Excerpts from “The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time”


I reviewed two of my favorite metal records of all time in Rolling Stone – I guess besides Kittie’s Spit, a sentimental fave of mine which didn’t make the cut ;P

80. Ministry, ‘Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs’ (1992)

The New Wave–gone-industrial malcontents of Ministry improbably managed to break into the mainstream by ditching their synthesizers for guitars and crafting a dense, nightmarish sound collage for their fifth LP, Psalm 69. Beneath torrents of rapid-fire riffs, mastermind Al Jourgensen spliced sounds together the way a stock villain crafts a ransom note ­– sampling George H.W. Bush speeches in the dystopian “New World Order,” and spoken word by Beat legend William S. Burroughs, who asked to be paid in heroin before his feature on “Just One Fix.” But the album’s true MVP may have been wasted Butthole Surfers frontman Gibby Haynes. To the dismay of their label, Sire, Jourgensen and the band blew all $750,000 of the album’s budget “up [their] noses” before finishing a single song. At the last minute, Jourgensen invited Haynes to lay down vocal tracks for what became Ministry’s first hit single, “Jesus Built My Hotrod.” The frontman recalled the night in his memoir: “Gibby came in absolutely shitfaced … babbling some incoherent nonsense. ‘Bing, bang, dingy, dong, wah, wah, wah, ling, a bong …’ But I knew there was something there. If only I could extract the magic, it would be like pulling a diamond ring out of a septic tank.” The result was a manic drag race into a swampy hellmouth of thrash Americana – and it worked. Psalm 69 went platinum and peaked at Number 27 on the Billboard 200, allowing other industrial acts passage into the charts, including Marilyn Manson, Rammstein and Orgy. S.E.

66. Deftones, ‘White Pony’ (2000)

By forging an unprecedented blend of shoegaze, trip-hop and metal, Deftones’ third album would forever shift the trajectory of rock in the new millennium – just don’t call it nu-metal. With frontman Chino Moreno now complementing the steely Stephen Carpenter on guitar, and Frank Delgado enlisted full-time on turntables and synths, the band mastered an equilibrium between mayhem and melody on White Pony. Gauzy, ambient overlays gave more room for Moreno to indulge the softer end of his vocal range, careening from a guttural roar to a honeyed yet menacing sensuality in “Change (In the House of Flies).” It’s matched by the wicked lilt of Maynard James Keenan in “Passenger,” and by Rodleen Getsic’s Andalusian serenades turned to screams in the erotic bloodletting track “Knife Prty.” White Pony could have shed the rap-rock typecast entirely, had it not been for the tardy rascal anthem “Back to School (Mini Maggit)” – which Maverick Records appealed for after White Pony‘s release. “I remember them sitting me down and pointing [out that] Papa Roach and Linkin Park had sold six million albums while [White Pony] hadn’t sold a tenth of that,” Moreno said in 2010. “To me, they were saying they wanted some rap-rock, and at the time I was already way over making music like that. They kept hounding [me] so I was like, ‘Watch this.'” S.E.

25 Essential LGBTQ Pride Songs

From Sylvester to Perfume Genius to everyone in between, editors pick the most evocative, transformative songs

What is the LGBTQ sensibility in 2017? What was it 40 years ago, before much of today’s language for gender and sexual identities even existed? Or, much more simply: Which songs best evoke the sex, drama, heartache, struggle, liberation and mindfucks of queer lives then and now? What follows is not a comprehensive (or ranked) list, but one that bridges the gap between post-Stonewall disco parties and gender-queer millennial rock of today. While some classics do appear on our list, others do not – sorry, Gloria Gaynor, Kylie Minogue, RuPaul, Britney and Cher, we still adore you – here are 25 essential pride songs from the 1970s to today.

Helium’s Mary Timony Talks Two Decades of Offbeat Indie-Rock Excellence


Guitarist on why she’s reissuing her back catalog, how Snoop Dogg influenced her songs, her crazy tours with Wild Flag, Ex Hex’s future and more

Mary Timony is modern-day indie-rock royalty. Rolling Stone‘s Rob Sheffield has dubbed her a “guitar hero,” while Sleater-Kinney member and Wild Flag collaborator Carrie Brownstein recently described her as “Mary Shelley with a guitar.” But on the phone with Rolling Stone, the current Ex Hex leader and a veteran of bands such as Helium and Wild Flag professes that she’s been more focused on shaping superstars of the future. “This week I’m learning an Iron Maiden song called ‘Fallen Angel,’ which is pretty awesome,” says Timony, who teaches guitar to children by day. “It’s for this little kid who’s named Oliver – he’s a total whiz. He wrote this song for his science class in school that’s all about atoms and types of matter, and it’s all based on this Iron Maiden song.”

