Archive for March, 2010

31
Mar
10

Album Review: Deftones – Diamond Eyes

Something about cars always unnerved me, from as far back as I can remember, but it wasn’t until I wrote my first car off that I truly understood why.

Blink, just once, let your concentration lapse for the briefest moment at the wrong time and the resulting bang you hear on collision will be etched into your mind so deep that thinking back on it will give you the shivers.

If you’re lucky.

Chi Cheng was driving back home from his brother’s memorial service on November 4th 2008 when he was involved in a car accident that would have killed him if it weren’t for the three off-duty paramedics that happened to stop at the scene of the crash moments after it happened.

 

 

They saved his life that day, but many would argue it was in vain. Chi slipped into a coma shortly after they found him that he has yet to wake from, a fact that some feared would spell the end of one of the most innovative bands to emerge from the Nu Metal scene of the late 90s and early 2000s.

But the good news is that Deftones are back with a new bassist (Sergio Vega, formerly of Quicksand) and a new studio album, Diamond Eyes, which is their sixth album to date.

Anyone familiar with Deftones’ previous albums would be justified in maintaining a healthy level of scepticism as to whether or not Vega could ever match Cheng’s natural flair as a bassist. Cheng’s thick and mean basslines played a huge roll in defining Deftones’ sledgehammer-heavy sound and he sure as hell wasn’t afraid to step into the spotlight and let his bass lead when a song called for it.

That single fact is probably the only point I can fault on Diamond Eyes. It’s a great album and one that I honestly believe fans will enjoy and critics will give an approving nod to, but there is definitely a Chi-shaped hole where the formidable bassist used to fit and you can hear it.

 

 

The new material is heavy as ever – guitarist Stephen Carpenter’s riffs grind fast and heavy for the most part and drummer Abe Cunningham pulls no punches on his kit, but with the exception of three or four tracks on the album, the rhythm section feels a lot looser than it was with Cheng at the helm.

The opening tracks “Diamond Eyes”, “Royal” and “CMND/CTRL” are pretty standard Deftones fair and didn’t make much of an impression on the first listen, though the soaring chorous of “Diamond Eyes” starts to grow on you fast and the syncopated rhythm of “CMND/CTRL”, coupled with frontman Chino Morino’s screeching vocals (which, by the way, have never sounded better) will definitely get you sitting up and listening.

From there on in the album just gets better and better.

The softer and slower “Beauty School” is a great example of what Vega is capable of when given some space to work with and is reminiscent of the killer track, “The Passenger” which the band did with Tool singer Maynard James Keenan on arguably their best album to date, 2000’s White Pony.

The lyrics “You’re shooting stars / From the barrels of your eyes / It drives me crazy / Just drives me wild” are poetic in their simplicity and come across as being sincere without sounding gag-inducingly cheesy.

There are two other tracks recorded in a similar style on the album, ‘Sextape’ and ‘976-EVIL’ and to be honest these are my three favourite tracks on the album.

The simple fact is that the new lineup just seems to handle the quieter tracks better. The heavier tracks like ‘Rocket Skates’ (the first single), ‘Risk’ and ‘This Place Is Death’ do have their strong points, but without Cheng’s signature basslines, they lack the punch that made albums like Around The Fur (1997) and White Pony (2000) truly great.

The song ‘Prince’ is perhaps the closest the band gets to capturing that old, badass Deftones sound. It builds to a powerful chorous and makes no apologies as it tears through you like a bone saw.

 

 

In my opinion, there are three possible futures for a band like Deftones after Diamond Eyes. The first is to stay in safe territory and record a follow-up to Diamond Eyes that sounds much the same, but the formula will get old fast and chances are the band will slowly start to drop off the radar.

The second would be for the band to explore the sound they’ve perfected on the quieter tracks on the album and take their material in a direction that is slightly more chilled out (by Deftones’ standards) and more widely accessible.

The third future, sadly, is probably the least likely because it would only happen if Cheng woke up from his coma. He would become a rock legend instantly and, if he was still able to record and tour with the band, could finish working on the album they were recording prior to his accident, Eros, which according to Morino was their most experimental, unorthodox and edgy project to date.

Sure, it’s idealistic, but for the sake of his fans and family I hope he recovers. In the meantime though, hats off to the guys for sticking to their guns and recording an album which, while it might not be their best, still kicks a whole lot of ass and proves without a doubt that no matter what happens, you can’t keep a good band down.

