Michael Nelson

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Julian Casablancas Explains Why Streaming Services Are A Total Ripoff

Three things about Julian Casablancas: The man never writes shitty songs, he never rocks bad fits, and he never gives bad interviews. These are incontrovertible…
Michael Nelson | April 10, 2019 - 12:51 pm

Vampire Weekend – “This Life” & “Unbearably White”

About a month before the May 2013 release of Vampire Weekend's last album, Modern Vampires Of The City, the NBC sitcom Parks And Recreation aired…
Michael Nelson | April 4, 2019 - 8:01 am

Holy Fawn – “Dark Stone” Video

Holy Fawn's Death Spells sorta arrived from out of nowhere last year, like a strong wind or sensation of deja vu, and once it appeared,…
Michael Nelson | March 28, 2019 - 12:35 pm

Album Of The Week

Album Of The Week: Brutus Nest

The "about" line you'll find on Brutus' social channels serves as an apt manifestation of the Belgian post-metal band's art: minimalist, mysterious, and menacing. It…
Michael Nelson | March 26, 2019 - 1:29 pm

Murg – “Renhet”

Black metal has been atomized beyond the point of recognition, perhaps even beyond the possibility of recognition. Perhaps it has always been this way. Perhaps,…
Michael Nelson | March 1, 2019 - 11:51 am

Brutus – “Cemetery” Video

Next month, the Belgian post-metal trio Brutus will release their sophomore LP, Nest. It is a masterpiece. It is obviously a masterpiece. Even if you've…
Michael Nelson | February 27, 2019 - 12:18 pm

Brutus – “War” Video

Drummers are often the most dynamic visual component of any given rock band, but they're almost never the focal point. This is the disappointing evolutionary…
Michael Nelson | January 23, 2019 - 12:28 pm


Respire – “Go Mad And Mark” (Envy Cover)

In early November, the Japanese post-hardcore band Envy released a two-song digital single titled Alnair In August. I wrote about the record when it came…
Michael Nelson | December 18, 2018 - 12:24 pm


Watch Rolo Tomassi Play A Towering “Contretemps” At Their Biggest-Ever Show

Rolo Tomassi closed out 2018 with a string of big moments. They did their second-ever US tour -- comprising 12 dates on the West Coast…
Michael Nelson | December 10, 2018 - 12:00 pm

The Armed – “Heavily Lined” Video

The Armed's most recent album, Only Love, came out almost seven months ago, at the end of April 2018. Six weeks later, we ranked it…
Michael Nelson | November 15, 2018 - 11:46 am

Envy – “Dawn And Gaze” & “Marginalized Thread”

If you listen to heavy music circa now, you know Envy. Even if you've never actually listened to Envy, you've heard them. The Japanese post-hardcore…
Michael Nelson | November 2, 2018 - 11:41 am

The Menzingers – “The Freaks” Video

I wrote about the Menzingers' last album, After The Party, for Stereogum's rundown of The 50 Best Albums Of 2017 So Far. Which was last…
Michael Nelson | October 23, 2018 - 12:38 pm


Drug Church – “Unlicensed Hall Monitor” Video

Every time I hear the name Drug Church, I can't help but associate it with J Church: an incredible Bay Area punk band that came…
Michael Nelson | October 17, 2018 - 11:19 am


Stream Slow Crush’s New Album Aurora

Over the last few years, I've written at length about heavy bands transitioning away, slightly, from what's typically defined as "heavy music" and toward something…
Michael Nelson | September 24, 2018 - 11:09 am

Sounding Board

The Crying Of Lot 55: The Unsolved Mysteries And Alternate Realities Of Andrew W.K.

