Results for Nine Inch Nails

interviews

Trent Reznor

Jim and Greg are joined by Trent Reznor this week. The Nine Inch Nails frontman is one of the most innovative and inventive musicians out there. He not only created his own“sonic palette,”but his ideas about business are equally unique. In 2007 he released Year Zero, a multimedia experience that was more than just an album. He followed that up with a slew of free and almost-free web releases. He shares with Jim and Greg his frank thoughts about how the record industry is digging its own grave. He explains that this current Nine Inch Nails tour will be his last, and shares what he thinks about the career choices of his former alternative peer Chris Cornell.

Go to episode 186

Saul Williams

This week's guest has an incredible portfolio: poet, screenwriter, actor, activist, and, of course, musician. But, while we have many words to describe Saul Williams, it's hard to describe his music. Saul blends rock, funk, hip hop and electronica with political lyrics. This combo was most recently heard on an album Saul made with Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor. Last year they released The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust exclusively on the web. Now Saul is again getting attention through his involvement in a Nike ad campaign. The singer, and admitted activist, explains to Jim and Greg why he agreed to let the corporation use his song "List of Demands," in a recent commercial. He believes that the ad calls more attention to his song than it does the product, and therefore spreads the message of his music. You can hear that song performed live on the show, as well the Niggy Tardust tracks, "Banged and Blown Through" and "Convict Colony."

Go to episode 129
specials

Digital Music

This week's feature is all about how music has changed in the digital era. It's obvious that the digital revolution has impacted how we listen to music, but as audiophiles know, it has affected what we're hearing as well. It seems that music fans are faced with a choice: Convenience/Portability vs. Audio Fidelity. And while digital music purchases have continued to rise (along with illegal downloading), vinyl sales are also up this year. Perhaps this means that music fans want to have their cake and eat it too. Bands like Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead have had great success offering inexpensive, lower quality digital releases along with more expensive records and box sets. Hopefully more bands will be encouraged to offer consumers a choice. In the meantime, listen to the comments from producer Butch Vig, who you may have heard on the show last week, and music editor Bob Gendron, and let us know how you like to listen to your music.

Go to episode 123
reviews
Ghosts I-IVGhosts I-IV available on iTunes

Nine Inch Nails Ghosts I-IV

Following in the footsteps of Radiohead, who successfully released an internet version of In Rainbows, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails has a new web release called Ghosts I-IV. The four-part instrumental release comes on the heels of an album Reznor produced and digitally released by Saul Williams. This time Reznor is offering fans different listening options at different prices. Whether you want a free, nine song collection, or a $300 box set, there appears to be something for everyone. But is the music worth your time or money? Jim was a big fan of Reznor's last record, a concept album called Year Zero, but this time he is more interested in hearing what other artists will do with these instrumentals. He thinks Ghosts I-IV is worth a listen but only as a Burn It. Greg found Reznor's production to be as inventive as ever and would recommend people Buy It — at whatever level they choose.

JimGreg
Go to episode 119
Hesitation MarksFragile available on iTunes

Nine Inch Nails Fragile

Ever since he debuted Nine Inch Nails in 1988, Trent Reznor has had a tortured relationship with his one-man-band. He's moved in and out of the major label system, retired, returned and done a number of side projects. He also made a memorable visit to the Sound Opinions studios. Now, Nine Inch Nails is back with its 8th album called Hesitation Marks. A dark title, but an apt one, according to Greg. It feels like a hesitant, tentative album and one in which Reznor wasn‘t fully invested. It’s his quietest Nine Inch Nails release, even going back to the masterful Fragile in 1999. But, there's a lot of filler. Greg says Burn It. Jim is shocked that Greg isn't digging this groovy album full of a sonic palette unlike any other. He says Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 406
The SlipThe Slip available on iTunes

Nine Inch Nails The Slip

Jim and Greg next review an artist who is popping up a lot on the show recently: Nine Inch Nails. In fact Trent Reznor's new album The Slip is the fifth volume of music he's released this year-more than his entire output between 1986 and 1989. But is being prolific such a good thing? It is if you don't have to pay for the music. Neither Jim nor Greg think The Slip is on the same level as some of Nine Inch Nails' earlier, more meticulous albums. But, both critics think the free release is definitely worth a listen. They give it a Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 128
Year ZeroYear Zero available on iTunes