The early Nineties marked a renaissance for women in rock, but well before bands like Hole and the Breeders stormed MTV, and just as the riot grrrl movement was coalescing in the Pacific Northwest, Timony was already well on her way to becoming an alt-rock luminary. Classically trained on both guitar and viola, the D.C. native made a mark on her hometown’s DIY scene as a member of Dischord’s resident all-female math-rock band, Autoclave, between semesters at Boston University. After that band’s breakup, she joined the group that would become Helium – taking the place of indie-folk It girl Mary Lou Lord (who notably ditched the band for going electric). The band’s final lineup cemented in 1992; comprised of Timony on vocals and guitars, Shawn Devlin on drums and Timony’s then-boyfriend, Polvo bassist Ash Bowie, Helium joined the growing ranks of oddball indie bands like Pavement and Built to Spill.

Though Timony shared the DIY, pro-woman ethos of early riot grrrl bands like Bikini Kill, her aesthetic didn’t fit neatly into any category. Timony articulated her feminist politics from the vantage point of her own freaky universe, populated by astronauts, flirty unicorns and vampiric sex workers with axes to grind. Helium’s sounds would progress from the fairy-tale noir of their Pirate Prude EP into 1995’s off-kilter pop opus The Dirt of Luck and the Medieval prog rock of 1997’s The Magic City and No Guitars EP.

Increasingly disenchanted with the business of being a band, Helium stuck it out for one last U.S. tour before parting ways in 1998. Timony went on to form an array of projects – knocking out three solo albums, followed by stints in Sleater-Kinney–affiliated side acts the Spells and Wild Flag, and her beloved power-pop trio Ex Hex. Given her prolific output, which only continues to grow, it seemed Timony would successfully resist the nostalgic allure of a Helium comeback. But with the 20th anniversary of The Magic City approaching in September, and the increasing scarcity of Helium records in print, Timony went searching through the archives of Matador Records. “I didn’t have anything, just a couple seven-inches,” she said. “I kept hearing that people couldn’t find the Helium records on vinyl anymore, [besides] the ones being sold on eBay.”

Matador eventually found the masters and reissued Helium’s entire catalog in May – plus Ends With And, a collection of demos, singles and rarities. With the help of Brooklyn band Hospitality, Timony is currently reviving this material on tour as “Mary Timony Plays Helium.” She spoke with Rolling Stone about her lifelong career as a guitar virtuoso, why she almost quit music and what inspired her to bring back Helium.

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Review: At the Drive In Reunite, Explode on Stadium-Sized ‘Inter Alia’


Our take on the first album from the Texas prog-punks in 17 years

In the Nineties, El Paso, Texas’ At the Drive In were an art-punk hailstorm informed by Fugazi, Pink Floyd and a little Tito Puente. Their highpoint was the landmark 2000 LP, Relationship of Command, which thrashed somewhere in the liminal space between Rage Against the Machine’s funk-metal spitfire and the taunting stop-start antics of lateral-thinking hardcore ranters Refused. Splintering away from the steel-toed punk establishment, the band tipped the post-hardcore genre towards something much more free-form – and maraca-friendly. Such lawlessness left some rock critics befuddled, but history has shown them to be a mad-scientist experiment gone right. The band crumbled in 2001, divorcing into two factions – Latin-tinged prog-rock venture the Mars Volta and major label post-hardcore loyalists Sparta – only to re-emerge in 2012 for some live reunion dates. Now, in a move once thought inconceivable, At the Drive In rebound with their long-awaited fourth LP.

Their first recording in 17 years, Inter Alia (stylized as in·ter a·li·a) picks up the anarchic sprawl of Relationship and amplifies it into a stadium-size version of the band’s old glory. On the Maiden-esque kickoff track “No Wolf Like the Present,” vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala, turned dark wizard twin to Freddie Mercury’s Killer Queen, snarls: “There’s no wolf like the present/They own your history and scrap it for parts.” Bassist Paul Hinojos and drummer Tony Hajjar deploy the same thunderous punk blitzes that ignited their initial ascent. Notably standing in for founding member guitarist Jim Ward is Sparta alumnus Keeley Davis, who meets guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López’s mathematical exactitude with fleeting gusts of catharsis. “We need to honor where we left off sonically,” Bixler-Zavala recently told The New York Times, “and we need to honor how we used to paint outside the lines.”