Let's start now. Or as close to now as can be defined in this conversation, between the time and place I am in as I…
Michael Nelson | September 21, 2018 - 2:08 pm

Comments from Michael Nelson

I think it's a big part of why I fell for Slanted in '92: I had a copy of a copy on cassette without a legible tracklist (with Monster Magnet's Spine Of God on the flip), and I just listened to this hazy cloudy music and heard that melody embedded into "Trigger Cut" but I didn't consciously make the connection to "Operator" (which I heard A LOT growing up on my dad's car stereo, along with all of Croce's Greatest Hits), so immediately it hit me as something deeply intimate but intellectually alien, like dream-state deja-vu subconscious reflecting moments of quiet contentment through this harsh static haze. Super beautiful songs, both of 'em.
+3 |
April 11, 2019 on The Number Ones: Jim Croce’s “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”
UNOFFICIAL BOOTLEG BONUS BONUS BONUS BEATS: The California Gen-X “indie rock” band Pavement openly swiped the hook of their 1992 song “Trigger Cut” from that of Croce’s 1972 song “Operator.” FWIW probably my own single-favorite respective trax from both artists. 10! 10! TENS ACROSS THE BOARD! (Again, very unofficially, and totally unaffiliated with Tom’s metrics.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7Rl65sH8bA
I've got a heavy coat It's filled with rocks and sand And if I lose it I'll be coming back today
I only wish my words Could just convince myself That it just wasn't real But that's not the way it feels
+18 |
April 11, 2019 on The Number Ones: Jim Croce’s “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”
Comedown Machine is the one I reach for most frequently, by A LOT. "Slow Animals" is one of my favorite Strokes songs and MAYBE Jules' best vocal period. He's doing so much cool shit on every bar and it all just fucking melts me. I really, really love that record. https://youtu.be/V5FH3o6icWY
+7 |
April 10, 2019 on Julian Casablancas Explains Why Streaming Services Are A Total Ripoff
His PR pitched me an interview during the Virtue cycle, and my response was something like, "I wouldn't wanna do it if I couldn't do it right, and I couldn't do it right unless it was like a book project, tbh." They very sweetly and politely declined. But the offer stands!
+14 |
April 10, 2019 on Julian Casablancas Explains Why Streaming Services Are A Total Ripoff
There are some really good college stations in and around NYC. One of the schools in Jersey (Seton Hall maybe?) used to play tons of great like old-school hardcore and thrash and weird post-rock/art-noise if you could deal with the terrible signal and the fact that it would just drop out entirely on certain stretches of road.
+8 |
April 10, 2019 on Julian Casablancas Explains Why Streaming Services Are A Total Ripoff
Purple was also the last Baroness album ... period? Until the one coming out later this year, anyway. "C+W" might be the best song they ever did!
+10 |
April 10, 2019 on Baroness – “Seasons” Video
Oh no question. I could look at pix of his clothes all day and probably not pick out the provenance of a single piece. Although I think I bought his old Magna shirt from a secondhand shop in the East Village about a dozen years ago: https://66.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lwoiadhEFM1qaxvu0.jpg I almost wore it today actually! He probably traded it in with a pile of clothes for store credit in like 2002. It's not even his STUFF, though, but the way he puts it together. Truly peerless and fearless. Also, if you've ever seen him on the street or on the grounds at a festival or something, you know he's a LARGE DUDE, so you understand he's really 100% all-in when he leaves the house wearing this combo: http://www2.pictures.zimbio.com/bg/Nikolai+Fraiture+Strokes+Visit+Kimmel+A1fVLAPTwXxl.jpg
+6 |
April 10, 2019 on Julian Casablancas Explains Why Streaming Services Are A Total Ripoff
Oh no, not even close. Here are three looks I scrolled past in Getty before settling on the one I used above: http://www2.pictures.zimbio.com/bg/Nikolai+Fraiture+Strokes+Visit+Kimmel+A1fVLAPTwXxl.jpg http://www2.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Julian+Casablancas+Evolve+Media+Exclusive+IxDzdCR5rJml.jpg https://www.billboard.com/files/styles/article_main_image/public/media/_Julian-Casablancas-and-the-Voidz-paris-2015-billboard-1548.jpg
