Staff Trax: Slayer, Future Islands, The Lilys, Dinosaur Jr, Be Your Own Pet and Captain Beefheart

Welcome to Staff

Trax, the weekly feature here on DC9 where we shed some light on the music we've been enjoying of late, regardless of the touring or album release schedules that tend to bear the focus of most of our coverage. Consider it a chance for you readers to get some more insight into our own personal tastes. Maybe you'll find something you like, ya dig?

Slayer -- "Angel of Death"

All thanks go to fellow writer Alan Ayo for sending me this awesome clip, which essentially combines the harsh, blazing speeds of this Slayer classic with a place in which you'd never hear their music. This is a nice reminder of how good Slayer was back then and still to this day. This is just fast, aggressive music. And while I prefer Metallica over Slayer, I've never really disliked Slayer. The fact that they still play and play this well is a true testament to them. --Eric Grubbs

Future Islands (feat. Katrina Ford) -- "In The Fall"

Although Baltimore-based trio Future Islands have been making music as a band since 2006, I've only just recently discovered them via the release of In Evening Air early last month. Since then, I've become deeply infatuated with the "Post-Wave" band, and determined to collect its entire discography. "In The Fall," featuring Celebration's Katrina Ford (also known for her work as a guest vocalist on TV On The Radio's Return to Cookie Mountain), was released pre-In Evening Air and, while the track does not appear on the album, it definitely embodies the band's "Post-Wave" aesthetic. Have a listen to "In The Fall" above, and, if you like what you hear, checkout the In Evening Air album, too. As for checking out the band live, Future Islands just kicked off its tour and has a couple of shows scheduled in Texas. But alas, none are in Dallas. Womp, womp. --Catherine Downes

The Lilys -- "Snowblinder"

I was recently reminded of a time in high school when I was working at CD Warehouse in Mesquite and came across The Lilys' shoegaze album, In The Presence Of Nothing. Somehow over the years, I lost my copy. Today, I saw them going for $50 used on little too steep for me. I found a few MP3s online, though, and it instantly took me back to when that stuff was way too weird for me--but my curiosity kept me coming back for more. --Daniel Hopkins

Dinosaur Jr -- "Feel the Pain"

While songs like "Smells Like Teen Spirit," "Disarm," and "Jeremy" seem end up at the top of many polls for the best rock songs of the 1990s, "Feel the Pain" is likely my favorite track from that entire decade. Sure, the album it's featured on, Without a Sound, is considered by many J. Mascis die-hards as an inferior album when compared to the rest of their catalog. But the frenetic guitar and the tempo shifts create a kickass number that never really got its proper due. Well, it did get played on the Sinbad movie, Houseguest, so that's at least as good as any VH1 Top Songs special, if not better. --Kelly Dearmore

Be Your Own Pet -- "Becky"

Had Universal's lawyers not pulled "Becky" from Be Your Own Pet's 2008 album Get Awkward, for being "too violent," it easily would have been the album's catchiest track. Even though the track does involve murder at knife-point, it never manages to make the listener feel all that uncomfortable. And, despite her cavalier attitude towards death--she even goes so far as to call murder "fun"--lead singer Jemina Pearl just comes off as too cutesy to make one feel all that bad for the ill-fated Becky. Hey, the bitch shouldn't have talked so much shit about the song's protagonist or had the audacity to reveal her secret crush. And, although the track does borrow pretty heavily from Little Eva's "Locomotion," the chorus of "Doesn't matter anyway, cuz I've got a brand new friend, OK/Me and her, we'll kick your ass, we'll wait with knives after class!" is about as infectious as they come. --Cory Graves

Captain Beefheart -- "Ice Cream for Crow"

Another one of my musical heroes, Captain Beefheart (aka Don Van Vliet) had a profound influence on my musical tastes. Many list his 1969 album Trout Mask Replica as the finest avant-garde rhythm and blues record ever made. Yet, I still prefer the Captain's latter output, the stuff he put out in the late '70s and early '80s. He was working with a much younger group of musicians then, and I think they coaxed the best performances out of him. One of his few videos is for the song "Ice Cream for Crow" from Beefheart's last official album, Doc at the Radar Station. Since 1982, Van Vliet has been active as a painter, having abandoned music altogether. Too bad, cause when he was on, the Captain was an unrivaled genius. --Darryl Smyers

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Eric Grubbs is a Dallas-based writer who has published two books, Post: A Look at the Influence of Post-Hardcore 1985-2007 and When We Were the Kids. His writing has been featured in Punk Planet, Popdose, Fort Worth Weekly, The Dentonite and LA Weekly. He supports Manchester City and will never root for Manchester United.
Contact: Eric Grubbs