Soundgarden - King Animal
“I’ve been away for too long / Though I never really wanted to stay.” A line that speaks volumes. Taken from the comeback single for grunge pioneers Soundgarden Been Away Too Long it says a lot about the band’s attitude to returning. With a new album in tow, their first in 16 years, what’s the verdict on King Animal?
Soundgarden were one of the those bands that drama never seemed to follow. They came, they made their mark on music then they sort of disappeared without a bang. Solo albums and supergroups followed, but the announcement recently that the band were to join forces again to make new music was a very welcome one.
King Animal as a comeback album is a good one. I don’t want to say excellent, i don’t want to say bad, but it is good. Drawing it’s strength from the likes of Superunknown, it is classic Soundgarden but upped for the 21st century. They have always had a great ability to combine deep grooves with a dark lyrical content, and that is still evident here. And Chris Cornell’s ever distinctive voice is as powerful as ever.
Tracks like Non-State Actor and By Crooked Steps are stand outs, and remind us of how fantastic Soundgarden can be, but there are a lot of run of the mill songs here. Black Saturday, Bones of Birds and Worse Dreams tail off and are almost too similar to what we have already heard many years ago. There isn’t really a fresh feeling to the record, more of a they went away, and now they have crept back in unnoticed feeling, which is a shame.
Don’t get me wrong, the album is a good album, and very worthy of listening, it is just maybe lacking a little of what was expected. I had hoped they would come back with a monster of an album to outdo everyone, but instead they have returned with one that would not sound out of place a decade and a half ago when the band called it a day.
DVD Review: Malfunkshun - The Andrew Wood Story
In many grunge related documentaries you see, Andrew Wood and Mother Love Bone are merely mentioned as a footnote, usually when telling the tale of the formation of Pearl Jam, but this film really delves into the life and music of Andrew and the band.
It features interviews with both of Woods brothers, his mother Toni, Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament, as well as many other notable grunge figures, each chip in to tell their own stories about Andrew and his music and the type of person he was, and some of the footage is very poignant. Family photos and tales of his first KISS concert with his brother where he decided he was going to be a rock star. The film documents his life from the very beginning and his troubled child hood, right up until his passing.
There is a great part in the film about all of the bands under the grunge umbrella, and how they came to form. It shows a sort of flow chart highlighting all of the Seattle bands in the mid 80’s and the direction they all went in, really shows what a tight community of musicians were around at this time. Chris Cornell talks in detail about how he and Wood were best friends, room mates, they shared everything and even wrote music together. Someone even jokes that had one of them be female, they would have made the perfect couple. We are also introduced to Wood’s fiancée Xana and the incredibly loving yet volatile relationship they shared.
The documentary goes into great detail about Wood’s issues with drugs, which sadly is a very big part of his story. We hear from some of his doctors and drug counsellors as they talk about the struggle he faced to try and beat his addiction, and we are even shown documents and writings from times when he was in a particularly bad way. What is really interesting to see is that during his later years, how angry Wood would get at himself for relapsing, as he cared so much about the band he did not want his drug issues to harm their chances of making it in any way. His passion and determination for his music was completely undeniable.
Obviously, we know the ending to his story, his tragic passing after a heroin overdose in 1990. The movie takes a very poignant turn when describing the lead up to his death, detailing how he was found by Xana and pronounced dead at his home, before being revived and taken to hospital and placed on life support. Very quickly all brain activity disappeared but his family would not turn off his machine until Chris Cornell could fly in from New York to be at his side, and Chris goes into more detail about this, clearly upset.
Overall, Mafunkshun really is a great film of a sad tale. Very engaging and really lets you in on the sort of person Andy was, something we have never really been able to see before. Definitely a must see for any fan of Andrew or Mother Love Bone, or a grunge fan in general. But even if not, it is a compelling watch and thoroughly recommended.
New song snippet from Soundgarden
Last week we brought you the news that Soundgarden are to release their first new album since 1996. We can now reveal that the album will be called King Animal and will be released on November 13.
