David Bjelland

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My rule for reading metal lists this year:
1) Bump off the album in last place
2) Pick a spot between #1 and #10 – insert Pyrrhon’s The Mother of Virtues in its rightful place, assuming that a bunch of staff writers are good enough friends with Doug that they deliberately ignored this unholy monolith of an album out of “journalistic integrity”

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November 26, 2014 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – November 2014

Load page -> ctrl+f -> “Radiohead”: “1 of 1″
Well, I guess I’ll be taking my leave then.

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February 7, 2014 on NME’s 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time

Not that I was any kind of discerning emo listener at the start of the 2000s, but as for the rest of it I’ll still go ahead and call what I’m feeling about this “empathy”

And maybe I’m just seeing things, but I can’t help but feel like the You Blew It! review marked a bit of a turning point in P4K’s relationship to the whole emo revival / Topshelf thing. Looking back, it seemed like the two enthusiastic reviews that really got the ball rolling were for “Whenever, If Ever” and “Knots”, which was exciting because those WERE actually two of the greatest emo albums released this year, by my estimation. Both of them were sprawling, ambitious albums with something new to offer – but now YBI! gets a 7.6 for perpetuating all of emo’s laziest aspects? (not that there isn’t a place for that in my listening, but you praise one revivalist and you praise ’em all)

I know that the “Emo Revival Backlash” existed as soon as the “Emo Revival” itself, but I can’t help but wonder when it’ll leave the ranks of salty emo listeners and becomes Blog-Official.

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January 18, 2014 on Album Of The Week: Big Ups Eighteen Hours Of Static

Ok, not going to say you’re wrong – they really wouldn’t be on this site if they hadn’t signed with Topshelf (and, in turn, if the “Emo Revival” hadn’t become a meme) – but Ouch, dude =| I mean, I’m biased, since a) I like Built to Spill a great deal and b) they’re local for me and I’ve been following them since their still-in-high-school, Sound Off! days, so I can’t help but root for them.

Seems a bit early in their career to be on Stereogum (poor kids don’t even have a full length!), but give ’em a break – Topshelf has always had a fairly diverse roster beyond the trad-emo stronghold, and they obviously saw something in them (Special Explosion has toured with a couple different Topshelf bands before). They’re revivalists, but they’ve way more going on than just pure BtS worship, and they’ve grown a ton in a few short years.


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January 16, 2014 on Special Explosion – “Clotheslined” (Stereogum Premiere)

Only if “a while” is shorter than the time that has elapsed since the launch of “Dogecoin”.

I mean, come on – at least “Coinye” is an ok pun.

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January 15, 2014 on R.I.P. Coinye

A minor point –

While Arcade Fire gets a measly vocal snippet buried in the mix, Placebo got a full on DUET with David Bowie for “Without You I’m Nothing” (by Bowie’s request, that is)

This does not make Brian Molko any less of a dork.

(Sorry, Win-nie Pooh… your argument is invalid)

-1 |
January 15, 2014 on Arcade Fire’s Win Butler Has Hilarious Response To Mean Review: “Yeah, I’m A Super-Dork Because I Play With David Bowie”

I guess maybe the thing that’s weirding me out is that, instead of sex being woven in and illuminating, in some obtuse way, all the other obtuse stuff he’s talking about, this time he’s just straight up talking about … “good sex”. When it’s good, why it’s good.

Am I complaining that Kevin Drew lyrics make TOO MUCH SENSE?

Maybe it’s time for a good long look in the mirror.

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January 14, 2014 on Kevin Drew – “Good Sex”

I’m definitely looking forward to this, but does anyone else feel like the lyrics are a little bit “Kevin Drew-ian Sexuality 101″-ish? That’s always been a theme, but this is the first set that hasn’t really surprised me with some crazy, subtle turn of phrase.

“Good sex it never makes you feel hollow
Good sex it never makes you feel clean”
… I mean, kinda seems like a simple laundry-list of things people agree good sex is like, right?

+1 |
January 14, 2014 on Kevin Drew – “Good Sex”

For what it’s worth, this is how I’d stack them up, having been an (almost) totally shameless Killers fan since middle school:

10. Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
9. Sam’s Town
8. Somebody Told Me
7. Under the Gun
6. This River is Wild
5. Smile Like You Mean It
4. All These Things That I’ve Done
3. Spaceman
2. Tranquilize
1. Mr. Brightside

Some notes:
– “Read My Mind” is exactly the kind of boring, day-glo ballad that made “Human” specifically and Day and Age in general a total drag
– “Andy You’re a Star”? For reals?
– Shout out to “When You Were Young” (obviously) and “Move Away” (less obviously) – a top 10 is exactly two sizes too small
– Everyone knows “Somebody Told Me” was just to prepare us all for the coming “Mr. Brightside”-topia

+2 |
January 14, 2014 on The 10 Best Killers Songs

I know, right? But alas, like chillwave before it, it starts as a joke but catches on because it’s way more descriptive of the sound and feel than anything else we’ve got.

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January 10, 2014 on The Coachella 2014 Poster Font Size Hunger Games

…Wait, I’m sorry, did you ACTUALLY think that underground metal and twinklecore bands are relevant enough to the average Coachella attendee that omitting them is an oversight, or did you just need an excuse to remind readers that you are still invested in those genres?