Final verdict: 7/10

30
Mar
10

SlickTiger Industries © Presents…

It’s been a long time in the making, but I’m finally ready to announce something pretty mindblowing that is going to feature right here, on this, the MOST ill-conceived site on the interwebs EVER.

The idea came to me in a rare moment of clarity while I was washing the dishes last night and the second it struck me, my jaw went completely slack, like a punch-drunk fighter taking a haymaker right in the FACE.

 

 

I immediately told the idea to J-Rab and she got that look on her face that is a perfect mixture of bewilderment and mild panic, which is how I knew I had NAILED IT.

So without fucking around one second further, I’m gonna lay it on you.

The next thing you read is going to be my killer idea, so just try to prepare yourself for the awesomeness ok?

Ok. Here goes.

I’m going to write an advice column. Right here. On this blog.

Every Friday I’m going to sift through the thousands and thousands of emails you guys are going to send and I’m going to pick three that need my advice the most and then I’m going to dispense that advice, GRATIS, in order to improve your lives and help you reach your true potential as the amazing human beings you are.

 

 

ANYTHING that you send me will be treated with the utmost confidentiality and under no circumstances will I reveal your identity other than the name you sign your email with, which you can of course just leave blank (the name, not the email).

I have a lot of experience when it comes to the following topics:

  • Bringing your loved one to come back to you in 5 days, even after gone for a long time
  • Bringing you to see your enemies through use of a mirror and making demands on them
  • Dealing with women problems of abnormally long pregnancy, making vagina back to normal after birth and never stops talking
  • Bringing good fortune in gambling, horse races, chicken fights, pigeon farming, mumbo jumbo
  • Helping man with growing penis bigger, thicker, make love for 5 days non-stop, looking like Rambo
  • Tax evasion, Barbra Streisand, Ebola virus, mustard salad, money-back guarantee!

 

 

So don’t delay! Send any problems that are making your life shit to tellthetiger@gmail.com TODAY and fuck! I’ll make your FUCKING PROBLEMS GO THE FUCK AWAY!

So that’s tellthetiger@gmail.com, email now and kiss your shitty life goodbye!

-ST

29
Mar
10

The Nuns Of The Antarctic

When I was younger, I fancied myself quite the budding poet and used to scribble out random and garbled verses that were mostly really shit, but hey, at least they rhymed.

In highshool I got published in a collection of poetry compiled by the poetry institute of Africa called ‘Shadows and Silhouettes’ which got me pretty excited until the thing finally arrived and I realised they’d pretty much published EVERY SINGLE POEM THEY GOT SENT.

To get published I think you just had to bang a out a verse or two and be in highschool, that was about it.

I tell ya, life is shitty sometimes. My buddy Barbarian fucking nailed it on Saturday night. We were sitting in his flat in Vredehoek and talking about some random thing or other when he said the funniest thing I’ve heard in months.

‘Christmas food,’ he said, ‘is crap.’

 

 

That simple sentence nearly had me in tears because he’s fucking right. The turkey is always way too dry and stringy, the Christmas pudding gives you the runs and mince pies are severely overrated.

You put your knife and fork down after eating Christmas food and you feel like your internal organs are dangerously close to rupturing.

No matter what anyone says, at that stage, you’re glad Christmas only comes once a year.

See, the magic of a thing is in the anticipation of it. The moment I found out I was going to get published, my adolescent mind filled up with all kinds of hallucinations of grandeur and I was pretty sure fame and fortune were close at hand.

 

 

Needless to say, over the next few years I wrote less and less poetry and became more and more sceptical of other ‘poets’. I started to suspect that really what they were doing was using poetry as a guise to write a pile of wanky shit that means nothing to anyone, including the person who wrote it.

This is especially true of the so called ‘poets’ who used to haunt open mike nights in varsity.

Pale, frail and nervous looking people, they would always go up there and read something that sounded like a confession about how their uncles fiddled with them when they were young and now they spend their alone time in their granny’s knickers listening to Anthony And The Johnsons.

 

 

I got drunk one night at such an event and wrote some poetry of my own on a serviette. After a particularly heart-wrenching performance by a guy who only just barely managed to keep his shit together onstage, I decided to jump in there, bar serviette in hand, to recite a poem I called:

Untitled

He drank until the day he died.
He drank to dull the ache inside.

