Tag Archive | Primus

JG2’s Toppest Albums & Singles Of 2014 (Annotated Edition)

I only continue to do this because Village Voice forces me via the Pazz & Jop ballot. The 2014 lists are dedicated to young one Rik Mayall. Rik, your death continues to fill me with profound sadness.

JG2’s TOPPEST ALBUMS OF 2014

1. Babymetal – BABYMETAL

Who knew Kawaii could save metal from itself? Japanese school girls bring ABBA-esque melody and untold charisma to extreme rock’s grim battlefield, setting off an hour that would wow Francis Scott Key. BABYMETAL is the year’s black and blue dance party pinnacle.

2. Run The Jewels – RTJ2

Another swift upper cut from the dynamite Killer Mike + El-P combo. No time wasted, so space misused, so very authentic. Any other rappers who might brag about “teabag[ing] a piranha tank” would be laughed off the Internet. Extra points for the Zack De La Rocha cameo.

3. Cannabis Corpse – From Wisdom To Baked

Death metal and pot have paralleled each other in ascent to the mainstream, so perhaps death metal about pot was inevitable. A hilarious grind even if you’ve never cradled a bong or owned Eaten Back To Life on vinyl.

4. Riff Raff – Neon Icon

All the benefits of cotton candy with none of the hangover. Sealed his place on this list the second he referenced Mario Kart in the slippery party starter “Kokayne.” What a crime that song wasn’t released as a single.

5. Ghostface Killah – 36 Seasons

“Staten Island ain’t the same”; thankfully Ghostface is, which means we’re in a renaissance. This hip hop + soul gumbo simmers on the stovetop. You can feel the heat but it’s oh so comforting.

6. Brody Dalle – Diploid Love

If Dalle is looking to secure a Joan Jett legacy this is a rabbit kick in the right direction. Feisty, self-assured, endlessly anthemic (thanks mostly to Brody’s smoky vocal heft). Extra points for the Shirley Manson cameo.

7. The Oath – The Oath

Roaring doom rock worthy of soundtracking your next exorcism. Johanna Sadonis’s ghostly wail has a numbing effect, which is perfect salve for the sonic panzer behind her. Unfortunately, these evil nieces of Heart have already broken their Oath (the band dissolved last year).

8. Nashville Pussy – Up The Dosage

Meanwhile, below the Mason-Dixon Line, gnarly shit-kickers tell it like it is, even when it doesn’t benefit their agenda (see “The South’s Too Fat To Rise Again”). If rock is dead Nashville Pussy’s trying to punt the corpse, and that’s plenty entertaining.

9. Del The Funky Homosapien – Iller Than Most

Technically a mixtape that Del himself described as “nothing super heavy,” but Iller packs plenty of finely focused disco robot punch. The Homosapien flow slips and slides all over, never going off track, occasionally offering refreshing candor (see the Beastie Boys shout out).

10. Blood Red Shoes – Blood Red Shoes

Delightfully growling and disaffected effort from this Brit pop garage duo. May not be their strongest composition-wise but it sets a fine mood (if you enjoy standing in moderate rain at the bus stop).

JG2’s TOPPEST SINGLES OF 2014

1. Riff Raff – “Tip Toe Wing In My Jawwdinz”

Captures all the bleary intrigue of staying awake until sunrise.

2. Brody Dalle – “Meet The Foetus/Oh The Joy”

A cold, futuristic ballad whose melancholy crashes into nihilistic punk sneer.

3. Run The Jewels – “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry”

This density traps you under its rigid thumb, slowing you to an intense crawl.

4. Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”

To paraphrase J. Lydon, don’t accept the old order, destroy it.

5. “Weird Al” Yankovic – “Handy”

If Al decided to focus on nerdcore rap I don’t think any of us would complain.

6. Primus – “Pure Imagination”

Just demented enough to satiate.

7. RHCP2014 – “Abracadabralifornia”

Jon Daly gets the Chili Peppers in his cross hairs and I shit myself laughing.

8. Sia – “Push (Feeling Good On A Wednesday)”

More uplifting than a “South Park” spin-off has any right to be.

9. Kidz Bop – “Wrecking Ball”

This is probably how Disney era Miley would have approached it, right?

10. The Oath – “All Must Die”

Sexy swagger de la muerte.

Fifteen Hall Of Fame Drummers From The Past Score & Five

Joel Robinson demonstrates his BGC-19 kit, not utilized by anyone listed.

The Drumming Hall of Fame: as far as we know, no such place exists, not even within the angular confines of the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Maybe that’s a good thing. The Rock Hall’s stirred up enough controversy as it is with their general inductees. Look, I have nothing against Red Hot Chili Peppers. They’re fun. However, if you put a gun to my greasy noggin and pose the question “funk crossover?” Faith No More will come up first.

