Dave Grohl SXSW keynote speech

See Dave Grohl’s SXSW keynote speech

In case you missed Dave Grohl’s SXSW keynote speech and have 50 minutes to kill, it’s worth a listen — covering multi-tracking at 12, being taken to see Naked Raygun, his devastation at the death of Kurt Cobain, and finding his “musical voice.”

Morrow vs. Hajduch

Morrow vs. Hajduch: Beastwars

Scott Morrow is ALARM’s music editor. Patrick Hajduch is a very important lawyer. Each week they debate the merits of a different album.

BeastwarsBeastwars: s/t (5/9/11)

Beastwars: “Damn the Sky”

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Morrow: Hailing from New Zealand, Beastwars is a four-piece stoner/sludge-metal outfit that specializes in down-tuned guitars, deep grooves, and gruff wailing. The group remains unsigned for now, but after hearing this self-titled album (which you can do for free at Beastwars’ Bandcamp page), it’s only a matter of time before an indie label picks them up. (Hello, Tee Pee?)

The music isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s a fist-pumping, head-banging good time — part Unsane, part old-school Soundgarden, and part High on Fire.

Hajduch: There is a major, major grunge influence at work here. “Lake of Fire” sounds a whole lot like a burlier “School” by Nirvana. The way the vocals interact with these huge riffs carries a definite Pacific Northwest influence. There’s also something about the riffs that remind me of Undertow-era Tool but with more of a classic-metal gallop to them.

I’m definitely shocked at how little exposure this band has gotten. This is a really solid stoner-metal album that should appeal to everybody who even slightly likes this kind of thing.

Trash Talk

Trash Talk: Living Hardcore at Breakneck Speed

In 2008, Sacramento-based hardcore band Trash Talk recorded an album with legendary producer Steven Albini. That record, a self-titled, 12-song, 14-minute barnstormer was the first to be released after the band separated from its former label and launched its own: Trash Talk Collective.

The Boxer Rebellion

Guest Spots: Adam Harrison of the Boxer Rebellion on Latin jazz

The Boxer Rebellion: The Cold StillThe Boxer Rebellion: “Step Out Of The Car” (The Cold Still, Absentee, 2/8/11)

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British rock band The Boxer Rebellion made a splash in the US when it was featured as an unsigned band pursued by a talent scout (“I’m a Mac” Justin Long) in the film Going the Distance. The Cold Still, out in February, is the band’s third full-length, following Exits in 2005 and Union in 2009. We tapped the Rebellion’s bassist, Adam Harrison, to pen a piece explaining the influence of Latin jazz on his musical development.

How Latin Jazz Unlocked the Secrets of the Bass
by Adam Harrison of The Boxer Rebellion

Everybody knows that the bass guitar is the easiest instrument to start from scratch. Like many before me, I had learned guitar and then joined a band that already had a lead guitarist and no bass player. As the “inferior” guitarist (and, in retrospect, the smaller 12-year-old), I filled the role. However, concern at the sudden realisation that I would never be Kurt Cobain soon disappeared when I started playing the bass. I think the deep end perfectly made up for my lack of height, and the more I started to follow the bass players in my favourite bands, the more I realised that they were, in fact, the coolest in the group.

Scout Niblett

Scout Niblett: Raw Minimalism

Crossing the lines of minimalist performer and powerhouse artist, Scout Niblett is one of the strongest voices to emerge in recent years. Acting as an introspective one-woman force of nature, she eschews superfluous support and production without sacrificing an already demanding sound.

BPM Counter: First Five of 2009

ALARM columnist Sean-Michael Yoder shares his first five electronic picks in 2009. The list includes Aether’s “melodic” Artifacts, London’s John Tejada with Fabric 44, the pop/dance beats of Hercules and Love Affair’s self-titled album, a Lollapalooza mix, and Jaga Jazzist leader Lars Horntveth’s 37-minute song, “Kaleidoscopic.”

SSION’s Cody Critchloe Lists His Top 10 Women in Rock

Cody Critcheloe, frontman and creator of SSION, has a lot to talk about these days — the mockumentary he’s working on, touring, his art and music videos, his eyebrows…but in an interview with ALARM, he opted to discuss his favorite ladies in rock.

Beneath the eye liner, street jizz, and punk attitude, there lies a softer side to Critchloe. All of these women have genuinely been a source of inspiration for him.

RIP: Stooges Guitarist Ron Asheton (1948-2009)

Simply put, Ron Asheton paved the way for the Ramones and then for everyone after. No Ron means no Ramones or Clash or Sex Pistols, no REM or U2 or Sonic Youth, no Nirvana, no who knows what else.

The Top 10 Cover Songs by The Bad Plus

Hard-hitting jazz trio The Bad Plus knows how to pen pieces of proprietary gold. But its three members are also known for their genre-leaping renditions of rock songs, propelled by the chops of pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson, and drummer David King. Here are the group’s ten best covers.



Sitting in a bustling coffee shop in Seattle, it occurs to me that Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn — simply Mirah for the purposes of her records — has nothing to prove.

Since her full-length solo debut, You Think It’s Like This but Really It’s Like This, she’s carved out a niche for herself as a much loved and respected member of the Northwest indie elite, winning accolades for a series of lo-fi albums that have met with broad critical acclaim.

I’m also talking with cellist Lori Goldston and accordionist Kyle Hanson. They don’t have much to prove either. They’ve made their marks in Northwest art music as founding members of Black Cat Orchestra, Spectratone International, and the duo The Shifting Light; they’ve scored silent films and collaborated on dance, music, and theatre projects. Goldston has played with artists like Nirvana, David Byrne, and John Doe.

Though Goldston and Hanson have, in fact, already once collaborated with Mirah by way of Black Cat Orchestra — on To All We Stretch the Open Arm, a collection of politically-minded covers of works by Kurt Weill, Stephen Foster, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, and others — Share This Place is a whole other animal.