Inspired in large part by sci-fi novelist Philip K. Dick, Bixler-Zavala renders dystopian scenes from real life horrors in brisk, operatic free verse. As if perched on a soapbox in the sky, Inter Alia‘s lead single “Governed By Contagions” sees Bixler-Zavala finger-wagging of looming American fascism, howling “Brace yourself, my darling/Brace yourself for a flood!” Drafted with the density of a pointillist sketch, his cryptic words often run too close together to impart the same hair-raising gravitas as 2000 Juárez murder ballad “Invalid Litter Dept.,” or the cries from inside immigrant detention centers in “Quarantined.” The closest thing may lie in the atypically straightforward track, “Incurably Innocent,” in which Bixler-Zavala extends compassion to those who’ve suffered sexual abuse in silence: “A blank tape that couldn’t remember/But you can never erase the hurt/Out in the dial-toned distance someone heard.”

Rodríguez-López memorably took issue with what he called the “plastic,” condensed ambience that encased Relationship, thanks to the handiwork of producer Ross Robinson and mixer Andy Wallace, both of whom found fame by producing nü-metal records. Now with the help of Mars Volta producer Rich Costey, Rodríguez-López the sound feels at once more fluid and a little more tempered than before. Bixler-Zavala’s vocals stand tallest in the mix, but Inter Alia flatters their instrumental meanderings most – especially in “Continuum” and “Tilting at the Univendor,” where Rodríguez-López’s splashes of psychedelia and Hajjar’s swift offensives move in lock step. The same spastic, frenetic energy exists in the undercurrents, but it’s carefully and economically dispersed.

Onstage at New York City’s Terminal 5, 42-year-old Bixler-Zavala landed several of his legendary amp-hopping, acrobatic moves. Between gasps, he commended fans for passing the word along in their early days via mixtapes, message boards and house shows – and he wryly thanked an audience at Boston’s House of Blues, “for taking a chance on some spics from El Paso.” Perhaps Inter Alia is just a nostalgia-soaked, one-time penance paid to their devout followers. But inter alia – “among other things” in Latin – it’s a testament to the band’s survival in spite of themselves. A once combustible band of self-punishing misfits, hammered by a cocktail of substance abuse and workaholism, At the Drive In made the most responsible call when they put their legacy on hold in 2001. Now older and wiser, they’re much better prepared to nurture their blaze than before. All it needed was a little room to breathe.

Calle 13’s Residente Talks Exploring Global Roots on Star-Studded Solo Debut


The Grammy-winning Puerto Rican MC on how he followed the trail of his DNA and enlisted his cousin Lin-Manuel Miranda for new ‘Residente’ project

As frontman of alternative-hip-hop group Calle 13, Residente sold hundreds of thousands of records and racked up more Latin Grammys than any other act in history. But when it came time to make his solo debut, the rapper-producer – born René Pérez Joglar – decided he wanted something more.

“I don’t want to sound arrogant,” he tells Rolling Stone over the phone, “but it’s really easy to make another hit. I don’t want to do it because the industry pushes you to do that, so, I decided to travel and trace my DNA … using music.”

A few years ago, Joglar took a DNA test that traced his genes back to 10 vastly different locales – from his native Puerto Rico to Armenia, Ghana to China. An artist long invested in breaking down boundaries of all kinds, Joglar decided that these results would serve as the conceptual framework for his next project – a self-titled LP accompanied by a documentary and book commissioned by Fusion Media Group, a division of Hispanic media conglomerate Univision.

Residente is Joglar’s first record since disbanding Calle 13, the wildly successful group he shared with his siblings Eduardo Cabra Martínez and Ileana Cabra Joglar. For his own project, the MC amassed new collaborators from 10 different corners of the earth, each artist local to a place of his genetic origin. Indie-pop singer SoKo lends a touch of French melodrama in the star-crossed love song “Desencuentro”; composer Goran Bregović and his Balkan brass band underscore Joglar’s cyborg-ian dystopia in “El Futuro Es Nuestro”; and Niger-born Tuareg guitarist Bombino guests on the slick, funky “La Sombra.”

Though the album finds him breaking away from Calle 13, Residente still turned out to be a family affair: On the album’s opening track, “Intro ADN/DNA,” Hamilton actor-playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda tells the tale of how he and Joglar discovered they were long-lost cousins. A Nuyorican by way of Manhattan’s Washington Heights, Miranda had never crossed paths with Joglar, a Boricua born and raised in San Juan – at least not until the two had long grown up and become fans of each others’ music. Joglar, who later made a guest appearance on 2016’s Hamilton Mixtape, asked Miranda to emcee one of his concerts in Puerto Rico. While communing with Miranda backstage, Joglar’s mother, Flor, identified his lineage with clairvoyant precision: “You have your grandfather’s face,” she told Miranda. “He was my mother’s cousin.”

