Welcome to another weekly instalment of Riot Act, your dose of news and opinions on all recent alternative music shenanigans. It’s been a wild time putting the show together this week, as both Steve and Remfry are reeling from the news that one of hardcore’s most beloved and inspirational bands have split up. We talk through the Every Time I Die split before paying tribute to them as best we can by each choosing five songs from their illustrious back catalogue to create our own personal ETID super playlist.
That’s not all though, there’s also chat on recent releases from Elvis Costello, Comeback Kid, Toundra and Som, live reviews of Idles and Haggard Cat, the surprising (if fairly minor) rise in CD sales and how old and confused we feel by the recent announcement of the emo*-tastic When We Were Young one day festival in Las Vegas later this year.
Welcome to our latest Classic Album podcast, where Steve and Remfry tell you, our dear patrons, why we hold a record in such high esteem. It’s a pretty controversial one this week, as we are going to be taking a look for the very first time at the single biggest metal band in history by going in deep on Load, the 6th studio album by Metallica, released on the 4th of June 1996… yes, 1996 AGAIN!
This probably wouldn’t be most people’s first choice when it comes to covering Metallica, and whilst neither of us would suggest that this is the most iconic or influential period in Metallica’s career, there is a very strong argument to suggest that it is the most interesting. The toll that the huge success of 1991’s The Black Album, and it’s never ending tour, took on Metallica was sizable. It left them needing to regroup and reappraise exactly what kind of band they wanted to be. The result is a different look, a different sound and a different perspective to anything Metallica had produced before, and the reaction to it was one of illegitimate fury and disgust from certain members of the metal community. These days, over a quarter of a century after its release, everyone still has an opinion on Load. And, like it or loathe it, that makes it worth talking about, and, to add our voices to the noise, as far as we’re concerned this is Metallica’s last great album. A case that we make a pretty compelling argument for here.
We’re back with another Riot Act Reviews, the show where we cast our critical eye over a brand new release from a sizable or interesting artist.
Today we’re looking at the 6th studio album from Canadian stadium punk lads Billy Talent, Crisis of Faith. Billy Talent are both sizable AND interesting, particularly if you’re German, but both of our hosts scratch their heads and try to remember the bands previous album, 2016’s Afraid of Heights, but can’t quite put their finger on having any prior knowledge of it. That’s not to say we have no prior love of BT, in fact their earlier material is very close to the heart of one of us, but that was the past, and can the Billy Talent of 2022 match up to their wiry, yelping and anthemic best of the 2000’s?
On this Riot Act Review Steve and Remfry talk you through their opinions on the latest album from Chicago born rapper Earl Sweatshirt, Sick!… that’s the name of the album by the way, we’re not just really excited about it. It’s been an interesting life that Mr Sweatshirt has lived, and now, with this being his first release since parting ways with former label Columbia and the promise of more “riskier” material, we get to hear just what he’s been up to in the last three and a bit years. Turns out, like all of us, he’s been stuck in lockdown, and Sick! is another kind of conceptual piece regarding his thoughts on state of humanity during the COVID19 pandemic. At least, that’s what he has said, with a record this slight, its ten tracks clocking in a just over the 24 minute mark, this dreamy and fronted by a man with a fairly lackadaisical flow, it isn’t always that easy to tell. Still, we do our best to decipher it all here.
Steve and Remfry go very in-depth (almost Classic Album-worthy in-depth) on an album that was very hotly anticipated at the time, the debut from Aldershot melodic post-hardcore heroes Hundred Reasons. As suggested by Tierney, this Rioteer’s Review provides an opportunity to merrily skip down memory lane as both Steve and Remfry were heavily invested in the scene that Hundred Reasons (debatably) spawned.
They discuss the hype leading up to the record, the resounding success and sadly, what seemed inevitable decline of a band who, for just a sweet short summer in 2002 looked like they might dominate the entire universe (spoiler … they didn’t).
All that plus, we discover the revelation that Remfry’s never heard the saying ‘keen as mustard’ and Steve stays on brand by obsessing over a band that no-one’s even vaguely heard of and oly ever released one(!) demo.
Welcome to episode 177 of Riot Act, the alternative music podcast … so alternative in fact that Steve brings up Gangham Style within 30 seconds of pressing record … THAT’S how alternative we are!
We’ve had a few weeks off over the Christmas period which has given both Steve and Remfry a little time to listen to some of the records they’d intended to in 2021, but didn’t get round to. We bring you some mainly great releases we missed, a couple of ok ones and one particularly stinky one to round things off.
In the news, we discuss Metallica’s dogs, Glastonbury’s profits and the sad passing of Woodstock founder Michael Lang. Plus, we sift through a few records coming up in the next few months that we can say with absolute 100% assurance that we have not heard, no sir, not us, move right along, nothing to hear here …
Welcome back to Riot Act Reviews, another chance for Steve and Remfry to chew the cud over a new and exciting album from the alternative music landscape. On this episode we look at Epigone, the 4th full length album from Boston based proggressive metallers Wilderun.
