Blonde Redhead: "23" Video
Ask most serious bands about the recording process, and if they dont compare it to giving birth, they'll likely tell you that making an album is akin to psychotherapy. But lets be real here: How many of those bands actually take the album-as-therapy idea literally? For Atlanta quintet Norma Jean, who for all intents and purposes should be some of the most content dudes in underground music right now, the recording sessions for their third album, Redeemer, packed group therapy, boot camp and endurance test into one gnarly package. Produced by Ross Robinson (At The Drive-in, From First To Last, Sepultura), Redeemer is at once the heaviest and most personal album in this bands arsenaland thats saying something: With their 2002 Solid State Records debut, Bless The Martyr And Kiss The Child, Norma Jean established themselves as one of the noisiest and most adventurous young bands in metal today. With the 2005 follow-up, O God, The Aftermath, drummer Daniel Davison, bassist Jake Schultz, and guitarists Chris Day and Scottie Henry welcomed new vocalist and Arkansas native Cory Brandan to their lineup and took their artful, technical noise to the proverbial next level, earning critical acclaim and a 2006 Grammy nomination (for Asterik Studios awe-inspiring artwork) in the process, and embarking on a grueling tour schedule that most recently found them on Ozzfest 2006s second stage. And now, with a new, expanded edition of Aftermath in stores, the obvious question follows: When you still have past glories to coast on, why make a new album at all? Basically, we had too much material brewing inside us, and we wanted to get it out, says Davison, laughing. We probably couldve waited to record until after we cut back on what we had, but when the opportunity to work with Ross came up, it just felt like, Man, being in the studio with this guy is something Ive wanted to do since I was 12 years old; Im gonna do anything I can to make this happen now. After practicing, in Davisons recollection, pretty much ever day, for about 50 days solid, and going through rigorous pre-production at home in Atlanta, the band decamped with Robinson to Radio Star Studios in the tiny mountain town of Weed, California, to start work on Redeemer. Though some of the songs were still works-in-progress (as Brandans recalls it, Songs were changing up until 20 minutes before we tracked them) the lyrics, again written collaboratively by Brandan, Henry and Davison, really took shape once the band got into the studio. Wed rehearse a song till we felt we had it worked out, and then wed bring in Ross and sit down for another hour or two just to discuss it, Brandan says. He had us all in there as a group, talking about each songwhat the lyrics were about, where they came from, what the song meant to us personally and spiritually. It was really intense; so much stuff came out during those sessions, and in the end, it was really unifying for us as a band. While rehearsals took place in a beautiful, open-stage environment inside the studio, tracking itself was another storyall part of the intense process that would eventually shape the songs. I tracked my drums under the stage, Davison remembers, laughing. Wed get done talking about the song, and then wed head down below the stage into, like, this little dungeon. It was really small, and the drums were set up with mikes all over them; there were hot water pipes, ventilation, everywhereit was really intense. We could barely stand up because the ceiling was so low, but Ross was there the whole time, coaching us and keeping us in that mindset. Just one listen to Redeemer confirms the ferocity of the bands performances. From the discordant breakdowns and jarring time changes of The End Of All Things Will Be Televised to the newfound melodic intensity of Blueprints For Future Homes, the album packs some of Norma Jeans most unhinged, soul-baring playing into the span of 11 songs. And though the weird angles and difficult guitar figures that comprised Aftermath are still prevalent, that albums refined, very-much-studio feel has given way to raw atmospheres in which you can practically see the sweat running onto the instruments. Brandan, whos already proved himself a formidable vocalist, fully comes into his own on Redeemer with a style that veers between unhinged screaming and down-on-his-knees melodic belting. As has been the case with Norma Jeans previous albums, fans will interpret Redeemers title in a number of ways: Theres the obvious (its their shortest album title ever); the semi-obvious (the band members are Christian; the albums called Redeemeryou follow?); and the not-so-obvious (look up Redeemer in Websters Dictionary for even more possibilities). All of these, says Davison, are valid readings, but as before, its better just to listen to the whole album before settling on an opinion about what it all means. We just wanted a title that was short and simple, but also really powerful, Davison explains. Redeemer was the most powerful word we could think of, and obviously, for us, being a spiritual band, it takes on special meaning. Brandan agrees. We didnt call it Redeemer and then try to make the lyrics work around that [idea], he says. Theres some really personal stuff on this record, and even though Im seeing in hindsight that the title ties into some of that, Ive always thought its best just to let people come up with their own ideas about the songs, rather than say, This is our concept; this is what the records about. No matter how you interpret it, one things for sure: Slide it into your player, and you will feel Redeemer more than any other Norma Jean album. Emotional, spiritual, visceral, physicalthis isnt just the third album Norma Jean wanted to make; its the career-defining statement they had to.
