May 27, 2024

On the Radar: Festival Announcements, Nine Inch Nails, RIP George Michael + More

It’s officially 2017 and it’s good to be back! As always, music has been on my brain, so what am I obsessing over this week? Check it out below.

Nine Inch Nails Drops New Music

Trent Reznor gave fans an early Christmas present on December 23. Reznor released the new EP, Not the Actual Events, under the Nine Inch Nails moniker. It marks the band’s first new music since the release of Hesitation Marks in 2013. And yes, it’s damn good. Comprised of five songs, the EP definitely sounds like classic NIN, but still sounds fresh. On tracks like “Dear World” and “The Idea of You” don’t sound stale or a repeat of what Reznor has done in the past. The songs are kick ass, but have this eerie undertone to them.

When listening to “She’s Gone Away” and “Burning Bright (Field on Fire),” you get unnerved in the best way possible. There’s a subtle darkness to it that permeates the entire EP. Not the Actual Events is a great precursor to what’s to come from NIN. Hopefully, Reznor will keep good on his word and released new music this year.

Oh the festivals you will go to

Governors Ball Music Festival
Governors Ball Music Festival

We’re only a week into 2017 and three big festivals have already dropped lineups. And no, one of them is not Riot Fest. Coachella kicked off the week by dropping their lineup, which features heavy hitters Radiohead, Beyonce, and Kendrick Lamar. And that’s only the headliners. Other acts on the bill include Father John Misty, Lorde, New Order, Justice, and Two Door Cinema Club to name a few. BottleRock Napa Valley also dropped their lineup that includes Macklemore, The Naked and Famous, The Roots, and Modest Mouse. But the biggest reveal was headliners Foo Fighters, marking their first, and maybe their only, US tour of the year.

As if those lineups weren’t too much to handle, Governor’s Ball dropped probably the best headliners so far: Tool. That’s right, Tool will play Governor’s Ball marking their first New York show in over a decade. The bill also includes Cage the Elephant, Royal Blood, Wu-Tang Clan, Lorde, Childish Gambino, and Chicago’s own Chance the Rapper. So far 2017 is shaping up to be a good year, as least in terms of festivals. Makes you wonder what Lolla and Riot Fest have in store for us.


Goodbye, George Michael

Though it’s been over a week since the world learned of George Michael’s death, it’s still on my mind. Michael died December 25, 2016 of heart failure, making everyone’s Christmas a bit somber. I wasn’t the biggest fan of his, but I grew up with his music. During car rides to the grocery store, my mom played songs like “Faith,” “Father Figure,” and “Freedom.” I still remember the parts where the song skipped due to the bumpy streets. These songs, along with the unmistakable “Wake Me Up,” stayed with me as I grew older. And when Christmas came around, “Last Christmas” was the first song I played to usher in the season. As if his death wasn’t sad enough, my family and I watched that video the day before he died.

Because he led such a troubled life, countless stories about him being sick or suicidal are permeating the internet. Rather than remember him for his problems and drug addiction, we should remember the music. It’s still shocking to think he’s no longer with us, especially because he wasn’t that old, but at least he left us memorable music. And for me, he’s left me with great memories of my mom and me. So thank you, George Michael, for all the great times. You will be missed.

Foo Fighters plan their 2017

We’ve already discussed how the Foo Fighters‘ hiatus was short lived. Last year, the band performed at a number of events marking the end of their unexpected break. They spent the end of the year teasing dates for their upcoming European tour. Now, it looks like they’ll be back to perform in the US at least for one date. The band revealed they will headline the Bottle Rock Napa Valley Festival in May. So should we expect more US tour dates? Probably not, but for good reason: they’re working on a new album. According to Dave Graham, CEO of Latitude 38, the company behind BottleRock, the band will spend 2017 in the studio.

If the Foos have to give up touring the US to give us a new album, then I’m all for it. Hopefully, it’ll be better than their lackluster eighth album Sonic Highways. Hey, at least the Saint Cecilia EP was solid. It’s good to hear Dave Grohl and Co. are back in action. We may have to wait until next year to actually get the new album, but hopefully, the band will treat us to a preview this year.

Ministry, how I’ve missed you

I have so much music my phone can’t contain it all. Sure, I could relay on streaming services, but for some reason, I just don’t like them. So I was stuck listening to what could fit on my phone for two years, ever since the death of my Zune. But Santa treated me to a new mp3 player for Christmas and all is right in my world. So much music that I forgot about is once again my ears. I’m getting re-introduced to so many bands, including Ministry.

Songs like “Jesus Built my Hotrod,” “Stigmata,” and “Lieslieslies” have been in constant rotation reminding me how much I love this band. I still remember my brother playing The Land of Rape and Honey in the car and how it blew my 15 year old mind away. I’ve been a loyal fan ever since. Albums like Relapse and From Beer to Eternity aren’t their strongest, but there’s still some strong songs there. But Ministry have been inactive ever since the death of guitarist Mike Scaccia in 2012.

Frontman Al Jourgensen stated he didn’t want to continue the band without Scaccia. It’s a noble sentiment, but it seems Jourgensen may have changed his mind. Last year, he revealed to Loudwire that another Ministry album may be in him “if the circumstances are right.” It shouldn’t be a surprise if we do actually get a new record. Jourgensen has broken up the band about three times at this point. I’d be interested to hear what 2017 Ministry sounds like, but I’m not holding my breath.

Still, I’m glad I can listen to the band during my morning commutes once again. Sometimes when I’m squished against seats and snowy backpacks, their brutal music is just what I need.