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music&riots magazine

FREE | ISSUE 15 | NOVEMBER

YO LA TENGO

SHINING

Still Re-Writing Rock History

Boundary-Breaking Whiplash

MAYDAY PARADE

DILLY DALLY

A Brand New & Grittier Sound

Angry Noise & Moody Pop

LAURA STEVENSON

KILLING JOKE

Stormy, Heavy & Emotional

Unleashing A New Ritual

THE WONDER YEARS

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Mature, Deep & Adventurous

CROSSFAITH BOYSETSFIRE WITH THE DEAD STATE CHAMPS THE ECHO & THE ALWAYS NOTHING BUT THIEVES PENTIMENTO BOYTOY

John Grant COMPLEX, UNSHAMED, BRAVE & PAINFULLY FUNNY. A TRUE AND UNIQUE ARTIST

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ROUND UP 08 // SUNN O))) - They’re back with Kannon - an experience to change perceptions. 12 // TEEN - They say yes to love, new album in February, be ready for it... 16 // SILVER SNAKES - New home and new album, 2016 will be the year of the snake. 17 // TORTOISE - We can’t hide our excitement, they’re back with their new album in seven years.

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INTRODUCING 10 // BOYTOY - We caught up with Glenn to know a bit more about their band and their first full-length.

WELCOME BACK 14 // BOYSETSFIRE - We teamed up with Joshua Latshaw for a short conversation.

RISING 18 // CROSSFAITH - Xeno is their statement as a full restart of the band and frontman Kenta “Ken” Koie told us all about it.

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NEU // VOL.15 HOT NEW ARTISTS 23 // FOREVERATLAST 24 // HEY ANNA 25 // BRUISING 26 // MUNCIE GIRLS

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STRANGE MIX 20 // We are just sharing some of the things that we love, merch, brands, gifts or even silly and stupid things...

REVIEWS ALBUMS 90 // Joanna Newsom, Continents, Beach House, Foxing, Dilly Dally, Clutch, Wrekmeister Harmonies, State Champs, Petal, Killing Joke, Mono & The Ocean, Shining, With The Dead, The Black Heart Rebellion, Laura Stevenson, Eagles of Death Metal, The Beverleys, Moloken, Seaway, Girl Band, Protomartyr, Birds In Row, Anna Von Hausswolff, Corrections House, Beach Slang...

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LIVE REPORTS 110 // House Arrest CMJ Party, Amplifest 2015, Steven Wilson, Zola Jesus, Mucho Flow, Acid Mothers Temple, Habitats.

CINEMA 120 // Steve Jobs, The Martian, Crimson Peak, Dope, Everest, Black Mass, Song One. 2

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CONTENTS

INTERVIEWS

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28 // STATE CHAMPS - Tyler Szalkowski spent some time talking to us about the new album, Around The World and Back, and the importance of touring for the band.

32 // NOTHING BUT THIEVES - It was about their debut that we’ve talked with guitarist and lyricist Joe Langridge-Brown.

36 // YO LA TENGO - We’ve spoke with Ira Kaplan about the band’s newest album Stuff Like That There – an album mainly made up of covers and a continuation of Fakebook – and the reunion with guitarist Dave Schramm. 40 // LAURA STEVENSON - We talked with Laura about being a solo artist and how the new album Cocksure is a new step forward. 44 // THE ECHO AND THE ALWAYS

- The group was kind enough to answer to our questions to get to know more about them and about their impressive debut album, …and After that the Dark.

48 // MAYDAY PARADE - We chatted with guitarist Alex Garcia about their fifth album Black Lines - their heaviest record to date - and we also took a look at the band’s past and present. 52 // DILLY DALLY- To know more about

them and about their super intense debut album, Sore, we talked with the awesome Katie Monks.

58 // PENTIMENTO - Drummer/vocalist

Michael Hansen talked to us about the importance of the new record and explained the constant struggle that is to be in a band in the nowadays music industry.

62 // SHINING - We talked with always great saxophonist/guitarist/vocalist Jørgen Munkeby.

74 // THE WONDER YEARS - We

couldn’t miss the opportunity to chat with bassist Josh Martin, who was awesome by letting us know even more about the band and about their amazing record, No Closer To Heaven.

78 // KILLING JOKE - Jaz Coleman was

kind enough to share his thoughts about the state of the world, the vitality of his work, the band’s latest album, and the documentary The Death and Resurrection Show.

82 // WITH THE DEAD - We caught up with Lee and talked about the origin of the band, the inspirations behind their newest self-titled debut, among other topics.

“I wanted to be as nasty as possible because I

feel like there has been a lot of nastiness directed at me in my life…” John Grant

WORDS FROM THE EDITOR “I’ve been of the opinion for some years now that the greatest enemy of those of us who wish to live in a fairer society is not capitalism or Conservatism, but cynicism… the bitter scorn of people who have given up and want you to give up too as it makes them feel better about themselves.” Billy Bragg Our love and thoughts go out to all those affected by the recent terrorism, violence and human rights violation in Paris, Angola, Beirut, Nigeria, Mali, Syria, Iraq, and far too many other places to mention. Your Editor, Fausto Casais

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LISTENING POST

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GRIMES Art Angels 4AD Available on December 11

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SHOPPING Why Choose Fatcat Records Out Now

Fausto Casais (faustocasais@musicandriotsmagazine.com)

DEPUTY EDITOR

Andreia Alves (andreiaalves@musicandriotsmagazine.com) Tiago Moreira (tiago@musicandriotsmagazine.com)

ART EDITOR // DESIGNER Fausto Casais

FEATURES EDITOR Fausto Casais

CONTRIBUTORS // WRITERS

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BIG PICTURE

PERFECT PUSSY House Arrest CMJ Party New York Picture by Kenneth Bachor

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SUNN O))) KANNON = AN EXPERIENCE TO CHANGE PERCEPTIONS

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UNN O))) new album, Kannon, will be released officially on 4th December 2015 via Southern Lord. Composed in the aftershadow of SUNN O)))’s most recent successes in immersive collaboration (the group worked with Scott Walker on Soused, Ulver on Terrestrials in 2013 and 2014) and also from the broad and influential wake of their epitomic Monoliths & Dimensions, Kannon emerged both independently as a conceptual entity and with roots in the legacies of those projects, yet was fully realised years later, in 2015. The album consists of three pieces of a triadic whole: Kannon 1, 2 and 3. The album celebrates many SUNN O))) traditions; Kannon was recorded and mixed with SUNN O)))’s close colleague and co-producer Randall Dunn in Seattle, in Studio Litho, Aleph and Avast!; and the LP includes performances by long term allies and collaborators Attila Csihar, Oren Ambarchi, Rex Ritter, and Steve Moore to name a few. At the core, the composition centres around the dynamic and intense guitar and bass interplay of SUNN O)))’s founders: Stephen O’Malley & Greg Anderson. SUNN O))) commissioned critical theorist Aliza Shvarts to write a text / liner notes around these ideas and topics. She also explores the relations and perceptions to their approach to these ideas via the metonym of music and SUNN O)))’s place/approach within the framework of music and metal overall. The band also commissioned Swiss designer/artist Angela LaFont Bollinger to create the cover artwork, an abstracted sculpture of vision of Kannon. French photographer Estelle Hanania captures portraits of the core trio (Csihar, Anderson, O’Malley) in the impressive and obscurant Emanuel Vingeland mausoleum in Oslo. KANNON ARRIVES ON DECEMBER 4TH VIA SOUTHERN LORD RECORDS.

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Brooklyn based Beverly have unveiled some details of the upcoming sophomore album out in spring 2016. Led by vocalist and guitarist Drew Citron, the band toured across the US and Europe supporting the Drums, as well as playing sold out headlines dates in their hometown of New York. The new album takes a bolder turn, with Citron enlisting new collaborators including noise pop producer Scott Rosenthal (The Beets, Crystal Stilts) and Kip Berman (The Pains of Being Pure at Heart).

Hotel Books will be hitting the studio in mid November with producer Craig Owens (Chiodos, Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows, Cinematic Sunrise, Before Their Eyes) and engineer Nick Ingram to record their sophomore album. The follow up to the highly successful early 2015 album Run Wild, Young Beauty is slated for release by mid 2016 via InVogue Records. Label owner Nick Moore says, “I think the mixture of vocalist Cam Smith and Craig Owens will create something even more unique than what Hotel Books already is. The


ROUND UP

added creative vision Craig has will push the band to create a beautiful piece of art I can’t wait to hear.” DIIV released the details of their upcoming new album. Titled Is the Is Are, the album will be released February 5, 2016 via Captured Tracks. The album features a collaboration with Sky Ferreira on the track called “Blue Boredom”. Tonight Alive announced the release of their third album. Titled Limitless, it will be out March 4th 2016 via Easy Life/Sony Red.

“‘Limitless’ is a record that is just as much about redefining boundaries as it is about challenging the illusory concept of boundaries itself. Our mission in both the song writing and recording process was to dissolve all restriction and repression of the mental, physical and spiritual; and grant ourselves an opportunity to be expressive at our highest capacity,” explains Jenna McDougall. Following their reformation at Download Festival in 2014, British progressive metal forefathers

Sikth’s new mini-album Opacities is set for release on 4th December (vinyl 22nd January) and sees the band linking up with Peaceville. Recorded at Lincoln’s Chapel Studios and produced by Dan Weller and Justin Hill (mixed by Forrester Savell – Karnivool, Animals As Leaders, Dead Letter Circus) vocalist Mikee Goodman hails Opacities as the best music the band have ever made, stating, “musically, vocally and lyrically it is our most complete work. We’ve pushed our sound to the next level.”

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BOYTOY are a cool Brooklyn-base band

ow did it all start with BOYTOY? Well, Saara and I met when we were playing in other bands. Then those bands broke up, we starting jamming, wrote an EP, then when our first drummer decided to move back to Seattle to be closer to his family, Matt started playing with us. Together we wrote more songs and now we're here! How did the name BOYTOY come about? In one of those band name brainstorm sessions, and Saara kept it in her rolodex. When we started working on a new project the name was already in the bag. How much of the Brooklyn music scene has influenced you as musicians and bandmates? It's nice to come from an interwoven scene where you can go to shows and see your friends play. It's fun to hang out with buds that are doing the same thing and talk about records and recording and share contacts and then there's always the option for collaboration. Shout outs to all our bk homies! While starting the band, what were/are the bands that helped you shape your sound? We didn't start saying like, "Let's make a this or that kind of band." I think any influence is more subconscious. We all listen to a little bit of everything and that's definitely gonna seep into whatever music you make. We're collectively drawn to psychy guitar rock that spans from the Grateful Dead and Brian Jonestown massacre and the Beatles and the Stones and the Kinks and the Zombies and Nirvana and on and on and on... You guys have just released your debut album, Grackle. How was the whole making process of this first full-length? How was the experience? We spent about 10 days in Philly at Fancy Time Studios with Al Creedon. We recorded drums first in a weekend, then spent some time overdubbing all the guitars and vocals. We usually record all live in the room then overdub vocals, but this made more sense for the time we had available. The studio is always a vortex, but we recorded it back in February so it was perfect to disappear into a cave for a little bit. 10

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- consisting of the trio Saara, Glenn, and Matt - and together they make pretty catchy and fun rock and roll. Having just released their debut album, Grackle, we caught up with Glenn to know a bit more about their band and their first full-length. Words by Andreia Alves // PIcture by David Burclau


INTRODUCING // BOYTOY Saara said that this record is a full-on collaboration. What did the writing of this album differ from the writing of your self-titled EP? Well, the first EP came about just from Saara and I. And some of those songs had been sitting around for a while. Grackle has nugs from each of us individually and then some jams we all flushed out together. Where did you draw your inspiration from while writing this album? Classic rock n’ roll. We wanted something dancey, upbeat and fun. Unrequited love, bad feelings, falling out of love, bar etiquette, owing someone money. You know, fun happy upbeat songs about all those things. Titling the album Grackle has an awesome meaning for you guys. Can you tell us a little bit about that? We were all sitting around in Austin, Texas and there were all these black birds flying around that we had been noticing. We found out they were called Grackles and we all looked at each other like, "That's a cool name." Then some further research overturned some light on the origin of the name which is rooted in Mexican folklore. The Grackle didn't have a song so he stole it from the sea turtle. What's your favorite song off the record to play live and why? "Your Girl" and "Owe Somebody". They're both vibey and you can get lost in them. What’s next for BOYTOY? Well, we're currently on the road. We've been out for about 2 weeks and we have 5 more to go. We're planning on skipping the NY winter and going to California to play shows for January and February and probably keep writing for the next thing. We'll tour back from California via Austin for SXSW then next fall there is talk about crossing the pond for a European tour. There might be some recording time wedged in there at some point, but nothing is planned yet. What do you guys love to do together besides music? Saara and I surf together which is always fun. In Jacksonville recently we all went on a nice long bike ride. We like to take long road trips together apparently. GRACKLE IS OUT NOW VIA PAPERCUP MUSIC www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine

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Villagers are going to release their new album, Where Have You Been All My Life?, on 8th January 2016, and it’s a collection of songs that distils five years and three albums of the band’s songwriting into one flowing narrative. Recorded in one day at London’s RAK Studio with Richard Woodcraft (Radiohead) and Villagers live engineer Ber Quinn, the album is a re-imagining of older material glories from Villagers’ most recent studio album, Darling Arithmetic. Included in the album is a new

recording of “Memoir“, which O’Brien wrote for Charlotte Gainsbourg; it can be found on her 2011 album Stage Whisper, but has never before been recorded by Villagers until now. ANTI- have announced the signing of a talented young singersongwriter named Andy Shauf. A self-produced multi-instrumentalist, Shauf captivated listeners and press with the affecting songs from his album The Bearer of Bad News, recorded in the basement of a home in Regina in the vast


ROUND UP

TEEN

THEY SAY YES TO LOVE!

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EEN return with their new album Love Yes on Carpark Records, out February 19th. Love Yes explores “the disharmony and empowerment that both sexuality and spirituality can create within the modern woman’s psyche. Universal ideas of loyalty, pleasure, purity, power, aging and love are confronted with a knowable specificity. There is a quality of wholesomeness, but also an edge—a kind of wise anger and electricity.” After extensive touring behind The Way and Color (2014), the band had to keep traveling to find Love Yes. Recognizing the need to recharge, they took some time off. Teeny moved to a small lakeside cabin in Morehead, Kentucky. Surrounded by rolling hills, sparked with sudden thunderstorms and inspired by the musical joy of uninhibited late-night bluegrass jams and barn parties, Teeny immediately began writing again. Leaving the noise and relentless energy of the city behind, TEEN retreated into the nurturing stillness of Nova Scotia, the Lieberson sisters’ childhood home. Situated on the La Have River, the studio was hidden in a perpetual mist while the band recorded day and night. Fueled by new material, a change of place and creative collaboration, the lull of the winter lifted and the band came together in a new way. Teaming up once again with producer Daniel Schlett, TEEN wanted to capture the energy of full band recording. Rather than multi-tracking, Schlett worked with the band as they played the songs relentlessly, waiting to achieve the right energy and take as a group. LOVE YES IS AVAILABLE ON FEBRUARY 19TH VIA CARPARK RECORDS

Canadian province of Saskatchewan. When asked about signing to ANTI-, Shauf states: “It’s great to be in the company of artists that I really respect. It seems like a label that allows its artists the freedom to do what they want, and accepts people who are doing interesting things... I’m excited!” Ten Commandos are a supergroup featuring Matt Cameron (Soundgarden, Pearl Jam), Alain Johannes (Eleven, Queens of the Stone Age), Ben Shepherd (Soundgarden, Hater), and Dimitri Coats

(OFF!, Burning Brides). The band has announced the released of their debut album, which is due be released in November via Monkeywrench Records, a label founded by Pearl Jam’s members. La Sera – aka Katy Goodman – has announced the release of a new album, Music for Listening to Music To, out March 2016 on Polyvinyl. The album was produced by Ryan Adams and recorded last spring at Adams’ Pax-Am studio. Charlie Hilton, known for her work in the band Blouse, has

shared the details of her debut album, Palana, out January 22nd on Captured Tracks. The album’s title itself is a nod to Hilton’s given Sanskrit name, an identity she shed completely after high school in favor of the androgynous “Charlie,” and Palana’s overarching theme can be summed up by a quote from Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf, a phrase Hilton cites as a personal mantra: “Man is not by any means of fixed and enduring form... he is much more an experiment and a transition...”

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BOYSETSFIRE are living a new life after the reunion in 2010. After a great comeback record While a Nation Sleeps... in 2013. They got another one, just weeks ago. Boysetsfire represents another triumph for a band that once was a cult, and now is bigger than ever. We teamed up with Joshua Latshaw for a short conversation. Words by Miljan Milekic // Picture by David Warren Norbut

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tarting with the new record, Boysetsfire, what can you tell me about it? What is the main difference between this and the previous record? Wow, tough question! I think the main difference is that it is our second record in a row on the same label and we didn’t wait six years! That and apparently we feel pretty positive lately. We are tired of being against and instead we are espousing a positive philosophy. As far as we progress as a planet, we

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somehow keep finding new ways to screw ourselves as a society. What do you think, what’s in human nature that keeps pushing us back? Greed. We have a segment of society for whom enough is never enough. And those tiny groups will always fuck over everyone else to get what they want. Put simply they must be stopped. The ballot or the bullet - we will see. On the artwork for Boysetsfire we can see the image of a snake. What does it represent? Also, can you relate it to the motives of the wolf, that you used in songs, and the goat, Nathan’s fascination? It started as the symbol for the ouroboros then grew through our artist’s eyes. It represents

rebirth and renewal. I am pretty stoked. As a band, you are open to your fans through social media. How hard is it to keep personal contact with so many people and still have a normal life, families, and running the band? What does this kind of communication mean to you? It means everything. We try to reply to every message and interact with anyone who wants to talk. After every show, we walk around and try to make connections. We are very active on social media or face to face - it is important to us. While a Nation Sleeps... was your big comeback record, and fans reacted great with it. Did you feel any


WELCOME BACK // BOYSETSFIRE

pressure with the new record to top the previous one? Of course. With any new record, we feel pressure - will it be good? Will it be better? Will this be the one everyone hates? Boysetsfire can be cruel, but at the end of the day all you can do is your best and hope people like it. How can you explain the writing progress after the reunion, and can you compare it with the time before? Was it weird to work on music again after years of silence? It was actually amazing. We just have to be more creative in how we work together. We use the Interneta lot - send out snippets of songs, etc. It was nice to know we can still write music!

It seems like you guys are a huge band in Europe in the past few years, maybe even bigger than in the US. Do you see it that way, and how can you explain that? I really can’t. I just know it’s overwhelming and we appreciate the hell out everyone who cares! Your European tour is just about to start. What can we expect from it? Maybe a wolf and a goat on the stage? What can you tell us about the bands that will be supporting? How did you pick them and why? [Note: At the time of this interview, the band was about to start the EU tour in the good company of Silverstein and Great Collapse.] [laughs] Goodness that would be terrifying! How about heartfelt

music played by 5 best friends? Maybe an owl - but I mean everyone has an owl! Well, we have been mutual admirers of Silverstein for years, so we were very excited when our schedules were synced and we could do it. Great Collapse we have been friends with for years individually so we were so happy they could do it as well! It will be a great tour. What is next for Boysetsfire? Some tours, some festivals, and hopefully another record in a year or two! BOYSETSFIRE IS OUT NOW VIA END HITS RECORDS

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SILVER SNAKES RETURN WITH SABOTEUR

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outhern California’s rising underground alternative-rock band Silver Snakes will make their much anticipated return in 2016 with the release of their third studio album, Saboteur, via Evil Ink Records (U.S.) and Pelagic Records (Europe) on February 12th. Following the success their sophomore record, Year of the Snake, LA’s Silver Snakes forges down a darker path with radical turns on their forthcoming record Saboteur.

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The band, comprised of Alex Estrada (vocals), Mike Trujillo (bass), Jeremiah Bignell (guitar) and Garrett Harney (drums), continues their evolution of sound by incorporating influences of 90’s industrial and elements of doom metal into their post-hardcore sound. “Saboteur is a record summed up by its title. It’s about sabotage, it’s about using direct action to accomplish a goal,” Estrada explains. “It can be applied to many situations: Personal, Political etc. It’s about having the

Shearwater will release Jet Plane and Oxbow, their new fulllength studio album, on January 22nd worldwide through Sub Pop. The album was produced by Danny Reisch at studios in Austin and Los Angeles, and mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound. It features contributions from film composer Brian Reitzell, Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner, drummer Cully Symington, Howard Draper, Lucas Oswald, Jesca Hoop, and Abram Shook. Grimes’ forthcoming album Art Angels will be out physically

passion to do absolutely whatever it takes to make a point even if it’s potentially harmful.” Silver Snakes’ impending release also marks the beginning of their relationship with Coheed and Cambria guitarist/singer Claudio Sanchez’s label Evil Ink Records, who recently signed the band for the US, while Pelagic Records is taking care of Europe. Silver Snakes will join Coheed and Cambria and Glassjaw on a big US tour in February. SABOTEUR ARRIVES AVAILABLE ON FEBRUARY 12TH VIA PELAGIC RECORDS

December 11th on 4AD. Spanning over 14 tracks, the new album features collaborations with Janelle Monáe and newcomer, Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes. It was recorded primarily in her home studio in Los Angeles, CA, where she relocated to in 2014. Like all of her previous albums, Art Angels was written and recorded entirely as a solo endeavor. The new album features more live instrumentation than ever before on a Grimes record. She plays piano, guitar and violin, continuing her evolution as


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TORTOISE FIRST ALBUM IN SEVEN YEARS

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evered Chicagobased instrumental group Tortoise have announced the release of their highly anticipated forthcoming new album The Catastrophist, which is due to be released on January 22nd via Thrill Jockey. This will be Tortoise’s first studio album in nearly seven years. According to the press release, “they have conjured sounds that aren’t being purveyed anywhere

else in music today.” Recorded at McEntire’s famed Soma Studios, it’s an album where “moody, synth-swept jams like the opening title track cosy up next to hypnotic, bass-and-beat missives like ‘Shake Hands With Danger’ and a fantastic cover of David Essex’s 1973 hit song ‘Rock On’ sung by U.S. Maple’s Todd Rittmann. Throughout, the songs on The Catastrophist transcend expectations as often as they delight the listen’s eardrums.” “Rock On” isn’t the only vocal moment on the album. Yo La

Tengo’s Georgia Hubley “distinctive tones are on the bittersweet classic soul/R&B vibe ballad ‘Yonder Blue’.” This also marks the first time a Tortoise album will feature a guest vocalist singing original lyrics. In the meanwhile, Tortoise also announced first leg of European tour starting this February, more dates planned throughout the rest of 2016.

a musician and a producer for her most ambitious album to date. Bury Tomorrow have announced the release of their fourth album. Titled Earthbound, the album will be released January 29th via Nuclear Blast. “To me, Earthbound feels like the distillation of everything we’ve ever wanted this band to be about,” explains frontman Dani Winter-Bates... “With ‘Earthbound’ we wanted pace, we wanted heaviness, and for me, personally, I wanted to write a record which was

the sonic embodiment of a circle pit. I think we’ve done that. Where we are now is where we’ve always wanted to be and now we’re in the position to truly deliver on what we’ve promised so far. We aren’t going to let anyone down.” Basia Bulat is releasing the follow-up of 2013’s Tall Tall Shadow in 2013. The new album is titled Good Advice and is set to be released on February 12 2016 via Secret City Records. Late 2013 also saw her team up for a tour with My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James

and that creative partnership has now worked its way onto a new album from Bulat. James produced the album, and it was recorded in Kentucky.

THE CATASTROPHIST ARRIVES ON JANUARY 22 VIA THRILL JOCKEY

Colin H. van Eeckhout

is best known when he is surrounded by kindred his spirits AMENRA, but now he steps into the limelight on his own. Produced by Dehn Sora (Treha Sektori, Sembler Deah), this is his first solo album, RASA, was preluded by a split 7” he released together with Nate Hall.

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CROSSFAITH

went through some dark times as a b Kazuki Takemura was diagnosed with a cerebral hemorrhage, which affected all that, the group stick up together and faced what was ahead of them. Xeno full restart of the band and frontman Kenta “Ken” Koie told us a Words by Andreia Alves

It must have been a rough time for you guys these last few years. After Kazuki Takemura was diagnosed with a cerebral hemorrhage, you had to cancel a massive tour, it might be a shock to deal with something so frail. How are you guys holding up with all that has happened? In the middle of a tour, Kazu was caught up with what happened to his left hand. At the time, he didn’t know what the cause was. After the tour I told him that he should go to the hospital and after that he took some time off to find the cause. He went to a hospital and he found out that he had a cerebral hemorrhage. The first time we heard about it, I was like “It will be the end of our band”. It was the hardest time to make a record, most people would say Kazu was just a band member, but for us he’s not just a band member, he’s like a brother. It was the worst thing that could 18

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happened to us, but he told us “I will never give up on the band.” Then he started the treatment and started writing as well, after that we started writing our new album, Xeno. I read that he is re-teaching his left hand how to play guitar. How is that process going for him? He’s getting better and he’s been active. He wrote a couple of songs for Xeno as well. The only thing that affected him from the hemorrhage was the left hand. Actually, he can’t drink too much and he can’t do headbanging, but he’s totally fine with it. He can make music, unfortunately the only thing wrong is his left hand. With all that happened, when did you start writing the new material and how was the experience to work with Josh Wilbur? Before we started writing for Xeno,

we made blueprints for what we would love the record to sound like. We had to make sure that the next album should be more Crossfaith, like we had to put everything that we’ve experienced since we started this band on the new album. We needed to choose another producer, so we choose Josh Wilbur (Lamb Of God, Avenged Sevenfold, Avril Lavigne). I must confess that before we went to his studio, I was a bit afraid of it because our last choice regarding the producer was not good, but once we met Josh, he was such a nice guy. He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t smoke, and he doesn’t take any drugs at all. [laughs] He has a big passion to make music with the bands. How did you come up with the name Xeno for the album? We decided to choose Xeno, which means unknown or very new like a


RISING // CROSSFAITH

band. In 2014 guitarist d his left hand. Despite no is their statement as a all about it.

foreigner. When I heard the idea, I felt like Xeno was the perfect fit for us right now as Crossfaith, to-tally filled with our musical style and our identity as well. We chose Xeno as the title of the new album and at the same time Kazu and Teru were writing the title track. The first time I heard “Xeno” it just blew my mind. That song has so many different styles of music, in just one song, it’s very progressive and very complex as well. Tell us about the meaning and the story behind the name Xeno. I started writing the lyrics for the song and at the same time I decided to put the story for Xeno. Our first idea for Xeno was kind of a concept of life and death or metamorphosis. I thought I should put a story behind the album. I wrote a complex story behind Xeno. The story is about a cyber brain and a human brain. Xeno is

two characters: one is the cyber brain called Xeno, the other one is the guy who wants to end this world, because this world is kind of fucked up. Humans hate each other and at the same time they love each other. Humans pollute this world and humans destroy this world as well. Sometimes people betray each other. The main character of Xeno wants to end this world, hopping to happen some kind of a rebirth. That’s the story behind Xeno. I think the story binds this album very strongly and it binds us very strongly together as one band. “Wildfire” is a crazy, energetic song featuring Benji Webbe from Skindred. How did he end up on that song? The way Teru wrote this song was to Benji to sing on it, he made the song for him and for me. That intro is more EBM and Diplo, that kind of stuff Major Lazer does. “Wildfire” is

very unique and very new for us, Benji did a great job. He’s one of the biggest entertainers on this rock music scene. He can do rap, he can scream and he can sing with his beautiful voice as well. And I love his humanity. When we approached him to sing on “Wildfire”, he was like “Yeah, sure! Let’s do this!” We sent him the track and the lyrics, then the day after he texted me through Facebook and he was like “Hey Ken. I’m now in the studio. Can you skype with me? I can sing right now” and that was 4 am over here in Los Angeles. I was about to go to bed. [laughs] I said “Yeah, let’s do this!” I skyped him and I brought the laptop to Teru and Kazu’s room. They were in the middle of making Xeno as well and then I skyped with him. He was singing with high energy. XENO IS OUT NOW VIA UNFD

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NEU! FOREVERATLAST HEY ANNA BRUISING MUNCIE GIRLS


NEU // VOL.15

FOREVERATLAST Where? Indianapolis (USA) Who? Brittany Paris, Jordan Vickers, Jared Paris For fans of: Bullet For My Valentine, Paramore, We Are The In Crowd

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ome bands take some time to find the perfect balance and dynamic within its line up. ForeverAtLast took some time to find that since they started in 2005 with drummer Jared Paris and guitarist Jordan Vickers while forming the band. In 2008, vocalist Brittany joined the group taking over lead vocal duties after going to an audition. As Jared has explained,

ForeverAtLast means the process of meeting God and being with Him after death forever, at last. Their music reflects more than that and they write songs that anyone can relate to. Their post-hardcore meets punk rock approach is neat and infectious. In 2012 ForeverAtLast released their debut album February to February and in 2014 they signed to Victory Records. After that, they headed to the studio to record their new album. Ghosts Again was released this year and it’s another impressive effort by the group. About this new release, Brittany said that “Music is a universal language and if anything, if our stories can help someone else, our mission is being fulfilled.” They surely accomplished that.

