Unplugging: Country "doom rock" and Nine Inch Nails

Posted by Nick Vadala, MXDWN

Mark Zuckerberg is under 30 years old and reportedly worth somewhere around $18 billion. You jelly?

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Speaking of going above and beyond, MXDWN favorite Hank Williams III, grandson of the legendary country musician Hank Williams, recently announced that he will release four all new full-length albums in early september via his own label, Hank3 Records.

With his debt to Curb Records, the major country label with which Williams famously fought throughout much of his professional career, paid, Williams will release Ghost to a Ghost/Guttertown (a double album), Attention Deficit Domination and 3 Bar Ranch Cattle Callin’ on September 6. The albums will reportedly feature a mixture of William’s trademark outlaw country sound with doom rock, Cajun influences and other more unexpected elements.

Perhaps the most unexpected is the use of recordings of actual cattle auctioneering over heavy metal tunes on 3 Bar Ranch Cattle Callin’. That "cattlecore" (sorry) based album will be augmented by the heavy outlaw country stylings of Ghost to a Ghost/Guttertown and the Assjack-style doom metal of Attention Deficit Domination, the latter of which features Williams playing all recorded instruments on the album.

Guests include a host of accomplished country musicians—like Zach Shedd, Daniel Mason and Johnny Hiland—but perhaps the most interesting is the legendary Tom Waits, who contributed to the track "Fadin’ Moon."

In other collaboration news, we have Fight Club screenwriter Jim Uhls working with Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor for the upcoming HBO miniseries, Year Zero.

The epic science fiction miniseries is based off of Nine Inch Nails 2007 album of the same name, which was recorded on the 2006 "With Teeth" tour primarily by Reznor via a laptop and little else. Year Zero, a 16-track LP, takes place in 2022 and predicts a dystopian society that resulted from years of Bush-era politics, a theme that will be carried over to the miniseries.

Year Zero was an enormously popular effort from NIN, with an associated video game known as I AM TRYING TO BELIEVE losproduced by the award winning 42 Entertainment and a real life Los Angeles raid based on the album resulting from the work. The miniseries element of Year Zero was announced last year.

With Uhls now attached to the project, Year Zero could follow suite with the writer’s much loved Fight Club screenplay and Reznor’s score for The Social Network, which garnered the artist an academy award. There is, however, no currently confirmed release date for the miniseries.

In other musician-related movie news, Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock will be composing the score for the upcoming feature film, Queens of Country. Written and directed Ryan Page and Christopher Pomerenke, the men behind acclaimed documentaries like The Heart is a Drum Machine, Moog and Blood Into Wine, Queens of Country will tell the story of a woman who believes an iPod that she finds belongs to her soul mate.

Read that sentence again, it’s really what the movie is about.

Starring Ron Livingston (Office Space, Band of Brothers) and Lizzy Caplan (Mean Girls, Party Down) with support from Jo Truglio (Pineapple Express, Superbad) and Tool’s Maynard James Keenan, Queens of Country is scheduled for a 2012 release.

Interestingly, this film does not mark Page and Pomerenke’s first time going to established musicians for scores to their films, with artists like Keenan and The Flaming Lips’ Steven Drozd contributing to past efforts.

Brock’s involvement with the film should come as no surprise, as he has proved himself to be a very busy man over the last year—what with restarting his side project Ugly Casanova and contributing tracks to the documentary 180 South in 2010. With all these side projects, it’s starting to get difficult to believe that Brock’s most well known outfit, Modest Mouse, will release new material any time in the near future.

Switching gears a bit to more morose news, the summer festival season always brings at least a few deaths, the most recent of which is that of Christopher Shale, a now-former Senior Tory Party member, at least week’s Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts.

Found deceased in a portable toilet at a VIP backstage area, Shale passed away at the age of 56 due to currently unascertained causes. However, despite the inconclusive cause of the former politician’s death, members of the Shale family have gone on record speculating that Shale passed as a result of a heart attack. The coroner’s office is still awaiting further toxicology reports, which can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks to arrive.

East Somerset, UK coroner Tony Williams told The Telegraph in a recent interview that current reports do not indicate drug use or the presence of other unusual chemicals.

News of Shale’s death, which occurred around 8:45 am on Sunday morning, shocked members of the West Oxfordshire Conservative Association, the committee that Shale chaired. Current investigations into the politician’s death have been halted pending the delivery of the aforementioned toxicology reports.

The news of Shale’s death follows the recent news of deaths at the stateside Bonnaroo Festival late last month.

In other festival news, various social service agencies recently announced that they will protest hip hop collective Odd Future’s upcoming performance at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago’s Union Park on July 16.

Odd Future Wolfgang Kill Them All, to use the collective’s proper name, has had a slew of controversies erupt around them since making their way to the public eye, including bouts with established artists like Outkast’s B.o.B. and Chris Brown. Most recently, frontman Tyler, The Creator had a row with Tegan and Sara’s Sara Quin that revolved around the group’s offensive (aka misogynistic and homophobic) lyrics and record content.

The upcoming protest revolves around that same theme, with groups representing awareness about violence against gay people, sexual assault and domestic violence set to protest the group’s performance.

In addition to the protest, Between Friends, a group dedicated to domestic violence awareness, will distribute literature that contains a "powerful message about violence against women" and prevention resources in response to Odd Future’s performance.

All this comes after festival organizers reportedly rejected a booth request from the group Rape Victims Advocates, saying that non-profit space had already been assigned.

That’s all this week folks. If you’re still dealing with feelings of inadequacy, just remember, at least you didn’t die in a porta potty.

Unplugging in Brief:

Hank Williams III to Release Four New Albums on 9/6- Grandson of the legendary country artist Hank Williams will release four albums in September that will feature outlaw country and metal stylings.

Modest Mouse Member Isaac Brock to Compose Score for Queens of Country- Brock is back on the film train, coming off of contributing tracks to last year’s 180 South.

"Fight Club" Screenwriter Jim Uhls to Write Trent Reznor’s "Year Zero" HBO Miniseries- Established screenwriter Jim Uhls has been confirmed to have signed on with Trent Reznor’s upcoming HBO miniseries, Year Zero.

Senior British Politician Dies at Glastonbury Festival- Senior Tory Party member Christopher Shale passed away last week in a porta potty at the annual Glastonbury Festival.

Social Services Agencies to Protest Odd Future’s Pitchfork Music Festival Performance- A slew of groups will protest Odd Future’s upcoming Pitchfork Music Festival performance later this month.

Nick Vadala, MXDWN