Led Zeppelin’s Zoso Is Five-O

Rendering by JQ LLC on a picnic table at Shirley Chisholm Park, Spring Creek, Brooklyn, New York

50 years ago today, heavy metal pioneers Led Zeppelin and Atlantic Records released an album with no title with a gatefold jacket cover that featured portrait of a man hauling a bale of branches hanging on a wall of a dilapidated shack. Then when the needle hit the first groove of Black Dog, rock and roll and many other musical genres would fundamentally change for infinity.

Starting with of course Black Dog, as Robert Plant conjures up the mojo of every Blues artist dead and alive singing and screaming about some mama that he finds attractive as Jimmy Page conjures maniacal riffs and flashy soloing on the songs coda over John Bonzo Bonham’s behemoth proto speed metal and hand jive beats.

As Black Dog ends with a long fade out, Bonzo comes on with the biggest and loudest beats ever committed to wax since Wipe Out in the intro of Rock And Roll, as Page comes off with another bunch of solo infused riffs to go along with Bonzo’s  and Jones hard driving rhythm. Page’s actual solo on this track is batshit unreal, he’s clearly engaging in guitar wankery and musically calling out his fellow Yardbird alumni Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton, saying I’m the fucking show now. In fact, Page is also throwing major shade at fellow guitar shredder Pete Townsend who insulted his band at Zep’s first shows by saying they’ll crash like a lead zeppelin, for which Page took the piss out by using that dis.

Like the previous track, Plant’s horn dog lyrics shows a bit of depth here, not only describing the genre in nostalgic terms but also as a woman he lost and is pining for in the chorus. “It’s been a lonely lonely lonely long time”

With a title like Battle of Evermore, it’d be assumed that it would be a doom laden metal track akin to what rival metal gods Black Sabbath was releasing at the time (who came out with Paranoid a year earlier) but it shockingly turns out to be a straight up celtic folk song. Although it’s a massively heavy metal celtic folk song; Jimmy Page, who produced the album, cranks the mandolins way up to 11 on this track, showing you don’t need Marshall Stacks or gain pedals to rock hard (a creed Tenacious D would heed four decades later). Taking inspiration from the Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, Plant and Fairport Convention’s vocalist Sandy Denny trade verses over Page and John Paul Jones battling mandolins.

Evermore’s long fade out gives a moment of silence between grooves leading to the lilting immortal notes of Led Zeppelin’s magnum opus Stairway To Heaven.

The most overplayed song on classic rock station’s limited formats for 30 years now has surely been described and praised umpteenth times so now I get to do it. Plant’s impressive poetic lyricism and mysticism of this song makes it as identifiable as the repetitious gorgeous chords going along with it, even if the abstract lyrics don’t make much sense to the listener (but most songs don’t, which is what’s great about rock and roll, after jamming music at full blast you can decipher the meanings later). But Page’s equally brilliant song structuring and production keeps pulling you in, as the acoustic guitar and clean electric guitar chords gradually increase in volume, then the tempo changes on the bridge when Bonham comes barging in, getting ready for Plant to finish until Jimmy Page strikes the first majestic chords which were clearly designed to get an army of knights to charge in a rally and a stadium of people on their feet. Page then proceeds to play three minutes of the most soulful guitar shredding of his musical career.

Wisely keeping their greatest song at the time on Side 1 of the record, keeping listeners wanting more, Side 2 begins with Misty Mountain Hop, a romping stomping simple rock song with Plant goofing on hippies and engaging in vagrancy while referencing Tolkien again. Paul Jones organ riff gets more emphasis here that Page follows along to, but Bonzo gives this silly song super aggression with his gargantuan snare and bass drum hits.

Then Zep gets evil on the menacing metalbilly beat driven and heaviest song on the album Four Sticks. It’s also the album’s most minimal and simplest song too, Plant is basically singing about breaking up with a woman or getting away from a groupie and it’s the only track where Page doesn’t do a solo. Mostly it’s a showcase for Bonzo’s inventive and distinguished drum techniques, because the  title is named after the four sticks he used to play this song.

Like with Rock And Roll, the band follows up with another folk music track, the stunning Going To California, Plant’s lyrical homage to the golden state brilliant singer songwriter Joni Mitchell, beautifully accompanied by the acoustic guitar strumming of Page and Jones.

As Page lets Going go out with a long fade featuring Plant haunting moans sounding like shadows in the distance, the silence on the groove gets disrupted by Bonzo’s massive foot stomping snare cracking pounding on When The Levee Breaks, complimented by Page’s devil conjuring slide guitar riffing and Plant’s caterwauling harmonica playing which doesn’t stop until the end of the song, truly rock and roll’s and metal’s first headbanger anthem.

Lifting the lyrics from a 40 year old song (at the time) by seminal blues singer Memphis Millie about a flood in a Kansas City town caused by a dam that broke and destroyed everything in its path. This metal classic is the perfect polarizing bookend to the Stairway opus on side 1. The most apt description of this song I can think of for this monster jam was written by Creem rock scribe Chuck Eddy who called When the Levee Breaks “the Stairway to Hell”.

