The News Release 6.10.03

For everyone wondering, yes, I did in fact both write AND post a column last week, but it either got eaten by the database after part of the day or someone took it down. If it was Widro, he ain’t telling me why… if it was Ashish, he hasn’t mentioned it either, so I’m going to chalk it up to one of the random things computers do once and a while and go from there.

I’m only minorly annoyed that three hours work was all for naught.

Quick update on stuff going on with me. Work is still insane… I’m still on the weight loss plan. I hit the halfway point about three weeks ago and have totally slacked since then. I’ve lost 22 pounds since January 1st… halfway to the goal of 44. So I now weigh in at a slim, trim 222. I fit into 36/30 Levis, which is a first since high school, and I’m all sorts of proud of myself.

Now, I just need to try to kill the other 22 by the end of August… the trip to Cancun.

I would do a mailbag, but, since all my mail is from two weeks ago, I’m not going to bother.

It’s Not Often I Disagree With Nason

So, I finally picked up 14 Shades of Grey over the past weekend (CD, Ghostbusters 2, and Icewind Dale 2, all for less than 40 bucks… go TARGET!!!). I gotta say: Nason is way off base rating the CD at a 5.5. I don’t actually have time to sit and write a counter-review of the disc this week, but I’m planning it for next week’s news report.

Personally, I consider Aaron Lewis one of the best mainstream songwriters out there right now, and to rate the disc anything lower than an 8.0 or 8.5 does it a terrible injustice. The disc is strong from open to close, with a terrific tribute song to Layne Staley. It was nice that someone in the music industry decided to note that one of the more influential artists of the ninties passed on recently.

Aaron Lewis has the same mutant power Dave Grohl has… the inability to write a bad song. It may not be huge in terms of growth from the last album, but it’s strong nonetheless.

One of Josh’s primary complaints is that the band has lost the hard edge that brought them to the dance, which I sort of agree with, but I think Lewis is still writing songs from his heart. It’s much easier to buy into a songwriter who is writing what he feels, rather than writing heavy songs just to be heavy. Metallica, after losing the ability to be heavy, kept trying to write heavy songs. What you ended up with was the trainwrecks that were Load and Reload, and the general grossness that is St. Anger (the single, I have not heard the whole album yet).

What you have with Staind is similar to the change that’s gone through Tori Amos over the last few years. She had a kid and settled down. Her music reflects this. One of the first things you learn as an English major is to “write what you know.” Lewis is writing what he’s feeling right now… and that’s ballads. Not only ballads, but GOOD ballads. It’s not like he’s trying to write a CD of ballads that suck *coff*YIELD*hack*Razorblade Suitcase*coff* he’s writing a disc of ballads that speak to a lot of people. He’s happy, and not trying to write a disc to satisfy a genre… rather writing a disc to satisfy himself. Sure, it’s the same argument that Metallica used on Load and Reload… but Load was weak and Reload flat out blew.

Granted, if you hated the last album, you’ll hate this album… but the group is writing music that speaks to a lot of people… and Lewis is writing some of the most powerful lyrics in mainstream music right now.

One argument I will give to Nason is that three of the songs on the disc are too similar to be considered individual songs.

But that leaves 11 good ones, 12 if you count all three as one good one.

Pantera’s Greatest Hits

Now that Pantera is all done, they need to release greatest hits albums and re-releases when they need money. The first one will be coming out on RHINO/Warner Records. No release date as of yet, but the 16-track list will include:

01. Cowboys From Hell
02. Cemetery Gates
03. Walk
04. Mouth For War
05. This Love
06. I’m Broken
07. Becoming
08. 5 Minutes Alone
09. Planet Caravan
10. Drag The Waters
11. Where You Come From
12. Cat Scratch Fever
13. I’ll Cast A Shadow
14. Goddamn Electric
15. Revolution Is My Name
16. Hole In The Sky

The only other Pantera Disc I have is the 100 Proof Live disc, however I can see myself picking this up. I’ve never liked full Pantera discs, but they usually have one or two per album that I dig. Kind of like Machinehead.