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January 10, 2014 on The Coachella 2014 Poster Font Size Hunger Games

Favorite pairing of “How the #&*$ is this artist’s font bigger than this other one’s?” from the same day: Duck Sauce (whose only notoriety is making 2010’s version of “What Does The Fox Say”) and Superchunk (who is one of only 5 or so essential bands you would need to put on a mix for someone who had never heard the words “90s indie rock”)

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January 9, 2014 on Coachella 2014 Lineup

(Ok, obviously an old article, but since a bunch of people, like me, are going to be looking at this again from the link on the Carrie Brownstein update…)

What on earth is “How I Met Your Mother” and “Good Wife”, and who are these people who associate Kyle McLachlan with anything BUT Twin Peaks?

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January 8, 2014 on Jeff Tweedy, Josh Homme, Tunde Adebimpe To Appear In Portlandia Season 4

Even if it doesn’t make the use of “shoegaze” and less misleading, it’s a fair point – seems like the real root of the problem is that post-rock got stuck with a ridiculous and completely non-descriptive name (at least “heavy metal” SOUNDS like heavy metal)

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January 4, 2014 on Deconstructing: Alcest’s Shelter And Metal In A Post-Deafheaven World

I promise this is going somewhere, but can we talk about “shoegaze” (which appears in this article 10 times) and “post-rock” (which appears once, in passing) for a sec?

I understand that Neige is influenced by Slowdive and other (ACTUAL) shoegaze bands, but listen to those damn guitar tones – it’s post-rock, NOT shoegaze! Instead of a churning swamp of swoony, woozy sound, it’s a simple, clean, delayed lead, playing some triumphant, #emotional pattern. I promise I don’t mean this as an insult, but it’s basically like an El Ten Eleven song but with vocals. Is it really productive to spill so much digital ink on shoegaze when post-rock (maybe bent a little towards “dream pop” song structures) is clearly the tradition Alcest is operating within?

The same blind spot bothered me too in all the press for Sunbather, which owed, like Roads to Judah before it, ten times more to Explosions in the Sky than it did to the whole GENRE of shoegaze. Really; put one of EitS’ tremoloed crescendos in front of some blast beats and you’re already halfway to Sunbather.

I think, in it’s own weird way, the entire internet agrees on this point – searches for “deafheaven shoegaze” or “deafheaven my bloody valentine” return about 40,000 results each, while “deafheaven explosions in the sky” returns 200,000.

Listen to the math, folks. It’s like we’re treating shoegaze as a more culturally RLVNT synonym for the more stigmatized post-rock, which is just laughably off base – the two genres have only superficial similarities.

I bring this up because, while Shoegaze is a genre that can only serve up so much influence within its limited alt/pop-rock structure, Post-Rock is a huge entity more comparable to metal; it might seem homogenous at first (especially all the faceless bands aping the popular stuff), but it’s a massive, diverse, and often experimental genre. Like metal, it can kind of be recognized by a sound or tone, but at heart it’s defined by a feeling. (of course, unlike metal, it has no mythology or “self-reflectiveness” – hence its invisibility?)

I feel like there’s a lot of productive discussion to be had about the relatively new boundary between these two genres, but even one mega-breakout album later, we’re still acting like post-rock is this dead-and-buried (and unequivocally embarrassing) thing.

Sigh. =|

(PS: RIP Silent Ballet)

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January 4, 2014 on Deconstructing: Alcest’s Shelter And Metal In A Post-Deafheaven World

I don’t know about anyone else, but I can’t say I’m exactly eagerly awaiting a new Death Cab… Codes and Keys was just such awful dreck, it basically sealed the time capsule they were already finding themselves in.

Fortunately for my high school self though, Mogwai, Modest Mouse, and the New Pornographers have yet to make an album that wasn’t at least pretty damn satisfying.

PS: Godspeed You! has been playing new stuff live, but who knows when that’ll get recorded…

+6 |
December 23, 2013 on The 100 Most Anticipated Albums Of 2014

Prepared myself to feel somber and nostalgic; heard the outrageously overused Prelude to the Bach Cello Suite 1 in G; felt disappointed and kind of annoyed.

This is perhaps the correct emotion to think about band breakups?

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December 18, 2013 on In Memoriam: Bands We Lost In 2013

Speaking of things that are not punk rock – is it just me, or does it seems like all of a sudden, bashing on Spotify is the least controversial stance a band can take?

Maybe it just took a bunch of geezers who “got theirs” (I consider even Foals “geezers who got theirs” at this point) complaining about the culture of Spotify listening to highlight all the wonderful, populist sides to the thing for me.

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December 18, 2013 on Johnny Marr Disses HAIM, Spotify

Is it just me, or does it seem kind of unfair/ironic that the #2 spot goes to Gorguts (totally deserved), Svart Crown slips in the 40 range (also great), yet Ulcerate get excluded altogether? The consensus seems to be that Vermis doesn’t quite top Destroyers of All, but come on, they’re the most obvious influence on the new Gorguts sound! Don’t they get a nod just for that!? Sigh.

The top 2 choices are unimpeachable though – you’re doing God’s work, guys. Thanks for the year of thoughtful metal writing.

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December 10, 2013 on The 50 Best Metal Albums Of 2013