Nine Inch Nails and Janeâ€™s Addiction are going on tour together for the first time since Lollapalooza was a touring show. Two of the weirdest bands in the country will be taking to the road. To add to the weirdness are Boots Riley of the Coup and Tom Morello, formerly of Rage against the Machine and Audioslave, teaming up to form Street Sweeper. To promote the tour, the bands have each contributed two (sort of) new tracks to the NIN/JA EP, which can be downloaded for free here.
Janeâ€™s Addiction have opted to add songs from their self-titled 1987 debut. â€œChip Away,â€ with its rolling drum line, feels like a mounting current before the dam simply cuts loose on a sleepy rural countryside, leveling everything in its path. This is probably what it feels like to tour with Guns â€˜Nâ€™ Roses. â€œWhoresâ€ brings that classic Janeâ€™s sound, with Marshall fuzz so thick you can cut it with a spoon. Bring on the rock and roll.
Trent Reznor, front-man of Nine Inch Nails (and recent convert to awesome shades), has been more prolific in the past five years than the rest of his twenty year career. Is there something in the water? With a grim determination that his reported sobriety has made him sharper rather than dulled, Reznor throws in â€œNot So Pretty Nowâ€ and â€œNon-Entity.â€ The NIN sound has somehow managed to become cleaner while coming closer to a live sound, and though the songs arenâ€™t as sprawling and precious as the Downward Spiral or the Fragile, there is less tendency to veer into the experimental noise/sometimes-unlistenable decay of those earlier recordings. The two songs here could easily be B-Sides for songs from With Teeth.
Tom Morello and Boots Riley are each involved in political movements that border on anti-American, which means that they are probably secretly planning to overthrow the government. Using hip-hop with guitars. Political concerns notwithstanding, Street Sweeper form like Voltron to make one hell of a crunchy robot. On â€œClap for the Killers,â€ Riley indicts the recent recipients of government bailouts (aka â€œrich peopleâ€) since the government is too busy writing checks to issue subpoenas. There is a note of respect in the tone, though; it is pretty gangsta to rob a whole country. â€œThe Oathâ€ wraps up the album with a â€œpledge / to get their feet up off my neck,â€ an anthemic rallying cry to fight the power. Over Morelloâ€™s precise riffing, Riley wants the crowd, and â€œthe Oathâ€ is sure to be a crowd favorite on tour, with the chorus that begs to be chanted: â€œFight, motherfuckers! / All right, motherfuckers!â€
At the budget rate of â€œFree Ninety-Nine,â€ itâ€™s hard to expect that the NIN/JA EP should be groundbreaking, and itâ€™s not. The Nine Inch Nails songs are poignant but nothing new, and Street Sweeper, even with the impressive verbalism of Riley, sounds like Morello was phoning it in from the land of Audioslave. Surprisingly, the Janeâ€™s Addiction songs that were originally recorded over twenty years ago bring the most urgency. The album does what itâ€™s supposed to, though: get fans amped up for the upcoming tour and albums from each of the contributing bands. The SS NIN/JA is sailing to a port near you soon.
All photos courtesy of the artists’ respected homepage websites