Category Archives: Music’s Greatest

Chris Cornell: Soundgarden–Remembered

The first time I heard Soundgarden, I was around 17. I later heard them more properly in my early 20’s at the legendary party house of “302,” in Normal, Illinois–land of ISU. To understand 302, all you need to know is this–you had to know someone to get in, or you had to look really cool. That meant–freaks, punk rockers, goth, death rockers, skinheads, new wavers, boarders, and the like were in–all others were out.  In the basement of 302, we would at times see bands including The Flaming Lips play just inches from us. It was here in the basement too, where each room was a different ‘theme,’ and where massive Marshall stack speakers blasted at top pro  sound quality and deafening volume, the latest of all the best music including everything from Jane’s Addiction, Metallica, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Cure, The Smiths, and the Sex Pistols, to the more obscure My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, Nitzer Ebb, Ministry, Killing Joke, Sisters of Mercy,  Reagan Youth, and more. Soundgarden was on regular rotation, and we all loved the band and recognized them as the greats that they were–including of course–Chris Cornell.  The frat houses played Zeppelin, we played Jane’s Addiction and Soundgarden.  Not that we didn’t appreciate and love Zeppelin, but we hit 304 (the 60’s and 70’s party next door) on another night. This was our generation–Soundgarden, Nirvana, Hole, Fugazi, and more.

To those that needed trendy labels, Soundgarden was a part of the so called Seattle grunge scene, along with Alice in Chains, Mudhoney, and Nirvana, among more. To the rest of us, they were just a great, no frills rock band that jammed like few others.

The loss of Chris Cornell–reportedly by suicide, is not only shocking and sad, it makes little sense. Perhaps his family and those others who knew and loved him can understand it, but the rest of the world do not. Some will argue his music and lyrics were dark–which they were. Yet he had a new tour underway, and a family he loved back home. Whether the rumor is true or not–suicide is never a solution. Soundgarden and Audioslave were legendary. Chris Cornell was a masterful talent with a soaring voice like none other.  Seattle is mourning with dimming of the Space Needle. The rest of the music world from all genres who knew and appreciated him are mourning too.  A greatly underappreciated artist in many respects, he will be forever remembered, and greatly missed.

–Bruce Edwin

Textual content copyright Bruce Edwin 2017, all rights reserved.

Phantogram On Fire

Anyone that states that music is not as good as it used to be needs to catch up with the times. Thanks to artists including Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Grimes, Warpaint, Autolux, Lana Del Rey, Empire of the Sun, and many more, music today is as great as ever.
One of the most brilliant bands to emerge in the past decade–Phantogram is a part of music’s greatness today, and the band soars. subnormal magazine names them one of the Top 10 New Artists of our Time. From pounding bass beats, melodic, swirling kaleidoscopic freak outs of searing guitar, trippy, hypnotic keyboards, brilliant songwriting and lyrics, and a sultry, perfect voice by the drop dead sexy Sarah Barthel, combined with a vast myriad of great, artistic videos, Phantogram is in a class by themselves, and like none you have ever heard. Stellar geniuses,and masters of their killer sound, they are a legendary new band that just make us want to dance.  –Bruce Edwin, subnormal magazine

Phantogram: Biography

Three, Phantogram’s third studio album, the duo of Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel take their sound in an intriguing, darkly shaded direction, adding new textures to their signature style.

Three represents a new creative peak that Phantogram has been building towards for nearly a decade. Carter and Barthel first broke out in 2009 with the cinematic Eyelid Movies (Barsuk) – recorded in a barn in Saratoga Springs, NY (near their hometown of Greenwich) – and after a buzz-building EP (Nightlife, Barsuk) and much touring, Phantogram opted for a change of scenery by recording their expansive second LP, 2014’s Voices (Republic),in Los Angeles with co-producer John Hill (M.I.A., Santigold).

In between Voices (which spawned the hits “Fall In Love” and “Black Out Days”) and Three, Phantogram have certainly kept busy. They contributed to The Flaming Lips’ The Terror, A-Trak’s “Parallel Lines,”and Miley Cyrus’ Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz, remixed Charli XCX, and were sampled by Kanye West and A$AP Rocky, as well as a collaboration project called Big Grams with OutKast’s Big Boi. Following the release of a critically-acclaimed self-titled debut album in late 2015, Big Grams has proved to be a festival mainstay in 2016 – entertaining huge audiences with compelling sets riddled with Big Grams’ psychedelic hip-hop, and rounded out with the two acts’ mashups of each other’s hit songs.

Despite the full schedule, Carter and Barthel find themselves far from creatively tapped-out. Recent collaborations pushed them musically and Three displays a surging energy and appealing experimentation, effectively showcasing a band reaching for and achieving new aesthetic heights.

The album was recorded over the past year at co-producer Ricky Reed’s Echo Park-based studio. Finding inspiration in unlikely places for a band increasingly heard on commercial alternative and pop radio, Carter found fresh perspective in AfroBeat and ‘60’s R&B when creating the steady beats that form the foundation of the album. Despite the new influences and a strong experimental motivation, Three still unmistakably sounds like Phantogram, with plenty of thick, buzzing beats and snaking melodic lines to sink your teeth into.

