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May 29, 2006 6:43 PM   Subscribe

[nytimesfilter] Why is the New York Times obsessed with doom metal? For a newspaper that gives perfunctory (at best) coverage to non-classical, non-top-40 music, the publication of two articles about one marginal subgenre of indie rock seems incredibly conspiratorial.
posted by stemlot (55 comments total)

 
The Times is certainly in no position to be writing about metal - of any variety. But who the hell would classify it as a "marginal subgenre of indie rock"? Its hardly marginal, and in no way related to the music that is these days referred to as "indie".
posted by blaneyphoto at 6:56 PM on May 29, 2006


The indie kids have started listening to something that's being called "art metal" or "experimental metal", blaneyphoto. Sunn 0))) is a Pitchfork darling. Lightning Bolt, too (if they count; I don't know enough about metal to make an accurate classification myself...).
posted by mr_roboto at 7:06 PM on May 29, 2006


"socially acceptable metal"
posted by fire&wings at 7:08 PM on May 29, 2006


I'm very familiar with the bands and music.... I'm not buyin' the classification though. Maybe I'm being too nitpicky about labels, but "indie", for me, brings to mind bands like Fugazi (who are truly independent) and Radiohead (who are talented, jangly college rock wishing they were "underground") or countless other mostly mediocre bands that are "indie" only because substantial labels won't touch them.
posted by blaneyphoto at 7:16 PM on May 29, 2006


Sunn0))), Lightning Bolt, Orthrelm, Pelican, Isis, Flying Luttenbachers, Boris -- only people who wear plastic glasses and/or tight t-shirts listen to these bands.
posted by stemlot at 7:22 PM on May 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


Clearly the gray old lady is preparing us for the front page spread about Slayer on National Slayer Day.
posted by drezdn at 7:22 PM on May 29, 2006


a newspaper that gives perfunctory (at best) coverage to non-classical, non-top-40 music

Really? That's not my impression.
posted by muckster at 7:27 PM on May 29, 2006


The other day I went to a Mogwai concert, and the opening band was a sludge metal group called Torche. They put on a pretty good show, but I remember thinking that it seemed like an odd decision for an opener (the crowd, myself excluded, seemed to hate it). I guess it makes sense if the indie kids are listening to it, though.

A front page spread about Slayer would make my day, incidentally.
posted by Drunken_munky at 7:27 PM on May 29, 2006


Listening to the previews on last.fm. Wow, talk about boring.
posted by delmoi at 7:35 PM on May 29, 2006


I found some sunn0))) previews here. Not as boring as the band I found on last.fm, kind of like a streched out radiohead or something. Might be fun to listen to on shrooms.
posted by delmoi at 7:39 PM on May 29, 2006


Sunn0))), Lightning Bolt, Orthrelm, Pelican, Isis, Flying Luttenbachers, Boris -- only people who wear plastic glasses and/or tight t-shirts listen to these bands.

Only an insane person would put Orthrelm in the same list as Boris, Isis and Sunn 0))).
posted by kenko at 7:41 PM on May 29, 2006


It's hilarious that this article repeats the Atsuo from Boris' response to the question about Satan, which was also in the first article about doom in the times. (It is a good response, but jeez.)
posted by kenko at 7:43 PM on May 29, 2006


I do love this blurb from sunn0)))'s website:

The SUNN0))) mission is to create trance like soundscapes with the ultimate low end/bottom frequencies intended to massage the listeners intenstines into a act of defecation. SUNN 0))) have gathered 2x for live performances, at which they have succesfully made audience members instantly nauseous, or better yet run for the toilet in terror.

I couldn't manage to get through both articles in their entirety; did the Times mention the defecation angle?
posted by mr_roboto at 7:47 PM on May 29, 2006


-- only people who wear plastic glasses and/or tight t-shirts listen to these bands.--

Wait.... I thought that was just Get Up Kids fans...
posted by blaneyphoto at 7:47 PM on May 29, 2006


I discovered that he was a devoted fan of bebop, that the thing he valued most about his music was the improvisational freedom it allowed him and that the volume of Sunn0)))'s live shows was intended, at least partly, to relax the crowd.

Specifically, or at least so it used to be said, to relax their bowels.

If Deep Purple had released an album showcasing the moments of pure bottom-end feedback between actual songs on "Deep Purple Live," it might have sounded something like "The Grimm Robe Demos."

So it would sound like Arc?
posted by kenko at 7:53 PM on May 29, 2006




pure bottom-end feedback

Arf Arf.
posted by Sparx at 8:01 PM on May 29, 2006


I suppose it goes without saying that cccorlew's favorite band sucks.
posted by mr_roboto at 8:07 PM on May 29, 2006


Only an insane person would put Orthrelm in the same list as Boris, Isis and Sunn 0))).