We reviewed the band’s 3rd album Veil of Imagination on episode 102 of the show and were very impressed by their blend of extreme metal styles, progressive elements and classical orchestration. We maaaaaay have said they sounded a bit like Opeth in that review but then hey … that’s no bad thing is it!.
This time around, the “O band” do come up again, but there is definitely a sense of expansion beyond Veil of Imagination, with psychedelic elements, classic American folk and some evocative synth work added to their already very dynamic palette of extreme metal, classic prog and some truly stirring Michael Kamen-esque orchestral flourishes.
Welcome to the first Riot Act Review of Twenty Twenty Two! This week it’s quite an unusual event, as Steve and Remfry have a ma-hoo-sive new release to chat about in the usually notoriously quiet first week of the year. We go in-depth on Dawn FM the surprise released 5th album from Canadian electro, soul and pop singer songwriter The Weeknd.
He may well be one of the most famous musicians on the planet right now, but The Weeknd is not your typical Riot Act artist, with one of our hosts having only vaguely dipped his toe into the back catalogue and the other having no prior knowledge of his work at all. Still, this is already a hugely significant release and Dawn FM is a pretty good place to start getting into The Weeknd, as its creator has spoken about the album being a brighter and lighter version of much of his previous material. As well as some seriously seductive and instantaneous 80’s inflected soul pop being present here we also get a varied plethora of famous voices lending their talents to the album, with the likes of Lil Wayne, Tyler The Creator, Quincy Jones and (we’re not making this up) JIM CARREY all lending their voices. The result is an album that is destined to be one of the biggest of the year in any genre … but, is it actually any good?
It’s part two of our mammoth deep-dive into the career of Pearl Jam and Remfry’s taking no prisoners, delivering the longest single episode we’ve ever recorded for our Classic Album series. But hey … how often do you get to wax lyrical on your favourite band of all time eh?
Recorded during the most tumultuous part of the band’s career, Vitalogy was a dynamic and sometimes disturbing reflection of a band on the brink of self-destruction. Their reluctant, meteoric rise had forced the band to withdraw from the typical major label promotion machine, despite the music press often dragging them kicking and screaming back into the spotlight. Whilst Vs. marked the beginning of this process (see Part 1), Vitalogy was the antagonistic culmination, a middle-finger to the hysteria and hyperbole that followed them no matter how opposed they were to it.
Pearl Jam faced a myriad of arduous challenges during this time; intra-band relations were strained, particularly with drummer Dave Abbruzzese, who was fired just prior to the release of the record. Guitarist Mike McCready was struggling with addiction, entering a rehab facility during recording sessions and bassist Jeff Ament and guitarist Stone Gossard represented the band when the US Justice Department asked for their assistance in an investigation against Ticketmaster. Vocalist Eddie Vedder meanwhile, was desperately trying to shake off the unwanted ‘voice of a generation’ tag that he’d been saddled with, particularly in the wake of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain’s death. The largely fabricated media feud between the two bands meant that the two frontmen never got to bond in a truly meaningful way, despite their similarities, something that was a source of deep frustration to the empathetic Pearl Jam singer.
As a result, Vitalogy contained some of the most antagonistic material of their career (Not For You, Bugs, Satan’s Bed, Hey Foxymophandlemama That’s Me) but also some of the most enduring and beloved songs in their back catalogue (Nothingman, Corduroy, Better Man, Immortality). Imperfect by design, Vitalogy delighted in testing the bands fanbase and divided opinion like no other Pearl Jam album before or since. Whatever people think of Vitalogynow or then, it’s undoubtedly the most important record in the Pearl Jam canon, allowing them to break free of the shackles of ‘grunge’ (a tag that never really suited them in the first place) and become the band they were always destined to be.
Given the fact that we subtly named our podcast after one of their albums, it was inevitable that we’d be covering Pearl Jam one day on our Classic Albums strand at some point. In the first of two parts, we cover Vs., the band’s incendiary sophomore album released October 19th 1993.
The runaway success of debut album Ten had thrust Pearl Jam into the spotlight and a level of scrutiny that they were entirely uncomfortable with, particularly frontman Eddie Vedder, who was now being widely identified (alongside Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain) as ‘the voice of a generation’. A largely unsympathetic music press couldn’t understand why sudden mega-stardom was such a chore, with some even hypothesizing that the band’s unorthodox approach to self-promotion (no music videos, no pre-release single) was a calculated move.
Calculated or not, the anti-promotion stance didn’t work – Vs. broke records upon its release selling 950,378 in its first 5 days of release. But Vs. was a record in stark contrast to the classic rock stylings of Ten, capturing the sound of a band on fire and raging against the injustices they saw around them. Songs like Go, Animal, Blood and Leash were ferocious and untamed whilst Vedder’s deeply sympathetic worldview was captured to perfection on the likes of Daughter, written from the perspective of a girl with learning disabilities whose mother was unsympathetic to her condition, and W.M.A, a tortured scree against police racism inspired by an incident that occurred outside the recording studio.
Pearl Jam ramped up the alienation even more for the follow-up Vitalogy, which we will cover in great detail in part two…