Nine Inch Nails Year Zero

Trent Reznor's new Nine Inch Nails release is making news not just for its music, but for its marketing campaign. Rather than do the standard set of interviews and appearances, Reznor launched an interactive internet scavenger hunt to explain the album's story and gain interest. The story behind Year Zero began to unfold when fans discovered that highlighted letters on a NIN concert t-shirt spelled out“I am trying to believe.”Add a .com to that, and they were led to their first clue. A series of other clues were then revealed via a network of web sites, MP3 files, videos, phone lines, and even USB drives found in concert bathrooms. Jim and Greg discuss how savvy and 21st century Reznor's guerilla marketing tactics are. While some members of the music industry mourn the death of the CD, Reznor responds by giving the consumer much more than a hard disc of music. It's the modern equivalent to the kind of interactive package and experience fans would get with the great concept albums of the previous rock era. The critics are also impressed with the album itself, which Jim explains is essentially about the end of the world. He calls Reznor a sonic architect for his ability to create amazing soundscapes with just his lap top. And, Greg notes that Reznor's voice is more expressive than it's been on previous albums. Therefore, the album and the entire experience of Year Zero get two Buy Its from both Jim and Greg.

JimGreg
Go to episode 72
Blood Sugar Sex MagikStadium Arcadium available on iTunes

The Red Hot Chili Peppers Stadium Arcadium

The Red Hot Chili Peppers also released a highly anticipated album this week. Their 28-song double album was produced by superstar producer Rick Rubin. Rubin previously worked with the Southern California natives on their big mainstream breakout album Blood Sugar Sex Magik, as well as later hit Californication. As the co-founder of Def Jam Records with Russell Simmons, Rubin produced albums for The Beastie Boys and Run D.M.C. He's also acted as producer for Nine Inch Nails, System of a Down, and the late Johnny Cash. It's surprising then, say Jim and Greg, that Rubin would be such a poor editor on this latest effort. Both critics agree that this album doesn‘t deserve to be nearly as long as it is, especially since more than half of the songs can be considered ballads — a far cry from the Chili Peppers’ punk-funk roots. Those ballads are evidence of lead singer Anthony Kiedis' self-proclaimed spiritual transformation, but Jim and Greg are not quite moved. They can still hear a few moments when Kiedis' former, party-loving self comes through. The album, which was recorded in Harry Houdini's former home, is worth hearing for John Frusciante's guitar playing, but not worth a purchase. Stadium Arcadium gets a Trash It from both hosts.

JimGreg
Go to episode 23
American V: A Hundred HighwaysAmerican V: A Hundred Highways available on iTunes

Johnny Cash American V: A Hundred Highways

This Independence Day also marked the release of a new posthumous album from country legend Johnny Cash. American V: A Hundred Highways is the latest in a series of collaborations between Cash and producer Rick Rubin. As Jim and Greg explain, this was an unlikely partnership resulting in extraordinary music. Rubin, who has mostly worked in the rock and rap arenas with such acts as Run DMC and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, brought a new perspective to Cash's music. He highlighted the strength of Cash's vocals and introduced him to songs by Roberta Flack and Nine Inch Nails. But, both Jim and Greg agree that the collaboration was less than amazing this time around. Cash began recording these songs in 2003, after the death of his wife June Carter and shortly before his own, and you can hear his failing health in his voice. Greg likens the experience to that of listening to Billie Holiday's final recording, Lady in Satin. Both albums leave the listener feeling like a voyeur intruding on the singer's pain and sadness. Jim misses the sense of joy and triumph that Rubin helped bring to Cash's work in the last few years. He wishes that the music had a little more“middle finger”in it, referring to the team's famous Billboard ad in which Cash gives the country music establishment the bird. Therefore, both critics can only give American V a Burn It rating, and instead direct fans to two other releases: Personal File and the American Records box set, Unearthed.

JimGreg
Go to episode 32
lists

The Best of 2007… So Far

Jim and Greg just couldn‘t wait until the end of the year to start picking their favorite albums, so they’ve decided to name their 2007 mid-year best.

Go to episode 81

Turkey Shoot

It's Turkey time! Let out all your holiday frustrations on some well-deserving musical turkeys. Here are the albums that most let Jim and Greg down in 2013 as part of our Thanksgiving Turkey Shoot:

Go to episode 416

The Best Songs of 2007 - Mixtapes

Jim and Greg present their Mixtapes for 2007. Check out the track listing below.

