REWIND: Listen to new music without leaving the past

Nine Inch Nails, NIN, Trent Reznor, Ghosts V, Ghosts VI

Nine Inch Nails, Courtesy: John Crawford.

I think we all need a break, so this column isn’t about the obvious. In fact I’m not even going to mention it. Consider this your oasis from the chaos storm. You’re welcome.

That said, I understand people have had some time on their hands lately. Many of us would like to fill that time with some new music. The problem is, some of us are stubborn old people who mostly refuse to acknowledge that music has continued to be recorded since we were in high school back in the ’90s.

You know, some hypothetical people. Nobody in particular. Conspicuous throat clearing.

Fortunately the past couple weeks have been tailor-made for us! Bands from the ’90s—and prior because I need five items for this list—have been releasing new albums. So join me as I direct your attention to some new music that’s also old music, so it doesn’t offend our stubborn old people sensibilities.

Pearl Jam — “Quick Escape”

If you read RIFF every day, and I know you do because, I mean—what else do we have going on?—you’ve already read the review of this one. You know Pearl Jam has a new album out. Tony Hicks wrote the review. Of course you read it.

I’m including it anyway, though, because Pearl Jam is great, the album is great and it still sounds like Pearl Jam so I don’t have to leave my comfortable cocoon of decades-old music. Like Tony says, it does sound remarkably fresh and modern, but not so much that it reminds me the youths have their own genres, which are affronts to god and man since they didn’t exist before I graduated.

Nine Inch Nails — Ghosts V: Together and Ghosts VI: Locusts

Trent Reznor, that overachiever, released not one but two surprise albums this week to give people something to do while cooped up at home.

He calls them EPs but, let’s be honest here, they’re 70 and 83 minutes long. Respectively, that’s longer than most full albums. It’s just over two and a half hours of music. They’re albums.

Back to the point: They’re sequels to 2008’s Ghosts I-IV, which was weird dark ambient music that arguably convinced the world that Treznor should be scoring movies. Which he went on to do. He’s done a lot of very good scores for a lot of very big movies and TV shows, most recently the amazingly good Watchmen TV series, that you should totally watch.

Anyway, the albums themselves aren’t exactly the uptempo industrial metal you know from NIN. It’s very atmospheric and mostly instrumental. But if you’re looking for an original score for your life at this exact moment, it fits pretty well.

Bush — “Flowers on a Grave”

I know it’s not the most popular opinion, but I like Bush. [Gokhman note: They is nothing wrong with liking Bush].

Yes, they were late to the grunge game, and they definitely leaned more toward the hard rock and electronic influence. But that’s fine! That’s good! Sixteen Stone was a good album and you know it; “Everything Zen,” “Little Things,” “Comedown,” “Machinehead,” “Glycerine;” all great.

We just won’t mention the rest.

Anyway, their newly released single is pretty good! Not as good as the ones I listed above, and it doesn’t feel as modern as Pearl Jam’s new album, but it’s very comfortably settled into Gavin Rossdale and co.’s  20th century output. And that’s fine. I liked the 20th century.

Deep Purple — “Throw My Bones”

This is, admittedly, from a bit before the ’90s. They formed in 1968. But it counts because it’s old and it’s good.

Deep Purple is more than “Smoke on the Water” and “Highway Star.” The band is one of the holy trinity of heavy metal pioneers, along with with Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, and apparently it’s still putting out really good music. Just listen to this! It’s better than most hard rock by young people.

It’s honestly amazing that this song was written and performed by two 74-year-olds, two 71-year-olds, and a spry young 65-year-old. Because it shreds. Go old guys.

Postmodern Jukebox — BACK When They Called It Music: The ’90s, Vol. 1

Postmodern Jukebox is a band that covers songs much, much older songs.

These guys are the best.

They put covers on YouTube all the time, and they just put the ’90s ones together into an album. So not only is it ’90s songs, but it’s in the style of even older music. So it’s like old, squared. Which is even better than normal old.

So, there. You can say you listen to new music.

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