Friday, December 20, 2013

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2013, #6


When Stone announced that he would be releasing Moonlander in June, he didn't call it an album.  He called it a project.  Moonlander is a great showcase of all the musical influences that have been kicking around in Stone's brain.  Is it a rock album?  Is it folk rock?  Is it rock folk?  Is it funk-inspired, country-breathed, neuvo-folk, blues rock?  It's a great album that showcases Stone's skills and vocals more impressively than Bayleaf or any Pearl Jam song featuring him on vocals.

Moonlander is more than great music though.  Moonlander was an experiment in art and inspiration, and it's release would serve as a template for Pearl Jam's release of Lightning Bolt.

Each Moonlander track was paired with a piece of artwork created by Stone's daughter, and each day for over two months, the Ten Club treated us to one song and one new piece of artwork.  The songs came via SoundCloud, and although you couldn't download them, they could (and still can) be played ad nauseaum for free.

Then things got super weird.  Each piece of artwork was turned into one plush doll which was awarded to a different fan each week for tweeting messages about the album.  Then on release day, fans could purchase  signed prints of the artwork with their digital download.  Moonlander was, without a doubt, the test case for keeping fans screaming for an album for months both before and after its release.


I'm not sure any of us would have known to ask for 40 minutes of non-stop drumming by Matt Cameron , Zach Hill (Death Grips/Hella) and Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney/Wild Flag), but I'm glad someone knew we wanted it.

In August, Jackpot Records dropped a surprise drum collaboration by the three friends on vinyl called Drumgasm.  The album has one track per side, both 20 minutes long, and both chock full of free form, jazz-rock drumming.  The whole album was recorded with no plan in a rented studio over a weekend, the way rock is supposed to be!  If you can't commit to the vinyl release, go grab the MP3 at Amazon.

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