Led Zeppelin’s fourth album, terminologically known as IV or Zoso, would influence generations of artists and bands expanding genres of all kinds, from every subgenre of heavy metal to hip hop. Like rock and roll benchmarks Sgt. Peppers and Are You Experienced? and Paranoid, its not just a classic rock or metal album, it’s also a living musical document that continues to transcend time and space and it still blows away everything to this day (which isn’t that hard). So go get your record,tape, CD or your fucking file and blast it this week, especially when the drums and solos come on.

I bet its been a long time, been a long time since you all did that.

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Goodnight, Chris Cornell And Soundgarden

Chris Cornell, Lead Singer And Guitarist Of Soundgarden, 52

 

Total Fucking Godhead.

Debuted in 1987. One of the greatest rock bands of all time. Particularly from the last era of the album format. Pioneers of the Grunge genre of Heavy Metal and pioneer of “alternative” music. He died the night after a sold out show in Detroit. Music will truly never be the same. Never.

Go get Superunknown, Badmotorfinger, Louder Than Love and Ultramega OK and you will know in spades.

Requiem For A Public Servant And Death Metal Drummer

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William Tolley

A firefighter tragically died as the ladder he was on clearing smoke from an apartment building roof in Ridgewood malfunctioned and he fell 5 stories to the ground. This is the second death involving city emergency units, the other being the tragic death caused by a rabid drug fueled thug to courageous EMT worker and single mother Yadira Arroyo.

William Tolley was not only a 12 year veteran of the FDNY, but an accomplished and acclaimed musician of death metal band Internal Bleeding that had fans spanning the world. They have 2 eps and 5 albums, including 2 sensational releases from the past 3 years.

Truly a terrible loss to the community and music world. What music he could have made with his band when he retired, because death metal is the only rock and roll music with any vitality and he surely would have had a full time career fulfilling his talent.

 

 

The Music Industry Is Directly Killing Rock Music

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There is something strange going on in the realm of popular music. And it’s not just the dearth of solid albums (except by the two subjects at hand) and well crafted anthemic songs of universal appeal. It’s not even the glaringly and distressingly obvious fact that there isn’t any revolutionary music being made considering the sign of the times under the aegis of HyperNormalisation and the dominance of plutocratic and autocratic leaders, widening economic disparity and the existential threat against knowledge, information and privacy (I’ll get to these later).

Judging by the recent incidents involving two legendary and successful bands spanning 3 and 4 decades, it looks like there is an attempt by the consortium of corporate music distribution and promotion to destroy rock and roll.

Consider the incident at the Coachella Festival last week with headliner Radiohead.

The band was at the end of their song “Ful Stop” when a abrupt “boop” cut the sound off. Members of the band walked off the stage to see what the hell happened. When they followed up with their classic “The National Anthem” the sound crashed again and cut it off mid song and they walked off the stage. After a long delay and some wisecracking and banter by frontman Thom Yorke, the sound came back in the middle of “Street Spirit (Fade Out)”. They followed this fracas with a jokey sluggish rendition of their worst but most popular song “Creep”. The audience, sounding equally stoned and annoyed, cheered on and the show went on.

This got a lot of national news attention for something as seemingly benign as technical difficulties, which isn’t hard because what passes for televised journalism is 60% viral videos. But mishaps like this doesn’t usually happen to big headliners, at least not Radiohead, who I have seen 4 times and they never had these problems with their own shows. They have played this festival and the many other multi-day ones in the past decade surely without a hitch, but there is something about this one that is off-putting. It seems that in spite of their popularity, which has crossed over to a new generation, that the band is being undermined. And it could be because this band’s music delves into myriad issues from politics, love, alienation isolation, music that provokes thought and expression.

And in this era of manufactured consent and content, that is an inconvenient problem for the new powers that be.

Also a threat to said powers is music that is aggressive and just flat out fucking rocks.

Take the peculiar case of Metallica at this years Grammy awards show, and the penultimate disrespect towards them by those in charge.

What was initially confusing and eccentric about this pairing turned into a blatant act of artistic sabotage by the Grammy producers. Everything about this pseudo-inspired duet made no sense, especially from the side of the one time residents of Jamaica, Queens. Metallica weren’t nominated for anything but they recently put out their stunning comeback album a few months earlier. Lady Gaga, despite releasing her pretty good album Joanne was not even nominated either for the worthless dubious award. The only thing that has precedence involving The Fame Monster with offbeat duets was her sensational album with Tony Bennett.

