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Tag: 1990s (page 1 of 2)

Stardust’s “Music Sounds Better With You”

I don’t understand why it is so hard to find a decent quality version of this video online and why it’s nearly impossible to find the original track on Spotify. It is pretty awesome and definitely one of the best things Thomas Bengalter has put out, the majority of Daft Punk’s work included. I have very fond memories of this song in the late 90s. Doesn’t it make you want to dance? And I mean DANCE??

Neurosis’ “Locust Star”

I love any song that waits 1:17 to kick you in the teeth.

I don’t like the new Neurosis record much, but we’ll always have Enemy of the Sun and Through Silver In Blood.

Fear Factory’s new album The Industrialist

I am about to write some words I conveying a thought I never thought I’d have for the rest of my life. Worthy, I think, of the strong and em tags I am about to use.

Fear Factory’s new record is incredible.

Unbelievable, right?! The Industrialist might be the best Fear Factory record since Obsolete. Holy living fuck, I know, I can’t believe I am writing those words either! It all started innocently enough with a series of IMs between me and my friend Deegan.

Deegan: Dude, have you heard the new Fear Factory!

me: Nope.

Deegan: go listen

me: Does it sound like Fear Factory?

Deegan: sounds like demanufacture

me: Ah. I am listening now.

I never would have bothered with the record had he not used the magic word: Demanufacture. My love for that record knows no bounds. It literally made my brain explode when I first heard it in 1996. I remember when it was too. I was at home, after school during my freshman year of high school. As usual, I was listening to the afternoon metal show on Stanford’s radio station. It was always a nice place to find new bands in that pre-internet era. I learned about all sorts of great bands then, Fear Factory being one of them.

Gwar was coming around and they were having a contest to win a couple of tickets to the upcoming Gwar show at The Warfield in San Francisco. If you could name the Gwar song and record it came from that he played in the coming set and called in with the answer, you won the tickets. Well, during the set he played “Demanufacture” so I called in to find out what it was. I’d heard it a bunch of times, but never knew what the hell this magnificent piece of metal that sounded so unlike anything I’d ever heard before was.

Me: Hey man! What is that awesome “I’ve got…no more…god damn…respect!!!” song?!?

DJ: Yeah, it’s sick, right? That’s Fear Factory.

Me: Awesome! Thanks! By the way, the Gwar song you played was “Ham on the Bone” from America Must Be Destroyed. (Note: I figured at this point that someone must have already gotten the tickets. There’s no way people would have lagged on something that important, right?)

DJ: That’s right! You won the tickets!

Me: *head asplode*

Holy shit, just writing that story gave me the chills. That was honestly one of the best moments of my teenage years. It didn’t matter at all that I’d already purchased tickets to the show. Two more was nothing to be scoffed at.

But back to Fear Factory. Demanufacture became a huge part of my metal vocabulary and was directly responsible for introducing me to electronic music in all its myriad forms through a remix album Fear Factory did with Rhys Fulber from Front Line Assembly called Remanufacture. I think I’ve gotten into this elsewhere, so I’ll leave it at that for now.

During my last summer at camp in 1998, I remember vividly the ad for the then-forthcoming Fear Factory album Obsolete hanging by my bunk. I was counting down the days until I could hear what those dudes had in store for my metal-hungry teenage brain. Do you remember being so excited about things that you could barely handle it? I do, too. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt like that about anything.

When I finally got my hands on Obsolete it was like a revelation. They had taken everything I love about Demanufacture and polished it, refocused it, into this pummeling masterpiece of industrial-music-informed heavy metal. My friends and I wore out our copies listening to the album over the next few years.

Then came Digimortal, which felt to me like a step further into the over-polished, over-produced realm. It happened subtly, but the record started to sound sterile, too clean. The ratio of screaming to Burton C. Bell’s always-a-half-step-flat singing (which I hate) started to tip toward the latter. No good. After Digimortal the transition became very clear. Dino left, the band struggled with its identity, there were side-projects, and things basically just faded out. I figured that, as a force in metal, Fear Factory were done. I could write them off in my book as a band that had put out a bunch of great records in the 90s, but then fallen aside as the metal landscape shifted and they were unable to keep up.

