Apr 252012

On the right side of every NCS page is a category of links called “Our Inspiration”.  It’s been there since our first post in November 2009. Two sites are listed, because reading those sites really was what inspired me to start NO CLEAN SINGING. One of them was Reign In Blonde.

RiB was started by two women — Julia and Elise.  Eventually, they were joined on a semi-regular basis by a third, “Angela Gossowski”. I read that blog every day, without fail. Julia and Elise were really good writers, they didn’t take themselves (or much of anything else) too seriously, and they had a talent for making any subject entertaining, even when I wouldn’t have found the subject matter itself intrinsically interesting. And Angela was . . . well . . . just riotously out of control all the time. Part of what I aspired to do with NCS was to create the kind of light-hearted, good-humored approach to writing about metal that those three achieved, though I’d never claim my own writing is in their league (they picked me as Mr. April 2010 in their “Panty Raid” series, but only because I kissed their asses so much that I got lip burn).

I’ve been using the past tense so far, because around the beginning of 2011, the RiB posts started to become less frequent, and there hasn’t been a new RiB post at all since March 3 of last year — until today.

Today, Julia announced that she is back and ready to start things up again at RiB (she says Elise isn’t ready to keep up with RiB at the moment, but maybe that will change). She asks for the support of readers to help get the site off the ground again. She asks these questions: “So what do you say? Shall we give this another go?” To me, these are rhetorical questions, because the answer is obvious: Fuck yeah. Continue reading »

Apr 012010

Reign in Blonde is a wonderful metal blog produced by two women (Elise and Julia), with assistance from a more-or-less regular guest contributor (Angela). I’ve been visiting that site every day for most of the last year. Along with Metal Sucks, it was the blog that inspired us to start our own. If perchance you’ve never visited RiB, quit fucking around and do it.

At the beginning of this year, RiB started a new tradition called “Panty Raid!” They issued an open invitation to people with testicles to submit metal-related guest posts, and they’ve picked one each month to feature and praise on their WALL OF PAIN. Because I like RiB, because I’m a  compulsive, Type-A, competitive asshole, and because I have testicles, I fell for it.

So, beginning a couple months ago I started writing a few words here and there when I had nothing more pressing or interesting to do (i.e., most days). I pretended I was a psychoanalyst, trying to infer stuff about the 3 contributors to RiB based exclusively on what they wrote there. And as the months passed, the thing grew and grew, like a bad case of crotch-rot. I finally decided to stop, because the piece had gotten completely out of hand. (read on, after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Jan 072010

Last night I stumbled into the interweb equivalent of a brawl.  In one corner: the incomparable ladies of Reign in Blonde (Elise and Julia) and their cool new columnist Angela Gossowski. In the other corner, an infestation of whackjobs calling themselves members of the “Undead Army.”

Chapter 1: The whole thing started innocently enough about a week ago when Elise broke the story that a sometimes member of Hollywood Undead (Daniel Murillo) had auditioned for the new season of American Idol and apparently has made it through to the “Hollywood round” of the competition. Elise didn’t say much about Hollywood Undead other than to describe them as “that shitty rap/rock band that performs in MASKS.”

Now, RIB has a devoted legion of followers, but only a handful of folks post comments with any regularity, and those comments are usually articulate, funny, and — well — civilized. Elise’s story drew 10 posted comments. A few of the regulars popped in, but then (ominously) three commenters appeared with web monikers ending in “HU4L,” which I eventually came to learn stands for “Hollywood Undead for Life.” And one of those comments included this bit of witty repartee:

“Your are a pathetic piece of shit. Im not even kidding you. 1. You dont know one goddamn thing about HU. or where they come from. 2. You need to shut the muthafuck up before someone shanks your bitch ass. 3. Yes I know its your opinion whether or not your like them, so KEEP IT TO YOURSELF.”

Uh, what??  (more after the jump, if you have a strong stomach . . .) Continue reading »

Dec 292009

What do pop star Ke$ha, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, and Cambridge police Sgt. James Crowley have in common? Is it that they all like cock rock? Ke$ha says she does. Maybe the others do too. But I wouldn’t put money on it. No, what they have in common is they’ve all provided us with “teachable moments” this year.

As for Gates and Crowley, they got to know each other on July 16, when Crowley came to Gates’ home after police received a neighbor’s report about a possible burglary at that address. Crowley claimed Gates became abusive and arrested him.

In an effort to cool off the dispute between them, which had ignited into a headline-grabbing national debate about race relations, President Obama invited Gates and Crowley to have a beer with him on the White House lawn. The White House billed the chatfest as a “teachable moment.”  After the beer summit, Crowley said he and Gates had agreed to disagree.

I don’t know about you, but the lesson I learned from that “teachable moment” was this: don’t say anything about a cop’s mama to his face.

Actually, I’m pretty sure I already knew that, but hey, it never hurts to be reminded.

