David Peisner



  • David Lynch, 'Crazy Clown Time'

    Avant-noir filmmaker David Lynch calls his debut solo album "modern blues," but postmodern is more like it: Warm synths and woozy electric guitars transmit warped waves of sound over beats that stalk, stagger, throb, and creep. Lynch's wobbly croak of a voice is frequently manipulated to sound robotic or distant, or as if his mouth is stuffed with dinner rolls. Karen O coos and yelps through propulsive opener "Pinky's Dream," but Lynch handles most everything else here -- vocals, guitar, writing, production -- creating soundscapes that are dark, unsettling, and often confusing. Which is to say, quite a bit like his films.

  • The Fall, 'Ersatz G.B.' (MVD/Cherry red)

    It's the great contradiction of the Fall's 30-odd-year career that their defiant, genre-hopping post-punk racket has, with repetition, become almost predictable. Or at least predictably unpredictable. Mark E. Smith's 29th album with a revolving cast of playersincludes the strangely slinky, dub-inflected "Taking Off"; the fractured rockabilly of "Mask Search"; and the throttling, doomy grunge of "Greenway." One mellow pop confection, "Happi Song," might bereasonably called pretty. Bracing guitar shards invade nearly every peaceable melody, and Smith's sinister, sneering, disjointed babble always confuses more than clarifies — which is, of course, the point.

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    Crown Royal: Kanye West and Jay-Z Launch Throne Tour in Atlanta

    On the opening night of Jay-Z and Kanye West's Watch the Throne tour in Atlanta on Friday, there was a lot to look at. The show opened with Jay and Kanye trading verses on the frenetic Watch the Throne single "H.A.M.," as they rose up at opposite ends of Philips Arena atop giant hydraulic video cubes projecting images of rather ill-tempered Dobermans. A few minutes later, a huge American flag dropped from the ceiling flanked by bursts of pyrotechnics for "Otis." Multicolored lasers shot off in every direction all night long and massive video screens behind the stage projected a stream of images to complement many of the songs — tigers and leopards for "Welcome to the Jungle," fighter jets and eagles for "Touch the Sky," police cars for "Run This Town," bears for "Monster," etc.

  • Hurricane Bells, 'Tides and Tales' (Invisible Brigades)

    Hurricane Bells, 'Tides and Tales' (Invisible Brigades)

    Hurricane Bells went from being Longwave frontman Steve Schlitz's low-key side project to his main concern right about the moment "Monsters" soundtracked Robert Pattinson strutting through his opening scene in Twilight: New Moon. To say this sophomore effort overflows with songs well suited for future Twilight sequels isn't a dig: Schlitz has a knack for turning dark thoughts into indie-pop candy. "The Possibilities" is a warm, blippy ode to the joys of momentarily forgetting your world is falling apart; "If This Night Is Over" wraps a dying relationship in an intoxicating acoustic waltz. And almost every other song depicts the moment when love begins to curdle (or even decay) with ?such melody and charm that Schlitz makes it ?almost sound like fun.

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    Mikey Welsh's Great Escape

    For his story "Second Acts," in the March 2010 issue of SPIN, contributing writer David Peisner spoke with 44 musicians who chose to leave pop music behind for other pursuits. His subjects included the late Mikey Welsh, who played bass with Weezer from 1998 to 2001. Welsh later resurfaced in Burlington, Vermont, as a painter, and spoke frankly with Peisner about how his time spent in the band was a dream come true that soon turned overwhelming and unmanageable. Here is an extended version of the interview that ran in the magazine. SPIN: Do you have a personal highlight from your Weezer days?Mikey Welsh: I guess, probably, the week that the "Green Album" came out. That was a good week. It debuted really high and we played Saturday Night Live and got flown in a private jet from L.A. to New York to do the show.

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    Inside Tunisia's Hip-Hop Revolution

    A rapper named El General posted a song to his Facebook page that became the anthem to his country's revolution. David Peisner travels to Tunisia to see how hip-hop brought down a dictator. The most dangerous rapper in the world sleeps in a narrow twin bed in a small room he shares with his brother in a tidy, comfortable home on the outskirts of Sfax, an industrial port city in central Tunisia. The comforter is decorated with pictures of teddy bears, rocking horses, and a red wagon adorned with the words BEAR EXPRESS. His brother's identical bed sits four inches away. On the morning I visit, he walks out of his house into the dusty, sunbaked street wearing a black T-shirt, black sweatpants, and flip-flops.

  • Young Antiques, 'A Man, Not a Biography' (Two Sheds)

    As longtime purveyors of defiantly unfashionable bar-band rock, Atlanta's Young Antiques don't really do anything that hasn't already been done better by others, but their fourth album remains a minor triumph of ram-shackle hooks and underdog charms. "Gotta Get Over You" is a breathless wallop of propulsive power pop that's here and gone in just over 90 thrilling seconds; the alternately bright and brooding "Daydream Fields" might've been an alt-rock radio staple in 1996, and "Biography" is the best fake Springsteen this side of the Hold Steady. The lesser moments feel a bit generic, but they're infrequent enough not to spoil the fun.

  • Fleet Foxes & The Year's Most Beautiful Album

    Fleet Foxes & The Year's Most Beautiful Album

    For Robin Pecknold, following up Fleet Foxes' beloved debut wasn't just a labor of love -- it was an all-consuming head trip. David Peisner goes to Seattle and finds an artist who's still learning where his off switch is. [Magazine Excerpt] Robin Pecknold stands outside a small triangle-shaped building in the Seattle neighborhood of Ballard, wearing a weathered green barn jacket over his slight frame and smoking an American Spirit.

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    Jimmy Eat World Launch Tour in Atlanta

    Although they're credited as emo godfathers, the Tempe,AZ four-piece Jimmy Eat World have spent the better part of the lastdecade carving out a space on modern rock radio playlists for amiable,straightforward power-pop unencumbered by gimmicks, trends, or larger-than-life personalities.

  • Photo by Julian Thomann

    Jamaican Dancehall: Gangster's Paradise

    The arrest this summer of elusive alleged drug kingpin — and Jamaican folk hero — Christopher "Dudus" Coke served as a dramatic reminder that when it comes to partying at the crossroad between organized crime and pop music, rap's got nothing on dancehall. [Magazine Excerpt] The Sun Sets behind Tivoli Gardens on a warm Wednesday evening in late June, shooting streaks of burnt-orange light between this West Kingston community's crumbling buildings.

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