MTV Makes Brief Return To Music, Television

May 21st, 2007 // 27 Comments

mastadonnnn.jpgThere was a time–say, around fifty or twenty years ago–when MTV felt less like a a status-symbol depot and more like a weird, far-off place where pop stars and fringe-dwelling performers would show up at three in the morning, take your calls and then give away their house. Friday night’s live 24-hour Human Giant marathon was the closest the network has come to recapturing that spirit in a long time, as seemingly random (but, in fact, pretty well-honed) comedy bits collided with performances from the likes of Ted Leo and Mastodon (above). Of course, there was also a handful of songs from Morningwood, but then Bob Odenkirk showed up, so it all evened out.

UPDATE: Culture Bully has MP3s here.

24 Hours Of Human Giant Live Performances []

  1. thenewblack

    Ah, Idolator.

    The music blog for people who don’t read music blogs.

  2. Ned Raggett

    @thenewblack: Truer than you might think.

  3. Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee

    @thenewblack: Fair enough. This is the only music blog I read.

    Why? Because most of them are unbelievably annoying. I don’t want to read about how “AMAZING” Man Man’s show in Brooklyn was. Truth be told, I can’t stand at least 75% of the artists championed by most music blogs that I’ve read at one time or another.

    At least Idolator keeps things amusing.

    Maybe I’m not looking hard enough, though. Who knows?

  4. Paul D

    @Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee:

    Explain yourself.
    I listen to a LOT of metal, and I LOVE Mastodon.

  5. Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee

    @Paul D: It’s just been the case with myself my friends who have been long-time metal fans. None of us get the appeal of Mastodon. I don’t think it’s awful, but it’s never really blown my skirt up, either.

    I’m kinda sick of the “OMG! MOBY DICK!” stuff, too. Lots of metal bands have been referencing heavy duty literature for a while. Granted, Lovecraft and Poe might not be in the same league as Melville, but c’mon…

    Most Mastodon fans I’ve come across are pretty much your average run-of-the-mill indie rock snobs looking to “rock out.” For example…

    Mastodon : Arcade Fire fan :: Nickleback : Kenny Chesney fan

    Hopefully I’m not the only one who sees things this way.

  6. Lucas Jensen

    Yeah. Most of my metalhead friends listen to Mastodon because they are really really really good. Sometimes the cream does rise to the top.

  7. KurticusMaximus

    To be honest, I don’t really listen to Mastodon.

    Meshuggah definitely wins the metal-bands-with-names-that-begin-with-M-and-
    aren’t-pre-1991-Metallica contest, hands down.

    But metal songs about giant whales are still pretty cool, no matter how many other bands have already written about Cthulu. Anything that keeps all the whiny metalcore bands at bay.

  8. Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee

    @KurticusMaximus: “Anything that keeps all the whiny metalcore bands at bay.”

    Agreed. Oh so agreed.

    Meshuggah is alright, but where’s the love for Motörhead? Moss? Morbid Angel? Marduk?

  9. noamjamski

    Heh, I am about as Metal as it gets and I felt like an outsider at the Mastodon show at Roseland last week.

    They were awesome and I love that band, but it definitely was NOT a Metal audience, nor a Metal vibe.

    The litmus test? They played Aces High between sets and no one screamed, sang along, or did soccer chants.

  10. alex!

    Straight talk: the only reason people are referring to Mastodon as metal for non-metalheads is because after they signed to Warner, they started getting a lot of coverage in Pitchfork and similar blogs.

    I doubt people would have been saying the same thing when Remission and, to a lesser extent, Leviathan were released.

    And, also, it was good to see them playing a song that wasn’t “Colony of Birchmen”

  11. KurticusMaximus

    @Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee:Hmmmmmm… I’ll have to withdraw my previous comment. I had momentarilly forgotten about Motörhead. And Megadeth. What’s the matter with me today?

    Who would win in a wrestling match- Lemmy or God?

  12. Bazooka Tooth

    Trick question: Lemmy is God.

    I will say this about Mastodon: after reading how great Leviathan was in magazines and Pitchfork (places normally not covering metal) I checked the CD out and loved it. And I am by no means a metal fan (pretty much only listen to Ministry, NIN up to Downward Spiral, and Metallica before the black album), but I like Mastodon because it’s the only metal I’v seen reviewed. I don’t seek out metal, so I only hear what is reccomended to me by non-metal, indie-ish sites. I think that might be true of most of their non-metal fans. I am sure I would dig the bands being mentioned here, but I just am not exposed to them very often and don’t see them reviewed/discussed very often.

  13. lucasg

    seriously, i hated the new mastodon album. and i am all about metal. it’s metal for the indie rock set, and i don’t know (or care) what label they are on or were on- further proving my point. also, lemmy would win. hands down.

  14. alex!

    @lucasg: I didn’t hate Blood Mountain, but Celtic Frost, in my opinion, definitely trumped Mastodon last year as far as top metal albums of 2006 went.

