Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Quick Turnaroud: A Review of Yes, I Like Nine Inch Nails

aka, Jade doesn't do any work when she's the only one in the office.

1. Immigrant Song - destroyed by Karen O

I'm a bit of a sad case and I'm a big Zepplin fan (when I was in primary school, I called a local radio station to request D'Yer Mak'r - they played it. Score. Love a good dad joke / sad pun) and I've never liked Karen O / The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. In fact, their very moniker shits me to tears.

That said, the music on this track is killer, but the whole thing is ruined by her horrible voice.

2.  Linoleum - Tweaker

Ok, I've been reading Paul's blog forever and I've never bothered to check out tweaker. This song is pretty swoonworthy. Am I alone in getting a bit of a Scott Weiland channelling moody, 80s future-industrial? Anyway, A+, would recommend, check out more of their stuff.

3. Growing Up - Peter Gabriel

You know, I am not a Peter Gabriel fan. In fact, I'm the antithesis of a Peter Gabriel fan, that song with the digging in the dirt and the bugs crawling and the sheer utter twattery of sledgehammer? Yeah, NOT a fan.

I like the slow burn on this one, but Gabriel is just so boring. Is he counting ducks? Without the bassline, well, he would have put me to sleep.

4. Madame X - Robbie Robertson

Buzzword for this mixtape: Haunting.

I haven't seen the film, but the opening of this track sounds SO familiar to me, like someone smashed up The Bee Gee's How Deep is Your Love and Sealed with a Kiss by anyone by Jason Donovan.

5. Pleasant Smell - 12 Rounds

No. Just no. Aural assault at 7 in the morning.

6. Banged & Blown Through - Saul Williams

I'll be honest, you nearly lost me at 'slam poet'.

I take issue with your use of the word 'rap', unless this track is an anomaly on the album, but I dig, I dig. Frankly, his voice is horrible and I think he needs to maybe take a lesson or two in things like... well.. tone and pitch, but yeah, really thought provoking. Very strongly Reznored, but it really adds something powerful in this instance (in every instance).

7. On the Wing - How to Destroy Angels 

Ok, so I get the impression that Atticus Rose is to the Rez what Warren Ellis is to Nick Cave, no?

This chick doesn't seem to have a powerful enough voice to not be entirely swamped by the music, but it's not bad.

8. Heartbeats - Sono Io

I'll admit that I thought this one was going to be a dirty sexy version of the Jose Gonzales song.

It's not, so I'll contain my disappointment.

I find the vocals really compelling, and find it a bit surprising that he's an Italian, because he definitely sings with a mad brit tone. Me likey.

9. No Fair Fights - Prick

I think I must be overtired, because I can only hear David Bowie in this one. But, like, David Bowie doing spoken word for 7/8ths of a song and then David Bowie doing Trent Reznor karaoke for the rest.

10. Victory - Puff Daddy et al

LOL. Where you at?

Nah, I don't hate it. Completely misogynistic, but I can get over that. When they get a bit overexcitied, I just remember the classic Luda lyric: 'watch out for my medallions, my diamonds are reckless, feels like a midget is hanging from my necklace' and then I laugh. A lot.

Oh Luda, you so crazy.

11. I'm Afraid of Americans - David Bowie

I'm just putting it out there that I don't like David Bowie (other than as the Goblin King, but that shouldn't need clarification).

Actually, so far this is the first song that I recognise, so it must have been EVERYWHERE at the time.

Don't hate it.

12. Chip Away - Jane's Addiction

I saw Jane's Addiction in my formative years, life changer, and this version isn't so different from the ridgy didge. Certainly, that marching band drumming is wonderfully familiar. Definitely see the electronic influence, but it's funny, because I had always thought of NIN being influenced by JA, rather than the other way around.

You didn't write this one up, but I'm guessing there's more of a connection than them touring together?

13. The Reflecting God - Marilyn Manson

 I just...nah. Can't get beyond the try-hardiness.

Although... does he round it out by shouting 'shoo, shoo, shoo, motherfucker'?

14. Passive - A Perfect Circle

I actually love this song, I've always loved this song.

No one ever gives James Iha any credit, so I'm going to put that out there. I really like Tool, I think I've mentioned that here before, but this just seems like it fits seamlessly into their cattle dog.

15. Forgotten - TV on the Radio

Nice background noise.

16. Shit Stories - Trent Reznor

Yeah, sorry, don't have time for ten minutes of poop stories right now.

All in all, the album feels really cohesive with that underlying dirty drum / synthy goodness that is such a Reznor trademark.

A few of these songs will find their way into my permanent rotation, so cheers for that.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Yes, I Like Nine Inch Nails

In case you have somehow forgotten who I am...I enjoy the music of Nine Inch Nails.
And, as this is, ostensibly, a mix tape club, I know a lot of you are probably concerned about being inundated by a lot of Nine Inch Nails music that you either don't enjoy or have no interest in whatsoever.
With these things in mind, I offer something that is all connected to Nine Inch Nails...but actually features no music by Nine Inch Nails.

