Marilyn Manson is a controversial figure in Rock n’ Roll’s long, but distorted history. There is no one sound for rock music anymore, the lines are blurred and scattered; Marilyn Manson is an artist that entirely destroyed genre through his career and managed to create an incredible amount of attention for his second studio release, Antichrist Superstar. The harsh lyrics, brash imagery, and no compassion for the audience left Manson in a continual spotlight for his intelligence, bravery, and fear of none.
With an album titled Antichrist Superstar, some sort of hellish imagery has to flash in the mind of the reader, the cover art which features a heavily disturbed imaged of scabbed wings, distortion around the face and eyes, and the words, “Heart”, “Mind”, “Complacent”, and “Malice” in a four-part directional map for the album. Manson begins this masterpiece with “Irresponsible Hate Anthem”, a track that is by no means as shocking as it was when it was released in 1996; but the stings of the blitzing guitar and smashing percussion that is accompanied by a somehow charismatic lyricist that shouts and yells his approach directly into the microphone. His lyrics as stated before, are simply brash and animalistic, Manson sees the American public as a target for his musical bullet and without warning dives into discussing homicide, death, rape, and society in a quick daze of poetry. His chorus describes, “Everybody’s someone else’s nigger, I know you are, so am I. I wasn’t born with enough middle fingers; I don’t need to choose a side”. In a display of what can only be described as a fireworks display of chaos, Manson wastes no time moving into the following track, a grinding example of how productive talent can create a catchy, but sadistic cut.
“The Beautiful People” takes a similar approach as it moves between the consistent yelling of Manson, and the odd, but smile-inducing chorus that plays behind him. The twisted imagery that the iconic drum beat and the awe-inspiring bass riffs that still to this day play over and over again on stereos everywhere as an Industrial Rock anthem. Manson paved a way with his style that many artists would try to follow, but have a troubling time being as cutting edge and as sharp as Manson. It is apparent throughout all of Antichrist Superstar, but it is especially true on how he can take the production from Trent Reznor, and shift it into something completely unforgettable as both a piece of music history, and as a piece of controversial shaping of society.
It is on the later track, “Kinderfeld” where Manson reveals another side as he takes a slower approach, but still keeps the same stabbing style of his earlier tracks. It is explained through the chorus that Manson’s main character in the storyline of Antichrist Superstar that there is a serious transformation happening, “Then I got my wings, and I never even knew it. When I was a worm, thought I couldn’t get through it”. As the main character is pictured in this helpless villain, to a now sprouting animal of malicious intent, The track eventually becomes a chanting display of “This is what you should fear, you are what you should fear”. Which, then transfers Manson into the self-titled track, “Antichrist Superstar”, a deviously exciting ride of political-esque chants that reign into the chorus and verses of, “Prick your finger, it is done. The moon has now eclipsed the sun, Angel has spread its wings, the time has come for bitter things. Repent, that’s what I’m talking about, I shed the skin to feed the fake. Repent, that’s what I’m talking about, whose mistake am I anyway?”. Behind this hydra of sound, comes the operatic chorus that plays throughout the track and shines on the final moments where a robotic vocalist repeats in multiple voices, “When you are suffering, know that I have betrayed you”.
In a final moment of retribution, Marilyn Manson takes Antichrist Superstar into a moment of peace with “Man That You Fear”, a slowed, deep cut that closes off the pages of the story of the Worm, the Angel Re-born, the character that Manson portrays so well. It is a social commentary on society and while Manson is a musical legend that has made a career in the shocking; he can also be quite beautiful and impactful as well.
A little break // Listen Here – Soundcloud
The Artist is killing it // Listen Here – Soundcloud
BACK AGAIN // Listen Here – DatPiff
ART BY: Yung Mulatto // Listen Here – Soundcloud
A door is a moving mechanism used to block off, and allow access to, an entrance to or within an enclosed space, such as a building, room or vehicle. Doors normally consist of one or two solid panels, with or without windows, that swing on hinges horizontally. These hinges are attached to the door’s edge but there are also doors that slide, fold or spin. The main purpose of a door is to control physical access.
When open, doors admit people, animals, ventilation or light. The door is used to control the physical atmosphere within a space by enclosing the air drafts, so that interiors may be more effectively heated or cooled. When closed, a door normally impedes the transfer of air from one side to the other. Similar structures that do allow air to be transferred through some form of a grillwork are called gates.
Doors may have an aesthetic purpose in creating an impression of what lies beyond; for example, keeping administrative and factory areas of a building separate. In less formal settings, doors may also be seen as a sign of the desire for privacy. As a form of courtesy and civility, people often knock before opening a door and entering a room.
