The Two Great American Rock Bands

Here are the two bands that I feel best summarize where Rock has been and where it is going. While neither band is new, both are still actively releasing better and better material. Don’t mistake this as idolatry, there is always another band that will come along

Clutch: The desert-highway-philosophy machine encompasses all that is masculine. Fronted by the Socratic Neil Fallon howling and barking tomes of multi-layered prose and backed by the ultimate jam band, Clutch understands the Blues. But, Clutch channels the blues. There are no knock of Stevie Ray Vaughn licks or faux-Robert Johnson musings. Instead Clutch have continually pushed themselves to follow the muse, changing their sound as the change as people. Clutch goes deep as an ayahuasca trip without ever losing rhythm and funk. Clutch are men who play rock music.

Silk Worm/Bottomless Pit: Starting with a bang and drifting to a hum. Silkworm lacked the irony and pretense of nineties indie rock. Instead honest songs about friends, drugs, girls, death and life ruptured from the voices and instruments of Andy Cohen, Tim Midgett and Mike Dahlquist. Dahlquist died when a suicidal motorist drove into Dahlquist’s car. Tim and Andy live with one of the most genuine and heartfelt pieces of music I have ever heard.

Bottomless Pit congealed in the aftermath. Aluminum necked instruments sing together with Andy and Tim’s ever evolving lyrics and vocals. The humanity present in Bottomless Pit is breathtaking in its beauty and in its severity. Listen in.

Andrew W.K. – Close Calls With Brick Walls

Andrew W.K.: Close Calls With Brick Walls

Andrew W.K. has harnessed his frantic energy and actually produced a good album. The songs all rock, but aren’t about partying. Shocking! Rather they seem to be partially drug fueled metaphors about his experiences in the music business. Fun and catchy this music shows off Andrew’s musical abilities well. He has managed to mix his love of the piano well into these guitar anthems. A shame it was only a limited release in the US.

Big Business – Mind The Drift

Big Business Mind The Drift:

Big Business are back and rocking as ever. It seems that they learned a bit while being in the Melvins. Previous Big Business albums had been good, but became repetitive as they went on. Here the tracks all vary enough to keep the listener engaged. The drumming and riffing are top-notch as always. The vocal have improved, with them being able to create great vocal melodies. One of the best rock albums to be put out this year and also the strongest Big Business release yet.

U2-No Line on the Horizon

U2 No Line on the Horizon:

Bono sings lyrics about boots and ju ju men over hip hop beats and incredibly bad fuzzed out bass. Completely fucking terrible in every way possible. I don’t understand how this band has tricked people into buying any of their records after The Joshua Tree.

Rating 0/15 quality points

Paul Weller-At The BBC

Paul Weller At The BBC:

A good mix of Weller’s three-chord take on soul music, and acoustic tunes. Spanning 4 CD’s one gets a feel for all of Weller’s lyrical capabilities, which are considerable, and his knack for crafting simple tunes. Weller has the fortune of having a great backing band, that completely understand the mood of each tune. Weller has aged more gracefully than most and gone through several distinct creative periods, many of which are represented here. A solid release.

Rating: 13/15 Jams

The Mighty Orq-To the Bone

The Mighty Orq To the Bone:

To my great disappointment  this album isn’t power metal, instead its watered down versions of every style of rock popular in the early nineties. The riffs never have more than two and a half chords, and the singer perfectly fits the role of the deep voiced sleazy singer. Not good enough to compete with Theory of a Dead Man for radio play.

Rating: 4/15 Tears of Eddie Vedder

The Alternate Routes-A Sucker’s Dream

The Alternate Routes A Sucker’s Dream:

Like Maroon 5 with a country twang. The exact kind of goofy crap that might actually get on the radio. Avoid at all costs

Rating:4/15 silly hats

Arbouretum-Song of the Pearl

Arbouretum Song of the Pearl:

I have to give it to these guys for having an original idea and sticking to it. Celtic folk lyrics and melodies lilt in and out of Sonic Youth style guitar freak outs. The crazy thing is it works. This is a really strong album that I think I will find myself listening to over and over.

Rating: 13/15 feedback jigs

Sweet Cobra – Forever

Sweet Cobra Forever:

Sludgy Rock that’s pretty good. This isn’t earth-shattering and after two tracks, you’ve heard all there is to this album. Still if your friend puts it on in the car, you’re not going to complain. I suspect this band slays live.

Rating: 10/15 deep dish pizzas covered in mud

Scarlett Johansson-Anywhere I Lay My Head

Scarlett Johansson Anywhere I Lay My Head:

Bland unemotional covers of Tom Waits songs. Taking a little bit of Tom Waits signature growl and clang out of his tunes, isn’t a bad idea. Taking absolutely all of it out is.

Rating: 9/15 stick to acting points