Trash Titans Conquer All, MTV Included

Metallica, Schmatallica.

Though I’d sell my soul to hear Kill Em All for the first time again, James Hetfield and that failed Danish tennis prodigy he calls a drummer get more credit than they deserve for the whole Bay Area Thrash boon of the 80s. I’ll attribute the overstatements and hubris to narrative-padding or well-meaning revisionism. Considering how arena-sized Metallica’s pock-marked grilles would go on to become (peep this video for stats, egos, etc.), it’s tough to believe they didn’t invent THE GUITAR ITSELF, RIGHT?????

But back when Exodus, Death Angel, and the rest of the longhairs were rubbing elbows and shot-gunning beers with Cliff Burton (R.I.P., thanks for “Anesthesia,” dude), the Bay seemed filled with bands contributing equally to the creation of this new, frantic brand of metal. Granted, I wasn’t there, or even born yet. But all the member-swapping, shared bills, and production hook ups (ex: Kirk Hammet founded Exodus, and recorded Death Angel’s first record), suggests more of a communal sitch than the Metallica-Lords-Over-The-Bay plotline VH1 Behind The Music likes to spew.


Small Sails On A Vodka Advert

Portland, OR post-electronic / film-making collective Small Sails can currently be heard in a new Absolut Vodka commercial. “Somnambulist,” the opening track from their 2006 album Similar Anniversaries [Other Electricities], was chosen by the Swedish vodka brand for a TV spot that began airing in the UK on May 10th and will soon be appearing in the US as well.

Watch it here.

You can also check out the original video for the song, which was directed by band member Ryan Jeffery.

The New Yorker’s “100 Essential Jazz Albums”

When I was in high school, I only owned a handful of jazz CDs. One was a discount “intro to jazz” sampler called Columbia Jazz Masterpieces that lumped together Miles, Armstrong, Holiday, etc. It was like an “intro to rock” sampler that goes from “Johnny B. Goode” to “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

I loved it.

This week, The New Yorker posted its 100 Essential Jazz Albums. It’s like a grown-ass version of my Columbia comp. Now I can compare notes with my own grown-ass collection and dive into juicy classics I haven’t fully explored, including these vintage Orchard-distributed sets (hubba hubba):

1. Fats Waller, “Handful of Keys”
(Proper, 2004; tracks recorded 1922-43).

9. Django Reinhardt, “The Classic Early Recordings in Chronological Order”
(JSP, 2000; tracks recorded 1934-39).

17. Coleman Hawkins, “The Essential Sides Remastered, 1929-39” (JSP, 2006).

27. Chick Webb, “Stomping at the Savoy”
(Proper, 2006; tracks recorded 1931-39).

30. James P. Johnson, “The Original James P. Johnson: 1942-1945 Piano Solos” (Smithsonian Folkways, 1996).

Bears Scheduled To Play New American Music Festival

Cleveland’s indie popsters Bears will play the inaugural edition of the New American Music Festival which will be taking place on August 8th and 9th in Pittsburgh, PA. The full line-up, which was curated by Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis, also includes The Raconteurs, Gnarls Barkley, The Roots, Spoon, The Black Keys, and headliners Bob Dylan & His Band.

Bears will release their first single “Who Knows” on May 20 via IMPOSE Records.

Joan as Police Woman to Release Sophomore Album June 10th

Two years after making waves with her debut solo album Real Life, Joan as Police Woman (nee Joan Wasser) will be releasing a sophomore effort titled To Survive on June 10th via Cheap Lullaby Records.

After years of performing alongside the likes of Lou Reed, Anthony and the Johnsons and Rufus Wainwright, Joan struck out on a solo path – creating Joan as Police Woman and honing a soulful yet edgy sound that immediately grabbed the attention of critics and audiences. Real Life was released in the UK in 2006 and the US in 2007 to rave reviews. To Survive follows in the footsteps of its predecessor with ten new tracks addressing life, love, death, and the current state of American politics.

Joan as Police Woman will be performing at New York City’s Mercury Lounge on Wednesday, May 14th before embarking on an overseas tour throughout the month of June