Three is a triumphant record, but it also bears the mark of personal tragedy. During the recording process, the band suffered a devastating loss when Barthel’s sister (and Carter’s close friend since childhood) Becky passed away of suicide. Work on music stopped immediately, but then as the duo slowly returned to the studio the aftermath of their personal loss (compounded by the deaths of David Bowie and Prince, two of Phantogram’s greatest musical heroes and inspirations) began to reverberate throughout the process, imbuing the album with varied shades of complicated, human emotion that Carter refers to as “Finding the beauty within tragedy.”

“It’s about heartbreak, and having to push forward and move on—and how challenging that is,” Barthel states. “It’s made us the people we really are, and it’s a huge part of what this record means to us.”

Along with exploring new emotional territory, Three also finds Phantogram breaking new sonic ground. The album’s eclectic, bold songs swerve from pop-inflected bangers (like lead single “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore” and album-closer “Calling All”) to the skipping melancholia of “Answer,” which strikes a perfect balance between loping hip-hop rhythms, understated balladry, and gauzy indie-rock. Meanwhile, more experimental, psych-influenced pieces like “Run Run Blood,” the harrowing Steve Reich-sample-driven “Barking Dog,” and “Funeral Pyre” (a re-working of longtime live staple “Intro” that, fittingly, opens the album) somehow are perfectly at ease alongside the darkly beautiful, cathartic ballad “Destroyer,” all capturing themes of heartbreak, anguish and perseverance; second single “Same Old Blues,” the smoky, menacing duet “You’re Mine,” and the icy determination of “Cruel World” bring listeners back to the sample-heavy, synth-driven Phantogram sound that has found them an extensive, dedicated fan base.

An iridescent record that glows with warmth even as it explores the desolation of personal pain, Three is the latest chapter in Phantogram’s impressive ascent to the forefront of music—as well as proof that nothing, at this point, can hold them back.

 We’re still obsessed with the amazing single “Fall in Love”, and its brilliant video, here below:

Biography and video courtesy of Phantogram / Republic / UMG, copyright 2017, all rights reserved.

PAUL KANTNER

Jefferson Airplane’s Paul Kantner will be greatly missed. I had the honor to meet and hear this legendary guitarist with Jefferson Airplane live, many years ago, as a guest of Janis Joplin’s band Big Brother and the Holding Company. Paul Kantner was amazing. When I first heard his work on “White Rabbit,” and (Don’t you want) “Somebody to Love,” I was blown away with his bands phenomenal sound.

About Town

 Swarming Orchids will be rocking the stage this Saturday at Bar Sinister in Hollywood.  Soriah will be joining them on stage as opener, with Askelon Sain up first.

Grimes Releases New Video

The brilliant multi-media recording artist and producer Grimes shares the official video for ‘Venus Fly,’ which she released to the world recently.  Hollywood Sentinel named Grimes as one of the Top 10 Greatest Artists of Our Time last year, and ‘Venus Fly,’ brilliantly mixing house, drum and bass, dance, techno, trance, and more, solidifies that decision. Directed and edited by Grimes, the video also features Janelle Monáe. ‘Venus Fly’ is now live online. ‘Venus Fly’ is taken from Grimes’ critically-adored album ‘Art Angels’ (4AD). Last year, Grimes toured for the album, selling out venues and headlining festivals around the world. Regarding her outstanding directing, Grimes says of the video, “We used the Phantom cameras to create a feeling of time suspended.” Check out the video here:

New Movies

Their Finest

Image, copyright, 2017, Warner Brothers, all rights reserved.
With London emptied of its men now fighting at the Front, Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) is hired by the British Ministry of Information as a “slop” scriptwriter charged with bringing “a woman’s touch” to morale-boosting propaganda films, in the motion picture from Warner BrothersTheir Finest. Her natural flair quickly gets her noticed by dashing movie producer Buckley (Sam Claflin) whose path would never have crossed hers in peacetime. As bombs are dropping all around them, Catrin, Buckley and a colorful crew work furiously to make a film  that will warm the hearts of the nation. Although Catrin’s artist husband looks down on her job,  she quickly discovers there is as much camaraderie, laughter and passion behind the camera as  there is onscreen.
GRAMMY® AWARD-WINNING  MEGHAN TRAINOR RELEASES NEW SONG “I’M A LADY” FROM “SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE”
GRAMMY® Award-winning MEGHAN TRAINOR will release her new song “I’m a Lady” from Sony Pictures Animation’s upcoming film Smurfs: The Lost Villagetomorrow on Epic Records worldwide. The accompanying music video will premiere next Friday, March 3.
Trainor also announced that she will be voicing one of the new characters from Smurfs: The Lost Village, SmurfMelody, in the fully animated film.
“I’m so excited to be singing ‘I’m a Lady’ for this movie,” said Trainor.  “It’s a song that I love and am very proud of, and I can’t wait for the world to finally hear it! Getting to play a small part in the film with my character, SmurfMelody, makes this all the more exciting! So happy to be a part of the Smurfs family!”
 This content is copyright, 2017, and other respective parties wherein indicated, Hollywood Sentinel, all rights reserved.

