Friday, October 30, 2020

Smashing Pumpkins Usher In All Hallows Eve With New Single "Wyttch"


It would seem that Smashing Pumpkins, who've been around for more than two decades, would have already endorsed the holiday where pumpkins reign. While the band played a Halloween show with KISS back in 1998 where they performed dressed up as The Beatles, Billy Corgan hasn't directly addressed the holiday or its spooky overtones directly, and rightly so. To do so would walk too dangerously along the line of kitsch that would be hard to recover from. For acts like Rob Zombie or Alice Cooper, for which every day is Halloween, a veneration of all things connected to All Hallows Eve is a part of the production, and product. While much of the Smashing Pumpkins' album art and concert imagery, not to mention guitar rock heaviness, might evoke a sense of "death rock" or "grunge in furs" that is most at home during the spooky season, Corgan and his band's music is more than just a trip down a misty goth rock lane. The latest album from Smashing Pumpkins, CYR, morphs their sound from a heavy "death rock" sound into an early 80s goth rock one that's loaded with synths, throbbing bass, and nary a guitar solo in earshot. The sonic landscape of CYR is more safely conducive to a dabbling in references to Halloween than their previous efforts. 

So it's a little surprising that "Wyttch" is the heaviest track yet released from the upcoming album. Instead of going down haunting atmospheric paths blazed by goth rock progenitors like The Cure, Corgan steers the band back into more familiar guitar rock territory. While many songs on CYR evoke the same sounds that The Cure popularized, "Wyttch" is more akin to the Pumpkins' heavier guitar rock songs. Strings and straightforward guitar riffs propel the song along as Corgan sings about "...this harvest dread night/All Hallows Eve" while inviting "wicked spirits to come fly with me." The song's production squarely places it within the context of the rest of the album released thus far, but "Wyttch" stands out for sounding more like the classic Smashing Pumpkins' sound. It's the odd song out on an album of poppy synth driven tracks. That makes it the perfect candidate for Corgan's first song to reference Halloween. 

Undoubtedly, "Wyttch" serves to further the narrative that Corgan is weaving with the themes on CYR, despite its standout differences with the rest of the album. "Wyttch" is a welcome addition (at least to this long termed fan) to an album that is for the most point pretty devoid of heavy guitar sounds at this juncture in its release. Who knows what other surprises Smashing Pumpkins have in store for us.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Mark Lanegan and Duke Garwood Get Biblical and Artistic on With Animals

Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood With Animals

Wayward women, mistakes, something "lonelier than death," feasts, and the obligatory famines work their way through the latest album from Mark Lanegan and Duke Garwood, and thematically gel in grand tradition with the music.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Alice In Chains Get Atmospheric With The Grunge on Rainier Fog

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Alice In Chains' sixth album, Rainier Fog, delivers more of their inspired signature metallic yet melodic grunge. This time with a twist, even if the riffs feel slightly stale. 

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Today Is The Greatest: 25 Years of Listening To Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream

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Most music fans of my generation can tell you where they were when they heard Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" for the first time, especially if they weren't already a denizen of the Pacific Northwest and organically attached to the Puget Sound music scene. I wasn't. So, yeah, I can tell you not only where I was but what I was doing the first time I heard "Smells Like Teen Spirit." I can also tell you where I was and what I was doing the first time I heard "Even Flow." Finally, I can tell you where I was and what I was doing when I first heard "Cherub Rock" by Smashing Pumpkins.

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.