Go to episode 109
news

Music News

Sound Opinions is sad to report the death of Stooges drummer Scott Asheton at age 64. This punk pioneer took the rhythms of Bo Diddley and the Velvet Underground's Moe Tucker and piled on the aggression, carving out the sound that would soon define punk, Jim explains. Listening to him pummel the drums on early Stooges albums, it's no surprise that Asheton (whose family couldn't afford a proper trap set) first learned to play by banging hammers on oil cans. Along with his brother Ron on guitar, Scott was described as the gasoline that Iggy's match set aflame. Jim and Greg honor the drummer by playing "1969" from the Stooges‘ debut album, a punk inferno that Asheton’s brutal rhythms kept burning bright.

It's the double feature that everybody was waiting for… in 1994. Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden are teaming up for a summer tour, just in time for the 20th anniversaries of NIN's Downward Spiral and Soundgarden's Superunknown. Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell says he's always been a NIN fan, and that he'd love to jam with the band onstage—but Trent Reznor might not be so enthused. Back in 2009, Reznor took Cornell to task on Sound Opinions, calling his Timbaland-produced solo album an“impressively bad”sell-out. Maybe NIN will bring on a more suitable collaborator for its next tour.

The 2014 SXSW Music Conference, normally a festive event, which brings tens of thousands of people to Austin every year, will unfortunately be remembered as a tragic one. A horrific car crash early Thursday morning resulted in the death of three people and the injury of many more. Also making headlines was Lady Gaga. The pop diva not only performed at a contoversial event for a snack food company, she gave the keynote address. According to Gaga, without sponsors, there wouldn‘t be music events; labels can’t afford it. A surprising assertion from a woman who later touted her music industry rebellion.

Go to episode 434

Music News

Jim and Greg discussed the great Kanye West/50 Cent sales battle a couple of weeks ago, and this week the results are in. Kanye took it in a landslide with a #1 spot on the Billboard charts and a whopping 957,000 copies sold. Kanye's album Graduation is the biggest selling album so far this year and is the 15th biggest sales frame since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. 50 Cent's album Curtis only sold 691,000 in the first week, though for a hip hop debut that's nothing to scoff at. As Jim and Greg note, no one should shed a tear for 50 Cent. On Forbes' list of the biggest earning hip hop stars, Fiddy holds the #2 spot behind mogul Jay-Z. So, despite this recent loss, 50 Cent is laughing "Straight to the Bank."

If you've been surfing YouTube recently, you may have noticed Trent Reznor's call for more stealing. The man behind Nine Inch Nails is fed up with his record company's decision to hike prices for his album Year Zero and he let his grievances be known at an Australian concert. While he doesn't legally have the authority to give his music away, he does have a point; HMV in Australia is selling Year Zero for AU $32.99, which converts to about $28 in the States. That's definitely more than a music fan should have to pay for an album, especially one that utilized a web-based marketing campaign.

And while one musician embraces the web, another does not. Pop icon Prince plans to sue YouTube and other major web sites for unauthorized use of his music in a bid to“reclaim his art on the Internet.”In a recent statement his representative wrote:“YouTube … are clearly able (to) filter porn and pedophile material but appear to choose not to filter out the unauthorized music and film content which is core to their business success.”Prince obviously doesn‘t need to use the web to build a fan base, but to Sound Opinions H.Q., he’s beginning to sound like a cranky old man.

Also in the news is the death of longtime James Brown collaborator Bobby Byrd at the age of 73. One of the chief architects of Brown's trademark sound, Byrd is often referred to as“The Godfather of Soul's Godfather.”You can hear his contribution in tons of early Brown tracks. In fact, the repeating phrase“Get on up,”on "Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine" was sung by Byrd. Byrd also had a successful solo career, and as Greg explains, his music can be heard sampled in countless late early hip hop songs. To pay honor to the soul/funk/R&B legend, Jim and Greg play his song, "I Know You Got Soul."