The truth is, Maria McKee is only beginning to tap into what she has to say. On Peddlin' Dreams (Eleven Thirty Records), her sixth solo album, she draws not only from her own songs but also from those of her bassist, producer, frequent co-writer, and husband, Jim Akin. Their distinctive styles, brought into focus by an approach to recording unlike any that McKee had followed before, make Peddlin' Dreams one of her most urgent and eloquent works. That, of course, is saying a lot. From her early performances at sixteen, singing with her brother, Bryan MacLean of the epochal group Love, through her run with Americana pioneers Lone Justice and on to the career she has established on her own, McKee has maintained an uncommon honesty and excellence as a writer and singer, as those who have written with her (Steve Earle), recorded her material (The Dixie Chicks), or added her songs to high-profile film soundtracks (Pulp Fiction) can attest. Her last studio album, High Dive (2002), epitomizes her work up to that point: Meticulously produced, finely polished, it fit McKee's pattern of spending as much time as necessary to come up with an album that met the high standards she sets for herself. Fans learned to be patient, knowing that the payoff would be worth the wait. It always was, especially High Dive, which earned vast praise. Mojo magazine, in a four-star review, called the album "an organic, risk-taking record oozing rich details," while USA Today declared that Maria "has one of the strongest and most versatile voices in pop music." In addition to dates in the U.S., Maria toured across the U.K. and Europe on a 10-country tour in support of the album. Peddlin' Dreams is a departure, conceived with the same self-imposed expectations yet reflective of her evolving ambitions. On this project, McKee and Akin emphasize emotion over seamless craftsmanship; the production quality is as strong as ever, but its intention is to invest each track with a live feel. On "My One True Love" she whispers her vocal, as if standing inches away from the listener in some quiet room of the heart; on "Everyone's Got a Story" she's fronting her band in a raucous jam, ripping licks on her guitar over a thrashing beat. The other songs settle between these extremes, each with its own balance of intimacy and abandon -- and all of it feels totally alive. "The truth is, High Dive was a labor of love," Maria explains. "It was also incredibly demanding -- a lot of hard work for both Jim and me. We wanted to make Peddlin' Dreams' more direct and spontaneous. We didn't think about it too much; we just went in and did it. The process was much more natural." More than that: Their approach on Peddlin' Dreams signals a shift in Maria's thoughts about recording, her relationship with the public, and deeper issues as well. "In the past I haven't been the most prolific artist," she admits. "It's taken me as much as six years to go from one album to the next. I've had to sit with songs and ideas a long time until I've felt satisfied with them. I want to make better use of my talent now. If I'm honest with my songs, I can put albums out more frequently; that's become important to me because of how incredible my fans have been and how important it is for me to connect with them as often as I can." Her first step was to surrender the reins of production. She had her reasons: to concentrate more fully on performance, to expedite the process. Most crucial, though, is her respect for Jim's insight and skills. "High Dive was very collaborative," Jim says. We shared production credit. This time, she said, 'Go ahead. You make it.' She came into the studio to sing and play her parts. I'd hear the chord progression, the lyrics, or maybe just the melodies -- the skeleton of the song -- and then flesh it out. It was effortless, immediate, a production based on intuition." Jim's expanded role made it easier for Maria to find the heart of each song. "With this album, I wanted a more open, almost stark recording," he explains. "It's all about emotion in the vocal. Where the voice cracks and reveals something that's almost beyond what the artist intends." Sessions began with Jim and the drummer, Tom Dunne, who drove out to a warehouse in Costa Mesa. There, they cut the drum tracks, without a click or even any demos for reference. "Tom was just playing to the music in his head," Jim says. We'd do three, four, or five complete takes, and I'd choose the best one. The idea was to go for a John Bonham sound -- very open, big, and natural, with minimal, mainly distant miking. I was very happy with