Author Archives: Matt Satterfield

About Matt Satterfield

Music Blogger & Critic

The Rumjacks Announce Spring Tour

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Celtic-Punk band The Rumjacks have recently announcing a spring tour on the heels of their third LP, Sleeping’ Rough. The tour beings tomorrow (March 4) with a headlining slot at San Diego’s Get Shamrocked Festival and also includes a stop at SXSW before concluding in Rochester, NY on April 15th. At their heart, The Rumjacks are a live band, whipping crowds into a frenzy with their mix of traditional sounds and punk flare. “Its like growing up with a tear in your eye and a storm brewing in your heart..” said Frankie McLaughlin. “We were raised on the Scottish & Irish music in our parents record collection, before colliding head-on with Punk Rock as we grew older and thought we knew everything.”

For complete tour dates, check out the band’s web-site and check out a live version of “A Fistful O’ Roses” from last year in Poland below.

 

The Cuckoos Release New Song “Get It On”

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Austin rock outfit The Cuckoos recently released their latest song “Get It On” reminiscent of ’60s garage-rock and psychedelia. The fuzzy, atmospheric track is anchored by a moody organ and lead singer Kenneth Frost’s Jim Morrison-esque growl. “Get It On” isn’t a mere throwback, but rather updates an old sound and reminds you why that particular style was exciting in the first place.

Their self-titled EP will be released on April 14th. For more information on The Cuckoos check out their Facebook and Twitter and take a listen to “Get It On” below.

 

Strange Lot Share Psychedelic New Single, “Have It Your Way”

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Psychedelic outfit Strange Lot recently released the first track,”Have It Your Way” from their forthcoming album Gods and Clods due out this Friday (March 3rd.)  The laid-back track begins with a soft bass intro, before sliding into a relaxed and hazy groove. With hints of Tame Impala and My Morning Jacket’s softer explorations, “Have It Your Way” sounds right at home as Winter transitions into the upcoming Spring.

For more info on Strange Lot check them out on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Update

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated Leading Us Absurd. I wish I could say I had a really good reason for the long absence from blogging, but it really it all comes down to a sort of uncertainty about the direction of the blog.

When I started Leading Us Absurd (way back in 2009), it was originally an outlet for me to write about whatever interested me. In the beginning, that it was (mostly) about the music that I liked. Somewhere along the line, I started receiving emails from PR companies to write about and review new artists. Naturally, I was excited and jumped at the chance.

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege and honor to interview, promote and write about a lot of very cool artists in many different genres. But still, I felt slightly unsatisfied because I wasn’t writing about the artists that I loved and inspired me. It wasn’t “my own writing”.  So I tried to counter-balance the reviews with other pieces such as “the song of the day” which I viewed as my own. In retrospect, both approaches suffered I think.

Those feeling left me with a bit of an identity crisis for LUA. As I thought about it, the idea that longer pieces were “my writing” versus the idea that the reviews somehow weren’t is a bit silly and counter-productive: I own the blog. I don’t have any sponsors or anybody to answer to in terms of what I can and can’t put out. In other words, it’s all my own.

I love music and I like writing about it. Not many people get to write about new music and have numerous people ask them to do it on a regular basis. So that’s actually pretty cool. I kind of forgot that for a little bit, and want to get back to that feeling that excited me about music writing in the first place.

In the hope of making Leading Us Absurd better, I plan on only really writing about artists that truly interest me and feel like my readers might like. I like a lot of different genres, so don’t necessarily expect it to be just “indie rock” for instance. I’m hoping that by doing that, it will come across in my writing.

I haven’t completely abandoned the idea of writing about my favorite artists or popular music in general, but it those pieces be published more sparingly and most likely in a longer essay-like form. I’m not going throw up a post about The Stooges anymore for instance, just because I like them.

It’s not really a new direction for LUA, but rather a clarification and hopefully, a better blog.

As always, thanks for reading.

Matt

Song of the Day: “Welcome to the Jungle” – Jay Z & Kanye West

Last week, Kanye West declared that there would never be another Watch the Throne collaboration, due to Jay Z’s involvement with Tidal. If that’s actually true, it’s a shame because Watch the Throne was a pretty good album that contained some of the best moments of each rapper’s respective career.

One of the more interesting tracks on the album is the hypnotic “Welcome to the Jungle” due to its personal nature. Kanye only appears for a brief moment during the bridge, leaving Jay Z alone to channel his inner pain. For a man who loves portray himself larger than life and seems to have it all, it’s a harrowing moment when he reveals that he sometimes wonders why he was even born.