P.S. I do plan on using Nine Inch Nails music in later entries because there is not an emotion that can't be expressed perfectly by their music god I luv tRent Rezzner SO MUCH Imgonnamarry him.

Maybe I'm being facetious...


Immigrant Song - performed by Karen O., music by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
In 2011, Reznor and Ross created the score for David Fincher's remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Fincher told Reznor he wanted to do a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song". After several different incarnations, this is the result. It opens the movie beautifully and works just as well here as an opener.

Linoleum - tweaker
Chris Vrenna, the mind behind tweaker, was Nine Inch Nails' live drummer for most of their live shows in the 90's. He also did some work on the band's seminal work, The Downward Spiral. I would be lying if I said I'd have ever given tweaker the time of day had Vrenna not been affiliated with NIN, but, I did and, unlike some ex-NIN band members' solo projects...there is a lot of really amazing stuff here. Thus far, Vrenna has released three albums as tweaker, The Attraction To All Things Uncertain (2001) and 2am wakeup call (2004) and, just recently, Call The Time Eternity. Their first album, (released September 18th, 2001) provided a strange sort of comfort after the events of the previous week.

Growing Up (Reznor mix) - Peter Gabriel
One of the only things produced by Reznor during the horrid drought between his 1999 album and his 2005 album. Reznor adds a lethality and sense of foreboding to what was originally a well-made but somewhat forgettable dance track. The painstakingly detailed electronic distortion and simple, harsh bass and rattling drum beat provide a depth to which some might not want to sink. After hearing this version, I find myself ignoring the original.

Madame X - Robbie Robertson
Anyone who's heard anything off The Social Network score will recognize the unsettling, jittering strings being chewed up and abused in the background of this otherwise sleepy, acoustic instrumental. You want to scare some folks from the Mid-West? Get T Rezzy on your shit.

Pleasant Smell - 12 Rounds
12 Rounds was Atticus Ross' band before he hooked up with Trent Reznor and made some of the best music of Nine Inch Nails' career. The vocalist on this track is the lead singer, his wife, Claudia Sarne. Her voice is so...specific. I'm thinking a lot of you are going to hate her and I understand. There's a reason 12 Rounds didn't take over the world. But I feel like her somewhat bluesy, cracked rasp works here. Reznor produced this album, My Big Hero (1998), and released it on his Nothing Records label.

Saul Williams - Banged And Blown Through
Slam poet Saul Williams had released two album of hip hop/rap/poetry before Reznor saw his bare bones and powerful video for his track "List Of Demands". After that, he contacted Williams and asked him to open for a leg of Nine Inch Nails' 2006 tour. After that, he offered to produce Williams' next album. What actually ended up happening was Reznor writing most of the music for the album and coopting bits and pieces of unfinished and unreleased tracks from his own 1999 album, The Fragile, in order to create something hard and dark and brave and amazing. The result was 2007's The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust, and it is the most riveting, nuanced rap album I've ever heard. I almost don't want to call it simply "rap". While it isn't for everyone, it's unlike anything you've heard before.

How to destroy angels_ - On the wing
After touring for almost three years straight, Reznor announced, in late 2009, that he was taking some time off from Nine Inch Nails. One of the things he worked on was How To Destroy Angels, a band consisting of him, long time musical cohort Atticus Ross and his wife, Mariqueen Maandig with recent addition, Rob Sheridan, who had, up until that point, been in charge of artwork, design, web integration and other takss in that vein. Since the late 90's, Reznor had talked about wanting to start a side project with a female vocalist...HTDA is that project. The songs are written by and, for the most part, sung by Mariqueen while the music is written by and, for the most part, performed by Reznor and Ross. In June of 2010, the band released a free, 6-track EP and then, on November 13th, 2012, they released another 6-track EP, from which this is taken. Their first, full-length album is due out Q1, 2013.

SONOIO - Heartbeats (Jesper Drums Mix)
Native Italian, Alessandro Cortini, served as NIN's keyboardist for about 5 years until Reznor put the band on hiatus in 2009. After that, he started SONOIO (Italian for "it's me"). The fact that everything you hear is one man and a bunch of synthesizers always gets to me; makes me think, well, if he can do it...etc. Have I ever made anything as good as Cortini? Well, that all depends on if you like his stuff or not. Some of you might find his voice a bit grating, but there's real feeling there. Thus far, he's put out two mini-albums (not quite EPs and not quite LPs) entitled "blue" and "red". Hopefully his third, as yet untitled, piece of this project will be out some time in late 2012 or early 2013.

