I have always been the type to laugh at people who made claims that "Saved their lives". Sure I am a cynical prick who has an opinion on nearly everything, but these types of claims always rubbed me the wrong way. They seem hyperbolic and a bit irresponsible, sure music is awesome and really adds to the spice of life, but the idea that it can save you seems a bit much. I guess in certain circumstances I can see where music would save someone, when it offers them an outlet and a reason to be, but that is more for the artist I think than it is for the fan but even successful to moderately successful artists who have risen above their circumstances probably would have regardless of music, music just happened to be the vehicle they latched on to that facilitated the change. There are millions of others who make the same claim and are fucked up beyond belief, living a life riddled with poor decision making, addiction, and general sloth.
I guess it is just a matter of perspective, one that I tend to disagree with, well tended to disagree with until recently. Over the past few months I have been fortunate enough to experience a few events that altered my take on this. The first was attending the filming of interviews for my dear friend Paul Iannacchino's documentary Adult Rappers, which is the story of the first generation of artists that grew up understanding that being a rapper as a profession was a real possibility. The film allows the artists themselves to discuss their journey, the ups and downs and how it affected them now that they are adults. It was amazing to see, that almost to a man, that everyone shared a similar journey. They went from excited bright eyed artist, to frustrated professional, to disillusioned ex-pats of the art, and now with some distance are all coming back to it, but this time with the perspective that this art is something they love and embracing the tenets that originally brought them into the form. It is interesting to see the light in their eyes as they discuss their rebirth as pure artists making art for arts sake.
One of the other cool aspects of the film is the interviews with a younger generation of artists that the above mentioned artists influenced. Mind you the above artists for the most part never got beyond the confines of a very small scene, yet the ripples are still spreading outward to this day. It was amazing to see that these voices, that went widely ignored by the masses of the population, resonated so strong as to changing the course of other people’s lives. Every one of the younger artists talks about the first time they heard X, Y or Z artist they immediately knew they would never be the same.
The second was my own artistic awakening that has coincided with an awakening in former collaborators. It is almost as if a call to arms was sent bringing the armies of the damned out of retirement. I have started working on new music with the people I started making music with almost 20 years ago and it is an amazing experience. In a lot of ways I feel that a part of my soul has awoken. I used to think I couldn't be an artist and have a family and job, but now I see that it is very much a part of who I am and that it is something I need to incorporate into my life to feel whole. Do I need to be a touring musician or struggling to find the next pay day? No, but I do need the thrill and overwhelming joy of trying to create something that is both an advancement of the art I employ and still tied to the roots of my personal narrative. This seems to be the idea that is reverberating through my class of artist. A reconnection to that drive and force that once put us on a road we traveled with no map, guide or compass. We are all back on it with more wisdom and a new understanding of the spirit that drove us forward to start with.
It was kind of inspiring to see first hand the way that music and the journey of the artist resonate over time and through generations, with STOP SLEEPING we hope to continue this tradition by introducing you to artists that will inspire you in ways you never imagined. So while music might not save your life, it will hopefully change it for the better.
This shit sounds like it's raining and sunny at the same time and I just got off work and I'm headed into an unknown city to party with people in masks. We're No Heroes only gave me two tracks to bump on their latest single, Ghost Coast, but I love em both. Ghost Coast itself is this poppy and crisp syncopative pop shit with these haunting ass vocals that remind me of a beachy 1986, while the other track Aerials is like a robot sucking off a shepherd in a Best Buy while waiting in line for the latest Call of Duty. Whatever you just thought about my previous wordz, go buy this muthafucker or something, JEEZE MANEEZE BRO.
Guttural; vengeful; temperamental; humorous. Sean Blak is all of that and then some. If he's not ripping you a new asshole, he's busy preparing to do so. Oh, you don't believe me? Here is the hook to "Suicide Bomber": "I'm a 80's baby, so i'm 80's crazy, the mic terror, i die and i get 80 ladies, boom nigga i just blew myself, boom bitch i just blew myself, i'm a nineties dude, so i'm nineties rude, Fuck saddam im the bomb, in a tiny school, boom nigga i just blew myself up, boom bitch i just blew myself up." Last week saw the release of his Diary of a Badman and it is, indeed, an audio journal of the trouble a troublemaker makes. In the meantime here's the video for Sean Blak's "Made Man.
Atheist used to KILL IT in the late-80s/early-90s and are considered one of the forefathers of prog-y death metal. After a good 17 years of hiatus, they dropped a new record in 2010 that practically went unnoticed but turned out astoundingly great. It is kinda like if Gary Busey suddenly resumed doing quasi-serious A-list blockbuster action movies roles... but somehow better. The world is now a better place now that Atheist has been re-introduced to it, can we at least get a little more support from Busey? Maybe team him up with Ashton Kutcher in an undercover buddy-cop movie with a talking dog (voiced by either Gilbert Gottfried or Cedric the Entertainer) in it?
XXYYXX is pretty much fresh on my radar. I literally just learned of him yesterday, but my understanding is that he is a 16 year old producer from Florida or some shit and makes the most amazing instrumental music. It is steeped in a sort of late 80s/early 90s nouveau R&B type steez, think Soul II Soul if they weren't so god damned British. The emotions run deep, the textures are amazing and the stain the music caused on the front of my pants is none of your fucking business.
Remember all the things you dug about The Darkness? Big hooks, metal shredding, and athemetic (very much a made up word) vibes. What if I told you Fang Island contained all of those qualities while also shaking the sound free all of the unitarded schtick and self serving pomp? You'd be pretty down with that wouldn't you? Well Fang Island is all of that! Who knew! This is some serious kick you in the ass proggy pop rock.