Has it really been 80 weeks of doing this thing? I've definitely entered my golden years here; time to act like the irresponsible drunk-all-the-time old man that I aspire to be (seriously though, when I'm old, I'm not going to give a f----ckkk).
Anyway, maybe its because I'm becoming elderly in UG years, but I've been listening to pretty much nothing but older music for the past several months. Occasionally, I'll take a break for a bit and check out some new music, but none of it has really floored me; I'm always quick to return to classic metal, rock, and old jazz, soul and classical recordings, favoring the more organic sounds of old records. Were I to do some iTunes investigation, I'd imagine that 80% of the most listened to music on my computer was recorded before I was born in '87.
But I'm not trying to be that guy that completely sh-ts on new music. I'd like to force myself to listen to some new stuff in an attempt to get excited about the artists that currently keep rock music alive. Luckily, this week's music news headlines reported some brand new tracks from three significant figures in rock/metal.
Let's check out some of this new stuff and see if I can feel young again.
It's been a while since we heard from bassist Jason Newsted following his departure from Metallica in 2001. Besides a few side projects (Echobrain, Papa Wheelie) and his stint in Voivod, Newsted has remained quiet over the past 11 years.
Over the past few weeks though, we heard rumblings of a new EP he's releasing with his new band, simply called Newsted. Apparently he'll be releasing a ton of music that he had the time to write while not being in the biggest metal band in the world.
Check out Newsted's latest track of the upcoming "Metal" EP, "Soldierhead", featuring Newsted on bass and vocals, and some dude Jessie Farnsworth on guitar, and Jesus Mendez Jr. on drums.
Immediately, you hear the classic 80s thrash metal influence. The track is gloriously not overproduced and its roughness complements that traditional thrash sound. It kind of sounds like if you were to turn Megadeth down a bit, throw in a little Testament, add a pinch of Motorhead... and baby, you got yourself a stew goin'. Really digging Newsted's vocals too.
I always thought Jason Newsted was one of the coolest dudes in Metallica actually; he was definitely the most even-keeled and chill guy, and his personality was displayed favorably in that documentary "A Year And A Half In The Life Of Metallica". I suppose watching him be generally awesome in that documentary, and given the tough shoes he had to fill by taking Cliff Burton's spot, I always rooted for Newsted. He wasn't the best bassist Metallica ever had, but I'm stoked to see him back out there and making his music, which was his reason for leaving Metallica in the first place.
While nothing thrilling is going on in "Soldierhead", I'll be interested to check out the full EP when it drops.
Christmas has come early, because the great Alice In Chains has released the first track off their upcoming album.
On first listen, all I could really say was, "f-ck yeah!"
The band's last album "Black Gives Way To Blue", was certified gold and was their first album after a 14-year hiatus following the death of singer Layne Staley.
Three years later, delayed by guitarist Jerry Cantrell's shoulder surgery, the band has finished recording their latest work.
What's great is that after all these years, they still have that unmistakable Alice In Chains sound. Seriously, you can't name another band that sounds like them. Here we have a groovy, sludgy, crunchy riff, the unmistakable AIC vocal harmonization and a tasteful not-too-flashy-but-still-sick guitar solo.
This definitely kicks back my love of AIC. I got into them...maybe 8th grade/freshman year of high school. At the time I had been pretty immersed in grunge music (as many kids are that age) and I had been more familiar with Nirvana and Pearl Jam. AIC seemed much nastier and interesting musically. Not quite as aggressive as metal, but definitely darker and grittier than other grunge bands.
And who would have thought that AIC wouldn't be the only classic grunge band to release new material this year. The real treat over the past few weeks was a newly released track featuring one of the greatest pop musicians of all time and the members of Nirvana.
If you've been here at any point over the last several weeks, you've heard "Cut Me Some Slack". There's not too much that can be said at this point about the Paul McCartney-led, pseudo Nirvana reunion with drummer Dave Grohl, bassist Krist Novoselic, and guitarist Pat Smear. They're not going to tour; they're not going to be recording an album or anything this was just a one-off song, albeit a welcome one in the rock community.
I've listened to the track several times, and although it's a fun rock jam to listen to, it's not exactly memorable. What is striking about the song though, is how much McCartney and Grohl shine on the track, while Novoselic and Smear are kind of just there. You'd think in theory that Nirvana + Paul McCartney would sound a little more amazing that this doesthat's not to say it's a bad track by any means, but nothing to scribble home about.
I will say that I think the live performance definitely displays some more balls however. Dave Grohl was pounding the everlasting hell out of the drums and Paul McCartney can still rock hard at 70 years old. This is McCartney's "Helter Skelter" of the new century.
And so we have three new tracks from artists with well-established music careers that span decades. The new stuff showcases them in a more updated, modern fashion, yet I wonder if the new stuff will hold up to the classics. Maybe that expectation isn't the point though; the old recordings are there and are great, and it's cool that these bands are still going at it and releasing new music.
I have yet to find that new music that kicks my ass, unfortunately. I know there is great stuff out there these days, but I haven't been hooked on anything new in a while. I'm talking about the new music that takes you for a ride and demands you listen to it for weeks and months on end... some "Dark Side Of The Moon"-level quality. If anyone could offer any suggestions of rock's newer stuff that's the absolute tits, share below.
I guess I'll always be an old soul for music.
On The Next End Of The Week As We Know It...
...there won't be. It'll be the end of the world as we know it.
Ringo Starr tries to join in on the reunion action by joining forces with The Spin Doctors.
After rap group Public Enemy became surprisingly voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, public votes start flooding in for next year's inductees, including Coolio, Young MC, and Ja Rule.
By Zach Pino Twitter: @zachpino