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HEY ANNA Where? Brooklyn (USA) Who? Erin, Anna and Katie Rauch-Sasseen, Matthew Langner, Jamie DiTringo For fans of: Camera Obscura, Feist, Daughter

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orming bands with your siblings can be something really fantastic or just a pure disaster, but well, that depends. Bands like First Aid Kit, Haim, or Larkin Poe have shown how great they work together, how much fun they have and how it makes a whole difference when you are completely open to the other person. Hey Anna consists on three sisters, two of them twins. Rauch-Sasseen

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sisters - Erin, Anna and Katie along with Matthew Langner and Jamie DiTringo, they deliver irresistible indie pop songs with dreamy soundscapes that feels like a sunny indie film with all these little details and wonders. The intertwining vocals of the sisters are just gorgeous and hypnotic. They started in 2010 releasing so far three EPS - Hey Anna (2012), Pompette (2013), and a double EP, Dance Until Three, which was released on ThisTime Records in Japan. This year the group released their debut record, Run Koko, the perfect record to keep you warm on the cold winter days. As they said, Run Koko is a representative of their love for their current situations and their wanderlust and how they deal with that dichotomy.


NEU // VOL.15

BRUISING Where? Leeds (UK) Who? Naomi, Ben, James, Steph For fans of: Pixies, Perfect Pussy, Kid Wave

A

serendipity. That’s probably the best way to describe how Bruising came to be. One night at a Leeds nightclub, Ben Lewis caught the attention of Naomi Baguley by wearing a Perfect Pussy t-shirt - which both of them are huge fans of - and they began trading song ideas through phone voice memos. Soon the band started recording demos and playing some pretty

cool shows with the likes of Waxahatchee, Twin Peaks and Trust Fund. They blend noise with pop, it can be as sweet as soar, but Naomi’s vocals will just make you want to listen to the songs over and over again. Some of Naomi’s big inspirations are Dolly Parton, Laura Marling and Meredith Graves - which by the way, Graves and even Andrew W.K proclaimed their love for the band. One of the band’s earliest songs is “Honey” which was re-recording and now it’s going to be released with their debut single, “Emo Friends,” making up the AA single. “Emo Friends” / “Honey” is out now via Beech Coma. Make sure to listen to those singles, because they’re super addictive and awesome.

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NEU // VOL.15

MUNCIE GIRLS Where? Exeter (UK) Who? Lande Hekt, Luke Ellis, Dean McMullen For fans of: Best Coast, Sleater-Kinney, The Breeders

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uncie Girls are a three-piece punk rock band from Exeter, UK. They are Lande Hekt (vocalist), Luke Ellis (drummer), and finally Dean McMullen (guitarist). You can tell by their audacious and passionate approach to music that this trio is just about to get people amazed. They created the buzz around their band over the last few years across UK/Europe doing a lot of

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touring and now the effort is being recognized. The trio have released three EPs through Specialist Subject Records (UK). As a special and early teaser of their debut full-length, they released a limited edition split 7” with Sandlotkids from Germany through Uncle M Music. The split features two brand new Muncie Girls songs: a single from the upcoming album called “Gone With The Wind”, and an awesome cover of “Pet Sematary” by the Ramones. Muncie Girls have announced the release of their debut fulllength album titled From Captain To Belsize, which is due to be released on 4th March via Specialist Subject Records. “Gas Mark 4” is their new single.


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---------There are quite a few bands right now that are making Pop Punk sound bigger and better.

STATE CHAMPS are one of those bands and with Around The World and Back - their second full-length - the guys are getting into a new level as a band, but always keeping things fun and natural. Tyler Szalkowski spent some time talking to us about the new album and the importance of touring for the band.

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D N U O R A O C O T D WORL 28

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L

et's start by talking about the tour you did with 5 Seconds of Summer. I read that the invitation to join them started with a tweet. Can you tell us the whole story about it? The story of us and 5 Seconds of Summer... They had originally started tweeting at us just like family stuff about being friends and liking our band and stuff like that. We were both in L.A. at the same time working on new records for ourselves, so we had the chance to hang out and meet up over there. We just hang out a couple of times and they asked us if we wanted to go to Australia with them. It was a very, like a low-key, easygoing situation. They're just a bunch of homies just like our band and we like their band, and so obviously we were like "Yeah, sure! Let's do it!" What were the highlights of that tour? We got to play a sold-out 20.000 capacity arena with them in Sydney and that's probably like the biggest show we've ever played. We were just really stoked to play the same size show as them, it was really cool.

T HE

R E U Q ON ndra Markovic

Sa Alves // Pictures by Words by Andreia

Some thought that doing that tour [with 5 Seconds of Summer] was going to change what you were as a band, but they were totally wrong because Around The World and Back is the natural next step for State Champs and your sound is even more assertive as ever. What did you think about those reactions? We definitely understand why people felt that way... Obviously, 5 Seconds of Summer are a very polarizing band - either you love them or you hate them - and for those who hate them, they didn’t want to see us with a band that they don’t like, which whatever, that’s their opinion and they’re allowed to have it. We think 5 Seconds of Summer are an awesome band and we were like “We would love to tour with them” and so of course we did it. But we understand like why everyone thought we were going to change... To us, it’s kind of crazy because we’ve always just been about doing our own musicandriots.com

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thing. I think that the punkiest you can be is doing what you want to do... Punk is not about wearing leather jacket or having a mohawk, it’s about doing what you want to do, you know what I mean? We’ve always just done the stuff we wanted to do. It kind of sucks that the fans felt that way about it... They felt they were going to lose their favorite band, so it’s probably like a territorial thing and it’s not really like they weren’t mad with us for taking the tour, it just seemed that everyone was a little territorial and just a little nervous if there was going to be a bunch of new fans in the fandom and stuff like that. It’s something understandable that people were concerned that we were going to change, but it’s still us. Before you went to that tour you had already the second album written and recorded. Was it stressful and challenging to write The Finer Things’ follow-up due to the high expectations? It wasn’t really challenging... They say anything you do once, you can do again. We definitely wrote The Finer Things so that we could definitely write something as good as that - if not better - so I think we definitely followed it up very strongly. The record actually went up streaming yesterday and it seems like the fans’ response is very happy and everyone seems very excited about the record. I think there was definitely some pressure to follow-up The Finer Things and to do well, but we all kind of work well under pressure and so we all kind of like having that pressure, because it kind of set a bar that we knew we had to clear, you know? How did the writing process for this album differ from the first? We approached the new album a little differently. With The Finer Things, we had no idea what we were doing. It was our first studio record and we were just like “Alright, I guess we’re just making a record.” For Around The World and Back we had all the experiences of writing and recording The Finer Things, so we had a different perspective of how to make records. I don’t think it changed much. I think we still would’ve written Around 30

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The World and Back... It’s hard to explain, but we just felt a little more experienced, a little more comfortable to try different things and experiment with certain song directions and other things. As the title of the album suggests, Around The World and Back is an album influenced by the last years of heavy touring you had. How much has touring shaped you, both as musicians and individuals? Touring has really shaped us as musicians because we just got a lot better. I mean, if you really think about it like you say you go to the gym everyday for two years and then you’ll be a lot more physically fit... We played our instruments almost everyday for two years, so we all definitely improved and got a lot better at playing and stuff like that. But just being out there and experience the world is very influential, it definitely influenced a lot of the songs. We wrote a lot of the songs abroad when we were in Europe, Australia, etc. It’s everyday inspiring go out and see the world. Besides the physical exhaustion that touring life leads, there’s also the emotional distress and this album is pretty much emotionally-driven and a self-reflection of the experiences while on tour and the ongoing learning process that being in a band is. What did you take from those experiences as inspiration for writing this new album? Most of the record deals with a lot of homesickness and missing people, relationships and friendships falling apart, and stuff like that, which all come hand in hand with the amount of tour we do. It’s like we sacrifice a lot of stuff at home to be out there doing what we do and I think that was a lot of the influence for Derek who writes all the lyrics. That was his way of dealing with everything that was going on. The title-track “Around The World and Back” has the acoustic approach of your awesome EP Acoustic Things, and Ansley Newman of Jule Vera sings on it. What can you tell me about that track? The song “Around The World and

Back” is an acoustic duet with Ansley Newman. That song was written by Derek. I don’t really know much about the story behind it, but it’s definitely a love song and it has a lot to do with confronting commitment issues and things of that nature. As far as Ansley singing on the track, we’ve just been fans of Jule Vera for a while, we’re on the same record label and so we just asked her if she wanted to sing on a song. What’s your favorite song off of the new record? My favorite song off of the record is “Shape Up” because the general theme of the song is about taking care of yourself and making sure you have your own back, which I think it’s an important lesson in today’s world. “Shape Up” is definitely my favorite. Around the World and Back was produced by Derek [Discanio, vocalist] and Kyle Black [Paramore, New Found Glory, Strung Out]. How did that go? It was awesome. Kyle is a really good producer as so it’s Derek. Both him and Derek are really good. Kyle is just like a little weird. There were times we thought he hated our songs and we were like “Does this guy even like our band?” [laughs] but I think it was like a tough love thing to get us to do better and be more creative. Definitely it was a really good experience to work with Kyle, he’s a genius. After all the great success and constantly growing fan base, you show that you’re still very faithful to yourselves and to the same reasons that led you to start this band. Looking at all of that, what are the things that you think will never change in the core of the band? Honestly, we got into this to have fun and to play shows. We never took ourselves too seriously. We just like to have fun, so I think the one thing that will never change about us is that we’ll never do this for the wrong reasons. We’re not in it to make a million dollars. If I wanted to make a million dollars, I would go work on Wall Street. [laughs] We’ve always just been


INTERVIEW // STATE CHAMPS

“Most of the record deals with a lot of homesickness and missing people, relationships and friendships falling apart, and stuff like that, which all come hand in hand with the amount of tour we do.”

into it to have fun and help other people to have fun out on shows and stuff like that. I think we’ll always keep that youthful spirit alive, it’s that what I think it will never change. Pop Punk is at its finest times in years with such great new and old bands like Knuckle Puck, New Found Glory, All Time Low, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk and so on. How does it feel to be one of the bands to push forward this genre into new grounds and listeners? Well, it’s definitely very bizarre. [laughs] We’ve never really thought that we would be a part of this movement to bring pop punk back

to mainstream or whatever, but it’s really fun. It’s cool to be looked at in that regard, I guess. Honestly, I think we’re really lucky. By the way, you covered the song “Stay The Night” for Punk Goes Pop Vol. 6! Why did you pick that one to cover? We picked “Stay The Night” because we’re huge Paramore fans, so with Hayley singing over that song, we just thought it would be very cool to take something that Hayley sing on and have Derek singing it in his own way. We’re really huge Paramore fans and so that was the closest we could get to do something like that. We were given a list

of options and that’s obviously a really good song. It was one of the best options in the list. I thought you guys would do a cover of Taylor Swift, because last time I spoke with Derek he told me he was a huge fan of hers. It would be fun to listen to you guys playing one of her songs. We really wanted to do Taylor Swift first, but someone else got to do it. I don’t know who, but it was a bummer. Maybe next time. [laughs] AROUND THE WORLD AND BACK IS OUT NOW VIA PURE NOISE RECORDS

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A NEW SHAPE OF ROCK TO COME...

NOTHIING BUT THIEVES, a band from Southend

self-titled debut album a few weeks ago and star alternative rock quintet have people going crazy, displaying a crafty songwriting and have proved to songs that are, in the best of ways, big and massive h we’ve talked with guitarist and lyricist Jo Words by Tiago Moreira

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d, England, have released their ted conquering the world. The , and rightly so, since they are have a very keen eye to deliver hits. It was about their debut that oe Langridge-Brown.

W

hen did you give up your jobs to do the music full time? Pretty much as soon as we could. We got signed to RCA and they gave us an advance and I think we signed the deal and then the week after, or two weeks after, we quit our jobs and we moved out to our own place. Did you have all the songs already written by that time? Mostly. I think we still had quite a few demos that we hadn’t sort it through. So, we had all these songs that we just needed sort of properly figure out as a band together before we started recording the album. Mostly the album was written, but we still had a few things to work out. How impactful was that change, to all of a sudden having the possibility to work on music full-time? It is very impactful. I mean, it made things easier and it simplified the process a lot, but... I don’t know, we really spent so much time before it, even when we had jobs we spent so many hours a day doing it anyway. Most of our time before we started get other jobs, we would drive around Dom’s [guitarist] house, to his garage, eleven to seven and then me and Conor [vocalist] we would go off and we’d do our night jobs – he worked in a bar and I worked delivering pizza. So, we already had spent a lot of hours, but I guess living together really helped sweet out the process, sure. The press release says, “After an extended trip stateside stopping in LA, Nashville and New York

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to broaden their creative influences the band returned to the UK in early 2014 armed with fresh ideas and a newfound impetus and belief in their sound.” Could you please expand on that and tell us how was that experience and how it did affect the band? It is hard because I don’t think it actually had to do with the sound so much. We came back when we wrote the songs for Nothing But Thieves, the EP, once we’d come back from America. We wrote in America, we just jammed ourselves, we didn’t really use any of the songs. But the main thing that it helped us with is that it kind of helped us break out of what we were doing before, because we spent so long just in Dom’s garage writing. We really stagnated and we just kept writing the same song over and over again. Going to America, it really just gave us back the flavor, and just getting out of the four walls of the garage... I think that really helped us look at music in a different way. We went to Nashville and we actually discovered how we wouldn’t want to write songs, it wasn’t really a help in terms of how we’d want to write. Nashville is too formulaic, all follows a formula and a code almost, and that was definitely what we didn’t want to do. So, I think it helped in that way. You’ve said, “We really tried to not give ourselves any boundaries when writing the album.” Did you feel at any point that everything was way too scattered all over the place? That was a concern. We didn’t want to have boundaries but we didn’t also lose the sound of what Nothing But Thieves is. We, especially in recording, heavily relied on Conor’s voice to really tie in all the different aspects. I mean, even stuff like... me as a guitar player, the sort of soundscapes I use, I tried to use a stimulant thing on different songs even if it’s an atmospheric song and not like a rockiest song. We have a song called “Trip Switch” and the middle of that song I tried to use only atmospheric elements to tie in to the song that closes the album. It was really just using the same 34

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atmospherics to sort of tie everything in together, even the ones that are rock songs and the ones that are very atmospheric. Just twitting a few little bits make them sound like Nothing But Thieves, which is the key I think. The album not only sounds diverse but also has a myriad of lyrical themes. How was the process of choosing the songs for the album, and the running order, like? The running order took quite a while because our label and management really disagreed with us, so it took a lot of fighting to actually having the running order we wanted. [laughs] There were a few things that we wanted to do. For example, we really wanted “Excuse Me” to open the album because that was really the first full band song we wrote, as Nothing But Thieves, and it really just felt right to have that as the opener of our first full-length album. When people buy the album or listen to it they will listen to that, it’s the first song they’re going to hear, which I think it is important to us. I don’t know, I guess you get a kind of feeling for album tracking the long you listen to it. We kind of knew from the start that we wanted to end the album with “Tempt You” just because I feel the song really ties everything together at the end, it becomes a quiet moment and then... Yeah, it was conscious, but I can’t really tell you exactly why each song end up in that specific place. Can you please explain what did you guys wanted to convey with “Ban All The Music”? I think we wanted something that was fairly up-tempo. The point of writing the song... we had written beforehand quite a few slower songs so by that point we really wanted something that would shake things up a bit. It came along quite quickly, that song. I know Dom came up with the intro riff in the garage and it kind went from there into the demo. What about lyrically? That was funny because we were having a discussion between ourselves and we were talking about the shitty songs like we’re listening on the radio at the time, and as a store way comment I just said, “Ban

it all, ban all the music. We don’t need it.” It wasn’t really meant to be a lyric. After that... I’ve wrote that down in my notes, I have my phone with a bunch of lyrical ideas that I just keep just in case I want to use them later. It is kind of a running joke in the band, I was trying to fit this lyric into a song. [laughs] And when Dom came up with this riff and this kind of up-beat sing, and it had this intensity... The lyrics just have this angst that really fit with the music. It came from there, really. But lyrically that song kind of comes from two points of view. The distaste for what we’re listening from the radio at the time because they all kind of sounded the same to us, and also the song has this love of isolation. I don’t know, the two things just kind of marry up for me. Did Nothing But Thieves had a “wake up call” as a band? [laughs] We had written “Excuse Me”, and then “Graveyard Whistling” came up next, and I think once we’ve written “Graveyard Whistling” we kind of had a moment where we were ready to start releasing music. We’ve had a long history before that, two and a half years, of releasing no music, really. We weren’t ready to release music into the public domain, but I think after releasing “Graveyard Whistling” we were ready as a band. That was probably the moment for us. That’s when things changed for the band. It seems that “Graveyard Whistling” is your take on the constrictions set up by organized religion. Would it be fair to read it that way? Yeah, I think it would. I’ve tried to not tell anyone too much about the songs because the audience make of the songs what they want, really. I think once we released the song it’s kind of everyone else’s to that point. They can do what they want with it, they can listen to it how they want. But that was definitely an idea that I had in my head when I was writing the song. I’m definitely not a very religious person, at all. I don’t know, I think if you listen to the song and have that in your head,


INTERVIEW // NOTHING BUT THIEVES

“It was really just using the same atmospherics to sort of tie everything in together, even the ones that are rock songs and the ones that are very atmospheric”

that’s kind of what I wanted to convey. It’s definitely more about questions, I think. I’m kind of posing the questions, so I don’t want to answer them for everyone else. What was Julian Emery (Lissie) role on this album? Did he help you improve the songs and put them on the next step? He produced the album. Actually it was him and another guy called Jim Irvin. They produced our EP before that as well. They really are an important part of the album. I mean, we had never recorded an album before so they helped us through the process, which we are very grateful for. How was the process of recording your first album? You’ve recorded a bunch of demos before but recording a demo is a fairly different experience from recording demos. It is different and we really let ourselves in as well. We decided to go to a residential studio so we ate, lived, and worked there constantly

for two weeks. And really got into the album making process, which was really nice for us because we kind – me especially and Dom I think as well – of don’t know where we are going to be creative. For example, me personally I tend to be creative when I’m hangover... I don’t know why, it just happens to me that way. My brain works in a different way, I think. I don’t think the way I would normally. Being in a residential studio we could work whenever we wanted and so we didn’t have to schedule the time to be creative. I think I really benefit from that. Did Lewis Cater directed all your videos? No, he didn’t. He only did “Graveyard Whistling”, “Emergency”, and a little bit of the first “Wake Up Call” video, but we’ve used other directors since. We always try to bring people that kind of get what we’re trying to do and he really seem to get what we did and what we wanted, that’s why we worked with him. But I think when we got into

doing videos for the album we just went to see what we could do and where we could go with it, so that’s why we choose other people. I think we’ve had three or four different directors. Who’s responsible for the cover artwork? I guess I was because of the initial idea. Basically what happened was: when we got signed I was finishing my degree and from a break from my dissertation work I was looking up some artwork online – we were all looking at some point – and I found this photo where there’s an elephant that is kind of disintegrating, like a concrete elephant, and I really liked the way it kind of tied in with the album lyrically. This natural thing kind of being pulled apart a little bit and kind of following things. That was kind of the basis of the album, which the way I see it is the horse being envelope by smoke. NOTHING BUT THIEVES IS OUT NOW VIA RCA RECORDS

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25 years ago, in 1990,

YO LA TENGO released Fakebook, their 4th

studio effort and an important moment for the alternative rock legendary act that has been known for its covers – there’s a Spotify playlist with all the songs that Yo La Tengo covered throughout the years and currently there are 248 songs listed! We’ve spoke with Ira Kaplan about the band’s newest album Stuff Like That There – an album mainly made up of covers and a continuation of Fakebook – and the reunion with guitarist Dave Schramm.

S

tuff Like That There is being released 25 years after the release of Fakebook. I’m curious to know where these two experiences are similar and where they differ. Well, the biggest difference is that this record was done on purpose. Fakebook was almost an accidental record. Georgia [Hubley, vocalist] and I didn’t have a bass player anymore so we kind of had this repertoire of songs that we would sing together at radio stations and record stores and we thought, “Why don’t we call up Dave [Schramm] and see if wants to play?” Dave had his bass with him, played bass on it. We would practice in our living room and it just kind of grew almost before we knew it. 36

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STILL RE ROCK H


We didn’t intent to write... I think we only had a couple of original songs but Gene Holder [producer] would say, “Do you have another one?” and before we knew it we’ve made Fakebook. And this time we thought about getting back together with Dave and James [McNew] volunteered to learn how to play upright bass and... We just wanted to see what would happen doing it again. I think that’s the big difference. And the thing that is the same is the fact that is really fun. I love singing with Georgia, I love playing with Dave. That hasn’t changed. I’m guessing that is different for you guys since this is not what you normally do when you record an album. It’s almost like you’re driving using a different gear. Yeah. In fact that has been one the things that has been really fun. We have barely played for other people – we did a radio show and played a few shows but mostly it has been just practicing. Even though we played quietly all the time and James and I, we would both play acoustic guitars... it’s been interesting that is not even like doing that. When Dave is in there, when the upright bass is in there, it does give it something of an unique feeling. So, it’s more different from other things we do, even more than we thought it was going to be.

E-WRITING HISTORY Words by Tiago Moreira // Pictures by Dustin Condren

Fakebook is YLT’s fourth studio album. Can you pinpoint the effect that that record had on Yo La Tengo? It was definitely our most successful record at the time. I mean, that happen a lot. Our group has never been massively successful and we’ve never really... Especially for the first seven or maybe eight records. Every record was a little bit more popular than the one before. Fakebook was more of a jump. I think that record got more attention and then we did a very high-profile tour opening for The Sundays, so with that record there were more people who knew we were. It basically increased the platform for Yo La Tengo. Yeah, people knew who we were. It wasn’t... [pause] The reason that I’m hesitating is because it only represented one side of what we liked to do. It also confused people when we did the other thing. [laughs] I mean, there was a story that I remember of playing an electric show – just a few musicandriots.com

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weeks after we did our show opening for The Sundays... We had played at CBGB’s big fuzz box extravaganza and at the end of it there was a woman looking extremely confused at me, just kind of staring at me to the point that I was, “Can I help you?”, and she finally said, “Did you open for The Sundays two weeks ago?” [laughs] So, it, like most things, created opportunities but also created a couple of other things a little trickier. But overall it was great for us. You’ve covered more than 200 songs over the last 30 years. Was the process of choosing which song to cover for this record any different from the process that you usually go under? Not really. The only big difference was that we knew we had to find them. With covers is usually something like, “Oh, that would be fun. Let’s do that.” But if we don’t have a cover in mind it’s not like we have to cancel the recording session until we come up with some cover songs. So, in that sense it was difference. But choosing was kind of the same. We started with things we had played over the years that we thought we might wanted to record and then once we had the record and started rehearsing... I’m not sure we had rehearsed with Dave yet. James, Georgia and I, we were rehearsing on our own. It just kind of started, “Oh, we should try that,” and then you’d go home from practice with the sound of us playing in mind, which would kind of change the way you were thinking, and come back for practicing or send an email, “Let’s learn this song.” There’s quite a few songs on the record that we have never played before we started rehearsing in this album. You decided to rework three previously released tracks from your back catalogue. Were you trying to create a bridge between Yo La Tengo songs and the songs that you cover in this record, which I assume are influences in one way or another? I wouldn’t say so. I think it’s one of the reasons we like... It’s one of the opportunities of playing shows, 38

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“It’s not like we set out to do something different this time but we like doing lot of different things and so different things keep coming up, and they’re always different enough from each other for us to find new doors opening or new ways of thinking.” like you do songs in a different order and they sound different because you’ve played them in a different spot. When you open with a song it kinds of gives it a different slam than when you do it in the middle or do it as an encore... and playing songs in different arrangements brings out different aspects of the songs. I think that just happened and it’s one of things that make continuing to play live and continuing to make records exciting. It’s not like the goal of it. I think it just can’t help but happen. Did you ever consider the possibility of re-imagining or re-work an entire album? Not really. That conversation has actually occurred but I don’t think anyone... I think more as something to talk about not something that would really happen. Dave Schramm has a strong presence in this latest album and he will tour with you guys. Why did you decide to work with him again and how was it like? We made the decision that we wanted to do like a sequel to

Fakebook. That meant playing with him. If he hadn’t wanted to do it, if he hadn’t been available to do it, then I don’t think we would have done it. Working and playing with him again was great. As I was saying, we played a session on WFMU last Sunday and it was very informal. James played his bass, Georgia didn’t play at all, and me and Dave, we played acoustic guitars. So, it was very quiet in the room and I was sitting next to Dave and just listening to him play – this happens when we’re practicing too... sometimes I just have to laugh at how good he is. [laughs] The things is coming up with are so beautiful. You on acoustic guitar, Georgia up-front on a small kit, and James on upright bass. What does this incarnation of Yo La Tengo brings to the table that the other does not? I think I’m just going to answer that with like: we’ll see... or, you’ll see. [laughs] We’re in the process of discovering that and I think we’re continuing to discover. It’s one of the things that is fun and interesting about it. We’ve practiced, we’ve been learning more songs so that we could play shows the way we wanted to play them, not having to play the same twenty songs every night. And it is really interesting to like pull out, and try all these different things. Just hearing... You know, we’re kind of forming a new group in a way and so it’s been very interesting and exciting. I think we can say that this a different experience from you. Even though it is a sequel the truth is that 25 years is a long time and Yo La Tengo and its members have changed since then. I would say so. In 1990, that was really the first time Georgia ever... not ever, but she started singing for people repeatedly whereas before she wouldn’t do that, as I said, in record stores or in a radio station. So, it was very different the idea of Georgia becoming like one of the singers was kind of like a new experience and now it’s now. That changes... You’re right, all the experiences


INTERVIEW // YO LA TENGO

we’ve had change this experience. But I was going also say that in some... when Fakebook came out we were playing two different sets live in kind of different equipment. We would do a quiet set and Georgia would have a small drum set, a different keyboard arrangement... It was still just the three of us but even that - changing the approach to playing live that would be specifically quiet for the first half and specifically loud for the second half – felt, at times, like a different group. It’s not like we set out to do something different this time but we like doing lot of different things and so different things keep coming up, and they’re always different enough from each other for us to find new doors opening or new ways of thinking. Did the fact of Georgia’s singing being so important and central to this record made the process with the arrangements more challenging or at least different from what you’re used to? Only that she had more lyrics to

learn. [laughs] I think without really talking about it... I don’t remember if it came up in conversation, but I think everybody had the idea that she would sing more than ever on this record. This record she probably sings more than I do, which had never happen in one of our records. And I think that either consciously, or unconsciously, we were looking at this format and this record as an opportunity to put more of the spotlight on her. It’s kind of an obvious one but I’m curious what made you choose “Friday I’m In Love” by The Cure. Some of the songs we have done over the years and some we learn for this record. And then there were songs kind of in the middle where maybe we had played them once or twice. “Friday I’m In Love” was one of those. We did it at a show... I don’t know, like fifteen years ago, or something, and then never played it again. That was sort of enough. And then we were doing a show, we were on a radio in London – we do this thing every year

for WFMU where we try to raise money for the station and people who donate money for the station can make a request and we try to play it. So we just tried to play songs without practicing them. [laughs] I mean, we practice them for like one minute and then we try to play it. People frequently encourage us to that in other venues and we don’t want to do it in other venues, but we let ourselves get talked into doing it on this radio station in London and one of the requests was for “Friday I’m In Love”. We didn’t remember it from then, but we knew it a little because we had played it once a couple of years earlier, and it was very low key. We played it quietly and just the quality of Georgia’s singing on that stuck on my mind... I don’t know to what extent James and Georgia remember that experience. So it was just something I wanted to try. But it all started with the sound of her voice. STUFF LIKE THAT THERE IS OUT NOW VIA MATADOR RECORDS

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LAURA ST

STORMY, HEAVY

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Laura Stevenson is talented and spontaneous, and her new album Cocksure is a proof of that: a collection of fun and rip-roaring rock and roll songs. We talked with Laura about being a solo artist and how the new album is a new step forward. Words by Andreia Alves // Pictures by Kenneth Bachor

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the quiet ones aside and focused on the rock songs, which was really just fun. Working with the band, we just had a really good time together on this one. They’re so good so it was easy.

rom your time on Bomb The Music Industry, what did you take away from being in the band to making your own solo project? I learned how to tour - booking shows with friends’ bands in other cities and then booking them shows in NY when they came through, how to work with other musicians, how to teach people your songs and let them explore their personal interpretations of them, how to stay positive, I learned everything. It was an awesome experience. As a songwriter and a musician, what are the highs and lows of being a solo artist? Well, the highs are that the songs come straight out of me so I can play them as just me and also with the band, which mixes it up for me and for fans when they come and see a show. The lows would be when people are talking about what your band is “worth” whether it be promoters booking a show or a media outlet that is getting some sort of exclusive content or whatever - it sucks when it’s just your name and you see the conversation about what your actual numerical value is - it’s a very gross feeling my least favorite thing about doing what I do.

