15 Years Ago…

2kIt’s sad, but just over 15 years ago, BS 2000 dropped their 2nd, and last LP, Simply Mortified. Grand Royal Records would, months later, cease to exist, and receptive ears of the world would never again hear the bubblegum grunge of BS 2000. One can only imagine what they’d sound like today, given the almost two decades of maturity (or utter lack there of), but there’s something peaceful about this short-lived outing that demands incessant spins on random Tuesday evenings. Nobody beats BS 2000, kids.

Finding Thelma

ThelmaLong after the rowdy Seattle serpents threw down the mic for what we THOUGHT was the last time, I found their last studio offering, 2001’s Thelma (EP) at a dingy little thrift store in Ventura, CA. The cover of this album housed a layer of funk so bad it emitted a murky cloud on its travel from shelf to turntable, but this was the Murder City Devils, and its physical filth only seemed to add to the band’s grimy (in an exceptionally good way) persona.

They’ve since recorded 2014’s The White Ghost Has Blood on Its Hands Again which, until researching for this post, I had no idea even existed. The checklist has just been updated.

These Ways are Like, Relative, Man

TofDAs much as I loathe Interscope Records and their shady, artist-disrespecting business behavior, one can’t overlook the phenomenal impact of this Austin post-hardcore collective. Relative Ways, the 2nd single off …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead’s 2002 masterwork, Source Tags & Codes, combines neatly placed angst with melodic and weighty clouds of rhythmic bliss, or some type shit. It’s catchy as all hell, but heavy enough to do away with the guilt brought on by obsessive and repeated listens. With a $1.99 price tag, she ain’t a bad find!

WMAD Welcomes Weezer

WeezerWeezer > Tenacious D in just about every conceivable equation, except for live performances. Pinkerton, the Blue Album, and to some extent the Green Album, are examples of some of the best pop-rock to hit the 90s and early 2000s. The D’s debut is flawless, but 2006’s The Pick of Destiny is virtually unlistenable. I was primped and properly anticipating one of the best nights of music entertainment I’d ever witnessed, that dreary day back in late 2001, but I left feeling unfulfilled by the mighty kings of Weez. Not knowing what to expect, and marginally perplexed by the unconventional pairings of these two seemingly unlinkable bands, I walked away, past a sea of parked, vacant cars, wishing the D had been the headliner. Subdued, shoe-gazing, stand-still rock certainly has its place, but the 22-year-old version of yours truly wanted no part of it.

The Time I Almost Missed Bob Dylan

Bob DylanBob Dylan, for me, has never been the pedestal-placing monarch that many people view him as. I’ve always respected Robert Zimmerman, the Minnesota native, and have conveniently dodged his raspy snarls when hand-selecting my life’s playlist. I certainly have nothing against his revolutionary impact on pop music, or his distinctive brand of folk-rock, I guess I just never really got around to it. With the (more than) understood philosophy of “too little music, not enough time,” the bellowing observations of Mr. Dylan never made the cut. He’d been Chopped before ever entering my personal music kitchen, for those of you who are fans of The Food Network.

An opportunity presented itself back in (date) that would have been unbelievably stupid to pass up. My mom scored free tickets to a Bob Dylan performance in Madison, WI, and kindly offered them to me. Using the term scored as a drug reference when referring to my mother is humorous to me, and kind of appropriate for ol’ Bob’s transcendent vibe. Anyway, to make a short story even longer, my show-going companion and I got the time of the show mixed up (by a good couple hours) and we arrived just as ol’ Times They Are A Changin’ had started his 2nd encore. He played All Along the Watchtower, something else I didn’t recognize, and then he was gone.

Perhaps if I’d been more of a fan (or one at all), I’d have made sure of the correct time, but never the less, I can truthfully say, I’ve seen Bob Dylan.

Saturday, April 21, 2001

RFTC at The MetroThe day: Saturday, April 21st, 2001. The venue: Chicago’s Metro. The event: International Noise Conspiracy opening up for Rocket from the Crypt.

