music&riots FREE | ISSUE 18 | MAY-JUN
YUCK DÄLEK MOGWAI BEVERLY MANTAR COLOURS LANDSCAPES THE THERMALS THE WORD ALIVE THE COATHANGERS KILLSWITCH ENGAGE
NOTHING WORLD’S MOST EXCITING BAND, DEAL WITH THAT!
Creativity Can’t Be Stopped
They’re Back! Get Excited...
EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY Into The Wilderness
MARISSA NADLER Monumental & Exquisite
Stellar New Heights
Straight To Your Heart
A Creative & Complex Fire
Cutting It Down To Basics 1
ROUND UP 10 // THE JULIE RUIN - The band return with a new album titled Hit Reset. 16 // LETLIVE. - Everything you need to know about the band’s new album, If I’m The Devil... 20 // SWANS - They are back with their fourteenth studio album, The Glowing Man. WELCOME BACK 18 // EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY - We talked with guitarist and songwriter Munaf Rayani... 22 // KILLSWITCH ENGAGE - After the excitement of their new album’s release, we caught up with guitarist Joel Stroetzel. RISING 12 // YUCK - We caught up with guitarist Max Bloom on their US tour last month. 14 // THE WORD ALIVE - We had the chance to speak with vocalist Tyler “Telle” Smith. 20 // LANDSCAPES - They just released their second album, Modern Earth, and we caught up with vocalist Shaun Milton.
26 // WIRE - The brilliant Colin Newman talked with us on the phone about Nocturnal Koreans, pop music, the importance of DIY, and Wire in general.
NEW NOISE // FEATURING: 26 // HESITATION WOUNDS 28 // KAREN MEAT 29 // SLØTFACE 30 // COLOURS + Q&A 32 // SUPERMOON 33 // PATIO 34 // BEVERLY + Q&A 36 // THE GOON SAX
SUMMER FESTIVALS - Part 1 24 // Our guide for this upcoming silly season
98 // Radiohead, Amber Arcades, Clique, Culture Abuse, Deftones, Greys, Kristin Kontrol, Mourn, Gates, Modern Baseball, Nothing, Thrice, Let’s Eat Grandma, Marissa Nadler, White Lung, Minor Victories, Wire, Weezer, The Kills, The Hotelier, Teen Suicide, Tacocat, Night School, Sorority Noise, Sumac, Prism Tats, Muscle & Marrow, Pity Sex, Real Friends, Pup, Tiny Moving Parts...
126 // So What?! Music Festival 2016, Babymetal, Cult Of Luna, Amorphis, Textures, Teeth Of The Sea, Palehound, At The Drive In, Le Butcherettes, Refused, Frank Turner.
CINEMA & TV
136 // Everybody Wants Some!!, Louder Than Bombs, The Witch, Midnight Special, High-Rise, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Captain America: Civil War, Where To Invade Next 4
58 // NOTHING - Frontman Domenic “Nicky” Palermo seem to be that kind of person who keeps pushing forward even when things get really dark and rough, and then he was able with his bandmates to deliver yet another brilliant record. Nicky opened up to us about the recent hard events of his life and the whole process of making Tired Of Tomorrow.
+ INTERVIEWS 38 // PITY SEX - We talked with drummer Sean St. Charles
about their sophomore effort, White Hot Moon, and much more.
42 // THE THERMALS - We caught up with the always great Hutch Harris about their impressive new album, We Disappear.
46 // MOGWAI - We managed to check in on Stuart Braith-
waite to find out the genesis of this work and his own relationship with the atom.
50 // THE COATHANGERS - We talked with Julia Kugel
(a.k.a. Crook Kid) about creating and recording the band’s new album in California, then meaning of this album for her, and her hopes and aspirations for the future.
54 // MODERN BASEBALL - We chatted with Brendan, Jacob, Sean and Ian to know more about their new album. 68 // THRICE - Riley Breckenridge told us all about what went down before and after the hiatus. 74 // GATES - We talked with Kevin Dye about the importance
of change and trying new things creatively, how he moving from Michigan to New York did affect him creatively and the new album itself.
80 // MARISSA NADLER - Strangers is her eighth album and
we witness a deeper and more tenacious effort. Marissa shared her thoughts about what pushes her as a musician and what Strangers is all about.
84 // DÄLEK - It was about the new album, the creative process, the current state of affairs, and hip hop that we talked with Will Brooks (also known as MC dälek). 88 // DISCHARGE - Jeff “JJ” Janiak, the new singer of the legendary band, talked with us about their latest album and the will the band has to keep moving forward. 92 // MANTAR - We caught up with guitarist Hanno Klänhardt
WORDS FROM THE EDITOR Well, we have the pleasure of having Nothing again on our front cover, it’s pretty exciting I must confess and we said that they’re the world’s most exciting band, it’s our statement so deal with that. Let’s say that we live in a time where real bands or real artists don’t get praised that much, everyone in the media and all blah blah blah is playing safe and talking about the same old boring bands that don’t add nothing to the scene. I don’t know if you notice, but there is a bash of awesome new bands ready for you, but there is always a catch, you need to be ready to embrace something new and have the balls to appreciate their honesty, perseverance and art, they speak from the heart and they are really making a difference. Of course we can’t ignore artists like Radiohead, Wire or PJ Harvey, they’re too damn good to ignore, but I’m not talking about ignoring anything, just about learning to support those who really mean something nowadays. Artists like Clique, Culture Abuse, Mourn, Nothing, Modern Baseball, Miserable, Greys, Night School, Dowsing, Gates, Let’s Eat Grandma, Pity Sex, Pup, Beverly, Colours, Muscle & Marrow, Tacocat, Skating Polly, Kristin Kontrol, Minor Victories, Hotelier, Sorority Noise, Trautonist, Supermoon, Karen Meat, Patio are a few of the awesome bands that are part of this new issue and deserve to be talked about a lot more often. The current music scene is full of genres and sub genres, and everything is even more exciting than ever, so many new bands, projects and awesome nostalgic comebacks are the salt to keep the scenes alive. So many good bands and so many art statements, just look at the amazing Radiohead’s return. About the new issue, enough said. By the way, the silly season of Summer Festivals is arriving, be ready…
to walk us through the creation of this primal metal masterpiece.
Your Editor, Fausto Casais
music&riots magazine musicandriots.com
LETLIVE. If I’m The Devil... Epitaph Available on June 10
THE HOTELIER Goodness Tiny Engines Available on May 27
REAL FRIENDS The Home Inside My Head Fearless Records Available on May 27
FREE | ISSUE 18 | MAY-JUNE
EDITOR IN CHIEF
Fausto Casais (email@example.com)
Andreia Alves (firstname.lastname@example.org) Tiago Moreira (email@example.com)
ART EDITOR // DESIGNER Fausto Casais
FEATURES EDITOR Fausto Casais
CONTRIBUTORS // WRITERS
THE KILLS Ash & Ice Domino Available on June 3
THRICE To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere Vagrant Available on May 27
Nuno Babo, Nuno Teixeira, Ricardo Almeida, Sergio Kilmore, Dave Bowes, Mariana Silva, Rob McCance, Rui Correia, Carlos Cardoso, Euan Andrews, Luis Alves, Fabio Filipe, Stella Eliadou, Antigoni Pitta, Joe Doyle, Miljan Milekić, Steven Loftin, Marty Hill, Andi Chamberlain, Justin Kuntz, Mark McConville,
COVER STORY PHOTOGRAHER Jimmy Hubbard
Andreia Alves, Ricardo Almeida, Fabio Filipe
GATES Parallel Lives Pure Noise Records Available on June 3
Fausto Casais (firstname.lastname@example.org)
MARISSA NADLER Strangers Sacred Bones Records Available on May 20
MINOR VICTORIES Minor Victories PIAS Available on June 3
MOURN Ha, Ha, He. Captured Tracks Available on June 3
NIGHT SCHOOL Blush Graveface Records Available on June 16
HUGE FUCKING THANKS
Lauren Barley, Frank van Liempdt, Deathwish Inc, Thrill Jockey, Amelia Trask, Richard S.Jones, Brid Walpole, Sub Pop, Sargent House, Lucy Hurst, Stephanie Marlow, Amplificasom, Earsplit, Jessi Frick, UNFD, Matador, Spinefarm, Southern Lord, Riot Act Media, Team Clermont, Bloodshot Records, Eros Pasi, Rude Records, Walter Mazzeo, Pure Noise Records, Memorial Records, Hopeless Records, Nathan Walker, Bella Union, Napalm Records, Canvas Media, Sarah Maynard, Sony Music UK, Raw Power Management, Kenneth Bachor, Catalyst PR, Don Giovanni Records, UNFD, Wichita, Domino, Nuclear Blast, PIAS, Brixton Agency
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THE JULIE RUIN RETURN WITH HIT RESET...
UPCOMING // THE JULIE RUIN
he Julie Ruin, the band featuring Kathleen Hanna, her former Bikini Kill bandmate Kathi Wilcox, Kiki and Herb’s Kenny Mellman, Carmine Covelli, and Sara Landeau, have announced their second studio album, Hit Reset. The follow-up to 2013’s Run Fast will be released on July 8 via Hardly Art. Mixed by Eli Crews (with whom the band worked on Run Fast), “I was way more honest lyrically on this record because we’d been on the road together and I felt more confident taking risks in front of
my bandmates,” Hanna says. “I’ve written about my personal bouts with illness, abuse, sexism and how hard it is for me to walk away from people even when they are toxic Tasmanian Devils before, but not in this way. Some songs were so close to me I had to stop singing in practice and while recording because I was crying. It’s rare to work with a group of people you feel okay doing that with.” “But there was laughter too,” Hanna adds. “We wrote this song called ‘Mr So and So’ where I sing from the perspective of a dude who ‘loves girl bands’ but is actually kind of a jerk. I’ve come
in contact with this special ‘doing feminism in a really un-feminist way’ person a ton over my career and it felt good to crack jokes about it. I think my favorite moment of recording was the day I walked into Figure 8 Studio and found a woman who was working on the record laughing her ass off on the couch while Eli was playing her the track for the first time. It made me so happy to hear her laughing about something that can be so painful.” HIT RESET ARRIVES ON JULY 8 VIA HARDLY ART.
ROUND UP Kino Kimino is the brainchild of Kim Talon, who plugged in with Lee Ranaldo and Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth to throw down the ten post-punk songs on debut album Bait Is for Sissies. The band has announced that they have signed with Wavves’ label Ghost Ramp to release the album in North America. With John Agnello (Kurt Vile, Dinosaur Jr., Hop Along) at the helm of production, Bait Is for Sissies was recorded at Sonic Youth’s Echo Canyon West studio. The songs explore “betrayal, violence and the feeling of being an outsider, a dramatized response to the end of a romantic relationship that was founded on deceit.” Amy Klein, a poet and songwriter from New Jersey and former member of Titus Andronicus, has announced the release of her debut solo venture Fire for June 10th via Don Giovanni Records. “I wrote this album about growing up. Working on this album for five years was my way of trying to find meaning in the feeling of not knowing who I was,” says Amy Klein about Fire. “The album is about me creating a place where I can belong and can trust myself. I hope that idea connects with other people and helps them realize they can do that too.” Celebrated Chicago post-metal/ rock trio Russian Circles have announced the release of their highly-anticipated sixth studio album, Guidance, due out August 5th from Sargent House. This 7-song, 40-minute LP was recorded by Kurt Ballou at GodCity Studio in Salem, MA. In support of Guidance, Russian Circles have announced an extensive North American headlining tour that spans August through October and features Cloakroom and Helms Alee on select dates. This tour follows Russian Circles’ forthcoming appearances at Levitation Fest Vancouver and Crucial Fest in Salt Lake City in June. Most recently, Russian Circles toured the UK and Europe (where they headlined DesertFest in London, Dunkfest in Belgium among others). 12
STRANGE THINGS HAPPEN... This February YUCK gave us Stranger Things, their third and arguably most personal album yet. We caught up with guitarist Max Bloom on their US tour last month to ask them a few questions about the album and touring. Words: Antigoni Pitta
tarting 2016 with the release of a new album must be really exciting. What do you think this year has in store for you? Probably just focusing on touring. We’re just coming to the end of a really long American tour, and then we have some UK dates when we get back. There will probably be some more tours before the end of the year too. Many saw Daniel’s departure in 2013 as a huge blow to the band, but Stranger Things is living proof that you’ve made the most of it. What can you tell us about your recording process? How was it different to Glow & Behold in particular?
It was quite nice to not be in a studio and just be in an environment that we’re all comfortable in. Glow & Behold was definitely a studio album, in the sense that we kind of ‘let loose’ with our ideas and didn’t really think that much about how we would translate the recorded versions to the stage. But with this album, I think we wanted to keep the recording as simplistic as possible and not get too carried away with overdubs, which also makes things more simple when it comes to playing live. What were some of your influences for Stranger Things? I was listening to a bunch of different things. I remember listening to Tusk by Fleetwood Mac, and
RISING // YUCK
. also bands like Mission Of Burma, The Thermals, Shellac and Fugazi. The album was announced at the beginning of the year, but you’ve said that you’ve been working on it for several months. Would you say recording at your own pace helped you construct a more personal sound? Recording over several months wasn’t necessarily a conscious choice we made, that’s just what happens when you have band members living all over the world! It did give us the space to write a lot of songs though and take our time with things. When listening to the album, the title track’s “I hate myself” chorus struck me the most. What are some of the themes you deal with lyrically? To what extent
would you say they relate to your personal experiences? The lyrics are very strongly connected to things I’ve been going through over the past few years. I don’t really write lyrics about stories or fictional characters, I can only really write about things that affect me or the people around me. Is there a story behind the title? It isn’t necessarily related to the subject matter of the song “Stranger Things”, but I thought it would be an appropriate name for the album. The word ‘strange’ in particular seems to resonate a lot with me when I look back on the last few years. You recently had your album launch in London. Are you excited to be presenting your album to American fans? It’s been great coming back to
America. It’s been really unexpected seeing the amount of new fans coming to our shows, people who have only just discovered us on this record. Do you find UK crowds different to the ones in the US? It totally depends on where you are. The general consensus is that UK & European audiences are a little bit more reserved compared to American ones, there are always going to be exceptions to the rule. It also depends on what day of the week it is! People are obviously going to be in a better mood on Friday/Saturday. UK and US crowds are both great to play in front of in their own ways! STRANGER THINGS IS OUT NOW VIA MAMÉ RECORDS
HEAVY, DYNAMIC & EXPANSIVE Embarking into their eighth triumphant year as a band, Phoenix, Arizona's THE WORD ALIVE have just released their fourth and heaviest studio album Dark Matter. Currently on their 2016 Europe tour (with later plans to join this year’s Warped Tour), we had the chance to speak with vocalist Tyler "Telle" Smith about the band’s journey so far, and what's yet to come. Words: Justin Kunz // Photo: Vince Dwyer
Your latest album, Dark Matter, has a different sound than anything you guys have released in the past. How do you feel it compares to your previous albums? I think it is just the product of our experiences and growth over the last 7 years. Particularly, the last 4 years where we have sustained the same lineup. The chemistry is there. The honesty is there. And we definitely know exactly what we want to be moving forward. It took a while, but we got it. This is the most proud any of us have been individually of an album, as well as a whole. Generally speaking, what is the typical songwriting process for The Word Alive? Usually, I will write a bunch in between album cycles. When I hear the music for a particular part or an entire song I either reference lyrics I’ve worked on prior or I feel pulled in a particular direction. I then just try to focus on the overall vibe of the song and try to start creating melodies. Once I have melodies locked in I return to the lyrics and try to make them as concise and to the point as possible while hopefully maintaining some poetic aspect. You guys are currently on a headlining tour overseas. When you get back, you’ll have a short break before heading out to participate in this year’s Vans Warped Tour. With all these tours and shows scheduled, how do you manage to stay sane? We actually are home first for a little over a month which is always nice. We’re 14
RISING // THE WORD ALIVE excited to head to Europe for the Dark Matter Tour. Overall, this is just what we do. It’s the life we have all chosen so we have to find a way to remain positive. What’s the meaning and reason behind the album’s name, Dark Matter? Well, Zack initially titled a demo track “Dark Matter”. That ended up becoming the full song, and when discussing the possibilities for album titles we just kept coming back to it. We felt it just fit. Who are The Word Alive’s biggest influences musically? We have influences from multiple generations of music. We all listen to most types of music, and it all plays a part in our progression and influence. For Dark Matter, you guys teamed up with producer/musician Matt Good (From First to Last, D.R.U.G.S). How did that collaboration come about, and how do you feel about his contributions to the album? Matt had been working on some solo music with Zack prior to working with us. He told us we should give him a shot and since we were all friends it made sense to at least try working together. Instantly, we knew it was the right match for us, so we locked ourselves away for the summer in his studio and wrote and recorded Dark Matter. His contribution to the album is pretty vast, as he pushed each member individually and the group as a whole. He kept us focused and reminded us of what we wanted to accomplish and his opinions on how to do so. The recently released music video for your song “Trapped” tells the story of a man struggling with drug addiction. In relation to the song, what influenced you guys to take this creative route with this video? We all have been impacted by drug abuse one way or another. It’s one of the reasons this song came about. But that’s not the only vice the song makes reference to. It just happened to be the one that visually made the most sense. Director Marcus Eden worked off of an initial treatment idea we wrote and took it to the next level. Recently, a local opening act got into an altercation with your tour manager. Has this event affected the bands thinking on whether or not to have local acts as openers for future shows? Not at all. We love getting to help the local scene grow in different markets. Sometimes shit happens on tour, but this was the first time in 7 years of touring so it’s not really a big deal. What’s next for The Word Alive? We’re just enjoying our new album being out and the tours we have lined up will be an incredible time. There will be plenty more later in the year, and we just hope to see as many fans out at the shows as possible! DARK MATTER IS OUT NOW VIA FEARLESS RECORDS musicandriots.com
MORE ROUND UP 16
Strange Relations have joined Tiny Engines family. The label will release the band’s new Going Out EP this summer with a new album to follow in 2017. Going Out will follow up Strange Relations’ 2015 debut full-length, Centrism. The trio, led by Casey Sowa, along with her long-time partner in crime Marisa Helgeson and friend Nate Hart-Andersen draw influences that goes from shoegaze to dream pop to post-punk, Strange Relations are for sure one of the names to have in mind for the future. Jackal Onasis have announced the release of their debut album, Big Deal Party, due out June 24th via Exploding In Sound Records. Formed across coasts by Alex Molini (Stove, Big Putts, exDirty Dishes) and Jordyn Blakely (Stove, ex-Butter May-June
The Children, ex-Night Manager), the duo shared files back and forth, constructing the basics of Big Deal Party before Molini uprooted to Brooklyn where the band became a “band” and were joined by Chris “Ghoul Man” Colli (Sick Head). Purple have announced the release of their upcoming second album, Bodacious, out on July 29th through Play It Again Sam. The Texan trio released their debut album, 409, in 2014, and since then they played as many shows as possible. The arrival of Bodacious, shows little sign of Purple slowing up. According to a press release, the new
UPCOMING // LETLIVE.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LETLIVE.’S NEW ALBUM Their fourth studio album entitled If I’m The Devil… will arrive on June 10 via Epitaph. The band also unveiled “Good Mourning, America“, a brand new track taken from the upcoming new album that fuses political lyricism with the urgency of punk, rhythms of hip hop, and avant-garde noise. The album is the follow up to letlive.’s critically-lauded 2013 release, The Blackest Beautiful. And the time spent between that and 2016 are defined by the band’s engagement with the griot lineage of Saul Williams and Ta-Nehisi Coates, the deaths of Eric Garner and Mike Brown, the social pathologies that led to Ferguson, Missouri and divisive redlining policies that are functionally domestic terrorism. And with those ideas, letlive. is a band that aims to bring political messages into rock music again. “Our music is very left-leaning. It’s very clear I have a large disdain for the way a lot of systems are working and our society’s incapability to unravel,” frontman Jason Butler states. Jason Butler (vocals), RJ Johnson (bass), Jeff Sahyoun (guitar), and Loniel Robinson (drums) recorded If I’m The Devil… at Kingsize Studiolabs in Los Angeles, with co-producer Justyn Pilbrow. Guitarist Jeff Sahyoun explains, “We collectively wanted the audio realm we have spent years creating to give birth to a digestible powerhouse of modern sound.” It is a strident, principled and heavy studio work created by four uniquely creative individuals known for letting their passion unfurl onstage. Those who have witnessed a letlive. show can attest that it is a connective, reactive and provocative experience that transcends the standard band performance and stage/audience dynamic. That explosive energy and fury is fully expressed on If I’m the Devil… As Butler states, “I feel we’ve spent years developing the idea that is letlive. and with this record I feel we have finally developed the SOUND that is letlive.” letlive. will make their long-awaited return to the UK and mainland Europe this month. All UK shows are sold out. JON WEINER
album retains the irreverent spirit and infectious spontaneity of their debut across its twelve tracks. Super Unison have announced a partnership with Deathwish Inc. for their debut full-length due out later this year. The band, which features Meghan O’Neil Pennie (formerly of PUNCH) on bass and vocals, Justin Renninger (formerly of Snowing) on drums, and Kevin DeFranco on guitar, formed in 2014 and released a self-titled EP on vinyl and cassette formats in May of last year. Later this year, Super Unison will release their debut full-length on Deathwish. These twelve tracks were
IF I’M THE DEVIL... ARRIVES ON JUNE 10TH VIA EPITAPH RECORDS
recorded this past February with Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Loma Pieta, Frameworks) in Palo Alto, CA, and like their self-titled EP, Super Unison’s new songs are concise and intense, and generally stick between the 2-3 minute mark. Their songwriting has matured quite a bit, with a lot more “…melody, texture and structure to the songs, but still taking the same aggressive fast paced approach overall,” commented guitarist DeFranco. Moose Blood have announced the release of their upcoming new album, Blush, which will be out worldwide on August 5th via Hopeless Records. In a
collective statement, the band says: “We’re so happy to finally reveal details of our new record Blush, and we’re kicking things off with the song ‘Honey’. We’re so thankful for how amazing the past year went for us and we can’t wait to get things moving again.” Norma Jean are back on Solid State Records and have also announced that they will release the follow-up to 2013’s album Wrongdoers on September 09. The album is being produced by Josh Barber and mixed by Jeremy Griffith, both of whom were enlisted for NJ’s previous albums Wrongdoers and Meridional.
INTO THE WILDERNESS... WITH EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY! Post-rock legends EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY have just released their album number seven, The Wilderness, and we talked with guitarist and songwriter Munaf Rayani about it. Words: Tiago Moreira // Photo: Nick Simoneti
remember reading an interview where Chris Hrasky said, about the time leading up to Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, “There were several months spent frustrated, like ‘whatever, we’re done’; not even that depressed, just ‘well guys, it’s been fun. We had a great run.’” I’m curious to know where Explosions In The Sky were mentally working on The Wilderness? In a similar place that we are every time. Just in great hope of trying to make something better than we’ve already made. That can be a little bit of a difficult task with anything, especially if you’re trying to do better than you did before. I think Chris can be a little bit funny when he talks about stuff like that but, you know, a little bit honest. It can be very frustrating when you’re trying to figure out melodies, figure out movement, and at the same time a perspective that there’s changing. You’re growing older, you hear music differently... I think mentally we were as we’ve always been. Just in a place of great
desire of something better.
“Which way are we walking?” [laughs]
Between Take Care, Take Care, Take Care and The Wilderness there are three soundtracks for cinema – Prince Avalanche, Lone Survivor, and Manglehorn. I’m guessing it requires less freedom from you since there’s a dependency, right? Absolutely! Often soundtracks are a little bit easier for us to make because it is somebody else’s vision. We are simply just kind of filling an order of sound. The directors who we’ve worked with have visions of what they would like to hear along with the shots and the scenes in the film that they’ve made. So, when it comes to make our own records, there it becomes far more difficult because we’re the directors and our bar is very, very high. Not to say that the directors we’ve worked for don’t want something fantastic, of course they do, it just is a little easier to do for somebody else than it is for ourselves. With our records, we are the compass and sometimes it’s spinning in every direction and it’s like,
Working on those projects, does it help create your “normal stuff”? Absolutely, because with all of those soundtracks we stayed sharp just musically and also physically. Our hands stayed warm, our melodies stayed fresh. Things that work really well for picture may not necessarily work for our albums, and we understand that. If we didn’t make those soundtracks then we might be trying to play some of those melodies into our album and then we would have discovered, “Oh, this doesn’t work. Oh, this does work”. So, I think it’s a very good thing, a very great opportunity that we had to do those soundtracks because it allowed us to stay on top of our musical abilities. We really need to talk about the cover art. Whose idea was to commission the work to Chicago -based artist Jacob van Loon? It started from our friend Jeremy deVine, who runs the American label Temporary Residence Ltd. Our long
WELCOME BACK // EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY natural for him. As you should allow any artist. Even if you’re commissioning a piece... if that’s a person who’s art you believe in or enjoy then you have to allow them to move freely. If we would’ve dictated every moment then I don’t think the artwork would have been as good as it turned out.
time kind of in-house artist, Esteban Rey - who’s done almost all the records except for one, which is then by a great friend David Logan – just didn’t have the time and the focus to do the latest artwork and so we started to look for someone that could help us do this. Jeremy deVine he started asking around and he brought the suggestion to us. There was a great artist friend of his, who makes posters if I’m not mistaken, who told Jeremy that he should talk about Jacob van Loon to us. Jeremey mentioned it to us, we saw his artwork, and everything felt it. Once we started talking to him and explaining the things we were after... yeah, he drew what you see now. He had very loose guidelines but also somewhat specific, you know? It would be something like, “Hey, we are walking in this direction. What you find or what you feel... that’s what we want but walk in this direction.” That was kind of the guideline. Not telling him exactly what to do but some idea of color, feeling, and other stuff like that. We also allowed for him to kind of run with whatever it felt most
I watched the The Wilderness’ Art Process video and I couldn’t help thinking that it’s one of the best descriptions that can be made of the album. Method, chaos, little pieces together making something that’s bigger than the sum of the parts, and a sense of unpredictability that is illustrated by the use of water coloring. Do you find a parallel between Jacob’s work and process and EITS’s work and process? It must have some relation because it matches so well. The process that we took on to write the record... I can’t even fully explain because I’m not sure exactly how it happened. Often times for us we try, and try, and try for days, weeks, months, and years and all of a sudden we have a song, or three songs, or we have an album. And we can’t remember how the process actually occurred and I feel that maybe Jacob experienced something similar. He just started and once he got some direction from us and then... almost like a stream of consciousness. Just let the hand move and the mind run, and the same thing for us as we were writing melodies. Just allowing the melodies to run, expand, and go beyond our most traditional instruments. I think there’s a deeper, layered connection to the music than so much so on the surface. It’s not so much that we did it exactly the same, but we did it with a similar spirit. I remember talking with Caspian’s guitarist Philip Jamieson of the importance of time in composition and the process of “back and forth”. There’s a song on Caspian’s last album that took the band something like nine months to finish... Philip said he was going a little bit insane over it. Do you find Explosions In The Sky in the same position? Yeah, absolutely! This album was four years in the making. For two years, while we were touring after the last record came out, it was more just like conversation and perhaps just a little bit of melody here and there. Then for two years solid, meaning for
two years from morning until night, we thought about this music, we played this music, we practiced this music, we’ve exchanged melodies, we sat in a room together, we sat quietly together, we worried together... all these things in the course of two years solid and some of those songs took that long. The initial seeds to some of these songs are years old, before even the last record and then kind of cultivating those. But then again the song “Infinite Orbit” on this new album was created within two hours. It was really crazy because it was a different song that we’d been working on for a year and then go to the studio and try so many different things. It wasn’t sounding right so we disassemble it, survived two or three pieces of it and then wrote everything else around it. BOOM! In a morning session there it was. Inspiration can come in a flash like that but most often it takes a great while. Another thing I remember talking with Philip was the importance of visual elements in instrumental music, perhaps more than in other kind of music because there are no words painting that picture for you. What’s the importance of the visual aspects and elements in EITS’s creative process? Well, in all the previous records we’ve been very specific in our stories to one another, and idea, and the scenes that we saw that helped kind of facilitate how the song was written or what the song is becoming. But this record was more abstract thinking. I mean, there are a couple of tracks, I should say... The very last track (“Landing Cliffs”) was a very specific vision that we had about starting deep in space and then working our way through the atmosphere and through the sky, and down to the trees, all the way to where you finally end up at a campfire. This was a particular specific vision that we had, but for a lot of the other songs it was more abstract thinking. I think visual elements are quite important in instrumental music because you’ve kind of paint the story, paint the picture with just melody and that’s an important thing, but for us this time around it was not so much a specific picture that we painted, but more of an idea that we were trying to convey.
THE WILDERNESS IS OUT NOW VIA BELLA UNION
SWANS ARE BACK WITH THE GLOWING MAN
WELCOME TO MOD
LANDSCAPES are one of the most talented band melodic hardcore is deep, emotional and sincere heavy and diverse. They just released their secon caught up with vocalist Shaun Milton. Words: Miljan Milekic
Swans have announced today the release of their fourteenth studio album and follow-up to the incredible and acclaimed 2014’s To Be Kind. Titled The Glowing Man, the new album is due to be released on June 17th via Young God Records and Mute Records (UK), and is the last album release of Swans’ current incarnation. The Glowing Man was recorded at Sonic Ranch, near El Paso, Texas, with John Congleton as recording engineer. Further recording was made at John’s Elmwood Studio, in Dallas, Texas, and at Studio Litho (Seattle, WA) with Don Gunn, engineer, and at Candy Bomber (Berlin) with Ingo Krauss, engineer. The record was mixed by Ingo at CandyBomber and by Doug Henderson at Micro-Moose, Berlin. Doug Henderson mastered it at Micro-Moose. “...with the release of the new and final recording from this configuration of Swans, The Glowing Man, through four albums (three of which contain more complexity, nuance and scope than I would have ever dreamed possible), several live releases, various fundraiser projects, countless and seemingly endless tours and rehearsals, and a generally exhausting regimen that has left us stunned but still invigorated and thrilled to see this thing through to its conclusion... Going forward, post the touring associated with The Glowing Man, I’ll continue to make music under the name Swans, with a revolving cast of collaborators. I have little idea what shape the sound will take, which is a good thing.” - Michael Gira stated. THE GLOWING MAN ARRIVES ON JUNE 17TH VIA MUTE 20
our new record is out. Have you heard any reactions so far, and what are they like? It’s been great! We didn’t really know what to expect from our followers as we had been quiet for some time whilst concentrating on getting everything ready, but the feedback we have received has been overwhelmingly positive. In your opinion, where is the biggest difference between Modern Earth and your previous work? There is so much to this record that makes it a huge leap compared to Life Gone Wrong for me. The entire album is one whole art piece and concept, but the biggest difference in Modern Earth to me is ourselves and our maturity as musicians. This is your second full-length. Do you feel you have grown as an artists and songwriters? Totally! The reception to our first full-length record was so much more than we ever expected which is great, but created some big boots for us to fill on our second full-length. It’s enabled us to broaden our knowledge, musical tastes and influences. Since the debut, what area do you think you improved the most? Our songwriting ability has become a much more stronger structure. I tend to write daily now and I am open to new ideas, which I feel is a vital part of writing together as a band.
RISING // LANDSCAPES
ds of the newest generation. Their e, while their sound is modern, nd album Modern Earth and we
You are known as a band who give it all to the crowd. Your lyrics are personal and open. How hard is to expose yourself to the people you don’t know and let everyone see and hear what you feel? I have struggled for years with the emotional draw backs of wearing my heart on my sleeve for the sake of performance. The constant reminder of my ghosts and demons isn’t all that healthy. The trouble is, how we are perceived as giving it my all is not necessarily ideal. When it comes to me stepping on stage, I somehow always reduce myself to a primitive state. It makes me feel like an animal. Maybe this is something you will see change over time... but I am a firm believer in never half assing something. You have to whole ass everything or not at all. Are you sometimes afraid of letting people get close, or does it feel refreshing to be heard? I wouldn’t say afraid, I haven’t let anyone get close to me for a long time and I don’t plan on changing that mindset as I am happier alone. I do love how
music can express so much within ourselves without even saying a single word though. This is your second record with Pure Noise Records. I guess you are happy with the work so far? We are extremely happy and thankful to be working with Pure Noise Records for sure! We are lucky to be a part of the furniture. Pure Noise are known as a label that gives their artists complete artistic and creative freedom. How important is that for you and your music? Jake at Pure Noise has given us so much time to work out our own shit and work on making a record we are happy with and went to great lengths to get us out to California to record with Sam Pura at Panda Studios, which was a huge thing for all of us. If it wasn’t for every single person involved in Modern Earth, it wouldn’t be here now. That’s how important it is to us and our music. Playing live is something every band has to do to make more
impact to their fans. With your music being so personal and emotional, where do you feel more comfortable, in studio or on the stage? For a long time, I used to think it was the stage but touring can really drain you of everything you have. When you are in a studio, the pressure is on and there is really no time to fuck around. So.. if I’m honest, I’m at my happiest and most creative when I am at home writing, working things out and flooding pages and dictaphone tapes with melodies, words and sounds. What is next for Landscapes? We’ve just finished up working out playing Modern Earth acoustically and actually sung which sounds fucking tight! We are also writing new material ready for whatever we decide to release next and we have also been messing around with some covers by our favourite bands, which has been loads of fun! MODERN EARTH IS OUT NOW VIA PURE NOISE RECORDS
BACK TO THE BASICS, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE RETURN...
Since the return of Jesse Leach to the frontman duties in 2012, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE gained a new energy and consistency, and now they have released a new compelling and quite personal album, Incarnate. After the excitement of the album’s release, we caught up with guitarist Joel Stroetzel who told us how the band is at this point of their career. Words: Andreia Alves // Photo: Travis Shinn
ncarnate is your 7th LP and it’s another bold and furious effort. How much has the writing process changed over the years for you guys? The biggest difference is that we don’t all live in the same area anymore and that was the case with the previous record [2013’s Disarm the Descent] as well. Everybody kind of writes songs on the road and then we put them all together and go from there. Everybody writes individually a song or a demo to get as close to finished as they can and then we kind of help each other finishing things, do the editing and things like that. When we feel we have a solid arrangement, we give it to Jesse for him to do his thing with it. That’s pretty much how it goes down. [laughs] This is the second album released since the comeback of Jesse to the
band. How different it was to work with Jesse back then and now? I think it was really great to have him around from start to finish this time, he stood there to give his feedback on the songs and I think he just felt really inspired and more comfortable this time around. With Disarm the Descent, he had just rejoined the band and we had a lot of the songs already written. It was like “Here you go man, here’s a bunch of new songs.” This time he was around for the whole process. It was a good thing for Jesse in a comfort level. Since your S/T debut album released in 2000, what do you think it stands out the most about Killswitch Engage’s growth as a band? I think we got into a point where we’re a little more efficient about things. I think people know how we like to arrange songs and that’s something that sometimes we were
criticized for. A lot of the songs could be predictable, we’ve always kind of liked to hear things in our arrangement like rock songs basically, so we’ve never really tried to be like a technical death metal band or anything. We love all that stuff, but I think we sort of figured out what our sound is and how we like it to sound like. We hope that translates to other people as well. [laughs] Incarnate means “in the flesh” in Latin, so why this word to be the title of this record? You know? That’s probably more of a question for Jesse. [laughs] He had a lot to do with coming up the artwork and the concept. I think Jesse just wanted to kind of capture the whole idea of “This is who the band is now. This is who we are.” This is the first full-time record where he really had his chance to get comfortable for this current incarnation of Killswitch.