Your new record Cocksure is a more straightforward rock and roll album than your previous one, Wheel. What led you to approach it that way? Well, I had a bunch of songs written - and, like Wheel and Sit Resist, the group of songs had a serious sonic range - there were very quiet acoustic songs with just me and a guitar, more orchestral stuff, and then these rippers. I didn’t want to put out the same record as the previous one, I wanted to make something more cohesive. So I put 42

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Why did you choose the word Cocksure to be the name of your new album? It’s a really good name for a record. For this album, you had great influences from The Lemonheads, Liz Phair, and The Replacements, to early Weezer and the Smoking Popes. What else did inspire you besides those bands? Besides music - I’m just learning how to enjoy what I’m making. I’m trying to trust my instincts more and not edit myself to death. That’s just experience - the more you do something, the better your instincts are going to be - so I just had to trust that and go with it. It’s all about self-acceptance which is a new thing I’m working on. Let’s talk about the place you rented and converted into a cool and laid-back studio. Tell us about that place and what was it like to work on the album there. We got a house up in the Hudson Valley. We were all sick of Brooklyn

“I’m trying to trust my instincts more and not edit myself to death... It’s all about self acceptance which is a new thing I’m working on.”

- certainly sick of paying as much as we did - and everything was so claustrophobic, I couldn’t write in the apartment I was living in. So me and Mike and Peter and Alex got this beautiful house in this really nice little town and we could work whenever we wanted to. Kevin McMahon, who produced Wheel, suggested Sammi Niss as a drummer and she is so amazing, it’s crazy. We had many, many super long practices arranging the songs in the attic, the heat was pretty much non-existent so it was rough, but it’s so fun to play those songs together. Cocksure was mostly recorded live with Mike Campbell, Alex Billig, Peter Naddeo and Samantha Niss, to achieve a more spontaneous and raw result, which it’s what we feel when listening to the entire album. What can you tell us about the recording process? Well, me and Mike and Peter and Sammi just played in the big open live space. The studio is called Room 17 and the engineer there, Joe Rogers, is such an awesome person. He was so enthusiastic about the songs - it just was so positive for everyone and every take we were all just happy to play. The album was produced by your long-time friend and collaborator Jeff Rosenstock of Bomb The Music Industry. What do you think he brought to the record? Jeff brought a lot of energy to the record. He has one of the best musical minds of anyone I’ve ever met so I totally trusted his instincts - sometimes it’s scary to let someone else make changes to something you’ve made - and in the studio, these changes are made pretty quickly and then, they’re permanent. So that’s a little freaky. But I know him so well and he knows me so well and we just have an understanding and it was so easy and great. It was so awesome to work with him. What did inspire you for the track “Tom Sawyer / You Know Where You Can Find Me”? That one is about my friend. It’s pretty heavy as far as songs go -


INTERVIEW // LAURA STEVENSON

but I left it a little open-ended, a little less specific so other people can listen to it and it can bring them some healing if they’re going through something similar, I don’t know - I like to make songs a little loose so they can be molded into whatever people need them to be. Cocksure’s cover art has a TV with your name plus the album’s name on screen and a lot of confetti like you’re celebrating something. What about that? The photo is by Chris Hainey. He’s so amazing. He’s the drummer of Maps and Atlases and he’s one of

the best photographers I’ve ever met. His Instagram is nuts. Anyway, I gave him the record and was like, “have at it” make whatever you want that you think fits the themes and the way it sounds and everything, and he had this vision and I think it’s so perfect. It’s nostalgic and celebratory and dark and colorful simultaneously and gritty and pretty and it’s really awesome. He is seriously one of the greats. Overall, what does this new album represent to you? It represents me moving forward - I

was 30 when I wrote it which was a bigger deal than I thought it was for me. I’m not saying I’m a good adult, but I can’t really waste time being so self-conscious and standing in my own way anymore. With four albums and touring around the world, do you feel more sure and loose with your music? Absolutely. I’ve always been a little loose - but I’m definitely more for sure. COCKSURE IS OUT NOW VIA DON GIOVANNI RECORDS

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THE ECHO AND

are a 5-piece Cardiff-based band. They started back in 2012 with a mutual passion enough to answer to our questions to get to know more about them and about their im

Tell us a little bit about yourselves and what led you to form this band. We’re a five piece band that all exist somewhere along the M4 corridor although one of us is actually Canadian. We all met through the Welsh music scene having performed in different groups in South Wales and through one means or another all ended up in a band together. Through the evolution of other bands we were in, and through the ebb and flow of changing members we have finally settled on this particular outfit. We share the same passion for creating heartfelt music firstly 44

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and perhaps selfishly - for ourselves although when you’re about to release a debut album, you really hope that others enjoy what you do too! I read that you guys changed your name in 2012 from Sleepy Panda Club to The Echo And The Always. Why the change? The Echo and the Always is a completely different band to the previous one in composition, direction and musical style. We had a line up change and decided we wanted to write music purely for the sake of writing music; it may

sound trite but we are five people pursuing a hobby. We began writing collaboratively and letting the sound and direction take its own form, based on our own tastes, abilities and style. It wasn’t until we had written an EP’s worth of material that we decided upon the name. We wanted something that reflected the sound. We’ll let you judge how well we did! …and After that the Dark is your debut album and you stated that is “a poetic collection of tracks, chronicling the highs and lows of relationships, struggles with mental health,


D THE ALWAYS

n for music and the result is beautifully honest and well-crafted songs. They were kind mpressive debut album, …and After that the Dark. Words by Andreia Alves

and how sheer determination can get you through the hardest times”. It’s always tough to express such deep and hard feelings into songs, but it’s also a cathartic process, so how was your approach to write these songs? We write our songs collectively, with each individual member contributing. We try to have a weekend away in a cottage once a year to really focus on writing but we also write in our band practices as well. Laura’s vocals are usually the last bit added to the song. She normally sits and listens to the rest of us playing our parts, figures out a melody that works

and then either come up with lyrics then and there or she’ll will go away a listen to what the rest of the band have come up with over and over until she gets something. Lyrics are either related to something she’s dealing with at the time, something she’s experienced in the past, or will be based on a broader concept rather than just her feelings about something. Laura: Songwriting has always been a cathartic experience, I’m constantly writing lyrics down on my phone, most of these end up in our songs in one way or another, which is great for me because I

feel calmer once I’ve gotten the experience out, it seems easier to process somehow, I can make peace with it and move on. Do you think there’s more awareness about mental health, like depression and anxiety? Laura: Yeah definitely. From my own experience of having a mental health condition I’ve noticed a change in how people perceive/ treat me now to when I was younger. I find myself in more understanding conversation with people about depression and anxiety, which is great. But when it

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comes to Metal Health conditions like personality disorders, bi-polar or schizophrenia, I still think there is little understanding and a lot of stigma. More importantly I think the treatment available for people with mental health issue is not good enough. The medical model of solely prescribing medication without any other support or suggestion that anything else could help, happens way too much and the waiting list for mental health assessments are way too long, that’s if you even get referred for a mental health assessment. Most people who attend their GP with symptoms of depression are just prescribed Anti-depressants and sent on their way with no contact from a mental health specialist at all. Don’t get me wrong, awareness is great but I don’t think it’s enough. With this album, it feels that your group’s dynamic is more cohesive and your music is more confident. Would you agree with that? Absolutely! It has taken a while for us to be completely comfortable with ourselves and each other. We challenge and push each other more than we have in the past. We trust one and other. There is no pride or ego. When we started we concentrated a lot on our individual parts, but now we spend far more time actually listening to what we all do and focusing on the bigger picture – the whole song, its dynamics and direction. How did the recording process of your debut album differ from the EP? Playing in a studio in general can be quite a daunting experience. You have an idea of how a song should sound, you have played it hundreds of times. Actually articulating what that sound is and transforming it into 0’s and 1’s can often change your expectation of a song, for better and for worse. When recording our EP we hadn’t really thought much about how the songs would sound on a cd. There are so many decisions you can make; synth patches, guitar tones, trumpet and vocal harmonies. I think you can fall into a trap of wanting everything and losing the essence of the song you started with. We have a much clearer idea of how we want songs to sound 46

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now and that is in small part helped by our magnificent producer. The album was recorded at Stompbox Studios and produced by Todd Campbell. How was it like to work with him and what were the highlights of the recording process? The man is a machine. He has produced and influenced so many great records and tracks from local artists including the People the Poet and Samoans. In the studio, Todd is the sixth member. His ear for ostinatos, harmonies and dynamics is incredible. He brings our music together, he shares a vision and excitement for the tracks that we recorded. He doesn’t allow time to reflect on mistakes – your second, third, fourth take has already started before you even realise you’ve hit a bum note. He could have an ego. He’s certainly earned it, but he is the nicest, most easy going person a band could hope to work with and part of the excitement going into the studio is spending a week with him. He probably won’t appreciate all this gushing, but we couldn’t imagine working with anyone else. The video for “Go Easy” is really smooth and beautiful, where the graceful dancer Kimba Cooper does a dance with a hula hoop that really fits with the music. But lyrical wise, in which way the song connects with the whole video? Thank you! Kimba is awesome. For this particular video we didn’t focus on a visual representation of the lyrics. Being based in Cardiff we are surrounded by numerous creative individuals with whom we wish to collaborate! Kimba is a friend of ours and we wanted her to bring her own unique vision for the song - something different. We gave her complete freedom to choreograph a routine. It’s so humbling when someone can take something you’ve created and add to it with their own interpretation, especially someone as talented as Kimba. I think the video works because, despite the lyrics, the song has a bright, summery feel to it. Who did the album’s beautiful cover art and what does it represent to you? The artwork was created by local musician and artist Tom Collins (We’re No Heroes). You’ll see a lot

of his artwork on the many posters scattered throughout Cardiff. He has such a cool style that we wanted him to collaborate with us. Just like with the music video we wanted Tom to have creative freedom, to put his own stamp on the project. The title from the album is taken from the Tennyson poem Crossing the Bar. I think Tom has used this to base his artwork. The ethereal nature of the poem – the theme of journeying into the abyss – has been represented through the haunting figurehead. The poem and the artwork represent embracing the unknown. It is not morbid as it is a celebration of new beginnings. What are your touring plans for this and the next year? We are hoping to cast our net further afield and play venues across the UK, and maybe even in Canada. We have been quiet recently during the build up to our release of …and After That the Dark, so we’re really looking forward to getting back on the road. We’re already booking gigs for a potential tour in 2016. Dean wrote an open letter on Tumblr a few months ago entitled, “Why Feminism is Important to us as a Band” which everyone should read! As a band, do you feel that is still needed to show people that Feminism is not a bad word, but a fight for equal rights? Dean: Thank you, glad you liked the blog post! A lot of people are confused as to what feminism actually is. People often ask questions like: “If it’s about equality, then why is it called FEMinism?” I read what I think is a great explanation online in an article written by Katherine Rendon for the site: Fembot. - “Feminism is a movement centered on advocating gender equality. Not only does feminism seek to elevate the status of women in society, it seeks to bring justice to people who have been discriminated against in terms of their race, physical and mental ability, sexual orientation, and much more.” It is called feminism because it is a movement that associates with the more oppressed gender. It addresses


INTERVIEW // THE ECHO AND THE ALWAYS

“Until gender stigma is lifted, I do believe that it is not only important to have open and honest discussions about it, but to act when you see discrimination, benevolent or direct.” gender norms and problems that men face. I think that any level headed person understands the definition and importance of equality and the anti-feminist movements only serve to continuously prove why we need it. There is no ‘one size fits all’ feminism and an ongoing, fluid conversation about the multiplicity of experience is necessary to help all women achieve the equality in their own right. Until gender stigma is lifted, I do believe that it is not only important to have open and honest discussions about it, but to act when you see discrimination, benevolent or direct. Have you read the news about Pitchfork being acquired by Condé Nast? In a statement regarding Condé Nast’s acquisition of Pitchfork, they said “a very passionate audience of male millennials”, which clearly shows how sexism is still pretty alive in the music industry. What are your thoughts about that? Dean: Although all but 12% of Pitchfork’s readership are male, it

does open an interesting dialogue about how nonchalant sexism can be. Music journalist Erin Coulehan asks if music and therefore music coverage, should be gender agnostic. I think it should. 12% is a minority in this example but you can’t quantify an individual’s passion for something, so to only address the male readers seems incredibly short sighted, especially when we assume that the 12% doesn’t cover a complex range of male experiences. I can only imagine the statistic represents a heterosexual audience. This is especially problematic when we consider that a 2013 Nielsen study found that women buy more music than men. Either way, if there was only one woman on the entire planet who reads Pitchfork, the statement is still very alienating. Sexism is still very prevalent in modern society and it is good to discuss it openly. Statements such as this one can be very problematic and too easily dismissed.

being in a band and making music for you guys? Just having the chance to pursue a creative outlet is reward enough. I am sure each member will have a slightly different approach to a question like this but I know for the most part this band is greater than the sum of its parts and being a part of something – to follow it all the way from inception to creation – is profoundly gratifying. When you listen back to something you have helped create, when you hold it in your hands, you cannot help but repeat to yourself “I made this”. It probably seems obvious but we take immense pride in the fact that we have something tangible to hold that we created. It represents us in so many ways. A stamp of who we are. Another small piece of art to document the human experience, one that is more personal to us than anything created by anyone else.

Putting those issues aside, what’s the most rewarding feeling about

...AND AFTER THAT THE DARK IS OUT NOW VIA JEALOUS LOVERS CLUB

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A

BRAND NEW & GRITTIER

SOUND Words by Andreia Alves

MAYDAY PARA

It's been ten years of but that's the case with these dudes. We chatted with g - their heaviest record to date - and we also 48

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ADE. With age comes wisdom, well not always,

guitarist Alex Garcia about their fifth album Black Lines took a look at the band's past and present. www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine

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Y

there’s a lot we can do visually with it.

ou guys have been together for ten years, you have a great and loyal fan base, and now you are about to release your fifth album. What has changed since then? We’ve grown as musicians and learned a lot about each other in terms of musicianship, so we can respond to each other and become better at what we do. What keeps you pushing yourselves as musicians? We just love music and that’s a huge factor in it. We just try to be better at what we do. As we get older, we change with that. You released a documentary titled Three Cheers For Ten Years, which is a retrospective film of the band through these years. What can you tell us more about this documentary? It’s a gap through a lot of the band’s history from when we started to now. We thought it was appropriate because we’ve been together for about 10 years. It has a lot of stuff in it, and there’s a lot more recent stuff in it because there’s more footage of that period. At that point we got a photographer too and he kind of added a lot, because he was there to film a lot. Back in the day we didn’t really capture that much. What would you say to your younger self when you started this band? Probably just write more and play more. I feel like I didn’t really practice as much as I should have. I did, but not as much as I could. I would probably be more focus, but I guess it’s hard to do that when you’re a kid. It’s hard to be too focused on anything. You recently released your new album and it’s titled Black Lines. Does that name have a special meaning? Not really. We just liked the way it sounded and we all kind of felt that it reflected the sound of the album, because we wanted to be a little bit darker and heavier. We feel that name kind of captures that, but 50

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The video for the track “Keep In Mind, Transmogrification Is A New Technology” shows how the artwork - the black lines - was created. Who’s the one behind the artwork’s idea? That was something that we came up. We talked about the idea of adapt documents and all that and we were thinking about something like that and we thought that maybe it would be cool to have like almost as the band’s name and the title of the album more reducted. The image itself, we felt it was kind of simple and easy, but it expresses a lot of what we felt the album contains. Black Lines is definitely much heavier and edgier. How did you approach the writing process of this new album? We definitely did a lot of things differently. We experimented more with different sounds and different writing styles and everything. We worked with a different producer than we’ve done in the past. We were definitely trying to experiment. Derek’s voice seems more dynamic and confident than ever, do you agree with that? Seems that he pushed a bit further his own limits… Absolutely! I think Derek did a great job. He was able to capture a lot of dynamics with his voice that in the past albums he hadn’t really, so yeah, I was really happy with that. The opening track “One Of Them Will Destroy The Other” features Dan Lambton of Real Friends. How did this collaboration come to be? Derek wrote that song and he just had the idea of having Dan, because the way he had the song written it would have been really difficult for him to do everything. I mean, he could, but it was kind of planned to be back and forth vocals and then after experimenting with it, it kind of came to where it is now. He had the idea of having Dan to come and do it.

“We’ve grown as musicians and learned a lot about each other in terms of musicianship, so we can respond to each other and become better at what we do.”


INTERVIEW // MAYDAY PARADE

“Look Up And See Infinity, Look Down And See Nothing” is probably the slowest song of the record. What was the inspiration behind this one? That’s another one that Derek wrote. He wrote that song and the way that it sounds is pretty much exactly how he wrote it. I don’t even know if he really thought about how far that song would on the album, but we all really liked it and thought of adding it on the album. Mike [Sapone, producer] loved it, he was really into it. What’s your favorite song on this new album? Maybe “Hollow”. I really like that song. That one was definitely a lot of fun to do and to be so different

for us that was something that we all really liked and wanted to do. Mike Sapone - which has worked with acts like Brand New, Taking Back Sunday - produced Black Lines and it’s really sublime. How was it like to work with him? It was really good. He was very different. He’s a very corky guy, but a very smart guy. He has a lot of really great ideas and a great way of looking at the world and looking at music. He has a big passion for music and he definitely pushed us to experiment a little bit more. It was a lot of fun. You guys are from Florida, which is well known for giving us some amazing bands throughout the

years. Any new bands or artists that we should look for? I actually don’t really know. I’m not aware of too many bands that are coming out of Florida right now, but I know that there are. I’ve been trying to find bands on Spotify or anywhere else. I try to find band all the time, but most of the time they’re kind of established artists. There’s a band that I’ve been into lately called Shakey Graves. They’re not from Florida, they’re actually from Texas. It’s kind of folky and it’s not like Mayday Parade, but they’re really good. I love it. BLACK LINES IS OUT NOW VIA FEARLESS RECORDS

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L A D DAnIgLryLNYoise & Mood

. They have p ed tic no un o g n ca lly a D nto-based band Dilly ro To e th t a ur favorite bands of th yo ay of w e no on s t ee m There' to dy a of 2015, so get re em and about th t ou b a e or m ow one of the best albums kn isy and brave music. To no ly ul if ut ome Katie Monks. ea es b w r a ei e th th to ith in w ed lk ta e debut album, Sore, w Words by Andreia Alves

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Ldy LPoYp

probably just released f this year and dive their super intense

You

and Liz both met at school. What led you to start Dilly Dally? Me and Liz met when we were 14 years old and I suppose the two of us were just very rebellious teenagers. We were just huge fans of rock music like Blur, Radiohead, Velvet Underground... We were still kind of learning how to play guitar, we taught each other how to play guitar and how to sing. We were still kind of figuring things out for a long time because I think girls are maybe a little more shy with music at the beginning. They’re not as confident as guys can be. They’re kind of more encouraged to understand the technical side of things. But we were mostly just fangirls who secretly wrote music by themselves for teenager years, and then once we moved out, we were roommates in Toronto. We’ve recently broken up with our boyfriends and we were just bored and we just enjoy being in college. We kind of looked at each other with this complete confidence and we were able to say “Ok, let’s actually be in a band and let’s make this our lifetime journey and let’s make a career out of it.” 53


When you started the band, did you know how you wanted Dilly Dally to sound when you wrote the first songs? It was very natural. There’s something about the process that has never changed because that was six years ago at least, but what has never changed is that we don’t really speak much. It’s just kind of I show her a group of very simple chords and we just jam, where’s any other musician I’ve collaborated with it’s a lot more vocal that you kind of have to guide them like “I want this song to sound this way.” With Liz, I think because we grew up together and we understood each other’s influences so well that there was this trust. Your music is an intense mix of pop and noise punk, the way you do it is refreshing. What were your main inspirations while creating your music and has it changed since the beginnings? I find mostly the easiest way to talk about it is the difference between seeing a live show and listening to music when you are partying, because whenever we go to live shows the kind of shows that we want to go to are very aggressive. In Toronto there’s a lot of noise, punk, grunge, industrial, and drone... Those shows where you’re going, you don’t even understand how the artists are making this sound happen and the audience is losing their minds, you know? A band like Liars is like an experimental punk band that’s a live show for example that we would wanna go see. But then when we’re out and partying we want to listen to ASAP Rocky, we wanna do karaoke to Celine Dion and Spice Girls. It’s that kind of mix. We don’t have guilty pleasures. [laughs] What we don’t like though is pop punk. It’s funny because we love pop music and we love very rebellious noisy, grungy kind of music, but there’s something about pop punk like Blink-182 or Simple Plan that we’re not into. Or like hardcore. We’re not into that kind of stuff. I think that’s why we’ve kind of also got a lot of mid-tempo songs. Before you played the very first Dilly Dally live show, you and Liz 54

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“I’m still learning about our story and I the whole world, what our stre did tattoos of the band which is kind of wild. I’m curious, what did you tattooed back then? It just says “Dilly Dally”. We just went in and tattooed our band name and the guy said like “I really don’t recommend that you do this because you haven’t even played a show yet or anything. What if you split up? What if this doesn’t work out?” and we were just appalled like “How dare you think that Dilly Dally is not going to make it?” We also said “Even if we break up, it’s our first band and that’s a good reason to get a tattoo.” It was funny and Liz was able to choose a font and I was there looking through it, and as a control freak I am, I drew it out for him, so my tattoo I drew out for myself. It was our first tattoos and

our first band. It still is my only tattoo, but Liz has some others now. It took a while for your band to get the attention that you clearly deserve. How are you dealing with all the praise you’re getting? I feel great about it. I just feel so appreciated of all the support, it blows my mind. Before it was very much our own journey and now we’re kind of able to have conversations like this with you, you know? I’m still learning about our story and I’m still learning about where we fit into the whole world, what our strengths and weaknesses are... It’s really interesting, but I suppose part of it as well is worrisome. I


INTERVIEW // DILLY DALLY works for a label or whatever.” That to me is the best. Or this teenager guy who messaged Dilly Dally saying “I just had my first kiss with a girl ever.” He said that he left the girl’s house, put on his headphones and he listened to the whole record. That kind of stuff makes me go “Fuck all the other bullshit!” These moments are what this is all about. I mean, not to say that the other things aren’t important - we need to do all this other stuff. We’re so appreciated to collaborate with other amazing writers, photographers and all of this stuff that helped to bring the record out there and I think that all the other stuff is a collaboration with other artists and I do enjoy a lot, but the thing that I do put the most work into is the album itself. It’s been written over the last 8 years. When you put out a single, people are gonna say the band sounds like this based on one song. To hear the whole record is completely different. I think there are many different references on the album. You can hear more influences on the whole record than you could on one song so I think there’s a lot of different things on there and it’s just really wonderful to be able to share the whole story with everyone.

I’m still learning about where we fit into engths and weaknesses are...” feel almost like I haven’t faced inside myself yet, something that I have been in denial about that I need to start confronting, which is like I’m starting to become very interested in how we’re perceived and it feels a little detached through something. There’s something that does feel unnatural for an artist to be l ooking at themselves in the mirror all the time, seeing how they come across all the time when music is supposed to be this thing where you close your eyes and you shut out the whole world and you try to be as authentic as possible and not give a fuck about what anyone says. You recently released your debut album, Sore, and it’s been a

long time since you formed this band. How does it feel now that you’ve released your very first full-length? It feels good! You know what? I actually read this one thing the other day: some guy on Instagram said like there’s the time when there’s all this hype before a record, but after all goes away that’s the moment when the listener gets to hear the record and no one is telling them what songs are the best or what’s good about it and what’s bad about it or what they think it sounds like or anything. It’s just the listener and the record. It was just this person who was able to just say on his way “I heard the whole record and I was connected to it. I’m not a journalist, I’m not a person who

Sore is just the perfect word to describe this album after a few listenings: you just feel sore and beaten up with such in-your-face music. Were those the feelings you wanted to convey with Sore? The name of the album came at the very end and it was our drummer’s idea for that name. I knew I wanted to be one word, but it was him in one practice. I can’t exactly say all the stuff that happened before now, but we had a handful of managers, labels, other band members and all this stuff that never worked out. We’ve been doing it for a long time and we had an album that never came out. It just felt like a lot of things have fallen through on the past and it was a lot of work to get to the point of putting out this record. It all started out of complete naivety too when we were just like “Oh yeah! Let’s start a band! We believe in

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ourselves and we believe in the world so let’s do this” and we thought it was going to happen right away. You know when you’re like a little kid and you feel sore? Like that. We’re definitely not like totally screwed. [laughs] I’m a sensitive person, Liz is tough. She’s been through more stuff than I have and she’s had a harder life than me, but I’m a sensitive person. It’s hard to talk about the album as a whole. That word seemed best to describe this feeling I guess, but there’s definitely a lot of hope on the record too and I hope that people listen to it and go “This girl has been through some shit and she’s made sense of it all. She’s been able to turn it into something positive and she’s been able to grow from that and become stronger.” That’s the point of it. You felt sore after hearing the album, but maybe also there was some hope. It feels like a cathartic process that leads in the end to better things and much better feelings. Yeah! When I was 20 years old, my mom asked me “Katie, why do you write so many sad songs? Are you depressed?” and I said “Mom, I’m a happy person because I write sad songs.” It’s therapy. You are very straightforward in your lyrics and your voice is so awesome, which makes your lyrics even more empowering. How is your approach while writing the lyrics and melodies? Melodies always come first. It starts out with me on my room and I turn off as many lights as I can. Generally in my bedroom in Toronto would be very small. [laughs] I’ve been having really shitty jobs, and in this tiny room I turn off as many lights as possible and maybe light a candle and then I play four chords over and over again. The older songs would be on an acoustic guitar, the newer songs are always on an electric guitar. So, playing four chords over and over again and it’s almost like meditative. After that, I close my eyes and I just sing, kind of filled it out and I would mumble words. This is why a lot of the stuff sounds mumbled because the songs are began to be written in thatway. I would mumble like nonsense, I’m so good 56

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mumbling nonsense. [laughs] If I ever forget the words of a song on stage, no one would know. [laughs] I would mumble and the sounds that would come out of my mouth would be just the things sound best and it’s so weird like the shape of the words. Even if I would speak in a different language that I didn’t understand, to me it would still be saying something. Also the melody is very important. After I’ve done that and found the melody, and here’s what the words kind of sound like, you know? Sometimes it kind of sounds I’m saying a word, but it sounds I’m saying another word, like it kind of comes afterwards and then I start to go like “It looks like these new kind of themes with the words.” It kind of starts filling in the blanks and then eventually at the very end with a notebook I start to actually write

