Steve Marth

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I'm as big of a Metallica apologist as you'll find (which might not sit too well around these parts?), as I feel like they've taken an undue amount of shit over the last, oh, 20 years (yikes!). But this reminds me of something I've noticed with these guys that speaks to their odd and suffocating group dynamic: None of them have ever released solo or side-project albums over the years! It's seemed like latter-day Hetfield has this sort of acoustic country-ish singer-songwriter waiting to get out of him. Some sort of Rick Rubin-y stripped down record of a crooning James Hetfield might (MIGHT) actually be worth hearing. At the same time, I can imagine Kirk Hammett must be dying to put out some kind of collection of instrumental bluesy/hard-rocky/experimental(?) guitar nonsense, especially since he's been so famously the #3 guy in Metallica over the years. It seems crazy to think he's actually creatively satisfied at the rate that they write and record. Lars, who even knows what he'd attempt. Bass guy, who cares. I'm not saying any such records would be great or anything... just that they'd be interesting to hear. And given all the bizarro creative tension you always hear about with these guys, it seems like something they should've tried a long, long time ago.
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May 17, 2015 on Watch Metallica’s James Hetfield Cover Adele’s “Crazy For You” With His Daughter
This is a somewhat embarrassing 'shame on me' type situation, but having been a fan of Insignificance and Eureka since 2000–2001ish, I just VERY recently (two weeks ago!) discovered that Halfway to a Threeway, Bad Timing, and The Visitor were in that same general 'pop' vein, rather than his more experimental, improvisational avant garde stuff. I assumed Eureka and Insignificance were just two cheeky little outliers in his catalogue, and now I feel like a big dope having ignored those other records all these years!
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May 6, 2015 on Jim O’Rourke’s Catalog Available Digitally For The First Time
As a non-New Yorker, can somebody give me a quick explainer on what's so awful about Terminal 5? This is the third time I've heard somebody bash it in the last couple weeks, and I'm just curious about the subject.
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March 25, 2015 on Watch Action Bronson Throw A Fan Offstage In NYC
Hey, that was good! Lovely even. Actually, I wouldn't mind a whole album of John Legend and John Mayer doing Nina Simone covers. You could do worse. You know, like that Xiu Xiu album of Nina Simone covers.
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February 5, 2015 on Watch Substitute Talk Show Host John Mayer Interview Katy Perry’s Super Bowl Sharks And Cover “Lilac Wine” With John Legend
Considering it's a color print job, that check was probably at least $100 to produce and mount. Totally tax deductible though.
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January 28, 2015 on Migos Ridiculed For $1K High School Donation
I want to add a quick addendum to this overlong rant: I get really excited when I hear about artists like this. I'm a big fan of Nilsson and his ilk, and the idea of a true songwriter is rare enough these days that I love getting my hopes up. But I just haven't been impressed by anything I've heard by Tobias Jesso or Natalie Prass. And for whatever reason, Father John Misty has just never floated my boat. But recently I love what I've heard from Courtney Barnett, she seems like the real deal... and while her sound is a bit 'garage,' her spirit is purely a songwriter. Jens Lekman is sort of a veteran at this point, but he's one of the best we've got. Blake Mills put out a great record last year that seems to have been overlooked. And one of my favorites who has never received nearly enough attention, Benji Hughes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f610EsNGFPY https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MWmFpLoLlE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKePX9RsdpU He's a bit of a tough egg to crack, has hardly any online presence, and some of his music is all over the map, but when he sits down and does his Laurel Canyon thing, I think he's f-ing amazing. He should be huge (cult-huge, at least...), but sometimes I worry I'm the only person who has any idea who he is. That's all!
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January 23, 2015 on Will 2015 Be The Year Of The ’70s Singer-Songwriter?
Totally. Hour of the Bewilderbeast was-and-is-the real deal! And the About a Boy sdtk is very nice. But after that he just sort of lost his grip on what he was doing.
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January 23, 2015 on Will 2015 Be The Year Of The ’70s Singer-Songwriter?