Metallica Opens on Top

Wasting no time, Metallica’s first new studio album in six years St Anger will open atop the Billboard Charts after selling around 400k copies. The album was pushed up from Today to last Thursday citing piracy concerns. According to a statement released by the band’s label:

to ensure that counterfeit copies of the band’s first studio album in six years do not proliferate in the marketplace. METALLICA unanimously approved the move, guaranteeing that fans get first crack at hearing the acclaimed disk the way the band intended: Loud and unadulterated

The disc opened at number one this week and only faces a challenge from Radiohead, who’s new disc Hail To The Theif releases today after more than two months of Internet distribution.

It will be fun to see how Radiohead’s disc does after months of circulation on Kazaa.

If it opens at Number 1, expect the RIAA to ignore it entirely and instead focus on how they had to release Metallica’s a week in advance.

Kirk Hammet was interviewed on the new disc and explained some of the changes tha will be immediately apparent on the disc, including a total lack of guitar solos.

The reason for that is because again we wanted to move together all four of us in the same musical direction. We also wanted to preserve the sound of the album. When we tried to put overdubs on the album and put guitar solos on the album it kind of…it sounded like an afterthought, you know? Like something was put on after we created it. It stood out. We wanted to preserve the sound of all four of us in a room just jamming. Spontaneously together. To put production stuff on top of that just didn’t sound right. We tried to put guitar solos on, but we kept on running into this problem. It really sounded like an afterthought.

In the same interview, Hammet predicted that the new disc will influence the way that hard rock/metal acts will do their albums over the next few years.

Lars played Fred Durst four songs of our new album and the next week Fred Durst postponed the release of the new LIMP BIZKIT album and started rewriting it. Lars and I were talking about it, ‘Did he postpone it because he wasn’t satisfied with it or did he postpone it because he heard our direction and wanted to be contemporary with it?’ It’s interesting. We’ll see.

No conceit in their family, eh?

However, I will reserve my judgment on the album, as a whole, until after I download acquire it. If the release single is any indication, I’m not impressed.

New This Week

Hail To the Thief from Radiohead. As previously mentioned, this album has been circulating Kazaa for months. I’m interested to see how it does.

Joe Budden‘s self titled release. I only mention this because he’s on Def Jam Vendetta.

The Official Band of the News Release

That would be Evanescence for those of you not keeping score. The band whose disc (and the mp3 disc I got ahold of) has been my primary playlist at work for the last two months has unseated the mighty R Kelly on the UK singles chart this week.

As of this week, Fallen has been certified Gold in the UK and certified Platnum in the US.

Good shit and hope they keep them coming.

Countdown to when I get to see them… T-minus 4 weeks. If anyone important reads this column, I’ll happily whore myself for an interview with them.

Puddle of Mudd News

The band has finished their second album on Flawless/Interscope records. Via the groups Official Website, guitarist Paul Phillips reports:

“The record is finally done. I’m sure that everyone was beginning to wonder if that was ever gonna happen. We were too. We can’t wait to get out on the road again. We’ll be doing about a week of U.S. shows toward the end of July, and then we’ll be heading to Japan in early August. We haven’t been there yet, so it should be fun. Then we’ll be back promoting the record and preparing for a new tour in late September or early October.”

A few US Dates they have:

July 18: Atlantic City, N.J. (TBA)
July 19: New York (Randall’s Island)
July 21: Hartford, Conn. (Webster Theatre)
July 23: Raleigh, N.C. (TBA)
July 24: Jacksonville, Fla. (TBA)
July 26: Pittsburgh (Heinz Field / Rolling Rock Town Fair)

In Other Reading

Some Indy Info From Katz.

Less Than Jake Review.

Alkaline Trio Review.

In Conclusion

That will cover me for this week. Hopefully this column will actually, you know, stay on the site through all of Tuesday. I guess I was causing too much web traffic and they had to pull me down to save the server.

I understand.

Seeya next week.