Friday, April 11, 2008

My name is Shane, and I have an addiction

Alright, I have to level with you; I have a fucking problem. I suppose I should be thankful that I’m not addicted to smack, or some meth head in a gutter… but I’m hooked all the same. I am at the very mercy and call of music. You know all those questions people ask to find out if they’re addicted? Things like, “do you find you need SUBSTANCE to get going in the morning?”, or “do you ever use SUBSTANCE alone?” Show me the fucking 12 steps to get off music.
Nah, screw that, I like my addiction. However, it is a little silly.
First, I have to apologize for not posting sooner. As many of you know, I am going to be moving to the UK in around 3 weeks, and after finding this news out at the end of March, I effectively went into panic mode. I started selling off my life (, tying up loose ends, and FREAKING OUT about everything. As such, Shananigans was neglected.

This move though, gives a perfect insight into my addiction. Upon choosing to move and subsequently sell my life away… I vowed to buy nothing. I would be keeping my Gibson, my Marshall, and my CD collection and shipping them to Manitoba. Now, even after vowing to buy nothing, I’ve still managed to purchase 9 new freaking CDs in the last 3 weeks. I swear I try to stop myself, but it just kind of happens. Today alone I bought 4 new albums. Let me break it down:

I initially went to HMV to buy the much anticipated Black Keys album. I have to admit, I was a bit weary of the album when I heard it was to be produced by Danger Mouse. What I’ve always loved about the keys is the grit, grind, 2 piece, stripped down blues, and I was very concerned about hearing an overproduced album. My fears would be justified, as when I threw it on for the all important first listen, I found that the album had lost the basement, dirty blues sound. I would describe Attack & Release like average sex. It’s sex, so it’s damned well amazing, but you’ve had better. I know I’ll grow to love this album, as I do their entire collection, I guess I am just sad to see a band whom I respected for their simplicity, go and make things all complicated. Still, they make up for it a bit with one of the most original and hilarious videos I’ve ever seen.

Now, when I grabbed Attack & Release, it was one of the 2 for $25, so obviously, it would be financially foolish for me to not pick up The Sword’s new album. If you missed these guitar shredding monolith’s first release Age of Winters, and consider yourself even a minor Sabbath fan… for the love of God, go pick it up. Their 2nd release, Gods of the Earth, suffers the same softmore syndrome which plagues so many bands. It simply can’t hold up against their first. I got exactly what I expected from the sword; epic guitar riffs, spaced out, chuggy movements, pounding drum sections, and Ozzy-reminiscent vocals. However, unlike the first album, I didn’t find myself jumping out of my chair, grabbing a broom and doing ‘stage dive to power slides’ off my bed, and subsequently skinning my knees. Gods of the Earth is a hell of a sight better than a lot of the modern bands trying to cash in on the Classic rock revival (read: Airborne), but it’s also a mere drop in the ocean of rock that was Age of Winters.

Now, I’m pretty much ready to leave HMV, but of course that plan went to shit when I saw that Danko Jones’ new album, Never too Loud, was only $10. You would have done the same thing in my position, so don’t judge. In addition, if I want to buy a CD, which I know won’t disappoint, I know where to go. Danko is a rock staple, however this time around, I have to give the man credit. While traditionally, Danko albums are a fusion of simple power chords, driven rhythm section, and in your face vocals (don’t worry, all those things are there), this album also adds a bit of much appreciated songwriting complexity. I’m not saying Jones went off and became the next Bach, but there are subtle fills, breaks, harmonies, and layers in the songs, previously missing, which make a nice change. If you’d believe it, there is even an acoustic song called Take Me Home. I promise he’s not going soft though, because the following track on the CD is called Let’s Get Undressed. The only negative point I have to bring out about this album is that the mix needs more bass. Not even necessarily bass guitar, but simply more low end to make me really feel the sex coming through the speakers.

Ok, so at this point, all of my musical purchases are totally justified. As such, as an addict, I’m totally allowed to splurge a little bit when I found out that Reznor has done it again. Nine Inch Nails have just released an instrumental double disc under the name Ghosts I-IV. I’m currently little over half way through the first disc, but already, my mind is completely blown. While Reznor is obviously known for his huge sway on the Industrial genre, his anti-establishment lyrics, and his hard, driving electronic metal, many of us often forget that he is a musical genius. Ghosts is your reminder, nay, your wake up call to that fact. Blending piano, strings, choral harmonies, full brass sections, electric guitar, bass, more electronic drum than you can shake a penis at, and other instruments which I don’t even know the name of, Ghosts listens like a soundtrack to the greatest movie ever written. Very seldom can an album take you through such a wide array of emotions, bringing you from the verge of tears, to being ready to rip someone’s head off.

As a side note, please be aware that my band, Paper Street, will be having out last show ever on Saturday, April 26th at Café Chaos. See here for more details.