Screenshot from Chicago Fret Works: A Look Inside by Steve Baker
Screenshot from Chicago Fret Works: A Look Inside by Steve Baker

Luca Cimarusti, Reader music listings coordinator

The ever-so-slight possibility of a Pantera reunion In an interview with Matt Pinfield a couple weeks ago, former Pantera front man Phil Anselmo said that he’s hoping to reconcile with drummer Vinnie Paul and get the band back together for a reunion, with Black Label Society goofball Zakk Wylde filling in for the deceased Dimebag Darrell. While this sounds like the worst idea ever, it would probably be kind of awesome too.

The TouchTunes iPhone app “I didn’t put this song on!” you’ll tell your bros, when you’re halfway through a $10 rock block of Black Crowes and Kings of Leon on the jukebox and suddenly Miley Cyrus and Juicy J’s “23” pops up. You’re right, dude, you didn’t—that was actually me, sitting here inconspicuously at the end of the bar, cutting in line virtually with my fancy-­pants TouchTunes app.

Chicago Fret Works I’ve come to realize that I’m better at breaking music gear than playing it, so vintage amp repair is something that I’ve gotten pretty accustomed to needing. The vibe of this North Center repair shop is so laid-back and professional, you won’t feel totally bummed about dropping another $150 to repair some more fried electronics.

Luca is curious what’s in the rotation of . . .

Mr. Muthafuckin’ Exquire, Kismet

Dave Hofer,
buyer at Reckless Records

Plebeian Grandstand, Lowgazers My friend Mike turned me on to this amazing French band just in time for their second full-length, the recent Lowgazers. Plebeian Grandstand play chaotic, noisy hardcore mixed with a ton of blastbeats, a little like Ulcerate but way more unhinged and demented. It’s nice to hear a band making atmospheric metal that doesn’t get overly melodic or use clean singing. The more screaming the better, I say!

Jason Netherton, Extremity Retained: Notes From the Death Metal Underground Written by Jason Netherton, currently of Misery Index and formerly of Dying Fetus, this book isn’t so much a history of death metal (Albert Mudrian locked that down with Choosing Death) as it is a collection of anecdotes on related subjects, including the tape-trading culture, studio and performance techniques, and touring. This beast is almost 500 pages long, culled from more than 100 interviews, and features a cover by Chicago’s most sickening artist, Matt “Putrid” Carr! A love letter to death metal.

Mr. Muthafuckin’ Exquire, Kismet This is Exquire‘s second full-length, and I’ve been playing it almost weekly since its June 2013 release. Exquire is almost unclassifiable as an MC, though he describes himself as more of a Marvin Gaye or Donny Hathaway than your typical rapper—”reporting the world as I see it,” as he says on “Vanilla Rainbows.” Kismet‘s production mixes straightforward beats and psychedelic soul, capped by rhymes that sound like a blend of written material and freestyles. Exquire balances his serious side with a degree of playfulness, which is a breath of fresh air.

Dave is curious what’s in the rotation of . . .

GoblinCredit: Courtesy Windish Agency

Eric Hersemann, guitarist of Gigan

Goblin This Italian band has a special place in my heart—I discovered them young, and they had a big impact on my imagination. I love Goblin‘s famous soundtrack stuff, and their independent material is incredibly vivid and layered with passion. Whenever I’m crushed by mundane reality, Goblin can transport me to a beautifully ugly, wildly colorful place that reminds me why I exist! These guys love their craft, and when I saw them live, I realized they were even more special than I thought—I don’t think they ever stopped smiling during their set.

Bad Religion, No Control This 1989 album was an anthem for me growing up, and listening to it now is like getting under a warm blanket on a cold, lonely day. Greg Graffin’s vocals and lyrics speak directly to me to this day. The riffs are nonstop (as are the skank beats), and if “Automatic Man” doesn’t move you, you’re dead inside. Definitely a go-to for me! Bad Religion prove you don’t have to be a meathead to create music that conveys angst—you can be eloquent.

Exhorder, Slaughter in the Vatican OK, here’s a mean one. Slaughter in the Vatican is so angry it borders on silly. Exhorder were ahead of their time (to borrow a lyric of theirs) with this 1990 album, incorporating shredding guitars, over-the-top drumming, and furious lyrics. It’s just riff after riff after riff. If Exhorder were a radio station, their slogan would be “All anger, all the time!” The music is detailed and techy at times, but the band always “keeps it real” with pit riffs and hyperspeed chromatic solos. This is the record that goes on when I’m super pissed or need to drive a really long way!