By Zachary Swickey
It seems a tad bit ridiculous that one of the most naturally talented musicians of my generation, Justin Timberlake, has not released an album in nearly six years (his last being ‘06’s FutureSex/ LoveSounds, of course). The guy is missing out on what would be the prime of his music career. With that said, there’s got to be something to this acting business that keeps driving musicians – rockers and rappers alike – to the medium.
Timberlake’s undeniable good looks and wealth of talent help make him a perfect candidate for a career in film career, but there are plenty of other rockers who we feel would be right at home on the silver screen.
Here are the six rock musicians that we want to see take up the acting game the most. Read More...
By Zachary Swickey
Once again I must thank 2011’s South By Southwest Music Festival for helping me discover a fresh, innovative band whose record I have been spinning non-stop throughout 2011. In January, I began combing through the collection of artists set to appear at SXSW (if you don’t do this, there will be at least a dozen bands you wish you had caught in hindsight) when I discovered the breathtaking music of Glasser and their debut Ring.
As I found my seat at the Central Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas, I excitedly chatted with everyone around me, “Are you familiar with Glasser? Do you realize what we’re about to see?” Everyone understood why I was so elated once Cameron Mesirow’s mesmerizing, angelic vocals filled the entire room – supplying the perfect acoustics to hear the star-in-the-making. (Even the less-than-stellar iPhone video I quickly shot looks and sounds amazing).
Glasser is the perfect band to exemplify the ease with which music can be made with today’s technologies. Mesirow (think Trent Reznor – Nine Inch Nails) had always wanted to make music but it wasn’t until she finally learned the ins and outs of computer software GarageBand in 2007 that she finally began undertaking the task. After famously recording her first demos on the program, Mesirow reached out to producer Ariel Rechtshaid – who has worked with Theophilus London and Diplo/Switch power-duo Major Lazer – to help flesh out the songs (despite the fact that she felt they were near completion). Read More...
Director David Fincher is nabbing all sorts of acclaim for his new film "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" –the Daniel Craig-Rooney Mara starrer enjoys an 94 percent "fresh" rating on movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
The "Social Network" Oscar contender has established an awesome filmography in the last 15 years, including box office hits like "Se7en," cult faves like "Fight Club" and award-nominated behemoths like "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." But for those who don't know, he got his start directing music videos for artists like Madonna, Paula Abdul, the Rolling Stones, Iggy Pop and Aerosmith. Some of the clips he turned out in the late-80s and early-90s, in particular, have become iconic and genre-defining.
Below are, in our estimation, Fincher's five most iconic videos. Read More...
By Zachary Swickey
We’ve covered quite a few diverse rock acts for Bands We Like – from the soul-powered retro pop of Fitz & the Tantrums to the always evolving musings of Dredg – and all of the groups had a stellar year in 2011. Other Lives will soon be the opening act for Radiohead, El Bronx fulfilled their own fantasy by appearing on Conan’s late night show, and The New Regime’s Ilan Rubin is now the new drummer for Tom DeLonge’s side-project, Angels & Airwaves. We’ve taken the liberty of rounding up the five bands to keep an eye on in the New Year and wonder which one you think will be the breakout act of 2012?
Check out the Bands We Like All-Stars and vote in our poll, after the jump! Read More...
By Zachary Swickey
Fans who have been missing Nine Inch Nails since the group’s retirement (at least from the stage) have been anxiously awaiting details on the upcoming Trent Reznor-helmed score to director David Fincher’s newest labor of love, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." The totally badass teaser trailer released earlier this summer features Karen O (of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) vocally slaying a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song,” and the fan reactions have been more than positive.
Writing on the Nine Inch Nails website last night, Reznor states, "For the last fourteen months Atticus [Ross] and I have been hard at work on David Fincher’s 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.' We laughed, we cried, we lost our minds and in the process made some of the most beautiful and disturbing music in our careers. The result is a sprawling three-hour opus that I am happy to announce is available for pre-order right now. The full release will be available in one week – December 9th."
So in only one week’s time, fans can pick up the digital album version for $12, a fancy high quality download or CD for $14, or they can shell out $300 for the swank deluxe limited edition (of 3,000) that includes: six pieces of vinyl, a metal packaging cover, the autographs of Trent and Atticus Ross, and even an 8gb razor blade USB pendant that is inspired by Rooney Mara’s similar necklace in the film among other things. If you make any pre-orders, you’ll get the killer Karen-O track for download right now. Read More...
By Zachary Swickey
When your work is praised by Jay-Z and Trent Reznor, you know you’re onto something special. I’m talking about Brooklyn indie rockers Grizzly Bear, who've been charming us with their hypnotizing melodies for many years (they would slay as a barbershop quartet). The group’s last album, Veckatimest, found praise from all sorts of unexpected places, including Hova, who is an enthusiastic fan. After nearly two grueling years on the road, the guys were all ready to take a break. Well, everyone but member Chris Taylor, the group’s bassist and backup vocalist, who wasn’t very keen on the idea of taking time off and instead opted to craft a solo project with his newfound time. The result is CANT, a studio collaboration with George Lewis Jr., who we know and love from '80s throwback act Twin Shadow.