The “jungle” here isn’t the means street of Los Angeles found in Guns N’ Roses song. Rather, its life itself all the heartbreak and depression that comes with it. The song’s namesake  isn’t lost on Jay-Z who opens the song, declaring, “Black Axl Rose, move halfs and wholes/Come down to the jungle, just ask for Hov.” The Rose reference aside, the song starts withJay Z in autopilot mode, rapping once again about his hustling days. A few moments later though, he digs deeper and mourns the deaths of his nephew, uncle and father, leaving his faith in God tested.

The second verse is even more disturbing: his mother can’t see his smile and he numbs the pain with champagne and weed to no avail. Looking into the mirror, he doesn’t seem himself, but rather an opponent keeping him down. The song ends with Jay Z admitting, “I’m already dying, so fuck it.”

Throughout the song in various moments, Swizz Beats (who produced the song) shouts out “Godammit!”. It’s one of the few instances in recent years that I can think of, where the phrase retains its original power as an angry cry to God.

If Watch the Throne II never happens, at least we still have the original to listen to.

 

Song of the Day: “Day of the Lords” – Joy Division

Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures is always a great album to break out in the fall. Even though much of the music is played with a with a sort of menace, Martin Hannet’s production creates an eerie atmosphere. The use of space and overall feeling of the performance is just as important as the songs. You put on Unknown Pleasures and you can feel the daylight fading early: the last rays of the sun closing down over the horizon.

I always think of Bernard Sumner’s guitar on Unknown Pleasures playing as a sort of slowed down version of James Williamson’s fiery slash, best evident on Raw Power. Raw Power is of course, the sound of the apocalypse reigning down all around with Iggy front and center, reveling in the destruction and hedonism. Unknown Pleasures is the album for the aftermath.

My favorite track on the album has always been “Day of the Lords”. It’s the song that made me fully appreciate the album and believe the hype and mythology surrounding Joy Division. There’s not much structure to the song other than dissonant noise courtesy of Sumner’s controlled feedback. The sludgy feeling of the song only heightens the tension of Ian Curtis’ bloodcurdling cries of “where will end?”

 

Song of the Day: “D’You Know What I Mean?” – Oasis

With the release of the documentary Supersonic and the release of Be Here Now, Oasis are once again having a bit of a moment. It’s easy to forget now how massive they were in the mid-90’s. Never ones to do things in small does, everything the band touched seemed to blow up to epic proportions. Being addicted to coke wasn’t enough for Noel Gallagher. He had to put that shit on his corn flakes in the morning like powdered sugar. Liam Gallagher hated his brother so much that he only stood the band up at Unplugged performance, but heckled them from the stands. Almost every single song Oasis recorded was a rip-off of a Beatles song, because of course they would steal from the world’s biggest band.

Following a hugely successful album can be difficult. The options are either to replicate what was done previously or dial it back and hope for the best. Oasis was having none of that for their follow-up to (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? “Champagne Supernova” stood out because it was an epic that closed an album full of classicist rock songs. Noel Gallagher decided in his drugged out state that he was going to release an entire album of “Champagne Supernova”s (without the majestic quality of the original), consequences be damned.

Enter “D’You Know What I Mean?” the first single from Be Here Now. It’s the kind of song that only an arrogant rock star, oblivious from everything else but the music inside his own head, could come up with.  In the first minute alone you have helicopter noises, multi-tracked feedback, backwards vocals, a noise that seems to be morse code, and a massive drum break.

By the time the actual song starts, it’s hard to truly care about the next minutes. To make matters worse, in another act of defiance, Noel Gallagher seems to have thrown his one true gift of melody out the window for this song. Save whatever you want about Oasis, but their most well-known songs were instantly memorable.

Still though, I have a soft spot for Be Here Now and “D’You Know What I Mean?”.  In a way, Be Here Now is the last of a kind: the big rock album that was an event. And somehow, it seems only appropriate that something this ridiculous would blow up in Oasis’ face with a massive thud. They wouldn’t have it any other way.

Song of the Day: “Jesus of Suburbia” – Green Day

 

Admit it: prior to the fall of 2004 the very thought of Green Day putting out a 9-minute song seemed quite ridiculous. After all, before American Idiot, these guys were mostly known for songs about smoking weed and masturbating. While “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” showed a hint of maturity, most people miss the scathing intent behind the sweet melody.  I read an article about Green Day’s new direction a weeks before American Idiot’s release and told a friend. His response? “Shut the fuck up, Matt. Never talk to me about this ever again.” Naturally, both of us ended up loving the song, though one of us warmed up to it quicker than the other.

