Christopher R. Weingarten

writer

Biography
Manhattan, NY

  • SPIN's 20 Best Avant Albums of 2013

    SPIN's 20 Best Avant Albums of 2013

    The year in desolate noise, fuzzy ambient, out jazz, synth tapes, fiery cello improv, bleaktronics, noise-pop, euphoric sax, Hasidic doom metal, and more — a.k.a., the best of the rest.

  • Christopher R. Weingarten's 25 Best Albums of 2013

    Christopher R. Weingarten's 25 Best Albums of 2013

    To finish out the year, we'll be offering the top 25 albums from various SPIN staffers. Today, Senior Editor Christopher R. Weingarten.A turbulent 2013, indeed — mine just happens to involve stepping down from SPIN today after two years and two months. I've already spilled about 2,000 words on the blocky, blustery, severe, shape-driven link between Kanye West, the Haxan Cloak, Nine Inch Nails, Boards of Canada, Tim Hecker, Death Grips, and Holden, so here's some quick thoughts on the rest. I never thought my top 10 would include two albums featuring Justin Vernon, but here we are. Ashley Monroe's album has better weed songs than Kacey Musgraves, better 50 Shades of Gray references than Brandy Clark, and is even shorter than Raw Power. Migos is reminding the world we need hooks, and the Necks are reminding the world we don't. Peace out. It's #METIME1. Kanye West, Yeezus 2.

  • Kanye West

    Kanye West's 'Yeezus' Is 2013's Album of the Year

    Kanye West's Yeezus is the most important album of all time inspired by a lamp.Struck by one of Le Corbusier's sleek, minimal fixtures, West responded with an album of simple shapes, uncomplicated colors, and instant gratification — an immediate sculpture made for the Pinterest age, but still clogged with enough lewd lyrical selfies to get it banned from Facebook and blown up on WorldStar. "I really do believe that the world can be saved through design, and everything needs to actually be 'architected,'" he told some Harvard School of Design students a few weeks ago. It turns out the man who caught a gratuitous amount of internet grousing earlier this year for dubbing himself "the nucleus of culture" was totally right.Yeezus was a thorny tangram puzzle of boxy headbanger blats that exemplified a year of equally stripped-down, basal pleasures.

  • The Necks

    The Necks' Cloud-Jazz, Gabriel Soloman's War Drones, & 15 More Avant-LPs in Concrète Jungle

    The Necks, Open (Northern Spy)The most beautiful album of the year isn’t by Bill Callahan or Haim or Boards of Canada or Susan Boyle, but by these Australian slowpoke-jazz cult heroes. The Necks have been creating mesmerizing, slowly unraveling improv for 25 years, but have enjoyed a recent revival thanks to some rare Stateside gigs, Nick Cave and M. Gira co-signs, and a living legacy in bands like Bohren and der Club of Gore and Dale Cooper Quartet. Their 17th record, and first in a partnership with NYC label Northern Spy, is a beaming, wall-to-wall gorgeous 68-minute journey of haunting mosquito buzzes, cymbal washes, nail-biting drum rolls, jingling chimes, and pianos that resonate and ring. With the speed of sunlight moving across a field, it's jazz for Eno heads, ambient for improv fans, and a molasses-slow chillout that works like sludge metal (only friendlier).

  • Jana Winderen

    Jana Winderen, the Gallery Game Dr. Doolittle, Turns Calls of the Wild into Gorgeous Sound Art

    Norwegian sound artist Jana Winderen constructs meditative pieces often played in dark rooms or austere gallery spaces — but the way she makes them is straight out of Indiana Jones."In the Barents Sea just looking out on this dark black ocean and it’s freezing cold," she says, describing one of her many sound-hunting missions. "It’s, like, minus whatever [degrees], ice on deck. That feels dangerous, because you can slip and you’ll just slip off and out into the void. You’re surely dead, like ten centimeters away from yourself, you’re dead. Of course, it has felt dangerous, but I haven’t really been scared."Winderen travels to the farthest corners of the globe and records "unseen sound" — lowering meter upon meter of cable into fjords, glacial caverns, or to the bottom of oceans.