He smoked until his lungs caved in.
All he ever knew was sin.

After what happened, he just gave in.
After what they did to him…

Dopey fucked a penguin.

Boy. Did that go down well.

-ST

26
Mar
10

‘Fuck The Whole World And What Everybody’s Saying Hey’ Friday

Guys, the end of this week nailed me in the butt (and no Jono, I didn’t enjoy it).

Long and the short of it is that the laptop melted the fuck down and flat out refused to connect me to any network of any description and hence, no blog posts could be written.

There are news reports of entire nations coming to a complete standstill because I wasn’t posting. Empires rose and fell, LAVA consumed ENTIRE CONTINENTS! HURRICANES! Devastated the countryside! And people the world over…were sad 😦

 

 

But it’s all good now guys, we’re back on track and all indications point to the weekend being filled with awesome, rad times.

So here’s my gift to you this Friday, it’s a little video I like to call ‘Vitriol’ from a little band I like to call ‘Bluejuice’ and it’s about to become the soundtrack for your weekend so good luck!

And don’t dare give up.

Give it a little bit of vitriol, hey!

 

 

Wow, what the fuck just happened there? Tried to paste a link and got a whole video window, badass!

I think my blog just evolved…

Have a great weekend guys. Here’s a hottie I borrowed from my friends www.holytaco.com (again).

 

 

-ST

24
Mar
10

Album Review: Gorillaz – Plastic Beach

The new Gorillaz album is definitely their worst offering to date. Don’t believe what all the music critics out there would have you believe, they’re full of shit and so is this album.

 

 

This album will confuse you. You’ll think it’s interesting and cute at first, but after a few listens you’ll concede that like toilet spray, all the aural bells and whistles that saturate this album are nothing more than a thin disguise to try and hide the fact that this album stinks.

In my humble opinion, Damon Albarn, the creative genius behind The Gorillaz (and former frontman of the best Britpop band to ever play, Blur) is running out of ideas. He collaborates with no less than 15 different artists on this heap of dung album, which probably explains why listening to it feels the same way trying to do long division sums in your head used to back when you still remembered how.

Never trust a pop album that opens with classical music. What that tells you right from the outset is that it’s trying to be something it’s not. Throw that shit the fuck away.

‘Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach’ featuring Snoop Dogg is, in two simple words, fucking boring. One critic commented how Snoop has never sounded so chilled and laid back in a track before. Yeah, that’s because he’s not even fucking trying!

 

 

I don’t like rap at the best of times, but the way Albarn has allowed it to overrun this album is nauseating. Toneless, repetitive and banal, tracks like ‘White Flag (featuring Bashy, Kano & The National Orchestra for Arabic Music)’ (I know, what the fuck?) and ‘Sweepstakes (featuring Mos Def & Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)’ are so utterly devoid of the quirky intelligence that used to define Gorillaz that they’ll have you banging your head against a wall to get a little mental stimulation going.

The good news is that, with 18 tracks on the album, there are at least some that find their mark. ‘Rhinestone Eyes’, has a nursery rhyme kind of charm to it that, combined with the sinister synth undertones in the chorous is a lot closer to the Gorillaz we all know and love.

‘Stylo (featuring Mos Def & Bobby Womack)’ is also a pretty decent, retro R&B track that kind of sounds like the Flight Of The Conchords track ‘Inner City Pressure’ and ‘Superfast Jellyfish (featuring Gruff Rhys & De La Soul)’ is quirky enough to remain interesting and is reminiscent of ‘19-2000’ (‘got the cool shoeshine’) off their eponymous debut album.

The best track by far on the album is ‘Some Kind Of Nature’ featuring Lou Reed of all people. It’s a classic Gorillaz track and probably the closest the album comes to delivering a ‘Clint Eastwood’ or ‘Feel Good Inc.’

 

 

Besides that, there really isn’t much to say about this album. The general feeling I get from listening to it is similar to the way Sunday night feels after an awesome weekend. You’ll find yourself gazing off contemplatively a lot when listening to Plastic Beach, wandering what the hell happened to put such a downer on the brilliantly-written pop masterpieces that adorned the previous two albums.

Final Verdict: 5/10

23
Mar
10

Short Story: Smooth Baby

He couldn’t wait to go home. In all seven years of being alive, he couldn’t remember ever being so excited before.

