Q&A: HEALTH's John Famiglietti On Scoring Max Payne 3

An enfeebling hollowness characterizes HEALTH's dark electronic pop. On 2007's HEALTH and 2009's Get Color, the Los Angeles-based quartet seemed to specialize in what might be described as "Grim Reaper ambient": vocals and tinny synthesizers bled through filters until impossibly brittle, riding a four-horsemen-of-the-apocalypse forward-momentum to its doom, drenched in absinthe. Remember the look on Elijah Wood's face in Return of The King, right after he's been impaled and cocooned by that humongous spider? HEALTH embody that expression; there's something hopelessly beyond the pale about the sounds singer/guitarist Jake Duzsik, guitarist/keyboard player Jupiter Keyes, bassist/Zoothorn player John Famiglietti, and drummer B.J. Miller make together.

News that HEALTH were scoring the third Max Payne video game didn't come as a complete shock: there's always been a pointedly cinematic cast to their sickly, undulating pulsations. What's surprising is how easily the group adapted to the soundtracking genre requires, pouring its distinctive echoes and flutters into hair-raising interlude pools largely free of vocals yet as richly evocative as the verse-chorus-verse anti-arias on its studio records. Ironically, in the act of adding dimension to an ultra-violent videogame, HEALTH evolves: "Tears" is a tableau of stuttering cyborg desolation, the sinister "Dead" seethes static and slow-motion explosions, and "Torture" bends plangent guitar figures into a meditation on loneliness, while "Max: Panama" evokes It's All Around You-era Tortoise.

SOTC emailed with Famiglietti about making the Max Payne 3 soundtrack and how HEALTH hooked up with Rockstar Games in the first place.

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Live: No Age And HEALTH Give Into The Mayhem At House Of Vans

No Age w/HEALTH, Cults, Ceremony
House Of Vans
Thursday, June 30

Better than: Anything you went to see last night. (Sorry Real Estate.)

The skater brand Vans has once again set up shop in Greenpoint for a month of rowdy rock shows at a warehouse, and the venue is pretty fantastic, even if concertgoers were asked to leave their skateboards at home. The gigantic space is predictably decked in Vans gear—glowing projections on the wall, a huge trailer covered in Vans graffiti outside—with parts of dismantled skate ramps lurking in the shadows. A huge garage door opens up to an outside yard where one can find sustenance courtesy of a taco truck, Italian ice carts, and (of course) a long open bar.

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The Top 10 NSFW Music Videos of 2010


One major downside to 2010: There's a pretty good chance you lost your job. The good news, though, is that the concept of NSFW no longer applies, and so today, while your former co-workers are stuck in their cubicles, bored to death and forced to pass around OK Go's latest YouTube meme, you are free to watch the videos below without fear of censure. OK, it's not much, but we're trying. So whether you're at home or your boss is just out of town, here are the 10 best NSFW music videos of 2010.

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Liars, Health, MNDR Added to Todd P's MtyMx Festival

Liars will get the unenviable job of being the last band standing at Todd P's still-swelling all-ages MtyMx (pronounced "M T Y M X") festival in the hills of Monterrey, Mexico. They headline the Monday line-up, and are scheduled to take the stage at midnight, at which point nearly every other of the 75 plus bands confirmed for MtyMx will have already played, and the drugs will surely have run out. Health play that afternoon. Our old friends the Teenage Cool Kids made the bill, too--they'll be going on in the middle of the night on what looks like Monday as well. That day is pretty loaded--No Age, Lucky Dragons, High Places, and Liturgy also play on Monday, meaning no leaving early, despite it being a school day and all. Gorilla Vs. Bear has the set times; Todd P's dedicated MtyMx page has all the info for hotels and tickets. Has anybody figured out where exactly you fly into this thing, if you're not coming from Austin? We need to know.

Photos: Dan Deacon, Health, Black Pus at the Market Hotel

Dan Deacon holding hands with his friends

Dan Deacon, Health, Black Pus
Market Hotel
Tuesday, April 1
photos by Rebecca Smeyne

Pretty sure last night's Health and Black Pus (a/k/a Lightning Bolt's Brian Chippendale) show was the first weekday Market Hotel music since the NYPD went Orlando's on its ass. But with Baltimore touring automaton Dan Deacon added to the bill late last week, DIY don Todd P arranged for tickets to be sold at Cinders Gallery and Goodbye Blue Monday in advance, rather than having the Pratt bus roll up at the last minute and puke 300 kids at the door. Good move: it appears that everything went spectacularly. "Dan Deacon was crazy," reports back our venerable lens-lady. "He played against a wall in a narrow area between two speaker stacks. The crowd was on top of him." This man better have healthcare.

Black Pus

Health was sick

More photos below . . .

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