Top 10 Reasons Steve Albini is God

A few weeks ago Steve Albini (aka God) guest hosted Australia’s best source of underground music, rage. About a week later, I got around to watching all, of it (it’s about five hours). I already had a huge amount of adoration and respect, but in watching the rage segment, I know believe something more. I think Steve Albini might just be God. Here’s why:

10. His Waist Guitar Strap: Do you have any clue how hard it is to play guitar? Like, at all? It’s damn near impossible. The fact that guys like Jimmy Page and J Mascis are so good at it is simply a testament to their god-like prowess. Notice that the adjective is god-like, not godly. That’s because Steve Albini takes it one step further, and hoists his guitar around his waist, instead of over the shoulder like ‘normal’ people. Why? Because fuck ‘normal’ people. And also because he probably finds it comfortable.

9. He Loves Vinyl: There’s not much to say that hasn’t already been covered, other than the dude really loves vinyl. He’s also into cassettes, as shown by some of his releases, but it’s mostly a vinyl thing. Wouldn’t be surprised if the dude had tried to bang some vinyl. But haven’t we all at some point? Right? No, because that would cause scratching, it would fuck everything up, and it would probably hurt…the vinyl and you. It’s blasphemous to even consider the concept of fucking vinyl. But back to the main point, Albini loves vinyl, and that’s awesome.

8. His Humour: Although the humour didn’t really shine through on the rage segment, Steve Albini is easily one of the funniest human beings on the planet. This is mainly because no subject is sacred. No matter how taboo, how controversial, or how insanely fucked up it is, you can bet that Steve Albini will aggressively and forthrightly make comedy out of it. He has the kind of sick sense of humour that, upon seeing a guy getting mauled by a bear, he would probably say ‘He deserved it, fucking Madonna fan’ or ‘I always thought intestines were meant to be longer’. Probably, I don’t know the guy. But his humour is fucked up and glorious.

7. His Writing: Again, on the subject of his controversial humour, Steve Albini interjected this with some of the most offensively insightful observations about the music industry. He made a fuckload of enemies, like Ministry and every major label ever, but he stuck to his guns. He was a fiercely loyal independant, and with the ‘nothing sacred’ policy of his writing, he was one in a million. On a personal note, Steve Albini’s journalistic writings, along with Jim Goad, were incredibly influential on myself. So maybe there is a little bias in this list proclaiming Steve Albini to be God-what the fuck are you gonna do? (please read the former sentence in an amiable, friendly tone, an open ended suggestion to the reader in which constructive criticism is appreciated <3)

6. The Prolific Amount of Stuff He Puts Out: It is estimated, according to Wikipedia, that Albini has worked on between 1500-2000 records. That’s more records than breaths of air for a roughly week old baby. Also, the vast, vast majority of it is superb. On average, there is more soul and life in a single note of Steve Albini production than an entire Mackelmore album. Let me just shove that statistic in your face one more time: 1500-2000 estimated works. That’s like the amount of gallons of piss in an average public pool!

5. He’s Humble as Shit: Steve Albini is more humble than a badger. And badgers are the most humble creatures in the animal kingdom. That’s a fact. Look it up. Okay, I made that up. But Steve Albini just refuses o be acknowledged as the hero he is. He doesn’t list himself amongst the production credits, is incredibly generous with his Chicago studio and recording rates, and even described one of my favourite albums, The Pixies ‘Surfer Rosa’ as ‘…average college rock…’.  Although the last one comes down to a matter of taste, it still astounds me that someone who greatly influenced what is considered a seminal work would downplay their achievements so much. But such is the Albini/God way.

4. Awesome Musician: Steve Albini is one of the greatest musicians that the alternative scene has ever witnessed. I was originally going to say ‘Awesome Guitarist’, but it’s important to note that he is a proficient programmer, doing the work on Big Black’s drum machine himself. In fact, the entire ‘Lungs’ EP was all Albini’s work, and that EP is fucking masterful. Albini transcends barriers of comfort with his post-modern style, forcing his way into your collective conscience with loud, dilated and aggressive sounds that only he could create. It’s a horrifying, holy and humbling experience to listen to something Steve Albini has constructed.

