We here at Nine Circles have been inspired by a number of writers. In the near future, we will start doing writer profiles for some of them, for it was those writers that inspired us to join, and water down, their craft. With that in mind, we asked a preliminary question to a bunch of writers we intend to profile. Today we bring you everybody’s favorite bearded Ohioan, Shayne Mathis!
“You’re a metal writer. And if you’re receiving this question in your inbox, then you are a good metal writer. As such, people probably assume that you spend your whole day (and night because metalheads never sleep) blasting your ear drums with the sweet sounds of blast beats. But we know that’s not true. So what are you listening to that isn’t metal these days?”
Shayne Mathis (@MetalShayne2000) is a man who needs very little introduction. He hosts the brilliantly funny Full Metal Hipster in addition to his seemingly endless writing duties. He’s a versatile, patriotic and wonderful human being that should be listened to, with full attention, when speaking. I mean, he’s the first of our interviewees to mention the Holiest of Holies, Murder City Devils. So pay attention!
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that metalheads listen to more than just heavy metal twenty-four hours a day. This is especially true for the musicians who forge the metal and we folks who write about it. If you’re passionate enough about music that you’re willing to dedicate a substantial amount of time to creating it or studying it, chances are you’re going to take in as much of it as you can in as many different forms as possible. Sure, there are some true metal warrior types who’ve sworn off anything un-heavy, but they also swear by Budweiser, eat pepperoni pizza every day, and like their sex missionary with the lights off. They’re boring is what I’m trying to say. Seeing as how I’m not boring, I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, and below you’ll find a cross-section of the stuff I blast into my brain when I’m not listening to a promo from yet another half-assed, blackened technical symphonic thrashcore band.
The Afghan Whigs – Gentleman: During the 90’s, Afghan Whigs mastermind Greg Dulli was the sleazeball poet laureate of the alt-rock boom. His songs frequently revolved around lotharios with no compunction about screwing people over to get what they want. Dulli inhabited these characters fully in his songs, and somehow made them likeable despite the fact that they were awful people. Gentleman was the Whigs’ major label debut after leaving Sub Pop and masterfully skirted the line between the band’s earlier skeevy grunge rock and Dulli’s R&B influences that would become more prominent on later albums.
Guided By Voices – Bee Thousand/Alien Lanes: GBV are the beer swilling, high-kicking grandfathers of lo-fi indie rock. Main man Robert Pollard’s lyrics are nigh impenetrable, but that doesn’t keep these two albums from being some of the best examples of indie rock that actually RAWKS.
Girls Against Boys – Cruise Yourself: I’m not sure what you’d call GVSB. Post-hardcore lounge noise, maybe? Who cares? Girls Against Boys is one of my very favorite bands and their music has been a constant presence in my life since the 90s. Their music is unclassifiable, but Cruise Yourself sounds to me like a suitable soundtrack to Swingers if it was directed by David Lynch and starred David Yow as Trent instead of Vince Vaughn. Make of that what you will.
The Murder City Devils – In Name and Blood: If a young dust bowl tent preacher fell on hard times, took to the bottle, and started a band, The Murder City Devils may well be the result. Hailing from Seattle, The Devils were the best thing the Emerald City produced since Nirvana. Layers of post-hardcore guitars mingled with a farfisa organ and spencer Moody’s tortured caterwauling to produce something like American Gothic punk. In Name and Blood is their best album, and it serves as a fitting accompaniment to dark and stormy nights. (Editorial Note: I, Manny-O-War, fully, and I mean FULLY, support this recommendation.)
Ramones – Ramones Mania: The Ramones were one of the best rock bands in the history of music. Full stop. This collection of their greatest hits is an essential primer for newly minted Pinheads as well as a solid go-to for old salts. I don’t know what else to say. If you don’t like the Ramones then there’s something wrong with you. (Editorial note: We at Nine Circles heartily back this stance)
The Misfits – Static Age: I don’t feel like I need to explain this. If you don’t know The Misfits what are you even doing with your life?
Joy Division – Permanent: I discovered Joy Division when James O’Barr mentioned them in the forward to The Crow graphic novel. I prefer to listen to their two studio albums individually, but this best of compilation is great in a pinch and includes “Love Will Tear Us Apart” which I love so dearly that I had it tattooed on my body. It’s the most devastatingly ironic song I’ve ever heard.
The National – Boxer/High Violet/Trouble Will Find Me: I love Matt Berninger’s mumbly baritone and impressionistic lyrics. I love the Dressner brothers’ music and the way the tempo interplays with Berninger’s singing. This trio of albums makes me feel all sorts of ways.
Neil Diamond – The Essential Neil Diamond: YOU SHUT YOUR STUPID MOUTH!
Thanks to Shayne Mathis for his time and we apologize to his Girlfriend!
– Manny-O-War & Corey