Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have teamed up once again to serve up a spooky treat for this very special October Friday the 13th. (Boo!) They’ve covered John Carpenter’s iconic Halloween theme music. You can hear their rendition of it below, and check out our recent interview with Carpenter. More »
The strangest and most intense moment of David Lynch’s recent Twin Peaks: The Return series was the one that featured Nine Inch Nails giving a convulsive performance of “She’s Gone Away” smack in the middle of the episode. Trent Reznor says that he wrote the song, which appeared on the band’s Not The … More »
It’s a huge day for new album releases, and we’ve collected most of the major titles here for your streaming pleasure. The list does not include some of the noteworthy albums that streamed ahead of release, including titles from Hundred Waters, Emily Haines, Washer, and Antibalas. More »
Back in January, it was announced that Nine Inch Nails collaborators Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross would be scoring the upcoming 10-part, 18-hour Ken Burns documentary “The Vietnam War.” Now they’ve shared more details about the project, with the 17-track, two-disc package out next month. In addition, the film’s 38-track companion soundtrack … More »
The Village Voice has an enjoyable new interview with Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor, by veteran rock journalist Lizzy Goodman. By the tone of the piece, Reznor was in good spirits and eager to pierce his own myth as the clench-jawed spokesperson for the gothy and disaffected of America — it opens with him … More »
After releasing their Not the Actual Events EP at the end of 2016, Nine Inch Nails announced that it was the first installment in a trilogy of EPs. Just before starting their summer tour, the band has released the second EP of the trilogy, Add Violence.
Across the record’s five songs, Nine Inch Nails show off a range of sounds and styles. The lead single, “Less Than,” is an upbeat, synth-driven track with touches of the band’s infamous industrial sound. Frontman Trent Reznor and his bandmates follow up the single with “The Lovers,” a subdued, creeping song with Reznor’s soft vocals weaving in and out of the minimal blips and deep percussion.
The third track, titled “This Isn’t the Place,” is a moody, downtempo song with hints of R&B and soul. The band decides to get loud and industrial on “Not Anymore,” before the explosive track leads into the closing song, “The Background World.” The final track, standing at nearly 12 minutes long, begins with an eerie intro before gradually distorting into chaos.
You’d be a fool if you thought for a moment electronic music killed the rock star. Rock n’ roll isn’t dead; far from it in fact. The two genres have existed simultaneously, and have often crossed over with each other for decades now. One of the intersection’s seminal boundary pushers, Nine Inch Nails, proves that point. Trent Reznor, NIN’s frontman, recently suggested via Twitter that something is looming for the group, and it’s coming soon. While it’s yet to be confirmed, the announcement has lead to speculation that the group will release a new EP next week.
The theory is further reinforced by the band’s promise of a new EP to be out before their summer tour begins July 23 back in the end of 2016. NIN released their surprise Not The Actual Events EP in December of 2016 and publicly stated that the third part of their EP trilogy would follow “6-8 months” after the second installment, making Reznor and company just about due to deliver on their promise.
Listen to Not The Actual Events below:
It’s probably not controversial to say that the cinema of Oliver Stone has aged poorly. His puerile transgressive tendencies are too silly to shock in the sober light of the 21st century, and his ham-fisted attempts at political/social/cultural commentary make it difficult to enjoy his films even as guilty pleasures. If there’s one thing that Stone did right as a director, though, it was giving Trent Reznor the soundtrack to his two-hour-long cry to be taken seriously as an artist, Natural Born Killers.
While Reznor is a regular on the red carpet these days for his collaborations with Atticus Ross on David Fincher film scores, back in 1994, he was still known primarily as the dude who wrote that “fuck you like an animal” song. As such, he must have seemed like a naturally edgy choice for the king of cinematic edge to put in charge of the companion album for his most edgy of edgy motion pictures. Yet anyone coming to the NBK soundtrack looking for an onslaught of radio-friendly industrial metal was in for sharp disappointment. Sure, “Burn” is one of the most punishing tracks Nine Inch Nails ever committed to tape, and “Forkboy” by Ministry and Jello Biafra supergroup Lard is a kick in the shorts, but the album as a whole eschews heaviness for heaviness’ sake, actually omitting such seemingly on-brand contributors to the film as Marilyn Manson and Rage Against the Machine.
In what was a novel approach at the time, Reznor assembled the album as a collage, rather than as a discreet collection of tracks, editing selections down, splicing in dialogue and sound effects from the movie, and, in some cases, combining songs into entirely new compositions (Both the Clerks and Pulp Fiction soundtracks would do something similar in the coming months, although not with the same degree of finesse). The result is an album that feels very much like… well, an album. The film’s rambling narrative is transposed into the soundtrack in a hauntingly surreal fashion. We follow Mickey and Mallory through the ups and downs of their relationship, through moments that are alternately tender (The Cowboy Junkie’s cover of “Sweet Jane”), harrowing (Peter Gabriel and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s “Taboo”), and incongruous (Patsy Cline’s “Back in Baby’s Arms”).
On a personal level, the album served as an important introduction for me to artists like Patti Smith, Leonard Cohen, and Diamanda Galas. But, more broadly, the Natural Born Killers soundtrack was likely the first exposure much of its audience got to mashups. While the mashup had existed in some form practically since the beginning of recorded music, in the mid-90s, it was still mostly the stuff of novelty records, experimental composers, and underground DJs. NBK provided a more visible platform for the compositional technique than it had previously enjoyed. “Sex Is Violent” is a high-water mark in that regard. The song pivots from the first verse of Jane’s Addiction’s “Ted, Just Admit it” into Diamanda Galas’s sparse, piano-accompanied rendition of “I Put a Spell on You,” only to intertwine the two in the run-up to its conclusion. Galas’s shrieked declarations of possession drift over Perry Farrell’s mantra that “Sex is violent” in a manner that escalates the intensity of both songs.
To this day, I’ve never seen Natural Born Killers. I’ve never felt the need to. The album weaves such a compelling story all its own that I fear filling in its pregnant ellipses could only serve as a disappointment. More than just a killer mix, the NBK soundtrack is a masterful composition of found sounds that deserves serious consideration apart from the film it was nominally created to promote.