Entries tagged with: Al Cisneros
J. Mascis / Frank Black
Throughout the 90s and the first half of the 2000s, Dinosaur Jr. was one of the last rock groups you would have expected to get the old band back together, go on tour, and record new music--not to mention new music that's every bit as good as anything the original lineup made in the 80s. When J Mascis unceremoniously kicked out Lou Barlow, his high school friend and longtime bandmate, in 1989, it seemed like a mercy killing of the original lineup, which had devolved into a psychodramatic mess, marred by lack of communication and irreconcilable personality difference between Mascis and Barlow. ("It makes me sick that I spent six or seven years putting my heart and soul into that band," Barlow told Cut zine in 1990. "They're sleazebag snob pigs like no one I have met in my entire life. J's always been an asshole.") Mascis and Murph, and then just Mascis, went on to record a string of major-label records throughout the 90s that, though inconsistent, contain some of Dinosaur Jr.'s best and most well-known songs.
When Mascis killed Dinosaur Jr. in 1997, it seemed inconceivable that, a decade later, Mascis, Barlow and Murph would reunite. Time heals all wounds, I guess. It's perhaps less surprising that the band would be able to ably reprise their sprawling, melodic, blitzkrieg guitar-rock sound. Three records in to the latter-day reign of Dinosaur Jr., the band sounds as good as they ever have.
On Saturday at Terminal 5, Dinosaur Jr. celebrated the 25th anniversary of the release of You're Living All Over Me, their second album and the one that made nonchalance cool, made the extended guitar solo cool (again), and wedded melodic tendencies with noise and feedback in a theretofore unheard of fashion in the indie rock underground. The band opened their set with "Thumb," from 1991's Green Mind, with Suzanne Thorp of Mercury Rev guesting on flute, before Mascis matter-of-factly announced that now they'd be playing You're Living All Over Me in full.
A sleepy-looking Lee Ranaldo came out to share vocals with J on "Little Fury Things." Guests, some announced ahead of time, would be a recurring theme throughout the night, but not until later. Dinosaur Jr. ripped through the songs on their best album as if it were 1987 all over again. "Sludgefeast" was a punishing onslaught of guitar and staccato, gunfire drums, with Mascis's high lonesome whine cutting through the gain and distortion. "Tarpit" set off joyous dancing, propelled by Barlow's chunky bass chords and a deafening roar from Mascis's Jazzmaster that threatened to draw blood from the ears.
Watching Barlow and Mascis play on stage, it's not hard to extrapolate the personality differences that created their rift. Barlow, with his black Rickenbacker slung low, literally bounces from one foot to the other when playing, the joy at doing just this very thing--playing to an audience--so evident. He smiles, he cracks jokes, he acts as if he's living through the music. Mascis, on the other hand, with his laconic, slowhands style and deadpan announcements ("All right. Thanks a lot. That was side one."), plays as if the music lives through him. He's the hermetic savant tuned in to a frequency no one else can hear.
Barlow brought out a ukulele for "Poledo," the "awkward end to the amazing record," in his words. The cavernous space of Terminal 5 made the strident desolation of the song even more acute.
The second half of the show is the stuff legendary bootlegs are made of. A succession of guests filed onstage to help Dinosaur Jr. play their songs, or to transform them into other bands entirely. The first was Frank Black, who sang and played guitar on "Almost Fare," from this year's I Bet On Sky. Next, the band plus Black covered one of Black's songs--"Tame," from The Pixies' Doolittle. Black roared the chorus, tossed a painting into the first rows of the crowd, and exited. Kurt Vile, whose band opened the show, and Al Cisneros from Sleep were next. Cisneros took over bass duties from Barlow for a couple of songs, including the doom metal glazer "Alone" from 1997's Hand It Over. Harvey Milk's Kyle Spence took the drums for that one.
Smiths and Modest Mouse guitarist Johnny Marr and Broken Social Scene guru Kevin Drew emerged to play "The Wagon" with J, Lou and Murph. Then they covered Smiths track "The Boy With the Thorn In His Side," the words to which J was, uh, a little unsure of. Melvins drummer Dale Crover relieved Murph behind the kit for a skin-searing rendition of "Training Ground," a song by Mascis and Barlow's pre-Dinosaur hardcore band, Deep Wound. Don Fleming of Gumball and Dante Ferrando of Iron Cross helped the band cover "Crucified," and Kim Gordon gave a tempestuous performance on "Don't", Barlow's song from Bug that directly addresses the fractured relationship between him and Mascis. Gordon screamed, bellowed and cooed the song's one lyric ("Why don't you like me?") over and over again, dropping to her knees and falling to the stage like she was having an exorcism. It was intense. If Sonic Youth is over, she should start a hardcore band.