The abomination starts with the tranny actress Laverne Cox from the hyped streaming bingeing show Orange is the New Black, introducing Metallica and Ms. Germanotta without mentioning the band’s name. Giving the audience the ludicrously false impression that a band that has sold over 100 million albums worldwide was her backup group

The song starts, and there are a bunch of extras on the stage and in the crowd assembled below simulating thrashing about and slam dancing, which long time heavy metal DJ Eddie Trunk rightly compared to a scene from the atrocious Broadway musical Rock Of Ages. Then when James starts to sing, there’s nothing for entire verse. Gaga starts singing and is having trouble keeping up with the ferocity and speed of the song, and does ridiculous gyrations all the while. She doesn’t notice James is off until the chorus and winds up sharing her mic with him. It gets even more retarded as when Kirk goes into his blistering solo, the camera remains on Gaga as she does a stage dive into the models in the assembled crowd. It ends with both artists humiliated with James kicking his mic stand and throwing his Gibson Destroyer guitar across the stage in disgust as Lady Gaga crouched by the drumriser like a mental patient.

It should be noted that the band that actually won the Grammy this year was ex-bandmate Dave Mustaine and his band Megadeth, which the producers regaled with by playing Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”

This isn’t the first time Metallica got insulted by the dubious music awards show. When these annual arbiters of musical taste decided to deign to the metal genre by giving them a category in 1989, they had the band show up and perform “one” in it’s entirety, only to give the award to Jethro Tull.

Metallica has been around since 1983, they are arguably the only rock and roll band to release 5 classic albums in a row. They have made a glut of terrible albums and bad judgements over a decade (the Load albums, Diaper and Pant, St Anger, the orchestra album, Lulu) and came back with a phenomenal album that puts today’s crop of snowflake bands to shame. But it may have been too strong, and they are certainly, being in their 50’s, too old.

What makes this almost a conspiracy is the correlation of these disasters since they were ostensibly to promote Lady Gaga, who also happened to be the headliner of the festival the day after Radiohead. Why, especially since her new album is not selling as well like her last proper album and the last hit album she made was old standards with Mr. Bennett.

Add to the fact that the music industry is run by just  3 major labels (and a comparably minor glut of indie labels),  commercial and satellite radio is run by 3 corporations (clear channel, Iheartradio) and festival and individual concert promotion is run by 2 (AEG, Livenation) and that is a disturbing amount of consolidation that you don’t dare offend or mess with the machinations of.

That’s what makes this so fishy. Although this actually may have started in the late 90’s with the boy bands and disney sluts (and is still continuing), recent preventable mishaps like this just seem too timely. And that’s including the Mariah Carey’s New Year’s Eve meltdown. It’s like they don’t want this generation to embrace the legends and want to stifle anything new, steer them to irrelevance and regulate them to the oldies circuit or retirement.

This may be truly the beginning of the end of musical expression or maybe the bastardization of it (check out Zakk Sabbath. yuk). And as mentioned, the lack of protest music, in addition to quality lasting music is distressing. With the exception of death metal, which is limited by indecipherable vocals, there is no loud, fast, aggressive and most importantly passionate music out there to get the kids riled up or even think for themselves, the reality of their surroundings or the state of the nation and the world. Basically, there is no punk music. Or even a rock version of Kendrick Lamar or Run The Jewels.

And the music industry with these recent acts of artistic sabotage, are willfully exacerbating it. And are complicit with the widespread malaise.

What needs to stop the consortium of lame music is a malignant tumor in the form of raging uncompromising rock and roll band or more preferably a metal up the ass to all these promoters, labels and radio stations again. It’s the circle of life after all.

Executive Carnage On The Eve Of 100: Executive Producer In Chief Trump Greets His Cultural Muses

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Washington D.C., America

I used to be fans of the Nuge and the Kid. I still adore Tina Fey. Oh wait that’s the repulsive former half-governor/worst vp candidate Sarah Palin.

The most offensive thing about this picture is that Figurehead Trump has now solidified and established my depiction of him by meeting and greeting with supporters instead of conducting crucial foreign policy decisions like the current missile crisis and war ratcheting with North Korea, Syria and Iran, leaving it up to that opportunistic christian hypocrite chump Pence and greedhead redneck Tillerson. This in addition of having 2 tax dollar hemorrhaging easter egg events at the cost of you, the people while Kim Manchild was shooting off missiles and showing war agitprop.

Donald Trump, the elected president, by relinquishing and dispensing his decision making duties and responsibilities to his VP, Secretary Of State, and his generals, is now a de facto executive producer, no different than he was when he still got that credit on the last season of the celebrity apprentice. As he and his third wife, his sons, daughter and son-in-law get to hedonisticaly enjoy the spoils of his entitlement entrusted by you, the people.

To quote Rick James from the writings of the late lamented Charlie Murphy, they never should have given these niggas money.

Just a reminder to all those christians that voted for Don Worthless, this is the company he keeps-

Goodnight, Black Sabbath

Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Ozzy Osbourne, and Bill Ward officially ends it. 1969-2017

Don’t want to leave out the late resident of Long Island, Ronnie James Dio

5 decades of headbanging heavy metal mayhem. This was rock and roll kids, not your pussy sensitive hipster shit of introverted folk and flatulent laptop beat making that is permeating the airwaves, clubs, bars and fucking workspaces.

Farewell to the mighty Black Sabbath, Cheers.