The band have also released a 30 second clip including an excerpt from a new track entitled Worse Dreams. Check out the video below.
Release date for new Soundgarden album?
Since their reunion in 2010, Soundgarden have excited many fans with the idea of a new album, having released “Live To Rise” for The Avengers soundtrack earlier this year. And now, word has it the grunge legends are finally set for a release which is to be their first studio work since 1996’s experimental “Down on the Upside”. According to Rolling Stone magazine, the album as yet untitled, is set for release on the 13th of November.
Chris Cornell - City Hall, Newcastle - 20.06.2012
Fresh from an apparently blinding set at Download with Soundgarden, Chris Cornell brought his solo Songbook tour to Newcastle for the first time.
Opening with Roads We Choose, a bonus track from his 2007 album Carry On, you can tell straight away that this is going to be more than a standard, Greatest Hits type gig.
Accompanied only by his guitar, a record player, and at one point during Outshined a particularly talented fan from the crowd on guitar, he manages to cover most highlights from his career. From Soundgarden tracks like Blow Up The Outside World and Fell On Black Days, to Audioslave’s Like A Stone via several Temple Of The Dog songs including my particular highlight, a stripped down version of Call Me A Dog, it is impossible not to be drawn in by his voice.
The laid back atmosphere of the gig seems to bring out a funnier side of his personality than I’ve seen at previous shows, and joking with audience members about his stage props and the Geordie accent makes it all seem more intimate than you would normally expect from a show in a venue the size of City Hall.
Finishing the two hour set with Black Hole Sun and a cover of the Beatles’ A Day In The Life seems to leave everyone hoping it won’t be long before he’s back on these shores again.
Chris Cornell announces small UK tour to coincide with Download appearance
Chris Cornell is bringing “Songbook” to Europe by way of an acoustic tour, starting off with a few dates in the UK! This much anticipated solo acoustic “Songbook” tour highlights works from Chris Cornell’s entire catalogue, including songs written for Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the Dog.
The shows are taking place after Soundgarden’s appearance at the Download Festival on the 10th of June, and are Cornell’s first headlining dates in the UK for just about three years and are not to be missed - previous Songbook shows have gained positive reviews from just about everywhere.
Tickets are onsale on Friday 24th February at 10am via www.gigsandtours.com
Saturday, June 16th - Salford/Manchester @ Lowry
Monday, June 18th - London @ Palladium
Tuesday, June 19th - Birmingham, UK @ Symphony Hall
Wednesday, June 20th - Newcastle, UK @ City Hall
Buy tickets here: http://www.gigsandtours.com/chriscornell/
Chris Cornell releases live acoustic album “Songbook” today!
“Songbook” is a stunning collection of acoustic performances featuring songs from throughout Chris Cornell’s career (Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, solo work, Audioslave, etc). Recorded live on tour throughout the USA earlier this year, it showcases the breadth of Cornell’s talents as both a singer and songwriter.
The tracklisting is as follows:
1. “As Hope and Promise Fade”
2. “Scar on the Sky”
3. “Call Me a Dog”
4. “Ground Zero”
5. “Can’t Change Me”
6. “I Am the Highway”
7. “Thank You” (Led Zeppelin cover)
8. “Cleaning My Gun”
9. “Wide Awake”
10. “Fell on Black Days”
11. “All Night Thing”
12. “Doesn’t Remind Me”
13. “Like a Stone”
14. “Black Hole Sun”
15. “Imagine” (John Lennon cover)
16. “The Keeper”
“Songbook” is released today and is available at all the usual retailers. More information at http://chriscornell.com/songbook/
Song of the day
Soundgarden - Rusty Cage
Today we celebrate one of the greatest voices in rock, Chris Cornell with one of Soundgarden’s best tracks. So good even Johnny Cash covered it! Recently reformed and playing shows in the US, we just wish they would hurry up and announce some shows over here!