Posts Tagged ‘ Grinderman ’

This week’s shows (11/15/2010-11/21/2010)

Future Islands

 

Monday (11/15/2010): Brooklyn’s Liturgy signed to venerable indie label Thrill Jockey last week and stirred up some debate about the increasing overlap between indie rock and metal (specifically black metal, as that’s what Liturgy specializes in).  Is there an actually increasing intersection between the two, or are there just a handful of metal bands (Liturgy, Krallice, various bands from the Southern Lord roster) that are exclusively playing indie venues to crowds full of skinny jeans?  Does it even matter?  Liturgy’s one of those crossover bands, and their show at The Earl tonight should be a good one.  Locals Uberchriist and Wolves & Jackals open (the former of which will also probably be hit with the “hipster metal” tag if they ever break out).  If you could care less about metal’s place in indie rock, there’s a great free option over at 529:  The North Trolls, This Piano Plays Itself, and The Future Now.

Tuesday (11/16/2010): Slow night.  There’s Tornado Town and Fletcher C. Johnson at 529, and not much else.

Wednesday (11/17/2010): If you’re at all familiar with this blog, you probably know I’m a huge fan of Baltimore’s Future Islands.  If you missed them both times they played 529 earlier this year, you get another chance this week at Eyedrum.  The openers are great, too:  Raleigh’s Lonnie Walker played a strong set of rootsy, punk-inflected indie to a too-small crowd at 529 back in July.  Locals Nomen Novum and Battlemoon II open as well.

Thursday (11/18/2010): The $35 tickets for Grinderman‘s show at Variety Playhouse might be steep, but how many chances are you going to get to see this project live?  Nick Cave doesn’t exactly tour that hard with the Bad Seeds, either, so scarcity is a good enough reason to justify the price.  Thereminist Armen Ra opens.  After that show’s over, head up the street to Star Bar and catch whatever is left of the free Back Pockets/Lera Lynn/Night Driving in Small Towns show.  Past experience with both venues suggests you’ll be able to catch the majority of both shows.

Friday (11/19/2010): Maserati, Royal Thunder, and Brainworlds at The Earl should be great, but I’ll probably be down the street at 529 for Small Reactions 7″ release show with Sorry No Ferrari, Sons of Thor, and The Tar Bay Beez.  Look for a review of that 7″ here tomorrow.  There’s also Nashville synth-poppers How I Became the Bomb at Star Bar, with Shovels and Rope and Goldstein.

Saturday (11/20/2010): Tonight was supposed to be all about Baltimore’s Double Dagger at The Earl, but they had to cancel their tour due to a family emergency.  Local openers Knaves Grave are now headlining, and the cover has been knocked down to $5. Mood Rings and Soft Powers open.  Wowser Bowser plays an EP release show at the Drunken Unicorn with This Piano Plays Itself, Co Co Ri Co, and Sunspots.  And finally, Roman Photos play a 7″ release show at 529 with Thy Mighty Contract and current local faves Qurious.

Sunday (11/21/2010): Little Tybee will play hangover-friendly music for your degenerate ass at The Earl during the afternoon.  Later that night you can catch Junip (featuring Jose Gonzalez) and Sharon Van Etten at the same venue.  Van Etten is totally hangover friendly, too, in addition to being totally awesome.

Review: Grinderman – Grinderman 2

No one really expected or needed Grinderman to turn into a real band. Their 2007 debut was an enthusiastically received record that absolutely nailed what it set out to do, but it never felt like anything more than a diversionary side project. The whole thing sounded more like an exercise than an album, with most of its pleasures stemming from the strength of its basic concept: Nick Cave doing his literate, leering lech routine over dirty Stooges guitar blasts.

The fact that it seemed like a one-off probably helped it’s case, too. Fans and critics both seemed to love the idea of Cave and a handful of Bad Seeds cutting loose. Would it have gotten the same treatment if it was a straight Seeds album? Not with half-baked songs like “Depth Charge Ethel” or the title track eating up the relatively short running time. Sure, “No Pussy Blues” is a flawless single, and “Get It On” and “Love Bomb” are almost as good, but there’s too much filler to shower the record in unqualified praise. As much as I enjoy the album, I would have probably told Cave to stick to his day job, especially when that day job is still capable of such incredible peaks (I might be lonely here, but I’d put Dig Lazarus Dig!! among the 5 best Bad Seeds records, and I say that as pretty huge fan).

I would have been very wrong. Grinderman 2 takes what was great about the first album and applies the careful song construction that’s always been a Bad Seeds hallmark. They now practice nuance disguised as blunt force.

Here’s the difference between the two albums: the Grinderman of the first album would have probably kept a song like “When My Baby Comes” in a holding pattern, staying in the slightly skewed blues mode established in the first minute or so. It would have been around 3 minutes, and it would have been a pretty good track. The new and improved Grinderman instead starts adding Warren Ellis’ violin to the mix, allows it to be unequivocally pretty, then at the halfway point blows the track up into a lumbering, psychedelic stomper that sounds like being caught in a windstorm. It runs 7 minutes, and it’s an awesome track.

The humor and attitude that made Grinderman so appealing is still there, it’s just packaged better. They’ve made a legitimately great album this time out, one that’s as good as anything else released this year. Let’s hope we get another one in 3 years.

Video: Grinderman – “Heathen Child”

This video is equal parts creepy and hilarious, and the song’s pretty good, too. It might not be as good as the first album’s lead single, but it’s hardly fair to expect it to be. “No Pussy Blues” was easily one of the best tracks of the last decade, and probably one of the best Cave’s ever written (and the man has written some seriously great songs).

Grinderman 2 comes out September 14th, the same day as Of Montreal’s False Priest and Screaming Females’ Castle Talk. That’s going to be a good day.

After the teaser trailers and this video, I’m ridiculously excited about this album. They’re touring the U.S. this fall and will be at Variety Playhouse in Atlanta on November 18th. Full tour dates here.