WELCOME BACK // KILLSWITCH ENGAGE record.” I think he and Adam [Dutkiewicz, guitarist] as a producer had probably the biggest challenges, figuring out what songs are going to translate best on the record. That’s a lot of work, because there’s the four of us writing the songs and then there’s only one writing the lyrics and stuff, which is Jesse. [laughs] He really had his hands full. The record has 12 tracks, plus 3 bonus tracks, so was it easy for you guys to pick up those songs? That was kind of a tough decision really, because again we wrote too many songs [laughs] which is really a bad problem to have, but as time went on we got attached to different ones. That was up for discussion for a long time. Ultimately, I think we just had to put aside certain ones that you know this tracklisting seems to have the best flow, regardless maybe we’re missing a song or two that somebody wants, but it was for the good of the record, you know? In the end it all worked out really well. That was the toughest decision to come up with a good tracklisting that made sense.
In Incarnate, we see Jesse with an even more personal and explosive approach on his lyrics. What can you tell me about his lyrical themes and approach to this new album? I think Jesse got a lot more personal and he actually maybe be touched by some darker issues and things like domestic violence, personal anguish, things that really trouble him. That’s one thing that I’ve always loved about his lyrics. He’s very honest, but he has a way of wearing them without necessarily know exactly what direction he’s going. You could probably interpret it in three or four different ways and I think that’s one of the cool things about his writing style. I think this record is especially very personal. One of the highlights of this record is “Embrace the Journey... Upraised” which is such a strong
and brutal song. How was it like to write this one in particular? I think that was one of our bass player Mike D’Antonio writings. We kind of piece it together from a lot of parts he wrote. It turned out really cool. As far as the musical structure, it’s kind of like an old Killswitch Engage song with the fast parts, the hardcore kind of riffs and it has that kind of insane chorus like sing-along chorus... I think this song is a good representation of a little of everything that we do. Did you find any aspect that was challenging while working on this new album? Everybody had so many demos and there was almost too many songs. [laughs] I think the biggest challenge was really for Jesse like “Here you go man. 18 songs for you to figure out which ones you like the most and we’ll figure out which ones to
Like you mentioned, Adam produced once again your album, so how’s he like on the other side of the table? [laughs] It’s funny. He’s such a crazy man on stage, but in the studio he’s very professional and very picky about everything. He really wants to make every picture to get the perfect take on the right time to get the right song. Sometimes I think he’s being hard on us, but I see him recording himself and he holds himself to the same standard. He’s always like very particular about getting things to get clean tracks and good tones. He’s really great to work with. It’s nice having somebody who’s part of the band and gets where we want the songs to go. You guys are now hitting on the road for live shows. What have you been listening to while on the tour bus? I always listen to The Clash or whatever we play on the bus. I’m listening to a lot of mellow stuff like Ryan Adams, Radiohead... We do the metal all day, so usually at the end of the night we listen to other stuff. [laughs]
INCARNATE IS OUT NOW VIA ROADRUNNER RECORDS
SUMMER FESTIVALS OUR GUIDE FOR THIS UPCOMING SILLY SEASON PART 1 MAY-JUNE
WHERE: Camden - London WHEN: 4 June YOU SHOULD NOT MISS: Sikth, BIlly Bragg, Norma Jean, Creeper, Blood Youth, Heck, Cold In Berlin, Queen Kwong, Young Guns, The Ghost Riders In The Sky, Johnny Foreigner camdenrocksfestival.com
WHERE: Roskilde - Denmark WHEN: 25 June - 2 July YOU SHOULD NOT MISS: Grimes, At The Drive In, Ghost, Gojira, Tenacious D, Bring Me The Horizon, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Slayer, Chvrches, letlive., New Order www.roskilde-festival.dk
PRIMAVERA SOUND WHERE: Parc Del F贸rum - Barcelona WHEN: 1-5 June YOU SHOULD NOT MISS: Beach Slang, Radiohead, Savages, Bob Mould, Downtown Boys, Current 93, John Carpenter, Sheer Mag, Holly Herndon, U.S. Girls, Jenny Hval www.primaverasound.com
ROCK AM RING
WHERE: Mendig - Germany WHEN: 3-5 June YOU SHOULD NOT MISS: Architects, Billy Talent, Black Sabbath, Deftones, Bring Me The Horizon, Korn, Killswitch Engage, Of Mice & Men, Volbeat, While She Sleeps, Issues www.rock-am-ring.com
NOS PRIMAVERA SOUND 2016
THIS IS NOT A LOVE SONG
WHERE: Paloma - Nimes WHEN: 3-5 June YOU SHOULD NOT MISS: Lush, Dilly Dally, Explosions In The Sky, Palehound, Algiers, METZ, Tortoise, Beach House, Nots, Air, Dinosaur Jr., Foals, Battles, Destroyer thisisnotalovesong.fr
WHERE: Parque da Cidade - Porto WHEN: 9-11 June YOU SHOULD NOT MISS: Algiers, PJ Harvey, Beach House, Animal Collective, Chairlift, Protomartyr, Drive Like Jehu, Unsane, Wild Nothing, Mudhoney, Dinosaur Jr., Brian Wilson Performing Pet Sounds, Titus Andronicus, Julia Holter, U.S. Girls, Parquet Courts, Car Seat Headrest, Shellac www.primaverasound.com
NOS Primavera Sound 2016 is back with one of the most ambitious line up ever. The programme of events will take place mainly in the Parque da Cidade in Porto from Thursday 9th to Saturday 11th of June and will be complemented by a large number of concerts, all in the good company of an amazing weather, a beautiful city, awesome beachs, cheap beer and good food, which means that music will be on offer for the whole week. An amazing line up that will dazzle audiences and complete the outstanding offer with a multitude of genres in which there will be something for everyone.
NEW NOISE HEY! WE’RE NEW HERE, PLEASED TO MEET YOU... 26
esitation Wounds is the musical collaboration of Jeremy Bolm, (Touché Amoré), Neeraj Kane (The Hope Conspiracy, Holy Fever), Jay Weinberg (Slipknot and ex-Against Me!) and Stephen ‘Scuba’ LaCour (ExTrap Them, True Cross), we are
WHERE? California (USA) WHO? Jeremy Bolm, Neeraj Kane, Jay Weinberg, Stephen ‘Scuba’ LaCourRELEASE: Awake For Everything (Out on May 27th) FILE UNDER: Gallows, Refused, Botch, Trap Them
obligated to say that there is a new all-star hardcore crew in town! Full of passion, Hesitation Wounds are just four friends making the music they love with no preconceptions attached. Aggressive and moody hardcore,
sounds somewhere between an explosive blend of Gallows, Refused and Botch, full of twists and turns. Excited? We’re too! Awake For Everything was produced by Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou, and is due to be released on May 27th through 6131 Records.
WHERE? Des Moines (USA) WHO? Arin Eaton, Brad Turk, John Huffman, Phil Young RELEASE: On The Couch EP FILE UNDER: Frankie Cosmos, Colleen Green, Courtney Barnett
magine you’re heading to high school with your uncool style and your headphones on, and then suddenly the boy/girl of your dreams passes by you and you get butterflies in your stomach. Such a typical scene, right? Well, if Karen Meat music was a film, it would probably be about adolescent exhilaration.
Even though they are past their teen years, the Des Moines, Iowa-based band have this carefree and daydream approach in a mix of bubblegum lo-fi, rock and electronics. It all started with Arin Eaton as a solo project, but then she was joined by Brad Turk, John Huffman, and Phil Young. They released their 2015’s debut EP, Karen Meat & The Computer, and now they are about to release a new EP, On The Couch, out June 3rd via Sump Pump Records.
WHERE? Stavanger (NORWAY) WHO? Haley Shea, Lasse Lokøy, Halvard Skeie Wiencke, Tor-Arne Vikingstad RELEASE: Sponge State EP FILE UNDER: Perfect Pussy, Iceage, Makthaverskan
here’s a urgency for bands to speak out about issues that really matter and start a debate to clarify what’s really in stake. Sløtface - previously known as Slutface - emerge from that will to go against the shitty things in life that need to be exposed, such as equality, our environment and other social issues.
The four-piece combine furious punk along with pop sensibilities, making their songs catchy yet raw. Their overwhelming awareness turn into fearless singles like “Sponge State”. “It’s our term for the feeling that something needs to change,” explains vocalist Haley Shea. “The song is a reaction to the apathy and lack of action that is symptomatic of our generation.” This song is taken from Sløtface’s debut EP, Sponge State, out May 27th via Propeller Recordings.
From the moment the Florida-based duo COLOURS released their debut album, one thing has remained clear - no one had ever heard a sound quite like it. The album, entitled Ivory, has stood subject to a variety of mixed reviews and grasped the appeal of many different audiences around the globe. Currently scheduled to support Andy Black on The Homecoming Tour, we had the chance to speak with vocalist Kyle Tamos about the depth of their release, where they come from, and where they're headed next.
our album definitely has a unique and very personal sound. What events or experiences led you guys to create this album? Ivory is definitely the cumulative experiences of Morgan and my life. Often we are introspective and very reflective and we use that to manifest art with transparency. I think writing from experience offers a vulnerable sincerity that is easy for a listener to attach to. Recently, your music has been featured on a few different TV shows. How did that come about, and how did you guys feel watching your music air on TV? Last August we went to Nashville to do a few showcases for licensing representatives. This paired with our licensing rep Matt Favazza, really got our foot in the door. From there, stations like MTV and FOX have found many very fitting moments in their programs for our music. It has been great exposure for us. There’s a collage of different influences I hear when listening to Ivory. Musically, who are Colours biggest influences? While writing the album, we found inspiration from many artists. The mood of Banks, the videos of Childish Gambino, the consistency of The Neighbourhood and many other all have elements of their music that were so impressive and inspiring. Your label, Victory Records, is known more for their presence in the hardcore scene. What motivated your decision to sign with them? Victory Records was a surprising inquiry when they reached out. They showed interest and we met and showcased for them... there they abolished any concerns we had by truly understanding our vision and seeing our determination. Colours often takes listeners or viewers by surprise and I think by being the only ‘electronic dark pop’ band on Victory, it adds to that surprise. Since signing they have been an immense asset in helping Colours move toward its potential. 30
NEW NOISE // Q&A // ROAM Does Colours have any US or international tours planned in the near distant future? Colours goes out on the road May 23 to July 2 with Andy Black. We hit many cities throughout the US and even venture through Canada. It is sure to be an intense and unique tour, so if you are close to any show make sure to come and witness it. You guys teamed up with producer Shaun Lopez (Deftones, Senses Fail) to create Ivory. How do you feel about his contribution to the album’s sound? Shaun Lopez was a wonderful asset to the invoking mood of Colours. He dialed in our instrumental tone and helped bringing the album to life. You have mentioned in the past that there is a creative benefit to being a duo and not a full band. Would you mind elaborating on that? With two creative minds instead of 5, we can sacrifice less creatively. With this, we can see visions come to life in full as opposed to diluted ideas often due to compromises. It can increase pressure and workload, but the payoff makes the intensity more than worth it. What is the reason behind the band’s name, Colours? The name was brought up when we discussed ideas for a title that was timeless, iconic and simple... something that is resonating. Then by taking the simplicity of the word and formatting it into a reoccurring layout, it offers something memorable. Kyle, you mentioned you relocated from Connecticut to Florida to focus more on your music. What made you decide on Florida? Morgan lived in Florida and there we simply had the resources to demo our ideas for Colours. You also mentioned you were both a part of different bands before joining forces to create Colours. What genre were you playing and what influenced your decision to collaborate? We played in a heavier rock band in the past. We both joined an already established group and were excited for the opportunity to play music for people. Through this introduction of each other we found a shared love for the pursuit of music over anything else. This meant we were willing to invest and sacrifice anything outside of music for music. Years would pass until we would dialogue about a vision for something more purposeful/intentional than anything we’ve done in the past. This started Colours.
CTIVELY NTING Words: Justin Kunz // Photo: Dustin Smith
What is the typical song writing process you guys go through to create a track? Our writing process, while organic, is very calculated and thought out. Details from visual invoking moods, to chord progressions, to lyrical themes and everything in between are never overlooked. With everything we do, the most innate details matter. What’s does the future hold for Colours? I wish we knew really. We can only exhaust our efforts and creativity and hope fans make our future. IVORY IS OUT NOW VIA VICTORY RECORDS www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
WHERE? Vancouver (CANADA) WHO? Selina Crammond, Katie Gravestock, Alie Lynch, Adrienne LaBelle RELEASE: Playland LP FILE UNDER: La Luz, Habibi, Tacocat
upermoon are a four piece from Vancouver with members of two former bands, Movieland and Pups. As expected they bring to this new band a much more cohesive and compelling approach. The band consists on multi-instrumentalists Adrienne LaBelle and Alie Lynch, guitarist Katie Gravestock and drummer
Selina Crammond. Together they make what they describe as moody pop, but we can also add that their music is catchy, sunny and sometimes dark. Each of the members trade off on vocalist and songwriting duties as well. Playland is their new album and just combines all those elements with an impressive guitar work and fantastic groupâ€™s dynamic. It was recorded with Tom Prilesky and mastered by Josh Stevenson at Otic Sound in Vancouver.
WHERE? New York (US) WHO? Alice Suh, Loren DiBlasi, Lindsey-Paige RELEASE: Luxury EP FILE UNDER: Mitski, Free Kitten, Ought, Savages
he Brooklyn -based power -trio Patio drummer Alice Suh, bassist Loren DiBlasi, and guitarist/ vocalist Lindsey-Paige “LP” McCloy – can very well become your next musical crush. Less than a month ago they released their debut EP, Luxury, and we got infected almost instantly with their very
surgical post-punk that gets fueled from piercing and extremely groovy bass lines, syncopated drums, and an incredible amount of addictive melodies. The five songs on the Luxury EP are like hardly enough (you end up wanting more) to satisfy any listener, but they manage to get you excited... excited with what’s happening “in front of your eyes” and, perhaps more importantly, excited with what’s to come. Are you ready to love Patio?
HAVE YOU MET BEVERLY?
After releasing their great debut album Careers in 2014, BEVERLY went non-stop touring, even without Frankie Rose - one of the founders of the band. Drew Citron talked to us about herself, the band nowadays and their brand new album, The Blue Swell. Words: Andreia Alves // Photo: Chad Kamenshine
ell me a little bit about yourself! What did push you into music? I’ve always listened to music. I grew up in San Francisco. My parents listened to a lot of folk and that sort of stuff and that’s what I grew up listening to. I grew up listening to the Beach Boys, the Beatles... and then I started going to shows in high school and there were a lot of great bands in the Bay Area and the late 90’s and the early 2000’s. I moved to New York and I started writing songs when I was 19 in high school and then I continued to do it and started booking shows. I started playing in bands and it was a pretty organic thing how it happened. You always seem to take this band in a very natural way and not 34
rushing anything with your music, which is great. What’s your daily motto of being a musician? I’m always working like I’m always doing something, if it’s not writing or recording, it’s doing stuff with the business side and trying to book shows. I’m always pushing things forward and I’m always thinking of new ways to do things like collaborating with artists or new designs... There’s always stuff to do and I love it. It’s my most important job that I do. Just trying to stay positive and keep working. Frankie Rose started this band with you, but she left even before you went on tour for the first time. How much did the departure affect the band’s dynamic?
She moved and decided that she didn’t want to tour, and so I just ended up putting together a live band to tour the songs because I was really proud of the record and I wanted to play it. It was just a catalyst for me to work harder and make it happen. I think we did and that has grown into something that idealize on its own now and it’s a completely different line-up. The Blue Swell feels like a fresh start for the band. What were the main elements that set apart your first album, Careers, from this new one? I would say that with this new album we tried to do more raw recordings and get as many live elements as possible into the songs. We really kind of beat it
INTRODUCING // BEVERLY layout and all of the design was done by Eileen Conlisk. They’re basically just die hard music fans and I met them at a show last year. They’ve come to a lot of Beverly shows. We got to talking and he said “Come to my art show. Do you want to play?” It didn’t work out, but I ended up looking at his website and I just really thought he was an incredible figure painter and I thought “This image is really powerful. I would love to use it for the album.” He let us use it and it was great. Your second single, “Victoria”, was co-written with Kip Berman (The Pains of Being Pure at Heart). How did that collaboration happen? He’s my friend and I toured with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart last year. I played keyboard with him for the live shows and he’s just always writing music. He wrote a bunch of Beverly demo ideas and I really liked this one. We’ve always talked about collaborating and so we made it together. What’s the story behind “Victoria”? It’s sort of a story about a girl who does a lot for attention and maybe an unrequited love from a friend.
into the ground like production wise. We just worked on things until we couldn’t stand it anymore. We really put 110% into this album, the first one was great but a little bit more rushed in our process of recording it. This new one was definitely not rushed, it was a more deliberated work I would say. How was it like to work with Scott Rosenthal (The Beets, Crystal Stilts) for this new album? He’s really smart and he’s been in countless indie bands for years, like a very, very long time and he’s been playing in bands. He’s pretty easy going, but has actually a lot of opinions that come with years of experience and he will put his foot down if he
has an idea that will definitely make our recording better or a live performance better. I think we’ve been able to sort of learn a lot from each other and it’s just making the band better and it’s really great. Why name the album The Blue Swell? The album art has that water imagery and we were sort of just thinking of a wave metaphor and also a melancholic feeling, which you’ll find in many of the songs. I think it’s pretty much what is about. If I didn’t read about it, I wouldn’t believe that the album’s artwork was a painting, it’s so realistic. Who did the artwork? His name is Robby Rose and the
The video for “Victoria” is really great and it was shot by Jacob Graham of The Drums. Yeah, Jacob makes these amazing puppet videos and it’s called The Creatures Of Yes. They’re really great and I love them. I just saw all of them one day and asked him if he wanted to do a music video and he said yes. It just worked out perfectly. He shot all of that footage of me in his bedroom with different cameras and had like a little analog/digital converter and put it all on his computer and made the video. Overall, what track stands out the most for you off this album? I think the track “South Collins” is my favorite - it’s the song that has the new video coming out because I’m really proud the way the production sounds and how well it turned out. I think there’s nothing that I hear about it that I wish I could change. THE BLUE SWELL IS OUT NOW VIA KANINE RECORDS
THE GOON SAX
WHERE? Brisbane (AUSTRALIA) WHO? James Harrison, Louis Forster, Riley Jones RELEASE: Up To Anything LP FILE UNDER: Twerps, The Velvet Underground, Hinds
he Goon Sax are three teenagers from Brisbane, Australia. They formed this band at high school in 2013, when James Harrison and Louis Forster began working on song ideas in James’ bedroom. Later on, Riley Jones joined the band after taking a month of drum lessons. Sharing a passion for acts
like the Pastels, Talking Heads, Galaxie 500 and Bob Dylan, the trio’s approach is refreshing and it feels like they’re not attached to any kind of trend or genre. They just play pop music inspired by what’s going in their lives, whether is heartbreaking anxieties or even the difficulties of growing up, resulting on delightful and addictive tunes. Last March they put out their debut album, Up To Anything, and it’s quite a charm.
A CREATIVE & COMPLEX FIR Words: Andreia Alves // Photos: Joel Rakowski
n 2013 you guys released your breakthrough debut album, Feast Of Love, and it had a really great response. Were you expecting such thing for the first album? I don’t know, not really. In some ways we were confident in the record because we liked it a lot and I think if you really like what you’re doing and you feel like you have a pretty good taste, then I think it sounds all together surprising, but also anytime you play a show and there’s people is always surprising 38
or if they liked the records is always surprising. We liked the music and we thought that it was like cool and interesting, but the way it took off was something that we didn’t expect. How do you think you guys have grown as a band since Feast of Love? I just think we’re more comfortable playing with each other, we’re more comfortable in the band. Brennan and I have been playing together in bands since we were kids and it was always easy for us to write to some degree, but when we were writing Feast of Love the interaction of the band had just
come together, so it was pretty difficult of figuring out how to write music together or how to record together. With this new record, we’ve just had that figured out for years now. So instead of thinking like “How do we write a song together?”, we thought more about “What kind of song do we want to write?” and that was the overall intention of the record and I think as such what we’re doing seems more interesting to us. It just seems more fleshed out. I read in an interview that Britty graduated (with a Bachelor’s in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience) in University of
& RE Michigan, and she currently works full-time at the University, among other things. What about you and the rest of the band? I also graduated from the University of Michigan and I studied English literature and creative writing. Since we graduated, I’ve been really doing mostly band’s stuff, which is kind of crazy. If we weren’t doing the band, I probably would have gone right to graduate school and kind of moved on to academia, although it was never really something that was possible when we were doing band’s stuff. So yeah, I’ve been working on that and also I work in a bunch different places like local businesses,
Ann Harbor's quartet PITY SEX melted us with their super dreamy-noisy pop debut, Feast Of Love, and now they released a more confident album. We talked with drummer Sean St. Charles about their sophomore effort, White Hot Moon, and much more.
coffee shops and things like that. Brennan works in a screen printing shop, Brandan works in a non-profit rating center... I think the last few years we’ve been imagining what our lives look like outside of music and now we’re kind of figuring out how they work with music again. How do you guys manage to balance your jobs with the band and be able to release a new great album? I just think we don’t take the band too seriously. I mean, we put a lot of effort into writing songs and playing music. When we’re just sitting there and doing our regular day job, I don’t think any of us
think of the band all the time and that kind of give us the freedom to do whatever we want musically, because it doesn’t feel desperate or like the band is the only thing we have going for us. We can take a more measured approach to what we want to be doing with music like “Is it valuable to be writing a song or making art?” I think it’s easier to think about that when it’s not the only thing you’re doing. Did you find something challenging about writing the second album? Yeah, definitely. I think that’s exactly it, it’s been a few years since we wrote a record and we’ve toured in big chunks here and there, but
never full time. I think just staying present in the band and keeping us all together has been difficult at times. Brennan, Britty and I also are living in Ann Arbor, but Brandan lives in Detroit, which is a different city about an hour away, so just getting together to practice a couple times a week is difficult just logistically, but I think otherwise it’s giving us a calm when it comes to practicing or writing music. That kind of mitigating was difficult about the space. I felt like sometimes the space isn’t important or just because you got a better perspective with what you’re doing. What do you think it was the biggest difference between White Hot Moon and Feast Of Love to the band? I just think we didn’t need to figure out who we were anymore. We could just write a record that we were interested in, so I think we took bigger risks and it’s more expansive. I think that’s interesting to us, those are the kind of records that stick with me at very least looking back just at my favorite things. It was nice to be able to take that sort of approach like a wide length as opposed to a quick length like “Oh, we haven’t an EP or a demo, we just got signed and so we have to put out a record right away.” Just having all this space and distance kind of allowed us to fill in the room with who we actually were as opposed to just like what we needed to get done right away. That was really nice and I think as a result, we just had more fun with it. We took more risks and we did more interesting things, and so that was really nice. For this new album, you were inspired by Yo La Tengo and Sonic Youth. In which way were they an influence for your writing this time around? For me at the very least, a band like Yo La Tengo kind of represents what I think a great band does for a long career. I think they have 13 records that are huge and always interesting, but they’re also like each one feels like a project. It seems like they’re trying to do something specific and I think that’s really interesting, it gives you the space to think like “What is a 40
record doing in like a whole catalog in your band’s career?” I think that’s nice and I don’t think a record needs to be all defining or I don’t think everything needs to be exactly good, it doesn’t always need to be the best pop song or whatever. I think you can approach writing music like “What’s a theme that is fun? What’s something that’s compelling?” I think that’s where a band like Yo La Tengo does really well and I think that translates into the music too, because the music just feels like an environment. That goes to Sonic Youth too. I think Sonic Youth is a huge influence on how we write guitar parts, especially just making atmosphere just like a classic pop rock set up. I mean, we’re just two guitars, bass and drums, so how do we expand in such a limited set up? And those are two bands who done it really well. It was super helpful just thinking about what we love about bands like that. How is it like the lyrical process between you and Britty and what did inspire you this time around? For me, it’s always about what I’m reading or what my life is like. I think we always like to approach our record with some sort of conceit in mind and with this one I think Britty and I both approached like what life is like, what is it like to be living a life that feels like a little strange, which it can mean like romantically or that can mean in regards to dealing with a death of a family member or a change in any sort of way. That was like what
"White Hot Moon was kind of inspired with just messing with magic and mysticism in a way that feels like really grounded in ways that life is like boring."
kind of inspired us to take like different stories in that world. For me, I kind of let the thought of messing around in what is like strange about banalities of life, like the small moments... I think everybody’s life, no matter how exciting it is - even if you’re playing in a band and that’s cool and you play a show everyday and then it becomes boring to some degree or just feels like a routine, - I think in those moments the little strangeness is interesting. I’ve kind of wanted to tease out that a little bit and that has to do with what I’m reading, like a surrealist like Haruki Murakami and he’s one of my favorites. What’s the meaning of the album’s title, White Hot Moon? White Hot Moon was kind of inspired with just messing with magic and mysticism in a way that feels like really grounded in ways that life is like boring. There’s a Murakami book called 1Q84 that kind of plays with the thought that there are two worlds that are happening in parallel and the moon is different in the two worlds, and that’s how you know which world you’re in. That was a concept that was on my mind, but I was just sitting in my room one night and I was writing a song thinking about what the record was going to be and I looked out my window and I saw the moon and I just said that phrase to myself. The more I thought about it, the more it stuck, and I think that Britty is really interested in science fiction and how that feels in the real world. I just felt like it was a title that we both could get a lot out. The artworks of your releases are always so captivating and mesmerizing, so what’s the story behind the new album’s cover? We always use a format for our LPs, so we kind of knew how we would set up. It would be like a painted color and a photograph over the top. When we’re thinking about what the record is going to be, we always think about how’s the cover art gonna work in there. We talked with Brennan - he does all the design work - about some concepts and we really like the thought of neon and that kind of relates to what we think this world is. I think this thought of a world that’s really futuristic, because our world
INTERVIEW // PITY SEX
is super futuristic, but also sort of like grainy with bright and futuristic colors that also feel like true to the real world. We were hoping to find an image like a neon sign that really captured that and that picture is actually from an arcade in the town that we live in. Brennan was just kind of walking around taking pictures of neon signs and that one just worked out really well. It’s a neon sign of an elephant that’s kind of reflecting a mannequin head in the window and it just felt perfect for this world. I think there’s something that is really appealing and in an aesthetically cool way, but it’s also sort of disconcerting. [laughs] I thought that fit with what we were trying to do with the record entirely. You worked once again with Will Yip for this new album. What led you to work with him for White Hot Moon? Will is just the best at starting a project and immerse himself entirely. At this point, we’re super comfortable with him. We would send him demos before we got into the studio, then we showed up in the studio on the first day and he was like tap out tempos for every
song. He already had ideas like “That guitar part would sound great if we mic the room this way” and so that’s really nice. Will never pushes too far with his own vision, he just knows how to really fulfill whatever the band is doing and in that way he’s almost like a band member. Will wants us to do anything we want and he’ll sit there for 12 hours and record us, like slamming a door if we think it will sound cool on the record, which is really great. Beyond that, Will just works so hard. We would record for 12 hours a day and then go into the city that we were staying. Will would walk home from the studio and we would work at home for 8 years, he would stay up until 4 or 5 in the morning. When we got in the next day, he would be like “What do you guys think about this?” and we just couldn’t imagine how he had all that time. There’s no one better than Will at getting into our project. You guys are all vegans, which is really great! Any tips or advices for people who want or are trying to commit to that lifestyle? I think people are afraid of it being difficult and it’s really not. I think being vegan for some people, it’s a
big ethical thing, for some other people just think it’s good for the environment or it’s good for the health... I think just approaching it as an easy lifestyle change, being vegan doesn’t mean like “Oh, I can’t eat meat.” It just means “Oh, I need to cook more” or “I need to take care of myself more often or better.” For me, for instances, I’ll just look up for a recipe online and make a big bash of something for the week and that’s really nice and it makes it easy. I think it’s just a matter of learning how to cook and how to take care of yourself. If you can do that, you can eat any diet and so I think that’s the biggest step and I don’t think you think what you’re missing necessarily, because I can definitely tell you that you stop missing things and you don’t think about it. I’m a vegan for probably 12 years now and I can’t imagine what meat tastes like and I don’t have the desire to eat it really. You’re just filling your life with things that you do like and not thinking about what you’re missing on. I think that’s the easiest way to do it. WHITE HOT MOON IS OUT NOW VIA RUN FOR COVER RECORDS
THE THERMALS need no such thing as an introduction. If this is the first time you hear about them, well, first you can dig their impressive discography and then go deeper into their latest new album, We Disappear, while reading our chat with the always great Hutch Harris.
H T E V I L G LON 42
! S L A M R E HE TH Words: Andreia Alves // Photos: Jason Quigley
e Disappear is The Thermals’ 7th album and I read that you said this is the band’s most mature record. Why’s that and what makes it different from your previous efforts? As we mature, we can’t help but make more mature records. Every time we make a record we want to retain our own sound and original vision while at the same time growing and expanding. We feel like we did this well with We Disappear. It still sounds very much like us, but there’s a lot of ground here we haven’t covered before. This record is a lot darker and wider than our previous efforts. You’ve been together for 14 years now and what an amazing career you have. How does it feel to look back to all those years as a band and as individuals? It feels good! Honestly it doesn’t feel like 14 years, or 14 years doesn’t feel like such a long time. This band has already been successful beyond my wildest dreams, and it’s enabled us to do so many fun and exciting things and travel to so many places we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. How was it like to work for We Disappear and when did you start it? The process was long, and slow, in a good way. We didn’t rush anything. A lot of the songs were written over the course of a few years, with no deadline. I think that helped us make a great record - we were never in a rush. The fact that all the songs were written at different times made the record incredibly varied in sound and tempo and texture.
I read that your favorite type of songs to write comes in the vein of The Ramones, Green Day, and Nirvana. How was the approach to write the tunes for this new album? I think as you listen to the songs I write you’ll find it’s true. The Ramones, Green Day and Nirvana have all been a huge influence on us for our whole career. There are many different types of songs on We Disappear, but I still enjoy writing short, quick, catchy songs like “Thinking of You”. I wrote songs for this record like I always write: I sit down with a guitar and see what comes out. I play till I hear something I like, then I run with it. We Disappear was inspired on breakups, love, death, and nowadays technology. Can you enlighten us about those subjects and in which way it had a big impact on this record? Love and death are always strong themes for us. They are something all of us have in common. It is inevitable that we will love one or many people throughout the course of our lives, and it is inevitable that we will all die. We disappear from each other, and eventually from this earth. Every day we use technology to try and delay that truth, or to leave something that will outlive us.
“Every time we make a record we want to retain our own sound and original vision while at the same time growing and expanding.”
“The Great Dying” (which has the expression ‘we disappear’ on the lyrics) and “Into the Code” sort of express how things like the Internet can be something terrifying. What are your thoughts about that? The Internet is definitely terrifying. My angle is I am heavily addicted to the Internet, and all of the various devices that lead me to it. I know it’s not healthy, but I can’t stop myself, and I don’t want to. “My Heart Went Cold” is such an intense and heartbreaking song. What does this song mean to you? “My Heart Went Cold” is really about taking the blame for what went wrong in a love relationship, which should be easy for me, since I’ve made so many mistakes in every relationship I’ve been in. Whereas Personal Life [2010’s LP] took a very cold and cynical stance at love, We Disappear takes a more melancholy, but still realistic look at how and why relationships fail. The album’s closer, “Years In A Day,” is such a slow and kind of dark song. Anyone could possibly get lost in such involved song. What inspired you for this one? Most of the songs on We Disappear are true stories, “Years In a Day” being one of them. The song is about how you can just wake up one morning and realize that’s so much time has gone by, that you’ve lost or wasted so much time, that you’re so far from the mistakes you’ve made, and yet still paying the price for those mistakes. Chris Walla of Death Cab For Cutie produced the new album, in Portland and Seattle. What can you tell us about the whole recording process? We love Chris, this is the fourth record we’ve worked on with him. This record was a new experience with Chris, as in the past most of the tracking we did with him was live with minimal overdubs. For We Disappear we really got into layering a lot of tracks and crazy noises and sounds. Chris was able to really produce this record, as opposed to just capturing us playing our songs.
INTERVIEW // THE THERMALS
During the break between albums, you worked on two Amazon TV pilots. Unfortunately, they weren’t picked up, but how was the experience to work on that and are you currently working on new stuff regarding TV shows? I really enjoyed working on both shows, I was mostly just writing songs which is one of my favorite things to do anyway. I wasn’t too disappointed when they didn’t go to series, because I got busy again
working on We Disappear, and I do feel and hope that I’ll work with Amazon Studios again in the future.
keep telling us all the time now that it’s on Netflix). We’ve seen it of course, we loved it!
