Phil Freeman

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Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – March 2019

Shabaka Hutchings is very tall. I'm gonna guess at least 6'5" and maybe 6'6". I'm 6'2", and he loomed over me when we met last…
Phil Freeman | March 22, 2019 - 11:03 am

Sounding Board

The Dirt Is A Terrible Movie About Terrible People

It's hard to imagine a less of-the-cultural-moment movie than The Dirt, the story of Mötley Crüe's rise to fame and fortune. The 2001 book on…
Phil Freeman | March 22, 2019 - 10:16 am

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – February 2019

Hey, remember the Grammy Awards? Lady Gaga, Cardi B, Kacey Musgraves, all that stuff? I didn't watch -- hell, I haven't even heard any of…
Phil Freeman | February 22, 2019 - 12:33 pm

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – January 2019

It's goddamn January and jazz artists are trying to smother me already. I got sent two 12-CD sets this month.
Phil Freeman | January 28, 2019 - 11:19 am

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – December 2018

This month's column is a little different than the ones before it. Since December is a pretty thin time for new releases, I've decided to…
Phil Freeman | December 21, 2018 - 12:18 pm

2018 In Review

The 10 Best Jazz Albums Of 2018

The last few years have been a wild time to be a jazz fan. On the one hand, legendary players and crucial figures in the…
Phil Freeman | December 11, 2018 - 1:00 pm

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – November 2018

Trumpeter Roy Hargrove died early this month of cardiac arrest at 49. He had been admitted to the hospital for a longstanding kidney problem.
Phil Freeman | November 23, 2018 - 10:44 am

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – October 2018

On September 14, pianist Matt Mitchell (whose name has popped up in this column several times, including below -- he's on Jonathan Finlayson's new album)…
Phil Freeman | October 26, 2018 - 11:39 am

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – September 2018

Pianist and composer Randy Weston died on September 1, at 92. His playing style was strongly influenced by folks like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Earl…
Phil Freeman | September 21, 2018 - 2:01 pm

The Anniversary

Death Magnetic Turns 10

It's difficult to talk about Death Magnetic, which turns 10 today, without talking about St. Anger. So let's start there.
Phil Freeman | September 12, 2018 - 11:51 am

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – August 2018

I saw Fela Kuti live. It was late in his career, in the summer of 1990 (he died in 1997), and he had long since…
Phil Freeman | August 24, 2018 - 2:18 pm

List

10 Great Aretha Franklin Deep Cuts

I had tickets to see Aretha Franklin at Radio City Music Hall once, a few years ago. The show was cancelled, and the make-up date…
Phil Freeman | August 16, 2018 - 2:10 pm

Sounding Board

Still Sick After All These Years: The Grunge Era Kicked Off In Earnest 30 Years Ago Today

On August 1, 1988, the grunge takeover of the world began. That was the day that Sub Pop Records released Mudhoney's debut single, "Touch Me…
Phil Freeman | August 1, 2018 - 10:55 am

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – July 2018

Earlier this month, I went to Newark to meet violinist Regina Carter. She was in town to serve as artistic director of an all-female jazz…
Phil Freeman | July 27, 2018 - 2:09 pm

The Anniversary

Autechre LP5 Turns 20

I came to Autechre through Nine Inch Nails. In 1992, Trent Reznor and his manager John Malm formed Nothing Records to release the Broken EP…
Phil Freeman | July 16, 2018 - 12:05 pm