But, much like what happened with Machine Head, it seems Fear Factory just needed time to come back into their own. After listening to The Industrialist a few times today, I thought the album worthy of this text message to Deegan while I was still on the train on my way home from work,

I stand behind everything I wrote in that sub-160-character note to my friend. The Industrialist is Fear Factory’s return to form, their great rebirth from the darkened realm of mediocrity, a triumphant statement that 16 years after their genre-busting Demanufacture they are still relevant. Even Bell’s “singing” isn’t bothersome! Unbelievable. I never thought I would ever write that. The album sheds a lot of the production cleanliness they picked up over the years. It feels raw, but competent. It is a more consistent record than Demanufacture by a long shot, though I am not yet sure if its highest highs are as great as the older record, but I do know its lowest lows are not as terrible.

But don’t take my word for it. Listen to the record.

I know what I’ll be listening to tomorrow on the way to work.

Downset’s Do We Speak a Dead Language

I was reading Stuff You Will Hate earlier today and saw a post about their current podcast featuring the drummer from Downset. This, of course, got me thinking about Downset, specifically about their 1996 album Do We Speak A Dead Language, a shining example of mid-90s SoCal hardcore. It’s got the era-specific mix of rap and hardcore, the chunka chunka guitars, the social positive outlook, multiculturalism, punky as fuck drums. Everything! It’s got everything! I can’t even tell you how many times I listened to this album in high school. Many hundreds of times.

How many times have I listened to it since then? Maybe zero times.

I popped on over to Spotify to see if it was there (it was) and I have been jamming out to this thing for a little bit. And, man, it’s still so good. You all are probably going to listen to it and think, “But, Joe, this sounds dated as shit.” Sure, it does, but so does Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony and we all stil like that also. So fuck off. This album rules. It’s actually giving me chills.

Pulp’s “Mis-Shapes”

Much has been written on The Black Laser about Pulp. I am a fan. A big fan. But, until recently, Pulp had not uploaded this video to the Youtubes. So, here it is: the video from the first track off 1995’s Different Class, “Mis-Shapes”. I don’t have a lot to say about it. It’s pretty great and the song too. Enjoy.

Also, I can’t possibly express how super mega fucking excited I am to go see Pulp perform at Radio City Music Hall in April. LIKE WHOA. I have an extra ticket too. Anyone want to go?

Ministry’s “Jesus Built My Hotrod”

Jesus built my hotrod. It was a love affair. Mostly Jesus and my hotrod.

I love this damn song. It comes from Ministry’s 1991 record Psalm 69, an perfect example of early 90s electro/metal fusion. It totally rules. Enjoy it.

Misery Loves Company’s “My Mind Still Speaks”

Do you guys remember the 90s? Do you remember how awesome they were and how much awesome metal was coming out at the time? Yeah, so do I. It was great. Misery Loves Company is one of those bands that if you weren’t in the scene at the time you probably have never heard of, but who, for me, scream 90s. “My Mind Still Speaks” comes from their 1995 self-titled debut and I still think it is awesome. I can’t even tell you how many times I listened to that album. It is so good, but I don’t think you’ll like it now. It sounds real dated, but nostalgia is strong. God damn, even the music video is super 90s.

Meat Beat Manifesto’s “Helter Skelter 97”

This morning I watched a music video that I wanted to like, but just didn’t. Nor did I hate it. It fell into that gray limbo space of “not getting posted on The Black Laser”. However, the video was for a track remixed by Meat Beat Manifesto which made me realize I’ve never posted any MBM here before. That changes now.

Meat Beat Manifesto are an electronic group fronted by Jack Dangers (not his real name) that has spanned a wide variety of electronic sub-genres over their career. Coming out of the techno scene in the UK, they’ve grown into something wholly unidentifiable. Are they jungle? Drum n bass? EBM? Industrial? Who knows. And, really, who cares. MBM were one of the first real electronic acts I got into back in the 90s and were hugely influential on my musical tastes. I first encountered them with 1996’s Subliminal Sandwich, their fifth album, and still one of my favorites.

I’m not exactly sure how I first found MBM, but it doesn’t really matter now. When so much mid-90s electronic music sounds dated as all hell (Fatboy Slim, I’m looking at you), MBM still sound fresh and different. If you want some cool, dark, weird electronic music, check this shit out. If you’re going to start, though, I recommend starting where I did at Subliminal Sandwich, unless you’re a huge early 90s UK techno fan, in which case you already know about Meat Beat Manifesto.

edit\\ You’ll notice in this video, which predates The Matrix, that they are totally doing that camera thing that The Matrix made so popular. That is, setting up a rack of still cameras in an arc around action that all shoot an image at once so that it looks like a moment is frozen in three dimensions. Progressive as hell, MBM.