+11 |
April 10, 2019 on Julian Casablancas Explains Why Streaming Services Are A Total Ripoff
This isn't a "defense" of the chorus exactly (I love the song, but if it doesn't work for you, it doesn't matter WHY) but fwiw, he's quoting this song with that "cheating on, cheating on" stuff: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bP_40aphBn0 Again, I love the song, and I love the way he fits it all together and uses the same phrasing to convey a different feeling, but I'd love it either way.
+8 |
April 5, 2019 on The 5 Best Songs Of The Week
Pretty sure you could replace Ezra's vocal line with the melody from "Uncle John's Band" (or vice-versa) and it would sound perfect whatever the permutation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSIajKGHZRk
+2 |
April 4, 2019 on Vampire Weekend – “This Life” & “Unbearably White”
and yet... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72OLupNWNho
+7 |
April 4, 2019 on Vampire Weekend – “This Life” & “Unbearably White”
EXACTLY. On that note, I loved this little bit of lite-exegesis from the FLOOD story linked in the text above:
The chorus goes, “And the stone walls of Harmony Hall bear witness / Anybody with a holy mind can never forgive the sight / Of wicked snakes inside a place you thought was dignified,” a pretty accurate summary of Columbia, in my humble opinion. And yes, OK, Ezra Koenig said on Twitter that he wasn’t aware of the campus connection, but then how do you explain the pre-chorus? "Anger wants a voice / Voices wanna sing" sounds a lot like the famous opening lines of The Iliad, required reading for all Columbia first-years. Maybe not all of these references are direct or intended, but forcing a text to support your thesis is a time-honored college tradition.
Right? I mean, really, we could do this all day!
+8 |
April 4, 2019 on Vampire Weekend – “This Life” & “Unbearably White”
Also, wasn't Pynchon, like, DFW's favorite writer/biggest influence? Certainly his most obvious forebear. Anywho, consider this thing a footnote to/from that other thing! https://twitter.com/matthewjsimmons/status/405770429337333760
+8 |
April 4, 2019 on Vampire Weekend – “This Life” & “Unbearably White”
Well yeah, that goes without saying. Incidentally, I got this amazing AWK shirt that captures his whole nonexistence steez in one simple graphic: https://www.rockabilia.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/300x/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/TSHIRT/ANDREW-W-K--T-SHIRT-123588F.JPG He's just the best.
+10 |
April 4, 2019 on Vampire Weekend – “This Life” & “Unbearably White”
You are one tough customer, Curtin. What are you waiting for?
+20 |
April 4, 2019 on Vampire Weekend – “This Life” & “Unbearably White”
I mean, in defense of my prog sensibilities, I wrote as much about "Sunflower" a few weeks ago:
...I’m sure I’m similarly sleeping on several million influences and references rooted in the soil of “Sunflower,” but my naked ear hears hints of heads like Herbie Hancock, Mahavishnu, and — obviously, admittedly, accept it — Phish. Key diff: All those dudes would noodle for 20 minutes to get two, total, of ecstatic resplendence. Vampy Weeks, OTOH, spent six years editing to give you only those two minutes.
+9 |
April 4, 2019 on Vampire Weekend – “This Life” & “Unbearably White”
Re: the cover image: I think it's just a shame that they're taking SO MUCH from the Dead ... but NOT the cover-art aesthetic, which is possibly the very best of all time. https://jerrygarcia.com/wp-content/uploads/albums/Aoxomoxoa_Cover.jpg https://images.genius.com/97039ff0fc1fd85580fa2d1e4888bcc6.1000x1000x1.jpg https://jerrygarcia.com/wp-content/uploads/albums/AmericanBeauty_Cover.jpg
+7 |
April 4, 2019 on Vampire Weekend – “This Life” & “Unbearably White”
Yeah normally that would make me sick, but the song itself is just devastatingly beautiful and unironic, and maybe even reaches back to the ORIGINAL reference, Kundera's Unbearable Lightness Of Being.
+11 |
April 4, 2019 on Vampire Weekend – “This Life” & “Unbearably White”