Amazingly, American Idiot was not only a great rock and roll record, it summed up the turbulent mid-2000’s better than almost any record I can think of. “Jesus of Suburbia” is the album’s centerpiece: without the nine minute, 5 part suite, the rest of the record would come unhinged and fall under the weight of its own ambitions. But with the simple declaration of “I’m the son of rage and love,” at the beginning of the song, Green Day pulls you into a twisted, messed up world where everything seems to be falling apart. Heartbreak, debt, deception and a “hurricane of fucking lies” all feelings that were very in 2004 (and in 2016, horribly enough) are all contained here. If you don’t get through “Jesus of Suburbia”, there’s no point in listening to the rest of the record.

None of this would matter though, if the music wasn’t great. Each section of “Jesus of Suburbia” is a fantastic piece of music in its own right and they flow together seamlessly. The musical breakdown between the first two sections with a tour de force performance from Tre Cool still sends shivers down my spine. And the guitar solo near the end of the song? It’s a pretty much a note for note melodic rendition of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”.

“Jesus of Suburbia” and American Idiot is the type of rare rock and roll record that comes along every once in a while: the kind we didn’t know we needed at the time, but couldn’t live without.

Song of the Day: “Around the World” – Red Hot Chili Peppers

This song always reminds me of my senior year of high school. I had a radio clock that I used as my alarm. At 6:45 A.M. when the alarm went off, “Around the World” almost always seemed to be the song that came blasting out of the tiny speaker to wake me up. The loud, distorted bass from Flea that opens the song is quite unnerving when you’re half-asleep let me tell you.

Though quite popular upon its release, “Around the World” seems to be one of the forgotten singles from Californication. You mostly hear “Scar Tissue”, “Otherside” and the title track on ‘90s oriented stations. It’s a shame, because “Around the World” is probably one of their better singles from that period. It’s certainly better than “Otherside” and I get kind of tired of hearing “Scar Tissue”.

“Around the World” is also a perfect showcase for John Frusciante’s preference for restraint. He could have ended the song with a wild solo, but instead chose a repeated circular rhythm. Bonus points to Anthony Kiedis using non-sense lyrics as a melody line in the third chorus.

Song(s) of the Day: Desert Trip Edition

There have been plenty of jokes about Desert Trip being called “Oldchella”. And while all the acts are certainly older, let’s not forget that they are rock royalty and all of them in some way or another have contributed to some of the greatest albums and songs ever made. So, today’s Song of the Day is a six-pack of awesomeness in honor of Desert Trip.

“I’ve Just Seen a Face” – The Beatles 

I’m not particularly fond of McCartney’s solo works, so I’m cheating a bit here and going with The Beatles. “I’ve Just Seen a Face” is probably one of my favorite Beatles’ songs and in my opinion it’s severely under-rated. It’s got one of McCartney’s best melodies and chord progressions.

“One of These Days” – Pink Floyd

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll note I wrote about this song several months ago. “One of These Days” is Pink Floyd at their best: dark, mysterious and menacing all at once. As with most classic Floyd, David Gilmour conjures up some wild sounds with his guitar, but the real highlight is the double-tracked bass played both Gilmour and Roger Waters.

“Everybody Knows This is Nowhere” – Neil Young

For me, Neil Young is the weakest link in Desert Trip’s line up. He’s an old curmudgeon like Bob Dylan and Van Morrison but without the catalogue to really back it up. That said, he does have some great songs and the country-rock of  “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere” would have been the best song he ever wrote, if he hadn’t recorded “Rocking in the Free World”.

“Long Live Rock” – The Who

One of the things that a lot of people often forget about The Who’s music is that they actually have a lot of funny songs. That side of them went to the wayside, when Pete Townshend decided to write “important” musical pieces. “Long Live Rock” is one of the few examples where The Who marry the muscular rock they forged in the ’70s, with the witticism of their early days. Best line: “We were the first band to vomit in the bar.”

“19th Nervous Breakdown” – The Rolling Stones

One of Keith Richards’ classic riffs – and lord know he’s got a shitload of them. But there’s something about the intro that just pulls you in and pummels you over the head. And Jagger is at his frantic best, barely able to keep up with Richards and Charlie Watts’ steady drumming. “19th Nervous Breakdown” is also somewhat famous for inspiring Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore to pick up the guitar and for that we should all be thankful.

“It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” – Bob Dylan

I get chills every time I listen to this song. On this monumental track, Dylan takes on society as a whole and takes down everyone within earshot. The most disturbing part about it, is that it seems to grow more pertinent with each passing year. There are tons of memorable lines, but for me the best is, “it is not he or she or them or it that you belong to.”