“It’s hard to talk about the album as a whole. That word seemed best to describe this feeling I guess, but there’s definitely a lot of hope on the record too and I hope that people listen to it...” the lyrics. After that I would bring it to Liz and Liz would write her guitar part. We would have some wine and maybe smoke some weed, and Liz would come up with her guitar part very naturally and then we would bring it to the band and then structure it. We kind of go like “How’s the song gonna end? How’s the song gonna start? Where should we put a bridge?” We kind of structure things and so that’s how it all comes together. This is probably the most detailed explanation I’ve ever gave to anyone. [laughs] How did exactly the track “Burned By The Cold” - the slowest track on the record come to be? I wrote “Burned By The Cold” on

piano. It was around Christmas time last year and I kind of fell in love with someone who I shouldn’t have. She had recently died and they were gone home for Christmas and I wanted to write them a song that kind of said “Hey! I’m with you, even though I’m not there with you.” They lived far away from me. It was just a song that I wrote for them and I recorded it as a demo just on my laptop and I sent it to them. They said it was really good and I sent it to the label, Partisan Records, and to the band. We kind of went like “Let’s record it and see how it goes.” Let’s talk about the video for “Purple Rage” which is so awesome. What was the idea behind the monster covered in purple goop? I think anger is a very grotesque emotion. You’re kind of showing someone your dark side and your ugly side in order to repel them from you like “This relationship is hurting me. This conversation is hurting me and now I’m going to show you my dark side.” It’s almost like you’re turning inside out and showing them all of your that and your of slime and I think the monster embodies that. But then, it’s purple, which is kind of fun and pretty, and the moster is also kind of sparkly [laughs] maybe from out of space, who knows? [laughs] So there’s something kind of fantastical about it and that to me is the power behind the anger. Anger is really a healthy emotion and it’s just self-defense. You need to have it, you need to express it to protect yourself. That to me was what the monster was. Now I’ve only thought about the reason later because again these things come very instinctual. I used to read so many books and I used to write poetry, journal entries and all that stuff all the time, I was much more intellectual when I was younger. [laughs] I’ve stopped reading books and I’ve stopped caring about having an education, because I find that it’s a strange expectation that society has that we all need to communicate on this high level with one another, use logic and huge vocabulary all


INTERVIEW // DILLY DALLY

the time and that’s quite inaccessible to a lot of people. I find that in music you want to be universal and as I pulled away from reading books than things like these like going to school. I found my intuition is leading me to true human connections and more real places. How was it like to shoot that video in the streets of Toronto? Filming that video was terrible. [laughs] I hated being the monster for a whole day. You know, I’m not a very feminine person and I don’t wear as much makeup or dress the way a lot of other girls do, but still I don’t want to look that ugly. [laughs] I don’t want people to be scared of me and I actually have a lot of love for people and trust in people who I haven’t met yet. I’m actually friendly most of the time. [laughs] You worked with producers Josh Korody and Leon Taheny on Sore. What did they bring to the record and how was the experience? We recorded an album with them before and it just never came out, so this time it was like “Ok, we know each other’s strengths and

we know each other’s weaknesses.” They’ve come to so many of our shows, they were just very closed to the project. We were able to record the whole record in 11 days, which is crazy, and we still managed to play a lot of video games while we were in the studio. [laughs] It was very fast pace and there was a lot of trust. It was a collaboration and Josh really helped with a lot of the guitar sounds. He’s so nerdy about that stuff. As I said, I’m a more feelingbased as an artist and he’s able to help translate that stuff, but the two of them are. In terms of mixing the record, I went down to L.A. and worked with Rob Schnapf who’s mixed Elliot Smith and things like that. He’s really able to pull out the vocals and mix the vocals in this lovely layer kind of way and allow the melodies and Liz’s guitar parts to come out. He was able to soften the album a little bit more. I just love the album’s cover art! Can you tell me what was the inspiration behind that image? It was just a vision that I had when I was in bed and I was in the midst of breaking up with somebody who

was an amazing visual artist and she mixes jewelry as well, and I had this kind of vision. To me, what I inspired to do as an artist is just make something that’s simple and iconic that someone can see it and take so many different meanings from it. And the cover art is meant to do that, but essentially we wanted it to look like a makeup commercial that has gone wrong or something. The juxtaposition of the very polish and very pretty with something very disgusting, and then also something very mystical which is the jewels. It just seems to be a little like this wonderful balance to me of all these things that a woman is faced with or a woman is kind of always trying to balance those different aspects of herself and of who she is meant to be. I’m even cringing at hearing myself say these things because to me it’s just a powerful image and it can mean so many different things that for me to sum it up in one sentence is just impossible. SORE IS OUT NOW VIA PARTISAN RECORDS

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PENTIMENTO

are these I, No Longer is pretty much a great effort from the band us about the importance of this new record and explaine

H

ow are things with you guys lately? We are heading out for our headliner with Better Off this fall. Looking forward to that for sure, so we’ve been busy like preparing a set, getting some new merch together to roll out for the fall. Just trying really hard to practice our new songs as much as possible so that we don’t suck when we end up playing in front of people. [laughs]

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In art, a pentimento is an alteration in a painting, evidence that the artist has changed his or her mind during the creative process – a bit like a do-over. Does the meaning of that word still describe the band as a whole? Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s a good way to describe us still, you know? The definition of that definitely changes over time, but I think it means different things to us now than it meant when we were younger and starting the band. But I think it’s still there for sure and that’s something that keeps us going. Even though it is something that changes and switches on us

every ten minutes or day by day or year by year, it’s still something in there that lets you know that it’s real. We still hold on to that for sure. What do you guys strive for as a whole band, or as individuals? I think the first thing is that we want to make sure that we’re putting out music that we believe in. It definitely starts there. After that, we wanna try to wrap things up in a package that other people can appreciate, so we certainly strive to write songs that we think are relatable but also we want write to songs that we can take


e four dudes from Buffalo, NY, and they recently released their second album. d that does all the hard work. Drummer/vocalist Michael Hansen talked to ed the constant struggle that is to be in a band in the nowadays music industry. Words by Andreia Alves

things away from too, so when we are on stage it’s real. I think we are in the same position as a lot of small bands, just trying to push forward and I think it’s a really good time for music right now. There’s a lot of great things happening for a lot of great bands, so it’s very exciting to be part of it. That’s exactly what we strive for, just keep doing our thing and hope that people care about it. Do you find it hard nowadays to get your music to more people or is it easier because of the social media like Facebook and Twitter?

Yeah, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram... Those tools really help bands pushing their music, but I also think that there’s a lot going on and there’s a lot to pay attention to, so I think standing out and making sure that your message is unique is super important because it’s so easily lost in the mix of things. People are just punched in the face with media all day every day and every band is trying to do the same thing. We’re all fighting for the same spot on tours or just in the market in general. It’s definitely tough from that aspect, but in reality it should be easier now than ever for a band to put

their music out into the world and connect with people because of the Internet. It’s something that I think it certainly is an advantage of what’s going on nowadays, but I also understand that the market for this sort of thing is kind of flooded. There’s a lot of bands doing the same thing and it’s very tough for people to want to ledge on things like that. A lot of convincing has to be done I feel like on our part to make people actually listen and get involved. After the issues with your previous labels and the release

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of your latest EP Inside The Sea, was it easy for you guys to find the right mindset for this second album? The new album has actually been complete for almost a year. We just didn’t have a home for it. After we did Inside The Sea, we toured for a little while and then went to the studio to do this LP. There was a whole bunch of labels that we had in mind or that we had been in contact with about putting it out, and literally everything that we were gonna do fell through. So, we were in the studio already, we were about $10000 in debt from that and we just bought a new van, that it was also about $10000, so we were looking at a $20000 black cloud hanging over our heads and we had to figure out something. We thought that if we could jump on a label, we would be able to handle that and it would be easier. It didn’t really worked out and we ended up paying for everything out of our pockets and then when Bad Timing Records came around it just made sense. They wanted to put it out and give a push, so we definitely needed that at the time. We’ve worked with those guys in different capacities ever since. Right before the summertime we got things rolling. It’s been good. They put out Stuck Forever 7” for us over the summer to kind of give people a preview of what we were working on and now we have an album I, No Longer. Your new album is called I, No Longer. Why’s that? This time around, I wanted to title the record with something... I wanted people to be able to take away something from it that I would be totally unaware of. The phrase I, No Longer obviously there’s more to that sentence, but what’s the end of that sentence is totally up to you, it’s up to whoever is listening to the record. I, No Longer can mean a million different things and I guess that’s kind of the point of titling our record that way. I wanted it to give a very broad title so that the themes on the record make sense in different ways when you’re listening to it, but it’s also something that you kind of make up as you go along. The definition of the 60

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title is totally up to the listener and my opinion of it is going to be different than all of the other people’s opinions about it. That’s the exciting thing and I thought it would be fitting for something like a title of a record to give it this very vague sort of title, but you fill in the blank, so that was the exciting part for me about the title of the record and everybody was excited about it too. I just thought it definitely sticks in a certain way, but hopefully people are interested enough to kind of take away their own meaning from it. How did you approach the writing process for I, No Longer? When I write a song, I usually just make a demo and send it to the other guys to see if it is something that they are into. It’s very simple ideas that I have and kind of present it to them for their approval and then we work on it together at practice from there. But this time around the studio was great. We had a lot of time. We went to a studio in Baltimore, so we were actually away from home to record it and we stayed there for a little over a month doing the record. It was great to just be in a room with those guys where we didn’t have any friends or jobs or anything else to worry about. It was just us and our instruments in the studio for an entire month and we didn’t have a choice but to do music every day. That was the only thing there was to do pretty much. At that rate, it was really cool sitting around with the guys and just talking about everything. We had huge conversations about the lyrics, about the music, about trying to create a vibe and a theme for the record. I don’t know that we made anything great, but I know we made something that we all are really proud of. We definitely tried hard to make it sound cohesive and accomplished some things on record that we’ve never done before. It’s definitely different for us. We slowed down a little bit and our songs are a little bit more thought out now, but I think it’s been a natural progression in terms of writing. It feels like in some songs you experimented with new elements, like more atmospheric sounds,

and all songs seem to link to each other making this album more cohesive. Is that something you wanted to do in your new songs? Yeah, you definitely nailed it. That was something that we thought about have into the record. It was really fun right about the time we started finishing the record because then we started thinking about how to make these songs’ transition into one another and how to make it an experience for the record front to back. When you’re actually listening to it, it’s something that you can sit down with and when you hit play, hopefully the way you feel when you’re listening to track one is the way you feel when you’re listening to the end of the record. I was just hoping to create something that has some replay value, you know? You’ll notice new things about it every time you listen to it, so hopefully that’s there. One of the highlights of your music is the emotional-driven lyrics, which you put a lot of passion into it and that makes the listener even more connected with your music. I read in an interview that you are the one who writes all the lyrics. Was that the case for I, No Longer as well? On this record actually it was really cool because the singer Jeramiah Pauly and I got a chance to actually collaborate on the material. A lot of his insights and words came through on a couple of the songs which is really awesome for me, because he’s the singer of the band. He’s the one that’s up in front of everybody, so the words for him were always interpreted in a way where he would look at my songs that I would write and he had to figure out a way to make them sense for himself. Now it’s a little bit different because he can attach himself to it in a much more personal way. We had some conversations and he had some lines of his own and ended up in the actual end product. That was really exciting. What did inspire you creatively to write the lyrics for this new effort? I think a lot of the themes on the record have less to do with relationships and things like that


INTERVIEW // PENTIMENTO

“I think we are in the same position as a lot of small bands, just trying to push forward and I think it’s a really good time for music right now.”

like on our previous stuff. I feel like there’s a lot more life that has happened since the band started. There’s a lot of themes on the record about what it is like to be in a band specifically and all the hardship that comes along with that and all the things that are taxing about that situation and what happens to your relationships when you’re on tour - whether or not they survive - and whether or not you can keep your shit together while doing that... Now that I’m becoming older or becoming an adult in some ways, you look at things differently and you look back at the life you’ve led and the mistakes you’ve made. It’s an interesting position to be in, to have to analyze yourself that way, but I do think it’s important for growth. I think this record is just my version of recounting what’s happened since the band started and talking about the ways my life has changed and our lives have changed, then hopefully writing some things in there that people can kind of hold on to. You worked with producer Paul Leavitt this time around. How was it like to work with him?

Paul was great. He definitely knows what he’s doing production wise. We’ve never had a recording that sounds the way that this particular recording came out. It’s super exciting to have a record that sounds like a real record. It sounds like a real band, you know? [laughs] It was really cool to hear our stuff being played back and it sounds so clear and so full, so that was really exciting. Paul had definitely a lot of insight while we were in the studio. He’s a very relaxed guy, so it was super comfortable for us. I really have no complaints. It wasn’t uncomfortable living in Baltimore for us because we were so unfamiliar with the area and with what was going on, but living in a studio is certainly an experience that I would love to have again and I hope that next time we get a chance to record an EP or LP 3 that we take the same approach, because I think it was the most productive we’ve ever been as a band. Paul certainly had a hand in that. He helped us out in a lot of ways, so we’re very thankful for the experience we had with him. Where do you see yourselves as

a band in 10 years from now? It’s a really tough question. This album is like make a break for us. We really need to feel like our band is moving forward and moving to the next level. If this release doesn’t aid in that, I really can’t say what we’ll be doing in 10 years, probably working regular jobs and doing regular things. It’s very tough to be in a small band at this level and have to stay active so your band is relevant, but also it keeps you pretty broke. It’s just a tough life to live to, going from paycheck to paycheck when you’re not on tour and then going out on the road and living off of $5 a day. It’s just not easy, so I don’t know how much longer anybody would be able to stand it. But you know, we’re just having our fingers crossed that this record would help us move forward in the ways that we want to. In 10 years, I really don’t know... I hope we’re still around, but I can’t say for sure. I, NO LONGER IS OUT NOW VIA BAD TIMING RECORDS

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a e r B y r a und

Bo

In the beginning of 2010 something really special happened when the Norwegian band SHINING released their fifth album Blackjazz. It was the introduction of the band to many people around the world, a metamorphose of sorts, and the beginning of something quite unique. Jazz and metal eye-to-eye again but with a new voice. Almost six years later, and with One One One in the middle, the band keeps growing in that world that they’ve created. It was about that world and the new International Blackjazz Society that we talked about with saxophonist/guitarist/ vocalist Jørgen Munkeby. Words by Tiago Moreira

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he new album is finally out, how do you feel, relieved or anxious? When it has been written, recorded, produced, mixed, mastered, and when I’m done with it and I’ve decided that I’m done – and obviously done with the artwork – then that’s the point where I’m relieved, mostly. Upon until then I constantly second guess myself and constantly wondering if I should do


h s a l p i h W g n i ak an album it’s not that a big of a deal to me because I can’t really do much after the album is written and recorded. I hope that everybody enjoy it, but after is finished, there’s nothing I can do to change that. Talking about second guessing, did you have a clear idea of what you wanted to achieve, writing this album? When I started making the album I was actually planning on writing one song, rehearsing it, recording it, mixing it, mastering it, and then release it. And I would repeat that process, one song at a time, in a pre-defined time schedule. For example, I would release a brand new song every three months for a couple of years. That way we could do documentaries and video clips about how the songs were made, etc. And the songs would be different. If we were on tour then we probably wouldn’t have time to

write, so maybe we would do a cover song and then we were home we could do more work. Each song would be defined by the period they were created. But pretty quickly I discovered that the three labels that we’re releasing on – one in Norway, one in Europe, and another one in the US – didn’t really agree if this was a good idea or not, and I didn’t want to spend time arguing with them, so I just continued making music. I said to myself that if they can’t decide then I’m just keeping writing and making music. Pretty soon, after that, it started to turn into the opposite and I started thinking about all the music as an album. So, when I made three songs I immediately put them together and thought of them as an album and we were kind of thinking what kind of songs would be useful for the album. If I had three up-tempo songs, maybe I wanted one mid-tempo, and other stuff to make the album as a whole interesting. So, pretty quickly I started thinking in that way and that’s how the album came together.

Are you considering to go back to that idea in the future? It’s a great idea and a great way to promote your music, especially in a world that’s so much single-orientated. Yeah, I think it’s a great idea and I would definitely love to do it in the future. The problem is that the music business, especially in rock and metal... Operating in the more old fashion way. Yeah, especially more than the EDM and dubstep scenes. Those scenes are operating in a different way. They’ve been basing their career in Soundcloud uploads and stuff like that. Skrillex was one of the biggest artists in the world without even having a full-length album released – there was just an EP. And also the pop world has started taking after that. In Norway all the new pop artists that are signed to Universal, they sign deals for singles. One song at a time. I’ve never heard about that. [laughs] In the rock and metal world the whole model is based on albums. Actually, we signed with Spinefarm Records and for the first time I had a contract that says how long the album should be – for example, they

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talk about the minimum amount of minutes. It has to do with money, basically. A vinyl or a CD cost a certain amount of money to make no matter how much music you put on it. So, if you have a CD with two songs it is hard to charge the same price, to the costumer, for it compared with a CD that has ten or fifteen tracks. The same thing goes for vinyl, the only difference being that the vinyl has a lower time limit [generally 45 minutes divided in two sides]. Those things they define the... That’s why the album is like it is and there’s also mechanical royalties. All these rules about how much – I forgot the details – but there’s a reason why... I remember a few weeks ago watching an interview with the rapper Lupe Fiasco and he was saying that he only receives royalties for the first eight or ten songs on the album. The remaining songs come out of his pocket. That’s right. That’s why most albums have ten or twelve songs. It depends on each country you are in. But that’s correct and you only receive money for songs that have more than one minute. The hip hop albums have a bunch of interludes between the songs, but they don’t count so they have ten or twelve real songs. This is especially true in the US. Their contracts, in the US, are twenty fucking pages long. There are reasons why these things are the way they are, and I’m not saying that it’s bad – an example of a good reason is the one I mentioned before with the CD and vinyl. Another version to the idea I told you before would be having a period where we would make a couple of songs, release them every couple of months, and then stopping and then after that start making an album. I think making an album while thinking about being a bigger thing is a great way to do it, but I also love the idea of making a song in a way that is supposed to be just a single, just a song by itself. Two different approaches that for me are equally great. You’ve studied music at the Norwegian Academy of Music. I’m always curious about the 64

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advantages and disadvantages of studying music at such technical level. What’s your take on it, what does your experience tell you? I always thought that the best way you could do to become a musician was to study music, study it intensely. Just to become knowledgeable and to become really good at every aspect of it, but – I’ve actually turned thirty five yesterday – in my last couple of years I started thinking and I’m not sure if that is the best way. It has worked for me well. It’s hard to say if it would, or would not, work out even better if I didn’t study music at the Norwegian Academy of Music. There are other musicians, in Norway, that have made really interesting, great, and unique stuff that have not been as well educated as me. I can’t, and I don’t want to tell anyone what’s the right way of doing it. I mean, I know a lot of well-educated musicians, that went through the same route as I, and that are now struggling to be a musician. They’re usually working as teachers or something else. And there are also musicians that haven’t studied music and that are also struggling. It’s possible to fail in both ways, and it’s possible to succeed in both. In your case, you were thinking outside of the box. No one was doing what you were doing before you, regarding Blackjazz. That thing – the combination between black metal and jazz – I wouldn’t have been able to do without going my route. Without starting listening to metal music when I was a kid and then spending an extreme amount of time and energy studying jazz music. I studied that, and only that, for ten years. If I hadn’t done that – listening to metal when I was a kid and then studying jazz – I wouldn’t have been able to combine those two things. I think that in our case both parts need to be believable, you know that I mean? A metalhead needs to believe that I have grown up and lived with metal music, that it’s in my blood, and a jazz fan needs to feel that when I play the sax I know what I’m doing, that I really know the jazz history, and that is really a part of me. If one of

those parts weren’t as strong as the other it would feel fake, it wouldn’t work. In which way do you see jazz and black metal being similar? There are so many different ways of playing of jazz, and there are so many different ways of playing metal, obviously. You’ve mentioned black metal which is just one part of the whole spectrum – New Wave of British Heavy Metal, thrash metal, death metal, prog metal, doom metal, etc. And then in the jazz world you have Dixieland jazz, big band jazz, bebop, free jazz, etc. So, there’s a lot in these two genres (jazz and metal) and not all of these things go well together, but in my mind the two things that have the strongest similarities between jazz and metal... First of all, I would say that some jazz saxophone players with a very hard, metallic tone. They have this aggressive, intense way of playing. Like for instance, John Coltrane in his later years and Albert Ayler. They have that kind of tone, and that’s the kind of tone that I have in mind in my sax. That really resembles a distorted guitar in the metal world, they sound pretty much the same. Another similarity between the jazz part and the metal part that I kind of combine... in the jazz world, in the late 60s/early 70s, it was when the free jazz music started they stopped being that much focused on the technical side of things and they started focusing more on the atmosphere and the feeling of the music. A lot of the music became very spiritual like John Coltrane’s most well-known album is called A Love Supreme [1965], which is like a whole tribute to God, in a way. And later on he had albums called, for instances Interstellar Space [1974]. So, it is a very spiritual thing. In the metal world you have people like Yngwie Malmsteen, who is focused on the technical side of playing, but on the other hand you have stuff like black metal which is more focused on the atmosphere, and the mood. They didn’t focus that much on the technical side. Also, there’s a spiritual side to it. Those aspects


INTERVIEW // SHINING

“A metalhead needs to believe that I have grown up and lived with metal music, that it’s in my blood, and a jazz fan needs to feel that when I play the sax I know what I’m doing, that I really know the jazz history, and that is really a part of me.”

go really well together. I remember Frank Zappa saying that it was Edgard Varèse’s The Complete Works that made him realize that anything was possible, even if it sounds weird as fuck. What was the artist that made you realize that it was possible to blend almost anything? To me, I would say that it was several artists that have opened up different doors. I started with metal music and the artists that made me feel that that music is

important was stuff like the Swedish band Entombed and Pantera – those were my favorite. And then I started to realize that you could mix different elements when I discovered Dream Theater and the death metal band Death, their latest era when Chuck Schuldiner started to infuse some jazz in it. In the jazz world, John Coltrane was the first artist that made me feel that I truly love jazz music, because before that I didn’t really like it. He really made me love jazz music and he also

opened up a lot of doors when it comes to harmonies, expanding the theoretical harmonic side of music... He did a huge job expanding that world. Miles Davis was one the jazz people that started introducing studio work and electronic instruments into jazz music, which was another revolution. I think that Dillinger Escape Plan is also one of the bands who’ve expanded my thought of what’s possible. And also Meshuggah with how they play metal in a very specific and

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very unique way, and how they focus on getting that swinging groove which I think is something that a lot of metal bands are not that good at. We really need to talk about the concert you played in a mountain, in a cliff-top 700 meters above ground. First question: were you thinking about cool ways to leave this world when you had this idea? [laughs] Actually, it wasn’t my idea. The idea came from a guy from that area that contacted us. He has been organizing festivals for some time and he knew about our band, and he knew that we’ve done weird stuff before, playing in weird places. So, he felt that we were the perfect band to do this, and I will tell you that as soon as I saw that email from our booking agent I thought it was a great idea. But I also knew that it was going to be really hard to pull it off, and I knew that it was going to be really dangerous... and really expensive. To be honest, I didn’t really think we would be able to do it, and to make it even harder we were confirmed for a festival show in Belgium for the day before. I didn’t think it was possible, but we figured that we could take a plain, in the evening, from Amsterdam to Bergen and there was a chance of getting there on time. We spent a lot time planning everything and making sure we brought what we needed and nothing more because we had to fly all the equipment up so we couldn’t bring backups of stuff and needed to have exactly the equipment we needed because if we had forgotten one extension cable then we wouldn’t be able to play the show. It worked out, but it was really dangerous. To tell you the truth, we didn’t even know if the cliff would able to take all that weight. We didn’t know what the loud bass frequencies could do, and stuff like that. The truth is, no one had ever tried that before. I have this question in my head for the last five years. Was King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man” cover chosen simply because you love the song, who did you want it there to help people understand what you were trying to achieve with Blackjazz in general? 66

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We were invited to play on a radio show in Norway, where the whole idea is artists come in and talk about another artist, they play some songs from that artist, and at the end of the show they perform a cover song from that artist. “21st Century Schizoid Man” was one of the options and we had some ideas on how to adapt that song so that it could work with our band. It was really a practical kind of decision. I like their music and I love to talk about it even though it’s not something that have really defined me as a musician. I mean, I still bought their albums because it’s an important band in music history. After that time playing the song we continued playing it live because we liked the version that we’ve made and then on the album... We weren’t sure if we were going to include it but we recorded it and worked a little bit on it, to make sure it sounded less blues rock and more industrial. Basically, we managed to get it to sound like the other Blackjazz’s songs. Like you said, we felt that it would help things in historical context. It would kind of explain, like you said, what we were doing and where we come from, and link it to another band has linked these kind of elements before. Because without a doubt King Crimson has been a link between jazz music and metal music before we were that link.

could have one song that could take it all the way down because we don’t have anymore. We used to have that a long time ago, but since Blackjazz everything has just been really hard. Those two reasons – to give a variation to our live set and also to give a variation to the album. That was the initial idea and then definitely the song “Hurt”, by Nine Inch Nails. One of NIN’s biggest songs, one of my favorite. They are known for their aggressive music while still they were able to make these ballads that didn’t sound cheesy. I felt that it could be possible and I started writing with that in mind. I actually thought about the possibility of making that song using just vocals and keyboards/synths, no band really, but then I sent two versions to our producer Dag Haaland Sætran and he liked the band version the most so we decided to go with that. Another place where I took some inspiration was from Queens of the Stone Age’s “If I Had A Tail”, from their latest album …Like Clockwork. It starts with Josh Homme singing and playing piano and there’s the band comes in, in the pre-choruses... It has kind of the same thing on “House of Control”. But I know that it is probably not possible to hear the similarities now because I’ve worked a lot with it and things changed. But yeah, those were my starting points.

International Blackjazz Society. Would it be fair to say that you guys went for branding with this title? Yeah, I think we already went for a branding title when we released Blackjazz in 2010. This is like expanding it, or making it bigger. Even solidifying the whole idea. It’s a statement.