Comments from Phil Freeman

When I studied audio engineering about 15 years ago, the professor asked each of us in class what we thought was a really well engineered album that we'd like to emulate, and my choice was Grand Funk's self-titled "red album." Listen to it - it's just three guys in a room, but every instrument is perfectly balanced with its own space in the mix, and it all comes together and sounds fantastic. Grand Funk were dumb as shit ("People, Let's Stop The War" is one of the dumbest songs EVER), but they were also glorious.
+9 |
April 19, 2019 on The Number Ones: Grand Funk’s “We’re An American Band”
The first and last tracks are some of the most beautiful music they've ever made.
+6 |
April 18, 2019 on Stream Sunn O)))’s New Album Life Metal
I'm reading Bunk right now. It's a fantastic book. (I've never read anything by Albert/LeRoy.)
+2 |
April 7, 2019 on Watch Courtney Love In The First Trailer For JT LeRoy
I wanted to like Shellac. I really did. I *LOVED* Big Black in high school (when they were more or less new). I liked Rapeman, too. But Shellac, from their first singles on, have just done nothing for me.
0 |
March 26, 2019 on Album Of The Week: Brutus Nest
Brutus is so much better than Shellac it's not even funny. Shellac is the musical equivalent of a surly shrug; Brutus is fists gripping your lapels and screaming hot breath in your face. This album is amazing.
+15 |
March 26, 2019 on Album Of The Week: Brutus Nest
I'm old. I first heard Mötley Crüe in 1983. Every album has two or three good songs. But this is an ugly, stupid story that didn't need to be told - and certainly didn't need to be told this ineptly. It took them over a decade to get this thing made, and it looks like they shot it in two weeks on a budget of $5000 max.
+14 |
March 22, 2019 on The Dirt Is A Terrible Movie About Terrible People
My shoulda-been-bigger hair metal nominee is Junkyard, a band that featured Brian Baker (Minor Threat, Bad Religion) on guitar. Their first two albums are actually decent blues-rock with extra hairspray.
+4 |
March 22, 2019 on The Dirt Is A Terrible Movie About Terrible People
I saw GB with Sick Of It All and Judge at City Gardens in Trenton, NJ the week I graduated high school, in June of 1990. It was one of the best shows I've ever been to.
+4 |
February 2, 2019 on Gorilla Biscuits Guitarist Alex Brown Dies At 52
Diamond hired Ronnie Tutt, the drummer from Elvis's TCB band (who were amazing), a couple of years after Elvis's death and used him live all the way through 2018.
+4 |
January 14, 2019 on The Number Ones: Neil Diamond’s “Cracklin’ Rosie”
Thanks for the slamz list. I just bought that Posthuman Abomination record.
+3 |
December 28, 2018 on The Black Market: The Year In Metal 2018
Aerosmith were seriously great ...until they got clean. Every album from the debut through Night In The Ruts fucking smokes, and I'll even stand up for half of Rock In A Hard Place, but literally everything they've done since getting back together in 1984/85 has been runny dogshit.
0 |
December 21, 2018 on The Number Ones: The Guess Who’s “American Woman”
Yeah, like I said, I only got to the Redman record a few months after it came out, but it really won me over instantly. It rules.
+3 |
December 21, 2018 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – December 2018
No mention of the amazing Butthole Surfers cover? OK, I'll post it, then: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rw_lyHDOUoU
+3 |
December 21, 2018 on The Number Ones: The Guess Who’s “American Woman”
>>“Come Together” is a better song than “You Can’t Catch Me” The hell it is. I will accept - even aver - that Elvis's cover of "Promised Land" is better than Chuck Berry's original. But this song is a cup of cold piss compared to "You Can't Catch Me."
+5 |
December 6, 2018 on The Number Ones: The Beatles’ “Come Together”
This is an amazing list, and I love the logic behind it. The only record I've heard is Agrimonia - which rules - and I'm definitely gonna check out some of the others. (Not the Immortal, though. No Abbath, no Immortal. This is a hill I will happily die on.)
+3 |
December 6, 2018 on The 10 Best Metal Albums Of 2018
Hate Eternal never clicked for me until the album before this one, but man, they are really incredible right now.
+2 |
November 1, 2018 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – October 2018
I haven't seen either, but I've seen another Guiliana-led band and he's a lot of fun. I'm thinking about going to Ronin's NYC show next week.
+2 |
October 27, 2018 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – October 2018
I've seen that photo of McNeely for years, but didn't know much about him myself until his passing - honestly, when I heard that he died this month, I was shocked, because the guy in that photo should have died in like 1959, from a heroin overdose or from drinking shots of whiskey with mothballs in them the way Hank Williams used to.
+4 |
September 21, 2018 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – September 2018
I feel like Flipper's "Sex Bomb" would make a good "bonus beat" for this entry. "She's a sex bomb my baby yeah!" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hd4SSRajlc
+1 |
September 12, 2018 on The Number Ones: Tommy James And The Shondells’ “Hanky Panky”