Doors are often symbolically endowed with ritualistic purposes. For example, being granted access to a door, including the guarding or receiving of the keyto that door, may have special significance. Similarly, doors and doorways frequently appear in literature and the arts in metaphorical or allegoricalcontext, often as a portent of change.
In most cases the interior side of a door matches its exterior side but, in some other cases, there are sharp contrasts between the two sides, such as in the case of a vehicle door.
The Single Mothers are a collective from Ontario, a quant little place filled with more hate than ever with their 2014 release, Negative Qualities. Like a fire-cracker from Hell; Single Mothers come in swinging in full fury on a ten-track, twenty-three-minute dive into the the nastiest parts of punk rock.
From the first seconds of blitzing guitar on “Overdose”, Negative Qualities hits like a ton of bricks, launching from first-gear into fifth without warning. Single Mothers are the very definition of punk rock freedom and animalistic ability flooding directly into expression. The drums from Brandon Jagersky are airborne weapons that conflict with the aggressive string sections of Evan Redsky on bass and Mike Peterson on guitar, then layering the screaming vocals from Drew Thomson over the entire mess of sound makes for a recipe of pure destructive entertainment. Single Mothers will carry no bars on their music, blasting the glass ceiling above them in a frantic crash-and-grab. Even the transitions are angry as “Overdose” floods into “Marbles”, a track that displays the raw, emotional detachment from the surroundings. Thomson describes over an aching bass and percussion combination, “I don’t care about your first editions, I don’t care about your typewriter ribbon; I don’t care about your punctuation, puncture wounds you’ve been trying to inflict me with”. Single Mothers makes the outsider become the focus, making the journey feel brash, but realistic and incredibly catchy.
While catchy may not be a word that is frequent in punk music, it does have a place with Single Mothers as they move on to the track “Feel Shame”, a rather instrumental focused narrative that follows a much slower styled tempo with a chorus that continues to echo even as they move into the bridge and final moments. The guitar and percussion take the main focus however as they make for a Wild-Western sounding picture book of heavy drum fills and a reverbed string section that floats above the layers that “Feel Shame” happily produces. The track is a nice step away from the constant screaming, trading the frontlines for the back in an order to create a solid mix of sound on Negative Qualities. Single Mothers is the hidden gem of punk, they shake quickly on the sudden bass drum hits of “Crooks”; creating a sense of confusion once again with the abrasive yells and instruments.
The guitars begin to fold in over themselves and make for a gas-fueled explosion of punk rock, the drums are fast and merciless, the break down is just a rephrase of the constant straight-minute assault. Single Mothers waste no time moving between tracks and creating fire from the finger tips with each passing moment. From the anthems of “Ketamine” where Single Mothers write continual choruses that love to be repeated, or to the final instance of “Money” where the track becomes an instant rock classic that dares to be a hybrid of genre.
In any instance, Single Mothers are a wrecking crew that steals your heart away, pulls you closer with each track, and lights a fire in the blaze of glory that they create. Negative Qualities is by no means a perfect album, but it is pretty damn close.
Kamasi Washington taps into the unfiltered nerve of soulful jazz music; keeping a modern twist on old love. Washington moves to a modern, purely instrumental session with his newest release, Harmony of Difference. From the beautiful Golden Ages of Jazz in the 1920’s, to the now modern age, Kamasi Washington makes his own golden era, lighting fires with his saxophone.
Harmony of Difference is gentle to beginnings, the first track, “Desire” is a harmless dance of subtle horns and slight experimentation with progressive instrumentation. Washington takes a backseat driver approach as he lets the other instruments play the foreground, including an upright bass played by Miles Mosely, the keyboards by Brandon Coleman, and the piano played by Cameron Graves takes the spotlight for the introduction. The percussion played by Ronald Bruner Jr. and Tony Austin are played much faster than the rest of the band, but it fits well as it keeps the constant style of conflicting rushes and pauses in frame. Harmony of Difference is a record of conflicting periods as Washington directs to both the full sprints of sound, but also to the grace-filled strokes of genius behind the more down-tempo sections. The sheer talent and immeasurable craftsmanship behind the compositions are overwhelming at times as Washington leads like a mighty train to the following track “Humility”, which features a much speedier and up-beat style.
