Saturday, February 28, 2009

Three 180s

Not long ago, The folks at Sound Opinions, a decently amusing podcast from the only two people left making a living on rock criticism in Chicago, did a show on music they were wrong about. Besides the hilarity involved when anyone references Jesus Jones, it was actually kind of weak, proving that sometimes rock critics have trouble admitting their faults.

In spite of that, I will admit that I pulled almost complete 180s on three artists, Queens of the Stone Age, Aphex Twin and Death in Vegas.

First, Queens of the Stone Age. In 1999 they were picked to headline the Smashing Pumpkins Arising Tour, which wound up being the last shows ever played by the four original members. Coincidentally, Rolling Stone, which I read throughout high school, had a feature on new hard rock bands. They wrote very nice things about QOTSA despite giving them the lowest "rocking" score of the bunch, or whatever metric it is they were using. Because of this, I came in with reasonably high expectations. Their performance wound up being a hot tranny stoner mess. They played mostly in the dark, actual "songs" were few and far between, and nothing in the set struck me as very good.

Flash forward to the release date for Songs for the Deaf. Best Buy, in their wonderful drive to be the leader in loss-leaders, were selling the album for $6.99. Now, although I hadn't listened to the band since the show, except for one spin to the promo 3 song cd handed out afterwards, I had seen that they were getting very nice reviews all around. I figured that a $7 investment would be pretty harmless. Sure enough, it blew my mind, and I've seen them live five times since. Since at this point they're pretty much the only rock band left on the planet, so I'm pretty glad I took a chance that one sunny day at the Rockville Best Buy.

I first saw videos by the two other artists, Aphex Twin and Death in Vegas on the sadly forgotten and shortlived MTV show Twelve Angry Viewers, which was one of the networks last attempts to really show music videos. Both videos were quite offputting, not so much post-modern, as bad art school freakout bullshit.

I came around to Aphex Twin when I heard music from a different album played before another Smashing Pumpkins show, and later learned whose music it was (and another funny little Smashing Pumpkins connections of life). I think I was won over with Death In Vegas by hearing their collaboration with Iggy Pop and reading a number of very positive reviews calling them basically the evil Chemical Brothers.

And since then I have made no other musical miscalculations. Except for The Vines, and The Presets, and that Chris Cornell solo album, and . . .

[Here are the two offending videos . . . if you dare:

Also, perhaps DIV's finest song - Hands Around My Throat (and *shocker!* it's another suggestive video):]

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