Monday, October 19, 2009

Some Seasonal Music

Who is the scariest band right now? Kings of Leon. They all have the clap and they are coming to have sex with your daughters.

But I'll discuss some music that is a little less scary than seeing a rock star's sex on fire.

Public Image Ltd. (aka PIL) was the next band for Johnny Rotten (John Lydon to his parents) after the Sex Pistols imploded under the weight of inevitability. PIL were trying to be something different, sort of like a musical corporation, but for most of the time the band were on drugs and screwing around, so in the end most folks just remember them for the music, and for their early stretch it was fantastic. Metal Box/Second Edition was an absolute high point of post-punk. A cavernous and haunting album, and sort of anti-funky with Jah Wobbles big rattling basslines. Then after that album Lydon got in a fight with Wobble and booted him from the band, making Flowers Of Romance a very different album. Voice and drums are the dominant, sounds on the album. And it's not an every day listen, Lydon caterwauls and mutters like someone from another planet. But when the mood is right, it is an invigorating and amazing album.

Decades later, Liars began their career as another in the glut of early '00s post-punk bands. Granted they were a very good one. Then they canned their rhythm section, and brought in one of their friends to drum. Additionally, while recording the second album, They Were Wrong So We Drowned, some stray googling (supposedly) reshaped the album to a concept piece about German Witches and the villagers who hate them. When it was released the album totally boggled the critics and many listeners. Infamously it got the bottom rating from Rolling Stone and spin. But, of course, history has proven them wrong. Liars were vindicate when their next album, Drums Not Dead, an album of mostly drums and vocals (see the pattern emerging) was turned the critical tide and picked back up some of the fans they lost. Personally, I maintain, as I've said before on the blog, that They Were Wrong is one of the finest album of the decade. Sure there's the influence of PIL, but the album goes off into amazing unexpected directions in narrative and sound.

All four of these albums are great listen. Perhaps not anytime, but as things get cooler and darker and spookier, they should all be on the iPod.

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