Does it feel that you’ve travelled so far musically with Shining? You know, sometimes I feel that we’ve travelled so far and mostly that we’ve been trying for so long that I might as well just give up. We’ve been at it for fifteen or sixteen years. BUT then I remind myself that actually we can split our history in two. When Blackjazz was released that’s when something special happened, I think. That’s when a lot of people discovered us and Blackjazz is also the name of the music we make now. You can think of our band as if it started in 2010, and if I think that way then I would say that we haven’t really travelled that far, we’re still making music that sounds sort of like Blackjazz, and we’ve done pretty well since 2010. [laughs] A lot of musicians

I was really impressed with “House of Control”. How that song came to be? Like I said to you in the beginning, early on I started to think the album as one big album and after a while I felt it would be cool to see if we could have, if we could write a song that was softer. When we play headline shows and we play for an hour or more, sometimes... I thought it would be cool if we


INTERVIEW // SHINING

“Sometimes I feel that we spent a lot of time and we’ve travelled really far, and sometimes I feel we’ve just started and that we haven’t travelled that far.” play in a lot of bands during their life. They change bands, they change the name of the band, and there’s always a new band coming into the picture, while we’ve made new bands all along but we kept the name. Sometimes I feel that we spent a lot of time and we’ve travelled really far, and sometimes I feel we’ve just started and that we haven’t travelled that far. Have you been following the Middle East refugee situation? I’m curious to know how things in Norway in that regard are. I have. I actually spent quite a bit of time working on stuff related to that, in the last couple of weeks. A group of people in Oslo started a group near a local police station where the refugees come to get their papers processed. They started to have so many refugees that they have a hard time dealing with this situation. The refugees don’t have a proper place to sleep, don’t have proper foods. Just stuff like that. So, local people living

there saw that and they started making food for them, they started dropping by to see if the refugees needed clothes, and stuff like that. After a while I felt that they needed more help to do this. They started a Facebook group and they wanted a logo so I made a logo for them so that they could use in their pages, maybe use it to make some jackets for when they were working with the refugees – that way you could see exactly what they were doing. So, that’s really taking off in Norway. They started two weeks ago and now there are more than 60.000 people in that group. There are fifteen other places in Norway their local places to help the refugees. I’ve been adapting the logo to all these places. How’s the Norwegian government dealing with it? At the moment we have, unfortunately, a right-wing government. After the actual government took over we had for eight years a leftwing government, a socialist

government. Those years were really good – the economy, we were able to deal with crisis like that terrorist attack in Norway, etc. – but people just decided that they wanted something different and so we got a bunch of idiots to rule the country for a couple of years. That’s where we’re now. It’s two parties in the actual government, one that I would say it’s like the Republican party (basically for the rich guys) and then you have another one that’s even more right-wing than the first. Those two run the country together and they don’t want to spend the money on the refugees, they are trying to make it like the refugees are coming here to take our jobs and to live off of our society. They try to make people feel like we’ve worked so hard to make the country while in fact we were lucky because we discovered oil 40 years ago. [laughs] INTERNATIONAL BLACKJAZZ SOCIETY IS OUT NOW VIA SPINEFARM

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John


COMPLEX, UNSHAMED, BRAVE & PAINFULLY FUNNY. A TRUE AND UNIQUE ARTIST Words by Tiago Moreira

Grant

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“They say let go, let go, let go, you must learn to let go!!!! / If I hear that fucking phrase again, this baby’s gonna blow / Into a million itsy bitsy tiny pieces don’t you know / Just like my favorite scene in Scanners.” The four verses contained in the title-track and first proper song of John Grant’s latest album, Grey Tickles, Black Pressure, could be perceived as an encapsulation and description of Grant’s spirit. The former vocalist of the Denver-based alternative rock band The Czars had to deal with the lack of success of his previous band, the addictions (alcohol and drugs), depression, being HIV-positive (which he acknowledged back in 2012), and the fact that being gay isn’t easy period... not to mention the heartbreaking that came from an intense six-month relationship, the first in his sober adult life – 2013’s Pale Green Ghosts tackled the subject ferociously. These are the struggles Grant had to face. It was obvious that he didn’t have a problem to fight them in the mud and from that arrives Grey Tickles, Black Pressure, with the aggression that will not vanish and at the same time a victory lap of sorts – it’s never that simple with Grant. It was about the new album (which comes from the raw translation of two phrases from the Icelandic and Turkish languages respectively: “grey tickles” refers to approaching middle age; “black pressure” comes from the Turkish word for nightmare ) – a John Congletonproduced album with special participations of people like Amanda Palmer, former Everything But the Girl vocalist Tracey Thorn, and onetime Siouxsie & the Banshees drummer, Budgie – that we spoke with the Iceland-based and Colorado-born singer-songwriter. 70

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ust a few days before your new album to be released. Is it in any way kind of nerve racking for you? Do you feel nervous about it? [Note: At the time of the interview, John Grant’s new album was about to be released] No... [pause] I’m not nervous about it, I’m just excited about it. I feel proud of the record that I have done so I’m looking forward to it. And the work we have been through... lots of work getting it ready and so if there was any nervousness that was a long time ago. [laughs] Is it easy, for a guy like you, to wrap your head around the success and accolades that you been having with your solo career? No, it is not easy for me to wrap my head around that. I... you know, I’ve questioned a lot and a lot of times, I question whether I deserve it and... but I’m getting a lot better just accepting it and enjoy it. There’s one side of it which is you wanting to disqualify the success that you’re having because you sort of think that, “If I accept this then something horrible is going to happen to me.” But I’m getting much better at just sort of being in the moment and enjoying it because there are a lot of great things happening and it’s nice to be able to just accept it and enjoy it. So, I’m getting a lot better at that, but yeah, it has been sort of mindfuck, you could say. On Pale Green Ghosts’ title track you confess “I am right here but I want to be there”. How much of that kind of “drifter” state of mind/persona makes its way onto the creative process? [pause] I don’t know, I think the creative process is more about the moment and not about fantasy. Not wanting to be here and wanting to be there is more a fantasy and an escape. So, I think that the creative process for me is more about reality and being in the moment than it is about escape... Although I can describe a scenario where I’m experiencing the desire

but mostly... That line that you are talking about is sort of the... that line talks about the young person who is somebody that is going through adolescence and thinks that if he goes somewhere else things will be easier or better. I think that when you are younger you might be something like that but I belong since realized [laughs] that you can’t escape anything by going somewhere else. It is what it is. The thing is, I think that you keep getting the same lessons until you decide to learn them, and I think that sometimes it takes a long time, but you still keep getting the same shit over and over until you finally learn the lesson and it doesn’t matter where in the world you go. Did it take you a long time to realize that? Yeah, I would say that it took me longer than I would wish would happen. [laughs] Listening to Grey Tickles, Black Pressure, it seems that you were in a complete different place compared with where you were with Pale Green Ghosts. Well, I was in a much better place. I mean, I sort of didn’t have the sadness that I felt over the failure of the relationship that I talked about on my first two albums [Queen of Denmark (2010) and Pale Green Ghosts (2013)], which was basically me talking about my failure as a person. It was basically me sort of dealing with a lot of things that were uncovered inside of me as a result of the failure of that relationship. A lot of things that were very painful for me to face and... you know, when I did this album I had come through a lot of that and come out on the other side, and I was in a new relationship. One that was benefiting from all the lessons that I’ve learned from the last one. I mean, it took me a long time to... I really had to decide that I was going to learn the lessons in order to move past and forget about it, until... When I started doing this album there was none of that pain left and so I was


INTERVIEW // JOHN GRANT

“... I wanted to be as nasty as possible because I feel like there has been a lot of nastiness directed at me in my life...”

also benefiting from being in love. That is a very uplifting feeling, of course. With this new album at times I get this stand-up comedy feeling from you. I started thinking in comics like George Carlin, Bill Burr, Louis CK, etc. Did that specific world influenced you in any way? Oh yes, definitely. I would say that my heroes are like Woody Allen, and as far as when it comes to comedy I’ve gotten a lot of my humor from Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, and a lot of British comedy like Alan Partridge – you know, Steve Coogan’s work -, Julia Davis, and also Chris Morris, you know

that... Brass Eye and [Blue] Jam, and all that sort of thing. Also, Gary Larson, the creator of The Far Side... The Simpsons, it has always been very big for me. So yeah, that world is extremely important for me. Saturday Night Live and people like Gilda Radner, Tina Fey, Kristen Wiig... So, that world is very important to me and you definitely can see it in my work, I think. You’ve said in an interview, “Say I feel like shit and look in the mirror and am like, ‘Fuck, you again.’” But it seems that in tracks like “Down Here” and “Voodoo Doll” you’re not only looking at the mirror, but you’re

also taking the time to have a conversation with the person on the mirror. Is it a more recurrent thing in your life now that you’re almost reaching your 50s? Definitely! Absolutely! I think I’ve stopped... When I decided to get sober eleven years ago, that was the beginning of me wanting to have the conversation with myself, and basically I was taking away all the crutches that I was using to avoid this conversation with myself, and avoid myself. I was basically an optimist. I was saying, “I’m going to take away all of these defense mechanisms, I’m going to take away these escape devices, and I’m going to

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figure it out what the fuck is going on with me and why am I so troubled and why am I finding it so difficult to... grow up.” [laughs] To become a part of this world which we live in... I’m really glad that I did that. It’s not always fun, that’s for sure, but it needed to happen. But it seems that it is getting easier for you. Yeah, I would say that. For sure. Would it be fair to say that Frank Zappa was a direct influence with the song “Snug Slacks”? No, not at all. I would say that... I mean, I could see that, for sure, and I do like him, but I have not YET made the effort to really get to know his work. I would say that “Snug Slacks” probably comes from Grace Jones. Although the delivery is very Frank Zappa, I would say. Yeah, exactly. That’s why I asked. I mean, that’s a great compliment because I think he is fantastic. So, thanks for that. [laughs] And you know, I saw a tweet on Twitter from Moon Unit Zappa [Frank Zappa’s daughter] about my music, saying that she likes my music. That’s interesting. That was just a few weeks ago. It seems that “You and Him” was a pure exercise of being as nasty as possible, diss track level, really. How much time did it take you to get all those punchlines? That is like a long and great bit. [laughs] Thank you! Yeah, that is one of my favorite ones. That one just developed over time and I think that it has my favorite line on the album, “You probably went to Chernobyl to your honeymoon and you probably acted surprised when they showed you the room.” I think that’s my favorite thing on the record. Yeah, I wanted to be as nasty as possible because I feel like there has been a lot of nastiness directed at me in my life... People expressing to me that I should be dead because I’m gay and that I’m an inferior human being because I’m gay. But I was also thinking about many different... I mean, that song is about very different levels of hatred. It’s about good business. It’s about how things like the food industry in the States, and 72

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the tobacco industry in the States, about how they scientifically engineer their products to... you know, they target children, they engineer their products to be addictive, and unhealthy, and they know what they’re doing. And you see the obesity rising in the States but... it’s good money. Sugar is good money, junk food is good money, and so that is what we have. And people committing genocide... So, it’s about the nastiness in the world and it’s about all this subtler forms of hatred. It’s certainly not directed towards a specific person. I guess that comes across very clearly. It’s about hatred because I’ve never understood how you could go out into the world... I never understood that, I guess I was always, maybe it was just because I was very sensitive, but I never wanted to go out into the world and hurt other people. There’s a lot of people out there in the world that will go out, who leave their homes every day looking to kill, humiliate, or harm, or fuck with, and I... I don’t understand that. I do understand that is a pattern that comes from childhood and being raised in a certain way, but I really hate it, I hate to see people who go out and look to victimize other people, and attack other people. I really hate, I really hate it that so that song is about that. Don’t people sometimes assume that you’re harming them just for the sake of it when in fact you’re just being honest about something? No. I mean, sometimes it is me exposing myself to myself. Sometimes it is me looking at myself and saying... [pause] Because my reaction to being hurt is just as revealing as the things that were done to me so I mean, the way I react to things is extremely revealing about what kind of a person I am and how I have been affected by the things that have happen to me. I think it’s more about being honest. It’s more about just absorbing things exactly the way they are. And there’s a lot of ugly things there too, that aren’t pretty and I’m not proud of some of those things but I think

it’s better to look at them exactly the way they are and that way you can deal with them, you know? You don’t have to be proud of those things but you also don’t have to hide them. No, because I don’t think you can hide them anyway. Most people can see through you. I mean, sure a lot of people don’t give a shit about you, or about me, or about anyone else. Most people are just worried about themselves, but also when you’re dealing with people in the everyday life most people can pick up... you know, people aren’t stupid either. People can – and I’m not talking about education here – just sense where other people are coming from and so a lot of people think they are pulling wool over other people’s eyes by putting on an act and most of the time if you ask people they are like, “Oh no, that’s all bullshit. I can tell. The guy is bullshit.” Even if you’re good at it... you can’t fool everybody, for sure, but not forever. To me is about honesty because that feeling is where I could get better. Could you please shed some light on why did you decide to open and close the album with a biblical quote (from 1 Corinthians 13)? First of all you can come at it from... It is looking at it from several different angles. People use it in weddings all the time and so it’s sort of an ironic thing because the divorce rate is over half, or whatever, and yet people are always starting off their lives by talking about this verse in their weddings, even if they aren’t religious sometimes, or even if they aren’t practicing. So, I just thought it was interesting because the whole album is about love, the different aspects of love... or at least what humans call love. The way we feel on this planet. We think that is normal to be jealous, normal to be... I don’t think that... Well, I guess that for me it’s more of just like an anthropological study of the way things have been for me on planet Earth, and just sort of what I was told because I heard that verse all the time when I was growing up


INTERVIEW // JOHN GRANT

“... the way I react to things is extremely revealing about what kind of a person I am and how I have been affected by the things that have happen to me...”

because I grew up in a very religious environment. And so I thought it was very interesting and beautiful to sort of... I mean, because it is an incredible verse, it’s quite beautiful, but... But unfortunately it is not practiced all the time. I would say it’s rarely practiced, you know? [laughs] Of course you do see people really loving each other, but I think it’s a very difficult, very long process and you have to stick with it. You have to commit over a long period of time and these days it’s all about what’s the best way for me, you know? I want to get the best piece of ass, and I want to get the best situation

for me so that I can have all the things that I want. I’m basically just absorbing the way love has been in my life and the way I was told it was supposed to be. So, in the beginning you hear it coming from all these different languages which sorts of represents the world, the chaos of the world telling you the way things are supposed to be, and then I have my own experience in the form of twelve songs, and then at the end after all of that mess – the chaos of the world and the mess you’re made of love in your own life – you have the voice of a child saying those words all over again and... it sounds very different. I really like it, I think it’s quite beautiful even though you’re looking

at from many levels just because you heard that verse for years in all these different situations... and so there’s a big cheesy and hip factor attached to it as well, you know? But then when you hear a child saying those words it sounds quite different because you know that a child isn’t being devious and the child doesn’t even know how to do it wrong yet. You know what I mean? [laughs] Because they love no matter what. Yeah, exactly. So... I thought it was a good choice. GREY TICKLES, BLACK PRESSURE IS OUT NOW VIA BELLA UNION

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D N O W E H T

V D A & P E E D , E R U MAT

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ______ rough time during the a h ug ro th ng oi g er Aft r new record, The ei th of ss ce ro p e tiv crea ed themselves to ng lle a ch rs a Ye er d Won ter define them et b ld ou w t a th rd co deliver a re mates. No Closer To nd a b nd a ns ia ic us m s a more. We couldn't nd a t a th ll a is n ve Hea at with bassist ch to ty ni tu or p op e th miss e by letting om es w a s a w ho w , in rt Josh Ma bout the band and us know even more a ng record. about their amazi

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INTERVIEW // HEALTH

S R A E Y R E D Y

Words by Andreia Alves // Pictures by Kelly Mason

VENTUROUS

our new album No Closer To Heaven has landed at #9 on the Billboard Top Albums, making it the largest debut of your career. How do you feel about that? Oh really? That’s great, I didn’t know! There’s been a lot going on, but we’re really happy and humble about what happened so far. We’ve a lot of people reaching out to us and they’re very kind with what they’re saying which is great and we just try to do our best to put people on a position that it’s favorable to them to buy. We’ve done a whole run of instore performances where we come to play “as long as you bought the record, you come to see us.” It’s pretty great. You said that this new album is the best one you’ve ever made. What makes it to be that way for you? I think every record we make, we try to challenge ourselves to try new things and write better songs, and that’s not to say we think the old records aren’t good, but we just think that we’ve been the best of expressing our viewpoints and our musicianship on this one better than we’ve ever had before. I think we did a lot of interesting work musically on this one and I think our singer Dan made an effort to kind of approach new topics in the lyrics than he used to as much or as deliberately and I think he did a great job with that.

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Dan suffered from writer’s block while writing the lyrics for this new album. How did that affect the whole writing process for this album? Yeah, a little bit because we write all together... Dan writes all the lyrics and helps with the music. It has happened before, where someone is frustrated because they are not being able to come up with anything and they have their own writer’s block. That’s why we’re kind of a team and we try to work together. We would usually be working on songs that we really like, you don’t have any lyrical ideas and he would be like “You don’t stop! I don’t know... just keep going and I’ll try to catch up.” So we wrote our songs with a kind of open-ended. We didn’t find slighty out of tune, we didn’t share the lyric process with anyone, gave us some time to work, so a lot of some freedom was no melody there, but then you have to adjust eventually or he would write a great melody that he would normally in the begin of the music. What did you do differently this time around while writing these new songs? He (Dan) tried to change his approach a little bit and when we sat down to find out what was going on his mind, how he could speak to somebody - not just in America book but the whole world - and he really took some chances I think, whining stuff that might be considered too political for us or something, but the point with it to be political for me it’s trying to get people to educate themselves just as a lot of us have about ways of equality, gender equality... Punk music has been dealing with that forever, but now it’s much bigger. Younger people can really have their voice heard in a big way if we educate ourselves and motivate people to try for a change. It’s kind of a lofty goal, but even if one person tries to do something positive in the community, that’s incredible. And also, if you just want to listen to the record to think the risks are good, that’s also great, do you know what I mean? But you try to know a little bit more socially that empower people, we know we have a young audience... they’re in 76

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high school, college and they can make a difference. What does the title No Closer to Heaven represent to you guys? It’s kind of like a dedication to the more you learn about a topic the more you start to realize there’s so much to learn and there’s so much work to be done and the point is to keep trying, keep gathering information and keep educating yourself no matter how close you get or how far you’re still are, but you wanna go further. The quote “We’re no saviors if we can’t save our brothers” is constantly sang in the songs of No Closer To Heaven. Why’s that? It’s kind of like a discharge and it doesn’t have to literally be a brother, but it could be a discharge for your community, you know? Supporting people around you and trying to be a positive change in your community as much as you can, help those directly and influence them... It’s a community thing. Dan would have a better answer about that, but it’s generally about community and about supporting one another. “Cardinals” is such an intense song and the video as well, where Dan is carrying a man unconscious down a street. How was it to shoot that video for you guys? I thought it was a really cool video for us because the song is really fast and heavy, especially when we play it live, but I feel the director Kevin Slack knew how kind of capture that energy in a different

“... the point with it to be political for me it’s trying to get people to educate themselves just as a lot of us have about ways of equality, gender equality... Punk music has been dealing with that forever, but now it’s much bigger...”

way. For me, shooting the video was super easy because I wasn’t doing anything, I kind of stood around, but it was pretty fraying physically for Dan. It’s weird because it’s in slow motion, but he is running as fast as he can while carrying an adult. It was pretty taxing on him, but I thought it was really cool the way they planned everything out, the way they timed it and I think Kevin did a great job with it. There are two songs that are about Patsy Cline and Ernest Hemingway - “A Song for Patsy Cline” and “A Song For Ernest Hemingway”. Why did Dan choose those two people? There’s a thing about Patsy Cline and references that on the song that she’s literally having these dreams and telling people that she thinks she’s going to die and before she eventually dies - it kind of haunted her. Ernest Hemingway had a kind of self-destructive nature and Dan was kind of connected with those two stories with his writer’s block and tried to figure out how to write and what to write about and struggling with that. I think he connected with some of the stories of those two people and it was kind of an ode to them to use their names on the record. Jason Aalon Butler from letlive. was a guest vocals on the song “Stained Glass Ceilings.” How did he get in the picture to be part of that song? That song really focuses on the grow-up privileged in America, and Dan and Jason have formed a friendship... We played a lot of shows together, we did a world tour together and we did a lot of European stuff together. We’re huge fans of letlive. and also Jason’s work. He’s very outspoken and strives to make a social change as well, so we thought that there was no one better to voice their opinion on that track with his awesome voice. He was pretty incredible to work with in the studio, he did an incredible job performing on the song, like the vibe of his performance was incredible and we’re really happy with it.


INTERVIEW // THE WONDER YEARS

You had additional group vocals provided by Allison Weiss, Charlie Saxton, Brett Jones, Joanna Katcher, Natalie Schaffer and Dave Summers. Yeah, we had Allison Weiss, our friend Dave, Brett from Fireworks, there were a few people on there... We had a couple of women joining us because they make it sound better, you know what I mean? We created a whole voice and it sounded awesome. Allison is a great singer and having our friends coming and doing it was cool. It was a funny experience. We just shared our record a little bit with other people. And how was it like to record No Closer To Heaven for you guys? It was great. We worked with Steve Evetts. We have a great working relationship with him now and we really know each other and he’s really comfortable. He helps and he captures some great moments. He knows what we like and we know what he is not going to like. I love working with Steve and we get to go Southern California and relax. It’s always nice out there and so

it’s a comfortable environment and then you go on and focus on making something great together. The artwork for No Closer To Heaven is just amazing and it was illustrated by Michael Cortada. What does that image represent? The front cover is kind of an ode to one of the lyrics in “Cigarettes & Saints” and even lend to some of the most holy idol still has a vice, still has a struggle, you know what I mean? It’s kind of the humanity of a holy idol, and it doesn’t have to be holy related, but even just someone you look up to with great admiration who’s still human. I think that’s a lot where the cover came from and I think Michael did a great job kind of reaching outside of his comfort zone and try something new, he really did an incredible job. You also have an awesome artwork for the poster of the tour with Motion City Soundtrack, STATE CHAMPS & You Blew It. Yeah, it was Michael. We were trying to figure out what to do for the tour promotion and we were talking with Michael like “You’re

going to strove like a badass animal in the same style with a cool vibe” and he did that. I think he did a great job, it’s a really cool bear head. Besides this tour, next year you’re going to do handful shows in the UK with Enter Shikari. Are you planning on doing a more extensive European tour in 2016? There is no plan right now, but it doesn’t mean we’re not going to do it. We’ve done a couple of European tours and we’ll probably do another one, but I can’t tell you when or where. We’re looking forward to the UK shows with Enter Shikari and we’ll see what next year holds, but we would like to get back over there and perform the songs from this new record for everyone in Europe. One of the best parts about touring is getting to see new places, experience new cultures and meet the people from those cities and countries. NO CLOSER TO HEAVEN IS OUT NOW VIA HOPELESS RECORDS

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R W E N A G N I UNLEASH

English rockers/punkers KILLING JOKE are legendary and highly influ Over almost four decades of existence they've stood tall not only w ferocious music but perhaps more importantly with their unapologetic political comments. They’ve just released their sixteenth album, Pylon, a leader/founding member Jaz Coleman was kind enough to share his th the state of the world, the vitality of his work (some people have that band’s latest album, and the documentary The Death and Resurrecti Words by Tiago Moreira

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RITUAL

uential. Fact! with their c social and and vocalist/ houghts about t right), the ion Show.

would never think that these things would happen.

2015

is not only the year of the release of a new Killing Joke’s album, but also the release of The Death and Resurrection Show, the documentary about Killing Joke. How was the experience of having a documentary made about what’s one of the most important aspects of your life and how did you feel about the final product? I co-directed with Shaun [Petigrew]. So yeah, it was a big work. I wanted to keep some of the most painful parts of my career, and darkest moments... I wanted to keep them on camera, and have a very different approach to documentaries. So, I was open, I was transparent, you could say, to the approach. Before I did The Death and Resurrection Show, I did a movie called Year of the Devil [Rok ďábla in its original title], a Czech movie that has become very famous here, and there were no actors in this movie. Everything is arranged by chance, there’s no actors and it’s natural. I did The Death and Resurrection Show after this and used the same sort of approach to the documentary. Doing the documentary you had to look at the past. Do you find them scary, the similarities between then and now, the brutal stagnation in some areas of our world and society? You guys were talking about stuff in the 80s that haven’t really changed 30 years later. Yeah, that’s right. It’s true. Especially now when you can see that we’ve entered into the new Cold War with Russia. There’s definitely a sort of recurrence of the same feeling, but more so now it’s a different kind of warfare, thirty years on. They refer to it as “full-spectrum dominance”. It’s more what you can’t see. For example, who would have thought that thirty years later that every one of our phone calls is not only being listened to but also recorded to then be put into metadata? Who would have thought that the United Kingdom would become the biggest surveillance state on the planet? I

And people thought Nixon and the Watergate scandal was bad. There are people now that almost put Nixon as a lamb. That’s right. If you look at the way... There are so few people that turn up for general elections and participating in democracy. It means, basically, that people don’t really trust or have any confidence in our current system. For example, these new trade... Supposedly, they call it trade agreements like The Trans-Pacific Partnership that are taking away all soverency from every nation state or every single tree. Basically every nation state will be forced to accept genetically modified food, biotech industry, and so forth. For example, under these agreements corporations will be able to sue nation states for loss of earning. Effectively a nation state will be a little more than a protectorate. We’re moving into a time of centralized governments, but the world government that we’re talking about. That’s what they have been trying to, that’s what their goal is, of course. Our society is becoming incredibly fragmented. You go out for an evening with your friends and they’re all looking in their fucking iPhones and iPads, and nobody is really communicating properly with each other or having an interaction of any depth or substance anymore. “Cattle for slaughter”. Sure! I think a combination of what’s been sprayed in the air and what’s been put in the food and water... people become fucking zombies. You’re from England. How do you feel about this situation regarding the Middle East refugees and this 20.000 refugee’s limit for this year that David Cameron and his government want to impose? It’s ironic that most of these refugees that are coming from Syria into Europe... Libya where we bombed and Syria where we started wars. The reason why they’re not staying in their own countries it is because we destroyed them, essentially. Either with multi-nationals or with wars

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that we have instigated over there. And when they start coming over here, we start bitching about. [laughs] What you expect me to say? I’m disgusted by it. It’s outrageous. It’s unbelievable. It’s shocking. Look, you have to realize that the majority of the election voted for David Cameron, and they believe in that shit. There you are. What can I say? Even more incredible is spending billions on upgrading the Trident system [UK’s nuclear war system] when we can’t even launch our independent nuclear weapon because basically we can only have the launch codes from Washington. So basically we’re paying billions for our Trident nuclear weapon that we… we can’t even bomb Italy with it [laughs] without asking America first. Effectively we get the bill for something we can’t use properly. I mean, it’s just a fuck scam from hell. Again, the people who benefit from this situation are the military industrial complex... More corporations. That’s really what this is all about. And the whole war... war is just big, big, big business. It’s never going to go away as long as we have a huge military industrial complex. And then we think about the whole power structure in the West, everything is run by central bankers. The politicians don’t do jack shit, they can’t do jack shit... all presidents. The top of the pyramid is the central banks. This is the kind of backdrop to the Pylon record. The uncertainties of the future, the fact that we’re moving towards a totalitarian technocratic dictatorship, basically. People are sleepwalking to it and it is nearly complete. I have to say, bringing these things to people’s attention through Killing Joke... I don’t see any other group doing anything remotely close to what we are doing. In one of the most critic times of these last decades of music, with a political voice, seems so fragmented. What do you make of this situation that seems kind of unique, where music is for the most part detached from reality and the things that matter? It’s just become a pleasure 80

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principle. It’s become so eclectic, people have so many choices... there’s no direction with music. There’s no serious experimentation and the quality of music, of course, because everybody downloads music from free and stuff. The quality of recordings of course is going to suffer in the end. That’s why all the big studios are going down. Recording and getting good drum sounds and things like this are things from the past now. It’s sad in many respects to see all these things happen. You know I worked with an orchestra and in different areas of music. I do Arabic music, and sometimes film music, and stuff like that... I had this fucking manager say to me, “There’s no money in classical music. There’s no money in Arabic music.” I just said, “Well, fuck off!” [laughs] I mean, there’s no money in music, unless you go out and do concerts because the internet stolen from all the musicians. But I don’t mind. It’s not going to change my life. I’m still completely committed to doing as many concerts as possible and do what I love. It doesn’t really make a great deal of difference to me. I’m not going to change my lifestyle because suddenly they say, “Music is no longer economically viable, and so you should all stop.” GET FUCKED! That’s where we are in the world with orchestras and classical music. It’s no longer economically viable. I guess that’s why there are few bands tackling political and social issues. It seems that they are making a tremendous effort to push away that kind of music. It’s not just in music. In schools they are getting rid of music completely. They just want to concentrate on STEM subjects Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics – and that is because essentially these current establishment, they see the arts as a potential hop of descent. And that’s why you see the children going to school and not having any decent music education, unless they go to an elite school and they got lots of money. Generally speaking, that’s the case, which is sad because essentially what we’re doing is developing only one side

of the brain, one side of cerebral hemisphere, which is dangerous and shocking for our emerging society. What did you want to convey with the title for this new album? The word Pylon is kind of a reference to the transmission towers. They can be used to convey high frequencies or ultra-low frequencies sounds. Once they spread the air properly enough fucking part course directly injected into our system, we will literally be able to experience intracerebral hearing. We will be able to hear voices, anything they bin to us, with ultra-low frequencies. We would be living, walking human antennas. [laughs] The Cold War lasted something like five decades. Do you have any predictions when this one will end... or when it will be turned into a third world war? It’s began. They don’t use nuclear weapons in the new war. It’s full-spectrum dominance. It’s invisible. You can’t see what’s happening. You said regarding the year 2012, “This year is about getting our collective dreams in order, restoring the biosphere, the idea of well-being as opposed to economic growth, the idea of partnership and co-creation with fellow human beings, moving away from national boundaries and more towards what [Friedrich] Schiller and Beethoven were saying in some of their work.” How do you feel now, three years after? The world is getting worse, of course. I think the world is polarizing more, people are waking up to the fact that we’re seem to be heading towards that kind of environment where corporations run supreme over everybody. This illegal trade agreements that we talked about earlier and so there’s going to be a big polarization. How this will play out, what’s going to happen remains to be seen but it seems that the West is trying to have full-spectrum dominance over the whole planet. What’s happening is a scramble for resources to be the dominant power so it’s a very unstable time geopolitically. That


INTERVIEW // KILLING JOKE

“Our music is about struggle ultimately, and I guess that’s why Killing Joke is so relevant these days. It’s because we’re still relishing struggle of our existence and what we do with our art.” being said, I do think that many people have woken to the fact that there’s no future for capitalism because everything is gone. We need a new planet to rape. So, if there’s no need for capitalism then there’s no need for banking elite. We’re talking basically a whole restructuring of society and our values. I think that compared to three years ago things have got worse regardless the fact that Mr. Obama has a nice face... it seems that the system is alive and kicking, it seems to me. Forget about politics for a second what we try to do in Killing Joke is to create a little bit of Paradise Now, if you like. The Killing Joke concept is a place I feel at home. I feel a sense of liberty. In a sense, we created our own space of liberty, our own autonomous zone, if you like. It’s our lifestyle. The struggle to be free. Most

people give their precious time to be working in an awful job, in an awful place, with awful people. And that’s if they’re lucky to get a job. We’re moving into a time of slavery. You have by now recorded sixteen full-length albums. Did you find yourself this time around having a completely different experience recording the new album or was it not that far removed from past experiences? All Killing Joke albums are traumatic and this one was no exception. When we have four alpha males colliding with each other... it’s never a straightforward procedure. And it’s been a difficult year and more difficulties usually mean better music. Life isn’t always straightforward for Killing Joke. We didn’t sign up for an easy life. Our music is about struggle.