  • Sun and Sail Club

    Hear Sun and Sail Club's 'Mannequin' LP: Kyuss and Fu Manchu Members' Vocoder-Metal

    If Queens of the Stone Age called themselves "robot rock," then Vocoder-saturated bandroids Sun and Sail Club are rebooting the '80s-era Transformers cartoon — bright, colorful, heavy as anything. More than meets the eye, this crew — former Kyuss/Obsessed bassist Scott Thomas Reeder and current Fu Manchu members Bob Balch and Scott Reeder — shoots the sludge-bubblegum stoner pop of contemporary bands like Torche and Baroness into the center of Bambaataa's Planet Rock: The riffs are repetitive and bludgeoning, while the hooks are garbled from a Vocoder whose levels are set to "Mr. Roboto" or "Man-Machine."Stream the whole thing below, and cop the album from Satin Records on November 19 — or kiss their shiny metal ass.

  • Killer Mike at Fun Fun Fun Fest, Austin, November 10, 2013

    Fun Fun Fun 2013: Killer Mike's Awesome Non-Set and the 5 Best Things We Saw on Sunday

    5. Gojira French bile-groovers Gojira were making more noise than a mere four people should reasonably make. They're technically a death metal band, but they have the ugly precision of an industrial machine: We don't know if they had triggers, but drummer Mario Duplantier's snare sounded like machine gun fire, and their last note was like an 808 kick designed to approximate the smoke after a factory explosion. Of course, their brutal grooves whipped the crowd into a froth, eventually inspiring a stage-crashing mutiny as the band took turns flailing their guitars around like Cirque du Soleil clowns. One rowdy stage-crasher tried to give frontman Joe Duplantier a kiss; another just roared into the open mic. Said the singer — maybe proud, maybe annoyed — "Just a bunch of fuckin' kids, man."4.

  • Fun Fun Fun 2013: Top 20 Things We Saw

    Fun Fun Fun 2013: Top 20 Things We Saw

    The eighth-annual Fun Fun Fun Fest took over Austin this weekend with six stages of bands, comedians, celebrity DJs, airborne skateboarders, and the one and only taco cannon. Here are the 20 best things we saw, heard, and devoured.

  • Body Count at Fun Fun Fun Fest, Austin, November 9, 2013

    Fun Fun Fun 2013: Body Count Dismember the '90s and the 5 Best Things We Saw on Saturday

    5. Unlocking the TruthForget that this is a trio of pre-teens playing extreme metal at a huge festival, because — Hey, a trio playing extreme metal at a huge festival! As a live experience, Unlocking the Truth are just as hypnotic as any similarly instrumental-inclined metal band (Pelican would follow 'em a few hours later), and they use that model to play even crueler riffs, since their taste leans toward classic thrash's speed-freakery and modern deathcore's slowpoke breakdowns. Okay, now remember that they are kids, and watch when guitarist Malcolm Brickhouse rolls his eyes like he's been told to mow the lawn or says, "Sorry" in that "I'm not really sorry" voice that kids use — it's ultimately the truest spirit of what punk is attempting to tap into, and something all the adult bands here have to work extra hard to get. 4.

  • Ceremony at Fun Fun Fun Fest, Austin, November 8, 2013

    Fun Fun Fun 2013: Thee Oh Sees Inspire Giddy Pogoing and the 5 Best Things We Saw on Friday

    5. Snoop Dogg Snoopzilla's DJ kicks the night off with the unmistakable G-funk fwiz-bang of MC Breed's "Ain't No Future in Yo' Frontin'," and suddenly it's the early '90s again: lowriders, braids, gin and juice, etc. It becomes easy to forget that Snoop has spent the 19 years since spreading himself impossibly thin, throwing practically anything against the wall and hoping it sticky-icky-icks. His set is naturally a total clusterfuck that cycles through two decades of pop culture trends of varying length and endurance: His ill-recieved Snoop Lion reggae project, a Katy Perry Euro-bubblegum No. 1, a shouty DJ Khaled posse cut, the clean version of his proto-chillwave "Sexual Eruption," a dalliance in the G-Unit era, a 2004 single that sampled the Bee Gees (No. 67 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Chart), the whole "I'm in Love With a Stripper" thing.

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