But I digress. If there was a Drum HOF and they were looking to honor the best players from the past twenty-five years, the following fifteen people would get my vote, first ballot. Assuming I could participate in such an election process. I’m not really a part of drum writing’s sacred cabal.

TIM ALEXANDER

Drumming in Primus seems like a thankless task, but Alexander’s handled it with aplomb. He has no problem letting the other instruments breathe without sacrificing his own unique flair. A true craftsman’s touch.

MATT CAMERON

Matt takes the scenic route to the benefit of many a Soundgarden recording. Even their weakest stuff is interesting thanks to his little flourishes. He’s also been in Pearl Jam now for god knows how long; that surely speaks to something considering PJ’s previous drumming turnover rate.

JIMMY CHAMBERLAIN

The Chamb (as no one calls him) strikes such a nice balance between the fanciful and the forceful. He also managed to navigate the Corgan minefield for an impressive stretch. Seems like a mensch outside the drug abuse and the Dutch Schutlz haircut.

DALE CROVER

Slogging away in the Melvins, Dale has developed his own cult, and for good reason. He maps out those throbbing rhythms like a conquering hun.

JOSH FREESE

Pretty versatile in his session work (Guns n’ Roses, Sting, Ween, Perfect Circle, DEVO), equally versatile on his home court with pop punk clowns the Vandals. Loose, limber, electric, Josh has helped keep the Vandals a joy far beyond their sell-by date.

DAVE GROHL

Shades of Bonham, right? Can you think of an album Dave’s tapped on that isn’t classic? Even the first Tenacious D is held in esteem because of Grohl. The only drummer on this list your grandchildren’s grandchildren will know in absolute terms.

JOEY JORDINSON

Like Primus, Slipknot would be unlistenable without the right person steering the rhythmic ship. Joey’s a busy drummer but never lets his rolls get away from him. Extra props for commercializing so many death metal moves.

NICK MENZA

There’s a reason Megadeth fans are constantly up D. Mustaine’s ass to reform the Rust In Peace lineup. Menza brings that clean, precise heavy metal fury. Extra props for his dedication to UFO culture.

ANDERS MØLLER (A.K.A. GLUEROS BAGFIRE)

A hard call only because I have so much reverence for the Danny Young era of Gluecifer, that glorious span of time when they were the greatest hard rock band America was ignoring. The white hot early stuff with Anders is what got me there, though. A great melding of punk speed and classic rock cues.

CHARLES MONTGOMERY (A.K.A. CHUCK BISCUITS)

Has anyone ever played with so much reckless abandon yet remained so precise and powerful? Has any other drummer for Danzig been able to so precisely match that singer’s strength and swagger? Doesn’t seem like coincidence that Danzig’s career began wobbling once Chuck departed.

HUGH O’NEILL

Hugh’s meter was offensively good, the best in ’90s punk. Don’t Back Down is still the top Queers album thanks to his presence. What a crime cancer took him from us in ’99. Desperately wanted to hear his next moves.

DAN PETERS

His Mudhoney band mates jokingly call him “Tippy Tap” due to some perceived lack of power, but that light n’ limber touch works wonders when the guitars are vomiting up ’60s fuzz. Motherfucker can jam, too.

AHMIR THOMPSON (A.K.A. QUESTLOVE)

Dumbledorish in his musical knowledge, which of course informs his fantastic percussion. Superb control. Obliterating the stereotype that all drummers are one dimensional drooling clowns.

JANET WEISS

Always impressive to hear the inventive turns and accents this Sleater-Kinney stalwart utilizes. Seems to be much Bill Ward in her playing.

ADAM WILLARD

The Rocket From The Crypter who can shift tempo on half a rusty dime. So exuberant, such a party when he’s thumping away.

So who would you vote for?

Oh Look, I’ve Gone Steampunk

This top hat has been sitting on my kitchen table for weeks now. My roommates have offered no explanation so far as to where the hat came from or where it’s supposed to be going. I guess I don’t really care, unless it fell out of an intergalactic wormhole that spontaneously ripped open in the bathroom and must somehow be delivered to Joe Biden before the third Sunday in October. It’s here now, so I put it on sometimes and pretend I’m auditioning for the next Sherlock Holmes movie. The game’s afoot, bitch!

