Music News

High on Fire: Snakes for the Divine, in "Nothing Not New"

Artist: High on Fire

Title: Snakes for the Divine
Release date: February 23
Label: E1 Music

I dodged a bullet. Yesterday, I bet everyone a million dollars they couldn't listen to the new two-hour-long triple album by critics' darling Joanna Newsom in its entirety, front-to-back, more than once. A bunch of people wrote to me saying they'd listen to it four or seven or even more times. So, I stand corrected. Fortunately, I didn't shake on the bet, so I'm keeping the million.

I have a better proposition today, though. For all you Newsom-philes . . . I'll bet you that you can't listen to High on Fire's new record all the way through. 

I'm curious as to whether you can enjoy an artist such as Newsom as much as you can an act like High on Fire. One traffics in "whimsical noodling" (that phrase courtesy of commenter Dfactor) and bird-like warbling about, among other things, "autumn" and "kingfishers" and "jackrabbits" and other things "soft as chalk." The other traffics in relentless riffing and hell-bent throat-shredding about, among other things, "frost hammers" and "ghost necks" and "bastard samurais" and (yes!) "holy flames of the fire spitter."

What do you think? I'm curious to hear about the musical extremes in your collection? The best one, as judged by me, will win a truly awesome prize.

Best song: "Holy Flames of the Fire Spitter." Greatest title of the year.
Rotation: Medium-low
Deja Vu: This guy in college who lived down the hall from me. It was, like, 3 in the afternoon one day when I followed the cranked-to-11 metal down to his room to find him head-banging -- hard -- with a cup of beer in one hand and a pile of white pills in the open palm of his other.
I'd rather listen to: Priestess' record from earlier this year, Prior to the Fire. Better singer, better songs.
Grade: C

"Nothing Not New" is a yearlong project in which New Times editorial operations manager Jay Bennett, a 40-year-old music fan and musician, will listen only to music released in 2010. Each Monday through Friday, he will listen to one new record (no best ofs, reissues, or concert recordings) and write about it. Why? Because in the words of his editor, Martin Cizmar, he suffers from "aesthetic atrophy," a wasting away of one's ability to embrace new and different music as one ages. Read more about this all-too-common ailment here.

The "Nothing Not New" Archives

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Jay Bennett
Contact: Jay Bennett