In What Have You Done For Us Lately? we examine the recent output by legendary artists. Yeah, we’re happy when they return with a new album… but really, just how happy are we? We’ll gauge their recent output (in this case, the highlights of Trent Reznor’s career since temporarily retiring Nine Inch Nails in 2009), take a hard look and see how it has held up… and maybe help you to find a few gems that you overlooked.
This week Trent Reznor releases Hesitation Marks, the first new Nine Inch Nails album since 2008’s The Slip — and since Reznor announced that it was “time to make NIN disappear for a while” in order to focus on other projects. Reznor’s indeed kept busy with some high-profile projects, as well as some more under the radar. In fact, he released a few NIN tracks you may have missed while you were distracted by his Oscar.
Nine Inch Nails/Jane’s Addiction – NIN|JA Sampler – (2009)
Featuring two new songs, this EP gave Trent a little new material to play on Nine Inch Nails’ 2009 Wave Goodbye Tour. “Not So Pretty Now” and “Non-Entity” showed that he still had a good amount of venom in him. Trent also sat in the producer’s chair for the Jane’s Addiction tracks: studio versions of songs that originally appeared on their 1987 self titled debut, which had been recorded live, “Chip Away” and “Whores.” This marked Jane’s only reunion with original bassist Eric Avery (who was recently announced as NIN’s touring bassist before swiftly exiting the band before the first show). It’s too bad that all parties involved couldn’t keep it together: Trent producing the original Jane’s was a potent mixture of talent, as evidenced here.
“Tetsuo The Bullet Man Theme” – 2009
A lesser-known gem from the NIN catalog, this very industrial-flavored instrumental is as abrasive as anything in their canon. Recorded for the 2009 film Tetsuo: The Bullet Man, the third film in Shinya Tsukamoto’s cyberpunk film series.
How To Destroy Angels – How To Destroy Angels EP – 2010
Trent’s creative rebirth came with his new band, How To Destroy Angels, featuring his wife Mariqueen Maandiq on vocals (of the band West Indian Girl), future soundtrack collaborator Atticus Ross, and Rob Sheridan, who worked with Reznor on Nine Inch Nails visuals (their web site, videos and album artwork). Reznor seemed liberated by not having to write for his own voice with his new band. On the other hand, many of lyrics sounded so Trent, it was hard not to imagine him singing them.