3. Part of Shellac: Along with fellow record engineer Bob Weston and drummer Todd Trainer (who used to play with Scout Niblett), Steve Albini is in this little band called Shellac. Oh yeah, you might know them by the other name as the greatest post-punk group since The Fall. Shellac only have four (technically five) albums, and each of them is like a manuscript of how to entertain the earholes with the greatest music of ever. If you remember the post I made for my one year celebration, ‘Prayer to God’ is roughly my 4th favourite song of all time. Yep, Shellac beat out the likes of The Ramones, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, to name a few. Shellac are seriously one of the best things to happen to this planet, along with chocolate cereal and humping.

2. Great Taste in Music: In watching the rage hosting, and from knowledge of the bands he’s produced (more on that soon) Steve Albini just has a fucking great taste in music. Like, seriously amazing. Ranging from Sepultura, to Low, from Lubricated Goat to Cheap Trick, and Boards of Canada to The Breeders, Steve Albini’s music programming on rage was second to none awesome stuff.

1. Studio Extraordinare: Finally, the reason most people would know the name Steve Albini is because of his god-like abilities in the studio. The Cribs, The Jesus Lizard, McLusky, Cloud Nothings-these are just some of the icons of the underground that can thank Steve Albini for helping them with unmasking their potential. PJ Harvey’s best album, ‘Rid of Me’? Albini. Nirvana’s ‘In Utero’. Albini. The aforementioned Pixies’ ‘Surfer Rosa’. Alllllllllll Albini. This guy has more genius than Albert Einstein taking hits of Stephen Hawking, while munching on Isaac Newtown’s brain as a snack. Fuck, if you don’t love Steve Albini in some form or another, you must be a Motley Cru fan. And there’s nothing worse than a Motley Cru fan.


Top 10 Artists of All Time-1 Year Celebration Fuck Yeah

I am finally getting around to finishing off this final mammoth of an article in celebration of my 1 year Anniversary with Soundly Sounds. Although it started off in my mind as a good idea to do 3 articles about my favourite albums, songs and artists, it has risen to a point in which I would rather let a scorpion pillage me for sexual pleasure than write another behemoth of these. But regardless, I’m fucking doing this shit anyway. Because otherwise Clancy ‘I-thought-you-were-a-journalist’ McDouchebag would rear his ugly head from the proverbial woodwork, like that alien that tries to eat the Millennium Falcon on that crater, in Star Wars Episode IV: Revenge of the Sith. Fuck that’s such a great movie. You know what else is great? All these bands. Fuckin all these bands are worthy of the highest acclaim acknowledgeable from myself. I have selected these particular artists very carefully, not just because they’re amazing, or had a particularly excellent album. No, these artists have consistently pumped out tunes for your earholes that you can molest at your won pleasure. These are bands that give you a boner whenever you hear they are releasing something new, already frothing over how good it will inevitably be. These bands are no rookies to the music scene, these guys are the fucking music scene.

Honourable Mentions go to Nirvana, Primal Scream, Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention, The Ramones, Helmet, Guided By Voices, Arctic Monkeys, Fugazi, Weezer, Violent Femmes, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Joy Division/New Order, Beat Happening, The Stooges, The Drones, Nick Cave (in all incarnations), Girls, Melvins, Jay Reatard, Queens of the Stone Age, Animal Collective, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sonic Youth, Husker Du,  The Hives,  The Clash, Eddy Current Suppression Ring,  The White Stripes, The Strokes, The UV Race, The Gun Club, Holy Fuck, Modest Mouse, Times New Viking, The Gun Club, The Black Keys, Interpol, Beach House, The Black Angels, Black Sabbath, Cloud Nothings, The Replacements, Blur, Kurt Vile, Radio Birdman,The Bronx Black Flag, Beck, Crystal Castles, The Killers, The Scientists, A Place to Bury Strangers, Bad Religion, Smashing Pumpkins, Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

10. Beastie Boys-What is not to love about the Beastie Boys? Their work revolutionised hip-hop, giving it an edge that would remain solely unto them until the likes of gangsta rap. They were funny, they were self-depracting and they loved attention. On top of this, they added an almost unheard development to the musical element of hip-hop and immersed themselves in samples. Beastie Boys were always forward thinking and progressive, from the start of 1986’s legendary ‘License to Ill’ to 2011’s ‘Hot Sauce Committee Part Two’. R.I.P MCA

9. Thee Oh Sees-Thee Oh Sees can lay claim to being the most diverse and consistently interesting pysch group of the modern age. While other bands, such as the usually excellent Tame Impala and POND might nod off towards the middle of their albums, Thee Oh Sees will always, and I mean always, push through the fog and produce something mind-blowing. A look at any of their albums will explode all pretences of ‘boring’ psychedelic music. There is nothing pretty about Thee Oh Sees: they’re a dirty, drug-ridden, shit-stained band through and through, and yet their presentation is amicable. Thee Oh Sees records will be forever renowned in my collection as being the shit I’ll pull out when someone wants to hear ‘something cool’.

