Sunday, June 15, 2014

Ok, joke's over

Here's what I really think about the new Tilts record-
yes, it rocks hard, but what they're doing is deceptively complex. See, we live in a post-everything indie rock kind of time. How exactly do you go about making "classic" rock in that atmosphere without lapsing into either irony or fake nostalgia for things you don't know. Think about the legions of bad stoner rock bands out there- representing nothing more than "Gee, ain't it cool that Josh Homme makes guitar sounds that remind you of Jimmy Page and Ritchie Blackmore". Think about indie bands from Sleigh Bells to DZ Deathrays, to Japandroids that want to rock, but have to stick a layer of self-aware irony inbetween their pristine intellect and their supposedly more base urges to party. That's what makes what Tilts do so special- they bring the party, they rock in ways that make you think of that classic party rock from the seventies and eighties, but in a way that is fresh, and new- this is rock for the ages, not the aged. Get the idea? This is more akin to what Andrew WK does than to some kind of joke.It's music for the good times, not about the good times. Which makes it both more amusing, and more resonant.
As an example- opener "Brown Gum" starts with a riff that references both Ted Nugent and Kyuss- a modal minor key blues riff that goes into a Led Zep styled pseudo-middle Eastern whine that plays off the harmony vocals in a dreamy, floating suspended fashion, which lends a counter-weight to the palm muted verse riff that chugs the beat along. None of that is a joke, right? but the song will put a smile on your face, if you dig rock music. The idea isn't cheap nostalgia- it's to write riffs that will stand up with the riffs that inspired them.
Now, here's a twist- I never liked classic rock. I hate Aerosmith, think Rush is over-rated, I snore through Houses of the Holy, and would deep six Deep Purple. So, how come I like Tilts? Because they inject the whole thing with indie rock energy. It's not irony, or distance- it's urgency and a confident aggression- like fellow stalwarts such as QOTSA, Torche, Dinosaur Jr or the Melvins- while they're inspired by classic rock, they're trying to do their own thing, and aren't some kind of tribute.
For an example- I can't see any band prior to 1990 wanting to claim the thick, fast downstroked riffs of "Touchdowns"- it's an early 1980's metal riff fused with Ramones-styled aesthetics and grunge love of pure noise- so it ends up sounding modern, new, fresh, and clean.
So, the temptation is to write a flip joke or two, because it's just so obvious- if you like loud rock music, you must love Tilts. It's like classic rock, or early Punk rock- you're assumed to like Black Sabbath, and The Ramones. If you don't, you must like disco or country or something. So, I have a little of that prejudice- I just really cannot believe anyone who likes big, juicy riffs and party beats doesn't already love Tilts. So, with the war already won, we might as well crack wise. Sadly, though, too many people are sleeping on the truly great time Tilts provide. So, rectify that for yourself, pronto- get this record before you're having to explain yourself to your 15 year old nephew "Well, yeah, I was into Rock, but I missed out on Tilts. I was too busy being lame, and writing online comments about Lana Del Rey. Who was Lane Del Ray? Ummm, just this lame fake singer. Yeah, I was wasting my time. I'm really glad you turned me on to this, though..."
Tilts Cuatro Hombres is essential, vital, organic and dynamic. You;re wasting your time on anything else.

1 comment:

  1. Music for the good times, not about the good times. I've always despised nostalgia