The encore began with a cover of the Stooges classic, "T.V. Eye," with Tommy Stinson on bass and Fred Armisen (whose show, Portlandia, will feature an appearance from J Mascis in its upcoming third season) on drums. Dinosaur Jr. closed with two classics: "Start Choppin" and "Freak Scene," the song that invented the slacker generation. It was a poignant, circle-closing moment. "Because when I need a friend," J sang, "it's still you," we all responded. The night was an amazing tribute to a great band, 25 years removed from their (so-far) signature achievement and, improbably, still going strong.
More pictures, some videos, and the setlist from the show (which also counted John Petkovic of Death of Samantha as a guest), below...
photos by Fred Pessaro // BBG
Om @ Bowery Ballroom - 11/21/12
Om were supposed to tour over the summer in support of their new album, Advaitic Songs, but had to reschedule the tour due to Emil Amos' arm injury. The new run of dates began earlier this month in Chicago and hit NYC on Wednesday (11/21) at Bowery Ballroom. Om is now officially a trio with Emil and Al Cisneros being joined by Robert Lowe (aka Lichens). Like he did on the rest of the tour, Daniel Higgs (of Lungfish) opened the show.
More pictures and videos from the show, below...
photos by Greg Cristman
Happy Holidays! I take on more than I can handle. That results in a lot of unposted content. In the name of catching up, while also taking it easy during this final/first week of the year, here's some of that lost material.
The Aquarian: How was it being on stage with Shrinebuilder, as opposed to with Om?Shrinebuilder, Rwake and Liturgy teamed up on 11/15 for a BV-sponsored show at Le Poisson Rouge, an exclusive appearance from the supergroup. We already posted a set of pictures. Check out a second set below...
Al Cisneros: It's definitely a different band. There's different elements that converge in both. A different combination. When a song and a riff opens up, be it Om or Shrinebuilder, I go right into it the same way always, as myself. It's different in the sense that there's different elements, different melody lines that come in, different instruments of course. Different song structures, but you know, in a way, it's very similar.
by Black Bubblegum
DOWNLOAD: Sir Richard Bishop - Kaddak el Mayass (MP3)
Om in Brooklyn 9/23/08
On September 8th, Drag City will proclaim that God is Good. The duo of Al Cisneros (who recently played his final show in Sleep) and Emil Amos (also of Grails/Holy Sons) will release their new four track LP of that name, their first LP together and the first Om LP since 2007's Pilgrimage. More details on the Steve Albini-produced album to come.
In addition to the new Om album, Al Cisneros has also helmed a new compilation for Arthur Magazine. Entitled Transmissions from Sinai and featuring art from the legendary Arik Roper, the disc contains contributions from some of the usual Cisneros suspects (Current 93, Scott Kelly, Holy Sons, Grails, Wino) as well as previously unreleased tracks from J. Mascis, Six Organs of Admittance, Lichens, and Sir Richard Bishop. The full tracklisting is below. For more information and to order that disc, head to Arthur.
Sir Richard Bishop
Arthur CD contributor, Sun City Girl, and Om's Drag City label-mate, Sir Richard Bishop double teams NYC in the coming days, with a show on June 13th at The Studio @ Webster Hall with Zaimph, and then two nights later with Bill Callahan (and a BV photo show) at MHOW. Sir Richard Bishop's new album THE FREAK OF ARABY was released by Drag City in May. All of his tour dates are below.
Current 93 recently dropped Aleph at Hallucinatory Mountain, as well as Monohallucinatory Mountain, the mono version of said record. Pick that up at David Michael Tibet's site. Spanning eight tracks over it's 53+ minutes, the LP features contributions from James Blackshaw, William Breeze (ex-Coil), Ossian Breeze (Coil), Rickie Lee Jones, Matt Sweeney, Andrew WK, Sasha Grey, and many many others.
All tour dates and stuff below...
by Black Bubblegum
"So I have to be guarded in a way and kinda prepare myself for what's gonna happen, because when it happens, I don't even know."
From their crust punk origins of more than twenty years ago, Scott Kelly and Neurosis have forged their own path with searing imperial riffery and singular artistic vision. Over the course of nine LPs including 2007's critically acclaimed Given To The Rising, Neurosis's firebrand mix of hardcore, metal, psychedelia, and all-of-the-above has inspired fans and musicians alike, giving way to sub-genres and sub-sub-genres based on their compelling, emotive songwriting.
