Tuesday, April 3, 2012

In Order to Know Virtue, We Must First Acquaint Ourselves with Vice…

Well colour me surprised as fuck. A broody musician called William Control was brought to my attention recently, by a friend. The best way to describe Control’s sound would be to call it something dark and ominous lurking just out of sight in the shadows, waiting to pounce on pretty young things on their merry way home-like the creature in the horror movie with pain in its eyes. Were The Editors, Joy Division and Depeche Mode to miraculously have a lovechild of the musical sort (this may sound like the chalkboard nails of sacrilege to some of you, but untwist your panties and LISTEN), William Control would be it. Now I’m a sucker for that almost industrial electronic sound-a la Sisters of Mercy- so I was pretty much hooked straight off the bat: I mean if you can successfully cover a Joy Division song, you simply must be God or pretty damn close.

Like a smack head, desperate for any way to get my next fix of this previously unexplored and uncommonly worthwhile drug I turned over a few rocks to see what was there. What I came upon, however, was like a new tattoo: painful as fuck, but satisfying beyond compare. William Control is in fact one Wil Francis; lead vocalist of Seattle “rock” band Aiden. I can’t cope with Aiden, I just can’t do it. I never even REALLY tried; they never made me want to. At best, I pegged Wil Francis for a painfully mediocre My Chemical Romance wannabe: at worst a hack riding the already broken and diminished wave of black and red wearing 17 year olds. Hearing that the vocalist of a band that I so vehemently dislike is the same one that I’ve just fallen head over platform stripper heels for is somewhat of a shock to my system-kind of like putting on your boot and realizing there’s something in it that just shouldn’t be there-that sudden wave of overwhelming ickyness.

 I am NOT someone who likes to admit that they may have jumped the proverbial gun…ever. I stand by what I say, because I generally mean it (unless you catch me after one too many Long Island Iced Teas…then I am seldom able to string a coherent sentence together let alone formulate an opinion.). In this case, I was wrong. I judged the baby by its cover, tossed the book out with the bathwater and spoke before all my chickens had hatched. William Control has graced the Underworld: Rise of the Lycans OST (with Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba) this year’s Underworld: Awakening OST and The Used’s new album Vulnerable. Understated and not cranked out by the music machine, Control is everything that Aiden is not. He’s managed to keep verses minimal and empty; like the barrel of a shotgun and just as solid. He’s and crafted choruses into intense and frantic hurricanes, focusing themes and points so sharply that you don’t even realise how tense you are till the music stops. Control should be weary of repeating the past; we already have one Dave Gahan. Obviously no one’s perfect, and here or there there’s an effect or a vocal that makes me shake my head , sigh inwardly and think “Shame innit” with a British accent (for no apparent reason)…but then I think that about myself on a near constant basis. The fact that I had no idea that it was possible for an artist to be that versatile was, in itself, enough to make me get my head out of my ass and prepare to admit my fallibility. An admission well admitted, and a lesson well learned. 

Control’s new album, Silentium Amoris, was released on April 2nd.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Just play me something I can dance to, I can dance to anything you wanna sing.

So this new Blink 182 album, Neighborhoods: it’s controversial. People are saying “It’s too ‘Angels and Airwaves/Plus 44-ey…we want the old Blink back.” WELL YOU CAN’T HAVE THEM. Go buy Enema of the State from the bargain section of your local record store, (I got it for Christmas two years ago and my year was made) wipe the shit way from the corners of your fat mouths and scrape the radio rock out of your ears for five seconds.

The thing is, as you grow and change as a human being, experience personal tragedy or bliss and life the plates in your own little world begin to shift, the old you becomes the new you second by second, hour by hour, year by year.As the Great Bob Dylan said- the times, they are a'changing. When people said that their previous self titled album was their “coming of age album” they were totally and abysmally wrong. 2003’s (yes, it was actually that long ago…I hadn’t even left high school yet-shock horror GASP) Blink 182 was at best dreary, apart from Feeling This (the song which would define their new sound) and Miss You-the song which proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that pop punk can be emotive. Neighborhoods came as a shock to me, after the band electing to take an indefinite hiatus and Travis Barkers much publicized but thankfully not fatal plane crash. I have to be honest, I’m biased in terms of this album; I went through a whole mess of personal hell last year after listening to Neighborhoods and falling head over heels in love with it. It took me four full months to force myself to listen to the album again, and when I did it made me feel…EVERYTHING, all at once. An album that can bring about a change in one person’s life is an album well made.

Blink 182 has morphed from high school memories into a group of men that can actually change lives. Don’t get me wrong here; listening to Dude Ranch makes me want to steal the nearest kid’s deck and earn me a roasty, I adore their old “we will wear our white socks up to the knees of our cargo shorts if we want to” albums. But this, this is something truly note worthy. The two videos released for the album so far, After Midnight and Up All Night give the world a taste of the old Blink punk beats, perfectly melded with a smooth, airy guitar sound and lyrics that speak to the experiences that make you who you are as a human. Please, forgive the sappiness, but this is an album that makes you feel like if you wanted it enough, and you really tried you could sprout wings and fly. Watch the videos and if you want to lie to yourself and say that they don’t expose a raw side of the band nobody has ever seen before, that they don’t make you want to be a better life form than the one that you are now and that it’s not just DAMN good songwriting, then go ahead…jackass.I look up to these men now, as people who have lived and want to make my life better for it.

Go buy the album, right now. Sell your dog if you must…but this album is golden in the best way. It’s the tides changing in music that has helped define me since I thought it was cool to wear guys shoes and I believe every Blink fan should experience it.