spanning two decades –and, honestly, I’m unsure there will be a release in 2014 year this dynamic and musically satisfying.
Beginning with the intro track, the much-hyped and previewed “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel,” you are treated to a bridge release that musically falls between the above-linked classical blackened track “Ov Fire and The Void” and the rest of the album’s secrets.
“Gabriel” demonstrates Behemoth’s concerted effort to pay attention to groove, to let the backbeat shine, to
emphasize bass lines, to show off Nergal’s vocal range, to ramp up the orchestration (including metal-as-fuck French Horn lines), and -above all -to slow down and let the song take the lead. The effect is nothing short of remarkable and, impressively, it endures through every track of The Satanist.
Behemoth’s “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel”
Are there black metal passages on the record? Absolutely. But, even as 2009’s Evangelion seemed to move Behemoth more towards black metal, Satanist takes a different tack, with black metal pedal tones as a backbeat to a grooving rhythm section. But, when those black metal phrases do arrive, they absolutely crush. The moments of cold bleakness serve as the foundation for something darker and heavier, as the balance of the album, and especially the more memorable moments, are far slower and more disciplined. The production is a little less slick than in years past; the bass far more prominent; and the guitars are masterful.
You can tell that Behemoth put careful thought into the arrangement of the album. As the album begins with “Gabriel,” some of the Evangelion themes yields to the hateful “Furor Divinus,” a mostly black metal track that would would be at home on early Cradle of Filth releases. “Furor” thematically continues into most of Track 3, “Messe Noire.” Then, at 2:50 of “Messe”, magic happens: The album slows down, and Nergal unleashes what can only be described as a soulful guitar solo. It is so random, so unexpected that you find yourself listening again and again. “Messe” then transitions seemlessly to “Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer,” which (as with “Furor” and “Gabriel”), is sonically related to the prior track, including more truly phenomenal guitar passages.
It is the second half of Satanist that takes the album and the band in another direction entirely. The title track, for instance, is a clear homage to early first wave black metal, such as Venom or Bathory, with the unique tech-death melody that Behemoth have become known for. After the initial blues-based lead, the blast beats kick in, the French Horns dissonantly arrive and the riffs become contemporary blackened metal. This pattern is somewhat repeated in the closing track “O Father O Satan O Sun!” But, no where is “Behemoth 3.0” more evident than in the penultimate track, “In the Absence Ov Light,” which features an acoustic bridge, spoken parts, NWOBHM rhythm sections, and razor-cold tremolo picking.
I cannot emphasize what a tour de force this is for one of metal’s most respected acts. Whatever Behemoth was doing for the past 10-15 years as a “blackened” band is now dead and gone. The Satanist is either the very best the subgenre will offer or (more likely) something wholly different; this is much creepier, much more satisfying; it is an unsettling and truly evil album. The Satanist is not merely Behemoth’s best release -although it is that. The Satanist is, like Slayer’s Reign in Blood, something that the metal community will revere in twenty years as a watershed moment.
Behemoth 2.0 created blackened metal.
We need entirely new adjectives for what Behemoth 3.0 has done on The Satanist.
Its been far too long since we’ve curated a mixtape for our fair readers. The unfortunate burden of a 40 hr/week corporate job (Yes, I have a job at a fairly large financial corporation. Gotta pay the bills somehow!) has hindered me from my creative contributory efforts to this music website. The bizarre #Snowmagedden2014 ice/snow storm we experienced here in the Magic City two weeks ago has distracted me as well.
Since I’ve been falling down on my duties lately I’ve decided to drop a hot new list of some of our current favorite tunes for our readers to enjoy! My good friends and fellow BHAMFM staffers, Culture Czar, Whit and Chris have also added some of their favorites to this digital mixtape.
Not to worry. We will have plenty more amazing music content coming down the pipe here at BhamFM.com. For now check out this dope mixtape we created.
Where do you start with Man Man for the uninitiated? The boundless energy of their stage show? The quirky (yet thoroughly catchy) melodies? The everything and the kitchen sink instrumentation? How about the fact that it’s just a hell of a lot of fun?
The band’s most recent studio effort, 2013’s On Oni Pond, finds the band in a bit more polished form than on their four previous releases. It’s by no means a radical departure, but it is a poppier one. People that might have been on the fence with them because of the “weirdness” of their earlier releases could latch onto them here much with greater ease. I’d even venture as far as to say that “Head On” could be a radio or video hit in an era that was friendlier to up and coming acts than ours is.
They leaned heavily on material from the new album at their stop at Bottletree in Birmingham on Thursday night. They played the aforementioned “Head On” as well as “Pink Wonton,” “End Boss,” “Loot My Body” and others. Their infectious energy and showmanship even make new songs seem like they’ve been part of the stage show for years and the sold out crowd often sang along as if they were old classics. They also ran through a good chunk of their back catalog including crowd pleasers like “Mister Jung Stuffed” and the song they’re probably best known for, “Engwish Bwudd” which always gets the crowd singing along at full throttle.
Even though they’ve thinned their stage show down over the years (I remember them having a mic’d bike chain on gears once) into what’s more or less traditional instruments at this point, nothing is lost or sacrificed in the name of traveling lighter. Man Man always goes out and gives you every damn ounce of energy they have. Simply put, they just rock their asses off because that’s what they do.
Side Note: Bandleader, keyboardist and singer Honus Honus seemed pretty floored by a fan in Birmingham that showed him a tattoo of lyrics from their song “Ice Dogs.” View it on his Instagram account.
Pssssssst… Hey. Hey! HEY!! Live Line-up: (AL,TN,GA,NC,AR,KY,FL,MS):
The weekend is near; I can smell it, can you? If you CAN’T let me describe it: It kinda smells like a mix of sweat, cigarette smoke, beer, whiskey, rain and gasoline…. Wait; scratch that, that’s just the inside of my car. I don’t know much music that has a scent, the musicians who play the music though is a different story and I don’t suggest sniffing them. SOOOO pick a date, find a show, google map it, ENJOY! – JT