Jim and Greg speak with John Jurgensen, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. John recently wrote an article about how US visa procedures are squelching a British pop invasion. Artists like Lily Allen, M.I.A. and recent Mercury Prize winners The Klaxons have had to cancel tour dates and postpone recording sessions due to difficulties obtaining visas. John explains that this is partly due to Homeland Security crackdowns, which now mandate that artists themselves have to go to an embassy in person for fingerprinting and a retinal scan. John also says that artists have to prove that that they are legitimate,“internationally recognizable”acts. Jim and Greg wonder just how much more legit you have to be if Mercury Prize winners are getting hassled. The three reporters understand that these procedures are in place not just to protect Americans from danger but also from a loss of jobs, but unlike in the agriculture and technology industries, you can't sub one musician for another. And a loss of jobs and tour dates for one singer means the loss of many for the hundreds and thousands of promoters, roadies, sound engineers and teamsters here in the States.

Go to episode 95

Music News

Just when Taylor Swift is shaking off Spotify, her friend and singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is embracing it. In 2014, Sheeran was the most streamed artist on Spotify with over 860 million listens. He also sold more than 1 million copies of his album X in the UK alone, proving it is possible for an artist to have albums available to stream, while still selling physical copies. Sheeran says Spotify helps him do what he does best, and he is embarking on a world tour starting out at Wembley Stadium in July.

Bill Withers, Lou Reed and Joan Jett are just a few of the musicians about to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. However one selection in particular has Jim and Greg scratching their heads: Green Day. The band becomes 1 of only 48 H.O.F. members who were admitted in their first year of eligibility. This feat is normally reserved for the Willie Mays-like musical figures, so this choice left our critics a little confused. Also, Greg and Jim note glaring omissions with the bands Chic, Kraftwerk and Nine Inch Nails.

Go to episode 473

Music News

After a two-year battle, a web royalty agreement has been reached that won't put webcasters out of business. In 2007 the copyright royalty board ruled that webcasters needed to pay a fee of 0.08 cents each time a listener streamed wa song which would increase annually to 0.19 cents in 2015. That would've bankrupted many web music services like Pandora Radio. Now, large webcasters must pay 25 percent of total revenue.

Michael Jackson's death is still making big news this week. Friends and family hosted a memorial tribute to the late“King of Pop”on Tuesday. And Jackson's music continued to dominate the charts. In fact sales went up 90% with 800,000 albums sold. As Jim and Greg explain, this will go down as the last great week of physical album sales. And the good news continues for music retailers– a CD and DVD of both the memorial show and his tour rehearsals will be released this year.

A few weeks ago Jim and Greg talked about Trent Reznor's involvement with heart patient Eric De La Cruz. Reznor asked Nine Inch Nails fans to donate money toward a heart transplant in exchange for VIP access, special tickets and more. Unfortunately De La Cruz died last week before a transplant could take place.

In other Nine Inch Nails news, final tour dates have been announced for Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. As Reznor explained to Jim and Greg during their recent interview, this will be the last go-around for Nine Inch Nails, but certainly not the last of his music.

Go to episode 189

Music News

Making news are recent announcements about upcoming summer concerts. First, there was release of the lineups for the annual Coachella and Bonnaroo music festivals. The Coachella Festival in southern California usually has one of the more exciting and diverse bills of the summer, with past headliners like Coldplay, Nine Inch Nails, and Radiohead. This year, though, Jim and Greg are skeptical of whether headliners Tool and Depeche Mode can be enough of a draw. It's up to support acts like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Massive Attack and Wolf Parade to make the desert heat bearable. There is also exciting news for Chicagoans: Lollapalooza will be returning with an expanded three-day format. Plus, indie rock fans can look forward to not one, but two new festivals in the city—the Pitchfork Music Festival and the newly independent Intonation Festival.

Joining Jim and Greg for the news this week is former Supreme Mary Wilson. Ms. Wilson made headlines recently when she began a national campaign to support legislation that would prevent imposters (but thankfully not cover bands) from posing as major artists. To prove the point that there is only one true Mary Wilson, the singer did an a cappella rendition of The Supremes' "Stop! In the Name of Love" for the Illinois House of Representatives.

Go to episode 12

Music News

First up is the news that one of music's most successful major label artists is going indie. Jay-Z gave notice to Def Jam, the label for which he formerly served as president. He plans on being a“a completely independent artist.”But, given his 360 deal with Live Nation, Jim and Greg aren't sure this statement carries much weight.

In other hip hop news, rapper T.I. has headed off to jail this week. He‘ll be serving a one year and one day sentence on a weapon charge. While this is not the first time an esteemed musician has served prison time, it is unique that both T.I.’s albums and singles are thriving on the Billboard charts. So while the "King of the South" takes a time out, his career moves on full steam ahead.

