November 20, 2009

Good Breeding

History and Pop Culture are rife with failed attempts of genetic perfection. Hitler proclaimed blonde hair and blue eyes were all the rage, despite the clear evidence that half-Asian kids are pretty much the cutest ever. Why do you think my girlfriend is Asian?

Yet, nature does allow for success from time to time. If nobody had ever gotten a narwhal liquored up, we may not have unicorns today.

And if Josh Homme, Dave Grohl, and John Paul Jones hadn't decided to please every core of my soul, we wouldn't have Them Crooked Vultures.

These guys are the very definition of rock super group, a calculated sign of breeding that spans Led Zeppelin, Foo Fighters, and Queens of the Stone Age (as well as other projects). It's like going to a Chinese buffet and getting only the fried rice, sweet and sour chicken, and general's chicken -- the good stuff.

The album is excellent. Though you can no longer listen to it for free at the website, you can make your purchase knowing you'll get the best of Queens' blend of classic and modern rock with the hard-hitting drums of Dave Grohl. And you cannot forget the funk of Mr. Jones, who has an undeniable swagger.

The music definitely skews towards Queens of the Stone Age, but unlike Queens, who can sometimes get off on melodic tangents, Them Crooked Vultures are tighter. Think 3s and 7s more than Someone's in the Wolf. Each song stands out, like the twangy Gunman, bouncing New Fang, or the transitional and dominating No One Loves Me and Neither do I.

Them Crooked Vultures swooped into the Fox Theatre in Oakland last night to put on a fantastic show and make it clear they are very much worth your time. (I tried to make a "vulture eating carcass" metaphor here but failed.) Watching Josh Homme play the guitar is thrilling. The man is doing the Lord's work and he knows it. Grohl beats the drums with an unmatched intensity. I especially love that Grohl, who is a great front man, has taken the back seat to Homme's more mild on-stage antics. Jones, while a tad goofy, is also feeling the music. This may not be his generation, but he isn't an outsider.

I love this band. They are a combination of so many great influences and strong components -- it's meant to be. I sincerely hope the Vultures are here to stay and feast. They aren't your normal side project fit only for scavenging music nerds.

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