Monday, March 21, 2011

New Music Today: The Meat Puppets and Queens of the Stone Age

Free download of new Meat Puppets song "Damn Thing":

The Meat Puppets 13th album "Lollipop" is out on April 12th. The brother-based band has been cranking out great music forever and seem to be enjoying something of a comeback or at least a new appreciation of their mad skillz.

I saw them play at UCLA in 1984 (or so), part of an SST Records night also featuring Husker Du (shout out to Bob Mould), The Minutemen (RIP D. Boon, long live Mike Watt, now with Iggy Pop and The Stooges), and SWA (with Black Flag's guitarist Greg Ginn who founded SST Records). I guess most civilians know them for guesting with Kurt Cobain on the classic Nirvana Unplugged video/album. Good to see The Meat Puppets still doing their thing and getting some well-deserved respect.


Queens of the Stone Age (QOTSA) - first album reissued with bonus tracks, currently touring US

Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme (see my gushing tribute from last year below) can do no wrong, and I was happy as hell to see him getting some proper props for his recent performance at Austin's SXSW. The Queens' current US tour is creating a lot of excitement (they play Oakland, California's beautiful Fox Theater on April 11. Taking a break from his supergroup Them Crooked Vultures (Josh singing/guitaring, Dave Grohl on drums, John Paul Jones from Led Zep on bass and other things - killer performance at Coachella 2010, which Homme declared to be his hometown), Josh is returning to his roots, as they say, by reissuing the Queens' 1998 self-titled (and also eponymous - why do rock critics love that word so much? oh, it makes them look cool and intelligent. right....) 1998 album entitled "Queens of the Stone Age", with 3 awesome bonus tracks, most notably "These Aren't the Droids You're Looking For" (from the Queens/Beaver EP, as is "The Bronze". The other bonus track "Spiders and Vinegaroons" from the Queens/Kyuss EP). I downloaded the reissue and gave it a new listen after not hearing the album for a while. It's muscular, dark force still resonates, over a dozen years later, and Homme ought to be considered one of the finest guitarists around (not to mention drumming for Eagles of Death Metal, producing Arctic Monkeys, and singing for Queens, Kyuss, The Desert Sessions, and Them Crooked Vultures).

On the current tour, Homme is playing the first album, along with the bonus tracks, and songs from later albums. Homme is the only original Queen left, although long-time cohort Dean Fertita (who also played with Jack White's Raconteurs and The Dead Weather) is along for the tour.

I'm going to enjoy listening to this powerful twisted music on my iPod and then in real life at the show in Oakland. You should too.


My gushing review of Homme from Coachella 2010:

Allow me to sing the praises of Josh homme. The queens of the stone age frontman, who also plays drums for the eagles of death metal, seems to be at the very center of some exciting new music I call Dark Psychedelia. Homme produced the arctic monkeys new album humbug, so some of that desert magic rubbed off on the lads from Sheffield who worked on the album at a desert studio near here. Some time queens of the stone age cohort dean f plays guitar and keys for Jack white's new band the dead weather - who also play coachella this year.

Eyebrows were surely raised when it was announced that homme would front a new supergroup - them crooked cultures featuring nirvana/foo fighters Dave grohl on drums and led zeppelin's john Paul jones on bass. On first blush, it would seem he lacked the gravitas to live up to the expectations having band members with such a legacy. Few people would mention queens of the stone age in the same breath as nirvana and led Zeppelin. In addition to singing and playing guitar with the new band, homme apparently wrote most of the songs on the vultures' debut album. Some critics complained the songs seemed tossed off and the album was done quickly but the songs hold up well live. I saw them in Oakland year and enjoyed it. I was curious so I gave a listen to the queens albums as well as the desert sessions. Driving through the desert these songs made sense.

The vultures took over the stage just before 8 pm. The evening cooled the desert as the crowd swelled. Homme introduced the band and when it came to himself he said "and you know me, I'm Joshua.... And this is my hometown!" and proceeded to give a performance that should serve to silence the critics and haters once and for all.

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