The flamboyant horns that suddenly take the sound are more lively, existing well with the piano that is fiery and jams along with the percussion. The synonymous nature of Washington and his band is just simply immaculate; the way the band can perfectly dissect sections and create these flying moments where the music takes over and becomes one giant wall of sound. The action never seems to stop either, as Washington deliberately puts other members in the spotlight on Harmony of Difference. He is a team player behind his music here, and this only continues to make Harmony of Difference feel like a fresh and crisp experience every time. The shifts where each member becomes the highlight then transfers into the track “Perspective”, where the members instead become a conglomerate collective of horns, percussion, keys, and strings that create a smooth, ode to 70’s style that strikes the mobility of funk music. Kamasi Washington creates supersonic settings with his musical ability and listening to his sound alone is like taking a journey to another planet. With the entire band playing behind him, it is an experience like no other.
This moves into the final track, “Truth” is outstanding as it is the longest, running almost into the fourteen-minute mark, but also in the way that it starts to slowly rise and rise until the tension is felt through the sound. It is explorative in the way that it plays through emotional stress of the horns rising and the vocal choir behind the instrumentalists that shines brighter than a diamond. Washington’s masterpiece is both gentle in the opening approach, but also shows the signs of being able to rush without becoming sloppy. “Truth” is a prime example of how artistic vision can be reimagined through practicing, and a goal to bleed through an instrument.
The final moments of Harmony of Difference are just as beautiful as the beginning, releasing a strong sense of emotional attachment behind the raging instruments and the calm waves. Harmony of Difference is a substantial set piece from start to finish, from the moments where Washington takes the helm and dawns the director position, to the moments where he steps back and plays a supportive role, Washington creates beauty behind his finger tips. The new jazz age is set, Harmony of Difference sets the standard for craftsmanship and just how incredibly emotional jazz becomes.
KINGSMAN // Listen/Watch Here – YouTube
Live footage by John Gittens, Nigel Rubinosa, Reuben Bastienne-Lewis
Editing and animation by Theo Chin
Pittsburgh’s hip-hop scene has been more than just major scratches on the surface, there are vast levels of both independent and mass mainstream artists that make hit after hit. Choo Jackson might not be a Pittsburgh native, but he sure does show the hospitality and the craftsmanship that the City of Champions is known for. From tours with Riff Raff, sold out shows nationally, and the modern, reinvention of the hippy, Choo Jackson is about making moves, creating action, and he illustrates that perhaps becoming a prince of the city is easier than it seems.
His newest album, Parade is released in conjunction with ID Labs production studio; two heavy-hitters that know their way around the city of bridges and with hip-hop. The pair make an inseparable wrecking crew of both melodic and punching hip-hop tracks, kicking things off with “Wake Me Up”. The first impressions are always most important, to Choo Jackson, he runs with the sun-filled production and charming sung and spoken vocals to create multiple layers behind Parade. From the spotless production that is handled primarily by ID Labs, to the mostly gentle Jackson who fulfills with lines that describe, “Look at me, I stayed the same. They said I wouldn’t make it; chain look like a chandelier…”. Choo is an instantly recognizable figure in Pittsburgh hip-hop, his voice is iconic as he mixes styles and continues to adapt to each track he steps foot on. With the break-downs and the consistent flow of energy, Jackson becomes a threat on the following track, “Right Away”.
Jackson’s production is truly impressive as the styles he chose relates incredibly well with his own lyrical style. He is witty, but still stays level-headed as he explains, “Scotty beam me up, I’m working hard as fuck, cause I need that bimmer truck,” in a blaze of glory as the booming instrumental follows along perfectly. The moments where Choo Jackson shines the brightest is where he takes the instrumental and decides to attack, but then switch styles and become more passive with his lyrics. He does this well on “Dinnertime”, where Jackson starts with a focused verse that eventually folds into a compromising, ego-boasting poet that rhymes through impressive production switch ups as well. He seems fearless as he attacks on “Redbull – Interlude” that proceeds almost effortlessly into “Talk” with Rob $tone. The interlude makes for a quick switch up that leads into Jackson happily explaining, “My outfit still cost your whole rent”. With the sudden bass drop and the stumbling hi-hat that snaps along with the snares and booming 808s that makes for an instant movement creator.
Jackson’s Parade can be shown as a dualistic record as he goes from the more turned-up hip-hop track, “Talk” to the then momentous cult-classic “Neighbors”. Jackson outdid himself on “Neighbors”, illustrating a sense of suburban, garage-rock beauty with overlaying backing vocals that create a waving sense that complies with cascading synths that resemble strings and the use of a more authentic styled percussion. “Neighbors” is a track off Parade that instantly clicked as it makes the contrast between the straight-forward hip-hop and the strange, more experimental style of Choo Jackson.
From the second his voice lines the track, Jackson is an instant marvel and one of the nicest guys you can ever meet. He is welcoming, but also creates hits from the flash of his finger tips. Parade is a full realization of how much power Choo Jackson holds in his hands, all it takes is a little push behind him.