In the Dope movie, the favorite band of the main characters is The Thermals, which was such an awesome input in the plot. Were you aware of that? Have you seen the movie? It was awesome! We weren’t aware of it when they were shooting the movie, but people told us about it when it came out (and
What records or bands are you into lately? Most of my favorite bands these days are from Portland (Summer Cannibals, The Ghost Ease), Seattle (Chastity Belt, The Wimps) or LA (Colleen Green). WE DISAPPEAR IS OUT NOW VIA SADDLE CREEK RECORDS
Once a band who were notorious for v approach to tone, Mogwai are today r dramatic acoustic narratives using every too to plenty of praise for their â€˜cinematicâ€™ ap been applied a little more literally, most r documentary Atomic, Living In Dread And look at the nuclear age in all its guises Braithwaite to find out the genesis of this wo
ATOMIC CINEMATIC VOYAGE Words: Dave Bowes // Photos: Brian Sweeney
volume and their mountains-to-valleys renowned for their finesse, teasing out ol at their disposal. It has unsurprisingly led pproach, but every so often that term has recently with their work on Mark Cousins’ d Promise, an abstract and even-handed s. We managed to check in on Stuart ork and his own relationship with the atom.
ou just released the soundtrack for Atomic, the Storyville documentary that was released last year. How was that originally commissioned? We got asked to do the music for the film before they’d actually gotten anyone to make it. There had been this series of archive films – Jarvis Cocker did one, King Creosote did one – and they’d been really good. We really liked the King Creosote one so we were quite excited about it, just interested in the subject matter and when we found out it was Mark (Cousins) that was making the film that was another great thing too because he’s a really talented guy. We just did it last summer. It’s quite a distinct documentary, very abstract, but the music fits really well. Did you work in tandem with the making of the film? We were talking to them before they’d started making the film and that was with Mark - he was talking about the plans he had and about his vision for it. We were involved right from the very start with what they were going to be doing with the film. You’ve stated that some of the soundtrack work you’ve done has been a very smooth process while others, maybe a bit less so. Where does this one fit in? This was pretty easy, to be honest. I think the tones of the different sections of the film were very distinct because obviously some of it’s quite optimistic and some of it’s quite heavy so it was quite obvious what kind of music would have to work with each element of the film. I think it was just quite easy and it’s a very serious film so it lent itself to our music, definitely. What is your relationship like with the ‘nuclear age’? You probably grew up with films like Threads showing on the TV. Definitely, we did and in the ‘80s it all seemed to be dictated by fear – fear of AIDS, fear of nuclear weapons - the fear of nuclear war was a big thing at the time. When we played in Hiroshima about 10 years ago, we went and visited the Peace Park. It was a really big occasion and it made a big impact on us, so when we were asked to do the film it definitely made sense as something that we wanted to be involved with. 47
Well on the flipside of that, there are the more constructive elements of the nuclear age, like nuclear power. Is that something you support? I personally don’t because I don’t think it’s safe and there are other ways that we can generate power that are less dangerous, because I remember Chernobyl and incidents in Japan recently as well. I think that the risks are greater than the reward. The song titles on this record tie in more strongly and literally with the subject matter than ‘typical’ Mogwai song titles. Was this merely matching the themes or was it an attempt to treat the subject matter with more respect? I’ve actually got a friend who works at CERN that advised Mark and also spoke to us about the film and a lot of the scientific things, so he helped us out with the song titles. As you said, it’s not really the place to have anything daft when it’s such a serious subject. With Atomic, how much work was done on the original recordings to come to the album versions? We developed it. We didn’t start from scratch, but we did a lot of extra recording and changed a few things. Listening to a song like “U235”, there’s a feeling of the soundtracks of John Carpenter and the like in there. Did you make a conscious attempt to tap into those classic soundtrack tones or is it more that anyone who soundtracks in a particular style is going to be associated with one of the greats – Carpenter, Williams, etc. – at some point? I think John carpenter is just a really big influence on music, generally. His music, his soundtracks, I almost forget that they’re soundtracks because they’re so good. They’re some of the most powerful creative music that I’ve ever heard so I definitely think that his music’s been a big influence on us generally, not just on the soundtracks that we’ve done. 48
“I find that techniques change with technology, that’s probably the main thing. It’s easier to multi-track in your own house.” One thing Carpenter excels at is creating sounds that really evoke the visuals that he’s creating. Do you remember the first soundtrack you heard that had that effect? I think it’s probably when I was a wee guy, way back to Star Wars. I just remember hearing that music and it just being such a big part of the experience, seeing the film and the whole drama of the story, even going back to other things like Jaws... so many memories as a kid, like E.T. as well. All of that music is so intertwined with the experience of the films. You also scored the second season of Les Revenants. Did you have the same approach for this season, working with the storyboards in advance? Yeah, it was the same, although we actually knew the process a bit more and it was a bit easier, but it was the same way of working. Going back to some of your stranger song titles, one that ended up being quite prophetic was “George Square Thatcher Death Party”. How did you feel when that actually happened? Well, it sounds pretty bad when you say it out loud, but I think most Scottish people were pretty happy when Margaret Thatcher
died, so I think it’s probably the only time that we’ve reflected the mood of the nation. [laughs] Did you notice a spike in downloads of that around that time then? I didn’t notice, but I bet there were a lot of people watching it on YouTube because they heard people talking about it. “What? A band called a song that?” Yeah, I don’t think we benefitted financially anyway. Do you have any plans of a live screening of Atomic, like you did with the Zidane score at Broomielaw? Yeah, we’ve got a couple announced already, one in Austria and one in Brussels and we’re going to be doing a few over the summer. How did you feel the live Zidane showing came off, and why was there such a delay between the soundtrack being released and the live show? I think it was just schedules, really, because it was all music that we didn’t play, we needed to have quite a long time to rehearse it. The person that wanted us to do it was part of the Manchester Festival, which is only every two years. Really, it was talked about a lot, but it took us a long time before we got to the point where we had the time to rehearse it and that was when that festival was on. You did some really interesting interviews in the run up to ATP last year with some of the acts, like GZA and Doug McCombs. How was that experience, with you being the interviewer rather than the interviewee for once? I totally loved it, actually. It was such a great experience and those people, some of them are our friends – I know Doug reasonably well – but just talking to Jim Reid and asking him about the early days of The Jesus And Mary Chain, that was great. I really enjoyed it. The thing with The Jesus And Mary Chain was that they were part of this huge Glasgow scene in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, along with The Pastels and plenty of others. Now, we have the likes
INTERVIEW // MOGWAI
of yourselves and Chvrches becoming huge, so do you think there’s been a revival in Glasgow’s musical popularity? You know what? I think it’s been a constant ever since we started. There’s always been a lot of stuff happening, there’ve always been a lot of bands and I think it’s actually gotten even better because I think a lot of bands are moving to Glasgow to make music because the city’s got a reputation for it. It’s certainly a major music city now. Before, it would come and go, sometimes there’d be lots of things happening, other times not so much, but I think it’s a constant now. There’s always something happening. Do you still make it out to many shows yourself? I think the last time I saw you out was at Beastmilk and In Solitude. I try to. I probably go to a couple of gigs a week, something like that, but I should try to go to more. I do what I can. That was a great gig though, wasn’t it? It really was excellent. Someone
was saying that it brought you back to your teenage goth days. Did that goth sound ever tie in much with Mogwai? Well, Daniel Ash of Bauhaus is one of my favourite guitar players of all time and Robert Smith is one of my favourite guitar players of all time – yeah, definitely comes in. I still love all those old records. As far as writing goes, have you changed much in your approach, as the sound has certainly evolved a lot over the years? Not really. I find that techniques change with technology, that’s probably the main thing. It’s easier to multi-track in your own house. When we first started, it was just 4-tracks and all that stuff. That had its own charm, but it’s definitely a lot easier to do more sophisticated recording on computers in your own house, definitely. You obviously were quite a tight-knit bunch, but is it as easy to get together nowadays? Well, Barry’s in Berlin, but we get together to rehearse for shows or to record. I think the three of us
that live in Glasgow are going to try to get together a bit more this year, but it’s a bit tricky getting all of us together all of the time. What other stuff do you have planned? Any other soundtrack work or anything that you’d like to work on, even? Well, there’s loads I’d like to work on, but we’re actually just doing the new album now, just sharing demos and trying to get ready for that. We’re recording at the end of the year so just trying to get as prepared as we can and get as much of it done as we can. As far as soundtracking, are there any other formats you’d like to work on? You’ve already done cinema, television and documentary, so is there anything else? I would really like to do a regular narrative film. I think that would be really great. We’ve had opportunities, but I don’t think they were ever really right for us. ATOMIC OST IS OUT NOW VIA ROCK ACTION RECORDS
loud fast quiet loud noisy Words: Tiago Moreira // Photos: Jeff Forney
THE COATHANGERS are growing. In the year that they are celebrating their ten-year anniversary, the punk power-trio of Atlanta is getting more recognition and with the release of their fifth album, Nosebleed Weekend, their music is getting more and more on point. We talked with Julia Kugel (a.k.a. Crook Kid) about creating and recording the bandâ€™s new album in California, then meaning of this album for her, and her hopes and aspirations for the future.
then when you have time off and you’re like, “Oh shit!” [laughs]
think it’s fair to say that your previous album, 2014’s Suck My Shirt, is The Coathangers’ most successful album to date. Did you feel any pressure when the time came to write and record the new album? I always feel pressured, because every album just keeps getting more popular or there’s more expectation, really, from... me personally, I can only speak for myself because I don’t know the other ladies in the band, it’s more pressure for myself to be better, to write better, to make an interesting record again because this is our fifth record. So, you don’t want to make the same record over and over again. You have to expand your horizons and try to grow... I know that’s true for all of us, we all try to grow musically but it’s not like... The only time I really felt that was when we made our second record [2009’s Scramble]. The pressure of other people or pleasing other people because we never expected to have to make a second record, so it was like, “Oh shit, people are really going to listen to this.” [laughs] After that it’s whatever. It’s more about being happy with it and trying to enjoy the creative process. The Coathangers have been a band for a decade. When you started, like almost every new band, you were just looking for having fun. Where do you find yourself now? Are there any sort of goals for The Coathangers in 2016? Yeah. I mean, the goal is to keep traveling and enjoy stuff, and perhaps being able to not have a regular job. That would be nice. That’s a nice goal. Trying to make a living out of this thing. Not in a way of selling out, but just in a way of making enough at shows so we don’t have to work as waitresses. Because right now when we’re not on tour we pick up shifts at our old jobs. It’s really hard. If we are touring then everything is fine, but when you’re sitting home for two months, which we want because you want to have time off but 52
All the previous albums were recorded in Atlanta, but this one was recorded in California’s North Hollywood at Valentine Recording Studios. Why have you decided to travel more than 2000 miles to record your new album? I recently made a move to Southern California, so we had developed some relationships with some the producer, Nic Jodoin, and... I’d met him and we spent a lot of time out there. Honestly is because we wanted to seclude ourselves and not be at home in Atlanta so we could focus more on writing and playing. All we did for three weeks, literally was to wake up go to the practice space, a break for a snack or whatever, and then play more. We didn’t have family, we didn’t have boyfriends, and we didn’t have anything to distract us from that. It’s really hard because when you’re in Atlanta and you tour a lot people expect you to not work on music when you’re here. You have to catch up with all the people that you missed out on and that really goes into the writing process. And since we don’t have a lot of time off from touring we made a conscious decision to write the record and record it in Los Angeles. One is a nice change of pace, it’s nice. I mean, there’s no way to push yourself until you challenge yourself and to be kind of uncomfortable in the environment, because we were so comfortable
“It’s a record about change. It’s change in every way possible.”
in our living room in Atlanta. Plus, working with Nic was amazing. He really pushed us like no one else we’ve ever worked with. He would be like, “Now play that again. Maybe you should rethink that one and... play it again.” [laughs] He was like our coach. We played, played, and played. Did you find it easier or harder this kind of approach to the recording process? It’s easier in a way because you would never forget what you had worked on because in Atlanta we would write two days a week so when you came the next day you would have four days in between and it would be like, “Oh, what was I doing? What was happening?” But when you do it every day, you don’t have to worry because everything is so fresh in your head. You’re always continuing on the same spot that you had started before. It was harder because it was every day and sometimes you lose sight and you don’t have much time to stand back and absorb the world and go back into it... You’re in your bubble, you know? I got cramps in my wrist just from playing all the time, always practicing and obsessing. It was much more obsessive. Did you enter the studio with the songs completely ready to be recorded? Nic came out to our practice space and we did pre-production. We wanted to go in the studio pretty much knowing stuff and just finding good takes. There are a couple of songs that we worked out some of the arrangements in the studio, but studio time is expensive time. That’s kind of why we took this weeks to work everything out. We wanted to go in and just, “Ok, this is a great take. Next!” It kind of worked like that. So basically Nic was present almost all the time. Yeah, he was. He really took it on... he doesn’t work with people he doesn’t like. He’s very particular and picky, and he didn’t want to produce something that he didn’t like. We appreciated his feedback and it kind of kept us on our toes too because we had to be ready for Nic because at some point he would
INTERVIEW // THE COATHANGERS
come in. He was very motivating ‘cause... I mean, it’s a lot of writing in a couple of weeks. You always said that each record is a snapshot of your life at the time. What was the most important thing to document this time around? That’s a hard one because we all came from different places. We were all in different places in our lives. For me it was more the kind of the move out way. It was a big thing having to readjust to the new environment. Honestly, there were deaths in the family... there’s always death, unfortunately, in life the older you get. So, all together it was kind of a feeling of solitude, anger, and sort of frustration perhaps with other stuff that you kind of have no control over. So, for you it’s basically a record about change. Yeah, that’s actually brilliant. It’s a record about change. It’s change in every way possible. Even change of
location when we recorded it and when we wrote it. Everything. What’s the story behind the name Nosebleed Weekend? The name really came about because our bass player Meredith [Franco] is genetically predisposed to getting nosebleeds and when we were on tour in Europe last time she got a nosebleed almost every day. She even got one when we were in Canada while we were on stage. It was kind of funny like a tongue-in-cheek thing. I think we wrote the song after I actually came up with the phrase and the song ended up being more about like karma and how it comes back to you. The words of the song are like, “It’s alright now it’s ok you got a nosebleed weekend coming your way (…)”. Whatever happens sometimes life just catches up to you anyway and you might get a nosebleed. Sort of metaphorical. There’s no denying that The Coathangers are a band that’s
been evolving since day one. Is there something artistically and musically that you hope to reach, as a band, in the future? Do you find yourself thinking about the future of The Coathangers in the evolutionary process? I went to see a movie getting scored the other day and all these people in this symphony orchestra sight read these symphonies that are put in movies... that would be my goal. It would be so proficient in my instrument and at music theory to be able to use it. You’ve always come from this place where we make music from the gut, from the soul, from where we could. Making due of what we had. At this point I want to be really good at the technical part of it, the theory part of it. I was so blown away by these men and women that just kick ass and they’re so pro and they just know it. That would be a goal for me. NOSEBLEED WEEKEND IS OUT NOW VIA SUICIDE SQUEEZE RECORDS
MODERN BASEBALL easily goes straight music, simple like th years, the band wen time and the result is to date, Holy Ghost. W Jacob, Sean and I their n
ou are preparing to release your third album, Holy Ghost, and it’s probably your most in-depth album to date. How are you guys feeling now that the album is about to come out? Brendan: We’re excited! Like most of our records, we sit on them for a little bit before we can start playing them and sending it to people, so now that we’re under a month mark, is just kind of a free for all. [laughs] We’re just kind of waiting to play everything live.
Your documentary Tripping in the Dark is brutally honest, funny and charming. First of all, are you Freaks and Geeks fans? All: Yeah! [laughs] And so that’s why you did that awesome introduction in the documentary. Sean: Our buddy Kyle Thrash, who directed the documentary, he directs all of our video concepts. He kind of had the idea because we wanted a fun way to kind of introduce the doc, especially with the heavier parts of that and he brought up the idea of doing that and it was a bless to do it, but also we got to record the cover of Joan Jett with Ian singing. [laughs] 54
ght To Heart Words: Andreia Alves // Photos: Jessica Flynn
is that kind of band that t to your heart with their hat. In the last couple of nt through a really rough their most in-depth album We chatted with Brendan, Ian to know more about new album.
How did you come up with the idea to do this documentary about the beginnings of the band to nowadays, and also about making your new album? Jacob: It was really most of the idea of our director Kyle. He’s been a big part of the band ever since we made our first music video, creatively and also emotionally. He has a strong connection to our music, so when we started talking to him about going into the studio for recording, he knew everything that was going on in our personal lives. He felt like it would be a really timely opportunity to kind of give to the world a quick history of our band and also having the opportunity to explain how important everything that is currently going on and kind of breakdown what we’re about to do. It was kind of him having a vision and then we let him run with it. The documentary gives a raw and intense insight into what you’ve been through these last two years and it was something that must be really hard to deal with. Was it easy for you to go back to those feelings and to share them in this documentary? Brendan: It was much easier than any of us expected to be just because how close Kyle is with us. He’s been with us for so long, it really did feel like venting to a friend about stuff and there’s a ton of information that he wanted to know, as low as knowing so much about the band and so he was really able to dig deep and get out of us what we wanted him to get out of us as well what he wanted to get out of it. Luckily, we had Kyle. [laughs] 55
Do you have any funny story while shooting this documentary? Brendan: Not really. [laughs] Jacob: It was really fun to do the Freaks and Geeks thing. [laughs] Brendan: Yeah! [laughs] I know this is a delicate subject, but Brendan, you were diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and before you knew that, you went through some harsh moments. How are you feeling nowadays? Brendan: I feel good! It’s a lot sometimes, but I have the band and they’re really my biggest support system, so it’s really great. I feel really great and our fans have been so supportive about everything. It’s really easy to just power through everything and stick through it. How was it like for you to jump into making Holy Ghost right after what you went through? Brendan: It was a little challenging just because I was coming out of treatment and went right into recording. I had to write my half of the record while we were still in the studio, but overall, having everyone be really excited to be in the studio and to write and record music together again and to have our producer Joe Reinhart being so actively involved, it felt like a normal writing process. Honestly, it was amazing getting there and feeling so natural. Holy Ghost is a portrayal of what you’ve been through as a band and as individuals. Brendan and Jacob, each one of you wrote different songs and split the record in half, which Jacob wrote all the songs on the album’s A-side, while Brendan wrote all the songs on the other side. Can you tell me how was it like to work for this album that way? Jacob: It was fun, we’ve never done that before. Each one of us had our own space to kind of create a mini-record for ourselves and then two sides ended up going together really well because Brendan and I have pretty similar writing tendencies. It was kind of refreshing and it was a really unique experience, I’m really glad we did it. This album conveys a lot of 56
“Each one of us had our own space to kind of create a mini-record for ourselves and then two sides ended up going together really well because Brendan and I have pretty similar writing tendencies.” emotions and an urgency to put that on music, and you simply did it in such an impressive and inspirational way. What was the best part of working on the album? Jacob: Probably finishing it and then having to decide the track listing. [laughs] That was easy because we had to mix together all of our different songs and figure out a good order, but it worked and made sense, even though two different people wrote them. This was really nice because we just immediately finished it and listened to it from front to back pretty much, and it was cool. The first singles revealed were “Everyday” written by Jacob and “Apple Cider, I Don’t Mind” written by Brendan. Why those songs to be the first singles? Jacob: I don’t know... I think we didn’t really have any particular singly songs. We felt a pretty strong connection to the record as a whole and we just tried to pick two songs that were a good representation of certain spots on the record. It just felt right. Jacob, one of the themes that you approached on the songs for this album was about the loss of your grandfather. Was it cathartic for you to put all those feelings into these new songs? Jacob: Yeah! That is a good word for it. I was thinking about a lot of stuff that I hadn’t really thought about before and I hadn’t actually processed things until I actually wrote a song about it, so I kind of forced myself into a position
where I had to think about everything and write about it. It felt pretty good. Musically, what did mainly inspire you while writing the songs? Jacob: I was listening to a lot of Pedro The Lion, Hop Along... mostly Pedro The Lion. [laughs] Brendan: During that time, I don’t know if I was actually listening to anything but daily stuff like Dogs On Acid... I like a lot of movies, I don’t really listen to music as much as most people think I do. [laughs] What movies sort of inspired you for this album, if there was any? Brendan: For me a lot of the subjects that I was talking about was me getting out of treatment, dealing with processing everything from my treatment program, with being diagnosed with bipolar disorder to being properly medicated, to medication sucking, to having to give up drinking... But, there are a few sci-fi references here and there throughout my side of the record. [laughs] That had to do with the fact that I bought the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as Jurassic World collector’s edition, so I think that can contribute to some aspects. The closing track “Just Another Face” is a brilliant and strong song, just a great way to close the album. How was the writing process for this one in particular? Brendan: Unlike the rest of the songs on my side of the record, it’s either very loud or it’s very long, this song is much longer than the rest of the songs, almost equally as long as all the songs put together. Musically, it was something that I was sitting on for a really long time and it kind of came the most naturally out of all of them, which is probably why there’s so many verses, but this was definitely the one that I wanted to be about accepting my treatment and myself, accepting help from my support system and other support systems, trying to kind of write something that would get me out of bed in the morning and make me realize that is easy to keep moving forward. Holy Ghost marked the first time that Sean and Ian wrote all their
INTERVIEW // MODERN BASEBALL
own drum and bass parts, and also the first time you guys ever recorded an entire full-length together. What can you tell more about that? Sean: It was kind of a crazy experience and it was way different from anything we’ve ever done. Basically, we just got together in a room and jam out all of the songs and figure out all our parts together, which I think it allowed a medium to really lock in into be aware of what each other were doing or what Brendan and Jacob were doing and select what we wanted to do. I think that allowed us to craft the songs into more as a unit as opposed to individual parts. Besides that, Holy Ghost was also the first album recorded by someone other than you guys. You had on board the producer Joe Reinhart (Hop Along, Joyce Manor). How was it like to have him working with you guys? Jacob: It was awesome! It was the first time that we worked with a producer and the first time we hang out with Joe. It turned out really
well, not only because he’s really smart in a musical sense, but also it turned out that we have a lot of the same musical sensibilities and he’s also really fun to be around and easy going. The fact that he was just down for everything and always kind of in a good mood made us really ready to do whatever all the time, which is awesome. It definitely made us really productive and made us really positive about the whole experience. The album’s artwork is a photo taken by Jessica Flynn and it feels so nostalgic. What can you tell me about this photo and the meaning for you guys? Brendan: We like the artwork a lot because, first of all, it’s probably the only time that I think we could put ourselves in colours. [laughs] But it’s also a photo of us taking a video of Flynn, which is really meta, and it felt right for the whole vibe of the record like looking on all of our decisions and all the themes that go along with the record, but also we really liked the
photo, we really liked taking a photo of Flynn - someone who’s really part of our lives, our crew and our family, and someone we worked with literally every day. Jacob: It was taken on tour. Brendan: Yeah, in Utah! Jacob: It was in a Guitar Center parking lot. [laughs] What records or bands have you been listening to lately? Jacob: I’m really into Guided By Voices. Sean: I probably listen to pop more than anything right now, not just every night, but after the shows even. And then Ian made me a playlist of mid-2000’s Chicago punk and I listen to that all the time. Ian: The record that I’ve been listening to a whole bunch lately is the new self-titled record from a band called Gunk. They’re from Philadelphia and they’re awesome. Brendan: I also listen to pop. [laughs] HOLY GHOST IS OUT NOW VIA RUN FOR COVER RECORDS
How much can one take from life and be able to just keep moving? Well, that's someth it must be done day by day and sometimes it becomes something inexplicable. NOTHIN frontman Domenic "Nicky" Palermo seem to be that kind of person who keeps pushin forward even when things get really dark and rough, and then he was able with his bandmates to deliver yet another brilliant record. Nicky opened up to us about the rec hard events of his life and the whole process of making Tired Of Tomorrow.
WORLDâ€™S MOST EXCITING BAND! DEAL WITH THAT! Words: Andreia Alves // Photos: Jimmy Hubbard
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Yeah, I like to think that there’s always a new tomorrow, even if it’s a fucked up one. [laughs] Yeah, that’s a good way of thinking about it. One of the awful things that happened to you was during a tour last summer in Oakland, CA. Can you tell us what happened that day? When loading out equipment after a gig, some guys came into the venue and seemingly looked like they wanted to take my phone from me or something, so I got in tossal match with one of them and then it wasn’t long before they took the advantage... and they sent me to the hospital for a few days with a fractured skull, a fractured orbital, a couple of small fractures on my lower back and like 19 staples in my head. They dislodged a thing that was in my ear that was kind of irritating my hearing a little bit more than already is, but apparently at least that is supposed to fix itself over time, unless on this tour I just destroy it completely, we’ll see. [laughs]
t’s been 2 years since you released your incredible debut album, Guilty of Everything and a lot of awful stuff has happened to you ever since. How are you feeling nowadays? I feel ok. I’m relieved that yesterday is done with and I’m very excited to see what tomorrow brings me, hopefully it gives me a little bit time off of the bullshit that we see.
During that time you shared a picture of yourself, I was horrified how badly injured you were and really worried about your health. How long it took for you to recover? I didn’t really have much time to recover. I mean, the tour was kind of cancelled right at that point, obviously, because I was in the hospital for three days and my doctor advised me not to fly home right away, because my brain was so swollen... Since I was in the bay, I was losing my mind and just anxious and stressful at that point. There was just so much that had built up at that exact moment anyway. We toured so extensively after Guilty Of Everything was released. It was just wild times and all this crazy stuff happening and then boom! I’m just on a hospital bed and everything just stopped... It was the first time that I was able to stop and look around and I was just like “What the fuck is going on right now?” I took a trip down to Big Sur and I’ve always wanted to go and never had time to. 59
While I waited for my newly found gigantic brain to go back to its normal small size, I took a trip to Big Sur and visited some of my favorite writers’ homes and went to Henry Miller Memorial Library, and stuff like that. I just kind of ate pain pills and just kind of wrote a ton of stuff. Just kept listening to the demos that we had and that we were about to record in a week. I rewrote a lot of stuff and changed a lot of the lyrical content because, you know, things just seemed to want to rewrite themselves a bit. I flew back home and then we started the studio experience. Obviously the experience that you went through that day had a massive impact on your life and also on your music. As you said, you had some of the music and lyrics done for the new record before that incident. How was the process of rewriting them after what happened? Everybody at this point was pretty confused. They were on the same boat as I was, except they just weren’t at a hospital, you know? They were dealing with what I was dealing with, just as much as I was and everything else that we were dealing at that point... This placement from being home, but not really feeling like you’re home, because you’re on the road so much... We got to the studio like you could tell that Will Yip is just this really positive and happy guy. [laughs] He worked with all these bands that are just like happier bands like Citizen, Title Fight, Basement and that’s not us at all. [laughs] We’re the complete opposite, you know? I was like covered in bruises and cuts. Nick’s mom had passed away during that time unexpectedly and then you got Kyle, who is constantly going through an existential crisis, so he’s looking at everything and freaking out. Will was probably like “Man, this is going to be a mess” but when we got in the studio, especially when we had some kind of inspirational stuff like this happening, that’s when we write music. We started to turn these songs out and Will knew right away - and we knew right away - that we were doing something special. 60
What was it like to work with him [Will Yip] and what did he bring to the songs for Tired Of Tomorrow? He’s very methodical. The thing about Will is that he literally is like how we are with things when it comes to make music. He understands the vision that the band that he’s working with wants and we’re kind of assholes about that stuff usually, like we go into a studio and there’s a producer that is like “Hey, do you want to try this?” and we’re like “No!” We know what we want... You hear stories about bands that haven’t produced a whole song or parts of it. We’re completely fine, but there hasn’t been anyone yet, besides Will, who could make us a mention and I respect him enough to be like “Ok, let’s hear what he has to say.” It was cool in that aspect. Will was really great to work with. You released a six part documentary series on the making of Tired Of Tomorrow, directed by Don Argott (Art Of The Steal, Last Days Here, As The Palaces Burn). The episodes show how Tired Of Tomorrow was developed. What was the best and the worst part of working on this album? The worst part was absolutely the tremendous pain that I was in personally. I woke up one night and rolled over in bed and the whole room started to spin. After trying to diagnose myself through Google, I realized that I was
"I rewrote a lot of stuff and changed a lot of the lyrical content because, you know, things just seemed to want to rewrite themselves a bit."
suffering from vertigo out of the blue. I was like “This is nice, this is a new thing.” That was an interesting twist to be in. I was literally just like spinning around and it was pretty awful, but for the most part it was a healthy experience by the end of it. We were around each other for so long at this point and just seemed disastrous like with everything that was going on and literally it just wasn’t. It was a beautiful experience and it really solidified the fact that by the end of it, it was like “Ok, there’s nothing that anyone can do to stop us from what we’re doing, unless they literally put us in the ground” you know what I mean? That was the only way. So, it was kind of exciting for me to see that everyone was ready to do this to the bitter end. The title Tired of Tomorrow feels such an accurate and strong portrayal of what you may feel after these few last months of your life. Was in that regard that you choose that title? The funny thing about it is I wrote that title maybe a month... it was a part of a small piece that I wrote, but it’s not connected to the song at all. I wrote this thing that I liked and then I hated everything else about it except for the title, so it was like “You know what? This title is sick. I think that we should use it as the record title.” And then life tends to happen and next thing you know the title of the record was like way more accurate than it even was before. That wasn’t actually intentional as far as the recent events went. You were talking about anxiety and I think it is such a big part of everyone’s life and is one of the themes that you approach in your songs. Songwriting is a way to repel those feelings for sure. Did you feel that writing Tired Of Tomorrow was a way for you to figure things out after all you have been through? That’s been my only saving grace, just travelling through this life has been the connection to music for a small bit of the time where I decided that I wasn’t going to do it anymore was probably the worst point of my life, in general. There wasn’t even that many awful things
INTERVIEW // NOTHING
like the way things rolled after I started writing it and I was in the worst place ever. I felt like if I’m not doing this, I’m not gonna last too long. The band has literally been about turning tragedy into songs and turning feelings into songs. Without that, I don’t even know where I’d be. Does it feel weird for you to see that so many people connect with your music? I always had a hard time answering this question just because is kind of hard for me to swallow. I see that there are people that enjoy our music or they’re not part time listeners ever. They seem to be like extremely connected to everything we do and that’s really hard for me to see the love all the time, but the best way I can answer it is that I just think that people can see the honesty in everything that we do. There’s so much bullshit and there’s so many phony people in this music world. It literally till this day still surprises me when I think that I
have like a legitimate friend in this industry and I just realize once again that they’re not. I think that the reason why people attached themselves to us is because they can see the brutal honesty in everything that we do. I think that might be it or they just feel bad. [laughs] There are people that have things way worse than us. People want to see this lucid and mystical embodiment of something like “They won’t follow you on Twitter man, they’re above you.” It’s all phony bullshit with everything. At the end of the day, I guarantee you that there’s maybe ten musicians in this world that live exactly what they portray while they’re walking around in their house, having eggs or something, you know what I mean? It’s all bullshit. I totally understand you, it’s hard to find musicians that do their music with a purpose or with honesty. Sometimes it just seems they’re doing just to get by or just for the fun.
Yeah, just to get by... A lot of my friends like Torche, those guys are the best guys and there’s no bullshit in them. They do this because they love it and they need to do it, you know? It’s a necessity to them to live their lives and to create music because without that, we don’t have anything else and I think there’s people who cannot understand that and they want to attach themselves to it. Kurt Cobain passed away 22 years ago today [April 5th] as well Layne Staley 14 years ago, and it’s curious to see how different the 90’s were from nowadays. Everything is really different. Yeah. I was just reading an article - I think it might be from Rolling Stone - with Krist Novoselic and he was just talking about the impact that Nirvana still has on bands these days. I mean, it’s just really because it was something so special and honest at that point in all music, not just in rock music.
It was just overflowing with awful fucking shit and then all of the sudden this punchy, loud like “I don’t give a fuck” band comes out and it has the most beautiful poetry. It’s like overdriven feedback guitar, how could that not have changed the world? There’s not many artists out there right now that I could see that could ever do anything like that. Hopefully there’s someone around the corner that is capable of that... I wonder sometimes if Kurt Cobain was still around us, what he would think about nowadays’ music. I would really like to know his thoughts about it. [laugh] [Laughs] I think he would be highly upset, but who knows? I mean, he lived through heavy metal and so I don’t think it would be possible for him to get through with nowadays music. [laughs] Listening to the track “ACD (Abcessive Compulsive Disorder)”, 62
it leads me to all your struggles. How did you come up with this song? It’s probably one of the most intense tracks of the LP. Yeah, for sure. Brandon had this song almost completely written, it was the first song that we had out of all the demos. We sat on it for so long and we never had words for it. Actually, Brandon had words for it, but it was about hanging out in this gig club that we hang out all the time, it’s like an afterhours gig club. Anytime we end up there, it’s just going to be one of those days where we’re just going to wake up the next morning wanting to end our lives because of the hangover, so that’s basically what he had written for the lyrics... Again, while we were on tour, all of that stuff happened and he was suffering from a really bad tooth ache the all time and I kept telling him “Dude, you have to write this song. You have to write the lyrics. Make it about your tooth” and he messed it
around for a while. When I got into the studio, I had all these new ideas and he went through this weird... I hope he doesn’t get mad at me. [laughs] He was going through this weird breakup with these two girls. He was hanging out with these two different girls at the same time and I was just like “Dude, you literally are like a cancer to some of these people” and I just kind of wrote the song about him essentially being with an infected tooth that’s like sitting in someone’s mouth, just like songs about being awful for them. Now I understand that part of the lyrics, “And I will leave you / With a bad taste in your mouth.” Yeah! So, I got that for him and then he was like “Cool man! Thanks!” [laughs] He probably likes it. And then there’s “Nineteen Ninety Heaven”, such an easy and calm track, but lyrically is more
INTERVIEW // NOTHING
intense than it looks like, and you had Kylie Lotz of Petal as guest vocals. She has a beautiful voice and she’s a really good friend too. Will introduced us. We were discussing this in a couple of different female vocalists that we knew. When I wrote the song, I really wanted to have a female vocal over it and it was hard to get some people into the studio, just because it was so far away and I was dealing with the idea of flying a couple of people in just because I was out of my mind at that point like I said. I was aware of Petal and Will was like “I’m really good friends with her” and Brandon kind of grew up in the same neighbourhood as her, and then I was like “It’s so much easier, let’s have her in.” It was great watching her like blowing my vocal away on the track, so it was nice. You said earlier that you suffered from vertigo while in the studio and I suppose the song “Vertigo
Flowers” is connected with that. Yes, it is. That was the most direct song to the studio experience on the record for sure. There was anxiety, paranoia and on top of the pain there was just this looming vertigo thing, which we were at this point when we were on six days a week with only Saturday as being the day off. There was no way for me to get to a doctor or anything like that, it just wasn’t happening. I was like “Well, I’m just gonna push forward and if I happen not to wake up one day because there’s something wrong with my head, then that’s just going to be the way this all ends.” That song I wanted to be like very short to the point and a powerful one, quick and catchy. Even the video for “Vertigo Flowers” is quite straight to the point and very colourful, in which you are standing up against a white wall while you’re being blasted with paint. [Laughs] We set the paint out of
“There’s so much bullshit and there’s so many phony people in this music world. It literally till this day still surprises me when I think that I have like a legitimate friend in this industry and I just realize once again that they’re not.”
eight fire extinguishers, it was awful. Not to mention it was pretty much right around the zero degrees, which was like 30 degrees below freezing. It was freezing cold and it was painful on impact, but also burnt my eyes so bad. It was literally like a final torture test at this point that “You know what? We’re just gonna continue to torture ourselves to get our point across.” We only had one take on that, so there was no practicing for it. We practiced without the paint going off a few times and then we just recorded and rolled with it. We had to try to stay in character as much as we could, but I couldn’t see for like two hours. It was just like some regular house paint from The Home Depot, with no research done if it was going to blind us or anything. This is on top of the awful decisions with this band. [laughs] Your latest single “Eaten By Worms” was released with a dark and surreal video, which was co-written and co-directed by you and Kevin Haus, and it even has a Michael Jackson cameo on it. Tell me the story behind this song and video. I was meeting with a new director and we talked on the phone. We were meeting in New York City for lunch and I got a phone call that morning like 6 in the morning from my stepbrother saying that my father passed away. They found him on a side of the road. He fell off his bike in a storm pretty much at the same time as I was out drinking while this was going on, which we had a weird relationship, but still it hit me pretty hard because he fell off his bike slipping off into a ditch. The ditch was filled with water and he was just knocked out and he just drowned. It was like an awful kind of weird, he didn’t deserve that... Obviously, I reschedule the meeting. We talked on the phone with Kevin [Haus] about what I was thinking for the video and had some ideas. He was dwelling on it and a lot of it was about tragedy, life in general and how dearly humans hold on to life so much when they don’t know what happens after. This song is pretty much about letting go the whole process of why we hold on so hard. When I explained all that to him, he was 64
“I felt like if I’m not doing this, I’m not gonna last too long. The band has literally been about turning tragedy into songs and turning feelings into songs. Without that, I don’t even know where I’d be.” like “Wow!” [laughs] I think he became emotionally invested at that point as well as I was, so I feel like it really comes across in the film that way because again how invested he was and how honest it felt. Are you and Kevin planning on make more videos together for any other song of this album? I’m not sure if we’re gonna make anything else on this record, but I would love to make a video for every song because I feel like I could. I don’t know if they would be good, but I feel like I could definitely come up with a concept for every one of these videos. Right now, me and Kevin are also trying to put together some short films. We’re working on that now. The record ends with the beautiful and melancholic title track with piano and string arrangements. What led you to approach this song with a piano-based moody sound? Honestly, I had the song written on guitar for a while and we were gonna do a kind of similar to the acoustic stuff that we do sometimes, but we have done that on the record a couple of times in various kinds of forms. Nick Bassett [bassist] is really great at playing piano and pretty much anything. He’s like out of his mind and he doesn’t drink or anything, he’s a
crazy person. He likes to sit in his room, playing guitar or piano or playing with a recording software. You can’t talk to him, he’s a maniac. [laughs] But anyway, I kind of went with him and we turned the guitar into a piano version. I was like “This is really nice, I always wanted to do this.” We had access to a piano in the studio that John Lennon and Elton John had recorded songs on it. We were like “Why not use this in this big room? It will sound awesome.” We did that and then I got with Will to bring a string section to it, and we did that next. It was really cool to just be a musician with not that much of a formal training and just kind of have the string section at my hands, making these melodies and these different strings going on violin and going in different directions, tunes and melodies. They would kind of listen to me like humming out loud what I want and then they would write sheet music. It was a cool experience to have that at my fingertips. I really enjoy that side of music, sometimes much more than even heavier stuff. I would really love to go into that more. Last time we talked, your favorite song off Guilty Of Everything was “Somersault”, so what’s your favorite on this new album? It’s tough for me... I really loved the process of recording “Tired Of Tomorrow” and as far as heavy songs like as simple and as straightforward “Eaten By Worms” which was me in the hospital that song. As “Vertigo Flowers” means the studio, “Eaten By Worms” means me in the hospital. So, there’s so many things that I connect myself to that they feel so personal. It’s hard for me to pick. Obviously there are songs that me and Brandon wrote together and I was in love with that, and then are songs that I’m really excited to play live like “Curse Of The Sun”. I can’t wait to play that song live, I feel like we’re going to blow people’s faces off with that song when we play it live. I’m gonna say “Somersault” again. [laughs] This new album was originally
INTERVIEW // NOTHING
set for release on Geoff Rickly‘s Collect Records, until some controversy emerged within the label. That was another issue that you guys had to deal with and you eventually left the label and now you’re back on Relapse Records. What are your thoughts about the whole thing with Collect Records? Honestly, it was a terrible thing for Geoff. He had his heart fully into this whole thing and that was one of the main reasons I went with them in the first place, just because of the pure dedication that he had. I could see how invested he was physically and emotionally into the thing, you know? At the end of the day, I’m not the one to pass judgement on many things to
people like I live my life in an awful way and sometimes is not definitely acceptable, but there’s some things that I just can’t ignore. I hate money, you know what I mean? I hate money and I hate people who truly buy it more and I just couldn’t connect myself to that at all. I just told Geoff that I was really sorry and I couldn’t do this. It’s one thing if it was like I was working at a job like a mindless shit like painting houses for a guy that was like “Well, obviously there’s nothing in this.” But for me to attach something that’s so personal that I worked so hard for and let it be tainted it by anything like that was something that I was not willing to do.
