It’s that time of the week again. Time to reflect on what in music has been picking my brain. Find out on this week’s installment of On the Radar.
Slipknot is one of those bands that falls out of my rotation, but once they’re back in, I can’t stop listening. After revisiting their lackluster eighth album, All Hope is Gone, I decided to listen to their stellar 2014 release .5: The Gray Chapter. It’s among their best albums and a fitting tribute to their fallen brother Paul Gray. Gray died in 2010 of a drug overdose. This album has the same blistering brutality and anger we expect from the band, yet there’s so much more emotion. Their sadness and frustration over losing Gray bleeds all over the record.
Since its release, the band is working hard touring the world. Slipknot’s heavy metal festival, Knotfest, gets bigger this year for a mashup with Ozzfest. Knotfest Meets Ozzfest takes place this weekend, September 24 – 25, in San Bernardino, CA. The lineup includes massive bands like Black Sabbath, Opeth, Slayer, and Megadeth to name a few. Of course, Slipknot will perform, but they have something special in store. For the first time, they’ll perform their second album Iowa in full. Seems like a good time for me to revisit that landmark album.
It’s never easy to get back to work after attending Riot Fest. I’m still not over it a week later. I attended the festival last Saturday thanks to scoring some tickets last minute. While I wanted to see Rob Zombie on Sunday, Saturday gave me a chance to see a band I always wanted to: The Hives. There’s no question they put on a kickass show. Frontman Howlin’ Pele sassed the audience with his snarky charm and leaped all over the stage. He even dove into the crowd on more than one occasion proving nothing can hold him back. Hearing classic songs like “Tick Tick Boom” and “Die Alright!” was beyond amazing. But I started to question where have The Hives been?
Their last full-length album, Lex Hives, dropped in 2012 and they’ve been pretty quiet since. They surprised fans in 2015 by releasing the single “Blood Red Moon.” The song is supposed to be from their upcoming sixth album but isn’t any other news regarding it. With the band playing live again hopefully, we’ll get news of another album from this Swedish garage band. For now, I’ll have to deal with listening to my favorite Hives track “Hate to Say I Told You So.”
Do you have a favorite artist that makes your heart swell every time you see them? Mine is Robert Smith of The Cure. Whether it’s a snapshot, a t-shirt, or a button, every time I see Smith’s pale face I swoon. And I can’t even explain why. It doesn’t have anything to do with a school girl crush. I just greatly admire Smith as an artist. Whenever asked to describe him the words “wonderful, whimsical, and magical” come to mind. I sure other Cureheads understand what I’m talking about. With the upcoming release of the book Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys by ex-bandmate Lol Tolhurst, Smith has been on my mind. As I wait impatiently for my copy of the book, which comes out October 11, I’m digesting anything and everything related to The Cure.
Right now, The Cure are busy touring the world after a massive summer North American tour. There’s no word on a new album, but the boys are debuting new songs live. Perhaps after touring The Cure will return to the studio? We’ll have to wait and see. In 2014, Smith spoke about a new album dubbed 4:14 Scream to Rolling Stone. In true Smith fashion, there has been no further word on the project. Why does he tease Cure fans like this?
The lost art of buying singles
Green Day’s upcoming album, Revolution Radio, is only 2 weeks away. To prep for it, they’ve hooked up with Best Buy to release a physical version of the “Bang Bang” single. Being a music collector, I had to get one for myself. This made me think how infrequently we buy physical singles anymore. Now, the act of buying a song is a simple click of a button. But there’re people out there who remember the thrill of picking up their favorite songs at the record shop, taking in the art, and any b-sides that may be waiting for them on the flip side.
With the digital music age, it’s not something collectors get to do very often. And it kind of sucks. While plenty of people love the ease of buying any song at their fingertips, some of us miss going to the shop and picking up a new single. Personally, it’s more satisfying blast a song on repeat when I can do it from my stereo instead of my computer speakers. It seems like some artists are trying to make physical singles come back. Both Slipknot and Marilyn Manson released physical singles prior to their new albums, though they were exclusive to Best Buy. Hey, if cassettes can make a comeback, why not singles?
I’m a sucker for music biopics. I finally caught up with the rest of the world and watched Straight Outta Compton over the summer. Spoiler: it’s amazing. But movies that star musicians are even more intriguing. They can go one of two ways: good or amazingly bad. For example take Eminem’s 8 Mile and Vanilla Ice’s Cool As Ice.
If you couldn’t guess, I’m a Green Day fan. (Surprised, right?) Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong stars in a new movie dubbed Ordinary World. The film follows an ex-rocker facing fatherhood and a mid-life crisis. I had no reaction when I first heard about the film. I wasn’t even all that interested in it. But after seeing the trailer, I at least want to see how Armstrong does in the role. I’ve seen him act before and it’s nothing amazing. In fact, it’s not all that memorable. But to be fair this is his first starring role and he’s older; maybe he’s gotten better over the years. At the very least it looks like it could be a fun movie to watch with fellow fans. Plus, Armstrong wrote new songs for the movie, the music should at least be good.
Ordinary World comes out in select theaters and On Demand October 14.