In the case of Ke$sha (and I really don’t want a case of Ke$sha), her ridiculously popular song “Tik Tok” has recently prompted an electronic discussion among Elise at Reign in Blonde, me, and some articulate people who’ve been posting comments at RIB, about that “us against the world” attitude that infuses metal bands and metal fandom and causes some of us to look down on pop music (or even more broadly, all non-metal music) as shallow and inferior.  I think it’s a discussion worth continuing.  (more after the jump) Continue reading »

Nov 212009

Welcome to the launch of No Clean Singing and thanks for wasting spending some of your time with us.  Here’s an explanation of what we’re about, who we are, what we plan to do to for you, and what we want you to do for us.  Because this is our opening salvo and mission statement, it’s way too fucking long a bit longer than will be typical:

First Principles (What We’re About)

According to the Font of All Popular Learning, “in philosophy, a first principle is a basic, foundational proposition or assumption that cannot be deduced from any other proposition or assumption.”  Here are our “first principles” for this site:

  1. Almost all “popular” music sucks.
  2. Metal doesn’t suck, unless it’s metal with clean singing, which mostly does suck.
  3. Some metal with clean singing doesn’t suck, but that’s an exception to the rule.
  4. Some metal with no clean singing also sucks, but that’s also an exception to the rule.

To elaborate:  In our evolution as metal fans, your Authors have reached the point where  we want to vomit when otherwise promising metal songs with good riffage and crushing drumwork are interrupted by an attack of clean crooning, particularly the breathy, whiny, upper-octave kind of excretions that used to characterize a lot of metalcore but still pops up in even the most unexpected places.  If you know what we mean, then you’ve come to the right place.  If you don’t, then please fuck off move right along.

So, this site is mainly about metal music, but not all metal music.  What we love and what we’ll spend most of our time writing about is extreme metal.  To be clear, what we mean by “extreme metal” is metal with No Clean Singing (“NCS”).  Mostly, we like it fast, punishing, cathartic.  Purely instrumental metal, if done right, fits the NCS bill.  But if someone opens his or her mouth in a song, what comes out better be growling, screaming, or squealing.

Within the realm of NCS Metal, we likes all kinds of shit.   We like brutal, old-school death metal, melodic death metal, tech death, grind, black metal, viking and folk metal, deathcore, progressive metal, doom – and hundreds of other sub-genres that would be too boring to catalogue at length.  (Who thinks up all these genre classifications anyway?)  Your Authors have got their own individual preferences, but as a group we pretty much cover the waterfront.

We even like some extreme metal that is occasionally punctuated by clean singing (see First Principle No. 3 above).  We can’t just cast bands like Opeth and Mastodon into the shit pile, can we?

And we’ll write about a few topics other than extreme metal, too.  More on that below.

Who We Are

Your Authors are three metalheads who live in the Seattle area.  We span a pretty broad range of ages, experiences, interests, and activities.  We’re also related to each other by blood.  One of us is a woman and the other two are guys.  We listen to a lot of extreme metal, but our tastes within the genre are not the same.  We go to lots of metal shows in the Seattle area, including lots of national tours.  None of us has yet spent time in prison.

As you’ll see, we also write with very different “voices.”  (If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m the older boring guy.  The other two, whose occasional edits to this post I’ve deleted, are, how shall we say, more out there.)

What We Plan To Do For You

We’re going to do our best to add posts to this site every day.  Some of these posts will be regular features – reviews of new music releases and music videos, concert reviews, metal news, and random observations about the scene, among other things.   Every now and then, we’ll write about Exceptions to the Rule (see First Principle No. 3).

Because we live in Seattle, some of what’s on this site will be geared to what’s happening in the Pacific Northwest, but most of the content won’t be limited in that way.

Here’s one thing that will be Seattle-focused:  We’ve created a page called NW Metal Calendar, which will always be linked on the home page.  On this page we’ll collect in one place a listing of NCS Metal performances scheduled in Seattle, and sometimes elsewhere in the Northwest – bands, dates, and venues – and we’ll update it as we learn about new shows.  Your Authors don’t agree completely about which bands are worth listing, but we’re listing all bands that any of us think should be on there.

Our focus will be extreme metal, but we care about other stuff too, and we’ll write (occasionally) about some of our other interests – movies, video games, and books.  We’ll also have a feature called Mosh Pit — random observations about what’s happening in the non-metal world (we hate to venture out into that world, but as someone said, life ain’t fair).

And, because we care about you, we’ll have a feature called IQ Reduction – stuff you could read, watch, or listen to that would make you stupider if you did it.  We know some of you don’t have much IQ to spare.

What We Want You To Do For Us

One thing that sets metal apart from most other music is the sense of community.   Let’s be honest:  most people hate extreme metal and can’t begin to understand why anyone likes it.  Fuck them.Everyone’s entitled to their opinion.  The fact that so many people form bands in this genre, record music, tour, and throw themselves body and soul into this scene despite the fact that the fan base is relatively tiny and there’s no money in it still blows our minds.  To use a cliché, it’s us against the rest of the deluded, rapacious, ass-sucking world.  Really.

We want to bring that sense of community to this site, and to do that we need to hear from you.  We want your comments.  We want to read what’s on your minds.  And if you’ll speak up, we’ll respond.

Credit Where Credit Is Due

There’s a shit-ton of metal blogs and web sites out there.  Most of them suck.  We may suck, too.  I’m sure you’ll tell us if we do.

But there are two metal sites that definitely don’t suck:  MetalSucks and Reign in Blonde.  Those sites are in a league of their own.  Great writing, interesting perspectives, timely content, cool personalities.  They are what we aspire to.  They provided our inspiration.  If we could copy them without being sued be a West Coast version of MS/RIB, we would.

Having said that, we’re under no illusions about what we can pull off here.  Your Authors have all got “day jobs,” we don’t have the near-encyclopedic knowledge of metal that the writers on MetalSucks and RIB have, and we certainly don’t have their contacts and connections in the industry.  But we hope to make this endeavor good enough to draw you back here.  Horns up!