Timothy Ferriss’ investigative reporting style puts him somewhere between Neil Strauss and Morgan Spurlock, and his auto-ethnographic skills rival those of the O.G. human guinea pig himself, R. Buckminster Fuller. His latest, The 4-Hour Body (Crown/Archetype, 2010), is the result of a decade of experiments, expert interviews, and putting his own body through paces previously unpaced. His guiding research question: For all things physical, what are the tiniest changes that produce the biggest results?
I shifted over to a vegetarian diet about seventeen years ago. The switch was prompted by my girlfriend at the time, but after six months, she went
—Roy Christopher, 09 June 2011
My dude Timothy hath wrought it and brought it again. From the germinal Atoms Fam to the mighty Hangar 18, Tim “Alaska” Baker is an emcee who’s been slept on for too long, so long in fact that he’s pretty well over this rap shit. The Crack Epidemic might be your last chance to give him his well-deserved props.
If Alaska is just a big, cold state you’ve never been to and you don’t have any idea who Tim is, don’t worry. The opening track on The Crack Epidemic’s American Splendor, “Bright Lights,” is a brief history of the man on
—Roy Christopher, 09 June 2011
There are several bands jostling for the heavy, arty interstices between the monoliths of Neurosis and Radiohead, and though healthy hiatuses have left Cave In making less entries than say, Muse, they bring the best together like no other.
Cave In started off as one of the proto-metalcore ensembles of the late 1990s, but after a few germinal genre recordings (the undisputed classics Beyond Hypothermia and Until Your Heart Stops), they switched their vibe from introspection to outer space. A major change as such is not easy: Think Kill Holiday or Corrosion of Conformity, but on Jupiter (2000) and Antenna
—Roy Christopher, 07 June 2011
Hail Mary Mallon is the melding of word-murdering minds Aesop Rock and Rob Sonic and the laser-precise cuts of DJ Big Wiz, all three Def Jux alumni and no strangers to the raps and beats in their own rights. In the interest of full disclosure, these dudes are my friends. To be perfectly honest, if they were wack they wouldn’t be.
These three have been touring and clowning together for years in different guises, and it’s obvious when you hear how well they play together. Are you Going to Eat That? is the dopest record out this year.
Production-wise, “Mailbox Baseball” sounds
—Roy Christopher, 11 May 2011
“I’m such a tease and you’re such a flirt…” The most important band in the world has returned with another cure for the malaise of the age. Pick one: They’ve saved rock and roll, killed rock and roll, and still emerged from the muck of the music industry well ahead of the curve. Everyone in media keeps them under the microscope to see how they will win. Again. Lean in, here’s the secret:
Radiohead makes great records.
And they do it consistently. They’re also quite adept at parsing the patterns on the horizon of the mediascape, but that wouldn’t matter if
—Roy Christopher, 22 February 2011
It’s so unfair to see a band like Deftones lumped in with bands they have next-to-nothing to do with (e.g., Limp Bizkit, Korn, Tool, et al). One listen to their latest, the delayed and embattled Diamond Eyes—the boys have been through a lot since 2006’s Saturday Night Wrist including an entire record shelved and a bass player in a coma—and you’ll hear the pedigree. Diamond Eyes proves as sophisticated as it is loud and as beautiful as it is aggressive, and Deftones as much like the Cure as they are Clutch.
—Roy Christopher, 09 February 2011
As much as I am already a fan of Darren Aronofsky’s work and as soft a spot as I have for Mickey Rourke, I skipped The Wrestler (2008). Though I am open to being proven wrong, the more I saw of the previews, the less I thought it was my thing. Black Swan (2010) however struck me as more of a Pi with ballet and theatre instead of computers and the stock market. It turns out that my intuition was pretty much on point, at least for the latter case. Like David Cronenberg and perhaps Stanley Kubrick, Aronofsky is very
—Roy Christopher, 10 January 2011
From the Department of Least Likely to Surprise You comes, well, a huge surprise. What would happen if Limp Bizkit collaborated with U2? Who woulda thought that Linkin Park would be the ones to bring together Erving Goffman and Public Enemy? The track “Wretches and Kings” starts with the line, “To save face, how low can you go?” I’m afraid that I have more questions than answers. A Thousand Suns is big and soaring and weird, like some strange bird that you’re surprised can even fly. Some are calling it Linkin Park’s OK Computer. I don’t know about that. Hell, it might not even be their White Pony, but it’s more often than not a far cry from the rap-rock they’re known for, and well worth a spin or five.
—Roy Christopher, 14 October 2010
Austin, Texas might not be a hotbed of heavy metal, but The Sword could make you think otherwise. Mixing monolithic-but-driving doom like Pentagram and Saint Vitus with old-timey core metal like Black Sabbath and Budgie with a dash of new-school technical-but-melodic hard rock like Baroness or ASG, The Sword is all push and power. Warp Riders finds them by turns heavier and catchier than ever. “Night City” is 21st Century AOR like Deep Purple would’ve done it. “Tres Brujas” and “Arrows in the Dark” are warlock rock like Dio dreamed of, and “Lawless Lands” could be a classic Trouble song. The grooves here are deeper and the riffs bigger than the ones on your stoner friend’s records of any of the aforementioned bands. Warp Riders proves that The Sword is not only the best metal band in Austin, they’re one of the Top 5 metal bands on the planet.
—Roy Christopher, 12 October 2010
Dance music used to be considered sort of anti-rock and roll. Somewhere along the way though—perhaps in the throes of the postmodern turn—someone started explicitly mixing the two. I distinctly remember the Utah Saints picking up that torch at some point. The Chemical Brothers certainly dirtied it up with their knob-turning fingers. Well, 65daysofstatic have grabbed a hold of it like grim death. Where previous outings may have owed more to Mogwai or Tortoise, this one owes more to Aphex Twin or Autechre. Don’t get it bent though, it still rocks the block like they always have.
—Roy Christopher, 05 May 2010