After years of singing about darkness and pain, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails is showing his softer side. He has helped a 27-year-old fan raise more than $800,000 for a life-saving heart transplant. By asking fans to pay $350 for pre-show access and $1000 for dinner with the band, he has been successfully helping Eric de la Cruz to reach his goal. In one day alone, Reznor took in $250,000, proving he really is the master of web marketing and distribution.

Music fans were sad to learn of the death of Jay Bennett this week. The multi-instrumentalist and former Wilco member died at the age of 45. While the cause of death is not known, what is known is Bennett's great talent. Many people take their image of him from the Wilco film I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, but Jim and Greg both believe Bennett will be sorely missed and stress the positive effect he had on the band's music. In honor of Jay Bennett, they play "Pieholden Suite," from Wilco's 1999 album Summerteeth.

Go to episode 183

Music News

First in the news, Jim and Greg discuss a story emerging out of the next decade. They talk to Wired writer Eliot Van Buskirk about his recent piece on the "Copyright Time Bomb." As Eliot explains to Jim and Greg, the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 poses a new threat to the major label system. Songs copyrighted after 1978 can be terminated by the author in 2013 (1979 in 2014, etc.) That means that if a musician sold his or her work to a label after 1978, they can choose to take it back and manage it independently in the next decade. Many labels rely on back cataloge revenue, so this will be a big hit to them. In addition, it may be another reason an artist chooses to go it independently and without a label.

Jim and Greg couldn't welcome 2010 without looking at the decade past. The 2000s brought us N'Sync and the boy band explosion, but they also ushered in great change in terms of business and technology. As Jim and Greg discuss, advances in digital music were at the heart of all the decade's major news-from lawsuits (Metallica vs. Napster, RIAA vs. consumers) to innovation in sound, marketing and distribution (Wilco, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails). And while the Aughts were a time of industry revolution, there wasn't necessarily a revolutionary sound. Jim thinks people may have been too shocked by technology to create something comparable to a punk, disco or grunge movement. But he and Greg are hopeful that something great is just waiting to come out of a basement near you.

Go to episode 214

Music News

First up in the news, Verizon is expected to send letters to its customers on behalf of the RIAA to those accused of illegally downloading content from the web. This marks a shift in attitude for Verizon. Previously they were one of the more reluctant companies to intervene in copyright cases. Jim and Greg point out that no one knows what the letters will say, or rather what kinds of action they will threaten, but they do have concern about ISP's making partnerships with big Hollywood.

One of the more interesting music pieces to hit the newsstand this week came from the U.K.'s Sunday Times. Their profile of Mariah Carey portrays her not just as a pop diva, but as a forward-thinking business person along the lines of Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails. 10 years ago, Mariah was a punchline in the music (and film) business. Now, she not only has a successful album, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, but unique marketing and money-making methods, including an Elle-sponsored mini-mag. As the Times article explains, this partnership wasn't beneficial for Elle, but did funded Mariah's album. In addition, it gave the singer a number of different business opportunities. Who knew she was such a mad genius?

Go to episode 208

Music News

First up in the news, Jim and Greg discuss the murder trial of famed producer Phil Spector. Spector was found guilty of shooting actress Lana Clarkson six years ago. This was the second trial for the man behind the sounds of The Beatles, The Righteous Brothers and The Ronettes. While the first jury was deadlocked, this one handed Spector a conviction that will lead to a minimum of 18 years in prison.

Jim and Greg have been following the debates in France concerning internet piracy with some interest. The French parliament recently defeated a highly anticipated bill that would have given users caught illegally downloading files two strikes before disconnecting them from the internet entirely. A re-vote is scheduled for later this month. Back in the states, President Obama tapped Recording Industry Association of America attorney Ian Gershengorn to join the Department of Justice's Civil Division. This is the fifth RIAA attorney to join the DOJ–not a promising precedent for file-sharing proponents.

While most of us are spending more modestly in today's economy, some Prince fans will be shelling out $2,100 for his limited edition Opus iPod. For that price, 950 devoted fans will get purple touch iPods loaded with live tracks and a 40 minute movie. Sounds absurd, but Jim and Greg agree that there is a market for high end, specialty items like this one. Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead had luck with their box sets last year, and Pearl Jam recently released a deluxe reissue of Ten.

Go to episode 177