It was such a delicate situation, but it’s great to see you back with Relapse Records. Yeah, that was the good thing. We chopped around at different labels and had a lot of interest from a bunch of labels, even some major labels and stuff. A lot of it was timing stuff problems, you know, people being like “Can’t just move you to the front, you’re gonna have to wait”. Relapse was like “Dude, yeah! We’ll put it out the fastest we can. We’ll get this record out.” We were just like “Why would we ever take a risk again with anything when everyone at Relapse were so perfect?” They have the most amazing and caring staff, never
once asked us to change anything on any of the recordings. They’re just an amazing staff from top to bottom. Looking to all you’ve been through, I have to say that even when life hits you hard, you still manage to move on like you have this constant inner strength and your music is a way of showing that. Would you agree with that? I don’t see it that way, I see it more as it’s not in my DNA to leave the world at my own hand ever... It’s just not a part of something that I could do, if that was something that I was able to do, it would probably happen. I’m just able to shake it off and keep moving. I almost feed off of it so it becomes a kind of a thing like “How much can I take?” rather than “I can take anything”. It seems that life has chosen to be as how much are you willing to take. I become obsessed with it. Are you still living in Philadelphia? Actually, I’m in New York City most of the time now, I had to change it up a little bit. I like it now more than Philadelphia and I like it a whole lot better than Los Angeles. I don’t foresee myself ever staying in the same place very long. I was asking about that because I wanted to know how’s Philadelphia music scene like now. It’s still kind of the same story with Philadelphia thing. There’s a lot more press on us nowadays and honestly Philadelphia is just a very hateful place, it has always been like that. As that goes to bands, to websites, to anything from promoters... There’s only a few good solid people in that city and they constantly try to eat each other up there and it has always been like that. That was one of the main reasons that I left. We skipped the all like “This band is touring well and they’re from Philly, let’s show them love.” We went from being like “Ok, we’re not going to talk about this band at all” to “Ok, this band think they’re too big”. They just missed the whole showing us love type of thing and it kind of sucks. We have some good friends there, there are some great bands coming out of there, but for the 66
most part I don’t even bother anymore... Like I said, you find out how phony everyone gets and so it gets to a point where you don’t even want to fucking mention anything anymore... I just hope I’ve never had to deal with anybody at some point where I just never have to talk to anybody or think about anything like that. Hopefully I find someone who could do our social media one day so I don’t have to even look at that and I would be the happiest person in the world. Do you recommend us any new bands or records that we should totally check out? Yeah! I don’t know if you heard the new WRONG record, but it’s insane. It’s a punishing and ripping record. I love it! I haven’t really liked something like that in a while. Culture Abuse’s new record is another one! I know it seems I’m being partial because we’re doing a tour with them in the States for a month, but those two records right now are huge for me. Tony Molina’s new record is going to be amazing. There’s a few things actually from the last time I talked to you I was like so jaded, I didn’t want to talk about it, but there’s some people that you can tell right when you meet them that you can tell they would never hurt you or harm you in anyway, and those people that I just mentioned you are three groups of people that fit on those lines. And what about films, any particular one that you really liked recently? I feel like every time we write a record, I always circle back to The Passion of Joan of Arc. It really embodies everything that I feel, not that I’m going through, just in a very lower way obviously. [laughs] It’s the perseverance of Joan that was always something that struck me and again not being afraid of letting go. The film is just shot beautifully. It’s something that I always like to circle back to whenever we’re about to record or while we’re mixing, like listening to the raw mixings I threw that on and kind of just turn the volume down and listen to the record. TIRED OF TOMORROW IS OUT NOW VIA RELAPSE RECORDS
INTERVIEW // NOTHING
THEYâ€™RE BACK! GET EXCITED...
EVOLVING & Guess what? THRICE are definitely back! After going on a hiatus, the quartet have returned with a brand new album and a brand new strength. To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere is sharp and intense, and sees the band at their best shape. Riley Breckenridge told us all about what went down before and after the hiatus.
INNOVATING Words: Andreia Alves // Photos: Jonathan Weiner
ollowing your 2012 tour, Thrice went on hiatus and you guys said that the band was not breaking up, but instead just taking a break. Now you guys are back with a brand new album, so how does it feel to be putting out new music with Thrice? It’s really exciting and it’s something I’m really grateful for. When we went on hiatus, it wasn’t something that I wanted to do, but I understood why the other guys wanted to do it. I was really sad and really disappointed when they decided to take a break. I was hoping that we would get back together and start making music again. Now that we’re doing it now, it’s very exciting for me and I’m just really grateful. I have a lot of fun playing and making music with these guys and to be able to do it again is something I’m really grateful for. After the announcement of the band’s hiatus, you guys focused on other projects. What were you guys up to during that time? Naturally, everybody went in different directions. Dustin [Kensrue, vocalist/guitarist] move up to Seattle and he was working as a worship leader and music director for a church up there. Teppei [Teranishi, guitarist] moved to an island just outside of Seattle and started I guess a company that makes leather good, like backpacks and coats, it’s really good stuff. He’s such a talented guy, he’s good at whatever he tries to do. He started doing that and it’s going really well I think. Ed [Breckenridge, bassist] started playing with a band called Knapsack and there were rumors of him joining forces with Angels & Airwaves, which is that side project of Tom DeLonge from Blink-182. Ed’s been working as well in making tables, basses, guitars and just trying to get into that wood working thing. He helped a friend start a coffee shop in L.A., he built all the furniture for that place. And for me, I got married,
I had a kid, I did like a corporate sales job for about a year that really sucked. I started working as a drum tech for Jimmy Eat World and Weezer. I worked for an athletic apparel company. [laughs] I was at all over the place really, I was just trying to find something that I enjoyed and that could provide for my family and then I started a joke kind of a side project with some friends of mine. It’s like a baseball themed metal band. I did a bunch of stuff. [laughs] So, you guys are back together and with a rad new album. What led you to decide that it was time to comeback with a new Thrice album? I got a text from Dustin. I think he was at a Brand New show in Seattle with Teppei and I don’t know the specifics, but I think seeing them play and Dustin being with Teppei there I think it just kind of lit a fire under him and made him excited about the prospective of making music with Thrice again. He texted me from that show and it was like “Hey, I miss you and I miss making music with you. I think we should do it again.” We just started talking about playing some shows and then talked about making new music. I don’t know exactly what spark him to do that, but I’m glad that it happened. [laughs] How would you describe this new time for the band looking back to your previous records? It’s exciting. I don’t know how to really describe it... It’s familiar because we did this for 15 years before we took the break, so it’s familiar in that regard, but it’s also exciting because it almost feels like we can start over in a way, whether how we’re deciding to tour, or how we’re deciding to write and record stuff, or how we wanna think about how the band is perceived. It’s exciting to kind of have a fresh start because I think with anything if you do it for a long time and then you’re almost like obsessive about it, it can get a little stale or monotonous, so the break was refreshing and I think we’re all excited about just having a new fresh start for this band. To Be Everywhere Is To Be
Nowhere is your ninth album. What was your mindset going into this album? One of the things that we talked about early on was kind of focusing on extremes in a way, like making the quiet stuff that we were doing quieter than we’ve ever done it, or making the big parts bigger than we’ve ever done it, or making the chorus feel bigger that they’ve ever felt or just kind of pushing the extremes of what we’ve done. Writing this album wasn’t much different than the previous records. Everybody in the band writes on a variety of instruments and we kind of stopped title song ideas and once we got together as a group we kind of take and choose what we think might work and just go from there. It wasn’t that different of a writing process this time around, aside from us not having the opportunity to be in the same room at the same time very often, because everybody was spread out with Teppei and Dustin up in the Pacific Northwest. We just wanted to focus on those extremes and just kind of see what happens when we start being creative again. I don’t think any of us really knew what to expect or how things would end up, but I think they ended up in a good spot. Would you say that something has changed during the hiatus that kind of influenced the writing for this record? Like I said, the biggest difference was dealing with geographic challenges because in the past we all lived in the same general area and we could go to our rehearsal space and jam together as a band pretty much whenever we wanted to or whenever everybody was free. On this record, we started writing while we were doing shows last year. We had a weekend worth of shows we would have Teppei fly down here and try to schedule some writing sessions, either before or after we would rehearse to play those weekend shows. The writing was really intense during those times when Teppei was down here and then everything else was done kind of online, where we just shared files and kind of go back and forth building up demos online
INTERVIEW // THRICE
instead of figuring stuff out in the same room together. The Internet can be such a great help in those circumstances and that’s really great. Definitely! If we had tried to make this record before the Internet, I don’t think it would have happened. [laughs] It’s so easy to share files now and technology is so much better that it had a huge role in us being able to create even though we weren’t in the same area. Over these last few years, was there a record or something that really had an impact while you were working on this album?
It’s different for every band member. We all have different tastes in music, but I think there’s a core group of bands that we all appreciate, admire and look to for inspiration, whether it’s a bigger band as Radiohead, or a smaller band like this band called Colour Revolt, or a band that isn’t playing shows anymore like Fugazi... I mean, it’s all over the place. There’s some stuff that I listen to that I’ll share with the other guys and they’re like “Oh man, I’m not into that” [laughs] and then there’s stuff that they’ll share with me where I’m like “I can’t get into this at all.” But there are bands that we appreciate like Fugazi, Radiohead, Cave In, Hot Water Music...
“... it almost feels like we can start over in a way, whether how we’re deciding to tour, or how we’re deciding to write and record stuff, or how we wanna think about how the band is perceived.”
What bands are into that the other guys aren’t that much? [laughs] I like really, really heavy music. I mean, I like all kinds of music, but a very healthy portion of what I listen to is extremely heavy. There’s a band called Cult Leader, they put out one of my favorite records from last year and it’s just the most brutal, aggressive, heavy, fast stuff that you could possibly imagine. If I played it for Teppei, he would be like “Oh man, this is cool.” If I played for Ed, he would be like “Oh man, this is too much for me to take in.” Dustin would be like “Ah, too heavy for me, too frenetic for me.” I’m a huge fan of Kowloon Walled City. I think Teppei and Ed like them a lot. I playedfor Dustin and he was like “You know, I’m ok with this.” [laughs] It depends. Dustin plays me like more recent Arcade Fire stuff and that’s not something that I would choose to listen to on my own, but I don’t dislike it. It’s like that with every member, we’re all like “Check out this thing that I’m listening to” and then one of us is like “Eh! I don’t know about that.” [laughs] There’s stuff that I like that the other guys don’t like, usually the super brutal noise rock or sludgy doom kind of stuff or grindcore. I’m old, but I still like that shit. [laughs] All your records released after Vheissu were produced by yourselves, but this time around you had on board Eric Palmquist as producer. Why the decision to work with him? After taking the hiatus and taking the break, I think a big part of it was we wanted to have somebody involved in the process that could kind of make sure that we were on the right track and also with the self-producing stuff, Teppei ends up handling a lot of the recording or actually almost all of the recording. He sets up mics and he sits at the desk working on mixes, working on recording, working on edits and it’s a lot to ask of him. It’s much better if he can just focus on being a guitar player and multi-instrumentalist instead of having to assume that role with different duties, so we wanted somebody that could be a producer, be a mixer, be an engineer and also provide an extra set of ears, and also be critical 72
because, speaking for myself, I think after taking a break from making music together for what ended up being roughly five years I had reservations like “Oh man, are we gonna remember how to do this?” Having somebody that could kind of guide us and make sure that we weren’t losing track of things or make sure that we weren’t overworking ideas or parts... Just keeping us on track and encouraging us when we were doing things that were good and discouraging us when we were doing things that maybe weren’t the best idea. I think it was super helpful, Eric was a pleasure to work with and I think we made a really great record. The first single “Blood on the Sand” was a great appetizer to what to expect from the album. What’s the story behind this song? Can’t remember who’s idea that was. I think it might have been a blend of something that Dustin had combined with another idea that Teppei had and I think we kind of tried to channel some inspiration from Nirvana and maybe some 90’s kind of punk and alternative stuff. It’s not like super fast, but it has a good energy to it. I can’t answer this as well as Dustin would be able to, but lyrically the main take away from the song is that people tend to do pretty horrible things when they’re dealing with fear, whether you’re talking about war, or police brutality, or domestic violence or something like that. People who are generally dealing with a fear, whether it’s like an evident fear or something that’s like deep seeded in their brain or something. What Dustin’s saying is that he’s just sick and tired of people acting on fear when you need to act on love and compassion. It’s really easy to connect with Dustin’s lyrics on this record, he’s so open about important issues. What can you tell me about the inspirations and ideas that Dustin wanted to convey on this record? I think that the lyrical themes are more diverse on this record than any record we’ve done. There’s
some that are politically inspired, there’s some that were written in love, there’s some legitimate love songs - not like sappy ballads, but just talking about caring for someone and being in love... There are songs about things that people struggle with, whether it’s procrastination or greed. There’s a variety of lyrical themes and I think Dustin did a great job with the lyrics this time around. He always does a really great job, but I’m really happy with the lyrics that he has this time. The track “Stay With Me” is one of the love songs that you were talking about. That’s definitely the song that I was talking about. I think that one, and again, I can’t speak for Dustin, but the way that it affects me is talking
INTERVIEW // THRICE
"There are songs about things that people struggle with, whether it's procrastination or greed." about our imperfections as people and wondering “If everything in the world worked perfectly and everything about every situation was perfect in our relationship, would you still be with the one that you love?” This is really powerful to me. The first time I heard him singing those lyrics over the song it got me a little emotional. [laughs] Just thinking about a wife or a girlfriend or a boyfriend or whatever and wondering “If everything was perfect in the world and in your life, would you still choose to stay with me?” The sequence of the tracks “The Long Defeat”, “Seneca” and “Black Honey” is really impressive and those three tracks flow in harmony, both musically and lyrically. Were those songs made
on purpose to be in that order in the tracklisting of the record? Yeah, I think one of the things that we did as we were tracking this and talking about how we were gonna sequence the album was trying to make the album flow as well as possible and it seems seamless in a way. Every song kind of transitions into the next song. “Seneca” was actually a loop that I had built as a song idea. We never really turned it into a song, but it was something that we all really liked and so we were like “Maybe we can find a home for this on the record if we just turned it into a segway.” We were kind of thinking about the sequencing more on a vinyl level than on a digital level, so “Seneca” would be the end of side A kind of this dreamy outro and then when you flip the record over we start with “Black Honey”. It
was really important for us when we were sequencing the record to make things flow and make it as seamlessly as possible. It’s been four years since you guys have toured the US and you will be hitting the road in June with La Dispute and Gates, which is fantastic. Is there any plans for a European tour soon? Yes! We’re going to play at Open Air Gampel festival in Switzerland. That show is part of I think it will end up being about two and a half weeks in the UK and Europe. There will be some other festivals and there will be some headlining shows, but I think I’m not allowed to announce that yet. [laughs] TO BE EVERYWHERE IS TO BE... ARRIVES ON MAY 27 VIA VAGRANT
New Brunswick, album, Paralle about the i Michigan to monume
STELLAR NE R
oughly one month before your “new baby” sees the light of day. How do you feel, man? I feel good. I feel really, really good. Everything is coming together... we’ve had the album done for a while now so, we’ve had some time with it and we just got the vinyl delivered to us. I got to listen to it on vinyl yesterday and I feel that’s really the moment when you feel like you 74
actually finished the record. It feels good, man. Just listen back to it and still feeling really good about it and really proud of what we made. I remember of reading you saying about Bloom & Breathe [Gates’ debut album], “(…) we felt like we had a lot more room that we haven’t had in the last two records.” How did you feel going to this second album? I feel like we might had taken that idea with Bloom & Breathe and
INTERVIEW // PALEHOUND
, New Jersey-based post/indie-rock outfit GATES are releasing their sophomore el Lives, next month. We talked with vocalist, lyricist, and songwriter Kevin Dye importance of change and trying new things creatively, how he moving from o New York did affect him creatively and the new album itself, and about the ental scope and importance of his personal message for the entire world.
EW HEIGHTS Words: Tiago Moreira // Photos: Greg Pallante
gone a little too far. I don’t know, I wanted to make something concise, but at the same time I wanted to explore more influences and sonic pallets that we hadn’t touched base on. And certainly I wanted to focus on a theme, really focusing on writing songs, playing the instruments, and making sounds to complement those rather than coming up with guitar riffs or parts and trying to string them together. I think all those things having followed through made for a more enjoyable
and easy writing process of bouncing ideas off each other, because the song was already there and reworking songs, and making them different, and changing the pacing... it was just a much more fluid process this time around and I think all those things we wanted to try we did and we succeeded at them from my point of view. Funny hearing you saying that because if Parallel Lives is a work where you guys wanted to experiment with new sounds
and ideas and ignore certain boundaries, it also feels that is the most focused Gates’ work to date. It does sound like when we gave ourselves no rules that it would be harder to do, but I think that, honestly, it was freer. I think we access songs like “House & Home”, for instances, which was a demo I already had written and I was feeling that it would never be a Gates’ song, but then I played it to Dan King [guitarist] and he said, “This has to be on the record. I
really love this song.” Something like that whereas it seems like it’s kind of random and crazy but at the same time we don’t have these rules and we can introduce all these ideas we might have had that were sitting around before, that we were ignoring, and we can play these instruments that we were ignoring. So, all of these additional ideas were popping up left and right. We just had so many ideas. We probably worked on at least 30 songs/ideas for the record and not all of them got completed. The title of the album, Parallel Lives, suggests a kind of concept or at least a connecting thread. What did you want to convey with the title? The title was developed early on in the process. The final and title track was written early on and I talked to the band about it and I said something like, “I think this is a really cool album title and it would be a really cool topic to kind of weave into the entire album.” They agreed and Dan [King] and Mike [Maroney, bassist] doing artwork too, we had cool ideas for the art... we decided to do it and we focused on that and it really gave me an opportunity to write a lot more focused lyrics from kind of having this theme from the get go. It is inspired by me growing up in the Midwest, moving to New York and experience life here where everything is moving so fast and you’re surrounded by many, many people living their own lives and yet we are sitting right next to them on the train, and we are walking by them every day, and looking at them from our windows in our apartments, and yet none of us know each other, none of us know how our lives are, how we are affecting other people and... I find it fascinating. I tried to cover a lot of ideas that I ended up having for that concept and create these stories that are things that I’ve experienced or developed out of things that I’ve experienced just from living here and meeting different people. How did this change of environment - from Michigan but now living in New York - change you and affect you as a person and 76
consequently as an artist/songwriter? I think it’s cool because me being from Michigan and Ethan [Koozer, guitarist] being from Nebraska, there’s this interesting background and we grew up listening to different kinds of music or having different surroundings have kind of given us a different point of view on things and me specifically being the person who writes the lyrics I think that... me being from the Midwest and now living in New York I think it gave me a different perspective from maybe somebody who has lived here their whole life. I met people who are New Yorkers through and through and never lived anywhere else and... I don’t think this topic is crazy to them because that’s just how they lived. I grew up in suburbia, it wasn’t like this there. You don’t see people from all different walks of life, you don’t live right next door to someone who makes so much money than you and then there’s a homeless guy on the street right in front of you... Where I grew up you all are living the same life, you live in the same kind of house, you go to the same school, you work the same kind of jobs, and you know everyone in the community. Here there’s so many people and so many different things going on. I think it overwhelmed me when I first moved here. It was kind of emotionally disturbing for a couple of years because it wasn’t something I was used to. I remember that we moved to New York with a couple of people from Michigan that ended up moving back home because it just wasn’t for them, and they live back in Michigan now... It’s just interesting and just so much different from what I’m used to and every day I have like a love/hate relationship with city. It’s like, I get to experience all these things now but at the same time. Sometimes I just want to go home and sit in my backyard, [laughs] Go back to the community that I knew growing up. But the thing about Michigan is they’re not there anymore. Everyone moved out ‘cause of the financial crisis in 2008. None of my friends live there anymore, pretty much only a few people do. My parents and
my brother do so, it is awesome going back and visit them. I think that definitely had an influence in my perspective of living here. It’s obviously something that I thought very heavily about and that’s why I wanted to kind of talk about it on this record. I think that... growing up in Michigan you’re kind of naïve to the way the world works. A lot of me has changed drastically since moving here. My worldviews, the way I treat other people, the kind of... the context is there now. I can see why certain things happen whereas when you’re sitting at home and when you’re looking on Facebook, or whatever, and you see these things you can’t possibly understand them because you don’t see these people face to face. And when you do now, and you’re living here, it’s like your entire worldview changes. It’s completely life-shattering in a way. I think now that I’ve been here for 6 years a lot of these different steps of the way of like having conversations with people and changing my mind about things that have occurred, and I think some of that is touch base here and I think a lot of it is not necessarily things nice to talk about. I mean, there’s probably more positive stuff on this album than the past two, for sure, but in a way I still like to touch base on stuff that maybe isn’t so easy to talk about. Because these people are your friends, they’re your loved ones, they’re your neighbors,
“Do you rea hate other pe of a misunder you want to re hand and he when they’re d that’s really w to ask
INTERVIEW // GATES they’re walking by you every day, and they have life struggles that we all have, at the end of the day. When it comes down to it, we all have things that we have to work through. Do you really want to hate other people because of a misunderstanding? Or you want to reach out your hand and help them up when they’re down? I think that’s really what I’m trying to ask here. Do we really want to be strangers just standing next to each other all the time? Or we want to try to be something more than that? You were saying that being from the Midwest you were kind of naïve to certain things, but I think it would also be fair to say that people from New York are also naïve to certain things that perhaps people from the Midwest are not. Absolutely! You live in the city and you don’t experience life in the Midwest. I think most people here envision everything pass New Jersey to be a cornfield and a bunch of absolute morons who have no clue and do nothing with their lives. I think there is this misconception of that where I don’t think they give people, from the Midwest, an opportunity to actually speak their minds. Because you have to realize that a lot – and not to get like hyper-political or anything – of the ideologies that come out of the Midwest are based on the type of life that’s lived out there. You have
ally want to eople because rstanding? Or each out your elp them up down?” I think what I’m trying k here.
to understand that you live in a big city and you see things one way and you see things one way. They live out in the suburbs, they’re farming, or they’re working those type of jobs, and they’re going to see things in a different way than you. You’re not going to agree because it’s two completely different lifestyles. It’s been interesting to see both point of views. It’s funny, you’re talking about the Midwest and New York, and the differences between the two and even the misconceptions that are created between the two, but that specific example, your example, is a representation of the entire world. I mean, people all around the world often misunderstand each other because of that lack of empathy and the lack of curiosity to understand what’s happening to others and why it’s happening – there’s often no or very little connection. I believe that some of the most critical social problems of the world come from that and that to me seems to be what you’re talking about on the album. Yeah, absolutely! It might be covered on a personal level of me living here, but on the grand scheme the whole album is about everybody on the entire planet. It’s essentially we all are here together and life is most precious thing we have. Why are we doing so much to make it miserable to each other? Why don’t we try it to make it better? Why don’t we try to understand each other more and, like I said, put out a helping hand and stop letting fear and misunderstanding guide our choices, and try to learn from other people, and how they live, and why they make the decisions they make? Instead of being afraid of them, and afraid that they are going to somehow change you. I mean, they should change you. You should be changed, you should change throughout the course of your life. You should grow, evolve, and become better. Talking about your process of writing the lyrics you’ve once said, “It’s painstaking, it’s horrible and it takes way too long. It’s frustrating. I’m just super picky, super intense about the words I
choose to write.” Did it become easier with this album? [laughs] Absolutely. 100%! I had an absolute joy writing this album as opposed to the last one, which I found very difficult and frustrating. A huge part of that is that I wrote a lot of these songs on the acoustic guitar – more than half of them were kind of, “Hey, here’s the demo of me singing the first verse and the chorus over just an acoustic guitar.” Or a demo I would set up in Pro-Tools with some electronic drums or whatever. Having started with that... the lyrics are already one. We’re writing the music around a song I wrote as opposed to a song that we crafted out of guitar parts that I have to then sit down and focus on melody and lyrics to fit that. If I had a melody and lyrics that I didn’t really like I never showed the song. I have plenty of voice memos in my phone of ideas that I’ve had at 3am or whatever. The ones that stuck with me, songs like “Shiver” which was recorded as exactly that... that one stuck with me so the idea of the song, the general theme of it, and essentially the main lyrics, are already done. So, that’s hardest part. Hardest part is done and... even that song, I went through and I tried to hyper-edit it and make it kind of like songs I’ve done in the past and I ended up keeping 90% of what I just kind of sang into the microphone off the cuff because I think that... it’s better, at the end of the day. It’s more honest and what I was trying to get across and not as systematic. I’ve been trying to learn from songwriters and kind of going down that road of listening to people I really admire, their lyrics, and songs, as opposed to the music aspect of it and really trying to figure out what their process is, and how they go about writing. I think I managed to succeed at that and feel a lot better about it. Even moving forward it’s far more enjoyable for me to have that - “This is really good. Let’s write this song” – as opposed to, “I don’t know what to write about.” None of this was forced in any way, shape, or form. It was just the most natural and organic stuff we’ve come up with. We’re
just learning things and trying different things. Not to say we’ll never go back to doing it that way. There’s something to be said about the product when you do something that way, but also we just want to try something else. That’s what being musicians is about to us. It’s about pushing ourselves forward. Even if you fail, because sometimes is more important to fail to be able to really move forward. For sure. I think I’ve always... Funny enough – I hate saying this because I don’t think is a good way to look at it and I think I might be wrong – I’ve looked at everything we’ve done in the past as a failure. It’s not what I wanted to be and when I listen to it I think, “I could have done all of these things better.” And I think because we went into this album with specific goals but also those goals being, “Let’s write the album we want to write and just have a good time doing it.” Because we went in with that I feel like we succeed. For the first time in my musical career I feel like we made something that I don’t feel is a failure. I feel like it’s a massive success for us. That just makes me feel awesome and I know everyone feels the same way. We really love what we made here and I don’t think anything else could possibly matter. Would it be fair to say that at the end Gate’s music and lyrics are hopeful and always look for the light in darkness, sort of speak? I would say that it’s fair to say that that’s my goal. Whether I succeed on that or not... [laughs] I think there’s been times where I felt hopeless and there are songs that match that. I think that with this record I wanted to cover an all spectrum. I mean, just as you meet people and bad things happen, you meet people and good things happen too. At least I did my best to cover those two on this record and those become some of my favorite tracks and I’d love to explore that more in the future as opposed to kind of having a pessimistic outlook. I think having that balance creates more interest in the story as a whole. I think that when you have songs that are all about the same thing it gets 78
“For the first time in my musical career I feel like we made something that I don’t feel is a failure. I feel like it’s a massive success for us.” redundant and they’re not as powerful, you know? Focusing on different stories and different elements of the same theme not only helped to be unified, but also create variance, and I think it even matches the tone of the songs. It’s a dynamic record. There are songs like “Left Behind” that have kind of classic Gates/Sigur Rós- explosion ending and then we have a song like “Shiver”, which is like nothing we’ve ever made. Having those different themes right off the bat and working towards making songs that play to those lyrics and ideas helps form those things and make a more diverse record. I heard that Foxing’s Ricky Samspon challenged you to try different instruments for this album. With the band changing lineup depending on the song, how did you feel it affect the dynamic between you guys and the music itself? Essentially we toured with Foxing right after Bloom & Breathe and Ricky and I were in the parking lot in Anaheim, California just kind of shooting the shit and talking back and forth, and he was like, “Tell me one thing that you think we should do differently on our next album,” and I mentioned something about songwriting, focusing up and
trying to really work on that because what they do it’s quite incredible – some of the best songs I’ve heard come out of any band. And he was like, “I think you guys should play something other than guitar.” It was just like a “whatever” interaction. We were just talking and hanging out but... I think is kind of hilarious that we ended up kind of taking those two pieces of advice home from that tour and working on in that regard. It just kind of sparked in me to go back to the beginning of the band where I suggested playing piano, because I’ve been
INTERVIEW // GATES
self-teaching myself for about 3 or 4 years at that point, but the guys wanted to just stick to the guitar for the time being. After talking with Ricky, I asked what they thought about resurrecting that idea and everyone was receptive to see if it worked. We set up every piece of gear we had in the practice space and just started trying it out. Our drummer Dan [Crapanzano] has a beautiful piano and we brought it in and I started playing “Color Worn”, just kind of messing around with it seeing how it sounded. And it ended up being a song. I knew that it was
awesome. The same goes with the sampler that we ended up using, it was something that I wanted to challenge myself to think outside the box. Mike [Watts, producer] has always been into synthesizers and creating tones and soundscapes. It just kind of seems natural to add these things in. When we already know how to do them and we play them all the time, and I sit at home and probably play piano stuff even though... I’m not great. I’m self-taught but I think that helps creativity because it’s easy to come up with weird ideas when you don’t know really well the instrument.