Outside of Neurosis, Scott Kelly has took on additional projects like Blood & Time, Tribes of Neurot, solo recordings, his online radio station Combat Music Radio, and Neurot Recordings. In addition, Kelly announced his involvement in Shrinebuilder, an underground metal supergroup featuring Scott "Wino" Weinrich, Al Cisneros (Om, Sleep), and Dale Crover (Melvins).
With Roadburn 2009 going down this weekend in Tilburg and Neurosis on board to curate Beyond The Pale, we sat down with Scott Kelly in March to discuss Neurosis, the making of Shrinebuilder's debut LP, and why children's mobiles should come installed with music box versions of Lunar Womb!
Where are you exactly in the process as far as Shrinebuilder is concerned? I know you provided recent updates on your blog, but since then, how's it coming along?
We are basically in the same spot we were... Not finished mixing yet, artwork's not done yet, but getting closer on both. Wino ended up doing an extra day of guitar in Baltimore about ten days after he did the initial recording and Dale's done a little bit of percussion overdubs and we've been kinda dialing in each song a little at a time. Its actually really close to a final mix. Al is recording the new Om album in Chicago, so when he gets done he'll be in there with those guys. I'd expect to have it all mixed probably within a couple weeks... it's really close.
by Black Bubblegum
Asbestosdeath started life as trio consisting of Al Cisneros on bass, Chris Hakius on drums, and Tom Choi on guitar. Matt Pike later joined as a second guitarist. They recorded two 7"s: their first ("Unclean", 1990) was self released (Asbestos Records) and a second 7' ("Dejection," 1990) was released later that year by Profane Existence. Choi left Asbestosdeath to form Noothgrush after the release of the second 7". The band recruited Justin Marler to replace Choi and changed their name to Sleep. - [Wikipedia]High On Fire recently announced that they are working on their new album for their new label, Koch Records. Check out great video of Asbestosdeath live at Gilman in 1990 as well as High On Fire live at Amoeba Records in 2007, below...
by Black Bubblegum
Sleep in Germany, 1993 (permission from Al Cisneros)
Sleep departed from this Earth 'round 1996, and not with a bang, but a whimper. In 1995, the future members of Om and High On Fire began work on their third LP, the follow-up to their highly-acclaimed Holy Mountain. Upon completion, Sleep delvered their new album, entitled Dopesmoker to their label, London Records, who deemed it "unmarketable". Undeterred, the band headed back to the studio and reemerged with Jerusalem, a leaner version of Dopesmoker with re-written lyrics. Again, London Records refused and as a result, Sleep disbanded.
Jerusalem AND Dopesmoker have since seen the light of day, and in that time the legend of Sleep has grown by leaps and bounds.
Since it was announced that Sleep would reunite for the ATP's The Fans Strike Back Festival, fans have been clamoring to hear more details about the reunion, as well as the reasons behind it and whether they would play any additional shows. Luckily, we were able to corner Al Cisneros of shortly after his tour of Europe with Om to discuss some of these issues as well as shed some more light on Om, Shrinebuilder, and High On Fire's new album!
When I interviewed you in September, were the plans already in the works, or did the ATP folks corner you at the festival and start to nail it down then?
interview by Black Bubblegum, photos by Zach Dilgard
Al Cisneros & Emil Amos
Om is the brainchild of Al Cisneros. In the wake of Sleep's dissolution, Al founded Om with his former Sleep and Asbestosdeath band-mate Chris Hakius. Sleep's guitarist Matt Pike went on to form High On Fire. Over five years, Om has carved a unique path... retaining the doom appeal of Sleep, while forging a new somber, yet also oddly calming tone over the course of three studio albums and various vinyl releases. Chris Hakius recently left the group, but was quickly replaced by drummer Emil Amos of former Om tourmates Grails.
Emil Amos is a juggler. Besides Grails and his new venture with Om, Amos also has a solo project called Holy Sons. Of course, Al Cisneros is also on the move, most recently forging an indie metal supergroup of sorts called Shrinebuilder - a four piece with Scott "Wino" Weinrich (of Saint Vitus, Hidden Hand, The Obsessed, many others), Scott Kelly (of Neurosis and Blood & Time), and Dale Crover (of Melvins and Porn).
Om was one of many bands who performed at the ATP festival at Kutscher's resort in upstate NY this past weekend. While there, we were able to coax the duo into taking a ride with us in one of the "sea nymphs", aka rowboats, on Kutsher's Lake. Along the way we paddled, and poked and prodded the band about Om, Shrinebuilder and their many other projects including, "Gebel Barkal", a limited Sub Pop 7" they recently put out (both songs from it are available for download on the top of this post). Among other things, we also found out about an electrician who happens to be very talented on the guitar.
Warning, if you have an aversion to poor yachting, please look away now.