christopherschultz

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    20 Essential Songs From the Dearly Departed Arista, Jive, and J Records

    This week, RCA announced that it would shutting the doors to its Arista, Jive, and J Records imprints, ending 37 years of service on the frontlines of punk, new wave, hip-hop, dance, and teen pop. At first this seemed like a great opportunity for another trend piece about the decaying state of the music industry — hmmm, it has been a suspiciously long time since a record label treated us to a champagne brunch. But instead, we decided to pick the 20 best tracks from these three fallen totems, displaying how they often turned fringe genres into the sound of now. Started in 1974 by Clive Davis, Arista gave a home to vanguards like Patti Smith and Lou Reed before turning into the '80s pop staple that churned out endless number one hits by Whitney Houston and Exposé.

  • Primus Green, 'Naugahyde' (Prawn Song/ATO)

    Primus Green, 'Naugahyde' (Prawn Song/ATO)

    The first Primus album in 11 years is missing practically everything that made them unlikely belles of the Headbangers Ball: the maddening 11/4 prog mutations, the heavy-metal muscle, the dissonant oddball skronk. Instead, Green Naugahyde is all rubbery, aggro Bootsy, picking up where 1999's nü-metal-chasing Antipop left off. It suffers mostly because there's hardly any of guitarist Larry "Ler" LaLonde's atonal death-Zappa theatrics (here he's mostly on Andy Summers downbeat duty). But bassist-frontman Les ?Claypool's jam-wonk detours and drummer Jay Lane's comically busy ?hi-hats ensure that the band's goony cartoon-octopus funk abounds.

  • Black Tide, 'Post Mortem' (DGC/Interscope)

    Black Tide, 'Post Mortem' (DGC/Interscope)

    Miami quartet Black Tide party at the funeral parlor where metalcore, thrash, and skull-shaped belt buckles converge. Though it attempts a Guns N' Roses/Iron Maiden hybrid, second album Post Mortem comes off like a latecomer to the Vampirecore class of 2005 reunion (Avenged Sevenfold, Funeral for a Friend, Bullet for My Valentine), minus the soaring hooks and galloping tempos. There are, however, unique nods to the band's Latin-?American heritage -- an acoustic flourish here, a manic, Mars Volta–style polyrhythmic breakdown there -- but they're too ?few and far between.

  • Prurient, '
Bermuda Drain' (Hydra Head)

    Prurient, '
Bermuda Drain' (Hydra Head)

    New York power-electronics icon Dominick Fernow, a.k.a. Prurient, made his bloody mark lunging at amplifiers and acting out a savage, shirtless, one-man hate-fuck. But after moonlighting alongside buzz-worthy synth bummers Cold Cave, here he combines his emotionally vivisecting yowl with darkwave's chilly slouch. The juxtaposition can be jarringly naked -- watch in horror as he screeches about penetrating someone with a tree branch over hospital-clean keyboards. But at its very best, Bermuda Drain works like the expressionistic, sexually primal void where you imagine Wax Trax fist-fighting 4AD.

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    Indie Rap Icons Company Flow's Raging Reunion

    Backstage at Santos Party House during Company Flow's first show in more than a decade, Pharaohe Monch tweeted in awe: "Most words ever. Lots of words." And, yes, words at the underground hip-hop icons' triumphant Saturday night reunion gig came fast and furious. The notoriously verbose duo of El-P and Bigg Jus not only nailed every syllable of their loquacious back catalog, but shouted them, Run-DMC-style, until you could hear their voices getting hoarse. The crowd, red-faced and often bearded, seemed to be engaged in a secret contest over who could fling the highest percentage of impossible clusters back at the stage.

  • Sepultura, 'Kairos' (Nuclear Blast)

    Sepultura, 'Kairos' (Nuclear Blast)

    The 12th album by thrash trailblazers Sepultura is built around the concept of time -- so apparently they traveled back to the early '90s to cobble together this machinelike, inexorable robo-mosh. There's a knuckle-dragging cover of Ministry's "Just One Fix" with a mook-metal breakdown; "Relentless" might as well be a cover of Pantera's "A New Level." Despite bonkers drumming from Jean Dolabella (Igor Cavalera's still-fresh replacement) and some inspired, Neurosis-style epic ambience, these once-fearless experimenters are now just excavating ultra-macho crud from ?the bowels of metal's ?sputtering fear factory.?

  • Boris, 'Attention Please' (Sargent House)

    Boris, 'Attention Please' (Sargent House)

    Veteran Japanese voyagers Boris never met a subgenre they couldn't blow out. And Heavy Rocks is a monolithic take on everything from trippy Funkadelic acid sludge to galloping Blue Öyster pöp to lightning-riding '80s thrash; yet it all billows fluffily from the same dreamy doom factory they constructed on 2005's Pink. Farther into the cosmos is sister record Attention Please, the least "metal" thing the band have released to date, which focuses on icy rhythms and smoky moods, as if they're slinking up alongside the xx. Guitarist Wata caresses the mic on nine tracks, steering her bandmates from brackish Casio swoon to glitterball trance to euphorically raging rock.

  • Boris, 'Heavy Rocks' (Sargent House)

    Boris, 'Heavy Rocks' (Sargent House)

    Veteran Japanese voyagers Boris never met a subgenre they couldn't blow out. And Heavy Rocks is a monolithic take on everything from trippy Funkadelic acid sludge to galloping Blue Öyster pöp to lightning-riding '80s thrash; yet it all billows fluffily from the same dreamy doom factory they constructed on 2005's Pink. Farther into the cosmos is sister record Attention Please, the least "metal" thing the band have released to date, which focuses on icy rhythms and smoky moods, as if they're slinking up alongside the xx. Guitarist Wata caresses the mic on nine tracks, steering her bandmates from brackish Casio swoon to glitterball trance to euphorically raging rock.

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    Bruno Mars & Janelle Monae Chat Backstage

    Earlier this month, at New York City's Roseland Ballroom, we caught up with chart-topping heartthrob Bruno Mars and cult cosmonaut Janelle Monáe as they kicked off their 24-date Hooligans In Wondaland tour. For a pair of blossoming stars in their early-20s, their two performances couldn't have been any more different -- Monáe and her band approximating a frenetic retrofuture mosh pit and Mars passionately strumming a guitar in the key of screeching girls. But both artists share a deep bond as friends and pop vanguards blurring the lines between liquid R&B, blustery rock, and vintage soul. SPIN chatted with the pair backstage and found out what they joke about, why their Grammy performance almost fell apart, and what living legend was seen sneaking around the show. SPIN: You closed the first show of the tour. Congrats!

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    Q&A: The Big 4 Reunite and Talk Metal!

    Last weekend in Indo, CA, Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax — the four bands who elevated the furious carnage of thrash-metal from the tape-trading underground to the top of the Billboard charts — played their very first show together on American soil. After 30 years of being savaged by the PMRC, suffering legendary bouts of inter-band feuding, and surviving the alternative revolution against all odds, the quartet's massive concert was a victory lap for heavy metal's legacy in the states. Before the show, SPIN caught up with the bands — Metallica's Lars Ulrich, Megadeth's Dave Mustaine, Slayer's Tom Araya, and Anthrax's Scott Ian — to find out what's changed, what hasn't, and who still pukes before the show. See our review & photos of the Big 4's Cali concert >> SPIN: You've all been at this for 30 years.

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