When I’m playing on a piano maybe somebody who’s wellversed in piano will say, “That’s just a whatever-chord,” but to me it seems I’m discovering something new. At least for me, personally, is a new discovery. I think those kind of feelings were all over writing this album. We had tones of gear in the basement, half of it didn’t even make the cut. We just had a bunch of weird instruments and we were trying them all just to see if they worked because... why not? PARALLEL LIVES ARRIVES ON JUNE 3 VIA PURE NOISE RECORDS
As delicate and melancholic as her music is, MARISSA NADLER has always brought something quite unique into her songwriting throughout the years. Strangers is her eighth album and we witness a deeper and more tenacious effort. Marissa shared her thoughts about what pushes her as a musician and what Strangers is all about.
t’s been 12 years since you released your wonderful debut album, Ballads Of Living And Dying. What goes into crafting your sound, even as it is evolving, after all these years? I’ve always had a really big interest in creating atmosphere in my music, but also maintain my interest over the course of seven albums. I just really try to highlight the best songs that I can and it’s kind of simple in that way that I’m just really interested in turning my personal life or my muses and inspirations into songs. That’s the way to kind of transpassing the day to day. What keeps you pushing your creativity and music skills? I’m just one of those people that if I’m not making something I don’t really feel good... It’s just part of me to be creating every day, either art or music. I think it’s just how my life works. On a daily basis, what artists or bands are on your record player? I love Grouper, Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, Chelsea Wolfe... But then also I listen mostly to old music to be honest, like those are some modern contemporaries that I really love, but I’m mostly drawn to instrumental music like The Dirty Three and just some old songwriters. Before we talk about your new album, I want to mention two collaborations that you were involved with. First one is on J.R. Robinson’s Wrekmeister Harmonies excellent record, which you sing on the title track “Night of Your Ascension.” How did this collaboration come to be? We worked with some of the same people here and so we actually share a bunch of people. I just asked to do it and I saw that Mary Lattimore was playing on the record as well. She’s a harpist and a friend of mine. She was one of the musicians that I knew and I said “Sure, I’ll 80
MONUM & EXQ
Words: Andreia A
Alves // Photos: Ebru Yildiz
INTERVIEW // BLOC PARTY give a try.” I really like to do collaborations that are slightly outside of my comfort zone. I’ve been doing it for a few years and it’s fun for me to work without words, because that’s just kind of layer vocals and harmonies, but it’s really relaxing and meditated to do that kind of work. That band is actually going to be opening for me and also being my backing band. [laughs] It’s going to be interesting. The second collaboration is on Everything But the Girl’s Ben Watt’s new solo album, Fever Dream, which you provided vocals for the track “New Year of Grace” and is such a beautiful song. How did you two get in touch for this collab? Ben just basically wrote me a direct message on Twitter and then the guy that runs the record label, Simon Raymonde It’s been 12 years since you released from Bella Union, he was just like “Do your wonderful debut album, Ballads it!” and I really trust Simon. He said “You Of Living And Dying. What goes into should check this project out. If you can crafting your sound, even as it is make it happen when you’re in London, evolving, after all these years? you should do it.” I really liked the song I’ve always had a really big interest and it was kind of a natural fit for me. in creating atmosphere in my music, Ben was really nice, he picked me up but also maintain my interest over the in my hotel in his car. It was like a few course of seven albums. I just really hours, but he’s really a nice guy. It’s a try to highlight the best songs that I really delicate song. can and it’s kind of simple in that way that I’m just really interested in turnStrangers feels a much darker and ing my personal life or my muses and immersive album and it feels like you inspirations into songs. That’s the way explore deeper the dark side of things, to kind of transpassing the day to day. but with a glimpse of light in it. What was your mindset going for this album? What keeps you pushing your I was definitely trying to make something creativity and music skills? different than the album before [2014’s I’m just one of those people that if July] because I was really proud of July I’m not making something I don’t and it kind of felt like it closed a chapreally feel good... It’s just part of me ter on this type of songwriting for me to be creating every day, either art or that was more about revolving around music. I think a heartbreak or a breakup or romance. I tried to challenge myself to bring in my talent in terms of what are my songs about, but also sonically to include more rhythm sections. This is kind of the first record where I wrote with a band in mind thinking like “I’m going to put drums on this song.” It was kind of tortuous to try sometimes to write when you haven’t listened to any records in some ways because it’s like I had 50 songs that I put in a folder that weren’t good enough. I feel good about it, I’m proud of myself just for pushing down some walls. You said that while writing this album you had a band in mind and you worked with a group of Seattle musicians including bassist Jonas Haskins, Eyvind Kang, Jay Kardong and Steve Moore, which worked with on your album July musicandriots.com
as well. How was it like this time around? Did they have any input on the writing? No input on the writing. I wrote most of the instrumental line. It was mostly like a demo in the form of a synthesiser or something like that. I wrote a lot of the melodies and it’s something kind of new for me because I used to just think about words, the vocal melody and the guitar, and since I started to record myself more at home, I’m able to kind of create kind of layers and then when I go to real studio I know what I want, but the musicians that Randall Dunn works with in Seattle are so wonderful. That’s part of the reason that I go all the way there and I live in Boston, because here I’m kind of a loner and he has a way of collecting really nice and wonderful people that are great listeners and don’t play too much. It’s kind of subtle. Was it stressful for you to write every part of the record by yourself? It was fun! Just to clarify, there are definitely some parts of the record that were improvised in the studio for sure, like guitar parts and there’s a lot of parts that came together in the studio, but I think the most stressful thing was mostly the writing of the songs. In some ways I think it was mostly just the people really liked July and it put me back on the map in some ways after kind of a period of a lonely career, so I felt a little pressure on making something better. It isn’t always easy because you can’t just force creativity, but also you kind of can in some ways because I believe in the power of the hard work. [laughs] On the title-track “Strangers” you sing: “I am a stranger now... I am alone now/Bring in the dark”. What can you tell me more about this song and its meaning? At first I kind of started to write a lot of songs that have these apocalyptic themes to them and it just comes out of nowhere, well, not really nowhere... There’s a lot of fucked up shit going on in the world and I watch the news. I think once I stopped writing about heartbreak, I kind of realized “Oh gosh, there’s a lot of stuff outside of that.” The 82
record is not really a concept record because I feel that every song can stand on its own, but there are these themes that are tied together and the idea was that I was having a dream about the end of the world. Songs like “Nothing Feels The Same” I’m kind of waking up in this dream world, looking around and nothing is there, or “Divers Of The Dust” or “Strangers”... A lot of the songs they kind of plan to this feeling of the calm after the end of the world and then “Waking” is this really short song on the second side of the record where you’re kind of waking up from the dream. When I was about to get married, Randall actually said to me that he thought that the songs were having like a double meaning where I was really more writing about my own world [laughs] and I was like “Whatever, I don’t know about that...” I got a little mad at him, but I think there’s a little truth to that, just about this drastic change in my life, I guess. Does being married inspired you in any way on your music? Not really. [laughs] I mean, it’s really the same as it always was. I hate to say it only because it’s a so long relationship... It’s nice to have that, although it doesn’t feel different just because it’s not an overnight kind of thing. Like you said, there’s definitely a lot of fucked up shit going on in the world, so that was a big influence on you for this record.
“I feel that every song can stand on its own, but there are these themes that are tied together and the idea was that I was having a dream about the end of the world.”
Yeah, I guess you just don’t have to look very far outside of the daily news headlines for inspiration. The world has always been a tumultuous place I think. There’s always unsettling things, it’s kind of interesting to think about and what we take for granted and the stability. You directed and animated a haunting video for the song “All the Colors of the Dark”. What was the concept behind this video and how was the process to make it happen? It was really fun. I’ve been wanting to get into film work for a long time. I went to art school for painting and drawing, I’ve always been a visual artist and I’ve never really kind of combined the two in a public setting. I put a lot of pressure on myself to kind of make sure this wasn’t like a shit video. The process was very long and laborious because the cremation takes a long time to make the move, like each 15 seconds which takes like 100 pictures. It’s like you move a tiny thing a you take a picture, but it was fun. It really was and I taught myself on how to use cremation to do it. I would love to make more and I kind of feel like I could get better at it. It kind of clicked for me like “Oh, I wish I was doing this all along.” [laughs] Your photography work has always fascinated me and how it easily connects with your music. Is there any other song off this record that you want to do something similar? Yeah! I want to make a few more, I’m working on a video right now for one of the songs, but in terms of the animation I would like to animate “Divers Of The Dust” and “Waking” mostly because they’re both really short songs and you have to kind of pick the short songs when you’re working in animation because it takes forever. I kind of want to do like an underwater thing for “Divers Of The Dust”, but I’m about to leave on tour. I’m just gonna think of ways that I could bring when I’m bored like backstage, maybe I should bring some clay and tripod with me to start making stuff while I’m on the road. The thing is you just have
INTERVIEW // MARISSA NADLER to kind of control the setting in the background, but it could be kind of cool. You worked once again with Randall Dunn (Black Mountain, Earth, Sunn O))), Wolves In The Throne Room) in Seattle. You two first teamed up on July and the result was amazing. How was it like to work with him at this stage of relationship that you both share with each other? The first record it was the first time and I would say that with this record was even better working with him, just because I knew him more and it was more trusting. It’s kind of hard to give your babies to someone. I mean, the songs were so personal to me and so private that it can be difficult sometimes to kind of open them up for collaborations, but I just think we have a very similar aesthetic. He’s really a master at a lot of atmosphere. It works well, I like working with him and he’s a sweetheart actually. [laughs] We became huge friends now and I think we would probably do a more recording this summer, I have to write more songs first. [laughs] Do you still prefer recording music more than playing it live? I don’t know exactly... I would have to answer to that question in about a month [laughs] It’s been a while since I performed live and now I’m about to start an epically long series of tour. And yes, I love recording, and if I had my choice, it would probably be at home making horror movie soundtracks for a living, but at the same time there’s something really special about performing. You can see people really connecting with your artwork and you can see that live. It’s a very special feeling. The only thing that I don’t like is just dealing with my own nerves for the first few songs, but once I’m warmed up I’m fine. Now that I’m older, I think I’m better at self-techniques, self-talk and self-care where I can tell myself “Look at these people. They want to see you.” This is battering kind of self-esteem issues that even no matter how many years have passed, it’s always like “Can I do this? Am I going implode on stage?” although I think I’m mostly better, I had some incidents, of course. [laughs]
If you could do a soundtrack for any movie, what movie it would be? Oh, I don’t know which movie, but I would definitely be interested in it. As I get older, I don’t want to be on tour all year around and I think my music would go really well in movies. I think it would be kind of fun. Maybe in a next phase in a few years to get really good at recording and try to make some ambient music. As technology arises and social media take over our culture, what feels more important to you in the nowadays music industry? It’s a lot of pressure to keep up with constant content, because the Internet moves so fast that you can have news one day and the next day is all forgotten about. In some
ways, I kind of feel like the Internet is much bigger than it used to be, so if someone writes something nasty about you, nobody is really going to see unless they’re looking for it. I think it’s a lot of pressure in some ways for a female musician to kind of crank out the content. But, I also love Instagram I have to say, just because I’m a visual person and so for me it’s like a little art gallery. I don’t really like Twitter because I don’t have no idea what to say, but I think some of the social media are fun to connect people from all over the world and it kind of breaks the barriers from the fan base and the artist, which is very cool. STRANGERS ARRIVES ON MAY 20 VIA SACRED BONES RECORDS
If today we have acclaimed projects like Death Grips, Blackie, Clipping, Ho99o9, and even a record like Kanye West’s Yeezus, we have to thank dälek for paving the way. After going on a hiatus in 2011, the project of MC dälek, DJ rEk and Mike Manteca, are back with a brand new album, entitled Asphalt for Eden. It was about the album, the creative process, the current state of affairs, and hip hop that we talked with Will Brooks (also known as MC dälek). Words: Tiago Moreira // Photos: Devine Images
he new album is the band’s first official release since 2009’s Gutter Tactics and in 2011 you guys went on a hiatus. What made you take this break? Honestly at that point we had a... we always toured extensively and by that point both Oktopus (Alap Momin) and myself, we were just kind of burnt out from just touring so much. It wasn’t really just one of us, but rather both of us, we were kind at the point where it was necessary to just relax for a second. I remember we had done a show in Switzerland and Oktopus said, “Yeah man, I don’t feel I can do this right now.” I completely understood because the truth is that I was feeling the same thing. [laughs] It just felt right at that 84
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time. I stayed home for a little while, but it was kind of short lived because soon after I started up the Iconaclass project, released that a couple of years later, and started touring on that. It was just time for both of us do something different at that point. You do the same thing for so long and you kind of lose sight of what it is that you loved about it. Sometimes you need that perspective, that change of scenery to let you breathe and see other things. Just being home around family and friends... when you’re touring you are experiencing a lot of exciting and awesome things, but you’re missing a lot of things that happened at home with your family and friends. I found that more often than not, when bands/musicians take a break it makes wonders for them as an artists and it definitely is reflected in the music. Did you feel the effects of that break when you started working on this new album? Yeah, absolutely. I believe that life itself is what fuels the art, so if you’re not actually living life... it’s hard to keep creating. [laughs] Sometimes you need to experience other things, you need experience life to draw from it and create more music and more new art. Was there anything specific in your life or in society that made you want to create new music with dälek or was it that itch that doesn’t go away, no matter what, when you’re a creative person? I remember when Obama first came into office a lot of people asking me, “What are you going to do now that we live in post-racial America?” [laughs] Which I always laughed at from the beginning. That’s a ridiculous concept. When it was first said it was ridiculous and it’s still a ridiculous concept. You know, that’s the thing... There’s no specific thing that made me want to do dälek again. I think it can easily be said that the climate of the world is perfect for what we do. [laughs] Honestly, I think is more the second thing that you’ve said. It’s that itch that just doesn’t go away. 85
First, being on stage and perform is obviously something that I wanted to keep doing and making music is also something that I obviously I want to keep doing, as I did with Iconaclass and Fill Jackson Heights. I love those projects for what they are, and I continue doing those projects as well, but at the same time I played a couple of dälek songs during the Iconaclass set and it was like, “Man, I really miss playing these songs.” It was kind of what really sparkled it. The cool thing about it is that it wasn’t really premeditated, just kind of happened organically. It went from playing a couple of songs to doing a tour, and then the director Sridhar Reddy asked me to do a song for the soundtrack of his film, 6 Angry Women, and I ended up doing a song called “Police State Is Nervous”. That was basically the first new dälek song, I think you can say, and from that we did two more songs. Originally it was going to be a 7” but then the 7” turned into an EP, and then the EP turned into a full-length album. [laughs] Again, organically. Just more songs kept coming out and it just made sense to make it into an album. There’s a shitload of layers on this album. How much of a struggle is to process everything and reach something that fulfills your expectations and that you can live with the fact that is there for the whole world to hear? Yeah, that’s the trick, man. That’s the trick with music in general. You can sit here at everything at every juncture, you can sit here during the writing phase, you can sit here during the mixing phase, during the mastering phase, and second and triple guess and keep trying to get that perfect mix, or perfect sound, but the trick is to know when to let go and just let it exist. This record was definitely a challenge at every step... mostly, and honestly, because it was such a pleasure to work on but it’s almost like you don’t want to stop working on it, you know what I mean? [laughs] During the writing phase, we have more songs than we started, we have more kind of basics... Yeah, I heard that you were 86
already working on another dälek album. Yeah, we have the basics for the next album already. I mean, more so than that I have a surplus of beats that goes back to when I started. I basically have an archive that goes back to 2005 when I started actually using external hard drives. There’s more than enough music to all my projects. [laughs] But yeah, with this album it was so much fun to work on that we just kept on adding layers and working on songs, and adding sounds, and mixing... I look at mixing more almost like sculpting ‘cause you have all these layers and you have to figure out what to take away from certain parts, how to arrange it, and how to make it sound best. And even within that you can get lost where you could feel that you never have the perfect mix... I mean, there’s no such thing. There’s no perfect mix and you, again, just have to know when to let go and just let it exist. We finally got to that point with this album where we decided that these would be the songs and this is the way they would going to be, and they would going to sound. I noticed that throughout the album there are taken a lot of left turns, sonically speaking. I mean, there seems to be a great deal of unpredictability. Was it an essential part of the creative process? I don’t know if we hear it as a left turn, necessarily. The structures of the songs were pretty much there from early on, we kind of had the skeletons of the songs early on. It isn’t like we are coming up with like 40 different parts and then pasting them together. The songs kind of grew organically and what you hear... if it is a drastic change it is just a change that felt right to us. Even from the start of the group, like me and Oktopus, we never got to the dälek sound with, “Let’s make the craziest, most experimental music we can make.” I think that’s the wrong approach to make music. If it’s experimental then that’s just our take on hip hop. The only way I can put it is like, these songs sound right to us. [laughs] If they sound weird to
other people... maybe we are weird, I don’t know. [laughs] On the opening track you say “Agreed aesthetic is embedded so I’ll shatter that / Impaired vision like the world’s got cataracts/ Endured attacks on all fronts, now we pushing back / Aligned thoughts to outflank how they counteract.” You are known for being a social aware person/artist. How much do you think our society can go before what you say in that song becomes a worldwide reality? I mean, there seems to be too much apathy in a world that’s on fire. Yeah, you’re absolutely right. Unfortunately, I think that it can go on infinitely further because... the sad thing and the amazing thing about human beings is that we can tolerate so much pain, so much discomfort, and so much adversity. It’s amazing and awe-inspiring but at the same time it also means that people just accept a lot of shit for a loooonng time. So, it would be nice to say, “Yeah, things are at the tipping point and everything has to change,” but people have been saying that “everything has to change” for the last... I don’t know two millenniums. [laughs] And to a degree, yeah things have changed in 2000 years. Things change over time but at the same time are very cyclical and the more things change the more things stay the same. I think the world will always be at the tipping point. At least that’s the way I see it, that’s what I’ve taken away from my 40 years of existence, for whatever that’s worth. On “Masked Laughter (Nothing’s Left)” you say multiple times “I’m trying to breathe!” and you add “Muthafukas let us breathe!” Thinking about Eric Garner and others that suffered in the hands of the government. It still doesn’t feel that the US in general, in this case, knows what the fuck is happening. Does it feel that way? I think it’s more awake than it has been in a while. I wouldn’t say ever because, again, things are very cyclical. If you at the 1960s I think people were very awake and I think people are reawakening again, but I just worry that how long until we
INTERVIEW // DÄLEK
“...we never got to the dälek sound with, ‘Let’s make the craziest, most experimental music we can make.’ I think that’s the wrong approach to make music.” are back in the 1970s and the 1980s, you know what I mean? Where people kind of just give upon the whole dream of changing things and just kind of goes back. It just seems that’s the pattern. It’s just like this endless circle waking up a little... and if you think about it, isn’t that just the pattern of life? You wake up, you go to sleep, and you repeat the pattern until the day you die. Maybe that’s just the natural order of things. I hope not [laughs] but... Hip hop seems more mainstream than it ever was. Everyone seems to listen to it and pay attention to the culture. The irony of it is that the cultural gap still feels like
monumental. What’s your take on this specific subject? Yeah, there’s definitely a disconnect, but I feel like mainstream hip hop to a large degree is more entertainment than anything else. But that’s changing a bit. If you listen to Kendrick Lamar... There’s exceptions to the rule, people that break that mold. Like, they’re selling millions of copies, they’re in the public eye, and they’re actually saying something. Obviously not enough at all but at least I feel that we are on a cusp of that changing a lot more. I feel there are more artists that will follow kind of the same path. Even if it’s just because they see that he is selling and they want to
copy him to sell too... so be it. If that’s what it takes to get more conscious people to create art, I think that would be great. Then you have the flipside of that where you have some stuff where it wouldn’t matter if the lyrics were there or not because the music isn’t really saying anything, which I’m torn about. Sometimes I’m alright with music just being music for music sake. You can get emotion and feelings without lyrics and I also don’t feel that every song needs to be a protest song. I think there’s room for everything, I just think there needs to be a better balance. ASPHALT FOR EDEN IS OUT NOW VIA PROFOUND LORE
It’s probably safe to say that when Terence "Tezz" Roberts and Royston "Rainy" Wainwright formed DISCHARGE in 1977 no one thought how impactful their music would be for the musical landscape. The English d-beat, crust, hardcore punk outfit is still going strong after almost 40 years and their brand new album, End of Days, is the irrefutable proof of it. Jeff “JJ” Janiak, the new singer of the legendary band, talked with us about their latest album and the will the band has to keep moving forward. Words: Tiago Moreira // Photos: Fabiola Santini
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e’re exactly one week away from the new Discharge album being released, which so happen to be the band’s first full-length album with you on vocal duties. How do you feel about such significant and important event? Looking forward to it. I think people are excited about it. So far the songs that have been released have been getting pretty good feedback. We’ll see how it goes, but yeah I’m definitely looking forward to the release of it. I haven’t personally even seen the album yet. [laughs] Can’t wait to see it. It’s been far too long since we’ve had a fulllength album by Discharge, eight years to be more precise. Are you aware of the reasons that made the band took that amount of time to get back to release another album? Basically that was when Rat [Anthony Martin, former vocalist] was still singing in the band. Basically it kind of got complacent, really. Busy just doing gigs all the time. I know Rat was living far from the rest of the band so there wasn’t as many musicandriots.com
rehearsals and what not. I guess you can say it got lazy. I think they were just content playing shows and playing festivals. That’s what they did for all that time. You join Discharge in 2014, a band which the legacy can hardly be described in mere words. How much pressure did you feel during the creation process of End of Days? And I’m also curious to know the pressure that you might have putted on yourself. As far as writing the album I didn’t really feel a lot of pressure. We just did what we do, you know what I mean? I know the stuff we were doing live was going down really well. So as far as writing new stuff, we just really wanted to keep the album very simple, very basic, short songs, and just keep it Discharge really. Not trying to outdo ourselves. Not trying to top this album or that album. We just went in the studio and did what we do. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you were accepted by the fans right away. I think I read somewhere that there were some fans that even ask you to continue in the band. Yeah, it was pretty crazy. When I was asked to join the band I wasn’t really sure that I was going to do it permanently. I told them that I would just fill in for the gigs they already had booked - because after Rat had left they didn’t want to cancel the gigs – until they found someone else. Next thing you know there’s the videos that came out from the gigs that I did play and once that went public I just started getting emails from Discharge fans around the world like begging me to stay in the band just because they loved what they heard on the videos. When I started to get all these messages from all these people... Maybe I better stay. [laughs] I know you guys basically produced the album yourselves and it was recorded in analogue. How was the process like? It wasn’t a huge process this album. It was basically book ourselves into this like shithole practice studio for a couple of hours a day, come up 90
with a couple of riffs, come up with a verse-chorus-verse type thing and just get one song together. By the end of each session we would have at least one song and once we got the song together it was basically quick... like get up to this tape recorder and we would record it so we don’t forget. The lyrics were added last because I don’t really write lyrics until I hear the music. When we actually went into the studio to record the album most of the lyrics were just literally written minutes before I went into record the vocals. At that point I just had maybe the name of the songs and the choruses. Most of the verses were literally written just minutes before going into the recording. We didn’t go into some big, fancy studio. It was just only a local studio. Actually, pretty miserable looking. [laughs] We didn’t have any producers or anything like that. It wasn’t really a big event for us. It was done for a couple hours a day over a period of a week. I think the longest process was the mixing. He had some issues with the bass and we ended up sending it off to Peter Tägtgren [Hypocrisy, Pain, former Bloodbath vocalist] and he ended up mixing for us in the end because it was sounding a bit like a compilation. Some of the mixing was all over the place and he kind of made it sound like an album that was recorded together sort of speak. He balanced it all out pretty good. You’ve said that most of the lyrics you wrote literally minutes before you to record them and you had the choruses and the song titles. It made me think... Perhaps you started working on the songs, on the lyrics, before the band started working on the album. Like, by yourself, in your head. Was that the case? Yeah, definitely. I had some ideas. There are some things that I thought I would sing about it was just a matter of which songs will it fit. It’s just a reflection of what’s going on, really. As with most things in the creative areas you can find different interpretations to the same thing. What’s behind the
title End of Days and what did you want to specifically convey with it? It’s just like a prophecy, what can happen. The all reason for that title was because the day we went into the studio there was this blood moon... Everyone was talking about how the blood moon is a sign of the end of the world, the end of days. We were hearing it on the radio, on the TV, which we don’t really believe in, but it was just an appropriate title giving the lyrical content of Discharge. As far as lyrics with that song is what can happen. The unrestrained capitalism, greed, and criminal behavior by the powers that be are often subject of your lyrics throughout the entire album. If we’re not already at a critical point we’re at least very, very close to reach it. It’s unfair me to ask but... do you see or do you believe to be a light at the end of this smelly, nasty, grotesque and unbearable tunnel? Not anytime soon, no. I would like to think that, but ever since the band started it just seems that things get worse. [laughs] I don’t really think things have improved much since the beginning of Discharge. There’s a line on “Hatebomb” that probably represents well the work Discharge have produced throughout the years, “Don’t want to be part of your system, represents everything I’m not.” Do you feel that to be the one of the roots of our problems, the fact that many people kind of keep accepting and cope with the situations they’re put in? That kind of weird survivor instinct that’s in us. Yeah, that’s it. People are afraid to speak out about things and people just kind of fall in line and do as they’re told. It makes it easier for them. And I suppose it’s easier that way. Being outspoken about things or even being a non-conformist can be hard sometimes. This time around Discharge recorded an album as a five-piece. How that ended up happening and what did that, in your opinion, bring to the Discharge table sort of speak?
INTERVIEW // DISCHARGE
“I always liked the darkness that surrounded the band. The black and white. The general feeling of the music and what was all about. It’s something I connected with.” Tezz [Terence Roberts] was the original drummer and he came back in the band but he didn’t want to play the drums anymore. He hasn’t really played the drums in a long time. He’s a good guitarist and he ended up being on the second guitar. As far as the improvements that has brought... live it just sounds way better. Just fills everything out, closing all the gaps. Tezz and Bones [Anthony Roberts], they kind of balance off. Where Bones lacks Tezz kind of fills in, and what Tezz lacks Bones kind of makes up for. It’s a good balance really. Not often I have the chance to interview a band member that was first a fan of said band. What specifically about Discharge music and message did attract and excite you as a listener? As a fan it was the general sound of the band, you know what I mean?
The general dark sound and the vocals. The vocals were the type I was in to when I was younger and I used to like bands like Negative Approach and stuff like that that had a kind of hard type of vocals. I always liked the darkness that surrounded the band. The black and white. The general feeling of the music and what was all about. It’s something I connected with. It’s funny. There’s all that darkness surrounding the band, but there’s also a tone of light and love too. There is. We love all our fans and we’re friends with all our fans. There’s a big family atmosphere that surrounds the band and we get a lot of dedicated followers that come to almost all our gigs no matter where we play. We just sing about the darker part of society.
Next year the band will be celebrating 40 years since it was created in 1977. Do you know how Tez, Rainy, and the rest of the band feel about such landmark? Yeah... [pause] I was talking with Bones yesterday and he was just saying that he would never have thought that he would be doing it for this long. The thing is, he loves to play and he said that if he didn’t love it so much he wouldn’t be doing it now. As far as celebrating 40 years... yeah, it’s a great achievement to be a band for that long, but I think the band also tries to not stick on the nostalgia aspect too much. It’s nice, but the important is to keep moving forward and not focus too much on the past. END OF DAYS IS OUT NOW VIA NUCLEAR BLAST
Everyone knows that three’s a crowd so that’s probably why MANTAR’s twin-pronged pummel works so well. Following a rapid rise in stature from their debut, follow-up full-length Ode To The Flame ups the craftsmanship and aggression and delivers a musical beat-down that a band twice their size couldn’t hope to match. We caught up with guitarist Hanno Klänhardt to walk us through the creation of this primal metal masterpiece.
hanks for giving us some of your time, man. How are things with you today? I’m good. I’m sitting on the porch in Florida and it’s hot as balls over here. Are you touring at the moment? No, my girlfriend lives in Florida. Actually, when we’re not on tour, I spend pretty much all my time over here. How is the situation there? Over in Europe, we’re hearing a lot about the political situation so, as an outsider, do you notice it much? Dude, it’s awful. People go crazy over here. Everyone knows that Americans are a little weird, but this thing with Trump... on the other hand, I’m from Germany and the political mood over there is pretty poisoned for some reasons. It seems that wherever you go, shit is totally fucked up. 92
A MONSTE UNLEAS BE AWA
Words: Dave Bowes // Photo
ER WAS SHED, ARE...
os: Tim Klöcker
Do Mantar consider themselves a political band, or do your own politics enter into the music at all? No, I don’t think we’re a political band. Of course, we have political views and we are political people, but we try to keep the band free of that. We do not have a certain message and I don’t want to preach to the people. There are other bands who can do that way better than us and, actually, I don’t want to do that. I just want to destroy and slay. That’s the only message we have – the beauty of destruction, the music of power - not spreading certain ideas amongst the listeners. I don’t care for that. Is the new album a continuation on the theme of destruction? There is a pretty solid link with the previous album in their titles. Obviously, there’s a relation and links to the first record which was Death By Burning and this is Ode To The Flame. We like to keep up a guiding theme of fire. Fire really inspires us, and the idea of this force of nature which is able to set everything to zero and wipe out any plague in the world and doesn’t leave anything behind but ashes and destruction is really cool, and we like that idea. The new record seems a real move from Death By Burning, not just in the songwriting but also in tone. Was there much of a change in the technical setup with the recording of this album? No, we pretty much did exactly the same as we did with the first record. Once again, we did not have a producer – it’s pretty much self-produced, just like the first one – and we recorded about 80% of it in the room where we rehearse. It’s very simple, and we use the exact same equipment as we use on stage. We literally just put microphones in front of them, that’s all. I think the sound got better and maybe our skills as musicians or engineering the record got better but we didn’t try to reinvent the band or focus on new techniques. You know, we’re a very primitive band and that’s our approach for production as well. We’re not fucking Dream Theater or something, we’re a very primitive band and the limitation for us is strength. When it comes to production, songwriting and the line-up, we choose all of that on purpose. Does it help to be a two-piece when it comes to achieving that blunt, primitive sound? Absolutely, absolutely. That helps a lot because when you have a lot of people then music tends to get complicated, because then you have guitar solos, then you have intros and outros, you have keyboard layers and backing vocals - which can be great, don’t get me wrong! There’re a lot of 5 or 6-piece bands out there we adore, but for Mantar,
that’s not what we want. We either have very strong, intense guitar riffs or good, catchy, groovy drumbeats; best-case scenario, we have both. That’s just two ingredients to the soup we’re cooking and we like to keep it that way. That limitation that we chose on purpose is to keep things simple and very one-dimensional because in the end, that’s the rock side of it. Even if it’s super-dark and sinister and heavy, we play rock and roll. We want people to groove, we want them to nod their heads and I think the simpler, the rawer you play, the better. Our musical roots are more Sisters Of Mercy, Mötörhead and AC/DC than any super-awesome, cool underground cult black metal band. I like the sinister and dark atmosphere, but I like to groove and in the end, that’s what we’re best at. That’s pretty much the only thing we’re able to do, but let’s be honest about it, we are not super-good musicians. What you hear on the record is pretty much what we are able to pull off. When you recorded Death By Burning, Mantar hadn’t really toured but you’ve really made up for it since. Did having some touring under your belt help in the creation of Ode To The Flame? I think we learned what we were best at and to skip the bullshit. We just learned to concentrate on our strengths due to the fact we played so much in rehearsal rooms and on tour. Dude, we played so much! We’re a very hard-working band and I’m not only referring to touring. We rehearsed because we’ve only played for three years and even in the first year, we travelled Europe and went to the US and stuff like that. We needed to become a good band so when other people were waking with a hangover on a Sunday morning, we met in a rehearsal room and practiced, sometimes seven days a week. Due to all the touring in the last two years and seeing the reaction of the people in a live environment, I just think you learn what works best and you concentrate on your strengths and skip the rest. How about personally? Did you and Erinç learn anything new 94
“...we’re a very primitive band and that’s our approach for production as well. We’re not fucking Dream Theater or something, we’re a very primitive band and the limitation for us is strength.” about each other as you have known each other for quite some time? Yes, I guess so. We’ve known each other for 19 years so we know each other very well anyhow, even if we’ve never played in a band together, but of course you learn or witness a lot about the other person’s character on tour, especially if you’re only a two-piece because you can’t get away. We are like an old married couple. You have to hang together all the damn time which can totally be a pain in the ass and it’s pretty much the only downside of being a two-piece band. Everything else is cool and so much easier and better, but this can be a little intense. You know, we are not the guys who argue all the time. If we are in a fight, again, that’s the good thing of being in a two-piece – you have to solve the problem right away. You have to talk about it, and then you give yourself a hug and everything’s good again. We are very different people. He is always nice, he’s polite and shy and he’s very diplomatic, and I think I’m all of the other shit. But you need that to push a band forward! You moved onto Nuclear Blast this time around. You come from a very DIY punk background so was it difficult to maintain the old level of control when working with a bigger label? When I say DIY it doesn’t necessarily have a political
connotation, I mean that more in the approach you have as a band, how you do things. For me, the step towards Nuclear Blast was, first of all, a step towards better distribution. We got so many emails from all over the world. “Why can’t I buy your records in New Zealand? Why can’t I buy your new record in the United States? Why do I have to pay $30 shipping?” We thought that obviously there are a lot of people interested in the band, so first of all we should try to get a better infrastructure and besides that, the fact that Nuclear Blast offered us, by far, the most fair deal, was why we went with them. Of course, we still have the DIY spirit because we do all our shirts ourselves, we record our records without a producer, we do the artwork ourselves or, if not ourselves, using very close friends. Videos, pictures, all are done by friends and that’s the thing. You’re not gonna get controlled by business people, that’s what it’s all about. The best thing about Nuclear Blast is that they leave us alone. They just said, “Hey, just give us the artwork and give us the masters and we’re gonna put it out exactly the way you want it.” I said okay, that sounds like a good idea to me. Your live shows are impressive just for their sheer weight alone. Given that you’re working without a bassist, how did you come to settle on a tone and playing style that has so much bulk behind it? I’m more of a bassist than I am a guitar player. I learned the bass way before that and I like the bass better so I think my overall style is very simple and is pretty much more like a bass line than as a very fancy guitar riff a lot of times, and when it comes to technique, volume is the third member of Mantar. We just play as loud as possible all the time and I play through three stacks, and one of these stacks is a bass stack. That’s pretty much it on the lower end. It’s not as complicated as you might assume. How do you see the difference between club and festival shows, as you did quite a lot of the latter recently? I don’t see a difference for festivals as long as I have a feeling the
INTERVIEW // MANTAR
people are into my music. To be honest, it doesn’t matter to me if it’s 5 or 5000 people as long as the vibe and the energy is good between the audience and the band. It doesn’t matter if I am on a huge open-air stage or a small club but of course it is a little bit more intense, let’s say, in a little venue for 200-400 people that is sold out and I really can taste the sweat and the blood and the tears of the people. A lot of people ask if we play as intense or if you can put on as good a show on a big festival stage and we never have problems with that. We most of all play for ourselves, that’s why we face each other on stage because we enjoy the destructive rage and fury and ecstasy we are in while playing and people are very invited to join us. If they like what we do, it doesn’t really matter how many of them. One of the more interesting tracks on the new album is that of “Schwanenstein”. How did a story like that come to end up as a song?