what we got." These tracks were the foundation for Maria and the musicians as they cut the songs that featured the full band. Everything fed off the drums; you can hear it in "Everyone's Got a Story", "Sullen Soul", and "Peddlin' Dreams", where Dunne's sound, raw and punchy, defines the live feel. Each of these performances, like the ones cut solo or with a scaled-down lineup, were captured at Maria's and Jim's home studio, which they'd completed just in time for the High Dive sessions a little more than two years ago. This, too, served the goal of going for the emotional gold. "Jim loves having a home studio because he can capture me in different moods," Maria says. "I'm sort of mercurial, so he'll observe and say, 'Hmm, Maria would really handle this song especially well right now." Clearly Maria had her reflective, introspective days, as reflected on the plaintive "Appalachian Boy" and the wistful "My One True Love". Other times she must have been feeling playful ("The Horse Life"). And her gritty, snarling guitar solo on the jam that ends "Everyone's Got a Story" just might have come from what she describes as "a melancholy frame of mind." Maria also turns in a moving rendition of Neil Young's "Barstool Blues". "After going over the Americana terrain for years and years, the worst thing anybody can say to me about my music would be, 'Oh, it's like American barroom rock!'" She continues, "So it's ironic for me to do 'Barstool Blues', which is the greatest song ever written with that sort of imagery yet it totally transcends any genre because it's such a great piece of art. To Jim and me, Neil Young is a god -- but I have to do something risky on every album, and for me that meant recording this song because his original version is perfect." The point is that every moment of Peddlin' Dreams is real. Every note reflects the new immediacy in her music. In its details and taken as a whole, Peddlin' Dreams is a message to McKee devotees: Expect more exceptional work, covering more bases, more often from this extraordinary artist. For all that she's achieved, Peddlin' Dreams points the way toward greater things just over the horizon. "Who knows how the next record will sound?" says Maria. "I certainly don't. I just know that I'm staying in the moment now. And I believe that's going to bring everyone who's enjoyed my music -- the Lone Justice people, the High Dive people, and everyone else -- together like nothing I've ever done before."
This is a spoof on the 007 films. It was made well before the producers of the Bond franchise announced that they had cast the blond haired Daniel Craig as the next James Bond. Ironic?
Academy Award winner Robert Towne ("Chinatown") writes and directs "Ask the Dust," set under the brutally sunny skies of Depression-era Los Angeles. Based on novelist John Fante's masterpiece, Towne's interpretation focuses on a city exotic and vulgar, glamorous and raunchy - a place of heat and dust. Full of imports - palm trees from Egypt and people from everywhere in search of health and wealth, fame and fortune - L.A. is the city of first and last resort, where all dreams are supposed to come true. So it is for Arturo Bandini (Colin Farrell), a son of Italian immigrants who dreams of becoming a famous novelist and marrying a beautiful blonde, and Camilla Lopez (Salma Hayek) a Mexican who longs to marry a WASP and shed her last name. In a time when Anglo-Chicano relations hang by tattered threads, Bandini and Camilla collide with one another, fighting the city and themselves to make their dreams come true.
The Foggy Few from Bergen, Norway, is a folkrock band inspired by Irish and Scottish music. From its start in September 2003, the band has been on the bill with major Norwegian artists, touring every corner of the country. In a short amount of time The Foggy Few has gained a reputation as an awesome live band, and has developed into one of the most exciting new folkrock bands in Norway. Their music has made people compare them to bands such as The Pogues, The Waterboys and The Hooters, which must mean that The Foggy Few are on to something good, although their sound is very much their own. The band's summer hit "Summerfeelgood" has been playlisted on Norway's biggest radio channel, NRK P1. The Foggy Few's debut album is out in 2006 and it is called "Pint of No Return". To promote the album The Foggy Few will tour all around Europe. More info at www.thefoggyfew.com
This huge power ballad is the first work to surface from former 4 Non Blondes godhead Linda Perry in quite some time--and she's back with a vengeance.
