Saturday, March 19, 2016

Review: Soundgarden King Animal

After disbanding 16 years ago, and pursuing their own projects and gigs in other bands, Soundgarden has reunited and released their first album in a long time. It might be easy to cynically write off the reunion of a band whose lead singer swore that a reunion would “tarnish their legacy” as a simple middle aged cash grab. The only problem with that assertion is that unlike the multitudes of bands that break up, retire, reunite, and then go through the whole thing over and over again (a la KISS and Ozzy Osborne), Soundgarden have written and recorded some of the best music of their previous and current careers on King Animal.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

David Bowie's Legacy of Brilliant Oddity

Only a few artists have been as influential as David Bowie has been over the decades. The influences might not be directly discernible in each and every case, but they are there. Bowie was a talent that took risks, went in a myriad of different directions sonically and displayed a wildly brilliant oddity throughout his career, but at the core remained not only a rock and roll legend, but a rock and roll fan to the end.

The Killers: Battleborn (Review)

The Killers’ lead singer Brandon Flowers is nothing if not a storyteller. Going all the way back to the songs on The Killers’ first album, Hot Fuss, Flowers’ lyrics have told the stories of guys hustling to get androgynous looking girls’ numbers at the local club, obsessive compulsive (almost stalkerish) lovers on the outside and a girl named Jenny who was a friend of his. On Sam’s Town, the stories kept coming about girls who pine for “beautiful boys” to come and rescue them, even if they “didn’t look like Jesus.” On The Killers’ new album, Battle Born, Flowers keeps up the penchant for storytelling. This time out though, the music that The Killers composed as a band fits his stories more completely than it ever has.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

MUSE "Dead Inside" and "Psycho" Singles

The Ear has been a huge fan of MUSE since hearing and seeing "Hysteria" on FUSE (remember when that music station didn't suck?). Yeah, I might have been a little late to the band, but "better late than never" as they say. Over the next few albums, MUSE found international success, in rather large part to a single being included on a Twilight movie soundtrack. Yeah, let's just forget about that and focus on the great music and thematic elements that made MUSE so great in the first place. Absolution, the album "Hysteria" was part of, was a powerful trip down the rock/concept album highway. An album full of songs about about the coming apocalypse (of various origins) that mankind is always rushing headlong towards while desperately attempting to avoid still ranks as the band's most complete, cohesive, and captivating album, thematically and musically. After hearing the first two singles from their new upcoming rock/concept album though, I'm thinking that the glory days of Absolution are once again returning to one of the most interesting rock bands of the last 20 years.  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

20 Years of Superunknown

By March 8th 1994, grunge, as a mainstream sensation, had little over a year and a half of commercial success left in its grimy fuel tanks. Kurt was gone, the flannel was fading, and somewhere No Doubt were recording their breakthrough album Tragic Kingdom, the album that would usher in the ska-swing mainstream sensation. It was a sensation that would last a few years and then the record labels would move on to electronica (Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, and The Crystal Method) in search of the next “new rock revolution” that they could get on the ground floor of. When neither of these semi-organic genre explosions panned out, it was decided that the best way to capture the revenues from a new mainstream sensation was to just make one up for the masses, and the national music scene quickly devolved from thoughtful, introspective, and often activism fueled organic rock, to...Britney Spears.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Rockin' Christmas Playlist 2013

Yep, it's Yuletide once again, and Yuletide just isn't Yuletide without the proper Yule Tunes. This year I put together a bit of a different Christmas music playlist. Actually, I put together a few different ones, but my Rockin' Christmas 2013 Playlist has been the one that I've cued up more oft than my Olde World/Alt Christmas 2013 Playlist. I think that this was the case this year because Bad Religion (yes, THAT Bad Religion) released a Christmas album this year. To say the least, it fucking rocked (like all their albums do). Sorry about that F-bomb in a Christmas music blog post...must have been the punk in me sneering to the surface. Blame Bad Religion. Anyway, here we go with A Reasonable Good Ear's Rockin' Christmas 2013 Playlist.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood “Black Pudding”

Coming pretty quickly on the heels of last year’s The Mark Lanegan Band’s Blues Funeral, Lanegan’s collaboration with English minimalist bluesman Duke Garwood, Black Pudding, completely deflates the wall of sound atmosphere that Blues Funeral wholeheartedly embraced. Blues Funeral, which featured Alain Johannes, Jack Irons, Josh Homme, as well as Duke Garwood (on a few tracks), thrived on leaving no sonic space unfilled. Black Pudding is comprised of almost nothing but space. That isn’t to say that the album is full of dead air. Rather, Garwood’s minimal playing, which still manages to say a great deal thematically, keeps the album’s sound simple. Lanegan’s Americana drenched voice scratches and scrapes nicely over top of Garwood’s threadbare arrangements creating an atmosphere reminiscent of a sultry, and slightly spooky, Faulknerian Deep South gothic. One can almost envision the floating dust motes highlighted by the yellow light seeping through the yellowed blinds of Miss Coldfield’s office as described in the opening paragraph of Absalom, Absalom! in tracks like “Death Rides a White Horse.”