Killing Joke is so relevant these days. It’s because we’re still relishing struggle of our existence and what we do with our art. How do you feel sharing the stage with all these younger bands? I mean, Killing Joke isn’t a band relying on the past. That’s right. We’re really concentrating on the present tense and future. The past is something that we don’t tend to discuss a great deal... what’s done is done. Look, it’s a great honor be in Killing Joke. It’s incredible and I think it’s the best decision I’ve ever made, to be in a band. [laughs] As Peter Hook [Joy Division, New Order] says, “It’s the best job in the world.” [laughs] PYLON IS OUT NOW VIA SPINEFARM RECORDS

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fear WALKING DEAD THE

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INTERVIEW // LE BUTCHERETTES

Two years after the end of the Doom Metal behemoth Cathedral, Lee Dorrian returned alongside with former Electric Wizard alumni Tim Bagshaw and Mark Greening to form the unrelentingly brutal With The Dead. We caught up with Lee and talked about the origin of the band, the inspirations behind their newest self-titled debut and how the metal landscape will become after giants finally stop walking the earth, among other topics. Words by LuĂ­s Alves

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F

or what I know, With the Dead has already been around for a year now. How did this new project started? Well, hopefully it’s more of a band than a project. I don’t want it to be seen as a band that just does one album and that’s it, no shows, and then it just disappears. I think it’s too good to let that happen. I wasn’t initially part of the band. Tim Bagshaw lives in the States these days in New Jersey, and he’s lived there for some years now. He’s married to an American girl and came back earlier last year to the UK to meet with Mark Greening. They discussed maybe having a jam together, because since Tim went to America, the band they were in before, Ramesses, came to an end I suppose, but in the meantime, Tim asked me if Rise Above would be interested in releasing something by this new project if they got enough material to record an EP, and I said I’m interested in doing something with the band but not an EP, because EPs are kind of an invalid format these days, especially if you have to fly someone down from America just to record a few tracks for an EP, which it’s kind of pointless. So, I’ve said “send me some stuff when you have it”. I was definitely interested, he sent me some tracks by the course of the last year and I really liked the stuff he was sending over. Straight away I just thought it was really cool, he was coming out with stuff which wasn’t complicated, it was kind of straightforward, to the point and raw, with a freshness about it that have been missing. I mean, I’m not saying that it was in anyway innovative or even original, it just sounded fresh and I was like “wow, yeah, this stuff sounds really great!”. They were just demos that he recorded in his bedroom with a four track and a drum machine. I said, “why don’t you come on over again to jam with Mark and go through all the material that you’ve got and record it?” Then I went down to the studio whilst 84

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they were recording and to be honest, I didn’t think the recordings turned out really well, they sounded too unprofessional and the studio wasn’t very good, and I guess they only had a couple of days to rehearse and then recorded it straight off, so there wasn’t any time to really get the songs a full attention as a unit. What I suggested was using those original recordings as some kind of demo and coming back to them at a later point, during which time they were asking me if I wanted to contribute vocals to the recordings and I said I would love to, but I really didn’t have the time. I was a bit apprehensive because I have so much work to do at Rise Above all the time, but committing to being in the band was complicated. So, what made you think about joining the band as a full-time member? As time went on, I got more into the idea, because I thought that the actual material was pretty killer and in all of these past years since I’ve been in Cathedral, I didn’t have anywhere to get all this shit out my system and it builds up. For all these years when I was in Cathedral there was a platform for me, whenever I wanted to get up there and get all the creative stuff out. That was one of the things I missed about being in a band, I mean, a lot of things I didn’t missed at all, but that was one of the things, so they asked me again and again and a few other times and I eventually said yes and then I just started to think about ideas of how I would approach the songs and the kind of lyrical content. I arranged for Tim to fly back over in March this year and record the record again, but properly this time. There was a six month gap between the original recordings and the proper ones and at least it gave Mark a bit of time to let the songs sink in properly and just think about how he wanted to attack and approach them without being rushed. That also gave me time to let the vibe of the overall proceedings to resonate inside my head a bit more, which it did and I thought of loads of ideas, but I didn’t actually write anything down, pen to paper, right before going into the

studio really, and that’s how the band came together. I recorded all the vocals first take, for the first time in like, two hours, one night pretty much. The whole idea was that we wanted to keep the LP as raw and spontaneous sounding as possible really. We had an agreement amongst ourselves, where I’ve said “look, if I’m going to do this, we’re just going to make the most crushing, uncompromising heavy record we can possibly make between us”, and I think when that’s your only rule, it’s quite easy to be focused. Speaking about Tim and Mark, it’s your first time working with them. In which way did you find that experience different in comparison with your past bands? It was just easy, I mean, it was really easy I think, because there was no kind of excess baggage or overhang from previous releases and because it was a brand new band, it was very straightforward musically. I mean, I spend a lot of time thinking about the songs, but actually putting pen to paper I never spend more than half an hour writing the lyrics for each track. Everything was very instinctive, it just felt right, and I wanted it to be that way. I kind of said to myself that I don’t want to torture myself over writing lyrics, spending three months on one line or something like that. I just want it all to sound off the wall and as spontaneous as possible. Sometimes with Cathedral we probably thought too much about what we were doing, other times we didn’t think at all, we just went for it, whatever came out. This album, With The Dead, was just very focused from start to finish. I suppose the last Cathedral album The Last Spire was pretty focused and other albums like Endtyme and Forest of Equilibrium have been very focused. Other ones have been quite random in the way they were approached. Overall, this was just a lot more straight. To me, it was the easiest record I’ve ever made, to be honest. We just wanted to keep everything sounding raw! There’s takes when you can hear the feedback wasn’t


INTERVIEW // WITH THE DEAD

“The record is almost like a soundtrack to our own personal hell, because we’re kind of comparing reality to some kind of horror movie in many respects...” edited, it’s just like as it was, straight from the gut. We really don’t hear a lot of that nowadays... Too many bands are spending too much time on making everything sounding perfect and it’s fucking boring. I want to hear a band that makes mistakes. I want to hear a band with something that sounds messed up. It’s just getting boring all this processed production. I just want to listen to the punk attitude again in music really. Fuck Pro-Tools and all that kind of stuff, it’s kind of boring! The band released a statement mentioning that the record is about “voices inside your head, the anguish in your soul and the death you see around you.” Seems like the album was kind of an exorcism for various things. Could you elaborate a bit further on what inspired you to write? Just general existence. I’ve been

for a rough few years myself in my personal life, which is private stuff, I don’t want to go on talking about that, but also just general shit that’s gone on with people around me stabbing me in the back, or at least it has felt that way. Even members of Electric Wizard, previously... the whole kind of shit storm that went on with that band when we broke with them from Rise Above Records, it was Justin Oborn saying a lot of bullshit about me all over the internet at whatever opportunity he could, he just seemed to want to be negative about me, instead of being like a real man and coming to me face to face and telling me what he actually thought to my face, instead of just making up all this bullshit. We could have come to some amicable situation, but obviously he didn’t want that. He obviously thinks he’s too clever to be like a grown up about things. I guess a lot of that kind of angst and negativity comes from Mark and Tim as well, with

their relationship with him. I suppose they felt like they’ve been shat on a little bit. I don’t want to dwell too much on that, but it was one of the ingredients that came to the fore. Just living in London, seeing the way people treat each other, I mean, I’ve been here for thirteen years, but just the way people are becoming more and more self-obsessed, and becoming more and more, not just so much materialistic, but a lot of people only want to seem to know other people, just to get something from them, as opposed to there being some kind of mutual respect or love, and just this whole kind of way the world is just going more and more towards this selfish “Fuck You” kind of attitude. In the end of the day, when you make a conscious decision to make the heaviest, most brutal record you can, you can’t sing about positive things. Can’t write about nice things going on, you have to write about horrible things.

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You’ve mentioned that the underground Euro horror movie classics from the sixties and seventies are a continual source for inspiration. Which movies from that era remain, to this day, inspirational to you? Well, the Amando de Ossorio collection of the Blind Dead has been my favorite for many years. He’s one of my favorite directors and all of those Tombs of the Blind Dead movies, all four of them are like a massive inspiration. They have been since the late ‘80s, I suppose. I dig a lot of Paul Naschy movies, a lot of Italian horror movies from the ‘70s, a lot of German crime movies, Italian crime movies, English horror movies and films that were [made] on Titan, Amicus or Hammer Productions. Generally, I watch horror movies in a way that you almost observe and pick up on vibes in horror movies that you can relate to the world around you. The record is almost like a soundtrack to our own personal hell, because we’re kind of comparing reality to some kind of horror movie in many respects, you know? Some of the songs on “With the Dead” like “Crown of Burning Stars” and “Nephtys” seem to sound like a cross between stuff like early Sabbath, Saint Vitus and Trouble, but heavier and gloomier than what they did. Did you try to make a record that could take you back to those roots and show how extreme that early seventies sound could be? It’s just a continuation of that whole style of music really. We’re not trying to be heavier than Trouble or Saint Vitus, or anything like that. When Cathedral first started, we had all come personally from a more underground, extreme metal scene than Saint Vitus or Trouble had. Saint Vitus grew up in the ‘70s listening to classic rock bands, whereas I grew up in ‘80s listening to hardcore punk and extreme metal, and through discovering bands like Trouble, we had no other way to play our music because we weren’t as accomplished as musicians as them, so we were in this extreme kind of state of mind, which meant the only way we could express ourselves was to make ourselves sound more 86

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extreme and more heavier than most bands that came before us. That was all we were capable of doing really. Our strength was in our extremity as opposed to our music ability, and as time got on with Cathedral, then the musical side of things became more broad, but I guess With The Dead has the same mentality as that really. I think the first Cathedral album, Forest of Equilibrium, changed the way Doom Metal was perceived. I’m not trying to say that to get some kind of great acclaim for it or anything, but I just think it’s true. I think a lot of bands followed on and it was easier for bands to get into those other bands what we know such as Saint Vitus, Trouble and Pentagram, if they got into Cathedral first. I don’t think that the average kid that was listening to Death Metal in 1990 would turn around and listen to “Run to the Light” by Trouble and got it. They had to find it through some other means and I think, having a band like us that opened the doors because we were so extreme, in our own way, we made it easier for people that were in the underground scene to discover all those bands like Vitus and others. In the end of the day, With the Dead is not trying to be anything other than what it is. We still have the same influences and we’re still into the same things we were when we first got into doom, I suppose. It’s not trying to say anything other than we just wanted to make the heaviest record we could. Before going out, I would like your take on this one too. Sabbath is, as is already known, one of your greatest influences and one of the greatest doom bands ever. They’re about to embark on their final tour, and they’re the representation of the fact that most of the greats in the past are now thinking about ending their careers. How do you feel the heavy music landscape will be when some of these giants finally stop walking the earth? If we’re talking about Sabbath in particular, I just think it’s amazing that their popularity turned around, because I remember at the mid-eighties, late-eighties all the

way through the nineties, even to early 2000s, no one cared about Black Sabbath at all! It’s all very well people saying “Oh Sabbath this, Sabbath that”, but I remember when no one gave a shit about Black Sabbath. I remember being at Reading Festival in ’89 on acid. I dropped a tab of acid and Faith No More started playing and they played “War Pigs” and literally everybody at the fucking festival were singing the words, but they didn’t even know it was a Black Sabbath song, they thought it was a Faith No More song. I was just like “Aaaaaahhh!” I was just enraged, you know? So, with that in mind, I think it’s fantastic that they finally have been warranted with the recognition they deserved, because they have been such a major influence in music, whether you like it or not. For better or worse, I would imagine that this would be the last tour, because Tony won’t want to do it much longer because of his illness. But the main thing is... I hope they get Bill Ward to at least do some of it, you know? At least play some numbers each night or something, because it would be quite sad if they go out and he’s not even involved at all. Then you got Motörhead of course... What’s the world going to be like without Motörhead? Fuckin’ hell! I mean, Lemmy is just a massive, massive influence on so many things without people even realizing. In terms of extreme music, Motörhead were the fucking pioneers really, they were the first band before Venom, before any Black Metal, before anything, that you could consider extreme metal. Actually it was the first band, for sure. It was a different thing to Sabbath, obviously, but in terms of speed and aggression it’s them. I know Lemmy’s going through some tough times physically and he’s still trying to perform. To me it’s heartbreaking... I hope he can have a rest, recuperate and then somehow manage to carry on doing what he loves doing. A world without Motörhead would be a fucking sad world. WITH THE DEAD IS OUT NOW VIA RISE ABOVE RECORDS


INTERVIEW // WITH THE DEAD

“Hopefully it's more of a band than a project. I don't want it to be seen as a band that just does one album and that's it, no shows, and then it just disappears. I think it's too good to let that happen.�

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1 REPULSIVE | 2 Pure shit | 3 terrible | 4 must avoid | 5 average | 6 good effort | 7 good | 8 very good | 9 EXCelLent | 10 pure c

JOANNA NEWSOM Divers Drag City (2015)

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“So it would seem to be true / When cruel birth debases, we forget / When cruel death debases / We believe it erases all the rest / That precedes / But stand brave, life-liver / Bleeding out your days / In the river of time / Stand brave / Time moves both ways”. Like with most things in life the end is normally a moment that sheds some light and sense of clarity. “Time, As Symptom”, the song that closes Newsom’s latest album, denounces the fear that fuels Divers. It’s the fear of not having enough. The greedy and insatiable nature of the human being that, in this particular case, is not right nor it is wrong. If there’s one thing that is

certain is that it comes from a place of profound and honest love. But it also emphasizes that unquestionable presence of a courageous heart. In those terms Joanna Newsom manages to link herself with a crushing number of people all over the world, and that’s probably the biggest accomplishment of Divers. If connectivity is the most relevant and pivotal element in art, then Divers is an utterly successful artistic manifest. It’s highly personal, but can easily be transported to a more public place. After all, these two spaces intersect. They have a deep relationship of their own. Joanna Newsom was, since the get go, very vocal and clear


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regarding the concept that compelled her to write Divers, her fourth studio album. Her marriage to comedian Andy Samberg and the fact that it meant accepting death in her life (the good and old inevitability, or what many believe to be the Promised Land) was the spark that led to this burning fire. It’s really not the first time that death plays a big role on Newsom’s artistic vision, but it’s undeniably that the road taken in recent times wouldn’t be possible in the past. Not only she displays the emotions, but also the skill to process them and truly convey them. Is this the most accomplished record in Newsom’s career? Is it

her most ambitious artistic endeavor? The passion can easily blind one’s perception, even if we promptly acknowledge it, but when it burns so hard it will be hard to be bothered with logic and reason. It is dramatic and serious, but doesn’t shy away from dancing around like an eccentric and a free bird that it is. It dreams and fantasies even when the fear insists on casting a shadow. There were many people who lend their skills to this album Nico Muhly, Ryan Francesconi, Dave Longstreth, Dan Cantrell, Kevin, Barker, Peter Newsom, Neal Morgan, and the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra – and the

most important fact is that they didn’t really help Newsom on her mission. They dived with her into a trip where time seemed to stand still (is that the album’s biggest victory?) and joy, sorry, fear, happiness, love, and courage, seem just a mere scratch in the surface of what’s really the depth of Divers. “See how the infinite divides / And the divers are not to blame / For the rift spanning distant shores / You don’t know my name / But I know yours”. If there’s ever a need to illustrate brilliance, then Divers will have to take a step forward and accept the strong spotlight.

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7 ANGEL HAZE Back To The Woods

8 ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF The Miraculous City Slang (2015)

Self Released (2015)

In 2013 Angel Haze released her debut Dirty Gold which was nothing short of a masterpiece. Two years later, we can see her with her new mixtape Back to the Woods. Although not as good as its predecessor, this new effort is a solid piece of music, with much to offer. Haze is a fighter. Although still young, she is well aware of the world around her, and ready to hit and take hits. She fights for herself, but she’s far from selfish. Haze is brave and ready to stand in defence of women’s rights, racial equality and social justice. She is an activist and poet, maybe more than a musician. For Haze, music is a tool, not a goal. That’s why we love her so much.

In 2013, Swedish songwriter Anna Von Hausswolff released a masterpiece called Ceremony. It was a dark and heartfelt effort showcasing her striking writing skills. In The Miraculous, she didn’t limit herself and she wrote yet another meaningful and cohesive effort. For Anna, The Miraculous is a place of outstanding natural beauty from her youth, which once provided the backdrop for a momentous uprising against the country’s king during which thousands of peasants were slaughtered, leaving its landscapes bathed in blood. Her words and melodies are tangled in such beautiful and intense soundscapes, where she defies her own capabilities and emotions. The 9,000pipe organ still prevails as a huge key to her haunting and mystical songs.

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8 BEACH SLANG The Things We Do To Find People Like Us Big Scary Monsters (2015) Old-fashion, full of emo clichés and hype, fresh, incendiary, catchy, brutally honest and punk as fuck. Well, Beach Slang debut album is good, sounds big and brings tons of nostalgia every single time we have a spin or two. Dense and extremely textured, The Things We Do To Find People Like Us is an unashamed throwback into 90’s emo with a raw punk switch, as if Replacements suddenly decided to play Jawbox and Cursive covers. Strong and full of sing-along anthems, frontman and writer James Alex’s raw vocals are the central piece of this Philadelphia based cathartic energizing debut, where songs like “Porno Love”, “Young & Alive” and “Throwaways” bring fun, serious issues into their youthful and honest sound. The Things We Do To Find People Like Us is a full statement of one of the fastest rising bands in the punk scene. FAUSTO CASAIS

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BEACH HOUSE Thank Your Lucky Stars

BIG BRAVE Au De La

When a few weeks ago Beach House announced that they would release a new album, just a few months after releasing Depression Cherry, and it would be something of the same importance and kind of new for them as a band... I thought it was bullshit. I was dead wrong and Thank Your Lucky Stars not only feels relevant, but it’s also an impressive broadening of the band’s already staggering scope. There’s a palpable feeling of urgency. It’s fuckin energetic and, more importantly, incisive. “She’s so lovely / Everything about her / Mannerisms of another / Castles in the sand / Money in your hand / And all I have to do / Is everything for you” (…) “And all I have to do / Is stay away from you”. FUCK!!!

Au De La can grind away in your face in such relentless fashion that you begin to doubt whether there’ll ever be any respite or resolution in your favour. The crunchy guitar roar, yelped vocals and stern drum battery which opens “On The By And By And Thereon” seems to stretch unyieldingly until a final detonation point which nevertheless sounds a deliberately controlled explosion before finally expiring in a weary drum beat into darkness. The amount of emotion with which this Montreal trio manage to invest into their Southern Lord debut is palpable, even visceral in its steely focus and determination. Elsewhere there are densely rumbling layers of sound which slowly shift and creak, like metallic tectonic plates rippling underfoot.

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8 BIRDS IN ROW Personal War

Deathwish Inc. (2015)

There is no way a band like Birds in Row should be on hiatus right now. Playing screamo influenced hardcore, these French guys use their poignant yet melodic hymns to exorcise their frustrations. This is exactly what we need right now, a humble act that is not here to sign up for a tattoo contest, but only to deliver honest music. Personal War is all of that, the same old Birds in Row now sharpened and matured. Those of you who dig heavy yet emotional music, this is for you. Birds in Row may keep a low-profile posture, but their music is carefully crafted and, of course, of higher quality. FOR FANS OF:

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BOYTOY Grackle

CAR SEAT HEADREST Teens of Style

!!! (CHK CHK CHK) As If

Brooklyn band BOYTOY started out with two ferocious and fun girls Saara Untracht-Oakner and Glenn Van Dyke just doing catchy garage rock, and then they were joined by drummer Matthew Gregory Aidala by the time they released the BOYTOY EP. Things became more energetic and debut record Grackle is a messy, but wellcrafted rock and roll experience. This effort is clearly a more collaborative one and shows how well they work together: there’s ambition, a dynamic sound and no fear to do what they like. All songs are pretty much straight to the point and there’s no time to rest from their frenetic vibe and sometimes there’s a nice female/male vocal dynamics. BOYTOY are cool and confident and so it is their debut album.

Even if it’s probable that you’ve never heard of Car Seat Headrest, the truth is that the project lead by Will Toledo has been around for a while and has crafted an 11-album catalogue in its five years of existence. Teens of Style takes material from the first three years of Will’s catalogue and reworks and rearranges it, now with a full band. A perfect introduction to Toledo’s creative output, an artist that has chosen to aim directly to the sun with a more intricate and solid songwriting, and arrangements that would make people like Brian Wilson very proud. The lo-fi element that was so prominent in his early recordings hasn’t died. It’s just by now another color in CSH’s rainbow. It’s bloody delightful.

Already winning with their weird but tremendously funny artwork, the dance punk heroes !!! are back with their album number six. However, the artwork isn’t the only reason to like or even to love this twelve-track album, because from the beginning to the end you shake like a crazy bitch, trying desperately to stay deeply connected to the hype. With As If is quite possible that you go almost crazy enough to become a strange and loud dancer in your family room. Sparkling tones and waves, along with classic disco spoken words, this is a truly revivalist work, with high dose of progress. Electrifying and joyful, you will love the chorus and danceable lyrics that emerge all over the album.

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7 CHEATAHS Mythologies

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CHVRCHES Every Open Eye Virgin Emi (2015)

CHRISTOPHER BISSONNETTE Pitch, Paper & Foil

After releasing two EPs during this year, Cheatahs have finally unveiled the follow-up to 2014’s self-titled debut album. Not a lot has changed in regards of Cheatahs’ sound, but they managed to put out something that wasn’t annoying or repeated. Mythologies is by far their most cohesive and powerful effort to date. The London quartet sure look like a “a machine for making songs”, but on their second full-length they cared to show their growth as musicians and writers, going more experimental and atmospheric, layering melodies and fuzzy riffs. Leaving a bit behind that tag of those ‘revivalist 90’s shoegaze bands’, Cheatahs bring synth-work to this new effort and they never go too noisy or too sappy on the songs. Mythologies is a good one for sure.

Every Open Eye is the second album by the synthpop Glasgow trio Chvrches. They kind of surprised everyone with their first album, The Bones of What You Believe. Knowing that the new album was self-produced by the band and that they rejected the possibility of co-writing with other people, Every Open Eye is a strong and bold statement of the group that’s able to do their own thing, despite the great praise they had with their debut album. Unfortunaly this new one lacks diversity and it’s too similar to the previous one. Nevertheless, the album sounds much cleaner, much more confident and emotionally complex. Lauren Mayberry shows to be more confident and strong on her voice and performance, but still shows her vulnerability throughout her lyrics, which is a great thing because it’s still showing her honesty and frontality as a musician and as an individual.

The opening strains of “Epoch” seem to augur a New World Dawning, the sound of perfectly smooth human replications gliding down hovering highways towards a glowing future vision. A nuclear family cruising into the infinite surrounded by glittering skyscrapers and golden hope, sharply contrasted with the dissonant tonal exercises which immediately follow on “Diminution”. Indeed, Pitch, Paper & Foil feels indebted to a variety of early electronica pioneers, whether Morton Subotnick’s raw experimentation, the vaguely pastoral bent of mid-period Cluster as heard on “Surcease” or even the pomp of Jean-Michel Jarre on that opener. It’s a compendium of varying styles which manage not to jar or grate against each other, sounding as though Bissonnette has given careful consideration to the pieces curated together here.

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Kranky (2015)

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7 CLUTCH Psychic Warfare

CHRON GOBLIN Backwater

CITY AND COLOUR If I Should Go Before You

Chron Goblin’s latest creation sets of melody with aggression and groove for a fresh expression of heavy facepunch rock n’roll. Recorded by Adam Pike (Red Fang), Backwater has that classic stoner rock vibe and approach, it’s strong and brave, with nothing bad to pinpoint. The guitar and bass are very intrinsic at the point that you gave more attention to them than to the rest, filling in the atmosphere with wah and vibrato classic rock n’ roll rolling riff play. The drums flow their structure and sequences giving them the necessary groove and heaviness. The vocals are fantastic, blending with the music and transporting that psychedelic ambient to much higher grounds. In fact, everything sounds perfectly together and thick.

Dallas Green is back, and he’s nothing short of amazing! Since the early days, his solo project City and Colour drags attention with pure emotions, angelic voice and amazing music. Completely different from what he did with Alexisonfire, City and Colour shows his other side. Black and white. Yin and Yang. If I Should Go Before You is no different. He wears his heart on a sleeve, and shows his personal demons that he’s fighting against. But yet, he’s no silent for everyone else. Maybe the best example would be “Woman”, an epic 9-minute-long song about domestic violence. With ease, he plays with the listener’s emotions. Dark, but optimistic, depressing, but hopeful, the new record brings out the best and the worst in both – Green, and us.

Clutch are, with almost 25 years of activity, a complete powerhouse and one of the most striking acts in the contemporary hard rock scene. They’ve grinded throughout the years and have brought to the table an unshakable and unmistakable identity making it nearly impossible to confuse them with someone else. They have a career of hits and almost to none misses. Psychic Warfare, the band’s 11th album, is another addition to the hits list even if it’s far from being the brightest star from the list. Its raging features provide enough fuel to the rockers of the 21st century. Sure, something in the line with “Gone Cold” (Earth Rocker) or the diversity that they’ve mastered and presented in 2007’s From Beale Street To Oblivion would be appreciated, but that doesn’t undermine the explosive blues on each of the twelve tracks.

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FRESH CUTS

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7 BOSTON MANOR Saudade EP

Pure Noise Records (2015)

Modern punk sounds exactly like this! Going from punk to emo and indie rock, Boston Manor will be for sure one name to be look for in the future. Saudade is a true gem and also a fresh take into the UK actual scene. Nostalgia, angst and tons of intensity is what you may expect from Boston Manor debut EP. Well done lads. FAUSTO CASAIS

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CONTINENTS Reprisal

CORRECTIONS HOUSE Know How To Carry A Whip

Welsh hardcore quintet Continents are back with their sophomore and highly-anticipated album. Reprisal is a bit different from their previous effort, Idle Hands. The new songs are way more intense and heavy, bringing a new set of dynamics and energy to their heavy-as-fuck palette of sounds. Have you ever been punched in the face? The feeling is the same, because Reprisal is an ambitious crushing and caustic hardcore experience. Continents are tracking the same path of this new breed of modern hardcore, where acts like The Ghost Inside, Counterparts, Stray From The Path and Stick To Your Guns have already pushed the genre into a new whole and bigger scene. Reprisal is a strong and huge statement in the current hardcore scene.

Corrections House are in serious danger to carve their name in the folk pantheon if they insist on operating with such relevancy and vulnerability. The mixture of industrial, violent, and dilacerating sounds with the obvious and declared blues heritage (something more rooted in the country side of it with people like Son House, Charley Patton, and Robert Johnson serving as a benchmark) that Mike IX Williams carries on his back, burns on his heart and soul, and spits with his mouth. It must be perceived as an invaluable document of the current politic and social conjecture. Know How To Carry A Whip is, like its predecessor Last City Zero, a testament of this gruesome world and perhaps we’ll never fully grasp its depth, weight, and intent. It’s frightening!

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BRUISING Emo Friends / Honey 7’’ Beech Coma (2015)

Unpretentious and down-to-earth, Bruising crunchy 90’s indie rock-inspired songs are pure straight anthems . Sounding like a blend between Pixies’ infectious and noisy guitars with Perfect Pussy’s raw and confrontational attitude, Bruising are for sure one of the hottest new bands that are going to explode over the next year. FAUSTO CASAIS

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6 COLDRAIN Vena

Hopeless Records (2015)

Coldrain’s new album is straight to the point, they’re aiming for big things and pushing themselves into this whole big league where bands like Bullet For My Valentine and Of Mice And Men have the leading role. Catchy and strong, but their abusive cliché sound fails to impress, bringing nothing new to the genre. FAUSTO CASAIS

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DEERHUNTER Fading Frontier

DINOSAUR PILE-UP Eleven Eleven

4AD (2015)

So Recordings (2015)

Serenely, Bradford Cox celebrates a new joy in Fading Frontier. He rediscovered that being alone is not the same as being lonely. Being aware of that, Deerhunter changed skin and baptized their most pop album. Healthy strangeness always demonstrated by the band remains, which does not contradict the idea of a more accessible work to interpretation. It is a loose, spiritual album, which has marked itself the experience of a new identity recognition, which meets without fear, identifies a peacemaker artistic path for the band. Here, technology and production combine perfectly with the message, which only proves that Deerhunter has a very accurate picture of what they are able to build together, as few current bands can.