His heart hammered relentlessly inside his tiny chest and his mouth felt cotton-dry as he fidgeted and squirmed in his chair, bursting for a pee and not paying one scrap of attention to anything going on around him.

In his mind, all there was, was THE TOY.

He’d first seen THE TOY in a flea market when his mom was shopping for some black dog to grill for supper. Amongst the chaos and the noise and the thick clouds of oily smoke that mingled and moved like dragons through the narrow, dirty alleyways, he’d spotted it.

At first he wasn’t quite sure he’d seen correctly. He adjusted his glasses, thick as coke bottle bottoms, on his practically non-existent nose and squinted across the alleyway at the adjacent stall.

There it was. THE TOY. The most incredible toy ever invented. The second he comprehended what he was looking at, the child’s mind came alive with possibilities.

How was it possible that such an amazing toy had come into being? He had to have it. He would do anything to get it, even crawl over his own dead mother.

He immediately started tugging frantically at his mother’s leather pants, squealing at the top of his lungs, much like a pig being skinned alive.

His mother had never seen her son so furiously locked in paroxysms of overwhelming desire. The way he twitched and screamed almost involuntarily frightened her and she struck him hard on the back of his head to try and knock some sense into him.

If only it had been that easy.

That night, her son refused to eat any of the succulent dog she had prepared for him. He sat in a slack-jawed kind of daze while a thick, translucent trail of drool crept steadily from the corner of his mouth to his shirt front.

He sat like that for days, wasting away. Eventually she began to fear for the child’s life as he halved in size before her very eyes and so, in a huff of desperation, she finally agreed to buy the child THE TOY for his next birthday in three weeks time.

The change in her son was instant. He leaped up from where he was sitting and began to hop around the room, singing irreverent songs of praise to no one in particular in a language only he understood.

The bell for the end of school sounded like a prison exoneration as the boy, after three torturous weeks of jittering constantly and wetting his pants in excitement, jumped nearly two feet in the air and bolted, legs pumping, to the parking lot outside where his mother sat on her motorbike with his present neatly wrapped in her hands.

He ran in slow motion, the sun shining down like a host of holy angels above him as tears of unrepentant joy streamed down his face.

This was finally it, the moment his brief life had been building towards, the reason he was sure he existed.

Finally, finally his wildest dreams had come true.

Finally, he could shave the baby.

 

22
Mar
10

View from a porch

On this porch you can sit in the scorching midday sun and enjoy a beer so cold the sides of the bottle are frosted while you sit in the shade and watch distant cars glide by on the mountainside.

It’s peaceful here, you can sit with strangers and not feel that compulsive need that overrides all common sense to fill perfectly good silence with meaningless garble.

A warm breeze sweeps lazily through the leaves of the trees to the left of the porch, but when it moves through the bushes in front of us, the leaves flash silver as their undersides catch the sun.

We are surrounded on all sides by mountains thick with wild fynbos and at night the stars pepper the sky from horizon to horizon, forming countless constellations that J-Rab can name and trace but that to me just look like random and formless shapes.

You just don’t get this in Joburg. You can search far and wide for it, but you won’t find it.

I picked my way out over the rocks with J-Rab and her friend GoffGirl earlier today, we were looking for muscles on a beach in Pringle Bay. The ocean gathered in natural pools all around us and J-Rab showed me how sea anemone have these tiny tentacles that suck at your finger when you touch them.

 

 

Some of them were powder blue, I stared at those ones for a long time, trying to figure out how they came to be, by what evolutionary turn did they form like that, blue as the sky in those rock pools hundreds of years ago.

I stood barefoot in some of the pools, wiggling my toes in the sand as wave after wave came rolling in.

There was more, starting at Barbarian’s place on Friday, and then Buena Vista and then Stikey on Saturday, volleyball at Caprice, Little Red’s place and his new kid, good times all of them.

But it won’t come right now and I can’t force it. I guess I’ve just run out of words, they must have trailed away as I was driving the winding coastal roads back from Pringle Bay this afternoon.

It’s beautiful out there.

My girlfriend has just slapped me hard on the ass.

Instead of writing one more word of this waffly shit, I think I’m going to return the favour.

She is the best.

-ST




A Word From The Kind Folks At Nokia

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