It had been two, LONG years since I’d last seen Rocket from the Crypt in concert. I had been living in Milwaukee for little over a year at this point, and in that time, when San Diego’s finest came within driving distance (essentially any venue in any state bordering Wisconsin), you dropped whatever you were doing and you got your ass to the show.

This was the third time I’d seen Rocket from the Crypt, and before even fueling up the car to head some 90+ miles into Illinois territory, I had already made up my mind that, amid the enormous amount of live acts I’d seen up to that point, no other experience had topped the raw and ecstatic vigor of Rocket from the Crypt. I’ve seen a plethora of shows since that cloudy spring day, and my assessment has since proved to be 100% accurate.

Being an avid Refused fan and never having the esteemed opportunity to see them perform live, my youthful self was barely able to contain the restless fever of seeing Refused’s frontman, Dennis Lyxzén and his new, post-Refused band, The (International) Noise Conspiracy. To see a fraction of Refused open up for the greatest live act I had, and would ever see, was enough to blow the feeble mind of my 21-year-old self.

RFTC StubI escaped the evening intact, but only barely. It would be exactly 3 months (July 21, 2001) until I saw Rocket from the Crypt again, and I had to close the Hollywood Video where I worked an hour and a half early in order to do so, but that’s a story for another time.

Chem Bros – It Began in Afrika

AfrikaIt may have began in Afrika for the rest of the civilized world (as well as the uncivilized… I’m looking at you, Oxnard, CA), but for Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, the foundations of Big-Beat-Funk were forged in the furious fires that first began in Manchester, England.

It Began in Afrika was the first single off 2002’s Come With Us, and peaked at number 8 in the UK. An exclusive, DJ only version of the track was released as Electronic Battle Weapon 5 (part of the 2nd disc offered in 2008’s compilation, Brotherhood) in June of 2001, before it was reworked for a wider audience on this official release with the more identifiable title change.

StickerA sticker on the front sleeve lists the b-side, Hot Acid Rhythm 1, as a track to be offered from their forthcoming album, out in 2002. Hot Acid Rhythm 1 does not, however, show up on Come With Us, and as far as I can tell, only exists on this single.

It’s nearly impossible to wrap my head around how profound the “throw away” tracks are in the vast, blood-boiling, beat banging, Chem Bros catalog. Literally EVERYTHING they release is top shelf ear stimulants, and as always, comes housed in digable and displayable cover art.Label

2001: A Space Odyssey

Odyssey CoverThere exists a finite number of films that match the vast, mind-numbing greatness that surrounds 2001: A Space Odyssey… and that finite number is zero. No other film captures the imagination, the theology, the spectacular visual effects, and the brilliant forward thinking quiet like 2001, and the soundtrack that accompanies this visual adventure, albeit a collection of classics, is nothing short of essential listening material for any, and every fan of the medium.

Released in 1968, the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to 2001: A Spacy Odyssey captures that eerie sense of uncertainty and foreboding doom that is seemingly inevitable for the lineage of mankind. Long, drawn-out landscapes (track three’s Lux Aeterna), dispense agitated spasms of echoed ambiguity, almost as if a spaceship, or a lifeless body, were floating within the vast unknown that is outer space. The first half of the album, before The Blue Danube kicks in, is very grim and despairing, which is exactly the subtextual emotion needed for the beginnings of the inevitable end. The journey into the soul is not a day at the beach.

Odyssey BackMuch like the opening track, Also Sprach Zarathustra, Johann Strauss’ The Blue Danube is, and forever will be unified with 2001: A Space Odyssey. Both songs have been used in a barrage of other films and commercials, but I couldn’t name a single one of them. If the visual wonders of this film are the planet, then its music is the planet’s gravitational pull. Forever will they be linked, and forever will they rely on each other to exist.

Like the stars of a constellation traveling light-years to reach our retinas, 2001: A Space Odyssey will forever live as the greatest romantic achievement in cinematic history, and it is supported, in large part, by its shining light… its penetrating and hermetic music.

Not unlike the open and infinite vacuum of the vast intergalactic void, this music is much, much bigger than we are, and it needs to be ingested into our pores and delivered from our radiating conscious so that we can experience, and through that, understand the meaning behind man’s true potential.Odyssey Experience