To be a grouchypants about this, it needs to be noted that Harry Nilsson was great because he was a genius interpreter and arranger and great writer with a voice as powerful as anyone had ever heard. Not because he had strings and a horn section. Randy Newman was great because he wrote lyrics that cut to the bone with melodies and arrangements that felt both spookily timeless and utterly original. Not because he played a piano and sang funny. Nick Drake performed his music with absolute honest integrity, and played his guitar in a method completely unique to him, that people are still trying to figure out today. He wasn't just a sad guy who sang quietly. All these Tobias Jessos and Natalie Prasses might be picking and choosing some aesthetic or another, and it might be pleasant, maybe a breath of fresh air after a few years of endless synth washes and drum machines, but that doesn’t make them great artists. But it's possible! I think Joanna Newsom is one of the best songwriters and composers of this generation. Her work (especially newer) has Joni Mitchell and Randy Newman all over it, but she has a point of view and a voice that is so powerful, it cuts through the comparisons. Belle and Sebastian was doing Nick Drake and Nico from the start, but they have a point of view and a voice that is 100% without equal. I don’t want the next guy who plays music like Harry Nilsson or Nick Drake… I want the next guy who approaches his music with the genius and care and talent of Harry Nilsson or Nick Drake, whatever kind of music that is.
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January 23, 2015 on Will 2015 Be The Year Of The ’70s Singer-Songwriter?
Beautiful. I could stand for an entire Mount Eerie album to be given this kind of treatment.
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January 12, 2015 on Mount Eerie – “This” Video
Good!
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January 6, 2015 on The Go! Team – “The Scene Between”
Every time I listen to War on Drugs' "An Ocean Between the Waves," I can't help but imagine the band up on stage performing as skeletons. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCYbRmSlW-M
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December 11, 2014 on The 5 Best Tom Petty Albums Of 2014
So ready the 80s synth pop thing to die already. Wet drums. Synth washes. 808 handclaps. Breathy, reverbed, nondescript female vocals singing Janet Jackson melodies with Cocteau Twins detachment. Slap a cyan-magenta gradient somewhere on the cover, call it "Look At Me Too!" and become SoundCloud's most popular artist for an hour or two, sell a couple downloads on Bandcamp, get the rest of it illegally torrented, and sell a song to Forever 21 to pay for your textbooks for a semester. Music is easy!
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November 28, 2014 on Artist To Watch: Shura
Not to mention Mechanical Forces of Love in 2003. Even if that was sort of an oddball Medicine album.
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November 12, 2014 on Medicine – “Move Along – Down The Road” Video
I hope the FCC destroys net neutrality, simply so ISPs around the world can blacklist any Miles Davis album ranking blog posts that attempt to place anything above Kind of Blue.
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November 7, 2014 on Miles Davis Albums From Worst To Best
Let's all settle down everyone. This is just B&S getting back to their roots. Don't you remember "Electric Renaissance?" Oh, you've been trying to forget it? Oops.
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October 28, 2014 on Belle & Sebastian – “The Party Line”
For the sake of discussion, CDs GUARANTEED TO BE AT A THRIFT STORE NEAR YOU: R.E.M. — Monster Natalie Merchant — Tigerlily Matchbox 20 — Yourself or Someone Like You Macy Gray — On How Life Is Norah Jones — Come Away With Me Bush — Sixteen Stone Paula Cole — This Fire Fiona Apple — Tidal The Forrest Gump Soundtrack
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September 27, 2014 on Monster Turns 20
Wow, I didn't read to the end of the article, and see that this very fact was mentioned! And that there was an entire Popmatters article about it. It's so true though!
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September 27, 2014 on Monster Turns 20
Along with Matchbox 20's "Yourself or Someone Like You" and Natalie Merchant's "Tigerlily", I believe that if you are to visit any used CD store or thrift store or garage sale in America, you will find at least two copies of Monster.
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September 27, 2014 on Monster Turns 20
Any internet music listicle that reps "Grace Kelly With Wings" is okay by me.
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July 26, 2014 on 30 Essential Songs From The Golden Era Of Emo