I’m writing this with my headphones jammed on my ears and the volume cranked up high. It is an ill-advised thing to do. Because I’m listening to a band called Pig Destroyer. They’re from Washington DC and they play a genre of music that is known as grindcore. Grindcore is loud. LOUD. It is probably the heaviest, most distorted and abrasive kind of music that I have ever heard. I’ve heard various types of heavy metal–doom, death and thrash metal, Japanese bands that routinely blow out the audience’s eardrums and cause nosebleeds and heart attacks and others of their ilk from the US and Europe. But nothing comes close to what I’m getting fed into my ears via my headphones right now. Read more

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Around 10 days back, my colleague in London mailed me a link with a short note that simply said “Yes they are back! And I can die in peace”. The link was to a lyric video (the kind where you can read the lyrics while listening to the song) of The Rolling Stones’ latest new single, Doom And Gloom. And the note from my colleague who’s obviously a huge Stones fan besides being an erstwhile (or, is he still one?) bass slapper himself, is an example of how much diehard Stones fans love the 50-year-old band. Read more

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In a recent episode of Saturday Night Live, hosted by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the American actor whose role as the young policeman, John Blake, in The Dark Knight Rises I liked, the musical guests were Mumford & Sons, an English indie folk band. They played two songs live—I Will Wait and Below My Feet—both from their recently released new album, Babel. Both the performances were nice. And I thought to myself that Mumford & Sons were probably better heard live than on albums. I’ve had a copy of Sigh No More, their debut album, for a couple of years but I must admit that although I liked listening to it the first couple of times, it soon got a bit clichéd, repetitive and whiney. Read more

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It’s been nearly three months since Frank Ocean’s debut album Channel Orange was released and I find myself going back to it over and over again. In fact, Channel Orange is well on its way to finding a berth on my best albums’ list of the year. It’s not as if I’m the biggest fan of R&B – indeed, the current crop of R&B stars such as Usher, Chris Brown, Mariah Carey and Beyonce, don’t do it for me. In theory, contemporary R&B is an amalgam of R&B (of course) and funk and soul and hip-hop, but much of today’s R&B music, with its mandatory pounding beats and formulaic dance-friendliness really is like a substitute for erstwhile disco music. The music is often repetitive and clichéd and the lyrics unmemorable – not my cup of beverage whatever that might be. Read more

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