I was going to write a lengthy review of the new Primus album, Green Naugahyde, but I had some difficulty getting past the basic sentiment of “Yeah, this is a Primus record, with all the requisite Primusy bits, and that’s all pretty mint.” I was also going to write a lengthy review of the new East Bay Ray album, East Bay Ray & the Killer Smiles, but I had some difficulty getting past the basic sentiment of “The guy singing is making me nauseous.” You know how that stuff goes sometimes.

Does anyone else feel like Jim Carrey’s insistance on using the Internet like a normal human being is slowly murdering what’s left of his career? If I see him Tweet one more emoticon like this >;^} I’m going to smash my copy of The Truman Show out in the street. I don’t even care that Laura Linney autographed it for me. I’ll beat that VHS tape like a rented mule.

Real talk: I would never beat a mule, rented, leased, or owned outright.

Unsolicited Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure Review

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Starring: Alex Winter, Keanu Reeves, George Carlin
Directed by Stephen Herek
1989

I watched this movie for the first time in about five years the other night. It holds up surprisingly well. You’d think all that dude-speak would be a major crux, but it’s not. Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves split Spicoli down the middle and manage to make that patented Hollywood stoner stupidity more endearing than Santa Claus or Mary Lou Retton.

Of course, pot and/or any references to the holy green stuff are completely absent from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. It seems like there wasn’t too much weed humor going on in the late eighties. Everybody was too busy doing coke, I guess. At any rate, the lack of overt drug yuks and gratuitous swearing makes this film seem like a fershluggin’ Disney comedy. Two American teenagers travel through time and steal history’s greatest minds to help them pass their final exam? Yeah, I could see a couple kids from High School Musical making the same flick today.

Maybe that’s why they threw in Amy Stock-Poynton as Bill’s hot step-mom Missy. Some of those scenes still make me a little uncomfortable, particularly the one where Mr. Preston throws our heroes out of Bill’s room so he can make the sign of the blue-breasted Nepalese tit willow with Missy. I hope they changed Bill’s sheets afterwards.

You know what else is weird in this movie? The part where Bernie Casey (as Bill and Ted’s history teacher) is asking the duo real softball questions in class the day before their report is due. Seriously, it’s the last ten minutes of class on the day before the final, and you’re asking questions like, “Who was Joan of Arc?” Is that how you get your jollies, Bernie Casey? By humiliating the two poorest students in class with questions you know they can’t answer correctly? Maybe you just don’t have your shit together as a teacher. Based on the other final reports shown in the movie, it doesn’t look like you taught those kids dick. Let them eat fast food? I know fourth graders more perceptive than that. I guess my point is fuck you, Bernie Casey.

I wonder why George Carlin agreed to do Bill & Ted. I mean, obviously it had a funny script and everything came together really well in the end, but there are no other “names” attached and the budget had to be kind of low (they filmed most of it in Arizona). Did Stephen Herek have a lot of heat on him after Critters? Was Carlin hurtin’ for money? If the late hippie comedian ever commented upon/talked at length about his participation in the Bill & Ted movies, someone please direct me to a link or something. I’m too lazy to go on a wild Internet goose chase myself.

I would like to take a moment now to remark upon how amazing the Circle K sequences are in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. It sounds crazy, but you can see how Keanu Reeves built a career on his reactions to the arrival of Rufus and Future Bill & Ted. Never before has one shaggy-haired gas station loiterer’s disbelief over meeting his time-traveling alter ego been so palpable. Reeves completely steals those scenes from Alex Winter. That’s okay, though, because Winter is generally better at his craft and kind of acts circles around Keanu throughout the rest of the film.

It’s a little strange watching Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure in the post-Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey world. They went so balls-out on the 1993 sequel (evil Bill & Ted robots, d.i.y. Bill & Ted robots made by non-evil Bill & Ted, the Grim Reaper, Station, Pam Grier, the guy from Faith No More, Primus) that the predecessor seems tame by comparison. The original does has enough clever writing and wacky gags to keep it from falling into the same cinematic grave as Rock n’ Roll High School Forever or any of the Meatballs movies, though. It’s also got Abraham Lincoln advising an auditorium of high school kids to “party on.” That’s worth at least three Oscars in my book.

Final Score: Three and a half air guitars supplemented by real guitar playing (out of four).

Acceptable Genre Descriptions For Primus

Spaced-out farm funk
Creepy toothless ranch hand funk
Overall-wearin’ hillbilly doom metal
Rootin’ tootin’, varmint-chasin’, ta-backee-chewin’ apocalypse hoe down rock
Goofball jam metal
Bumpkin core
Redneck Rush
Twelve pound Largemouth bass rock

I’m sorry, Wikipedia, but “Alternative metal” just isn’t going to cut the mustard. Expect an edit as soon as I’m confident enough to go outside the sandbox.