Prick - No Fair Fights
Prick (led by Lucky Pierre singer and guitarist Kevin McMahon) was another of the bands that Reznor signed to his Nothing Records label back in the early 90's when everyone gave him everything. Aside from signing Prick, he also produced and did backing vocals on a few tracks from their self-titled debut album. This is one of them. Anyone who knows Nine Inch Nails...which is none of you but Chris...will immediately think this is totally NIN with a different lead vocalist and less electronic distortion. I like how weird McMahon sounds on this and the flow and evolution of the song, even if it's a bit overly mid-90's industrial.

Puff Daddy feat. Busta Rhymes and the Notorious B.I.G. - Victory (Nine Inch Nails remix)
Okay. I'll admit, this is over-the-top and verging on ridiculous. But, then again, so is a lot of gangster rap. This remix was sort of Reznor's tongue-in-cheek response to the whole nu-metal/rap+rock bullshit of the time period. He later confessed that he did it for the money and the laughs.

David Bowie - I'm Afraid Of Americans (V1)
One of my biggest regrets (musically) was missing the David Bowie/Nine Inch Nails tour of 1996. Since then, Reznor has sung with a few other people, but never has his voice so perfectly melded with another than with Bowie. Check out their version of "Hurt" if you don't believe me...although why you wouldn't believe me on a topic such as this...well, I don't would kind of baffle me, that's all...anyway, when Bowie put out his Earthling album in 1998, he got Reznor to completely deconstruct and reconstruct his track "I'm Afraid Of Americans". The other five versions (V2 through V6) verge on unintelligible, ego-centric experimental pap (although V3 features a guest appearance from none other than Ice Cube), but this one got mucho radio play. It takes the glitchy, quirky original and makes it bigger and more dangerous. And yelling. Reznor adds some yelling too. This track comes with a video of Bowie being chased through downtown New York by Reznor. It's...kind of silly.

Jane's Addiciton - Chip Away
While touring (opening, actually) with Jane's Addiction on 2009's NIN|JA tour, Reznor and Ross got them in the studio to re-record some of their earlier work with Reznor as a producer. There was this and "Whores". Basically, they're darker than the originals, more Nine Inch Nails-y. Truthfully, I've never been a Jane's Addiction fan and, at both of the shows I saw on the tour, I left either before or just after they took the stage.

Marilyn Manson - The Reflecting God
As unlistenable and just awful as this guy has become in recent years, there was a time when Marilyn Manson had something going for him, and, as anyone who doesn't currently work in Hot Topic will agree, it was when Reznor was creating music with him. His first album and EP were produced by and featured Reznor here and there and his second and best album Antichrist Superstar was the apex of their musical collaboration. I'll spare you the details of the album's dark, apocalyptic concept and nutshell it thusly: Reznor took everything Manson did on the album and made it better. He brought depth and substance and texture to places where there was little or none. Manson came to Reznor with an album, and Reznor made it a masterpiece. This is the second to last track and I don't think any of you will make it a minute into the song. And I understand.

A Perfect Circle - Passive
All right **deep breath**...from 1995 to 2004, there existed the rumor of a supergroup called Tapeworm featuring Trent Reznor, Danny Lohner (NIN live bassist), Charlie Clouser (NIN live keyboardist), Alan Moulder (producer), Maynard James Keenan (lead singer of Tool) and Atticus Ross (programmer and half of 12 Rounds). Other contributors included Phil Anselmo (lead singer of Pantera), Josh Freese (super drummer for a shitton of bands, most recently NIN), Toni Halliday (lead singer of Curve), Page Hamilton (guitarist/singer of Helmet) and Tommy Victor (lead guitarist/singer of Prong). Over the years, two songs have (kind of) come out of this project. One is a song by the band Puscifer called "Potions" and the other is this song. In recent years, Reznor admitted that some material had been recorded but that none of the artists involved thought any of it was good enough to be released as its own thing.
Thank you...?

TV On The Radio - Forgotten
Aside from touring with them and remixing some stuff and doing a few songs with them and Peter Murphy (including an amazing version of the Bauhaus' "Bela Lugosi's Dead") on the 2006 Nine Inch Nails tour, Trent Reznor has nothing to do with TV On The Radio...except for the fact the he got me into them, and I'm incredibly grateful. They have a unique and appealing sound unlike a lot of stuff out there and I hope you dig it. Check out their albums Return To Cookie Mountain and Nine Types Of Light for more great stuff by them.

Trent Reznor - Shit Stories
Back in the days of Napster, when I would search for "Nine Inch Nails" several times a day, every day, I came across a file entitled "Trent Reznor - Shit Stories". How...could I not...have downloaded it?
And,'s everything it promises to be: almost ten minutes of Trent Reznor telling stories about pooping. And it's fucking hilarious. I beg you to listen to the whole thing, as, buried in it, is Reznor accidentally doing an amazing Buffalo Bill impression.

Friday, November 9, 2012

"Disappointment" doesn't cover it...

Anyway, I'm going to post something soon, maybe next week.
And then no one will listen to it.
And then we'll all die.