Eleven Eleven is the third album by Leeds’ Dinosaur Pile-Up and it sort of conveys the trio’s energy and flexibility while on stage. As the band have said, they wanted to capture that energy and flow that they have on the live shows, and so they shaped the new songs and put them together in the way they wanted to play them live. Recording the album as a full band for the first time, it gave a boost to make this new effort much heavier, faster and more aggressively straight to the point. Working with Tom Dalgety - who had worked with acts like Royal Blood and Turbowolf - had a big impact on the recording sessions and gave an edgier touch to the trio’s approach. Eleven Eleven is a neat and intense rock album.

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DILLY DALLY Sore

8

Partisan Records (2015)

Sore but happy. That’s the feeling you will get after listening to Dilly Dally’s debut album. After eight years in the making, the Toronto-based band have finally released their super intense and organically awesome album. Many were the drawbacks that delayed this release, but eventually it came at the right time. Katie Monks and Liz Ball knew how to push themselves during these last years and with Benjamin Reinhartz and Jimmy Tony joining the band, it certainly created a stability in the band’s dynamic, much as in the live performances as in the studio recordings. Sore is heavy and melodic. The group blends the best of pop and noise, Monks’ voice is just a roller coaster of vulnerability and bravery. Her straightforward lyrics blend perfectly on Ball’s infectious guitar riffs with fuzzy melodies. Sore is a strong and empowering record, kind of the perfect debut album for a band that have a lot of potential.

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EAGLES OF DEATH METAL Zipper Down Downtown Recordings (2015)

JAPANESE VOYEURS Yolk (Fiction)

HOLE Live Through This (Polydor)

PIXIES Doolittle (4AD)

It’s hard to imagine putting Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme in a room and not getting something electrifying. It’s been seven years since the enfants terribles from Palm Desert released Heart On, but Zipper Down stays true to the band’s character; down-and-dirty rock n’ roll with a touch of the frivolous. Tracks like “The Deuce” and “Skin Tight Boogie” seep with lascivious guitars and raunchy lyrics while “The Reverend”, a humorous nod to Hughes’ religious views and “Silverlake” sound effortlessly cool in classic EODM fashion. However, it is moments like the amplified cover of Duran Duran’s “Save a prayer” which bring something new to the mix, proving that, four albums in, the band may still follow the same formula but they could never be accused of dullness. STELLA ELIADOU

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8 FOXING Dealer

Triple Crown Records (2015)

ECHO AND THE ALWAYS ... And After That The Dark

EL VY Return To The Moon

It’s always great to stumble upon new bands that bring something different and remarkable to nowadays overloaded music industry. Now it’s even harder to find something worthwhile due to the increasing quantity of new bands. The Echo and The Always do stand out in the midst of it all, and their debut album …and After that the Dark is an intriguing and elegant effort. The Welsh five-piece blend the tenderness of indie-pop with the toughness of rock. They dwell over important issues like struggling with mental health - mainly depression and anxiety - based on their own experiences, especially vocalist Laura Hancock who sings openly about those subjects. …and After that the Dark is quite melancholic but sweet.

Return to the Moon manages to be playful and inject an emotional depth that has characterized Matt Berninger’s career as an artist with The National. Brent Knopf’s (Menomena) output pushes Matt to a new musical landscape without being too hostile. There’s a clear search for a balance between the light/soft and the heavy/dark. The fucking star here is definitely Brent. He was clearly on a mission that included throwing as much curved balls as possible. Even if in the end it is clear that this album would gain immensely by a more cohesive construction, there’s no denying that it’s a work born out of love, seriousness, and an honest search for something as meaningful as challenging. EL VY’s debut is hopefully just the beginning.

Foxing is not a band that can fit in a specific scene, the way they portray art goes beyond any kind of breaking boundaries type of genre or scene. Emotion-driven, full of details and crafted to perfection, with Dealer the St. Louis quintet goes deep into what emo should really sound like nowadays, but the thing is, if they don’t fit in any specific scene or genre, how to label and understand something that cannot be labeled? Can we say that they are a post-emo-indie-poetic-alternative-rock band? Yes, we can... There is no way to approach Foxing music without mentioning acts like Sigur Rós, Shearwater, mewithoutYou or even The Hotelier. Their esque almost reaches perfection and it’s a journey that not everyone is ready to ride on. Dealer is an honest slice of deep human emotion, their lyrics push our senses to the limits and they deserve your fully, almost exclusive attention.

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4AD (2015)

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Daughter, The Joy Formidable, The Cure

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The National, Menomena, Ramona Falls

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Sigur Rós, mewithoutYou, The Hotelier


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7 GEMS Kill The One You Love Carpark Records (2015)

The duo of Lindsay Pitts and Clifford John Usher - that go by the name GEMS - have been showing their writing skills for quite a while now, teasing with singles and more recently with the brilliant Medusa EP. Kill the One You Love, their first full-length, has a more complex and a more focus side of the duo with a collection of songs showing their growth as a band. Their songs are atmospherically haunting and captivating, as per usual, but the band doesn’t expand their sound to other directions. Still, it’s their first album, it’s understandable why it isn’t very different from their previous material. Lyrically, their in-depth and emotional approach gives a balance in such dreamy but dramatic melodies. Kill the One You Love is beautifully dark and atmospheric, and sort of a sum up of what they have been doing in the past few years.

ANDREIA ALVES

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6 GERMANY GERMANY Willow

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Self-Released (2015)

GIRL BAND Holding Hands With Jamie

Well, ten full albums in five years can just be experimental field. And it is. And it is also not. It’s a strange thing happening in band camp and it goes by the name of creativity. Low recourse creativity with lots of motivational skills. It’s the only way to produce and send to the world so many songs. Despite the awkward formula, Willow is a great effort, with lots of sonorities and echoing future pop in every instrumental or vocal layer, configuring a nice trip to all who stay in a focused vibe. Willow presents every note with a special and unique asset, but shows a lack of emotional evolvement that simplifies the experience. It’s the power of propaganda echoing through the Internet and we kinda like it, but we also feel lonely and ethereal.

Rough Trade (2015)

Holding Hands With Jamie is an attack on complacency, the emptiness of a huge ticking in society and customs, which should come with leaflet to give account of their side effects. Nerves are on edge from the first second and no one can resist their noise size. Without warning, the album turns viral in the body. The Irish band takes the listener on a rollercoaster journey and the experience is overwhelming in the mood to repeat. Nothing seems to be right sometimes and various elements of the band inexplicably form a sense of anger, which is not good to awaken in public. Girl Band dispenses melody and shoots with all the dystopia in your face. Having said this: are you ready to hear them?

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GLOCKENWISE Heat

GOLD No Image

HANDGUNS Disenchanted

There’s definitely a sense of perversion in Glockenwise’s third studio album. On the opening track, “Cardinal”, we can listen to the band talking and a question is thrown, “Are you ready? Are you really ready?” This is far from just a mere gag. It’s a fair warning to one of the most amazing abrupt turns in recent memory. Cardinal is bleak, filthy, and dusty, and after almost four claustrophobic and frightening minutes we’re shacked to an almost different planet. It’s a shift that hits us like a ton of bricks. Suddenly we’re relaxed in our chair rocking back and forth to some amazingly and surprisingly fuckin’ cool garage/lo-fi/punk tunes. “Heat” is the irrefutable proof of maturity and the soundtrack for months to come.

A Dutch band that defies easy placement which has clear post rock, indie rock and some hard rock influences, all bind together by the eerie resemblance between Milena Eva, the lead singer and Blondie’s Debbie Harry. Even though they are not a heavy band per se, their sound comes out as massive, eerie and even threatening at times. Recorded and mixed by Jeff Zeigler and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege, this new effor tends to be circular in form and hypnotic in essence with whirlwind guitar rhythms underlined by pummelling drums, bass guitar and the singer’s angelic wickedness to spawn a sort of ethereal hideousness that manages to be both beautiful and frightening at the same time.

Over their 7 years of existence and 3 albums, we might say that Handguns have come a long way. In a time where pop-punk is here to stay. Handguns’ third installment is exactly what the genre asks for, not exactly what needs. Disenchanted is heavily emotional, brings frustration and some necessary cathartic negativity, something quite unusual to see nowadays, because here pessimism wins over the pop-punk overall - sometimes boring - positivism attitude. “Low Spirits” and “Disenchanted” are perfect examples how negative thinking can affect people around, leading do frustration and despair. Handguns’ new effort is fast paced, full of infectious riffs, catchy pop-punk anthems and lyrically strong, almost poetic.

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TIAGO MOREIRA Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, No Age, Wavves

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Grave Pleasures, The Devil’s Blood

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7 HURTS Surrender

Does it hurt to be balancing from depression to euphoria? It does HURTS and it’s quite good. Surrender, the third album from the synth-pop duo is amazingly different from Exile, but not totally. It remains with the same good and immersive lyrics that we are used to, but with a whole new dancing wave that is classy, danceable and quite catchy. The ones who embrace HURTS for their melancholic tone must be frightened at this point, but there’s nothing to fear. It’s not a masterpiece but, it’s not a bad album though. Nice striking move from Theo and Adam, this new album sounds different, requests patience, but in the end is so HURTS as it can be.

NUNO TEIXEIRA

Depeche Mode, IAMX, Monarchy

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Blink 182, The Used, Man Overboard

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5

KILLING JOKE Pylon

KYLESA Exhausting Fire

“Led Zeppelin has been over-explained; the Beatles have been over-explained. It doesn’t tell the whole story (…) at some point, they’re there and somebody has to explain why they’re there,” said Billy Corgan in the 2010’s Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage. Pylon is far from being just another great rock record. It’s Killing Joke’s 16th album in a career that reached this year its 37-year mark. The level of relevance (sound and lyric-wise) and the way they managed to keep their sound fresh, energetic, and furious, is almost implausible. Killing Joke are one of the most important and relevant bands of rock’s history, period. Pylon, in the great scheme of things, is just another irrefutable proof of it. And yeah, they’re still very politically and socially aware.

There was something really exciting about 2013’s Ultraviolet. Kylesa seemed to have finally reached true maturity with their 6th album. Reading guitarist/ vocalist Phil Cope saying that “Exhausting Fire is an album we really put our hearts on our sleeves for. We’ve always done that, but emotionally, it’s probably the most honest and raw album we’ve ever done,” just increased the excitement and anticipation which ended up by being irreversibly shattered almost instantly upon first listen. Yes, there are many elements in it. No direction whatsoever. A lack of good arrangements and courage to step further into the songwriting of it – not to mention the vocals. It’s even hard to believe that the same band wrote a song like “Unspoken” just a couple of years ago.

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Season Of Mist (2015)

Spinefarm Records (2015)

Columbia (2015)

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Pure Noise Records (2015)

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Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Sex Pistols

TIAGO MOREIRA

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9 JODY SEABODY & THE WHIRLS Holographic Slammer Artificial Head Records (2015)

Are these guys for real? From Nirvana heavy pop-grunge esque to 70’s psychedelic rock, in between we have this kind of crazy mashup of something like what Pink Floyd would sound like if they grow up listening to Circle Jerks. Dirty and brilliant, these guys just created a truly insane listening experience. It rocks! FAUSTO CASAIS

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8 KIND Rocket Science

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Ripple Music (2015)

There are a few outfits who are keeping alive the spirit of true rock. Well, Kind is one of them, and these dudes are taking their influences to a new level. Rocket Science is an insane mixture of heavy metal, psych, krautrock and pure rock n’ roll. If you are looking for something loud and brash, this is a hell of an album! FAUSTO CASAIS

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8 LOWLY Sink Way Into Me Bella Union (2015)

Sink Way Into Me EP is the debut by the Danish band Lowly and it’s a fantastic start for them. The four tracks of the EP are just perfect little pieces of brightful and diverse melodies with 70’s pop sensibilities and synth-work. It’s a evocative and captivating EP, like you’re sinking into a sweet dream, kind of. ANDREIA ALVES

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LAURA STEVENSON Cocksure

Don Giovanni Records (2015)

There’s more than meets the eye with Lana Del Rey’s 4th album. The soft and feebler sounds that assume the background position on Honeymoon should be perceived and embraced with the same enthusiasm as the voice that so effortlessly enchant us all the way through. We could call her a sex symbol of the modern ages, but that would put in danger a more accurate perception of what Del Rey, as an artist, really is. Sensuality and sexuality are not forced and impose features. They are the inevitable backdrop of Lana’s own existence. Honeymoon’s fustigating nature is a challenge that has as a reward a dazzling, at times feisty, always daring, and mesmerizing album.

Let’s face the facts: straightforward rock n’ roll is fucking boring nowadays, everything sounds the same and copycats are here to stay. Fortunately, this is not the case and Laura Stevenson fucking rocks. Cocksure is her fourth album, showing her evolution as one of the most important singer-songwriters of her generation, keeping her punk rock roots and expanding her sound into a more power-pop Americana classic esque. Equal parts aggressive and introspective delight, the dynamics are really what makes Cocksure stand out, everything sounds brighter, cheerful and shinier, even its catchy hooks are perfectly balanced with quieter songs and infectious riffs. More confident and determined than ever, Laura Stevenson was able to create one of the most intense, yet joyful albums of 2015. Cocksure is the perfect marriage between indie rock, straightforward rock n’ roll and power pop, and that’s what makes this album so fucking great.

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8 LANA DEL REY Honeymoon

Polydor Records (2015)

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Lana Del Rey, Lana Del Rey, Lana Del Rey

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Jenny Lewis, Rilo Kiley, Hop Along

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LIGHT YEARS I’ll See You When I See You

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LONG BEARD Sleepwalker

Pure Noise Records (2015)

Team Love Records (2015)

Cleveland four-piece Light Years second full-length is an emotional and honest roller coaster proving that punk rock adulthood is here to stay and the classic pains of maturity is ready to make another victim. I’ll See You When I See You deals with some heavy stuff, like loss, some really darker issues and doubt, because that constant uncertainty of what should the future have on hold for us, what will happen next. A solid and strong effort, full of angst vocals, big riffs and huge melodies, even if sometimes we feel that Will Yip (Circa Survive, La Dispute, Title Fight) production duties adds nothing to their sound, we must say that they found their own voice as a band. A band that you should keep a close eye on.

FAUSTO CASAIS

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Sleepwalker is Long Beard’s debut album. Guitarist/vocalist Leslie Bear went through a four year journey to make this album, crafting songs from her home in New Brunswick, NJ, and the result is something unique and mesmerizing. Though it appears to be just another minimalist indie pop thread of songs, as whole, it’s a much moving and impressive record. Leslie Bear has a haunting and sweet voice that will make you daydream while you listen to such moony and engaging songs. The songs create a drifting atmosphere that you can get lost in the in-depth sounds. It’s a beautiful and articulated record. It feels like the perfect record for those Fall afternoons where the still shy cold makes us wanna stay cozy and warm.

7 MATLEYS Desirevolution

This Is Core Records (2015)

Do you guys remember that fuzzy and catchy aggression that Pixies had (yes, had...) and that indie dark esque of the Editors? Well, now add a bit of Green Day’s American Idiot and QOTSA trademark sound and voilà, you have Desirevolution! Strong and confident, their sound may be full of blasts from the past, but sounds fresh and different. FAUSTO CASAIS

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7 PRETEND Tapestry’d Life

Topshelf Records (2015) OUT NOW

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MIDDAY VEIL This Wilderness

MOLOKEN All Is Left To See

We are twice removed from a time when a band could be easily categorized and compartmentalized. Nowadays bands seem to be getting more and more ambitious and adamant in creating music that defies easy placement. That kind of move can be a risky one if the band isn’t able to conjure multiple styles and influences to create their own sound. Here we have ethereal vocals mashed together, and sometimes against, the minimal rhythm section, electronic settings, alternative landscapes all permeated with an almost Raga-like leaning. While certainly not for everybody, this record will most definitely appeal to the more broadminded music aficionados, if you are capable of absorbing this musical barrage.

All Is Left To See is not a typical album, or could I say “abstract”, and it goes more in new directions than repeating anything that it has ever made. Moloken took 4 years to construct this new work and I understand why. Everything was thought to be out of place but with meaningful, not always the same “versus chorus versus”. The inspiration comes from the doom/black metal and progressive rock from the 70s, and it’s noticeable, but also we can grade it as post metal. Definitely a great album, it captures the darkness and melancholy in you, well produced and well written. Moloken took the chance, they molded their sound, turning it into something beautiful and captivating, but at the same time aggressive and depressive, as it should be.

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Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records (2015)

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Eternal Tapestry, Goat, Gnod

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Temple Of Torturous (2015)

ANDREIA ALVES

SÉRGIO KILMORE

Isis, Breach, Cult of Luna

Tapestry’d Life is a technically detailed and dynamic album by the band Pretend. They blend accurately post-rock with post-punk. Their songwriting skills are well evident in these 79-minutes of pure chaotic sound deconstruction. It can be sometimes confusing, but that’s the purpose.

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8 VALLEY MAKER When I Was A Child

Brick Lane Records (2015)

Austin Crane is the 27 year-old multiinstrumentalist and songwriter behind Valley Maker, and with When I Was A Child he brings a new meaning and dynamism to what it is like to be a songwriter. Life, love and death are explored in the beauty and grace of these songs. Amy Godwin sings along with Crane giving an extra depth to it. ANDREIA ALVES


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9 PETAL Shame

Run For Cover Records (2015)

MONO & THE OCEAN Transcendental

MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACK Panic Stations

First joint effort between Germany’s The Ocean and Japan’s Mono proves that even though they come from a different musical background they share many traits and a common ground. This EP contains 24 minutes of music, 12 minutes for each band to flex their experimental muscles and celebrate the tour both bands will undertake along with another kin spirit: Solstafir. The Ocean or The Ocean Collective prove once again they excel in playing a post-rock infused doom metal onslaught, and Mono show they are as effective as ever in their blend of cinematic, operatic, experimental darkness. A simple yet very effective taste of things to come, and most definitely will not disappoint the fans of both groups.

Motion City Soundtrack have always been a very unique band with their own sound, and feel. Some of the main foundations of their style were a unique voice by the frontman Justin Pierre, schizophrenic keyboards and emotional, sometimes weird lyrics. All of that can be found again on Panic Stations. It’s fair to say that the new album is a step forward from Go, but still lacks of quality masterpieces Commit This to Memory, Even If It Kills Me or My Dinosaur Life had. Still, Panic Stations offers good, listenable music, and for fans like myself, very enjoyable songs. If you liked this band before, you’ll love this new release. If this is the first time you’ll hear for them, maybe you shoud take some of the earlier records first.

“This record is kind of the apology, the confession and the acceptance of the ways I’ve felt shame in my life and trying to share it with others,” explains Petal’s lead singer, Kiley Lotz, about the band’s new album, Shame. Well-crafted and adventurous, Shame is a sunny and cathartic effort, where Lotz’s charismatic and sweet voice is the key element to these near perfect 12 indie-pop-emo songs, that don’t just remind you of the past, but leads you into this whole new and confident ground. With influences from Death Cab For Cutie to Regina Spektor, Shame is a deeply personal, emotional and honest journey into the whole and messy thing called life, where sometimes experience puts everything in perspective and could still be a more-than-worthy pin down expression of our own feelings, thoughts and fears. Amazing!

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Pelagic Records (2015)

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Epitaph (2015)

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This Will Destroy You, Mono, The Ocean

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The Starting Line, Say Anything, Cartel

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Death Cab For Cutie, Regina Spektor

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5 NO DEVOTION Permanence

PENTIMENTO I, No Longer

Collect Records (2015)

Bad Timing Records (2015)

From the ashes of Lostprophets, with the addition of ex-Thursday frontman Geoff Rickley, the world has now No Devotion. Trying to distance themselves from the name of Ian Watkins, and all the things he got convicted for, Welch five-piece took a new path. A new name and new lineup brought changes in style. On their debut, No Devotion offer dark, synth lead record heavily influenced by new wave and synth pop bands of the 80s. The main problem: this record lacks of originality. With nothing we haven’t heard before, or better than that, I just can’t see this record making any kind of impact. Also, with no potential hit song on radar, the job for this band gets even harder. This is not a bad album, but it’s nothing more than average.

In art, a pentimento is an alteration in a painting, evidence that the artist has changed his or her mind during the creative process. That’s the way that Buffalo, NY’s Pentimento describe themselves and their music is a portrait of that. The band have been on some ups and downs, but at their second full-length they were able to put together a much more cohesive and strong record. All songs seem to be linked to each other turning the whole album a very neat listening experience. They explore more atmospheric sounds and they sure know how to combine the best of early 2000s emo/ punk with nowadays revivalism of pop punk. Lyrically, I, No Longer is quite introspective and a honest share of ideas and experiences of the group.

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Thursday, The Cure, Duran Duran

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Taking Back Sunday, Polar Bear Club

8 PROTOMARTYR The Agent Intellect Hardly Art (2015)

Black, dirty and hard. Protomartyr is the perfect music made in the perfect place: Detroit. Once one of the most industrialized cities in the USA, has become an open sewer, where drugs are lurking around in every corner and the irony of life smiled brightly. With so much harm proliferating, Protomartyr amazes with a sound even noisier than the machines who inhabited the city in abundance. It is an attempt to attack the conscience of a lost city, lost to us. They are not alone. There are more bands that currently claim a new postpunk vein, reemerged from the difficulty and confusing times we are living in and when trying to maintain sanity is itself an insane challenge. Punk as a mean of living and education becomes urgent again, regardless of the form in which it is assumed. Protomartyr is a paladin of provocation that we must be alert. RUI CORREIA

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8 RUDIMENTAL We The Generation Atlantic (2015)

Rudimental took a hard task on themselves. After super-successful debut Home, they found themselves in a tricky situation. Expectations were huge, and all eyes were on them. Being not only a band, but flag carriers of a new generation of underground subculture, they had to be on the top of their game. Luckily, they were. We the Generation is free of false humbleness, and accepts its strength. The title song once again represents a voice of a generation. On the other hand, with song after song Rudimental prove that music can stay underground, and still be popular. They prove songs still can be hits, without being cheesy, or sounding generic. Despite existing for less than five years, Rudimental were an inspiration to many. With this record, they still are. MILJAN MILEKIC

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OUT NOW

SHINING International Blackjazz Society

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Canadian pop-punk band Seaway are back with their sophomore effort, Colour Blind. I might be repeating myself too much as a writer, but every single month we get another bunch of releases of pop-punk bands that have the ability to redefine the genre again and again, it’s amazing. Colour Blind has the power to be a true classic in the genre, sounding like a perfect match between Descendents’ masterpiece Milo Goes to College and New Found Glory’s modern classic eponymously titled second studio album. Fast, heavy and catchy, every single song is a banger, and there is that nostalgic vibe that make us meet our 16-year-old self all over again. Growing up is not supposed to be so hard, cheers guys for noticing that.

In 2010 a jazz band released their fifth album, Blackjazz. From the more “conventional” jazz to a mixture between jazz and black/extreme metal. A unique approach that floored good folks all over the world. Three years later, Shining took a step further and tried to refine the recipe with One One One that was clearly more songwritingoriented. But it is with the brand new International Blackjazz Society that they find the balance between a crafty songwriting and the craziness of their own-made genre, blackjazz. From the furiously aggressive and bloody anthemic “Burn It All” to what’s probably the best pair of tracks of recent memory, “House of Warship” and “House of Control”. There’s not one moment where Shining aren’t holding the listener against the wall. Shining are unquestionably unique, frontman Jørgen Munkeby is a fearless and vicious captain, and... They write fucking great songs.

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SEAWAY Colour Blind

Pure Noise Records (2015)

FAUSTO CASAIS

Descendents, New Found Glory, Roam

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Spinefarm Records (2015)

Shining, Shining, Shining

TIAGO MOREIRA

STATE CHAMPS Around The World And Back Pure Noise Records (2015)

This is officially the year pop-punk ruled the world, and yes this is fucking debatable, but you might go see the charts, the big and extensive world tours and the amount of awesome, good and not so good releases to see that pop-punk had a big 2015. Well, we all know that State Champs are aiming big with this new album, even their 5 Seconds of Summer big tour was part of a masterplan of total world domination. Around the World and Back is the wet dream for every single pop-punk fan, sounding big and energetic, this is their natural next step. Every single song is a potential single, the songwriting has improved in every single aspect, even with some occasional corny lyrics on it, nothing is going to stop them from conquering the world.

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New Found Glory, Neck Deep, Roam

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6 TELLISON Hope Fading Nightly Alcopop! Records (2015)

There was one feeling I just couldn’t get rid off listening to this record. It’s almost unimaginable for me that Hope Fading Nightly is just one album by one band. The songs are completely divided in two categories, and the record itself sounds more like a split done by two bands than a cohesive record. The first half, and a few songs later in the album, give punk rock feel a la Alkaline Trio or The Smith Street Band, while the rest sound more like UK indie influenced. Song after song, Tellison offers something slightly different, but struggle to deliver anything unique or special. If I would have to sum this record in only one word, I would use “Okay”. This is an OK record, nothing more than that. FOR FANS OF:

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Tall Ships, Johnny Foreigner, The Xcerts

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9 THE BEVERLEYS Brutal

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Buzz Records (2015)

Some might say that punk rock doesn’t need a saviour, some might say that the whole grunge scene is a thing again. In the meanwhile another Canadian band is here to change both scenes, I said another because Fucked Up already changed the punk scene a few years ago and White Lung more recently almost brought together both worlds/scenes. All that to say that this junk noise-punk trio is ready to change again both scenes, and the question is: Have you met The Beverleys? Sharp and heavy, noisy and grungy, simply put this might be your favorite new band. With a pile of riffs upon riffs, Brutal, their debut album, is undeniable different, full of sonic explosions and screamy caustic noise. Think Sleater-Kinney meets Fucked Up meets Babes in Toyland meets The Breeders and you already have a clear idea what to expect. FOR FANS OF:

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Sleater-Kinney, Fucked Up, Babes in Toyland

THE DEAD WEATHER Dodge And Burn

Third Man Records (2015)

There are no surprises. The Dead Weather team breathes dynamism with Jack White as a loose animal on drums and with the ever-charismatic Alison Mosshart. The Rock has to be hot wherever you are. We left warmed from “Buzzkill(er)” and willing to break out in “Let Me Throught”. White’s ego exalts in “Three Dollar Hat” with the confidence to give a modern bluesy rap in the former western mode, resulting in one of the more unexpectedly sucessful songs. This third record feeds on the organic side of the band with a careful production that seeks vitality in its entirety. The pluses spend up fast, but the constancy in breaking Rock’s land within the White’s World via Third Man is something to appreciate. FOR FANS OF:

RUI CORREIA

The Kills, Jack White. What else?


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THE HEAVY EYES He Dreams Of Lions

TINA REFSNES No One Knows That You’re Lost

Kozmik Artifactz (2015)

THE BLACK HEART REBELLION

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People, When You See the Smoke, Do Not Think It Is Fields They’re Burning Consouling Sounds (2015)

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If back in 2013 a friend asked me which album of that year he or she should be listening to, my answer would be a straight and doubtless, “Har Nevo, by The Black Heart Rebellion”. Ask me the same today and only the name of the album will change. Giving an opportunity to The Black Heart Rebellion is absolutely mandatory – no matter what your usual musical preferences are. Dwelling somewhere in between screamo and alternative folk, this album encloses a journey, one leaden by honest experimentation and focused on self-evaluation, change and what one is passionate about. This time the band chose not to play safe and did exactly what their hearts told them to – ending up striping their sound down to its basic elements and pushing them to a new level. The moderate shift in sound may not please everyone, but I truly believe if one enjoyed Har Nevo, it is just a matter of listening to the new album a few times and it will conquer its place in one’s heart sooner or later. RICARDO ALMEIDA

IF YOU LIKE, DIG DEEPER:

THE BLACK HEART REBELLION Har Nevo (Consouling Sounds)

CLICK HERE TO READ OUR IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW WITH THE BLACK HEART REBELLION

Bolibompa Records (2015)

The first listening to The Heavy Eyes new record made me feel like I was a teenager again, in that eternal moment when I’ll put my headphones, press the play button on my walkman, grabbed my skate and run in the streets near the beach touching the breeze moving between the rays of sun. “Psychedelic blues rock from the delta that sounds similar to a skeleton driving a speed boat on a flaming mississippi river leaded back to 1969”, it’s how they introduce themselves to the world and couldn’t be more exact and it’s how I felt. Drawing influences from Zeppelin to Fu Manchu, it’s an heavy stand, with hypnotic guitar orchestration, making so thick and fast with distortive bass lines flowing in strong drum beats, smoothing in an honest and perfect record.

The Oslo-based Tina Refsnes is a singer-songwriter that found a deep connection with the English folk and acoustic Americana from the four years that she lived in Liverpool. With her debut full-length album No One Knows That You’re Lost she embraces that world without any kind of hesitation and parades with eleven songs that walk barefooted on the wooden floor. It’s almost there in the air to grab, the physicality of such act. Skin against ground. It’s as strong and robust as it is fragile and gentle. A trace of personality that along with Refsnes’ sweet and poignant voice, make the record a pleasant listening experience but, at the same time, nothing really enthralling. It ends being too safe and comfortable for its own sake.