8. Regurgitator- The might fuckin’ ‘Gurge! Legendary Australian bands have come and gone throughout my constant perusing of music. Midnight Oil, The Saints, and Spiderbait have all had their spot in the Ryan sunshine. However, Regurgitator have always stayed there, and I lay that claim to their intense ambition of always coming up with something different. The first three albums, ‘Tu-Plang’, ‘Unit’ and ‘Art…’ are pure genius, and remain engaging artifacts of 90’s alt-rock, something Stone Temple Pilots and Bush can’t lay claim to. Although they might have dipped out in the mid-2000’s, their push back to ambitious and awesome music with 2011’s ‘SuperHappyFuntimesFriends’ cements their place as one of my favourite bands of all time. Seeing and meeting the band at the recent Groovin’ the Moo festival was a dream come true.

7. The Cramps- The awkward mushing together of swampy rock, gore-tinged horror, gothic appearance and 60’s rockabilly should never have made it past the planning stage. But that’s where The Cramps come in. With Lex Interior, their fearless leader, The Cramps led an army of crazy, wide-eyed and abused albums for over 30 years. Each effort The Cramps have put out remains a creepy, black hole of mucus and awesome, every second track becoming your favourite Cramps track. Heroin-riddled and rattling with self-oblivion, The Cramps are a band that should never have existed, but thank fuck they did. Imagine a world with no ‘Human Fly’, ‘Bikini Girls With Machine Guns’, ‘Goo Goo Muck‘ or “Can’t Find My Mind’? What would anyone do?

6. Gorillaz- Everyone likes Gorillaz, but they haven’t listened to them in a long time. Fucking chuck on any of the first three albums (I like to think the 4th one doesn’t really count) and prepare to engage in a long, warped drive through Damon Albarn’s menal pysche. So many influences are drawn upon, into what is essentially a hip-hop project, that what comes through is an amazing pool of musical prowess, like some ‘Tree of Life’ shit. Put on the self-titled, ‘Demon Days’ or ‘Plastic Beach’ albums and remind yourself what it’s like to listen to really, really solid music with no faults.

5. The Black Lips- Flower punks, rock n roll musketeers, troublemakin’ no-gooders with guitars; call The Black Lips what you like, the only conclusion that you’re likely to draw upon is amazing. Although they don’t really provide a virtuosity to their music like the rest of the artists on this list, The Black Lips provide a generic service with unique results. They bang out more or less the same album each time, and yet, you can only feel like it’s the greatest thing you’ve ever listened to. Couple that with the fact that The Black Lips are amongst the best live bands in the world (seriously, these dudes are fucking loose). ‘Bad Kids’, ‘O Katrina!’, ‘Boomerang’, and ‘Elijah’ are just a few of the countless simple delicacies The Black Lips offer that make the world a better place.

4. Ty Segall- Ty Segall is The Who of our generation, the man does not stop making music. In 2012, he came out with three (3!) seperate albums from various projects, all of which were some of the best stuff to come out last year. This year, he’s coming out with another solo album, an album with his band Fuzz, and I believe he’s involved with Sic Alps again, but I’m not 100% sure. Regardless, the man makes fucking loose as music to get loose as to. It’s rock n roll the way it was meant to be played, obnoxiously loud, dreadfully immature, and insanely captivating. Ty Segall is the artist all garage rockers should aspire to be, not in sound, or looks, but just general being. He’s the greatest musician right now, hands down, bar none.

