Michael Nelson

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Alice Glass Responds To Ethan Kath’s “Manipulative” Statements About Crystal Castles

Looks like the Crystal Castles beef is officially ON. Yesterday, the band's producer/instrumentalist Ethan Kath released a new song called "Frail" under the Crystal Castles moniker, and in the process, slagged off former bandmate/singer Alice Glass, saying, "she didn't appear on Crystal Castles' best known songs," and, "people often gave her credit for my lyric… More »

By: Michael Nelson / April 17, 2015 - 4:59 pm

Is This Crystal Castles’ New Singer?

Yesterday, Crystal Castles released a new song, "Frail" -- which came as something of a shock, as the band's vocalist, Alice Glass, announced her departure from the group last year, causing many people to believe Crystal Castles were done for good. That would have made sense: Crystal Castles were a duo made up of Gla… More »

By: Michael Nelson / April 17, 2015 - 11:13 am

Slayer – “When The Stillness Comes”

The last album from thrash-metal titans Slayer was 2009's World Painted Blood, the majority of which was written by guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who passed away in 2013. Hanneman was responsible for most of Slayer's best songs -- including "Angel Of Death," "Raining Blood," "Die By The Sword," "South Of Heaven," and "War Ensemble." But he'd… More »

By: Michael Nelson / April 16, 2015 - 2:18 pm

Bill Ward Will Not Play With Black Sabbath Until Ozzy Apologizes

What the hell is going on with Black Sabbath? First, the band announced they would do one last album and one last tour before calling it quits. Then, they announced the date and location of what was to be their last-ever show, although they didn't mention the once-alleged new album/tour. Then, they announced that the… More »

By: Michael Nelson / April 15, 2015 - 5:58 pm

Album Of The Week: Tribulation The Children Of The Night

Tom's off AOTW duties this week, so I'm here in his stead... There's a pretty fascinating debate going on right now about the classification "indie": what it is or what it isn't, whether its definition should be expanded or whether the term should be abandoned altogether. And those arguments are relevant at Stereogum because indie… More »

