Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Life as we blow it: Digital outrage

A local musicians's comments inspire ire, but do they matter?

Posted By on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 5:22 PM

Merchandise live at Tampa's Mojo Records. - PHILIP PIETRI
  • Philip Pietri
  • Merchandise live at Tampa's Mojo Records.

Last week, in a profile of Tampa band Merchandise posted to uber-hip arts and culture outlet Dazed, frontman Carson Cox had this to say about his new album, After the End, and his hometown:

“I’m proud of the fact that we did this in a cultural wasteland, that we made something we think is intelligent in a place where they just don’t want anything intelligent.”

Cox goes on to refer disdainfully to what he sees as Seminole Heights’ gentrification, comparing it to that oft-derided Brooklyn post-hipster enclave, Williamsburg; elsewhere, he bemoans the lack of culture worthy of his attention, saying that “if I had to rely on the world for my entertainment, it’d be really bleak.”

The article is titled “Merchandise: Tearing Up Tampa.”

Naturally, the Tampa Bay creative community reacted with all the polite rebuttal and reserved commentary for which contentious, easily triggered online mobs the world over are known.

Which is to say, people went apeshit.

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Monday, March 31, 2014

The Metal Manifestos: The question that drives us

What is death metal and why should we care? Shawn explains.

Posted By on Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 12:57 PM

I love it when people ask me what kind of music I listen to. The grin that spreads across my face must look sinister, because the person who asks the question usually starts to look like they're wondering just what they’ve gotten themselves into. My answer hits them like a gust of frigid air: “Death. Fucking. Metal.”

The usual reaction — dumbfounded horror — may amuse me more than it should, but hey, it’s the little things in life, right? And of course, my hapless inquisitor's follow-up (if he or she hasn't made a hastily retreated by then) is this week’s million dollar question: “What the fuck is death metal?”

So ... what is death metal? I, too, asked that question once, and I love when I'm asked to define it. For the purpose of this series about metal, I’ll act as your guide over the threshold, help broaden your death metal horizons — make you one of us. Or at least, understand those of us who listen to it.

“Death metal” is just a phrase — a combination of words used to represent something much bigger. Sure, I could give you a pat definition. However, if you’re reading this, then I’ll assume you've already found all the usual satisfactory facts to answer question in a million different places on the Web and you're seeking something more meaningful and personally insightful. So rather than tell you what, specifically, death metal is, I'd rather share what it means and what it does for those of us who love it.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Commentary: 2 Live Crew and promoters that don't suck

There are tons of articles about promoters that suck. This is the opposite of that.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 4, 2014 at 3:33 PM

I am genuinely excited about my upcoming show on Fri., March 7 at the Local 662 in St. Petersburg. You would believe me if I told you it was because T-Quest and the Boyz Wit Da Bass along with Da Beav and I are opening for 2 Live Crew, a legendary rap group that can legitimately lay claim to being one of the most controversial acts in American music history.


As pinch-me-to-make-sure-I’m-not-dreaming worthy as that is, when you’ve shared stages with Cypress Hill, Canibus and as many members of the Wu-Tang as I have been lucky enough to, goose bumps are a little harder to come by.

The reason I’m most enthusiastic is because the promoters who brought 2 Live Crew to town actually don't suck. Find out what I mean after the jump…

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Monday, February 24, 2014

The Metal Manifestos: an introduction

A series of pieces offering enlightenment about the local metal scene from a longtime member

Posted By on Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 6:00 AM

The author (far right) circa 2002, when he served as the temporary stand-in for Jared Anderson in St. Pete death metal act Hate Eternal.
  • The author (far right) circa 2002, when he served as the temporary stand-in for Jared Anderson in St. Pete death metal act Hate Eternal.
There is a moment of silence right after the lights go down and the house music fades. Conversations stop. Eyes turn to the stage. Cigarettes are stamped out, beer cups emptied in one gulp, restless fans stampede forward to get as close to the action as possible, and a feeling of restless anticipation fills the room as the band filters onto the stage. The subsequent spewing of primal emotion causes a chain reaction — the psychological floodgates rupture and the crowd is engulfed in chaos, expelling a deafening roar in response before the adrenaline starts pumping in earnest.

One of these moments changed my life forever.

March 3, 1996, State Theatre in St. Petersburg. Headlining the bill was Tampa’s own Morbid Angel, a death metal colossus and the first extreme metal outfit to ever sign a contract with a major record label. Two prime purveyors of Sweden’s legendary “Gothenburg Sound,” Dissection and At the Gates, played in support. I was 15 at the time and though I was already a metal fan, this show transformed my interest into an obsession and introduced me to an underground scene I’d previously been unaware of, one that welcomed new converts into the fold with the sort of goodwill that seemed in direct contrast to the harsh and heavy sounds we all loved.

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Morrissey is coming to town this May! (Stop me if you think you've heard this before...)

The idiosyncratic Smiths former sets a date — but will he keep it? (Playlist included)

Posted By on Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Morrissey at Mahaffey
  • Morrissey makes a date with Mahaffey
Love him, hate him, admire him or despise him: you certainly can't ignore him. For, as he laments in one of his greatest, brooding ballads, "The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get." Steven Patrick Morrissey (known solely by his surname) has been the figurehead for disaffected, alienated, socially conscious youth since he emerged in the mid-1980s fronting British quartet The Smiths. Almost instantaneously, his impact and influence became the driving force for teenagers who passionately embraced The Smiths' self-titled 1984 debut and let the music, and more specifically, the persona of Morrissey, define their everyday existence.

In no time, Smiths followers were popping up in droves everywhere, boys (and plenty of girls) easily identified by the look they'd adopted from their new-found hero — worn t-shirts, cardigan sweaters and, the dead giveaway, chunky horn-rimmed glasses, an obvious nod to the "Moz."

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Commentary: The most important American musical artist of the last 50 years is …

Posted By on Wed, Jan 15, 2014 at 2:00 PM

I’m about to pose a question, but before I do that, let me say this: I already know your answer.

And furthermore, your answer will be wrong.

OK, here it is: Who is the most important American musical artist of the last 50 years?

For those of you who feel like playin’ along, take however long is necessary to come up with your answer (which I already know). Directly below is a placeholder. Scroll down when you’re ready.


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