We just discovered that story in a German history book or somewhere and I thought it’s a very cool, dark and sinister story. It’s pretty much like a big monolithic stone on the shore of northern Germany, in the water. In a dark, cold winter in the ‘50s there was ice on the water and three kids from an orphanage went over to the stone and a thunderstorm broke loose. The ice broke loose and they could not go back and finally, when the weather got better and they tried to save the children, they were already covered in ice and frozen on the stone. That’s a pretty mean story because the name of the stone is Schwanenstein, which refers to the story that, in mythology, the swan brings and gives birth to the children, not takes them away, covered them with ice and dying. I was fascinated how something cruel had such a nice, beautiful and elegant name. I actually thought of calling the band Schwanenstein when we started, but Erinç didn’t like it. Why did you settle on Mantar,
then? I think it means something like mushroom, right? Yeah, it’s Turkish so we just thought it would be cool to pick a Turkish name because there’re not a lot of good bands with a Turkish name out there and due to the fact he has Turkish roots, we thought we’d give it a try. Mantar is a very simple, raw and one-dimensional name which I think goes hand-in-hand with the characteristics of the band in general. Mantar – it’s more about the sound than the meaning. We’re not a fucking psychedelic hippy band so don’t ask me that. I don’t give a fuck about magic mushrooms, man. We are drinkers. I’ve heard you classed as both a Hamburg band and as a Bremen band. Which is it? It’s easy. We both were born and raised in Bremen, we pretty much lived there all of our lives so we socialised in Bremen, we met in Bremen, we started to hang out in Bremen but then a couple of years ago we moved to Hamburg to work
INTERVIEW // MANTAR
“...we enjoy the destructive rage and fury and ecstasy we are in while playing and people are very invited to join us.” and I haven’t lived in Hamburg for more than a year now. Erinç travels back and forth between Bremen and Hamburg because his girlfriend lives in Hamburg. We consider ourselves a Bremen band even though I am homeless, pretty much, so when we are not on tour I live in Florida with my girlfriend. Hamburg’s music scene is very well established. Is it the same for Bremen? Yeah, in Hamburg we don’t have a lot to do with a lot of the other bands. We always made our own thing and are very uninterested in what other bands are doing. We don’t collect records, we don’t go to shows, we are very alienated from the rest of the scene because we never wanted to be part of any scene, but when we both grew up in the ‘90s in Germany, in Bremen, that was a very good time. Bremen was a very busy city when it 96
comes to underground culture and different scenes of music and that was awesome. We actually met when I played with my punk band in a squat in ’97. I was a kid and Erinç so we pretty much met in the underground movement and it was a great time but nowadays, it has gotten very slow and we don’t have a lot of very good bands anymore; a lot of venues have closed down, especially the good, self-run DIY spots. It’s sad. The band have certainly come a long way since the first album, but what have you learned about yourself in the process? To not take all the bullshit people talk about and say about your band too seriously, whether it’s love or hate. In the end, you’ve got to be confident with the band and the choices you make and the way you approach and play music. It’s cool and we are grateful for all the
love we are receiving, but don’t take that too seriously, just try to be the best band you can at any time and as long as you are satisfied with that, that’s all I can say. I’m glad that we have this chance to play all over the world and have people buying and liking our music. We are very grateful and don’t take any of that for granted, but first of all, I’m glad to have that opportunity now, being over 30 years old. You are a little bit more relaxed and you learn to not take yourself too seriously, you don’t make a super-big thing out of it and it’s great. You enjoy it, but I am glad I have these opportunities now where I can actually appreciate them and not in my early 20s where I might have been a cocky bastard about it. ODE TO THE FLAME IS OUT NOW VIA NUCLEAR BLAST
1 REPULSIVE | 2 PURE SHIT | 3 TERRIBLE | 4 MUST AVOID | 5 AVERAGE | 6 GOOD EFFORT | 7 GOOD | 8 VERY GOOD | 9 EXCELLENT | 10 PURE CLA
A Moon Shaped Pool
XL Recordings (2016)
mazingly, there are still people out there who hanker after the Radiohead of twenty years ago. The Radiohead who stuck Britpop’s strained jollity in the throat with the furious repudiation of The Bends and 98
who soundtracked a generation of misfits suddenly realising that being in your mid-twenties wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. The Radiohead who, crucially, rocked out with guitars. That incarnation of Radiohead was pretty much retired with 1997’s grand opera of pre-millennial tension, OK Computer. Since then, albums have become increasingly rare, the brief return to guitar rock of 2003’s Hail to the Thief was a false dawn, and inscrutably beautiful art-pop artefacts, most recently perfected with The King of Limbs all of five years ago, have become Radiohead’s mode of communication. The electronics which have so overtaken Radiohead’s sound across the last 16 years are now seamlessly woven into their group playing, the perfect fusion of
body, brain and flickering software. Opening song here (always songs with Radiohead, far from the raw experimentation they were once accused of), “Burn The Witch”, is constructed around rushing synthetic strings and buzz-bass drone as Thom Yorke sighs to the skies of “red crosses on wooden doors” and how “if you float, you burn”. A further elaboration on The King of Limbs fluidly supple muscularity spliced with lyrical portents of almost medieval doom, Yorke’s vocals seem more upfront than they have been for some time. It’s as if the time for murk and uncertainty is past; instead crisp, clear clarity is required as the passing years grow ever more troubled. “Daydreaming” begins almost
10 like solo Roedelius, plaintive piano playing across twinkling chimes before building into a string-led bout of luminously lunar wanderlust, Yorke proclaiming “we are happy to serve”, until the strings slow to the sound of rusted metal grinding through vast oak slabs. Each song on this record feels like falling into a moving kaleidoscope, the scenery constantly shifting around you in perpetual dizzying flux. “Desert Island Disk” starts off like Nick Drake or early John Martyn, acoustic guitar weaving around itself, but a spectral drone rises throughout maintaining a mood akin to 21st century death folk lament. There are some relatively straightforward moments, such as the ambient wash of romantic strings draped across “Glass Eyes”
and the brooding post-punk funk on “Identikit” which brings to mind a haunted house filled with ghostly remnants of PiL’s Flowers of Romance. Radiohead are now effortlessly disinterring traditional song forms out of disparate influences and alchemising them into linear narratives free from verse-chorus structure in similar manner, if to different effect, as Scott Walker’s Bish Bosch and Brian Eno’s The Ship. “The Numbers” settles on a cosmic jazz platform birthed from the universal consciousness of Alice Coltrane or Pharoah Sanders’ Wisdom Through Music, “Present Tense” veers into skewed and stewed calypso while elsewhere Yorke’s predilection for hazily grainy Boards of Canada style electronics is still being used to good effect.
Finally, “True Love Waits”, which sounds like it could be a love song for a cherished small child, makes for a delicately restrained ending which cradles you in a hammock of stars. If you still long for guitar detonations with Radiohead, then it really istime to move on elsewhere. With 2000’s Kid A and tracks like “Treefingers”, Radiohead were regarded as a group taken leave of their collective senses. Instead, they have refined themselves into a musical entity which is translucent, opaque, shimmering without borders or restraints and spinning endlessly in and out of reach. Radiohead help us understand the times we live in, not by appealing to our base instincts, but by showing us what we could be.
7 A DEAD FOREST INDEX In All That Drifts From Summit Down Sargent House (2016)
While their earlier EPs showed the ability of Adam and Sam Sherry to create memorable, strikingly minimalist songs akin to a less white-knuckle Swans, their eventual full-length strips the core of their sound back even further, the locus of attention fully resting on Sam Sherry’s angelic vocal turns and the sparse strums and chamber orchestrals that thrust them out like a musical magic-eye picture. Remnants of earlier forms still reside in its haunted frame, the charred post-punk of “Myth Retraced” and “No Paths” jangling refrain touching on the most musical elements of their past, but “Summit Down” excels in its sense of stasis, the sound of a folk record being stripped down to its bones yet belonging to no particular time or place. FOR FANS OF: Chelsea Wolfe, Scott Walker
03.06 OUT NOW
8 ABANDONED BY BEARS The Years Ahead Victory Records (2016)
Swedish band Abandoned By Bears swing on the lights of pop punk like drunken teenagers who want to showcase their daredevil skills. And the music is heavy and infectious, smart and fast. It’s noteworthy too, structured beyond the normal pop punk carbon copy. The guitar breakdowns are sublimely cohesive, taking the sound to another level. That pessimistic bout of sorrow is also there, creeping up as the lyrics are sung down a spit soaked microphone. Songs such as “Out Of Bounds” and “Good Luck Next Year” show that the band aren’t just stuck to the pop punk formula, as there are screams and growls apparent in an album that has been named Years Ahead. An album that could catapult the band into the view of many more pop punk fanatics. MARK MCCONVILLE
FOR FANS OF: Motion City Soundtrack, Four Year Strong
8 AMBER ARCADES Fading Lines
Heavenly Recordings (2016)
ANNA MEREDITH Varmints
Amber Arcades is the moniker of Dutch musician Annelotte de Graaf. Fading Lines, her very first album pays homage to the American indie rock. Recorded in New York and inspired by time, continuity, coincidence and magic, it’s easy for the listener to get this sense of space and nostalgia on the floating melodies, fuzzy guitars and in Annelotte’s delicate voice. Passionate about her music, several other causes and by her day job - she works as a legal aid on UN war crime tribunals and in human rights law with people leaving Syria. This kind of consciousness and maturity creates an even strong connection to this album. Fading Lines is sort of a dreamy and sun-kissed indie pop record, with a melancholy feeling that prevails listening after listening. It’s a good and strong debut.
“Nautilus” begins Varmints with a rallying fanfare on repeat, akin to Philip Glass lost in a time loop as battering ram beats begin to smash through sturdy wooden doors. It would make the perfect soundtrack for a giant behemoth-like submarine rising from the depths of the ocean to wage war. Yet, despite her background in classical composition, this collection of music from Meredith is very much an assembly of song types. “Taken” is knottily intelligent indie-pop, “Scrimshaw” a cello-driven electro elegy which rises in mournful triumph before self-combusting into scattershot pulses and “Something Helpful” twinkles like early Aphex with choir girl vocals lending it a Young Marble Giants feel. Varmints is the perfect title for this grab-bag and deliberately incohesive assortment of songs which exist in separate dimensions from one another and find themselves forced to interact.
FOR FANS OF: Alvvays, The Babies, Veronica Falls
Moshi Moshi (2016)
FOR FANS OF: Young Marble Giants, Aphex Twin
FRESH CUTS OUT NOW
7 BETH ORTON Kidsticks
BEVERLY The Blue Swell
Beth Orton’s sixth full-length is, in a way, a very much anticipated return. The British singer-songwriter Beth Orton embraced her roots on Kidsticks, reaching for the sound that made her first two albums acclaimed and loved, and along with co-producer Andrew Hung (Fuck Buttons) she created an album inspired by L.A. (where she lives now) and based on a series of electronic loops that never sound too harsh or imposing, giving the album a very tasteful and delicious flow that is easily absorbed by the listener’s ears. Kidsticks covers a lot of sonic ground, and Beth Orton’s voice is always powerful, versatile, and slick enough to guide the tracks and add a much needed emotional weight and dimension. Kidsticks is an album that values songwriting.
Back in 2014, Beverly released their debut album, Careers, with summery carefree songs wrote by Drew Citron and Frankie Rose. A great start for sure, but quickly the band suffered the departure of Rose, who didn’t even tour with the band. In spite of that, Drew just went all-in with the band, and along with Scott Rosenthal, they kept the spark pretty much alive. The Blue Swell feels like a dreamy, melancholic film soundtrack with atmospheric reverb and melodic sounds. The duo focused more on delivering a much more clean and playful sound, putting a bit aside the fast and edgy parts of Careers. This album is definitely a new fresh start for the band who is really hard working and with a great sense to create big and catchy tunes.
FOR FANS OF: Björk, Joan As Police Woman, Róisín Murphy
FOR FANS OF: La Sera, Fear Of Men, No Joy
Kanine Records (2016)
BRIAN FALLON Painkillers
CAR SEAT HEADREST Teens Of Denial
If you are familiar with Brian Fallon only through his work with The Gaslight Anthem, Painkillers could’ve made you raise your eyebrow. On the other hand, if you have listened to some other of his work, especially The Horrible Crowes stuff, you will find this record as a logical follow-up. But be aware – there is a reason why Painkillers is a solo record. There are definitely some Gaslight moments here, but here Fallon had absolute freedom to do everything he wanted. Be his band, or just voice and acoustic guitar, he’s the one who pulls all the strings. His emotions and songwriting is a leading force to this record, but also, having only one man behind twelve songs can give some down moments. Good, but not perfect.
When last year finally thousand of people were introduced with Teens of Style to Car Seat Headrest’s music it became pretty obvious that Will Toledo (the mastermind behind the project) was extremely talented. The new LP, and the project’s 13th full-length, sees CSH move forward sonically and in its ambitious efforts it makes more than reaffirm the quality of the past. The musical vocabulary used on Teens of Denial is awe-inspiring. Taking cues from acts that represent some of the best that’s been done in terms of songwriting – Nirvana, Pavement, Wire, Pixies, etc. – Toledo and company deliver a rock LP able to fulfill even the maddest expectations in almost every level. Beware because Car Seat Headrest might well be the next pinnacle of rock songwriting.
FOR FANS OF: The Gaslight Anthem, The Horrible Crowes
FOR FANS OF: Pavement, Wire, Pixies
Island Records (2016)
6 AMERICAN HI-FI American Hi-Fi Acoustic Rude Records (2016)
To celebrate 15 years of activity and also 15 years from the release of their debut album, American Hi-Fi got back to the studio to re-work all the thirteen songs in acoustic and more intimate format. The result is quite interesting and fresh, it really makes us wonder the influence these dudes had all over this new generation of American pop-rock bands, it’s something undeniable. American Hi-Fi Acoustic still maintains the original arrangements, some of the “big” songs still sound like huge hits, Stacy Jones voice is cleaner than ever and let’s face it, it’s a good tribute to their pivotal debut album, released 15 years ago. FAUSTO CASAIS
10 BLACK PEAKS Statues
Easy Life Records/Sony Music UK (2016)
When that first song bursts through, when it arrests the heart, you will know that you’re in for a sublime adventure. The band that are responsible for the musical euphoria, are Black Peaks. Their music is loud and proper, never fondling the despairing, desperate act of clichés. It hits on all points, mastering the art and pampering the ears that succumb. That first track is called “Class Built Castles”, and it delivers everything you want. A blood rushing chorus and beautiful musicianship, vocals that descend like a meteor and then rise like a burning phoenix. Overall, it’s a wonderful record, an album named Statues, a debut that is perfection. MARK MCCONVILLE
7 BRIGHT CURSE Before The Shore
HeviSike Records (2016)
Bright Curse’s debut album is a huge collection of dazzling, progressive and emotively atmospheric heavy songs. Between psychedelia, contemporary classic retro rock and the Black Sabbath meets Deep Purple meets Pink Floyd approach, you can try to imagine something like Tony Iommi slashing riffs with Deep Purple and David Gilmour delivering this kind of crazy almost mesmerizing solos, and you get a close idea of how these Londoners sound. Bright Curse’s luxuriantly dirty and immersive sound has the right ingredients to bring something fresh to the scene, without compromising their own authenticity.
CLIQUE Burden Piece
Topshelf Records (2016)
Hailing from Philadelphia, Clique’s sophomore effort is a stellar and bright gem, another awesome ride into this current indie-emo-alternative revival. Burden Piece is a straightforward and honest statement. PJ Carroll’s voice sounds lazy, but tremendously passionate, this sort of slackness is all over the album, making it even more delicious and beautiful. Somewhere between Modern Baseball’s emotional catharsis, Pedro The Lion storytelling songwriting and Radiohead’s The Bends cerebral melodic esque, Burden Piece is a damn good effort that goes beyond genres, if somehow you think adulthood is just a path into something brighter, think again. Thematically heavy, we can’t ignore songs like “Top Field” (“Make the piggy work for his paycheck”), “Wishful Thinking” and “Boundaries”, because they’re so damn easy to relate with. I’m not sure if these dudes know that they have made something quite special, the class of 2016 is really making a statement here.
If Cobalt lost something with Phil McSorley’s departure, they made up the difference in letting Erik Wunder really run loose, extending the Americana and blues influences of his Man’s Gin project and adding a sharp veneer of accessibility to the still-frequent descents into savagery. Lyrically, it dredges the well of man’s consciousness, Charlie Fell’s caustic screeches narrating a litany of degradation as jagged riffs bounce and clatter around him, and as the tone veers from the filthiest of sludge to stalwart metal anthemism that could bring Lamb Of God fans in droves to shows, it’s clear that this new, braver Cobalt could never have existed in their old form. In short, Slow Forever is a restless, snarling beast of an album and one of the finest metal releases of 2016.
Smooth synth tracks and simplistic drum patterns lay the foundation for COLOURS latest release, Ivory. The eleven tracks expose and explore a new mix of dark R&B and rock music. Common in this album is the juxtaposition of falsetto and deep vocals, most clearly outlined in tracks like “Monster” and “Mind Games”. Instrumentally, this record carries simple synths to drive the sound to new heights as small details added to the album’s overall big and intense sound. Each and every chorus is purposely constructed to be the peak of each track. The intense dual vocals and heavier synth presented in the choruses provide a barricade between the more subtle, less intense verses. This album is something new, and though attempts at this genre have been made before, it has never sounded quite like this. COLOURS is opening new, unexplored doors. Let’s see where they lead.
FOR FANS OF: Modern Baseball, Radiohead, Pedro The Lion
FOR FANS OF: Swans, Eyehategod, Lamb Of God
FOR FANS OF: Issues, Crosses, Purity Ring
Victory Records (2016)
COBALT Slow Forever
Profound Lore (2016)
CULTURE ABUSE Peach
6131 Records (2016)
OUT NOW OUT NOW
7 DISCHARGE End Of Days
eels good to be in 2016 and still have that feeling that music can change us, somehow inspire us. We are more alive than ever, we can be in love with something or someone, breaking stuff and don’t give a fuck about anything. With this mindset, it’s fair to say that Culture Abuse are one of the most exciting new bands around. Their blend of power pop sticky melodies with the slickness of punk and the fuzzy-slacker shoegaze matches in perfection with their pedigree hardcore aggression. David Kelling’s outstanding vocal performance is the key to Peach’s countless and seamless transitions between songs. Don’t get me wrong when I say that after you listen to Peach, something will grow on you, and yes, you’re going to be too busy singing along to their anthems. “Do Whatever” is their motto and even when they tackle subjects like anxiety and depression, nothing seems to get weird or anything. They handle everything with the same ballzy attitude, quite inspiring I must say. They don’t give a single fuck about what you think of them and you will easily learn that these dudes are the real deal, no bullshit attached. Fresh and strangely addictive, Culture Abuse are a huge contender to the best new band around and Peach is an eclectic, dreamy and a heavy artistic statement, full of hooks and top notch songwriting.
Discharge are part of a small group of bands that have influenced entire generations of musicians – their legendary status is at this point more than undeniable. And like Motörhead and AC/DC, they have stayed true to themselves, keeping the same ethos that made them great in the first place. On their first album in six years, and the first with new singer Jeff ‘JJ’ Janiak, they admittedly aimed to keep Discharge’s tradition intact and not try to reinvent the wheel. So, what to expect from End of Days? A gritty, dark, extremely violent, and unyielding sounding album that shouts repeatedly and unceasingly about the shit storm that we find ourselves in. “Don’t wanna be a part of your system, represents everything I’m not.” Punk to the bone!
FOR FANS OF: Rancid, Ramones, Nothing, Butthole Surfers
FOR FANS OF: Amebix, Poison Idea, GBH
Nuclear Blast (2016)
DÄLEK Asphalt For Eden
Profound Lore (2016)
t’s been a big 18 months for Hip-Hop and Rap, artists have exploded from the ether like nuclear weapons blowing up on the dusty horizon. The genre has had several shots of adrenaline straight to the heart infusing it with a nervous, twitchy importance – but making the casual observer stand in intrigued silence at what could happen next... Dälek it seems, have the answer. Asphalt For Eden is a jagged, ugly sounding album – in as much as its production is raw, rough edged and full of auditory traps and hooks, trademark to this ridiculous act – but it has a heart of pure invention and a burning engine that rev’s hard and chuggy throughout. The lyrical weaponry at the disposal of Will Brooks – MC Dälek himself – is absolutely devastating. Harking back to the days of A Tribe Called Quest and Public Enemy, but soundtracked by his cohorts DJ rEk and Mike Manteca with a violent disregard for clean, generic beats and shiny sonic production, it is a messy, muddy, dense and angry mix underneath and on top of his vocals. Samples that defy expectation and the obvious, and an impish, belligerent charm that highlights this as one of the most dazzling Hip Hop records of recent years. If you even have a passing interest in the genre and scene, you need this in your life like you need kidneys. It’s a masterpiece. ANDI CHAMBERLAIN
FOR FANS OF: Run The Jewels, Deadmau5
I have listened to Gore on repeat for a week now, and I will be completely honest, I still cannot unlock its myriad secrets and charms. It is a thick, dense produced, multi-faceted work of art. At times, beguiling and stubborn in its path. At others fleetingly brilliant and new. The only thing I am certain of is that it is most definitely the most “Deftones” sounding album that the band have released in some time. Whether this is something that makes it any good – that is the question. It starts with intention and style – “Players / Triangles” is a shimmering guitar laden, stoically drummed track – classic Deftones fair. At times bordering on 30
6 Seconds To Mars level of grandeur, but held together with a cool, melancholic mood, highlighted by Chino’s schizophrenic vocals. After here the album starts a corkscrew journey across sounds from the last four albums, and tries desperately to have something new to say... Something which weighs heavily on the album from start to finish. Gore is a “best of” from the best tracks of the Diamond Eyes, Koi No Yokan Saturday Night Wrist and Deftones albums – the sound is now so familiar that it deserves its own adjective. The music so ensconced now in your mind if you are a fan that the eleven tracks on record here would be at home alongside anyone of
the four albums name above – it almost feels like a compilation of tracks that didn’t make the cut on each. Which is not to say it is a bad album, it is far from it... But it is a difficult album to truly, fully like. Old school fans may struggle to get on page with tracks like “Doomed User” which teases such a vintage sound, but is more in keeping with work from the self titled album of 2003 than a trailblazing contemporary classic. The band play ably, the heart is there, but it is all wrapped up in such familiar and staid clothes that it is almost embarrassing. You love them, but you’d not want to admit it publicly. It really feels like an album you’ll enjoy
privately, but which you will public disavow if pressed. It is basically the Deftones own “St. Anger” – an album created with best intention, executed in good faith and honour, and which does not survive past the first few listens, before you start noticing the weak spots and the wear and tear. You’ll soon be lost in a smog of regurgitated such spectacular cliché that you’ll not know what to do – tracks like “(L)mirl” is just about the Deftones song they have written in years. Its heavy/ low dynamic making it a stand out on an album that does everything so well, but so risk free, so cool and easy.
So laidback you wonder if they even recognise the danger they are in? A week of constant repeats, and though there are flashes of life and ingenuity here, they are far outnumbered by the dusty glow of cliché and familiarity, that you soon become as frozen in confused, perplexed empty headed shock as I was; trying to figure out whether this is some puzzle box that rewards upon constant listen, or - as I believe it may be - a wasted opportunity from a band who has made dangerous feel safe, and who have taken a sound they help create and made it pedestrian when it really should be anything but. ANDI CHAMBERLAIN
FOR FANS OF: Deftones, Palms, Team Sleep
FRESH CUTS 03.06
7 COUGH Still They Pray
Relapse Records (2016)
Cough returns after a 5-year hiatus, with their last offering Still They Pray. Developing the character of simplicity and slowness of classic doom, without dropping any kind of interest and full attention on details. As a sweetener to their sound, plots of stoner sludge, resonant power chords sketching out bluesy riffs, joys the connection with their native melancholy. Produced by Electric Wizard’s Jus Oborn, it is no stranger to found some similarities with Oborn’s band (Electric Wizard), the kind of monolithic cosmic doom that will take the listener to the heights of despair and the bottom of the abyss, ember in a lament world.
9 EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY The Wilderness Bella Union (2016)
GABRIEL BRUCE Come All Sufferers
It’s quite easy to fall in love by this album. It’s honest and pushes all the right buttons in my being. Okay is perhaps one of the best efforts from this kind of emo revival. But don’t call them emo, their sound is so damn random and vast that this kind of redundancy of genres is almost like an insult to their creativity. Honest and straightforward, Okay is noisy and ballzy, they seem pissed and full of nostalgia. Singer Erik Czaja pushes his voice to the limit and lyrical wise Okay is intense and straight to the point. Between the lack of optimism and frontal honesty, Dowsing are the real deal, they have the balls to pinpoint all the right issues and it’s something to praise about. They don’t give a single fuck about you or what you think. This was liberating!
When Gabriel Bruce opens and croons with, “I’m going somewhere, guess I’m only halfway there,” there’s hardly any sort of enlightening hint of what’s to come with his sophomore album, Come All Sufferers. A breakup in 2014 and the incident that saw his hand crushed by a fossil – we joke you not – fueled the creation of an album that Bruce admits to be his view of “the end of days” and that draws inspiration from some of the most notable solo artists like Cohen, Cave, Idol... and also a kinship with John Grant’s music. The complex lyrics, the storytelling, and Bruce’s baritone vocals, are subjugated to a panoply of sounds (disco, folk, goth, indie rock, etc.) making the album to be convoluted, alluring, and everything in between.
FOR FANS OF: Kittyhawk, Prawn, Dikembe
FOR FANS OF: Nick Cave, John Grant, Billy Idol
Virgin/Luv Luv Luv (2016)
Asian Man Records (2016)
With a heartbeat beckoning you in, The Wilderness is a hypnotic, enthralling, rabbit hole of an album. Sonically soothing, slow build rhythms and melodies cascade together in dramatic and fantastic ways. You can imagine this being the soundtrack to some crazy Slow-Motion car-crash footage, or an avalanche chasing skiers – who pull off dazzling maneuvers in escape of the icy wall of doom behind them. A deeply resonant album; hauntingly beautiful and rich rewarding listen. Swells of soundscapes, building mood and phenomenal pacing mean it will steal your heart and play fantastical games with your mind. An absolute joy to listen to from start to ANDI CHAMBERLAIN finish.
GATES Parallel Lives
GLOBELAMP The Orange Glow
Well, let’s face it, our mindset is always focused on so many things and when we live in a big city it’s quite common to be this sort of voyeur, not in a creepy way of course. But we found the same person in the subway every single day, hear a sentence or two in conversation that somehow makes you wonder what they were talking about. It’s quite easy to imagine what their lives are like. Parallel Lives, Gates’ new effort, tackles life’s series of altering paths and it’s easy to relate to, we’re all the theme of the album. Charming and beautifully complex, Parallel Lives’ combinations of sounds reaches new heights, everything sounds bigger and every song is stylistically connected, but wildly different from each other. Stunning, honest and powerful.
Well, this is one hell of a cathartic experience. Perhaps one of the most intense and emotional heavy albums of the year. After a painful breakup and the death of her best friend, Elizabeth Le Fey (ex-Foxygen singer), Globelamp wrote this haunting, detailed and strongly personal journey entitled The Orange Glow. Singing about loss, life, change, survival and the charming enchantments of nature, Globelamp’s ethereal yet sometimes witchy voice brings some light into all this fairytale of sadness and disillusion. The Orange Glow is dark, emotional fucked up, but it’s an empowering statement. Songs like “Don’t Go Walking In The Woods Alone At Night”, “Mastery Of Lonely” and “Piece Of The Pie” are quite remarkable, in an effort that crumbles as it shines.
Pure Noise Records (2016) 20.05
7 GRUESOME Dimensions Of Horror EP Relapse Records (2016)
This band took the Death Metal world by storm with the release of the very competent LP Savage Land in 2015. They now return with a new chunk of musical brutality recalling the classic period of the early 90’s, when bands like Death and Obituary ruled the carnage of the musical landscape. With members and former members of Malevolent Creation and Exhumed in their ranks they have the aggression and the maturity to know what they want and how to spew it. In the vein of Obituary, with some Pestilence and Possessed thrown into the melting pot, this new effort feels like a stab wound to your gut, short, fast and painful.
Wichita Recordings (2016)
FOR FANS OF: Muse, Copeland, Radiohead, Foxing
FOR FANS OF: Kate Bush, Stevie Nicks, Cat Power
Carpark Records (2016)
7 GOLD PANDA Good Luck And Do Your Best City Slang (2016)
Gold Panda’s third full-length album sounds, feels, looks, and projects something different. The entire album revolves around the experience that came from visiting Japan, which included the collection of audio field recordings as well as accompanying visuals by photographer Laura Lewis – even the title, Good Luck And Do Your Best, comes from a rough translation of the Japanese expression “ganbatte, kudasai”. It’s an upbeat album, meaning that its positivism comes out as overwhelming delivering a multi-colored world that finds support in an amazing range of sounds. Gold Panda comes across as a more relaxed artist and that state of mind was translated into an electronic album that isn’t rough on the edges. It’s a very human album with a heart, a soul, and a very warm feeling. TIAGO MOREIRA
FOR FANS OF: Mount Kimbie, Four Tet, Caribou
reys, the Toronto-based noise makers are back with their sophomore effort, the follow up to 2015’s Repulsion EP and 2014’s If Anything, their promising debut album. This time around they changed their own game, their sound, their dynamics and let’s say that noise rock goes indie and gains a whole new sense of perspective. Outer Heaven represents Greys’ own sound. Nothing sounds similar to this and that, this new direction is more in depth, raw and mature. Their distinct blend of perfect melody where order meets chaos is way more expansive, bringing tension, energy and new ways of expanding their own noisy palette of sounds. Each song deals with different subjects, from teen cruelty in “Cruelty” to “Blown Out” where frontman Shehzaad Jiwani confronts his own mental health, and there are some inspirational references to William Friedkin in “Sorcerer” and Adam Curtis documentary, Century Of The Self on the track “In For A Penny”. Outer Heaven is a challenging effort, from a band pushing their own boundaries to create something different, and the result is impressive and courageous all the way. FOR FANS OF: Jane’s Addiction, METZ, Cloud Nothings
FRESH CUTS OUT NOW
7 KYLE CRAFT Dolls Of Highland Sub Pop (2016)
Kyle Craft’s debut album, Dools Of Highland is an unexpected and strange surprise. After a break-up, there is this classic time of deep introspection and questioning, that’s what you get with Craft’s debut full-length, an autobiographical and immersive experience, that drags us to the center of the stories and to all the emotional complexity that comes from it. Craft’s debut is a trip into glam and 70’s rock golden age, although there is this glam aura on it, Bowie’s influence is there, Dools Of Highland demonstrates a unique and impactful sound that captivates from the first to last song. NUNO TEIXEIRA
8 LAURA GIBSON Empire Builder City Slang (2016)
HOLY FEVER The Wreckage
This 6 man stone/sludge metal ensemble had already proven themselves as one of the most crushing bands of the last 5 years with their two previous records, but it’s always the 3rd one that solidifies a band’s place in the world. Helhorse is a devastating album, like the ghost horse that brings about death and destruction mentioned in a Steen Steensen Blicher’s poem, this record fully delivers on that apocalyptic prophecy. Overwhelming powerful riffs and awe inspiring vocals are what propel Helhorse into a realm of their own. Like a bastard son of Black Sabbath and hardcore punk, these Danish warriors grab you by the neck and never let go until you acknowledge that they are indeed one of the most mesmerizing bands of 2016.
Holy Fever have incorporated infectious hooks on their new record The Wreckage. It’s a pile-driver of an opus too, pushing the punk vibes, and letting them collide straight first into a well worked source of melody. And the LA based punk rockers play around with sounds and structures, notably moulding together rawness and sophistication to create a contrasting beat. The band also keep the listener fully fuelled up on unapologetic lyrics, channelling them, and letting them flourish naturally. Songs such as “Separate The Night” and “Heart Of Gold” maintain the punk influence, orchestrating a great collaboration from both vocalists Todd Cooper and Samantha Barbara. Also, as the record plays on, it evolves and smashes through like bleeding knuckles.
Spinefarm Records (2016)
I’m having the good fortune to listen to Laura Gibson’s honest folk songs, a gift that hasn’t happened in four years, since her highly praised previous effort La Grande. Laura enriched her legacy with a perfect team, which was able to raise the bar in the recording and production process: the new Laura Gibson album is rich in detail, fluid and true. It’s a pleasure to dive into her solitude and met her in a new world, learning to be alone and at the same time taking care of others. A humanist album in times of crisis, to silence distracting noise and hear the throb of what we feel to be our empire, our lives. RUI CORREIA
FOR FANS OF: Black Sabbath, Orange Goblin, Black Tusk
INTO IT. OVER IT. Standards
JACKIE LYNN Jackie Lynn
Into It. Over It. is a solo project that burns like a fire on a hilltop surrounded by people that embrace the heat. It is the baby of Chicago musician Evan Thomas Weiss, an emo revivalist. And he is considered a legend in the scene, and his new record Standards backs that statement. It’s truly beautiful, bursting with pride and lyrical wonderment. It also dodges those dreaded clichés and those hyperbolic, love sick, traits. He is one for pushing his guitar to the forefront too, playing it with tenderness and urgency, proving that he is at ease with the strings. Songs such as “Your Lasting Image” and “Bible Black” showcase an atmospheric pulsation, a great instrumental formula.
The biography for Jackie Lynn’s debut album presents a force of nature that moved from Franklin, TN to Chicago and has run a multi-million dollar operation distributing cocaine, with Tom Strong. The truth is that this is a project made by Circuit Des Yeux’s Haley Fohr, using a character and fictional stories to tell her own story – she too moved to Chicago. If last year’s CdY’s In Plain Speech made the world aware of the undeniable talent of the folk-based singer Haley Fohr then Jackie Lynn’s debut album makes it a dogma. Very few are, and were, able to construct and deliver such gut-wrenching musical pieces. Fohr’s mesmerizing dramatic and soulful voice became more prominent in an album where even the toughest motherfucker around will kneel down and weep.
FOR FANS OF: Koji, You Blew It!, Mineral
FOR FANS OF: Tim Buckley, Nico, Beth Orton
Triple Crown Records (2016) OUT NOW
7 MAKING MONSTERS Bad Blood EP Self Released (2016)
Making Monsters’ ambitious new EP is engaging from front to back, that packs an abundance of dynamism and catchy melodies. Emma Gallagher’s extraordinary vocal range brings extra diversity to the equation and showing no signs of slowing down the process over the six-track effort. We know that we’re dealing with a very young band, but the potential to do something quite outstanding in a near future is for sure here. Making Monsters sounds like an energetic blend of Marmozets, Sikth and Deftones’ White Pony esque sound, so be prepared because you’re going to hear about them a lot in the future!
FOR FANS OF: The Bronx, The Hives, The Breeders
Thrill Jockey (2016)
8 JAN. ST. WERNER Felder
7 KIKAGAKU MOYO House In The Tall Grass
Thrill Jockey (2016)
8 KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD Nonagon Infinity ATO (2016)
The Fiepblatter series finds Mouse On Mars’ Jan St Werner working through a variety of different electronic textures and synthetic styles, almost as though publicly tinkering with an artificial laboratory set-up in order to discover possible routes ahead. It brings to mind the similar impulses which drove Cluster’s early work of the 70s, raw experimentation which may lead to tested failures or successes. Much of Felder, consequentially, feels like unfiltered, untreated probings into sound as pure dissonance. The near fifteen minutes of “Kroque AF” slithers and oozes like primeval muck given form, going through a variety of differing soundscapes which drag the listener back to some hideously defined primitive dawn. Felder almost feels like a return to electronic music’s earliest beginnings in which composers sought out new worlds through their burgeoning technology. It’s a rough ride, but worth it.