Only a rockist would differentiate between doom-drone and doom-spazz.
posted by stemlot at 8:18 PM on May 29, 2006


MetaFilter: Only a noun would verb.
posted by Mikey-San at 8:36 PM on May 29, 2006


The NYTimes caters to mostly soccer-moms so it figures they'd do stories about topics that the moms are directly confused and affected by due to their kid's obsessions.
posted by HTuttle at 8:40 PM on May 29, 2006


(we already did the what-does-indie-mean discussion a while back, so I'll just say that unless you define "indie rock" as meaning "all guitar-based music that isn't on a major label", which I don't think many people do, doom metal is a subgenre of metal, not indie rock.)

That article wasn't too bad, as far as it goes, but I wouldn't call it hugely surprising. The focus of it was pretty much entirely on drone-doom, and that particular sub-subgenre has picked up some credibility with indie rockers lately. The big indie rock magazines are all reviewing Boris and Khanate and Sunn0))) these days. I'm sure that's why the New York Times covered it. Doom metal is a much larger subgenre than that, but the indie kids haven't really taken any notice of the rest of it.

Also, I must second the suckiness of cccorlew's favorite band.
posted by a louis wain cat at 8:45 PM on May 29, 2006


MetalFilter

I heard Lighting Bolt for the first time not too long ago and thought they kicked ass. I don't wear tight t-shirts OR glasses.

So there.

posted by brundlefly at 8:49 PM on May 29, 2006


Radiohead (who are talented, jangly college rock wishing they were "underground")

I came this close to actually bothering to respond to this troll. Well done, sir.
posted by empath at 8:56 PM on May 29, 2006


You call that doom metal? THIS is doom metal!
posted by hamhed at 8:57 PM on May 29, 2006


--Radiohead (who are talented, jangly college rock wishing they were "underground")

I came this close to actually bothering to respond to this troll. Well done, sir.---

I'm not sure what that means... is that good? bad? Or more importantly, do I care?
posted by blaneyphoto at 9:07 PM on May 29, 2006


"We take the atmosphere of metal - the barbarism, the unrelentingness - and we apply it to getting the room actually vibrating," said Stephen O'Malley... Accordingly, [Sunn o)))]'s songs, as heard on the slow burn of the forthcoming "Black One" and the just reissued "GrimmRobe Demos," are vast seas of gurgle and drone.

On records, the band haunts. In concert, its members, who perform in druid-style robes and typically use industrial smoke machines, actually alter the feel of the room.

"In that way, the entire space becomes the performance," Mr. O'Malley said.


"Nobody knew who they were.... or.... what... they were doing...." (Okay, sorry)
posted by jokeefe at 9:33 PM on May 29, 2006


That candlemass video... it is, how you say, humour?

/ I'm hoping it is because any other explanation...
// it ain't pretty
posted by C.Batt at 9:38 PM on May 29, 2006


Only a rockist would differentiate between doom-drone and doom-spazz.

Only a racist would confuse doom-spazz and brutal prog.
posted by kenko at 9:58 PM on May 29, 2006


"Indie" is not a genre, it's a marketing/distribution term. Therefore, it can't have "sub-genres".
posted by signal at 10:04 PM on May 29, 2006


For a newspaper that gives perfunctory (at best) coverage to non-classical, non-top-40 music

See: Kalefa Sanneh, Nate Chinen, Ben Ratlin.

Might be fun to listen to on shrooms.

BINGO.
posted by maxreax at 10:25 PM on May 29, 2006


If Lightning Bolt is playing, and you don't go and see them, you're an idiot!. They're amazing live.
posted by SweetJesus at 10:43 PM on May 29, 2006


I saw Orthrelm open for Black Dice two years ago. I enjoyed their virtuosity, but it was kind of like watching two guys (who happen to be very talented) practicing in public.
posted by bardic at 11:11 PM on May 29, 2006


Other than the "indie rock" thing, the nytimes article was actually a pretty reasonable piece on Sunn O))) and Boris. Certainly more accurate than this thread - there seemed to be far more metalheads than hipsters at the Middle East Sunn O))) show the other week [which was a great show], and man, Lightning Bolt, Orthrelm, and the Flying Luttenbachers as doom metal? Doom metal's _slow_. That's a big part of the whole style.

[I tend to think of Sunn O))), Boris, et al as being more like Earth than actual doom metal, though. They trade doom metal's riffs for drones - compare them to other bands like Swallow the Sun or Cathedral or My Dying Bride or Winter or Forty Days Longing or whatever, and they're pretty different. Also, as a louis wain cat notes, they've gotten a lot of press, while the other sort of doom metal, the sort originally derived from slowed-down death metal, remains a metalhead thing.]
posted by ubersturm at 11:39 PM on May 29, 2006


I saw SunnO))) this last week. It made me feel the need to take a shit. Stat. AWESOME show.
posted by cellphone at 11:44 PM on May 29, 2006


Besides getting bored halfway through until they got back into the whole being louder than fuckity fuck shit that they went away from for about 20 minutes, anyway.
posted by cellphone at 11:46 PM on May 29, 2006


Radiohead (who are talented, jangly college rock wishing they were "underground") or countless other mostly mediocre bands

Nooooooo!
posted by Windigo at 1:41 AM on May 30, 2006


You kids nowadays with your Hanson and your ABBA.
posted by spazzm at 2:04 AM on May 30, 2006


I'm stunned that none of these bands have formed a supergroup called The Brown Note.

