Label: Merge Records
Released: August 3, 2010
Length: 1h 4min
An album review by Calev Ben Zion
“There’s no going back to the place we started from” (“All Secrets Known”). The inevitability of time stopped perplexing long ago. Now we focus on the toll. “Tears that filled my bong…Years expended gone” (“Check My Brain”). Where once we spent time, we look back in judgment, call it wasting time. Where we once might have been confused, we now recognize ambivalence when we see it. And where we once might have been full of righteousness and confidence, we acknowledge the collusion of foolishness. Everything that happens is change. Nothing remains the same.
When Layne Staley self-destructed into an ignominious and unsurprising death, the remaining members of Alice in Chains and their fans were finally, completely devastated. Jerry Cantrell put out a notable solo effort dedicated to the former lead singer, but with the advent of Staind, Godsmack, and others, as well as the general demise of “grunge” as a musical moment, there seemed no way back for AIC from the black-hole pull of the loss. Yeah, right.
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Reviewed by Calev Ben Zion
On old typewriters, the backspace key was used to back up a space and overstrike a letter, usually with a cross-out line or an accent. So, pull out a classic Underwood typewriter, roll in plain cotton weaved sheets of paper; tap the keys into the rhythm of a tale. Backspace, overstrike, accent. It’s a pulp tome of distinct chapters unified in the passion of a cathartic vision. Its author: Pearl Jam.
No doubt, this record rocks. The first four songs are a full frontal attack of punk clamor, Vedder’s voice as powerful an instrument as another guitar. Plaintive earnestness—one part tension, another part deep emotive coo—has been a Vedder trademark since “Ten.” In these songs, his voice is in constant “Spin the Black Circle” mode: shred. But this isn’t the angst or the anger of “Save You” or “World Wide Suicide” in the last couple of solid if contemplative releases. This is an urgent album on a positive vibe trip all the way to touching “The End.” read more »
Heads up, thumbs up. On this slick nugget, Matisyahu coaxes posi-phonic rhymes into all kinds of sway, bop, tick, and bounce. It’s studio polished eclectica: rapping, singing, beat boxing; Matis is straight up unshy in his spiritual questing laced in a mash up of Auto Tune, New Wavy synths, crisp Hip hop, acoustic balladry, and rock. He’s no reggae purest; he’s no roots zealot, at least not with the music. The uneven mix of styles lends a captivating charm. The first listen is full of surprises; subsequent listens beg inquest, with satisfying sonic and lyrical discoveries. read more »