3. Pixies-The Pixies took the world by storm every time they released an album, and with good reason. The Pixies have more good songs than Pitbull has shitty lyrics and the STD’s of any random celebrity train wreck of the moment (think Paris Hilton, Nicki Minaj, Lindsay Lohan etc.) . They never released a bad album, and always maintained a furiously unique energy to every song they laid down. The four albums that the Pixies released will forever be remembered as some of my favourite albums. Any song in their catalogue, from ‘Debaser’, ‘Nimrod’s Son’, and ‘U-Mass’ to ‘Dig For Fire’, ‘Where is My Mind?’ and the unforgettable ‘Hey’ is always an instant hit for me. There is nothing better in the world than a Pixies song.

2. Radiohead- Although, I, like everyone else, was introduced to Radiohead through ‘Creep’, it was the latter albums like ‘The Bends’, ‘OK Computer’, ‘In Rainbows’ and ‘Kid A’ that resonated with me. Not to sound too obvious, but these are flawless, perfect albums, capable of bringing a grown man to tears (guilty), inciting massive sing alongs that envy ‘Wonderwall’ by Oasis, and in rare cases, impregnating random women that happen to hear ‘Paranoid Android’, ‘Everything in its Right Place’ or ‘Fake Plastic Trees’. There are too many Radiohead songs to mention about how amazing they are as a band. But yeah, they are my 2nd favourite band of all time.

1. The Flaming Lips-My favourite band of all time, through sheer musical prowess and venture goes to The Flaming Lips. Although not everything they’ve put out has been excellent (i.e collaborations with Ke$ha), the astounding amount of amazing material, and bravery that accompanies their sonic shifts in musical trajection puts them above any other artist in my opinion. From hard-rockers, to psychedelic, to full blown orchestral orgies of sound, The Flaming Lips have done it all, and done it better than anyone else. And blowing minds isn’t the only thing Wayne Coyne and Co. kill at; when they slow it down, the results are scandalous. Think “Race for the Prize’, ‘Waitin’ For Superman’, ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Part 1’ and of course, the inescapable ‘Do You Realize??‘. But the main forte with which The Flaming Lips kick sonic arse is when they wield the ultimate sword of psychedelica (literally the nerdiest thing I’ve ever written). When you’ve got the lush mind-melting audio-acid trip landmark albums like ‘Transmissions from the Satellite Heart’, ‘Telepathic Surgery’, ‘Clouds Taste Metallic’ or ‘Hit to the Death in the Future Head’, no one can doubt your position as the greatest band of all time. I fucking love this band.

Video: Pixies-Bagboy (Holy Fuck Yes!)

It’s fucking here! The brand new Pixies track! If this doesn’t convince you that everything is going to be all right in your life, then nothing will. I mean, c’mon this is The Pixies, one of the greatest and most influential bands to ever exist on the planet Earth. These guys have more hits than a Serbian mob. The Pixies will forever be one of the greatest bands to ever come to fruition, like some sort of combination of Jesus, Kurt Cobain and John Lennon (in spirit, not actual musical sound).

Despite Kim Deal leaving the band a few weeks ago, The Pixies still hold their shit together and deliver a powerful blow. Opening with a stormy, moody drum beat, and a temperamental chant of ‘Cover your breath, polish your speech’, Black Francis kicks out to jams with a fuzzy, distorted knuckle-sandwich of classic melancholy Pixies lyrics and musical genius. It’s a seriously beautiful track, quite long by Pixies-standards, and it makes everything in the world seem right again. Who cares if it’s been raining these holidays, and the NSA are probably having a field day with your private sex files? There’s a new Pixies song, and it’s so good, like butter on a bicycle good.

If all this didn’t make you spontaneously wet yourself, Pixies are giving away the track for FREE, for the price of an e-mail address. This is more worth it than hanging out in Hulk costumes with Lou Ferrigno.

Drown Under-Suger Daddy

Pretty potent Sydney based rock n roll on display here, from the Pixies-meets-Pissed Jeans band Drown Under. These guys are an immortal combination of members from the bands Circle Pit, Whores, Housewives, Snotty Babies and Ghastly Spats. Do you see the recurring theme of cynical gothy punk bands? The result of this is ‘Sugar Daddy’, a Sonic Youth Goo-era piece of nihilstic sexy black punk. It’s got overtly Australian vocals, a mind melting guitar solo, and a bass line more acidic than a Butthole Surfers show. ‘The boys get busy, while the girls get high/freak show, death row every night’ is an example of the super cool, black lipstick smudged lunacy to be heard. To quote the Dandy Warhols (who are the exact opposite of Drown Under) it’s as cool as Kim Deal.