Joglar, the man Miranda calls a “global artist in residence,” spoke to Rolling Stone about building international solidarity among his fellow musicians, his stance on Puerto Rican independence and the making of Residente.

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Pissed Jeans Talk Blending Cringe Comedy, Feminist Thought on New LP


Frontman Matt Korvette on how Lydia Lunch, author Lindsay Hunter helped shape ‘Why Love Now,’ the band’s latest thesis on American manhood

True to their name, sludge punks Pissed Jeans have always been committed to generating maximum discomfort. Started in 2004 by four classmates at Nazareth High School in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the band eventually moved to Philadelphia and signed to Sub Pop, which would release their breakthrough LP, 2007’s Hope for Men. Searing Birthday Party–esque riffs fueled their brackish salutes to suburban joggers, boot-lickers and proud ice-cream-eating motherfuckers – a menacing, sardonic sound that clashed with the album’s cover image of two shirtless dudes locked in a tender embrace.

Ten years later, on their fifth studio album, the band turns the tables once again. Why Love Now is their most unsparing work of self-flagellation yet, a generous grope through their own dirty laundry that begs both a smirk and a wince. On the phone with Rolling Stone, frontman and lyricist Matt Korvette says his penchant for self-ridicule may have started when he first played bass at a friend’s 13th birthday party. “We sucked and I didn’t want to be looked at,” he says. “But we had to keep going. And yet somehow, I knew that I wanted more of that.”

Now married with a kid, Korvette spends his weekdays trudging through administrative tasks at an insurance company – which will remain unnamed, although his coworkers seem indifferent. His guttural takes on his own humdrum, middle-class existence may not be high academic theory, but they qualify as gender studies all the same; the band’s catalog pokes fun at white American masculinity and its resulting luxurious chokeholds, paradoxes too often left for feminists to dissect. Why Love Now tackles the dilemmas of craving anal play as a straight guy in “Cold Whip Cream”; or men who derive pleasure from a woman’s disinterest in “Ignorecam”; and, in new single “The Bar Is Low,” the case of powerful male predators who dodge consequences for their misdeeds thanks to society’s ever-shrinking standards.

“It seems like every guy is getting outed across every board of entertainment and politics and music,” says Korvette. “You’re like, ‘No, he’s just a dude that hits on drunk girls and has sex with them when they’re asleep. Cool, he’s just an average shithead.'” In the video for the track, the band members toil along to the plunky, swampy groove at a local gym, fumbling with the equipment, until a crew of sporty dudes show them how it’s done. If there is hope left for men, the clip suggests, perhaps it can stem from a shared failure to live up to their own ideals.

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How Pop Introverts the xx Ditched Minimalism on Glossy New LP


Band talks learning from master hitmakers, transcending “teenage dramatics” on bold third album ‘I See You’

“When we first started, we didn’t really look like we wanted to be there,” the xx‘s Romy Madley Croft tells Rolling Stone. “Which is fair.”

Tight-lipped and clad entirely in black, the London electro-rock trio started out as an anomaly. On their 2009 self-titled debut, the primary school classmates turned indie stars took a defiantly low-key approach in a bombastic pop era dominated by Lady Gaga – enchanting listeners with sparse tendrils of post-punk guitars and vocal interplay that recalled the tempered sensuality of R&B greats like Sade and Aaliyah. Yet their minimalist approach yielded maximum results: The album won the Mercury Prize in 2010, and later landed at number 74 on Rolling Stone‘s “100 Best Debuts of All Time” list. Their dusky sophomore LP, 2012’s Coexist, would peak at Number One on the Billboard Alternative Albums Chart.

The xx’s third album, I See You, out Friday, is a glowing patchwork of U.K. garage, house and tropical rhythms, topped by big brass and bigger vocals. It’s a rather ambitious turn for a band of introverts – but the group is more than ready to punch up their intimate sound.

RS meets the band in the cozy basement studio of XL Recordings’ Manhattan headquarters, where guitarist and co-lead vocalist Madley Croft lounges alongside her bandmates. “It’s been a theme for us on this album – wanting to do things that were out of our comfort zone,” she says. Newly engaged to British designer (and band stylist) Hannah Marshall, Madley Croft believes their change in direction was reinforced by a push to take more risks – both personally and professionally. “We had gained a lot of confidence from touring Coexist,” she says. “We became stronger singers, just from playing a lot of shows, and… working on our shyness.”