Guruguru Brain (2016)
FOR FANS OF: Cluster, Mouse On Mars, Emeralds
FOR FANS OF: Föllakzoid, Causa Sui, The Oscillation
OUT OUT NOW NOW
Nestled betwixt the smoky, hedonistic psych of The Doors and Träd, Gräs och Stenar’s more rurally-oriented jams, House In The Tall Grass is a bewitching collection that radiates a sense of warmth from start to stop, be it in the flaming frets of “Trad” six-string meltdown or in “Cardigan Song” gentler heat, its flighty fingerpicked melody and airy whistles reminiscent of every lazy summer afternoon that ever lolloped into existence. There is a traditionalist slant to Kikagaku Moyo’s work, the creeping Eastern motifs and folksy airs a constant of the genre for almost half a century, but there’s heart and joy here that isn’t found in many modern-day pretenders, and though lovely isn’t an adjective that’s often used to describe the headier side of music, it fits perfectly here. DAVE BOWES
With an endless circle of fast, furious and tight riffs, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have concocted a concept album that just about gives the idea a whole new meaning. Running at forty minutes, time is completely subjective because the album could quite easily roll around with absolutely no concern, meaning you’re there for hours. You find yourself lost amongst the havoc and insanity King Gizzard brings forth. The tracks themselves aren’t exactly short, giving you plenty of time to be sucked into this auditory world of mayhem and riff. The only downside with this is there are no singular standout tracks, meaning single releases could be hard, but with the strength of the composition of the album, once you’re in you’re in. STEVEN LOFTIN
FOR FANS OF: Ty Segall, The Murlocs, Thee Oh Sees
8 LANDSCAPES Modern Earth
Pure Noise Records (2016)
Melody and emotion – two things that can be so good together. Landscapes are one the bands who can be a good example of that. With their second full-length, the band tried to continue where they left off with their debut, but the result is a bit weaker. Everything expected is there, but a subjective feeling just keeps telling me they just could do better. There are some really good songs, “Neighbourhood”, “Death After Life” or “Transient”, to name a few, but the general impression is a bit below expectations. A bit surprising, these guys did a better job with slower songs, where their lyrics got to the full potential, without noise to fight them. Yes, aggression can be felt, but it’s even stronger at a slower tempo. A record definitely worth listening. MILJAN MILEKIC
FOR FANS OF: Polar Bear Club, Capsize, More Than Life
8 JIMMY FONTAINE
KRISTIN KONTROL X-Communicate
Sub Pop (2016)
Sometimes your own inspirational muse is your own artistic self. That’s when you are looking for something like a fresh start, and that’s what Kristin Kontrol – aka former Dee Dee (Dum Dum Girls) – planned. Starting for ditching Dee Dee for her real name, Kristin, and adding Kontrol. X-Communicate is surprisingly effective, strongly direct and quite positive. Kristin creative input goes into the 80’s all the way, something between Kate Bush, 80’s Madonna and David Bowie’s own sonic universe. It’s clear that X-Communicate is utterly compelling and beautifully thrilling, but it’s the cathartic effect that truly resonates this liberating effort, “… for years I was hellbent on the rock’n’roll thing, revering Joan Jett, Patti Smith, Chrissie Hynde… But with Kristin Kontrol I just wanted to try it all… I thought I’m Kate Bush covering Mariah.” Enough said. FOR FANS OF: Kate Bush, David Bowie, Madonna, Enya
LET’S EAT GRANDMA I Gemini
Transgressive Records (2016)
Let’s Eat Grandma are best friends, multi-instrumentalists Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth - aged 16 and 17. Do not let their age fool you to not listening to their music, that’s just stupidity. The duo’s imagination and creativity lead them to create music that combines experimental pop with some kind of weirdness. I Gemini is an elaborated introduction into their strange and spooky world. They created these mystical and mesmerizing tunes, which are both unpredictable and dark, it’s like a child’s innocence goes hand in hand with an adult’s experience. The duo’s duets are sweet and dramatic, with quite morbid lyrics. I Gemini feels like is taken from a fantasy musical, probably they will invest on that in a near future. ANDREIA ALVES
FOR FANS OF: Us Baby Bear Bones, The Casket Girls
MANTAR Ode To The Flame
MARISSA NADLER Strangers
RIFFS! If for some reason Mantar were the last band on the planet, the entire spectrum that goes from punk to metal would be safe. Mantar, that fucking wrecking-ball! These guys are the most solid two-piece you’ll be hearing in 2016 and, believe me, their live set is heavy and consistent as fuck. Mantar prove you don’t have to play tacky guitar solos and other jugglery to be a guitar master (if you’ve seen Godflesh live you know what I mean). Imagine Motörhead had a nephew. As a little kid, he was thin and sick. His colleagues made fun of him for being weird. Well, he grew up to be a strong and pissed off adolescent, he is into the swampiest sludge metal, the angriest punk-hardcore, and is coming for those who bullied him before.
Going into Marissa Nadler music is like going into the middle of a forest in a foggy day and get lost in the beauties of the nature and in the melancholy of that scenario, sort of speak. Strangers is another exquisite and beautiful journey. Marissa’s allure to convey her feelings into textural atmospheres just makes you want it to never to end. The mist around Strangers is sublime; the mysteries and wonders of our existence come to life on Marissa’s sounds and words. This time around Marissa left a little aside themes like heartbreaks and she focused much more on global themes, leading to this delicate and deep dreamscape of hers. At her seventh full-length, she has given enough proof that she’s a damn amazing songwriter and musician.
FOR FANS OF: Godflesh, Graves At Sea, Indian
FOR FANS OF: Chelsea Wolfe, Sharon van Etten, Angel Olsen
Sacred Bones/Bella Union (2016)
Nuclear Blast (2016)
9 MINOR VICTORIES Minor Victories PIAS (2016)
Comprised of Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite, Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, Editors’ Justin Lockey and his brother James, Minor Victories are what we may can call a supergroup. Produced and engineered by Justin, and featuring the likes of Mark Kozelek and James Graham from The Twilight Sad, it’s fair to say that this is far more than a side project for its members. Minor Victories transcends ambition, there is this sort of delicate precision in every single detail, crafting an absorbing and explosive effort. Pushing new boundaries, experimenting and discovering new sounds is quite something nowadays. Having the ability to travel through uncharted waters is always kind of special. With Rachel Goswell’s delicate voice leading the way, Minor Victories oozes minimalism, simplicity and honesty. A cinematic, passionate and stunning experience. FAUSTO CASAIS
FOR FANS OF: Slowdive, Mogwai, John Carpenter
Ha, Ha, He.
Captured Tracks (2016)
8 MODERN BASEBALL Holy Ghost
Run For Cover Records (2016)
Over the last few years, Modern Baseball went through some heavy experiences. Making Holy Ghost was a way to process all that and kind of figure out how to deal with those things. With no surprise, they just wrote a memorable record and their most indepth to date. This is a band that have grown both as bandmates and musicians. Brendan and Jacob wrote separately their songs and split the record in half, the two sides just simply match together. Jacob’s part is a cathartic explosion of emotions inspired by the loss of his grandfather, and Brendan’s side is more energetic and more intense inspired by his personal struggles over the last years. After listening to this record you will for sure feel even more connected and engaged with them. ANDREIA ALVES
FOR FANS OF: La Dispute, The Front Bottoms, Tigers Jaw
ourn, the Catalonian teenage wunderkinds are back with Ha, Ha, He. their sophomore effort. Their debut album was unfashionable great. Their classic guitar-driven sound sounded fresh and different, so for this new effort our expectations were high, but conscious that they’re a very young band - their ages are between 17-20 years - they don’t need this kind of criticism and pressure in their lives. Ha, Ha, He. is powerful, sophisticated, eclectic heavy and deep, their talent and creativity seems to have no limits and no boundaries attached. Undeniably catchy and so immediate, their teen-angst blend of noisy power pop anthems with the basic foundations of alternative rock are outstanding. It’s cool to see a band naming Throwing Muses as an influence nowadays, even the reference in “Irrational Friend” to William Blake’s “The Laughing Song,” a poem from his Songs of Innocence and Experience is priceless. Full of twists and genre clashes, Ha, Ha, He. is a mature effort. Mourn have now their own identity and their own sound, this is another impressive yet simplistic artistic statement. By the way, our expectations were totally fulfilled, that’s always a plus. Cheers for that!
FOR FANS OF: Throwing Muses, PJ Harvey, Be Your Own Pet
16.06 27.05 OUT NOW
9 MUSCLE AND MARROW Love Flenser Records (2016)
Love is one of those things that tend to be destroyed when deconstructed, and so is music sometimes. For their second LP Muscle & Marrow dive deeper into atmosphere, focusing on pulsing drumbeats, electronics and the overall gloomy ambiance of the record. A thoughtful and unconventional instrumentation, where the notes one chooses not to play are as important as the ones played – a kind of minimalism that only amplifies and enriches the whole experience. Dealing with loss and all the contradictory feelings that sometimes come along with love, this LP will certainly be amongst our 2016 favorites. And about Muscle & Marrow, with their intense and genuine expressiveness and the absolutely gorgeous vocal performance of Kira Clark, well, they definitely deserve the status of a very special project with an unparalleled identity.
6 NEIL MICHAEL HAGERTY & THE HOWLING HEX Denver Drag City (2016)
Both as half of Royal Trux and in recent years with his own Howling Hex, there’s always been an element of dissolute sloppiness to Neil Hagerty’s music. But with Denver, he seems to have nearly outdone himself when it comes to releasing records of half-formed songs with a general “whatever, this’ll do” attitude. Barely half an hour in length, lumbering basic riffs churn while Hagerty hollers out the first things coming into his head as most songs struggle to reach the three minute mark before completely disintegrating into ramshackle messes. It’s a bit of a disaster, really, and yet! There’s a naïve charm to this collection of primeval rockers which can’t be denied. Play it when utterly wasted and it’s bound to hit a brief, sweet spot.
FOR FANS OF: Chelsea Wolfe, Portishead, Marriages
FOR FANS OF: Royal Trux, The Howling Hex
8 NIGHT SCHOOL Blush
Graveface Records (2016)
Blush is charming in every way. If you are looking for the perfect soundtrack for your summer, Night School’s debut full-length should be your mandatory pick. From the sunny California to the world, Night School are a dreamy-trio of good friends that sound like a perfect match between a heavier garage version of The Shirelles, Best Coast surf sunny vibes and Weezer’s Pinkerton classic with Brian Wilson on vocals. Blush is full of heavy-distortion, fuzzy and spiky guitars and complex melodic sticky harmonies. Alexandra Morte’s nostalgic and dreamy vocal performace is an absolute standout. We must admit that Night School’s Blush was love at first spinning. The near-perfect balance they strike between this dreamy nostalgia and infectious indiesurf-rock is too damn good to let go without any kind of fight.
FOR FANS OF: Weezer, Best Coast, The Shirelles
Tired Of Tomorrow Relapse Records (2016)
Here’s a band that seems to live under the black cloud of Murphy’s Law. It might have been just two years since their debut album, Guilty of Everything, but it sure looks like a longer period has gone by given all the obstacles in the band’s way. Brutal beat downs, sudden death of family members and record label issues were just some of the setbacks that made Nothing’s journey a particularly hard one. But here they are again with another fantastic record. Nothing’s sophomore album, naturally, finds us with a more mature band. Although it might sound bleaker, Tired of Tomorrow, with its prominent shoegaze haziness and grungy feel, definitely sounds like what its title implies and seems to just accept the fact that sometimes life appears to turn into a very strange and cruel place and one must just turn off the brain for a little while and wait for the storm to pass. Dealing with depression and addiction, Tired of Tomorrow’s victory resides in its ability to turn anxiety into serenity. There’s also a lot of sarcasm to Domenic’s lyrics, all warped up in the tornado of reverb and distortion the band has mastered throughout the years and a new element, the delicate piano lines. As if someone has been digging through a shelf taking the dust out of some Smashing Pumpkins, good ol’ Codeine and Slowdive records, we’re before a less direct album than its predecessor, one more prone subtlety and various layers of sound that demands to be listened as a whole. FOR FANS OF: Smashing Pumpkins, Codeine, Slowdive, Nirvana
8 O’BROTHER Endless Light
Triple Crown Records (2016)
I didn’t know this band before I was handed the promo for their latest release. So when I listened to the album for the first time a lot, and I mean a lot, of different references rushed to my head - in the best way possible. I caught a bit of Josh Homme or Mathew Bellamy whenever there was a slight falsetto, even a shyer Mike Patton when things got a bit more harsh - but, please bear in mind that I’m a moron. I checked their earlier stuff and not only the songwriting (which was already pretty good), but also the production seem to have vastly improved. Musically expect what ambitious modern rock, with a slight proggy edge and a fondness for post rock/metal structures, should be. FOR FANS OF: Muse, Tool, Gates
REVIEWS OUT NOW
RX Y Dawn
Infectious Music (2016)
RY X could be just another bearded hipster, but, actually, I learned in recent days that large beards already passed the hype and now people want religiously clean boys like grandma’s floor. No more jokes. RY X is an Australian peculiar artist living in LA, where the similarities with Chet Faker are reserved only to appearance. The musical ability of Ry Cuming, his real name, is clear and hard to put it in a box. Dawn is an album that magnifies the melody through the silence and breath, managing to combine perfectly acoustic and electronic elements. A debut that augurs great flights and easily will turn him into a mystic character. RUI CORREIA
9 SHEER MAG III
Static Shock Records (2016)
PIERCE THE VEIL Misadventures
PITY SEX White Hot Moon
They’re back! Pierce The Veil highly anticipated fourth album Misadventures is finally here. Sounds crunchy, full of melodic hooks, catchy tunes and totally reinvigorated. The San Diego punk-rock outfit takes the finer elements of each record that came before, but this time around everything sounds brighter and polished, even if sometimes there’s this kind of battle between light and dark, everything seems bigger and more focused. Pierce The Veil are now more radio friendly than ever, Vic Fuentes screams like an angry Davey Havok, and that’s a plus. Lyrical wise is more sharp and mature, where they try to push new boundaries and setting new grounds. Misadventures brings nothing new to the genre, but oozes quality and nice tunes.
When Pity Sex put out their debut album, Feast of Love, everything about it was just too damn attractive and contagious - the melodic tunes, the honest lyrics, the bold artwork and even their band’s name. Now the Ann Arbor quartet definitely seem more confident with their music and White Hot Moon is the expected follow-up. The tunes are a mix of shoegaze and punk, the lyrics are sharper and the artwork is just captivating. Co-vocalists Britty Drake and Brennan Greaves feed much more the group’s dynamic whether with loud or soft moments. Listening to Pity Sex feels like we’re longing for something, missing someone, wanting to change something in our lives and that’s why is quite easy to connect with their music.
Fearless Records (2016)
Run For Cover Records (2016)
Philadelphia lo-fi punks Sheermag have returned with another small dose of their infectious and hooky melodies. Sticking true to the mantra that “less is more” and “you can’t have too much of a good thing”, 7” III, their third EP release in as many years leaves us yearning for that, in all honesty probably never to come, full length. With poppy riffs reminiscent of surf bands and the ferocious fuzz of underground punk, the two are married in perfectly. When these qualities are matched with lyrics such as “we live and die by a politics of simplification” (Night Isn’t Bright), the strength Sheermag build with each EP is outstanding and leaves us STEVEN LOFTIN craving more.
FOR FANS OF: AFI, My Chemical Romance, Blessthefall
PJ HARVEY The Hope Six Demolition Project
PSYCHIC ILLS Inner Journey Out
The Hope Six Demolition Project will probably be PJ Harvey’s most divisive album. She decided to spend time in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Washington, D.C. over a four-year period to experience, first hand, what was going on. The lyrics create the image of “slum tourism” and the shit hits the fan, because we still don’t know how to feel about it – lack of perspective and even honesty? If musically PJ Harvey’s new album is an extremely intricate and anthemic collection of songs with a brutal force of nature that hardly lets anyone indifferent, then lyrically is a mere recollection of what she has experienced, with the flaws and limited scope that naturally come with it. THSDP walks without a safety net and is never afraid to fall.
Psychic Ills’ new effort is a journey between diversity and mesmerizing soundscapes. Inner Journey Out goes from country to blues, from gospel to folk, stops by to pay homage to psychrock basic foundations and level up the whole experience with a bunch of impressive guests - including Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval, who duets on lead single “I Don’t Mind”, Starred’s Liza Thorn on “Music In My Head” and Harry Druzd of Endless Boogie among others. Inner Journey Out is a detailed exploration of the interior and the exterior, and the pathway between the two. Perhaps the most expansive, detailed and personal Psychic Ills’ effort till date, with frontman Tres Warren exploring new territories and Elizabeth Hart’s bass sonic palette sharper than ever.
FOR FANS OF: PJ Harvey, PJ Harvey & PJ Harvey...
FOR FANS OF: Moon Duo, Wooden Shjips, Night Beats
The Ajna Offensive (2016) OUT NOW
8 SIXX: A.M. Prayers For The Damned Eleven Seven (2016)
It’s about time that we have the pleasure to experience a proper batch of good hard rock anthems. SIXX: A.M., the side project comprised by the one and only Nikki Sixx (bass), the Dj Ashba (guitar) and vocalist James Michael are taking the rock world by storm with their great new album, Prayers For The Damned. A call-to-arms anyone? That’s what we feel after several spinnings.This effort is as slick as it gets, full of potential hits, well-polished hard rock anthems and straightforward dynamics, all perfectly balanced by James Michael powerful vocal duties. One of the best hard rock albums in years!
FOR FANS OF: Tigers Jaw, Prawn, Sonic Youth
Sacred Bones (2016)
9 PUP The Dream Is Over
SideOneDummy Records (2016)
Menacing noisy, raw and scrappy. The Dream Is Over is Pup’s sophomore effort, so get excited! But is the dream really over? Not really, but if you’re a singer and for some kind of stupidity, a doctor diagnosed you with a vocal cyst and hemorrhaging (meaning your vocal chords were filling up with blood) and says literally your dream is over being quite irresponsible, that happened to Stefan Babcock. So, the dream is not over and Pup’s are back with ten new tracks (that means an album you fucking assholes). Dealing with disappointment and getting to that age where the big challenge is growing up is always fucking hard to do. The Dream Is Over is a confident feast of noisy anthems, it’s dangerously insane, but will please everyone of you, if not go to hell and fuck off!
FOR FANS OF: Desaparecidos, The Bronx, Weezer
27.05 OUT NOW
Promise Everything Anti- (2016)
8 REAL FRIENDS The Home Inside My Head Fearless Records (2016)
“I don’t want to make art, I want to make money...” is how it begins, and immediately, you are buckled in and you know it’s going to be an interesting ride. Like someone threw Conor Oberst and Beck into a death pit and made them fight to death with instruments. Whilst a producer and an engineer taped the whole thing on DAT. Prism Tats is a jagged edged, lyrical mastermind – who peddles filthy fuzzed up pop in a rock suit, and smiles, smoking Marlboro red whilst bleeding from the face. “Pacifist masochist” is a great album opener – sardonic and impudent, it crashes heavily into the surf rock tinged Iggy Pop-channeling. “Creep out // Freak out” with ease, a driving drum and a guitar lead song which sounds like The Misfits discovered Devo. “Make The Most Of The Weekend” is a twisting, David Lynchian masterpiece, one minute cool, syncopated drum pattern, the next a dropped harmony of vocals, and then repeat... Its ability to layer rhythm and stack ideas like pancakes means it’s full of inventive spirit, cheeky brilliance and a spine made of groove. Blew me away. A genuine contender for one of the albums of the year.
“When you’re younger, you have a picture perfect vision in your head about the future,” says Kyle Fasel. The pains of growing up are always hard to handle, especially when we picture something different from the future when we’re kids. Everything seems positive and negativity never seems to exist, but when life happens in the same way you get older everything gets a new kind of perspective. The Home Inside My Head is Real Friends sophomore album and a rollercoaster of emotions. This time around Dan split writing duties with Kyle, penning lyrics to four songs, expanding their lyrical input as they are also expanding their sound palette. Real Friends matured their songwriting, they’re not afraid to shout about their feelings, failed expectations and lost dreams.
FOR FANS OF: Blur, Beck, Plague Vendor, Thumpers
FOR FANS OF: The Wonder Years, Jimmy Eat World
SORORITY NOISE It Kindly Stopped For Me EP Topshelf Records (2016)
SHONEN KNIFE Adventure
SAOSIN Along The Shadow
If there’s one thing the Osaka poppunkers have really nailed, it’s hitting those 50s girl-group harmonies while still managing to squeeze in a new angle on their rock’n’roll’n’food shtick with each album. On album #19, it’s the harder edge of Blue Öyster Cult and Mötörhead that adds the kick, “Rock’n’Roll T-Shirt” and “Wasabi” managing to find the right balance of irresistible melody and amped-up oomph while “IMI” simply pours on the Jack Daniels and lets the spirit of Lemmy flow through them. That’s not to say that Naoko has lost the charming naiveté that has defined the band for decades, as the album’s closing notes rank amongst their sweetest – it’s more that they have shown that adding a little metal to your bubblegum is never a bad idea.
Are Saosin really fucking back? The answer is a big fucking YES! Along the Shadow, the band’s first record with new material since 2009 and first ever full-length album with the original singer, Anthony Green (Circa Survive) who left the back in 2004 after the release of Translating the Name, the 2003’s debut EP. Along The Shadow is an effort of such chilling intensity, evidencing a taut precision and fully sophisticated dynamics. Green’s voice is stronger and heavier than ever, fitting in perfection in Saosin’s well balanced, ambitious trademark sound, and let’s face it, only few bands are able to bring Sleeping With Sirens’ pop sensibility and Circa Survive’s light into Cave In meets Coalesce atmospheric heavy inspired soundscapes. A good comeback and the expectations were fulfilled.
Sorority Noise has always been known for their unique approach to music and lyrics. Their latest EP, It Kindly Stopped For Me is no exception. Released just weeks before their second full-length, the extended play offers up a new sound for the band. Roughly recorded doubled up acoustic guitars line, the walls of the four tracks contained in this release as vocalist Cam Boucher tests his strength with a new vocal technique. Temporarily retiring the higher pitch over-pronunciated drive used in Joy Departed, Boucher delivers a much softer, lower pitched vocal annunciation. The new range is reflected in the lyrics, which showcase heavy, hard-hitting burdens that can strike close to home for any of us. This is not your typical acoustic EP. This is a highly personal, highly emotional release. Though fans have responded positively, Boucher explained it best saying “The thought crossed my mind that maybe these songs shouldn’t have been released, and maybe they were just for me.”
FOR FANS OF: Ramones, Mötörhead, Blue Öyster Cult
FOR FANS OF: Coalesce, Circa Survive, Underoath
FOR FANS OF: The Hotelier, Foxing, Tiny Moving Parts
SUMAC What One Becomes
9 SKATING POLLY The Big Fit Chap Stereo (2016)
With the Skating Polly discography, you can literally hear the growth and development from the two young Oklahomans. Bearing the torch for the Riot Grrl scene, Skating Polly are getting more vicious and charming as the years go on. The Big Fit sees them going from strength to strength, taking the work that bands like Hole started and giving them a new snarl through smirking lips. Even more surprising is the dynamics they take on, with the tracks ranging from full on assaults to even subdued acoustic numbers such as “Picker of His Words”, a powerful feminist song that isn’t an immediate giveaway, but works toward it. Skating Polly are a strong role model for the coming generations and could quite easily fall into cult status. Catch them at this level while you can. FOR FANS OF: Hole, Bleached, The Slits
Thrill Jockey (2016)
The patron saint of thinking man’s metal - Aaron Turner – returns to the studio with his newest project, a man possessed. Not one to rest on his laurels, Turner has teamed up with Nick Yacyshyn of the band BAPTISTS and Brian Cook of Botch/Russian Circles - and have birthed what can only be described as a monster of unholy sonic proportions. What One Becomes is a kaleidoscope of heavy innovation. Layers of distorted guitars, slab-heavy drums, bass that sounds like some monster surfacing from the depths; Turners vocals exploding like guttural bursts of mortar fire – it’s music that is terrifyingly enthralling. Cataclysmic and captivating. Intelligent, inventive and above all - unrelentingly punishing. Inside the thick, fog-like production is sprinkled moments of genuine brilliance – songs do not so much exist as coalesce at evolutionary stages. From a miasma of noise, there is a living spirit, the flesh is stirring, bonds forming a cocoon upon the bones. A revelation of noise, emotion and craft. ANDI CHAMBERLAIN
FOR FANS OF: Isis, Coilguns, Swans, Baptists
8 SUMMER CANNIBALS Full Of It Kill Rock Stars (2016)
Full Of It is Portland’s outfit Summer Cannibals third album and they keep on bringing raw and intense moments of what’s suppose to be pure Rock. Jessica Boudreaux is sharper than ever, the guitar and bass riffs are incendiary as fuck as the explosive rhythm section. The band’s dynamic is much tighter and stronger and throughout the album it’s quite obvious how confident they are with their songs. There’s also room for more melodic moments (“Say My Name”), but the energetic and furious moments are what dominates on this record (“Full Of It”). It’s hard to not get caught up in this incredible non-stop energy and wicked lyrics. It feels like with Full Of It that those late 90’s female rocks bands are pretty much alive and kicking.
FOR FANS OF: Sleater-Kinney, Hole, Ex Hex
OUT NOW OUT NOW
8 TACOCAT Lost Time
Hardly Art (2016)
The third album from Suuns gets tense on the opening track “Fall” paving the way to the abyss that is Hold / Still. In a true test of the human condition, the Canadian band overpowers the listener to a confined space where feedback, repetition and guitars playing with various emotional states seem to interpret the human reaction to these stimuli. In their avant-garde krautrock, Suuns guide us in an ambiguous brain map, but with an ever-meticulous sound. Enhance can also mean risk and the truth is that Suuns have traveled long minutes of experimentation in the two previous albums to feel good playing with their elements now. Maybe that’s why the album has resulted in a balanced piece of thought and feeling.
Supermoon are a combination of two former Vancouver bands, Movieland and Pups. For this new band, the girls bring some elements from those past projects and create really catchy and amusing songs. The band’s chemistry is obvious, creating cohesive dynamics and a neat songwriting from each one of them. Playland is quite playful and even the artwork with the balloons create this dreamy tone to the whole album vibe. But this is not just dreamy and pretty, sometimes it gets some weird and dark parts that fit well with their “moody pop”. The detailed guitar work mixed with some distortion and reverb highlight the sugary vocals. All songs clock around 2 minutes, never more nor less, making it an enjoyable experience.
If you want an album full of songs about millennial life and pop culture surrounded by melodic, angst ridden music then look no further. Lost Time, the third outing from Seattle based Tacocat contains all of the above and so much more. As righteous as their previous efforts, if showing they’re maturing slightly, Tacocat certainly have a voice they aren’t afraid to vocalise. From “I Hate The Weekend” through to “FDP (First Day Period)”, singer Emily Nokes encapsulates all the emotion in the lyrics and gives it an almost bored edge, which adds to the monotonous millennial life Tacocat are representing. The same framework for the past two efforts is still here, but there is a definite evolution to the Tacocat mindset, something that can only bode well for the future of the four piece.
FOR FANS OF: The Soft Moon, Beak>, Autolux
FOR FANS OF: La Luz, Habibi, Tacocat
FOR FANS OF: Bully, Blondie, The Orwells
Secretly Canadian (2016)
Mint Records (2016)
27.05 OUT NOW
SURGICAL METH MACHINE Surgical Meth Machine
TEEN SUICIDE It’s the Big Joyous Celebration, Let’s Stir the Honeypot Run For Cover Records (2016)
After one more retirement announcement of Ministry, its mastermind Al Jourgensen didn’t waste time to create his next industrial metal orgy. When you first hear this record it sounds like a version of Ministry on amphetamines, after dispensing with a six-pack of Red Bull cans. But like anything this immediate, it becomes really dull and uninteresting once the high is gone, and reality comes crashing. After hearing just a couple of songs, it all becomes repetitive and monotonous, as the songs simply blend one into another without any differentiating traits apart from some samples and the voice of Jello Biaffra. Everything that makes Ministry an intense, unpredictable project his absence from this band, perhaps the most important is the human element that seems to be lacking.
Billed as the last official Teen Suicide album before they return under a new moniker, still TBA, It’s The Big Joyous… is certainly one way of ending things on an extended high. Running at 26 tracks total, nailing down exactly where this record would belong in your collection is tough. With tracks that flirt between genres, from sax laden soft rock numbers, shoegaze indie through to somewhat electronic dance, it’s safe to say this is far more of a greatest hits of genres than it is for Teen Suicide, though they’ve made sure that the last hurrah is certainly unforgettable. If the 26 tracks feels it could be daunting, give it a go, there’s enough variety so that it doesn’t become torturous and you might find an aspect of Teen Suicide that you love, and there’s more than enough to go around.
Nuclear Blast (2016)
FOR FANS OF: Ministry. Revolting Cocks, Skinny Puppy
FOR FANS OF: DIIV, Pity Sex, Car Seat Headrest
8 THE HOTELIER Goodness
Tiny Engines (2016)
2013’s Home, Like Noplace Is There was emotionally overwhelming, and its crafty compositions left people in awe of The Hotelier’s musical and human capacities leading to a state of extreme expectation towards what would follow-up for the Worcester, Massachusetts-based self-proclaimed “anti-pop” outfit. If proceed in following the same footsteps would be an easy way to sustain the momentum, then Goodness comes off as a bold statement – not only with its artwork but more so with its sonic expressions. Where the last album was action-packed, this new one feels more comfortable with silence and so the progression of the band on Goodness is made with a lot more oxygen, space and steadiness. The Hotelier maintain their heavily emotional side, but they’ve realized that sometimes you need to stop screaming (literally) and find some peace to make sense of it. TIAGO MOREIRA
FOR FANS OF: American Football, Mineral, You Blew It!
THE KILLS Ash & Ice
Domino Recordings (2016)
The Kills’ fifth album was five years in the making in part due to Jamie Hince’s five hand surgeries, which resulted in him having to re-learn how to play guitar with a permanently damaged finger. The duo, that released their debut album in 2003, was able to grab thousands of people’s attention without really reaching their full potential. Ash & Ice could very well be the album to present The Kills that everyone is excitingly and patiently waiting for, but it ends being a collection of hits and misses. Ash & Ice is a minimalist record in the vein of The xx or late-Arctic Monkeys, or tries to be, but more often than one would like to admit it presents the duo, Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince, out of sync and balance. An album of bits and pieces of unmatched quality that misrepresents the duo’s quality. TIAGO MOREIRA
FOR FANS OF: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Dirty Ghosts, Band of Skulls
THRICE To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere
TIM HECKER Love Streams
Vagrant Records (2016)
How great is it to see Thrice back after an indefinite hiatus and with a brilliant take on their (comeback) ninth album? It’s just too much awesomeness in one review. Even being on an inactive time for quite a while, they didn’t lose their essence and just like that they make a massive return. For those with cold feet on what to expect from this comeback, just get over it and go listen to this amazingly written album. To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere is the band’s fiercer and bolder album to date, they go to their extremes and the outcome is something quite remarkable. Dustin’s lyrics are sharper and deeper, he didn’t hold anything back and he overcomes fear and hesitations through his words. The whole band feels reinvigorated with this new album and they’re stronger than ever, that’s for sure.
Here is the sound of a dark angelic mass crowding out the light from the sky while ruptures shake and quake under the listener. There is quite a strain of blockbusting maximalism in electronic music today, whether it be in headphones-shaking chart fodder or the batter and slash of grime reborn, and the work of Tim Hecker continues to play ever increasing odds on building its own apocalyptic levels of dimensional instability. If Love Streams was a film, it would be akin to the beautifully rendered but spiritually bereft manifestation of pain that was The Revenant. As with the music of Visionist and Burial, disembodied voices tumble like lost souls into your head, but here they come in waves which aim to batter and overwhelm with IMAX precision and fury. The grandiosity is bracing, but can’t help feeling ever so slightly empty.
FOR FANS OF: Thursday, Brand New, Senses Fail
FOR FANS OF: Ben Frost, William Basinski, Loscil
7 THIN LIPS Riff Hard
Lame-O Records (2016)
This new breed of pop-punk-indie rock revival is quite good, probably more exciting than ever, we must confess. Thin Lips are a four piece from Philadelphia that deserve your attention, and their new offering, Riff Hard is a damn good delight. Led by vocalist/guitarist Chrissy Tashjian, Thin Lips mean business, from their pop-punk hooks meets Pixies surf rock insanely catchy melodies, to this kind of Speedy Ortiz indie rock esque, where distortion meets harmonies, all fueled up in style by the classic punk rock energy. Simply put, if you love melodies and punchy melodic riffs this will fit you in perfectly, lyrics and songwriting are quite strong and you should expect big things in the future from the Philly four piece.
FOR FANS OF: Speedy Ortiz, Candy Hearts, Cayetana OUT NOW
The White Album
The ‘90s was, both musically and socially, a unique time. As Nirvana infected minds and Rage Against The Machine hit the radio, three kids in their 20s found a different response to the new decade. On a warm, foggy Los Angeles day in May of 1994, The Blue Album (though officially titled Weezer) was released to an overwhelmingly positive response. Over two decades and 10 albums later... Weezer’s still got it. With classy guitar riffs and fun hooks, The White Album is where pop antics meets modern day rock. Starting off with an entertainingly generic (yet somehow unique) song about life in California, the surfer pop/rock anthem “California Kids” stands as a positive way to present the album. As the record progresses, a somewhat rare instrument is welcomed as a regular in the Weezer world... the piano. And though the group has successfully used keyboards in the past, they have yet to at a capacity quite like this. Descending into the final minutes of the album, the song “Jacked Up” sheds new light on a more modern pop sound for Weezer using powerful piano hits and a falsetto chorus. Then, as if to contradict the previous track, The White Album comes to an end with the slow and simple acoustic tune “Endless Bummer”. Lyrically, the record can hold its weight as a Weezer album. Musically and socially, this album proves that Weezer is right where they should be in 2016. For a band that is been together for 24 years, their ability to progress and adjust with time has never failed. Without a hint of doubt, The White Album will shape and mold the pop rock world in years to come. =W=
Formed by brothers Matthew and Billy Chevalier and cousin Dylan Mattheisen, Tiny Moving Parts are for sure more than a family band. These guys know how to write engaging math rock tunes that will always blow your mind away. At their third full-length, they take more risks and mix the best of their sensitive and explosive songwriting. Lyrics straight to the point where Dylan shouts his lungs out are a massive highlight on the album, as usual, and their technique continues to amaze. With resemblances to their modern contemporaries, Tiny Moving Parts are always pushing themselves as musicians and songwriters, and it really feels like with Celebrate, they’re kind of celebrating their time as a band.
FOR FANS OF: Sun, Beach, The Blue Album & Weezer
FOR FANS OF: Prawn, Modern Baseball, Like Pacific
7 TINY MOVING PARTS Celebrate
Triple Crown Records/Big Scary Monsters (2016)
REVIEWS RICK RODNEY 20.05
7 WO FAT Midnight Cometh Ripple Music (2016)
Keep the Sabbath dream alive! This is Wo Fat’s motto for their new album, Midnight Cometh. Dallas stoner-doom terrorists are back with their most menacing, heavy and stronger effort ever, so if you want psychotropic induced heavy riffs, this might be your drug of choice. Wo Fat’s subversive missives into the sonic stratosphere are a serious threat to us all. But how can we prevent that to happen? You can’t! Because if you care for your life and sanity, you should step away, get stoned drunk of riffs and rock hard, let your mind fly and in the end you will see that you’re keeping the Sabbath dream alive. FAUSTO CASAIS
7 WOODS City Sun Eater In the River of Light Woodsist (2016)
After eight albums of light psych rock with a ‘60s groove, Woods were getting a little bit stale, their sound was becoming repetitive and the anticipation for their 9th album was at an all time low. It was with a healthy amount of distrust that I took the news of new influences being injected into the band, so when the time came, and I was blasted in the face with jazz and reggae influences, I was pleasantly surprised by how well it worked. “City SunEater In The River Of Light” is lighter and even happier, it connects well enough with their original spirit to keep fans happy, while giving the band a much needed breath of fresh air. CARLOS CARDOSO
7 ZAKK WYLDE Book Of Shadows Spinefarm (2016)
Zakk Wylde return to semi acoustic passages on this release, that represents his most subdued music in years. Those waiting to hear the bludgeoning sound of his solo band or even the work with Ozzy should steer clear of this release that presents the musician in an introspective singer songwriter mood, and only on some of the solos does the madman (pun intended) appear through the cracks. It’s interesting to hear a musician strip the sound of his music to a bare minimum, after all it’s no secret that Wylde loves the great late Ronnie Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd fame, and this is a fitting tribute to one of his heroes.