By: Michael Nelson / April 14, 2015 - 5:23 pm

Comments from michael

It's actually the outline for my novel-in-progress, The Crying Of Lot 50.
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April 17, 2015 on Is This Crystal Castles’ New Singer?
I want to learn more about this, so I'm hoping you'll elaborate, but my immediate reaction is: Wouldn't any such model rely on a radical restructuring of the entire internet? Of the initiatives you mentioned, only Bitcoin is in semi-wide use, and it's still fairly obscure not to mention pretty complicated and inherently unstable. I'm not saying you're wrong, I just feel like we won't see anything like what you're suggesting for another decade at least, and I can't imagine it becoming the standard for much longer than that (think about how many people still don't understand how to operate the apps they have now). I'm also not sure how it would work in practical terms on a global scale. A service like what.cd can exist because it operates on the margins. Oink got shut down, and Pirate Bay is always being shut down. But if the entire internet became a single mesh network (or a handful of highly populated mesh networks), you'd run into the same issues of copyright we see now, no? If you can assign an identity to a waveform, you can also watermark that waveform so it can only be sourced back to the copyright holder (with identical non-watermarked waveforms being rejected by the network). It's not so much a question of where the data is hosted as it is how the data is controlled by the copyright holder. In order to monetize it, you'd still need for users to pay someone, and that someone would have to distribute royalties. You'd need some sort of consolidation or centralization, no? I'm sincerely curious, because I don't understand how this could or would work (but I think you're also probably right to some degree).
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April 16, 2015 on Steve Albini Weighs In On Tidal Debate
I actually haven't heard it -- I've never been a fan of Porcupine Tree, but I can't say I've kept up with their work (or their affiliated projects). That said, I'm not claiming Tribulation are the most innovative guitarists; they're just employing the instrument in a style that I really respond to: It's a really rich, melodic, expressive, even flamboyant approach that reaches back to stuff like Led Zeppelin, Rush, Metallica, Smashing Pumpkins, At The Gates, and Agalloch (among many others). If you like prog (and I'm assuming you do, considering your fondness for Opeth and Steven Wilson), you might like this, too. But if you can't get past the vocals, I can't say you're wrong. I think that's totally understandable, actually.
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April 16, 2015 on Album Of The Week: Tribulation The Children Of The Night
I wasn't dissing Opeth! And I wasn't talking about Blackwater Park. I was just saying that the last two Opeth albums don't really rip. They're pretty mellow and meandering. (That said I totally disagree with the rest of your statement.)
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April 15, 2015 on Album Of The Week: Tribulation The Children Of The Night
As someone who thinks a lot about Max Martin (who is totally unaffiliated with "Fireproof"), I'd like to contribute this anecdote here: I was listening to an old episode of the podcast "Who Charted" on which the two hosts and sometimes a guest (in this case the guest was comedian Nick Kroll) listen to songs off a particular chart and talk about them. One of the songs on the chart in question was J-Lo and Flo Rida's "Goin' In," and Kroll responded with, "Did this song take like 10 minutes to make? ... There's nothing at all difficult about making this." A couple spots higher was Katy Perry's "Wide Awake" (co-written by Max Martin, which is why I cared enough to notice). And hearing that one, Kroll said: "THIS song sounds like it actually took some time to make." Which, of course, it did; I can say this confidently knowing Martin's process. This is what 1D writer Savan Kotecha (and Martin disciple) said about writing 1D's second record, Take Me Home. "We work melody first. That’s Max Martin’s school. We’ll spend days, sometimes weeks, challenging the melody. The goal is to make it sound like anyone can do this, but it’s actually very difficult." It's craft, man. One Direction work with really good songwriters and that results in really good songs. ("Fireproof" was co-written not by Kotecha, FYI, but Julian Bunetta.) And you can hear that just by listening to them, I think; it's obvious on its surface. That's what Kroll was reacting to, and pretty frequently, that's what makes a pop song transcendent.
+6 |
April 15, 2015 on Mitski – “Fireproof” (One Direction Cover)
"I’d also like to point out that streaming music at +320kb/s has got to be recipe for maxing out data plans." This is such a great point, especially considering telecommunications companies are phasing out unlimited data plans: http://www.verizonwireless.com/news/article/2015/04/the-lure-of-unlimited-wireless-data-is-it-necessary.html (Worth noting: Tidal is backed by telecom giant Sprint/Softbank.)
+12 |
April 15, 2015 on Steve Albini Weighs In On Tidal Debate
Can you give an example of this: "The internet is already starting to move away from the philosophy of discrete files hosted in specific locations, and more towards a completely distributed, torrentesque swarm of content"? I feel like the opposite is true. My guess, actually, is that torrent trackers have seen a decline in usage since the rise of things like Netflix and Spotify. Also, what happens when you want to stream something that's not being seeded at a high rate (or at all)? Also how do copyrights holders collect royalties? Etc.
+3 |
April 15, 2015 on Steve Albini Weighs In On Tidal Debate
(Also AFAIK 1989 is not available on Tidal or anywhere else -- you still have to buy that one, because Taylor Swift still sells records.)
+2 |
April 15, 2015 on Steve Albini Weighs In On Tidal Debate
The only way this works is if the individual services divide exclusive content so that each one is uniquely essential. Otherwise why not just get a Spotify subscription and be done with it? But that sort of division is not in the best interests of the copyrights holders, and it's definitely not the model envisioned by any of the streaming services, all of whom want the whole pie, not a slice. I do agree with Albini that streaming services are just another advancement that will one day be obsolete but I cannot see this as a viable alternative.
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April 15, 2015 on Steve Albini Weighs In On Tidal Debate
Right but how does the app choose which service to pull data from? If Taylor Swift's records are available on Rdio, Beats, and Tidal, what algorithm does it use to assign priority? And wouldn't I still have to be a subscriber to one of those services in order to hear music behind a paywall? At best it seems like a slightly more convenient interface than Google. But if I have Rdio, Beats, or Tidal anyway, why am I using (and paying for) a secondary aggregator? For this to work, the streaming services would have to be eliminated altogether, I think (and I think that's what he's suggesting, too).
+4 |
April 15, 2015 on Steve Albini Weighs In On Tidal Debate