FOR FANS OF:

FOR FANS OF:

SERGIO KILMORE

Fu Manchu, Led Zeppelin, Cream

TIAGO MOREIRA

Joni Mitchell, Laura Marling

OUT NOW

OUT NOW

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TORO Y MOI Samantha

TWITCHING TONGUES Disharmony

The title and accompanying artwork of a faded Instagram shot featuring a girl in profile turning away from the camera, maybe wiping a speck of dust or tear from her eye or maybe just not wanting the intrusion of photography, brings to rise thoughts as to whether this new mixtape is eulogy to lost love or tribute to one special person. It certainly sounds like an audio diary to be streamed or delved into late at night as sympathetic spirits like Kool AD and Rome Fortune pop up to offer shoulders to cry on while synthetic sighs and insomniac beats lope listlessly across a rapid-fire track selection, which ensures no motif or notion outstays its welcome. Perfect for the heartbroken and fractured.

After two well received full-lengths and non-stop touring, the LA’s based quintet are back with with a new album, their natural next step. Formed in 2009 by brothers Colin and Taylor Young channeling a variety of hardcore and metal influences presenting an esoteric sound, dynamic, powerful, and instantly gripping. We can find some interesting particularities in this record, such as a peculiar vocal delivery that envies Dio’s screams or even Type O Negative’s throne. Also musically, a doom tempo intro transition to thrash speed on “Cannibal,” building up a powerful compass, without ignoring the aggressive hardcore and alternative metal. Twitching Tongues experimentation and acceptance of genre cross-breeding.

FOR FANS OF:

FOR FANS OF:

Metal Blade Records (2015)

Self-Released (2015)

EUAN ANDREWS

Washed Out, Neon Indian, Blood Orange

SERGIO KILMORE

Harm’s Way, Trapped Under Ice, Nails

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OUT NOW

8 U.S. GIRLS Half Free 4AD (2015)

U.S. Girls is Meg Remy and she faithfully represents a critical feminist voice pride in her lo-fi identity. The voice of Meg overlaps the noise samples and loops, as if taking a humble position in the sound mix, but quickly escapes for her uniqueness as much lyrical as timbric. On a certain nonchalance aware, we are caught up in her simplicity. She sings to herself, about her and in the bottom, on women, to whoever listens. A woman to women within a world still dominated by men. Half Free is ambiguous. Half free, half determined, half inclined through posturing, but disquieted by the absence of something. Meg discovered gunpowder and she will not give up detonating doses of reality.

RUI CORREIA

FOR FANS OF:

St. Vincent, Dirty Beaches, Cat Power

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7 WAVVES V

8 WILDHONEY Your Face Sideways EP

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Topshelf Records (2015)

“Have I lived too long? Why does my head hurt?” asks Nathan Williams in the opening track of V. Wavves’ fifth studio album is their cleanest sounding record to date, but it feels more like a hangover, complete with a pounding headache. V’s annoyingly catchy, fun songs may not be about having fun, but they are totally relatable to someone who knows what it feels like to be “hard to express, depressed and bored” (“Pony”), and to drink and think “Way Too Much”. By keeping their trademark sunny sound, the band have created an honest and ultimately optimistic record that proves that sometimes it’s okay to feel like shit, regardless if that’s because of alcohol or a breakup or self-doubt, because “it gets better”.

Early this year, Baltimore’s Wildhoney released their really great debut album, Sleep Through It, and it was hard not to be mesmerized by their dreamy yet intense noisy shoegaze. A few months later, they return with the release of a new EP, Your Face Sideways. In an introspective and honest way, Wildhoney were able to put together six songs that managed to follow-up in a great form their debut album. It’s neat, riveting and catchy. The dreamy vocals melt (in a good way) with the atmospheric and lovely sounds. The track “FSA II” - which is a continuation of the track “FSA” released on Sleep Through It - is kind of a twelve minute jam that will take you into their beautiful and turbulent world. For an EP, Your Face Sideways is quite a breathtaking release and it shows how creative and talented these musicians are.

FOR FANS OF:

FOR FANS OF:

Ghost Ramp / Warner Bros. (2015)

ANTIGONI PITTA

Cloud Nothings, Ty Segall, King Tuff

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OUT NOW

ANDREIA ALVES

Westkust, No Joy, My Bloody Valentine

WITH THE DEAD With The Dead

Rise Above Records (2015)

What can you expect from the intermixture between Electric Wizard’s rhythm section and Cathedral’s lead singer Lee Dorrian? If your answer is a skull crushing, ear shattering, heavier than you can handle “Doom from the Dead”, you are correct. These seasoned musicians show every other Stoner band out there they can be heavier, slower and more menacing that all the competition. The guitar riffs are pounding and dripping with distortion, and are followed closely by the bass that helps to accentuate and augment the sheer menace that comes out of the speakers. Lee Dorrian demonstrates once again he can carry a Doom Metal song like no other, and proves his versatility, being more down tuned and aggressive than ever.

NUNO BABO

FOR FANS OF:

Electric Wizard, Cathedral


REVIEWED IN OUR NEXT ISSUE OUT NOW

8 WREKMEISTER HARMONIES Night of Your Ascension Thrill Jockey (2015)

It’s with the haunting, beautiful, dramatic, and phantasmagoric-like voice of Marissa Nadler that Wrekmeister Harmonies’ third album, Night Of Your Ascension, gives its first step. Nadler is just one in a cast of 30 musicians that have helped J.R. Robinson craft what’s arguably his most accomplished and ambitious musical effort to date. With two tracks that revolve around two persons – Don Carlo Gesualdo and Father John Geoghan – Robinson excels on the task of taking the listener through numerous and different musical landscapes that are as rich in detail as heavy in emotionally depth. In the midst of portraying society’s violent, sick, and gruesome behavior, Wrekmeister Harmonies pens down a document that is frighteningly real and that refuses to deny the existence of light even in the darkest of times. FOR FANS OF:

BARONESS Purple

GRIMES Art Angels

SUNN O))) Kannon

jennylee Right On!

DANZIG Skeletons

CAGE THE ELEPHANT Tell Me I’m Pretty

HALSEY Badlands

SHOPPING Why Choose

LANTERNS OF THE LAKE Beings

TRUST FUND Seems Unfair

TIAGO MOREIRA

Experimental and dark experiences...

OUT NOW

8 ZOMBI Shape Shift

Relapse Records (2015)

By now everyone knows that Moore (bass, synths) and Paterra (drums), both natives of Pittsburgh and fans of Romero, have a healthy fixation with old horror soundtracks, and all fans of modern electronic soundtracks rejoice with a new Zombi record. The duo continues to draw ideas from the synth sounds of the ‘80s and of the Goblin-like progressive inclinations. However, they also add some details of their own; for example, “Interstellar Package” contains that post-something slow crescendo, creating the uneasy feeling in your chest that only old horror movies could. In general, the technical prowess on the drums, perfectly aligned with the synthesizers, results in a very interesting record. Shape Shift goes beyond the ambience in a genre that still has much to offer. CARLOS CARDOSO

FOR FANS OF:

Goblin, Explosions In The Sky, Mogwai

musicandriots.com

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Dilly Dally

Hooten Tennis Club

HOUSE ARREST CMJ PARTY Santos Party House, New York Words and pictures by Kenneth Bachor

Every year, NYC's CMJ Music Marathon brings together a variety of talented bands under their motto "New Music First." On October 14, 2015 at Santos Party House, as part of CMJ, PopGun presented a stacked lineup of artists, including Perfect Pussy, Protomartyr, Downtown Boys, Dilly Dally, Shopping, Yung, Nico Yaryan, Car Seat Headrest, Seratones, Hooton Tennis Club, and YAK. Each band's energetic set delighted a packed audience, and even if people there hadn't heard of some of these bands, they were immediately engaged. 110

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LIVE!

Car Seat Headrest Protomartyr

Downtown Boys

Shopping

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STEVEN WILSON Meo Arena, Lisbon

Words by Luís Alves // Pictures by Carlos Miranda As the first date of the second leg of the “Hand. Cannot. Erase” tour loomed in, there was a palpable sense of anticipation, for September 15th promised not only an immersive experience into the part fascinating, part tragic story of his latest masterpiece, but also a revisiting of some of the early creations that helped catapult Wilson’s career and gain his former act Porcupine Tree a now deserved cult status. The Portuguese crowd was the first to witness the beginning of a revisiting endeavor with something for everyone: from curious first-timers, through revisionists bearing “Fear of a Blank Planet” t-shirts up to his most recent fans, Steven Wilson’s show in Meo Arena’s Tejo Room would deliver in every possible way to all in attendance. As “First Regret” started to echo throughout the room, one by one, all band members began to take their places with cheerful applause, making way for the maestro itself to enter the stage in his usual stripped down, barefoot manner, who then proceeded to commence the evening with the Rush-inspired 10-minute epic “3 Years Older”. The interplay between sound and giant screen visuals gave the audience a glimpse of Joyce Carol Vincent’s life throughout songs like “Hand Cannot Erase” and “Perfect Life”, providing an engaging storytelling backdrop that gave a more meaningful context to each of the songs. Ninet Tayeb’s presence and magnificent voice were made possible in “Routine” on the account of Wilson’s Apple MacBook, something that the promptly described as cheating, but at least was “being honest about it”. The remaining alignment of “Hand. Cannot. Erase” was dutifully played (except for “Transience”), with the chilling “Ancestral” marking one of the concert’s finest moments. “Index” from “Grace for Drowning”, “Harmony Korine” from 112

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“Insurgentes” and Porcupine Tree’s “Lazarus” made up for Wilson’s first incursions to his past during the first half. Wilson’s backing band was, for the most part, nothing less of stellar, but attentions were turned mainly to Craig Blundell and Dave Kilminster, both replacing the two musical behemoths who recorded Hand. Cannot. Erase. While Blundell managed to deliver highly accurate and energetic renditions of Marco Minnemann’s intricate drum work, Kilminster opted to take some detours from Guthrie Govan’s style. His fret work sounded competent enough, but if one listened closely, it really didn’t exhibit the same flashes of brilliance put on to tape by Govan, with this being especially evident in “Regret #9” and “Ancestral”. However, if most of the connoisseurs thought that Wilson wasn’t making any substantial changes to his setlist, the encore section would bring them some unexpected surprises. A giant translucent curtain dropped on the stage as “Temporal”, a Bass Communion song, marked the beginning of the encore. The awe in everyone’s faces at the images being cast was something delightful to watch, and as the four-minute projection ended, Wilson & Co. appeared from behind the curtain to deliver a powerful rendition of “The Watchmaker”. For the following three songs, all Porcupine Tree fans in attendance were gladly being taken back to the past decade as Wilson proceeded to play “Sleep Together” and the duo of “The Sound of Muzak”/“Open Car” (which the Brit said “needed a suitable metal guitar”), both never performed live by his solo band before. The remarkable “The Raven that Refused to Sing” ended a brilliant concert that gave us a chance not only to witness an incredible display of musicianship, but also a live proof of why Wilson is nowadays considered a top reference in the Prog Rock domain. A night and experience to remember.


LIVE!

ZOLA JESUS Maus Hábitos, Porto Words by Tiago Moreira // Picture by Rui Correia

We can honestly say that Zola Jesus’ concert was one of the most anticipated events of this last few months and that’s because there’s nothing else but love and fully appreciation regarding her latest record, Taiga, which I still consider to be one of the best pop albums of this decade. And without any reservations we can honestly say that her concert was not only magical but also a revelation of how true of a stage animal Nika is. It was fuckin’ ferocious, to say the least. Nika Danilova can be short, but seeing her perform you easily get the impression that she’s at least 6 feet tall. With a set that, for the most part, was based on Taiga, the highlight was definitely the magnificent “Nail” that kicked off with a mesmerizing acapella and transported every member of the audience to another dimension. Watching Danilova in the middle of the crowd singing her guts out and, at the end, smashing the drums to pieces, was just a tiny part of what was a fuckin’ heavy (believe it or not), memorable, and dreamlike set. Not even the bad sound of the venue in the first six or seven songs could ruin that performance. musicandriots.com

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AMPLIFEST

Day 1, Hard Club - Porto

Words by Tiago Moreira // Pictures by Andreia Alves

Amplifest’s fifth edition started with two Portuguese acts, Juseph and Memoirs of a Secret Empire, collaborating and clashing on stage in what was a surprisingly enthralling show. Another national act followed-up with Filho da Mãe mastering the six-string guitar. Full of Hell were as violent and gritty as it was expected with their grind and powerviolence that didn’t leave any stone unturned. After such explosion nothing better than the contrast made by Noveller’s music. Jaws dropping and people in awe with the magnificent cinematic experience provided by the guitar of Sarah Lipstate. Watching Altar of Plagues performing live in 2015 is kind of a unique opportunity since they’ve decided to split-up, and the performance of the Irish-based black metal band was able to meet all the high expectations. William Basinski gave the most forgettable performance of the entire festival. His minimal electronic was a true test to one’s patience. But not even that could ruin the excitement around the Converge’s performance. They were the fucking kings of the day and festival. The energy felt in the entire room was contagious and the near-perfect musicianship displayed was matched with countless crowdsurfings and some moshpits. The sweat running through the people’s body was a testament of how amazing it was to see this legendary act. To close the night Wife, a project from Altar of Plagues’ James Kelly. All by himself, Kelly had a hard time to transport the amazing electropop tunes on his album What’s Between to a live set.

AMPLIFEST

Day 2, Hard Club - Porto

Words by Tiago Moreira // Pictures by Andreia Alves

With the sun shining in the sky, the second day of Amplifest 2015 started with the crooner Nate Hall (from U.S. Christmas) poisoning and infecting the room with his heartbreaking songs from his debut album, A Great River. Following a great lesson of folk was the vicious and dark electronic music of Atilla. A mood that would prepare the audience to the surprise band... Grave Pleasures. Out of nowhere people were dancing to Beastmilk songs and in awe of the entire situation, being this one of the higher moments of the entire festival. The black metal of the Belgium-based 114

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Wiegedood worked as a parallel to the performance of Altar of Plagues in the first day, but rather more violent, vicious, fast, and gritty. Metz were as well intense and infectious with their non-stop noisy punk, bringing to these shores their latest album, II. It was a sweaty and energetic show, for sure. To calm people down Stephen O’Malley, one half of Sunn O))), hit the stage and rambled non-stop with his guitar. It wasn’t easy to take it but no worries because Amenra were next and... They’ve been in Portugal three times in the last three years but it’s hard to be “mad” when their performance is always breathtaking, highly spiritual, and all-around amazing. To close the festival, the weirdness and fucked up tunes of Gnaw Their Tongues. Mories was probably responsible for creating dozens of nightmares that night. Amplifest’s fifth edition was far from being their most eclectic and exciting one, but there’s no denying that it is still the place of reference for weird, experimental, emotional, and heavy music, in Portugal.


LIVE!

Converge

Metz

Grave Pleasures

Amenra

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Girl Band

MUCHO FLOW 2015 Featuring Girl Band, Circuit des Yeux, Jibóia...

CAAA, Guimarães

Words by Tiago Moreira // Picture by Rui Correia

A former textile factory was the stage of this festival that takes place in a Northern city called Guimarães. One day and twelves bands divided in two stages. The day started with the one-man-show of Acid Acid and his psychedelic, highly ambiental, and experimental sounds. Galgo were presenting their recently released EP5 and offered the first proper rock attack of the festival. Lama brought things to the ground with their ambient and laidback sounds and El Rupe followed with kind of the same mindset, but infusing a little bit more of energy and tenacity. Smartini played their alternative rock by performing some songs of their 2007’s Sugar Train, and Sun Blossoms made their mission to drown the audience with their lo-fi/experimental pop soaked in psychedelics and dreamlike. Ricardo Remédio (from Löbo e 116

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RA) took us on a trip of “technoindustrial vibrations”. And it was of highly energetic vibes that the performance by Jibóia was fueled by. With Ricardo Martins on the drums, Jibóia gave what was easily the most awesomely nice concert of the day, with many people dancing around and with a smile on the face. Unfortunately, Pega Monstro ruined the good mood with their primitive and meaningless garage rock. Being loud doesn’t mean being good. Filho da Mãe & Ricardo Martins were friends and enemies in a set that has distinguished by the complicity in the battle of guitar vs. drums. Haley Fohr, also known as Circuit des Yeux, was one the biggest attractions of the night, mainly because of her mesmerizing album In Plain Speech, which was released this year. Accompanied by a violin and a western concert

flute, the guitar and Haley’s voice were responsible for what’s arguably the best concert of the day. One of the few people that seem to have been truly influenced by Nico’s Desertshore. Saying that it was an amazing it would be a fuckin’ huge understatement. To close the day we were bullied by the nasty, energetic, and gnarly punk rock of the Irish-based Girl Band, who were presenting their recently released debut album, Holding Hands With Jamie. They owned the entire place and transformed it into a sweat pool. No one could be indifferent to their big explosion. A perfect ending to a day that would be far more interesting with fewer bands, but never the less a great event in a part of the country that needs more cultural bets.


LIVE!

Acid Mothers Temple

ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE & THE MELTING PARAISO U.F.O. Nice & Sleazy, Glasgow

Words by Dave Bowes // Picture by Gregor Thomas

Calling tonight a weird one is putting it mildly, with the occult miasma of Norwegian noisemonger KRK and Muyassar Kurdi’s shapeshifting blend of performance art and vocal acrobatics setting a scene that baffles, bemuses and befuddles the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd crammed together like pilchards in a pickle jar. For those who naively believe they know what’s coming with Acid Mothers Temple, the night becomes more surprising yet, with an initial chaotic flurry of energy boiling down to a deliciously funky essence. New live staple Benzaiten brings Tsuyama Atsushi’s glorious basswork to the fore, an everlasting groove that dominates even Kawabata

Makoto’s layers of fuzz and crackle, while a swirl of synth and extraterrestrial textures from Higashi Hiroshi allows their take on Osamu Kitajima’s lost gem to ascend beyond heaven itself. By the time they hit “Cometary Orbital Drive”, the pulse has quickened with an acid house beat, Kawabata locked in time with Tabata Mitsuru while Satoshima Nani ignores his new-guy status and acts as supreme cosmic commander, his flighty precision the perfect driving force for these urgent vibes. Such is their power to shift the mood of a room with a handful of notes that when the fragile melody of “Pink Lady Lemonade” surfaces, the fevered dancing stops and

everyone loses themselves to blissful contemplation, and when Kawabata bursts from its centre with some harried salvoes of sixstring bluster, it builds upon the synaptic reverie they’ve steadily been building over the past however long it’s been rather than swallowing it whole. It’s a cliché for a band like this to say that no two shows are ever alike, but no matter how many albums you own, how many shows you see, how many versions of “Pink Lady Lemonade” you inexplicably accumulate, their concerts always retain the feeling of seeing them for the first time. Truly, a gift from the cosmos (or Japan) to the unworthy.

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HABITATS + LITTLE CUB + NATIVE PEOLE The Lexington, London

Words by Ibra Diakhaté // Picture by Bruno Rodrigues

On the 22nd of October, one of Islington’s finest music venues and lounge bars opened its doors for another night of good music and good vibes. The Lexington was home for three special bands that night and their work was superb. Little Cub really caught my attention with their performance. It could be argued that the frontman sounded like a toned down version of Ian Curtis in the sense that he has a darker groove to him. However they were still some hints of reggae similar to Sting in his voice. He kept the movement to a minimum so people could concentrate on his voice and lyrics. The performance got the audience heads bopping. Despite being quite a short performance it was an effective one and got everyone feeling hyped for the coming up acts. Native People did not impress that much because of their generic and commercial sound. There was a lack of an edge in their performance which made it sound a little unoriginal. They also sound quite similar to The Police when they first started back in the 80s, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Overall, the performance was solid and the audience clearly felt connected with the band. Habitats were the final act of the night and they did a tremendous job on closing up the night. They got the audience on their feet from the minute they walked in on that stage. Looking at the entire night, it’s noticeable that it was a continuous build up for their performance and it was delivered perfectly. Mike Lawford connected with the public perfectly with is mannerism and swagger. The performance was like a cocktail of danceable catchy beats and vocal experimentalism that got the audience excited until the very end. It all exploded with the last song when the entire audience invaded the stage and danced like there was no tomorrow. Summing up, it was a performance full of life energy and good music. 118

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STEVE JOBS

8 DIRECTOR: Danny Boyle WRITER: Aaron Sorkin STARRING: Michael

Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Michael Stuhlbarg, Katherine Waterston, Sarah Snook, John Ortiz, Adam Shapiro, John Steen, Makenzie Moss USA 2015

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By now, everyone’s over with the fact that Steve Jobs was this kind of digital-revolution visionary who democratized personal computing, another dysfunctional genius that was sometimes more human than human - “What if the computer was a beautiful object? Something you wanted to look at and have in your home. And what if instead of it being in the right hands, it was in everyone’s hands?” said Jobs. Danny Boyle and Andy Sorkin bring together a different vision of the Steve Jobs well known reputation, perhaps he was able to bring some of that innate humanism into this kind of villain of technology, but we all know that once you are a visionary, you will be loved and hated at the

same time. Set in three main events of Steve Jobs life’s work, where the stylistic evolution that underscores Jobs’s design-conscious innovations clashes with this kind of relationship between the myth and the man. From presenting the hype computing life-changing machine the Mac back on a campus near Apple’s Cupertino HQ in 1984, to his Machiavelli stunt back in 1988 with NeXT’s black cube computer after being pseudo dismissed to his glorious and historic presentation of iMac G3 at San Francisco auditoriums in 1998 - “The two most significant events of the twentieth century: the Allies win the war, and this” said Jobs.


CINEMA

Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay was able to create this non-stop dynamic tension between Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs) and Kate Winslet (Joanna Hoffman), that somehow gives a close glimpse of how Jobs interaction with people is beyond priceless, every single one of his attitudes were conscious and affected people in a good and bad way. The geeky hype he created around him, totally justified, and his own way of showing emotions - sometimes being an asshole and sometimes showing his human side. Nothing goes beyond the fact he changed the lives of every single person that was somehow part of his life - “I don’t want people to dislike me. I’m

indifferent to if they dislike me” said Jobs. From his relationship with his own daughter, Lisa, who he didn’t even recognized as his own daughter for years, to his relationship with software designer Andy Herzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg) and the early days working with Apple tech wizard Steve Wozniack (Seth Rogen) in his garage, even his relationship with Apple CEO John Scully - otherwise known as the man who fired Steve Jobs - nothing changes regarding what was his own purpose and goal, changing lives and being part of history, all done in the most scary and conscious way. This is not a standard biopic,

Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin created a brave, smart, artful and elegant film. In three main events of a person’s life, they were able to portray Steve Jobs as a person and as one of the main technology designers visionaries of all time. Perhaps and sometimes a bully and egocentric prick, Jobs is undeniably brilliant with an arrogance to match his intelligence - “I’m gonna put music in your pocket… You’re carrying around a brick playing a cassette tape. We’re not savages. I’m gonna put a thousand songs in your pocket… All I have to do really is wipe out the record business as we know it and we’ll be all set” stated Jobs.

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FAUSTO CASAIS

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THE MARTIAN

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DIRECTOR: Ridley Scott STARRING: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Chiwetel Ejiofor USA/UK 2015 There’s been a lot of films lately based on space ships and trips to the outer space. For example, we had Prometheus, Interstellar, Gravity, Europa Report, and so on... All those films had a different and particular approach to space travel experiences. The Martian is yet another film about space travels, based on the best-selling novel by Andy Weir, and directed by Ridley Scott - who is not new on these shores (Blade Runner, Prometheus, Alien). His approach of The Martian is charming and amusing. Matt Damon plays the astronaut Mark Watney, who is presumed dead and left behind by his crew in Mars. Damon’s performance is tremendously funny and vital to the whole film, and like Watney calls himself, he’s a “space pirate”. This is another brilliant and stirring film about astronauts and the outer space. ANDREIA ALVES

CRIMSON PEAK

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DIRECTOR: Guillermo del Toro STARRING: Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam, Jim Beaver, Burn Gorman, Leslie Hope, Doug Jones USA/CANADA 2015 Guillermo del Toro’s ability to create what he envisions on his mind to a film is just surreal. His imagination is limitless and his visual style is unique. For Crimson Peak, he was pretty much influenced by Gothic romance novels, and the result is a beautiful and sinister Gothic romantic film. The story is about a young and strong woman, Edith (Mia Wasikowska), that falls in love with an handsome stranger, Thomas (Tom Hiddleston). After her father is inexplicable found dead, she marries with Thomas and moves in to his creepy house along with his sister, Lucille (Jessica Chastain). The triangle Wasikowska, Hiddleston and Chastain embodies their characters in such realistic and raw way. Every little detail of the house has a meaning and it’s darkly colorful, even the ghosts are quite remarkable. Sometimes this film feels like it has a Tim Burton’s vibe to it, but this is darker and nastier. It has a sensual and gory approach. With Crimson Peak, Guillermo del Toro shows that Gothic romance spirit is well alive. ANDREIA ALVES

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CINEMA

8

DOPE

DIRECTOR: Rick Famuyiwa STARRING: Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemons, Rakim Mayers, Blake Anderson, Bruce Beatty, Zoë Kravitz, De’aundre Bonds, Julian Brand, Quincy Brown, Kiersey Clemons, Kimberly Elise USA 2015

Cheerful and smart, Rick Famuyiwa coming-of-age teen movie totally justifies the hype. It’s not very often that nowadays we can blend comedy with a political-social punch on it without any kind of fear of sounding predictable. Featuring an impressive performance from Shameik Moore, Dope is a fresh indie-geeky take, that dares and is different, somehow between the Pineapple Express mess, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off slackerness and Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever political agenda. A critical hit and audience favorite out of the Sundance, Dope is a full time adventure into surviving, party, dope, planning the future, being a geek and trying to avoid trouble in a tough neighborhood in Los Angeles.

EVEREST

DIRECTOR: Baltasar Kormákur STARRING: Jason Clarke, Ang

Phula Sherpa, Thomas M. Wright, Chris Reilly, John Hawkes, Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emily Watson, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Robin Wright USA/UK/ICELAND 2015

Everest is another film about the true events that occured in March 1996 when several commercial expeditions arrive at Mount Everest base camp to prepare for a climb to the summit. The storyline focus on Rob Hall, the leader of Adventure Consultants, and his crew. From the moment they started climbing up to the summit, there’s this feeling that something bad is going to happen - probably those who already know the story will not be surprised. It can be a bit slow for the scenes to develop, but those little moments and details around the people and the landscapes will make you take deep breaths and be amazed by the strength of the nature and the hidden instict to survive of the human being.

FAUSTO CASAIS

SONG ONE DIRECTOR: Kate Barker-Froyland STARRING: Anne Hatha-

6

way, Johnny Flynn, Mary Steenburgen, Ben Rosenfield, Sarah Steele, Grace Rex, Li Jun Li, Crystal Lonneberg, Gideon Glick, Katrina E. Perkins, Al Thompson USA 2015

Song One is another film full of clichés and no suprises, but even though it brings nothing new to the romantic drama films, it is warm and harmonious. Anne Hathaway stars as Franny, that after her brother Henry was injured and hospitalized in a coma following a car accident, she returns home after a long estrangement. She begins to use his notebook as a guide to how his life has evolved in her absence. Franny seeks out the artists that Henry loved, which leads her to meet James Forester (Johnny Flynn), his musical idol. An inevitable romance arose between them. One of the few highlights of Song One is obviously the music, which was composed by Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice.

7

ANDREIA ALVES

BLACK MASS

7

DIRECTOR: Scott Cooper STARRING: Johnny Depp, Benedict

Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson, Joel Edgerton, Kevin Bacon, Peter Sarsgaard, Jesse Plemons, Rory Cochrane, David Harbour, Adam Scott, Corey Stoll, Bill Camp USA/UK 2015

Black Mass is another true inspired story that goes directly into the heart of the FBI unholy alliances. Emotionally raw, this is a movie full of tension, where breaking the law and corruption are the payday of criminals, cops and communities. Somewhere between Eastern Promises, The Departed and Goodfellas, Black Mass shows us that Johnny Deep can act, portraying the ruthless and cruel Irish mobster James “Whitey” Bulger. Gangster movies aren’t what they used to be, but the stunning cast choice and the sparkly noir tension that surrounds the FBI alliance with Bulger to defeat the Italian mob brings back the memory of James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, and Humphrey Bogart Hollywood’s golden age.

ANDREIA ALVES

FAUSTO CASAIS

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