In this video, shot at different San Francisco vistas, former 4 Non Blondes singer Linda Perry makes her return to the spotlight singing about the glories of the open road.
?The intensity. The drama. The emotion. The colors. The darkness. The melodies. The anger. The honesty. The drive. The new. All of the above and more.? According to Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor, those are the things that define Stone Sour?s passionately pulsing second album, Come What(ever) May (Roadrunner). Stone Sour?s first album in four years finds the band firing on all cylinders, and primed to capture the attention and the hearts of the rock ?n roll masses.Stone Sour?s self-titled debut was twice Grammy-nominated and RIAA Certified Gold. It was an eclectic album, propelled by the band?s busy tour schedule, the contemplative smash single ?Bother,? and a series of groovy, melodic metal numbers. In 2002 and 2003, Stone Sour established itself as a multi-faceted hard rock force of nature.While Taylor is one of the most recognized figures in rock music, thanks to his role as the frontman for Slipknot, a Grammy winning, multi-platinum act, Stone Sour is anything but a side project. It?s a full-time band that all members are fiercely dedicated to. Taylor spent much of 2004 and 2005 supporting his other band, but will spend 2006 and 2007 focusing on Stone Sour and Come What(ever) May. Also comprised by guitarist James Root, who does double duty in Slipknot, bassist Shawn Economaki, guitarist Josh Rand and new drummer Roy Mayorga, Stone Sour is armed with an album that expands beyond the palette of its predecessor. The band was afforded more time to craft songs, and it shows. The album, produced by Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Velvet Revolver), is tight, crisp, and full of rowdy rockers and melodic numbers.?With Stone Sour, I loosen up and show more of myself,? Taylor reveals. ?As soon as the fans hear this new record, they?ll see it?s different than anything that we have ever done. It gives me a chance to do the singing that I love to do, the type of singing that I do when I?m walking around my house.? Taylor, a self-described extrovert, may be the mouthpiece for Stone Sour, but he insists the band is a truly collaborative effort, and that?s something he thoroughly enjoys. ?I?ve been able to blend into the background if needed, you know? You grow up thinking being recognized all the time will be sweet, but sometimes you just want to be one of the guys. I think I balance it fairly well, without killing people.?Guitarist Josh Rand, who ran 3-5 miles a day during the recording process to clear his mind for each day?s highly creative atmosphere, believes that the diversity of Come What(ever) May, which features guest appearances from The Wallflowers? Rami Jaffee and Godsmack drummer Shannon Larkin, will be what hooks fans, and what keeps them. ?This album?s content will fit any mood you may be in,? the guitarist says. ?If you?ve had a shitty day at work, you could crank ?Hell And Consequences.? If you need a little optimism, you could listen to ?Through Glass.? If you are feeling depressed, you could listen to ?Zzyzx Road.??Obviously, Come What(ever) May is a sensory experience, encompassing a wide spectrum of emotions. ?30/30-150? and ?Reborn? are bruisers that?ll get the blood coursing through listeners? veins, while the first single, ?Through Glass,? takes up real estate in your brain for days at a time, thanks its unforgettable melodic twists and chorus. Try and purge your brain of Come What(ever) May?s melodies, and you?ll fail miserably. Taylor concurs, ?So many bands are so genre-specific these days. No bands cover the middle ground. If they try, it?s lifeless and limp. Our album has such a pulse. The cool thing is that when we write stuff, it turns out catchy whether we want it to or not. It?s just something that we do.? He?s right. Crafting melody and mixing it with metallic maelstrom is definitely something that Stone Sour does better than most.Jim Root, who contends that ?life? itself influenced this album and who claims he consumed nerve-shattering, tooth-staining amounts of coffee during the recording process, sees Come What(ever) May as a necessary evolution in the band?s sound. ?We?re taking every aspect to the next level. As an artist, no matter what you do, you must evolve. That?s very important to me. Some people fear change. I embrace it. This record is a testament to where I am at, musically and spiritually. Life is a learning experience and so is song writing. As with everything I try to improve. I can sit back and listen to these songs and know that I have.?Taylor understands that as his career goes on, he will be less and less understood and he likes it that way. ?I?ve lost a little sleep over the fact that people don?t get what I do and how I do it. I do everything I can to entertain, educate and infuriate the status quo. If I give the mainstream a headache once in a while, that works for me.? It?s that attitude that attracts the disaffected youth, the kids, the anti-conservative thinker, as well as the casual rock fan to Stone Sour. ?I have a conscience,? Taylor says about his songwriting style. ?I have a respect for the music and I have an agenda. I have an individualistic mind to botch the ?product? mentality, and I am not out to further myself in a spotlight that knows no favorites. This could all be gone tomorrow. If all you?re doing is trying to build your Q points, what are you going to do when no one wants to see you anymore? At least I?ll be happy about the music I left behind.?The songs and music on Come What(ever) May ensure that Stone Sour?s legacy will endure for a long time to come.