The Greatest Rock Band of All Time

SONIC YOUTHsonic-youth
Named the Greatest Rock Band Of All Time by subnormal magazine, and The Hollywood Sentinel– Sonic Youth is in a class by themselves. With only perhaps the late great Jimi Hendrix coming even close to the psychedelic, sonic power of guitar greatness that this band possesses, Sonic Youth has made and shaped music history since their first inception back in the early eighties.

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Influencing Nirvana heavily, and countless other bands, the style of Sonic Youth can be heard in countless so called alternative rock acts. With brilliant songwriting, genius composition, stellar lyrics, Earth shaking drums, and mind blowing guitar and bass, there simply is no rock band greater then Sonic Youth.

EliteConnections

I have had the pleasure to meet Sonic Youth numerous times, and see them many more times live. Their performances live are among the top 10 Greatest Concerts I have ever seen, and I have seen hundreds.  If you have not yet heard this life changing band, do yourself the favor and explore their massive and magnificent work. –Bruce Edwin

 To jog your memory:

Sonic Youth began way back in 1980 in the downtown disaster unit of NYC. First three records (Sonic Youth, Confusion is Sex, Kill Yr Idols) began in 1981 on the Neutral label started by Glenn Branca. They then signed to Gerard Cosloy’s Homestead imprint releasing Bad Moon Rising and the Flower/Halloween 12” to universal intrigue and acclaim. They switched labels to release records (Sister, Evol) on SST, the Southern California label overseen by Greg Ginn of Black Flag, while Mr. Cosloy went on to join Matador Records with Chris Lombardi. Concurrently they established a relationship with Paul Smith and Blast First Records in the UK co-releasing the Homestead and SST titles and culminating with the massive end of the decade double LP Daydream Nation, since added to the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress. The band signed to DGC/Geffen in 1990 and began an ascendant affair there releasing Goo and Dirty to much heated excitement until the label became a scattered asylum.

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They  continued to release strange, out-of–step recordings with Geffen throughout the 90s and early 2000s. Young wizard Jim O’Rourke came on board with the band as a multi-instrumentalist/producer collaborating on two of their most progressive LPS to date, Murray Street and Sonic Nurse, as well as the ongoing series of experimental LPs on the bands own SYR imprint.  After Jim’s departure, and after releasing Rather Ripped, their final statement on Geffen (and which ranked third in Rolling Stone’s Top 50 Albums of 2006) the band recruited their pal from compatriot 90s band Pavement, Mark Ibold, to play bass. After a solid bout of touring Mark joined the band in the recording of The Eternal. The cover art is a painting by the late, great American folk artist John Fahey. This is where we live forever.  Sweet Dreams…

 Thurston Moore 2/2009

 

SONIC YOUTH is:

Thurston Moore..vocals, guitar

Kim Gordon…vocals, bass

Steve Shelley…drums

Lee Ronaldo…guitar

Mark Ibold…guitar (newer lineup)

(early version…Bob Bert…drums)

(earlier version…Richard Edson..drums)

(earlier version…Ann Demarinis…keyboards)

SONIC YOUTH RELATED TOURS

October 21 Body/Head Sao Paulo, Brazil – SESC Pinheiros
Oct 21 – Lee with Brian Chase, Suzy Ibarra @ The Stone NYC
October 22 Body/Head Sao Paulo, Brazil – SESC Pinheiros
November 1 Sun Kil Moon w/ steve shelley Shanghai, China – QSW Cul…
November 2 Sun Kil Moon w steve Beijing, China – Yugong Yishan
Nov 09 – Lee and El Rayo Band – Dudingen, Switzerland
November 10 Body/Head Baltimore, MD – Ottobar
Nov 10 – Lee and El Rayo Band – Reims, France
November 11 Body/Head Philadelphia, PA – PhilMOCA
Nov 11 – Lee and El Rayo Band – Utrecht – Le Guess Who festival
Nov 12 – Lee and El Rayo Band – Paris – Point FMR
November 12 Body/Head Brooklyn, NY – National Sawdust
Nov 13 – Lee and El Rayo Band – London
Nov 15 – Lee and El Rayo Band – Derby UK
Nov 16 – Lee and El Rayo Band – Edinburgh UK
Nov 17 – Lee and El Rayo Band – Leeds, UK
November 17 Body/Head Los Angeles, CA – Masonic Lodge – Hollywood …
Nov 18 – Lee and El Rayo Band – Colchester UK
Nov 10 – Lee and El Rayo Band – Brugge Belgium
Nov 21 – Lee and El Rayo Band – Cologne, Germany
Nov 22 – Lee and El Rayo Band – Berlin, Germany

This content is copyright, SYR, Thurston Moore, 2016, and Hollywood Sentinel, 2016, all rights reserved.   subnormal magazine

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