Thursday, 26 June 2003

Deloused in the Comatorium [DITC], the new semantic experience from The Mars Volta. Read my pompous review, but first go buy the album.

When At the Drive In split a while back, my friend Kyle was pretty miffed, they were one of his favorite bands. From the splinters of this band emerged two new musical directions: Sparta and The Mars Volta. Unfortunately Sparta seemed to get their act together a bit too fast, and instead of a new musical direction, the band’s sound foundered in the seas of mediocrity [at least for me it did]. Their brand of rockin’ was a bit too, um, unoriginal and cooki-cutter for my tastes. In fact, I couldn’t tell you what one of their songs sounded like right now, despite having seen them in concert, and listened to their album, and I must not forget pal Kyle.

The Mars Volta, took considerably longer to produce a full album. Wisely so, if this delay has increased the quality of DITC. Granted, they released the Tremulant EP awhile back, but its three songs, seem to me more of a test bed for their sound, before the full blown experience emerges [and getes paid for].

Tremulant prepared listeners for the inventive semantic mumbo-jumbo and experimental punk [redundant or just that marginal?] sound that The Mars Volta had defined as their own. Their lyrics are shall I say, inchoate. An admixture of various languages [english then spanish are the heaviest thankfully] and spackled together phonemes and morphemes, listeners pretty much have to rely on the singing to get a handle for what the songs are about. The lyrics for Eunuch Provocateur off of Tremulant can be found here. [As you will note, one of the lines from this song became the title of the LP].

Stupidly, the lyrics for DITC are going to be available for mailorder purchase sometime next month, making them that much harder to access. You really have to want to know what the fuck he is saying if you are willing to pay for it. Personally, I will wait till someone does buy them and then sticks them on the ‘net.

The vocal pirouttes of Cedric Zavala are what make this album for me. His tenor is crisp and clear and loud, but thankfully not piercing. Its like wind off of a mountain, or if you live in the city, what your clothes smell like after you toss in about eight dryer sheets with them.

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez can wring some mighty wild sounds out of his axe let me tell you.

DITC begins with a steadily growing sound of synthesizer and distortion, and then Cedric comes in with his electronicized voice, and you know something huge is about to happen, then you are teased with some false starts before C really lets it rip into the first true song ‘inertiatic esp.’ This seems pretty straightforward The Mars Volta, the music is segmented into several modes, usually with quick but full stops before launching into the next section. Beware though, The Mars Volta can switch gears seamlessly if they want to, and sometimes they want to.

‘roulette dares (the haunt of)’ presents a slightly more melodically variant, though smoother, explication of whatever the hell C is singing, it rises and valleys, then peaks and then falls again, sometimes precipices lurk right in the middle of things, but the song is quite mellow and quite cathartic at the same time.

‘drunkship of lanterns’ borrows its end from their Tremulant finisher ‘Eunuch Provocateur,’ and ‘cicitriz esp’ is almost just like Tremulant’s ‘Cut That City’ except quite a bit longer. I don’t feel that they are just recycling this because they cannot hack it. To me it seems that Tremulant truly was a testing bed, and they took what worked from that EP and beefed it up for this album.

This was really hard to write, because DITC is so queer. Somehow The Mars Volta has made it possible for two objects to exist in the same space at the same time, contrary to the little musical physics I am acquainted with. Songs can be mellow but unrepentantly cathartic from one second to the next. It works. 8/10. Thanks to Phil for the recommendation.

Weezer, buh-dy

Thursday, 18 July 2002

Weezer, budd-y! Last night was a good concert night and could only have been improved if the Strokes hadn’t had to cancel. Of course, there was the inevitable roadtrip associated with attending a concert in the midwest but O My how fun it was. I got some free concert tix to a 12 local band show in September and a drumstick. The first band Phil, Kyle, Cramer, and I saw was loudermilk. Apart from being rather small and effeminate they rocked out pretty well. The singer had a good scream. Then we went in and got our seats.

The next band on was Sparta. They are good, punk rock message with a laid back controlled stage presence. Next up on second stage was my pleasant surprise of the evening. Hometown Hero kicks lots of ass. They really got into their act and were goofing around quite a bit, but not so much as to prevent massive guitar riffage and rocking out. I definitely recommend buying their CD. Dashboard Confessional was next on the main stage and he was boring as hell. Emo music just ain’t my thang, in fact, it makes me angry listening to it. All of the sweaterwearing thickrimmed glasses wearing huggy pseudo prep-hippy hybrid sensitivity first Emo kids really dug him though.

Next on second stage was AM Radio. These guys were all about getting the crowd to have a good time. I enjoyed them but probably wouldn’t buy their CD. They are the type of band that you go see live. At the end of their set, they had the guys from Hometown Hero come on stage and the Dashboard Confessional dude did as well. Once he walked out everyone started screaming as if he were Jesu Cristo himself, which stole the spotlight from AM Radio who were doing a damn good job. After their set I got one of the drumsticks (I was right up against the stage), and we went to see Weezer.

First song played, my favorite, Say it Ain’t So. Suh-weet. Next song Dope Nose, even better. What followed was happy rock bliss. They played Hash Pipe and El Scorcho and of course Buddy Holly. They played Keep Fishin’ my favorite song off of their new album. It was good. They lit up the big bright W and even had pyrotechnics. The encore was Death and Destruction, which was a rather strange choice, but hey, they’re Weezer, and weird.

show was over by 11 we didn’t get back to Purdue till 2, took us forever to get back to the interstate. Then we ate at Denny’s and I had the lumberjack special. Once we got to Purdue, I crashed at Phil’s place for 3.5 hours, got up at 5:30 and drove back to ND to come to work at 8. I was only two minutes late. so today I am a zombie.

In other news, I am also now using the yellow bar for random links. thanks for sharing now shut up adam.