Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Thank you, Michael Robbins, for allowing me to make a song out of your pretty poem. Michael’s new…
The gorgeous song Shannon McArdle made out of my poem is now hosted on her website. Do yourself a favor & listen.
Friday, July 4, 2014
UPDATE UPDATE: Now it works again for some reason.
UPDATE: The song stopped working here for some reason, but it can be found on Shannon’s blog here.
Shannon McArdle, formerly of the Mendoza Line (one of my favorite bands), has made a song of my poem "Country Music," to be included on her forthcoming album, A Touch of Class. Proud to premiere it here.
Engineered by Clint Newman. Masterfully performed by Clint Newman (guitar, drums, shaker) and Bob van Pelt (bass). Interpreted and performed by Shannon McArdle, Shandelion Music (BMI).
lyrics by Michael Robbins
(N.B. The poem, as it appears online at The New Yorker, is misprinted without stanza breaks. It should appear in quatrains.)
© Shannon McArdle & Shandelion Music
lyrics © Michael Robbins
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Ben Ratliff and the poet Michael Robbins discuss the current state of metal and the music’s perhaps surprising similarities with poetry.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Havoc, and spoil, and ruin be thy gain
Thursday, February 20, 2014
The apotheosis of this pagan current is reached in the video for Immortal’s “The Call of the Wintermoon,” which suggests an infernal collaboration between Caspar David Friedrich and Walt Disney. The band members, dressed as wizards, scamper about in an impossibly green forest, breathing fire and posing dramatically in time with the song’s relentless clatter, which sounds a bit like one of those apps that play rain sounds while you sleep, except with someone croaking semicomprehensibly about “winterwings” and “Northern darkness.”
Monday, February 10, 2014
Many pages and animal carcasses later, Luke, the group’s leader (and, spoiler, only surviving member), is kidnapped by feral teenage psychopaths, who intend to sacrifice him to the ancient goat-god-monster-thing that rules the forest. These teens listen, of course, to the Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend.
Just kidding. They’re into black metal.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Balls-out, AC/DC-fueled country music finally has its own Tusk.
I wrote about Eric Church’s new record for SPIN. It’s a monster.
Sunday, January 5, 2014
Friday, December 27, 2013
My Pazz & Jop ballot for 2013. (Should’ve included Big Business & Mustasch on the albums list, Hollis Brown on the singles list.)
Thursday, October 31, 2013
In a taxi after the High on Fire show a few weeks ago, I accidentally listened to Sound Opinions, the radio skit show where Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis say platitudes about rock and roll to each other. It’s a pretty amusing parody of music criticism.
My favorite metal records of the year. Except the list would be different if I made it today (Eibon la Furies in the top 10 for sure, plus maybe Power Trip or Agrimonia or Portal).
Sunday, October 27, 2013
A brief discussion of Satan, followed by the most metal Halloween costumes ever of all time.
My new column. Topical. Stale by midnight.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
My Lou Reed
Lou Reed died this morning. I have a lot of other things I should be writing, & I know ten thousand bloggers are composing their ten thousand stories about how the Velvet Underground changed their lives, & I don’t believe rock & roll bands change people’s lives. But when I was 16, I bought the album 1969 Live at a strip-mall CD outlet in Wichita, Kansas, whence I had been exiled for the summer by my father to get me away from the friends he thought were leading me down the road to ruin (actual phrase he used). I stayed with my grandparents & shoveled horseshit at some stables in Rose Hill, a tiny town outside the city, spreading manure over a pasture from a tractor that had been bright red at some point in the seventies. Rose Hill had a Circle K & a video store & a lovely girl my age named Angie McDavitt & not much else. My Walkman leaked a tinny reproduction of Lou Reed’s voice into my head all day, every day. I’d get home exhausted & sit by my grandmother’s pool & listen to Reed banter with the crowd at the End of Cole Ave club in Dallas: “We saw your Cowboys today, & they never let Philadelphia even have the ball for a minute. It was 42 to 7 by the half, it was ridiculous. I mean you should give other people just a little chance. In football, anyway. This is a song called ‘I’m Waiting for My Man.’” I have every line by heart to this day.
When you’re 16, rock & roll has a gravity it can never have again. That summer, the Velvet Underground were my emotional life. A quarter of a century ago now. And my grandparents are dead, & the ex-cop who ran the stables is dead, & Angie McDavitt is married, & Lou Reed is dead. And when I heard the news, I listened to the first version of “Heroin” on 1969 on my iPod. It’s probably been ten years since the last time I played it. I can’t recapture the intensity of feeling the song had for me in another life. I wouldn’t want to. But the spaces in that song are in my DNA now. And I don’t know just where I’m going.
Friday, September 20, 2013
I love Mastodon and Miley Cyrus; Prince and Parliament and Pretenders; Pig Destroyer and Pet Shop Boys; Van Morrison and Venomous Maximus; Grave Miasma and Gram Parsons; Taylor Swift and Twisted Sister (I loved the latter in fifth grade, anyway). I can’t stand the Doors, I like precisely two The Who songs, and the Arcade Fire’s music makes me want to throw up in the band members’ mouths.
All Day Permanent Red: new column up at Noisey, Vice’s music site
Monday, August 20, 2012
It’s true. It’s called All Day Permanent Red. And the first installment is here.
Some dopey kid said I have “shitty taste in music” because I love Taylor Swift & Pink. It’s good to be reminded that some people haven’t figured out that their distaste for pop is simply—I insist it is simply—a class marker. If you want to live in an aesthetically foreclosed world where your love of x or hate of y marks you as better than a) stoners, b) hicks, or c) mall rats, you’re welcome to do so. But don’t pretend it has anything at all to do with music. It’s just about your sneering, fragile little self, all wrapped up in a band tee like a security blanket. I like to think there’s nothing baffling about loving, at the same time, Taylor Swift, Converge, Sonic Youth, Lil Wayne, George Jones, Ornette Coleman, Geeshie Wiley, the Band, Iron Maiden, & Sarah Vaughan. It’s always the right time to remember what Dave Hickey said: “Bad taste is real taste, of course, and good taste is the residue of someone else’s privilege.”