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MUSIC REVIEW

State of the Airwaves

Metallica, Methods of Mayhem, and Meat

By Dan Katz

Staff Writer

You want to talk concerts? Fine, let’s talk concerts. The Airwaves Show of the Week is without a doubt at the Somerville Theater Sunday night, a Moxy Fruvous gig that as of Wednesday was not sold out... Get tickets right now! Tonight, one of Philadelphia’s best acoustic guitarists, Jeffrey Gaines, shows up at Passim’s in Harvard Square; if you desire something heavier, the Avalon provides Filter, Drain STH, and Simon Says tomorrow, while Megadeth and Static-X play the Orpheum Sunday. Joe Strummer, formerly of the Clash, comes to the Roxy Monday with the Pietasters to try to prove he still has a pulse. Finally, the Middle East gets a taste of the chronically cool in the form of the Promise Ring on Saturday night and Juliana Hatfield, checking in on Tuesday.

It’s a big week for live albums. Tuesday music stores will see the debut of a new concert album from Blondie called Live, roughly the 783rd Dave Matthews Band live album (Listener Supported), and most intriguingly, the long-awaited release of S&M, featuring Metallica performing with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. I’ve heard some of the tracks from this disc, and whether or not you’re a big Metallica fan, this is just incredible to listen to. If you don’t believe me, check out <http://www.ubl.com> for an advanced listening link that will be available this week only. Other promising releases Tuesday: Third Eye Blind tries to avoid the “one-hit wonder” label with Blue, and Beck tries to retain the “eclectic music God” label with Midnite Vultures.

Methods of Mayhem is a pretty accurate name for Tommy Lee’s new musical project. The first single, “Get Naked,” features some unairably sexual lyrics with a great beat and guitar line, but it dodges from guest vocalist to guest vocalist like a Wu-Tang Clan video, incorporating lyrics by Lee, a periodic prechorus from Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst, a particularly nasty segment with rapper Lil’ Kim, and the turntable skills of “fourth Beastie Boy” Mixmaster Mike (immortalized in the woefully underplayed single “3 MCs And One DJ.”) What does this all amount to? A song that’s pretty catchy, but a little too chaotic to latch on to. Plus, with all these names on one track, it’s hard to believe the band can garner as much attention for a second single (although the album also features the Crystal Method, which is definitely an excellent choice).

He’s half-alive, he’s half-dead; folks just call him Buckethead. For a non-singing guitarist who wears a white mask and a bucket on his head, Buckethead hasn’t garnered quite as much media attention as one would expect. However, he finally has a single doing relatively well on the radio, entitled “The Ballad of Buckethead,” and driven by an eerie guitar lick and the funky bass and vocals of Primus’s Les Claypool. Meanwhile, Claypool’s primary band has a single riding the charts that clearly displays some influence from their tour with Ozzfest: “Electric Uncle Sam” combines the traditional Primus sound with metal-style power, complete with guitars and production by Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello. Doesn’t anybody make music by themselves anymore?

And now I’d like to take a moment to speak about my role as a music columnist. I am proud to write a column that caters to any fan of rock music, regardless of whether they also listen to classical, jazz, hip-hop, polka, or post-industrial Hungarian muzak. I certainly do not encourage people to limit themselves to one genre. Other editorials in gray boxes might encourage you to give up some of the things that make life enjoyable; like, for instance, chicken, beef, or ham. You have a choice; stand up to journalistic totalitarianism! Read the open-minded, thoughtful parts of The Tech’s arts section and just say no to The Esse-- er, other columns.

Now that that bit of aggression is finished with, it’s time for me to hit you up for e-mail. See a concert recently that made you demand your money back? Hear a single on the radio that you can’t get out of your head? Ready to show your support in the war against the carnivorally impaired? Desperately want to ask out that dreamy guy who writes State of the Airwaves? Drop me a line at airwaves@the-tech.mit.edu. I will give all correspondence my fullest attention. ’Til next our paths cross, have a hamburger and keep expanding your horizons.