Taylor first teased his solo abilities two years ago with the release of “Ghosts,” a non-album track, which sounded more like Grizzly Bear than CANT’s current material, but it was the singer’s first venture out on his own (if you don’t count his production duties with groups like Dirty Projectors or The Morning Benders). Taylor and his brothers in Grizzly Bear are critical favorites, but the man is no diva – he didn’t need or demand a fancy schmancy studio to hunker down in for recording, rather a simple big bedroom and vintage Yamaha synthesizers. Read More...
By Zachary Swickey
One of the best things about today’s modern music world is the ease with which bands are able to record. Previously, bands would need to hoard bookoo cash in order to get precious studio time and present a professional sounding album. The line between amateur and professional has become radically blurred, and with major labels becoming more and more unnecessary when it comes to releasing a record, creativity has never flourished as much as it is today (just look at the output of Nine Inch Nails during their final, label-free years). Case-in-point, Crosses – or technically †††, which is not be confused with the Justice album, † – the new side project of Deftones crooner Chino Moreno. A band that probably wouldn’t be possible if they had to deal with the obstacles that music labels can often present.
Crosses is the brainchild between Moreno, his childhood friend (and ex-Far guitarist) Shaun Lopez and Chuck Doom. Lopez is also notable for salvaging the fifth Deftones record, Saturday Night Wrist, when he took over vocal production duties due to Moreno not seeing eye-to-eye with the effort’s legendary producer, Bob Ezrin. Moreno has also tackled side projects before with the ambient sounds of Team Sleep, who released one self-titled (and totally kickass) record back in 2005.
Moreno took his fans off guard with the release of Crosses’ debut EP, †, on August 2. No one was expecting to hear music from the project so soon or so inexpensively (only $5 for a high-quality download). Without the concerns of a label, Crosses are able to take as little or as much time on their recordings and can release them whenever the heck they feel like it, which is music to fans’ ears (pun intended) as labels are known to sit on albums for up to six months (and sometimes shelve them altogether). Read More...
By Zachary Swickey
Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor had a daunting task ahead of him when his extraordinary touring drummer Josh Freese bowed out of the group in late 2008 to tend to his pregnant wife. Not only was Reznor down a drummer, but he was planning his upcoming “Wave Goodbye” tour to be his last – retiring NIN, at least in a live setting. Fans were shocked when the announcement was made that Ilan Rubin, a shaggy, then-20-year-old kid from San Diego, would be taking over for Freese, who is one of rock’s most revered drummers. What many fans didn’t know (but soon found out) is that Rubin is inarguably a musical genius himself. An ex-pupil of Travis Barker, Rubin is a one-man musical collective in the studio with his solo project, The New Regime.
At the young age of 8, Rubin took to playing his father’s old Ludwig kit in the family garage. By 9 he had already joined a local band – known as F.O.N. or Freaks of Nature – who played some select dates on the Van’s Warped Tour. In 1999, when Rubin was only 11, F.O.N. got the opportunity to open the revitalized Woodstock Music Festival. After five years of going nowhere, 14-year-old Rubin left the group and joined his first “signed” band, Denver Harbor, who would take him across the states on a national tour. However, the group was dropped after just one year with Universal Records. Undeterred, Rubin then joined Welsh rockers Lostprophets, who experienced some love here in the states but were more appreciated on their home turf overseas. After an album release and subsequent touring for a few years, he left after tracking drums for the group’s fourth album.
Before long, Rubin got the call from industrial rock legend Trent Reznor, and fulfilled the fantasy of 20-year-old drummers across the globe. By then, he'd already completed his greatest accomplishment – recording a solo album all on his own under the moniker, “The New Regime.” Other than production assistance from his brother, Aaron Rubin, Ilan did everything on his own – meaning every single sound you hear on his solo debut, Coup, is performed and constructed by him. This alone is an impressive feat (how the hell does that even work exactly?), but even more so when you hear the brilliant musicianship on the album. Read More...
On September 24, Nirvana's epochal Nevermind turns 20 ... a milestone that's not only given us pause (since it's downright unfathomable to anyone who came of age during that era) but has caused us to reflect on what, in retrospect, was a pretty staggeringly great year for rock music in general.
Because, while Nevermind gets the majority of the headlines, there were no shortage of other iconic albums released that year, too ... a fact we illustrated last week, when we shone the spotlight on some of '91's greatest; everything from alt-rock tent poles like the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Blood Sugar Sex Magik and Pearl Jam's Ten to big-budget blockbusters like Metallica's Black album and Guns N' Roses' Use Your Illusion series and overlooked indie gems like Fugazi's Steady Diet of Nothing and Slint's Spiderland.
In a lot of ways, it seems like 1991 was the last year rock truly rocked. But, is that really the case? Well, we've decided to find out. We've taken a look back at the past 30 years of rock music — since, you know, MTV just celebrated its 30th anniversary — and come up with five other years that could possibly touch 1991's legacy ... and we're going to let you vote on which is really the greatest in rock history.
But first, here's a look at our nominees.