Witness the birth of a butterfly!
Formed in their entirety in 2000 five piece Latino dance funk band KINKY have emerged from relative obscurity in the desert city of Monterrey, Mexico to a phenomenal worldwide success. With two triumphant albums under their belt and many more tours, soundtracks and award nominations (including not one, not two, but three Grammys) to date, the boys begin 2005 on a very high note indeed. The original KINKY line-up comprised of Gilberto Cerezo, Ulises Lozano and Carlos Chairez who experimented with alternative genres. Three became five when Omar Gongora and Cesar Pliego joined in early 2000 and everything clicked into place. With such diverse influences as traditional Samba beats to techno and rock 'n' roll, KINKY tapped their resources of rich talent and varied musical styles, to create their distinctive new sound. By mid 2000 they were gaining a reputation for their unique blend of Latin rock and when Chris Allison, British record producer of Coldplay and the Beta Band, heard them, he decided to sign them to the his Sonic360 group of labels. The deal lead to a licensing agreement for the U.S. and Canada through Nettwerk America and BMG Mexico for Latin America. The rest, as they say, is history. Aided by the production skills of Chris Allison, by 2002 KINKY had recorded and released a fine self-titled debut album, received by critical and public acclaim. Following the band?s effervescent SXSW appearance, critics from highly respected International press described KINKY?s music as ?feverishly danceable,? ?groovy electro-pop? and even going so far as to proclaim their unique blend as the ?future of music.? As an album, ?Kinky? combined the stylishness of discerning American and European dance grooves and straight-ahead rock ?n? roll, with traditional rhythms from throughout South America. Their fresh new sound and extensive touring attracted fans and supporters all over the U.S., Latin America and U.K. With live performances so well received, KINKY played over 180 shows in the year, travelling the world while working on their next album ?Atlas?. KINKY changed location for the recording of ?Atlas?, heading to a secluded ranch in Quintana Roo, Mexico. In the serenity of the isolated jungle, they found both creativity and productivity, composing seven of the album?s eleven songs. ?It was vacation and hard work at the same time,? remembers Gil, ?and when we were in the jungle we were surrounded everywhere by insects and animals. One time as I was recording vocals, a bug came directly in to my mouth .... It was fun to have that kind of interaction!? For the remainder of the album, KINKY travelled to Los Angeles to work with venerable engineer Thom Russo (System of a Down, Audioslave). Russo helped the band bring out a more raw and rock-driven sound in comparison with their electro-pop dominated debut; ?The approach for this album was different from the first in that on this one we wanted to focus on a live, organic band sound,? says Ulises. ?In the first album we recorded ourselves and made loops. On this record we didn?t use as many loops or samples. It was more like a live session where we?d record the whole track on tape [too], rather than just digital. You can hear all the organic sounds like guitar, drum, bass and vocals all sounding live.? ?Atlas? has enjoyed huge success and confirmed KINKY?s status as the Mexican demi-Gods of the music world. With singles ?Presidente? and ?Headphonist? A and B listed on radio playlists worldwide and many high profile performances, including the MTV Latin Music Awards, and supporting the almighty Vasco Rossi on his Italian arena tour, KINKY are in an amazingly good place right now. To keep up to date with all the exciting KINKY news as and when it happens, keep your eyes and ears open and alert on the Sonic360 web site.