Might be fun to listen to on shrooms.

Damn straight. Or salvia divinorum, for that Aztec spaztec vibe, man.
posted by jack_mo at 3:44 AM on May 30, 2006


I'm stunned that none of these bands have formed a supergroup called The Brown Note.

I'm guessing with a name like SunnO))), they're going for something a little less obvious.
posted by Hubajube at 4:04 AM on May 30, 2006


Hmmn, I'm now wondering if all those brackets after the O are meant to imply an emoticonical rendering of half a goatse bumstretch?

Anyway, my favourite thing at SunO))) gigs is the 'traditional' metal people headbanging really really slowly. Looks fantastic.
posted by jack_mo at 4:29 AM on May 30, 2006


I love the categories at the bottom of the wikipedia link.

Black metal - Death metal - Doom metal - Folk metal - Glam metal - Gothic metal - Grindcore - Industrial metal - Neo-classical metal - Power metal - Progressive metal - Symphonic metal - Thrash metal - Scandinavian death metal - New Wave of British Heavy Metal - Bay Area thrash metal

What the world needs is an Internet Metal Subgenre Generator.
posted by eriko at 4:43 AM on May 30, 2006




Also, hear Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine for mind furchahing soul crampalologing metal, tight pants and sunglasses not needed.
posted by erskelyne at 5:08 AM on May 30, 2006


Sunn0))), Lightning Bolt, Orthrelm, Pelican, Isis, Flying Luttenbachers, Boris -- only people who wear plastic glasses and/or tight t-shirts listen to these bands.

classifying bands based on perceived audience is ridiculous. disliking bands based on perceived audience is just stupid.

Only a rockist would differentiate between doom-drone and doom-spazz.

i think you just did.

I'm stunned that none of these bands have formed a supergroup called The Brown Note.

the Brown Sound would be better.

i'd also like to add
neurosis
posted by brevator at 6:07 AM on May 30, 2006


Strip irony from the awful, repackage it for a downtown crowd and suddenly it's art (i.e. blue oyster cult, jeff koons, etc)

This is a sad way to go.

Inert flesh
a bloody tomb
a decorated splatter brightens the room
an execution of sadist ritual
rad intervals of mind residuals


In 20 years a lonely Illinois grad student will move to NY and resurrect chick lit as a modern rosetta stone. "The Devil Wears Prada" is a contextual affair with the abstract that binds the spaces between us" he'll say. And will all pine for when that surly drunk Bloom did a dance and fell off the roof.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 6:16 AM on May 30, 2006


"Brown Sound" has been applied to a very different sort of rock musician.
posted by bardic at 6:19 AM on May 30, 2006


brevator : "the Brown Sound would be better."

There's some specific background to the name "The Brown Note".
posted by Bugbread at 6:34 AM on May 30, 2006


Link 1:
"You might have been excused, if you were standing in the crowd at the Knitting Factory in New York on a Wednesday night in January, for thinking you were at a heavy metal show."

Link 2:
"YOU might not have known it from looking at the audience, but when the Chicago instrumental band Pelican performed at the Knitting Factory in late July, it was playing metal."

You might not have known it by reading the paper, but all NYT columnists hang out at the Knitting Factory and tend to write the same column over and over.
posted by spilon at 6:57 AM on May 30, 2006


I am also fond of Red Sparowes.

You just don't understand my music. Doom/drone metal is amazing live. Seriously.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:45 AM on May 30, 2006


See also this thread.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:53 AM on May 30, 2006


Only a racist would confuse doom-spazz and brutal prog.

Touché!
posted by stemlot at 8:26 AM on May 30, 2006


The NY Times' coverage of music in general is at best (in my opinion, YMMV) suboptimal and generally pathetic. Other than the occasional decent jazz article, the Times is compulsively devoted to assigning "reviewers" to cover genres of music they know next to nothing about and to jumping gleefully up and down and hyperventilating every week with a new flashy article about some "trend" that either doesn't exist or that petered out five years ago.

(I particularly chuckle at the Times thinking that it is the newspaper of record when it comes to "fearsome" gangsta rap CDs -- "fearsome" being one of its favorite adjectives to apply to that genre, the other two being "silky" and "addictive.")
posted by blucevalo at 8:38 AM on May 30, 2006


Silly snobs, the point isn't really which bands suck or what sub-label it should be under or that the Times' article was crap, it's that metal is back, at least for the moment. This is a good thing. I suspected as much when I noticed the recently added "hard" section in Other Music in NYC. Why is it a good thing? Because we'll get to hear another whole generation's take on it.
posted by hellbient at 9:14 AM on May 30, 2006


ILM thread (which wasn't a very good one in my opinion) on the article.
posted by donth at 7:15 PM on May 30, 2006


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