I’d like to talk about Deftones for a moment here while I’m inspired and the moment strikes me, and how independent artists can learn from them. I’ve been a fan of the band since “Around the Fur” when I heard the innovative onslaught that was “My Own Summer”, with it’s ever-so-strange and challenging out of key verse vocals and gutwrenching wails on the chorus. There’s always been a depth and honesty to the band’s sound, and this can’t be said for other “nu-metal” or “alternative metal” genre rulers such as Korn (I don’t know if I’m supposed to capitalize the R and really don’t care), Limp Bizkit, Godsmack, POD, Papa Roach….I don’t know if I can go on.

Deftones were always fresh and driving. Like the Cure mixed with Faith no More with some punk, hardcore and shoe gaze for good measure.  That’s a silly description, but the fact is, they’ve risen above the crowd because of honesty. After “White Pony” and it’s major success, the band faltered slightly with their self-titled effort and didn’t really come out with a bang again until the excellent “Diamond Eyes”, which surprised the heavy music and rock worlds with it’s razor tight precision and pummelling bass.

Now, almost out of nowhere, comes “Koi No Yokan”, and it is without a doubt my 2012 album of the year. The passion and deep emotion put into this heavy, beautiful, dark and hopeful release is tangible. You can taste it and commune with it. Every song is great. Chino’s vocals sound better than ever, and the grooves are as thick as blackstrap molasses. It’s extremely rare for a band who have been around for 25 years to release the best album of their career, but I have to say, this beats “White Pony”, “Adrenaline” and “Around the Fur”. This is urgent art.

Artists should take note of this release, not to copy it by any means, but take note. True inspiration wins in the end. Speak YOUR truth. Stop asking for advice, for others to tell you what to do, what kind of songs to write, what to sound like, where to turn. Get your own sound. So many artists are just towing the line, desperately trying to get in CMJ, Pitchfork, Spinner and NME with their particular indie pop antics, hoping the public will find them cute, and the idea of ignoring the rules/making provocative art is all but forgotten. Your music only has value if it’s coming through you, not from you.

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