The band’s DJ-producer Jamie Smith, better known as Jamie xx, sinks deep into the shelter of a red beanbag chair nearby. Not one to boast – much less raise his voice beyond a trace of a whisper – he’s still reeling from the success of his 2015 solo debut, In Colour, an arty dance-pop thesis that featured guests such as Four Tet, Young Thug and Popcaan (and, of course, his own bandmates in the xx). Written almost entirely during the band’s Coexist tour, the record was certified gold in the U.K. and nominated for Best Dance/Electronic Album at the 2016 Grammys. “It’s one of the stranger events I’ve been to,” Smith says of the Grammys ceremony. “Everyone just sort of leaves and comes back when they think they might win something. … I sat through the whole thing. [My] first time could’ve been the only time.”

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Dawn Richard Talks Pop Autonomy, Staying Vigilant in Trump’s America


“I think hate is very present,” singer-songwriter says. “But it should encourage us to be louder about who we are”

Electro-soul pioneer Dawn Richard lives her life like the mythical protagonist of her own comic-book saga. She dresses the part, too: the singer-songwriter arrives to her Rolling Stone interview decked out in white, her eyelids gently dusted with glitter and iridescent purple shadow. She visited the RS offices just before the November release of her most dauntless LP, Redemption, the final installment of her epic trilogy dealing with stardom and its many, many pitfalls. It’s not just any record release, she says – the album will be distributed via sterling-silver USB drive. (“You can wear it like a necklace,” she stresses.) Scanning the RS cover wall, Richard stops at an image from August 1997 – in which the Prodigy’s Keith Flint sports fuchsia hair, parted in the center and shellacked onto opposite sides of his head. “That’s my shit right there,” she laughs. “I wanted to be that guy when I was a kid. Pink hair, wild as hell.”

Richard’s inspirations range from Aphex Twin to Sun Ra, and the breadth of her taste nourishes her sky-high imagination. Yet as tempting as it is to place her origins somewhere in outer space, Richard was born into an accomplished New Orleans family: Her mother founded her own dance studio at 21, and her father, Frank Richard, fronted the disco-funk ensemble Chocolate Milk, which doubled as Allen Toussaint’s backing band. In this career-spanning interview, she traces her ascent from her days as a dancer in the NBA to her breakout role in Sean Combs’ MTV series Making the Band 3 – and her further collaborations with the mogul and his Bad Boy label – and reflects on her present status as a staunchly independent pop trailblazer.

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Inside Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions’ Mysterious Chemistry


Mazzy Star singer, My Bloody Valentine’s Colm Ó Cíosóig discuss recording in cannon towers and the deep bond that led to their new third LP

Nearly 20 years ago, two left-of-center musicians struck up conversation in a dark London nightclub. Hope Sandoval, enigmatic frontwoman of California dream-pop outfit Mazzy Star, would find a lifelong collaborator in the equally mysterious Colm Ó’Cíosóig, drummer in Irish shoegaze band My Bloody Valentine. They first approached each other as fans before they turned into friends, and their bond would evolve into a trans-Atlantic project called the Warm Inventions. “We became like family,” Ó’Cíosóig says.

Their collaboration has survived not only 15 years, but roughly 5,000 miles of distance. Sandoval’s mornings are often Ó’Cíosóig’s nights; it’s time for breakfast when Rolling Stone phones Sandoval, who lives in Berkeley, California, but it’s dinner for Ó’Cíosóig, who’s on the line from Dublin. She tells me Ó’Cíosóig owns a “beautiful houseboat, with a wood-burning fireplace” on a canal in Dublin; he responds with something that sounds like “Mmmph.” Even though they’re half a world apart, the pair seem to communicate intuitively – not just in words, but in lengthy pauses, whistles and politely muffled laughter. Perhaps the secret behind the Warm Inventions’ trancelike catalog is that the pair have made peace with silence.

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Inside Joe Jonas’ Low-Key Luxury Chic


DNCE leader shows off vintage Godzilla T-shirt, Cuban-cigar collection and other prized items from personal style stash

“As a band, we’ve always been attracted to fashion and our own versions of that,” he says, “My bass player [Cole Whittle] would, like, find a vest from a guy who’s doing scaffolding work in the Lower East Side. Whatever lets you be yourself.” For Jonas, that means having a house stocked with childhood memorabilia, as well as fine art and a wardrobe that mixes leather and letterman jackets in vibrant, dime-store comic-book colors.