Last week, I mentioned that after waiting a whole year for something in the Nine Inch Nails camp to be released, fans were overwhelmed by all the goodness about to be released on us. The first in the batch is the new EP, Not the Actual Events. Trent Reznor is the core of Nine Inch Nails, as he handles most of the work in the studio from playing many of the instruments to working on the amazing soundscapes that he has used over the course of his 25+ year career.
The EP is essentially a collaboration with long-time producer and film score partner Atticus Ross, who Reznor named as an official member of NIN. One day, I will go into detail about my love for all things Nine Inch Nails. For now, I am too excited, so let’s dive right into the new album!
Album of the Week
Opener Branches/Bones is classic Nine Inch Nails. The grinding guitars, Trent’s scorching vocals, and that industrial noise that we’ve all come to love from the man himself. It may be under 2 minutes, but Branches/Bones really got me pumped for the rest of the EP.
Dear World brings you into a more modern version of NIN, as Trent has gone down more of an electronic road with his last couple of releases. It is still traditional Nine Inch Nails in terms of the lyrics and atmosphere created within the track. I think that based on his collaborations with Ross, this version of NIN is thanks to his influence.
She’s Gone Away is totally reminiscent of The Downward Spiral. I actually felt that I was hearing an unreleased track from that time period. This song reminds me why I love Nine Inch Nails so much. The dark ambiance, dark vocals, and the industrial grind is old-school NIN at its best. The drumbeat on She’s Gone Away is almost tribal, and the overall sound makes you feel a tension in the air. Amazing track!
The Idea of You is a total rocker. This seems like a song where Trent brought in a backing band to play the music. I know for sure the drums are live, as none other than Dave Grohl is featured here. The two have worked together in the past, most notably on With Teeth (2005). Grohl’s drumming is awesome as always and it brings an extra element to the song. The Idea of You stands out from the rest of the EP, as the sound and tone are distinctly different.This song will be an awesome addition to NIN’s live shows.
Burning Bright (Field on Fire) closes out the EP. Dave Navarro helps out here with some killer guitar work that adds to a song that is all over the place in an amazing way that only Trent can make work. The song really comes together and closes an incredible EP in classic Nine Inch Nails fashion.
Trent Reznor is a genius plain and simple. He creates music in ways no one else does and takes you on a trip with him down whatever dark path he wants to take you down at that time. His use of computers and live instruments mesh so well that you sometimes have trouble distinguishing which is which. With the addition of Ross, NIN has been taken to another level. I can’t wait to see what’s next, as this small taste just makes you want more NIN.
Standout Tracks: The whole album. It’s five songs, so be sure to listen to it all!
The Playlist: December 27, 2016
Run the Jewels dropped a Christmas gift on fans this week with the release of their new album out of nowhere. Look for a full review next week, as I freaking love these guys, and feel like they are one of the best rap acts out there today. Run The Jewels mix together modern and old-school hip-hop in only a way they can do. For now, enjoy Talk to Me and stay tuned.
Looking Back - The Playlist 2016
To bring the 2016 edition of The Playlist to a close, I wanted to revisit some of my favorite tracks I selected throughout the year. All of these are still on regular rotation with me, and
I can’t tell you how much I love Wish I Knew. It puts me in a happy place and puts a smile on my face thinking about the past. The Revivalists just jam here and lay down a funky beat that is so infectious.
Deap Vally takes me back to that female-fronted grunge sound made famous by Hole. Deap Vally takes it a step further with their stoner rock guitar licks. In addition, the band is comprised of just two kickass women! Smile More shows their White Stripes meets Courtney Love vibe while melting my face in pure rock goodness.
A pattern is forming, as a lot of my favorite tracks this year are from female-fronted bands. I am a big fan of women rockers and feel they don’t always get the respect they deserve, so I am hoping to change that. The Pretty Reckless changed up their sound a bit this year from harder rock to a more southern rock/classic rock feel. It suits them perfectly, as Taylor Momsen’s smoky vocals are a revelation on Take Me Down. Make sure to check these guys out as they just get better with age.
The Kills are another duo in the vein of The White Stripes or The Black Keys. The guitar riff throughout Impossible Tracks sucks you in and the mesmerizing vocals keep you there. This is the standout on their latest release, Ash & Ice.
In the same school as The Pretty Reckless, Dorothy is another kickass, pure rock band. Raise Hell stands out big time. Dorothy’s vocals pull you right in with their brashness, and the mixture of bluesy rock from her backing band just smack you in the face. Seriously, check them out!
I am a sucker for a great piano backed back to basics song. Highly Suspect bring it here big time. While Chicago doesn’t best represent the band as a whole (their full rock tracks are awesome by the way), it stands out to me for its beauty and amazing vocals. I get a Kings of Leon vibe from the band, especially here
Well, that’s a wrap for The Playlist 2016. Thanks to everyone who checked it out, and I look forward to bringing some more great music to you guys in 2017.