  15. cerulgalactus

    I haven’t even heard of them. Does that mean I have to turn in my music snob credentials?

    For what it’s worth, I was more excited about the Ted Leo performance.

  16. Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee

    @Aquemini: That’s a big issue, for sure. There really isn’t much coverage for metal out there other than some pretty stupid sites. I’m not going to sift through forty stories on Blabbermouth to find the ONE that I might actually care about.

    Pitchfork has started covering some metal, but I’m sure I’m not alone in finding their coverage somewhat disingenuous. The idea of some Pitchfork writer taking notes during a Watain show confuses me on so many levels. It seems like they only decided to start writing about black metal after Sunn0))) released “Black One.” I suppose that was the album that truly “legitimized” the genre in their eyes.

    I’m sure they would claim that they’ve been into “the scene” since the “Deathcrush” EP was released, though. Weak.

  17. KurticusMaximus

    @Aquemini: Whew. I was a little afraid that my Airheads reference would fall flat.

  18. noamjamski

    This has been a wonderfully interesting conversation. I think there is definitely an indie-Metal sub-genre at this point separate from the 10,000 mainstream Metal sub-genres.

    When non-Metal friends of mine start getting turned onto stuff and want to “talk Metal” it is generally a pretty specific vibe, ie: Neurosis, Isis, Earth, Sunn, Boris, Mastodon, High on Fire, Sleep, etc.

    I dig everything, but I’m also the guy who went to see Jarvis Cocker and Dimmu Borgir in the same week so I don’t exactly count.

    Most of my friends and bandmates who are into METAL aren’t even aware of most of those bands. They generally don’t hit the radar in the same way bands like Children of Bodom, Gojira, Symphony X, or Arch Enemy have been bubbling to the surface of mainstream Metal.

    Further splintering in Metal is nothing new. Christ it makes indie look positively unified! The thing that I find pretty interesting is the lack of cross-over between the “indie-Metal” and more “True Metal” genres.

  19. Vince Neilstein

    Here’s the thing about Mastodon: i do think they appeal to mealheads as well as some indie rock snobs. The reason is this: Mastodon has a “cerebral” element to their music that indie rock fans enjoy. There is something smart about their music (conceptually and musically) that indie rock fans, most of whom come from the northeastern liberal arts college tradition, can identify with. Indie rock fans do not want to appear “boneheaded” by listening to metal — and Mastodon offers a version of metal that is not just about headbanging and chugging riffs.

  20. janine

    I have nothing to add. I only have one Mastodon album and I like it. I think that we can all agree that we’re not total pussies and that’s all that matters.

  21. Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee

    @noamjamski: “The thing that I find pretty interesting is the lack of cross-over between the “indie-Metal” and more “True Metal” genres.”

    Bingo. It’s exactly what you referenced when you mentioned “Aces High” being played between sets at that Mastodon show and nobody really giving a damn. It’s the same problem I have with most of these “indie-friendly metal” fans – they’ll talk Isis until they’re blue in the face, but they don’t know the first thing about “British Steel.” In fact, many of them will damn-near laugh in your face if you even bring up Priest, Maiden, etc.

    It’s bizarre how arbitrary the distinction between “cool” metal and “cheesy” metal is to these people.

    “Mercyful Fate? Do they tune down to B and sing about whales? No? Well fuck ‘em, then!”

  22. janine

    Well, it doesn’t help that this:… is appropriate live music behavior to them.

  23. Vince Neilstein

    It’s also worth noting how many comments this post has gathered. Clearly there IS something about Mastodon that appeals to the indie-rock set, as a lot of this blog’s focus is on indie rock. Furthermore, some of the comments above talk about Idolator being a blog for people who don’t read music blogs — also very true — it’s the only music blog I read regularly (and I RUN a music blog!). I don’t think it’s coincidence that a lot of metal heads read Idolator, because they definitely do give some creedence to metal in a non-ironic light.

  24. Ned Raggett

    @Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee: In fact, many of them will damn-near laugh in your face if you even bring up Priest, Maiden, etc.

    That’s a mean thing to say about Chuck Eddy.

  25. noamjamski

    @Vince Neilstein: “Mastodon has a “cerebral” element to their music that indie rock fans enjoy.”

    ‘Tis true. There is definitely a certain elitism amongst the indie set that a “smarter Metal” has been created. Although it is amusing that Priest is considered DUMB and STUPID, although none of those kids can play it. The metronome-phobic wouldn’t know what to do if Glenn Tipton walked into their lives and demanded they learn the Painkiller solo.

    Maiden is often an exception. I think the “big four” Metal bands that non-Metal fans will readily admit to liking are Sabbath, Metallica, Maiden and Slayer. If you can’t summon a great feeling of either like or dislike for “Angel of Death,” you don’t have a pulse.

  26. the rich girls are weeping

    Um, hey. I’m just stopping in to say that it was really bloody weird to see The National in the TRL studio, or wherever they were. Really, really weird.

  27. Hertz32

    I dont care what anybody says Maiden is still the shit and they kill live.

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