WHITE LUNG Paradise Domino (2016)
Trautonist are Dennis and Katharina and what they create together is the perfect combination of two different worlds: black metal and shoegaze. The duo are giving with their self-titled debut album an enthralling and melancholy experience. For about thirty minutes we get stuck in this kind of dreamy but dark atmosphere wrapped on an infectious energy that blends perfectly black metal with shoegaze. This is heavy and intense as hell, but there’s always space to drift on the calmer and evolving parts. During this turmoil of raw and dense atmospheres, bittersweet feelings are thrown by Katharinas’ beautiful voice as Dennis shouts out his deep demons. For a debut, this is just brilliant and remarkable.
On their fourth album Vancouver-based White Lung have managed to further establish their own and unique sound, which makes the following statement imperative: Kenneth William’s guitar work is as stellar as highly underrated. Following the guidelines that made 2014’s Deep Fantasy an amazing work, Williams perfected the dual effect that his work with the strings has. The ten tracks are a stellar parade of riffs that sound as sharp as killing blades and extremely addictive, providing, with Anne-Marie Vassiliou’s extremely tight drumming and Mish Barber-Way’s unmistakable, powerful and memorable vocals, soundwaves that provoke a state of ecstasy and euphoria. If sonically it comes as a huge achievement, the more matured and incisive lyrics of Mish that found success on the task of put things into perspective make Paradise another vital work of the punk history.
FOR FANS OF: Deafheaven, Nothing, Whirr
FOR FANS OF: War on Women, Sleater-Kinney, Hole
Wolves And Vibrancy Records (2016) OUT NOW
7 WEEKEND NACHOS Apology Relapse Records (2016)
The final album, a sarcastic and violently “Apology” to the false world. It’s an end to a 12-year career, leading to question what was going through their minds to put an end to their hatred and resistance to global rot. I could imagine that the band will try to do something different or innovative being the last work, something new (something that never worked before), but instead in the constructions of every song, we can found this kind of new found aggression, becoming heavier, more powerful and even more diverse. Nothing new regarding how the process works, but there’s more angst and more direct in your face attitude. So, final tour on the way for this year, go see them for the last time!
FOR FANS OF: Full Of Hell, Nails, Harm’s Way
Nocturnal Koreans Pinflag (2016)
The last ten years have seen Wire revitalise themselves to a degree unlike any of their punk/post-punk/whatever contemporaries. Not for them any touring of seminal early works, wayward live excursions offering no direction forward, but never ending road hogging or record releases which trade on past glories but half-heartedly lead nowhere. Early 21st century Wire vintage is a streamlined, turbo-boosted power-pop proposition which steamrollers forward with razor sharp intelligence and precision. Following on from last year’s self-titled rebooted consolidation, Nocturnal Koreans finds Wire playing to their strengths across a 25-minute mini-album, which crams in more detail and texture to its eight songs than many groups manage in a career defining magnus opuses. The opening title track, “Internal Exile” and “Dead Weight” barrel along atop bass-driven propulsion while guitars buzz and shimmer around the song like swarms of chrome-plated insects. Then, you get a track like “Forward Position” which looms through a fug of nocturnal disillusion, hissing regret and broken promises to some still-present betrayer of trusts. After nearly forty years together, off and on, it becomes questionable why any group of grown men still persist in playing together. Wire continue to prove that not only can the rock group, itself a wildly outdated proposition, remain relevant and vital, but also that there are tiny new frontiers to be carved out of the three-minute pop song. FOR FANS OF: Gang Of Four, Mission Of Burma, The Fall
6 WRONG Wrong
Relapse Records (2016)
Wrong’s self-titled debut album isn’t a difficult record to describe nor is even challenging for someone that’s predisposed to invest 30 minutes. Featuring former members of Torche and Kylesa amongst their ranks, Wrong’s aim is very clear and they don’t seem to have a tone of patience to fuck around it. It’s extremely heavy, abrasive, and violent noise rock. The kind that is in line with legendary acts like Helmet and Unsane. Its eleven tracks are often very short and are built around massive riffs that crush anyone/thing in the way, over and over again. It isn’t original, the songwriting is often overlooked, and the vocals can sound dull at times... but all those defects don’t manage to take all the fun out of it. FOR FANS OF: Helmet, Threapy?, Unsane
REVIEWED IN OUR NEXT ISSUE OUT NOW
7 YEASAYER Amen & Goodbye Mute (2016)
This is Yeasayer’s fourth and highly-expected new effort, still psychedelic and inventive as we’re used to. The Brooklyn’s three piece doesn’t make for less and provides us with a fresh work, full of new sounds, while remaining as bizarre as the previous ones. Amen & Goodbye is such a comprehensive joy with pop being at center of all, that entertains us with their incredible diversity of analogical and digital sounds, mixed in their own confused and spongy way - “a collection of strange fables from the Bible of a universe that does not yet exist”- states the press release. We must say that Amen & Goodbye sounds slightly incoherent, but it’s their experimental weird groove that makes it very successful.
LETLIVE. If I’m The Devil...
FEAR OF MEN Fall Forever
NAILS You Will Never Be One Of Us
GARBAGE Strange Little Birds
SWANS The Glowing Man
THE JULIE RUIN Hit Reset
ARCHITECTS All Our Gods Have...
MOOSE BLOOD Blush
MITSKI Puberty 2
FOR FANS OF: Django Django, Ra Ra Riot, Shearwater
7 YONI & GETI Testarossa
Joyful Noise (2016)
Testarossa is a concept album that tells the story of an impossible love as a result of a life on the road fighting for the dream of playing music (Davy) while his partner (Maddy) tries to keep her two sons by herself. A sequence of sensational episodes counted in a rock and folk environment, joined by rap lyrics where the listener can feel the smells, imagine colors and locations where these two wander, characters connected by the umbilical cord of their children, broken only by the weight of betrayal. This is a working care of two artists, rapper Serengeti (Geti) and Yoni (from band Why?), built from a long road of ideas in the last 15 years, which served to create a cathartic album picturing their artistic dreams.
FOR FANS OF: Why?, Islands, Beck
NEW FOUND GLORY
SO WHAT?! MUSIC FESTIVAL 2016
QuickTrip Park - Grand Prairie, Dallas Day 1- Words and Photos by Justin Kunz A warm and delicate sun beat over QuikTrip Park in Grand Prairie, TX as hundreds gathered in line, desperately waiting for the clock to strike 11:00AM. Many a long way from home, their patience was certainly tested as they retrieved their previously purchased paper tickets from the back zipper of their backpacks. 10:58AM hit, as facial expressions clearly revealed the sudden realization on everyoneâ€™s mind. The day has finally come. Today was March 19th, 2016. Day One of the ninth annual So What?! Music Festival. Previously named South By So What, this music fest has been around since 2007 and has featured bands such as The Used, Bring Me The Horizon, Suicide Silence, Taking Back Sunday and Pierce The Veil. Formally a three-day event, this yearâ€™s two-day festival featured New Found Glory, Neck Deep, Underoath and Saosin as headliners with Bayside, The Devil Wears Prada, Real Friends, State Champs and many more as support. As the festival gates opened, the crowd began pouring in, entering the venue like a 126
CAPTURE THE CROWN
pack of dogs attempting to fit through a single doggy door. Once in, the layout was speculated and examined by many passing guests: to the immediate right and left, merch tables. Lots and lots of merch tables. Follow the baseball stadium path through the seating area, make your way onto the field and you’ll notice the three stages set up to reflect 3-of-the-4 corners of the field’s diamond shape. Sponsor’s event tents outlined the area, passing out free Red Bulls, and providing advertisement information. One sponsor in particular stood out to anyone who passed by. Over near the second main stage, enclosed by a mobile building bigger than any other co sponsor’s, a vendor lingered, its shadow casting over the attendees nearby. With a familiar logo, the building read “Grizzly”, a chewing tobacco company with a long history in baseball. And while many festivals and music events chose Anti-smoking or anti-tobacco sponsors to advocate towards teens, So What decided to take the opposite route, choosing a sponsor who was openly advocating to a field of new potential customers. And while not in complete agreement with this decision, I came for the bands... not the sponsors. 127
As the crowds gathered tightly, Capture The Crown stole the first wave of the day,
jumping in the crowd and performing, micin-hands amongst the fans. Later that night, Bayside took the stage and engaged the crowd as they shouted the lyrics to every song performed. Then, as the day became darker and the night began to kick in, Neck Deep closed out the second main stage with an unforgettable show. With the assistance of a suicide prevention speaker, who was invited to speak on stage in between songs, Neck Deep further pushed a message theyâ€™ve supported since their formation. Day one of So What ended with New Found Glory, who struck the ultimate nostalgia vein with concert goers in their 20s and 30s, hard strumming the anthems of their youths and embracing crowd sing-a-longs. Their performance completely reissued the belief that they are not only the ultimate pop-punk band of the past and the present, but also the future. The strong stench of sweat lingered in the air as the concert-goers weakly made the stride to the parking lot to travel to their nightly hotels. Less than a 12 hour window now remained for ticket holders to retreat, rest, revitalize and revisit QuickTrip Park before day two began. 128
SO WHAT?! MUSIC FESTIVAL 2016 QuickTrip Park - Grand Prairie, Dallas DAY 2 - Words and Photos by Justin Kunz
THE WORD ALIVE
Day two started just as the previous day had. Long lines and heavy heats shortened everyone’s patience as the slow move through security thickened. Once in, crowds were reintroduced to the decor of merch tables and stages set around the complex. Gathering around Main Stage 1, the attendees stood in awe as Being As An Ocean began their performance. Vocalist Joel Quartuccio took his chance on the So What stage to prove the intensity of the bands live show, leaving his center stage post to jump in the middle of an active circle pit. Later, as the indwelling brisk of night settled over the baseball field, Saosin took the stage. Armed with the trusting voice of original vocalist Anthony Green, the band slayed through hit after hit, embracing their emo roots with full force. After closing with “Seven Years”, the crowds cheers seemed to be laced with woe as a realization began to sink in: the festival was almost over. This sorrow was only short lived, as every person in attendance journeyed to the stage hosting the final performance of the night: Underoath. The empty stage lights dimmed as the crowd began to cheer uncontrollably. A quick intro welcomed the band onto the stage as they immediately broke out into their first track of the night, "Young And Aspiring". The crowd became wild, leaving no line unsung, no song without cheer, and no moment left in silence. Finishing off their lengthy 19 song set with "Writing On The Walls", Underoath happily consumed the last drops of energy from every attendee. As the set ended and the long festival finally came to a close, the energy deprived, weak and sweaty bodies made their final trip of QuikTrip Park. Long drives were ahead for some while others snagged near-by motels and prepared their journey home for tomorrow. Festivals connect people from around the globe with a common interest. Successful festivals stand out as both extremely enjoyable, and immensely memorable. Though So What 2016 had its ups and its downs, I would undoubtedly deem it a massive success and not one to be missed by any of its featured genres' fans. If you weren't fortunate enough to attend March's concert, though, you still may be luck! It was recently announced So What will be hosting a three-day festival this upcoming fall in Dallas, TX. The dates are set for Oct 21st to 23rd, and though no lineup has been officially released, you can purchase a blind presale three-day pass from Ticketfly.com for $80. If this upcoming fest is anything like their annual March event, it's not one to skip. musicandriots.com
AT THE DRIVE IN + LE BUTCHERETTES The Roundhouse - Camden, London
Words by Andi Chamberlain & Photo by Gareth Chamberlain Tonight, At The Drive In and Le Butcherettes are in town, two bands who have no regard for a venues shortfalls, and who use music as weapons in a gladiatorial battle against the crowd – sometimes in barbed and dangerous ways. At The Drive In, especially, have scant regard for audiences and venues using them in ways they do not like – so I enter with a sense of trepidation and anxious patience. First up are the Mexican three piece Le Butcherettes, dressed head to toe in red suits and a ball-gown that drapes over the bare shoulders of frontwoman Teri Gender Bender. A woman possessed upon entrance, stamping and stomping and screaming acapella into the vast sold out audience. Before stamping a hand down on the keyboard and filling this huge room with crystal clear music. Le Butcherettes are a force to be reckoned with – playing a set largely derived from the new album A Raw Youth, they kick the whole affair of with a wailing and banshee like cut of “Shave The Pride” and do not let up for a second afterwards. A vicious, Iggy Pop and The Stooges inspired tumble through classic garage rock and punk, they veer into vintage territory easily and pluck and steal from acts as great as Bowie, T-Rex, The Stooges and Sex Pistols often and flagrantly – yet, they
are an inspiring act of their own merit as well. The antics of Teri anchor the band in the mind and linger for a long time after. She is a natural talent – of the same vein as Amanda Palmer, PJ Harvey and Siouxsie Sioux – but with chops all her own and a captivating presence. The stage goes dark for a while, before two huge purple lights light the audience, and the thin dark shadow of the Afro’ed guitarist Omar Rodriguez Lopez enters the darkness, and is quickly joined by the rest of the band – minus the absent Jim Ward, who before the set was keenly mentioned by audience and fan alike, his quitting before the tour sticking with some audience members in difficult ways. However, within two songs any fears of his absence effecting the set or the show are quickly dispersed. At The Drive In were a riot of sound and motion, noise and emotion. Kicking the set with the one/two punch of “Arc’Arsenal” and “Pattern Against User” they start as they mean to go on. Dipping into only three albums, they present the majority of Relationship of Command with occasional forays into Vaya and In/Casino/Out it would be easy to dispel this as a sell out “best of…” tour. But it is so much more. This is a band being reborn all over on stage in front of your eyes. The interplay
between members is tight, the relationship between Omar and frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala is pure At The Drive In, and lacks any of the pretension and self-indulgence of their Mars Volta personas. This is about the hits and nothing but the hits. And by god, do they keep coming. “Ursa Major” from Vaya tumbles into “Enfilade” from ROC, into “Quarantined” into “Cosmonaut”… Just as soon as you get your breath back it is being ripped from you again by another club banger. Before, of course, they end with the audience favourite and mass-sing-along of “One Armed Scissor” which gets the evening biggest roar of approval. Cedric even crowdsurfs, a huge At The Drive In No-No of yesteryear. His engagement with the audience is constant, and he is in great humour. Omar looks at home again with this band and these songs, and the crowd are falling in love all over again. Before long, its all over, and we are kicked back into the night and the rainy Camden Town, sweating and panting after what was one of the best gigs that the band have ever played in this town. A thoroughly great show, and a welcome return from one of the most important bands of the last twenty years, much needed again in this watered down and vacuous market. A stunner for sure.
+ ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF Garage, Glasgow Words by Dave Bowes
Considering the legendary kineticism of Refused and the dearth of leather-clad crusties in attendance, Anna Von Hausswolff’s muted drones and creeping sense of lightless solitude could have been viewed with bemusement or hostility. The uneasy balance between tense, percussion-heavy ambiance and the energised rush of synth and reverb of the band in full swing instead proves an electric attraction, with Von Hausswolff’s hidden-in-plain-sight demeanour a cunning camouflage for such a potent and idiosyncratic vocalist. Easy comparisons of Tori Amos and the like occasionally spring to mind but given this performance’s almost religious aspect, any likeness to conventional songstresses is more coincidental than telling. Still, though... Refused! At one point, Dennis Lyxzén states that the last time they were in Glasgow they played at the legendary Nice & Sleazy, a bar directly opposite tonight’s noticeably larger venue. It’s a solid indicator of their then-cult status and their new one as returning conquerors, but as they literally leap into “Elektra”, the two are one and the same. They have the same passion and conviction, declarations of smashing capitalism and the patriarchy delivered with upright aplomb, but a more muted addressing of that morning’s attacks on Brussels shows a more mature side, a willingness to admit that they can kick and scream with the best, but they still don’t have all the answers. That same conflict between heart and head has battled through all their work and surprisingly still takes place on stage, Lyxzén’s rubber-legged acrobatics and microphone lassoing a unique counterpoint to the complexity of these songs, the incendiary kick of “New Noise” and The Shape Of Punk To Come as much about their chant-along joy as their frequent sojourns into more abstract territories. It’s indignation-meets-art, skewed melodies and clenched fists meeting in a puddle of blood and sweat, and as they flip-flop between the classics and their comeback material, it becomes harder to distinguish the two. There’s no diminution in the righteousness of old and there’s no sneering cynicism in the new – it’s just punk done as punk should, and even if not everyone tonight shares in the same politics, at least Refused have given them reason to unite for an hour or so.
AMORPHIS + TEXTURES Cathouse, Glasgow
Words by Dave Bowes & Photo by Lara Vichi With a sizeable portion of the room looking like they’re here for one thing and one thing only, Textures evidently have a struggle on their hands. Delivering a polyrhythmic pummeling that has enough time changes to raise a Meshuggah fan’s eyebrows and sufficient thuggish charm to keep at least a few heads-a-banging, they are a perfect encapsulation of modern metal, fusing technicality and accessibility with deceptive ease. Relying heavily on material from Phenotype, their balancing act becomes that little bit easier, but a dreamy step back to “Reaching Home” proves the clincher, its mathy melodicism simply irresistible. Glasgow has always had a loyal following for Amorphis, and the mixture of old and new in attendance show that their fanbase is continuing to grow here. As a couple of new cuts open the show, Tomi Joutsen’s enthusiasm is met in kind by the crowd, a cloud of hair and raised fists moving in time with Under The Red Cloud’s swaying bombast. A frontman in the classic sense of the term, Joutsen has an easygoing confidence that sells the melodrama of newer cuts and the proggy grit of welcome classics like Drowned Maid, a growl like rusting chainsaws sidling up comfortably against his pleasingly sonorous baritone. Given recent tours’ reliance on older material, My Kantele is offered up with no lack of power, Elsa Holopainen and Tomi Koivusaari keeping both the jaunty folk undertones and the low-end spine of the song intact, even if Santeri Kallio’s keys sometimes struggle to rise above the mix, and Silent Waters’ reception is almost as impressive as its execution but tonight, Amorphis’ strength is their refusal to rest on past glories. Under The Red Cloud is one of their strongest offerings in years and as “Death Of A King” leads the charge in their final assault, its unstoppable momentum is the most lingering after-effect of this uniformly stunning evening.
BABYMETAL Wembley Arena, London
Words by Dave Bowes & Photo by Amuse Inc. The lights dim and only an orchestral refrain can be heard above the roar of a jam-packed Wembley Arena. The deep, resounding pound of bass drums kicks and, accompanied by the booming refrain of “BABYMETAL DESU,” and three armour-clad teenagers emerge from the center of the arena. Viewed from above, their synchronised swaying and cavorting atop a panel of pseudo-occult symbols looks like a bizarre re-enactment of a ritual from The Devil Rides Out, and it’s the beginning of one of the strangest, most ridiculously
invigorating live experiences around. The Babymetal live show is a cavalcade of style, sound and experience that leaves the brain flailing as it attempts to process what’s happening. It rejoices in the sheer glee of Iine!, the permanently smiling faces of Kikuchi Moa and Mizuno Yui made more impressive by their limitless energy, but Akatsuki delivers a striking dramatic balance, not only in Nakamoto Suzuka’s powerful presence and vocal ability but also in spectacle as she runs to thestage across a goddamn flaming walkway. The
whole performance leaves the senses in disarray and the banner-waving sense of unity that comes with “The One” being belted out in front of an international crowd has the heart similarly in a tizzy. For all Babymetal are maligned for their ‘just a pretend band’ status, it’s the blend of artificiality and honesty that lets tonight work so effectively. The tightly-orchestrated choreography, the perfect framing of every shot on the two massive screens, the pyro and the furious
FRANK TURNER + DUCKING PUNCHES Magacin Depo, Belgrade
Words by Miljan Milekić & Photo by Tamara Samardžić
solos from the backing Kami Band; it’s a larger-than-life combo that harks back to the showmanship of Cooper and Maiden, a playfulness that makes buying into the performance so much easier, but there is a very real sense of passion shared by everyone on stage that’s equally moving. They have honed their material and their stagecraft into something truly world-beating and if they can do this much after just two albums, there won’t be an arena big enough to handle them in the future.
To be honest, Serbia just wasn’t ready for this concert. It’s known Serbian crowd isn’t really up to date when it comes to new artist, but having a worldwide known artist at his peak just deserves more than mere two hundred people who showed up. A little bit expensive ticket (15e with an average monthly salary being 300e), and in the middle of the working week can be an excuse for some, but an artist of Frank Turner’s range definitely deserved a bigger crowd. On the other hand, he just didn’t seem to care. With his Sleeping Souls, he managed to deliver an amazing show, filled up with energy, sing-alongs and a big chunk of his hits. Positive Songs For Negative People was in the main focus, naturally, but all of the other records have found their place in the set. Even B-Side “Wanderlust” made the cut, as a request from the biggest fan and one of the promoters of the show. The fanbase that Turner has in Serbia may not be big, but sure it’s loyal. None of the two hundred souls in the crowd weren’t sleeping, but singing to every word of “Get Better”, “Plain Sailing Weather”, “The Next Storm”, “The Road”, “If Ever I Stray” and others. Turner was in a good mood, with a smile on his face, trying to communicate in Serbian as much as he could, including “Eulogy” which he tried to sing in a language of his hosts. As the show was coming to a latter stages, the connection between him and the crowd was even stronger, and songs like “The Ballad of Me and My Friends”, “Photosynthesis”, or “Recovery”, were welcomed with amazing response. Not the mention “Josephine” with intro made of “Ace of Spades”, tribute to legendary Motörhead. An encore was “a must”, so bangers like “The Way I Tend to Be” or “I Still Believe” came in just at the right time, but it was “Four Simple Words” that sealed the deal, with Turner singing it and crowdsurfing through the first rows. It wouldn’t be fair not to mention Ducking Punches who opened in front of the almost empty club, but still giving their best. Their folk punk sound felt just right for the moment, and it’s too bad there weren’t more people to hear it. This is a band that definitely deserves a chance, but don’t believe my words. Check it yourself. As a good start, go to their YouTube channel and look for “Big Brown Pills From Lynn”. You can thank me later.
TEETH OF THE SEA
Understage - Teatro do Rivoli, Porto // Words by Tiago Moreira & Photos by Andreia Alves The venue chosen to receive Teeth Of The Sea needs to be mentioned.
Teatro do Rivoli, a centennial building and one of the most emblematic of the city of Porto, and surely of the entire country of Portugal, opened its basement in the understage to receive the British and London-based quartet. Oddly enough, the environment was more of an old club in New York, which, don’t get me wrong, it made sense since the music delivered is kind of given to those sort of things. Presenting their latest and fourth
full-length album, Highly Deadly Black Tarantula, Teeth Of The Sea made the cold night warm with their insistence to be all the way through electrifying with their mix of noise, psychedelic, electronic, experimental, and metal music. It’s the kind of show that promotes and even requests a certain eclecticism. Their unapologetic approach that is oblivious to whatever composition or general musical rules guaranteed an extremely exciting performance for everyone that would be predisposed to
follow the band throughout their musical experiments and voyages. The night was exclusively for Teeth Of The Sea and their rich scope and powerful intent proved to be more than enough content for one to digest during one night. It’s the sort of experience that, unfortunately, you don’t have all the time and you sure as well feel great when it comes out all of a sudden. Like an addictive drug, everyone there just wanted more and more.
CULT OF LUNA
CULT OF LUNA + BOSSK + MOLOKEN Garage, Glasgow
Words by Dave Bowes & Photo by Lewis Allen Were it any night other than tonight, Moloken’s proggily extravagant sludge would clean up. It’s an almighty punch-up between muscular riffing in the red corner and piercing jabs of technicality and tempo-wrangling in the blue that makes for an intriguing watch, but in their throaty delivery and introspective weight, they draw a little too close to tonight’s headliners to make the impression they rightly deserve. Bossk have the advantage of being more of a known constant amongst this crowd and, while they may be working from the same manual as their contemporaries, there’s a strange beauty to be found in watching the entrancing build-up of “The Reverie” descending into a Kick Out The Jams-esque sludgefest or in watching Sam Marsh stroll onto the stage, scream his tonsils off and then casually roam away as the Ashford mob continue the onslaught in his wake. Tight, loud and toting a dynamic range that could span the Himalayas, Bossk are, to use local parlance, the ticket. These nith anniversary of – insert album title here - tours are always an iffy prospect. What if you like the band but not said album? Maybe you’re old enough to remember it from the first time round and don’t fancy coughing up for musical déjà vu. Cult Of Luna sneakily work around both by choosing to celebrate 10 years of Somewhere Along The Highway, an album that everyone loves anyway, and by running it through the filter of a band with an extra decade of experience, a triple-guitared and twin-kitted juggernaut that can take “And With Her Came The Birds” and retain its morose desert chill but still turn “Dark City, Dead Man” into a weapon, a blunt-force tool that steadily hammers skulls from all directions. Johannes Persson is a thrashing, unrestrained monster with a roar to match and with so much artillery at his back, there was never any way that people were walking out of here without hearing damage and a smile.
The Shacklewell Arms, London
Words by Antigoni Pitta & Photo by Sabrina Haas The Shacklewell Arms has hosted many a rowdy crowd, but tonight is mellower. Palehound are playing in London for the first time, and it only takes a few songs for them to establish a deep connection with the crowd. It’s a fact that Ellen Kempner writes songs to break your heart, and amazingly, the blistering honesty and relatability of her lyrics become even more profound when they’re laid bare on the stage, creating an intimate atmosphere that fills the room like the blue and green light shining on her. The band’s simple setup showcases their incredible precision and skill, but it’s obvious that much of the performance lies in Kempner’s completely unpretentious, vulnerable stage presence and whispery register that betrays an incredibly powerful voice. After playing a few songs from Dry Food, Kempner exclaims that “All these songs are about breakups”. Admitting that while she is now in a happier place, her younger sister could use some support, and wasting no time she whips out her phone, coaxing us to send a message of love. And that is the magic of a Palehound show: for a while, everyone in the room is bound by the same sense of camaraderie, and that’s something extremely rare.
EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!!
DIRECTOR: Richard Linklater STARRING: Blake Jenner, Tyler Hoechlin, Ryan Guzman, Juston Street, Wyatt Russell, Glen Powell, Temple Baker, J. Quinton Johnson, Will Brittain, Zoey Deutch, Austin Amelio, Tanner Kalina, Forrest Vickery USA 2016 If there’s a more entertaining movie this year, then 2016 is going to be a belter. Everybody Wants Some!! is an evolutionary leap in today’s comedy. There’s this kind of slacker singular artistic vision that is able to bring immaturity, casual sex, drugs, flirtation, alcohol, mud wrestling, baseball, romance, stupidity and philosophical quests into this huge bowl of crazy awesome campus bromance. Set in the world of 1980s college life, Everybody Wants Some!! takes place during the empty weekend before the start of a new academic year at a Texas college. Richard Linklater shifts gears to sports and comedy, this time around follows a group of college baseball players as they navigate their way through the freedoms and responsibilities of unsupervised adulthood. Richard Linklater changes the rules of the game again. He describes
Everybody Wants Some!!, which takes place in 1980, as a “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused, his ’70s influential high school feature. We might also add that is somehow a sequel to Boyhood, since it picks up at almost exactly moment the movie left off: where a young man arrives at college, avid to learn and experience life, feeling somehow lost and motivated to find himself. So if Boyhood was a journey about growing up, love, heartbreaking, family issues blah blah blah, Everybody Wants Some!! is somehow like cutting some slack from your shoulders, all that weight drops away completely. One of the highlights of the movie is the way Linklater tags along immaturity with some kind of reflection and perspective, being 18 doesn’t mean that we can’t think about the future, even if you want just to live the present.
Everything seems right in this movie, from the dialogues to the costumes, from the hair to the colors, even a split screen over a phone conversation is priceless. There is no such thing as political correctness, everything is straightforward and transcends honesty. Perhaps that happens because we can divide the characters by their own temperament and attitude, making everything more immediate for the audience, because it’s quite easy to relate to the characters. From punk to country, from disco to 70’s psychedelic rock, even the musical frames in this movie are beyond our own expectations. We totally understand why Linklater says that Everybody Wants Some!! is the spiritual sequel of Dazed And Confused, it’s also a nostalgic affair and a gratifying experience.
CINEMA & TV
DIRECTOR: Robert Eggers STARRING: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger, Lucas Dawson, Julian Richings, Bathsheba Garnett, Sarah Stephens, Wahab Chaudhry, Axtun Henry Dube USA/UK/CANADA/BRAZIL 2016 The Witch is not your conventional horror movie, we may say that’s a crazy awesome family drama that deals with beliefs and fears, all with this kind of edgy, classic Hammer horror touch, that really has the ability to shake us, that’s for sure. Exploring the puritan faith back in the 17th century, where the witch hunt was something very real – thanks for that Christianism! - Robert Eggers manages to bring this kind of elegant ghoulish New England folktale to life which is something quite remarkable, especially when we think this is Eggers’ directorial debut. The intensity of the dialogues totally transcend the linguistic boundaries, the incredible attention to detail, the perfect choice of cast and Anya Taylor-Joy’s performance - what an amazing debut, a true standout - are the key elements of this stunning, uncomfortable, terrifying soon to be a horror cult classic. FAUSTO CASAIS
10 CLOVERFIELD LANE DIRECTOR: Dan Trachtenberg STARRING: John Goodman,
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr., Douglas M. Griffin, Suzanne Cryer, Bradley Cooper, Sumalee Montano, Frank Mottek USA 2016
There was some secrecy around this film even before its official title was unveiled, just because J.J. Abrahams was secretly working on it. So, 10 Cloverfield Lane is Cloverfield’s spiritual successor and it is presented in a third-person narrative, as opposed to its predecessor. The film follows Michelle (Winstead) as she wakes up after an accident and finds out she’s locked in a cellar by a patriotic man (Goodman), who claims that he saved her life and the surface of the Earth uninhabitable following an apocalyptic catastrophe. The film is super engaging and exhilarating to a point where we don’t have a clue what will happen next and Winstead is definitely the film’s badass heroine.
DIRECTOR: Ben Wheatley STARRING: Tom Hiddleston, Jer-
emy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss, James Purefoy, Keeley Hawes, Peter Ferdinando, Sienna Guillory, Reece Shearsmith, Enzo Cilenti IRELAND/UK/BELGIUM 2016
Based on a novel by J.G. Ballard, High-Rise is a highly provocative and impetuous film delivered by an all-star cast and a visionary director, the almighty Ben Wheatley Tom Hiddleston starts as Dr. Robert Laing, the newest resident of a luxurious apartment in a high-tech concrete skyscraper. He easily gets to know his neighbors and the enigmatic architect who designed the building. All seems like a paradise, but then it becomes a perfect nightmare. The film takes place in the 70s, so there’s the glamorous wardrobe, the hypnotic music and the characters are way too eccentric. As the story unfolds, the darker it gets and also gets a bit too chaotic because of the need to represent the decadence of capitalism and the phony people.
LOUDER THAN BOMBS DIRECTOR: Joachim Trier STARRING: Jesse Eisenberg, Gabriel Byrne, Isabelle Huppert, Devin Druid, Amy Ryan, Ruby Jerins, Megan Ketch, David Strathairn, Rachel Brosnahan, Russell Posner, Harry Ford NORWAY/FRANCE/DENMARK/USA 2015
After Reprise and Oslo, August 31st, Joachim Trier’s first two and excellent features, he’s back with this complex family drama, Louder Than Bombs. When we deal with the so called complexity of life, we randomly need to handle with feelings like anger, grief, happiness, sometimes depression, among other things. Every character in this movie has its own flaws, but in every single way there is some bravery in the form they deal with all the major setbacks in life. Richly detailed, Louder Than Bombs blends drama with refined humor, that’s perhaps Joachim Trier great achievement on this feature, we can easily place it between Bo Widerberg’s sociological approach along with John Cassavetes’ realistic and spontaneous style of filmmaking.
MIDNIGHT SPECIAL DIRECTOR: Jeff Nichols STARRING: Michael Shannon, Joel
CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
DIRECTOR: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo STARRING: Chris Evans,
Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Jaeden Lieberher, Adam Driver, Bill Camp, Scott Haze, Sam Shepard, Paul Sparks, David Jensen, Sharon Landry, Dana Gourrier, Sharon Garrison USA 2016
Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Paul Rudd USA/GERMANY 2016
Midnight Special is another fresh take into this whole new generation of sci-fi movies that are surfacing Hollywood nowadays, where everything seems to be perfectly balanced between tension and those deep human feelings. Regarding Midnight Special that deep human feeling is parenthood, just look into the relationship between Michael Shannon and Jaeden Lieberher (father and son) and it’s easy to associate that kind tension and feelings. Midnight Special is a sci-fi chase movie, deeply compelling, strange and complex. Even with its own flaws, it’s fair to say that Midnight Special is another Jeff Nichols great feature, a good tribute to 80’s classic like Starman, E.T., or even Close Encounters of The Third Kind.
Well, it’s safe to say that Captain America: Civil War is the most well-elaborated achievement of Marvel Cinematic Universe. At this stake, the expectations are constantly high with the next film to be released, but for this one they didn’t fail to its purpose: getting (almost) every Avenger in a single movie, without getting too confused or stuffed, giving time and space for each superhero and introducing new ones, like Ant-Man (not a new one, actually) and the amazing Spider-Man (newly and awesome). At its third solo installment, Chris Evans as Captain America keeps showing the growth of the character in a very natural way, along with a plot that’s exciting, engaging and political as every character is.
CINEMA & TV
DAREDEVIL SEASON 2 CREATOR: Drew Goddard STARRING: Charlie Cox, Vincent D’Onofrio, Deborah Ann Woll, Jon Bernthal, Elden Henson, Royce Johnson, Elodie Yung, Geoffrey Cantor, Susan Varon, Rosario Dawson, Peter Shinkoda, Stephen Rider USA 2016
Bringing Marvel Comics hero Daredevil to a small screen was probably one of the best things ever - hey Ben, you’re better as Batman. The first season was totally insane, in a good sense, where Charlie Cox brought a charismatic and truthful approach to his character and that was something notable. For the second one, things get nastier and even more exhilarating with the introduction of new characters such as the Punisher (Jon Bernthal is just brilliant and fierce) and Elektra (she surely kicks ass). The episodes go around those two new characters, but obviously we get more into Matt Murdock’s internal struggles of being a superhero and a human being. Everything here is just too compelling and intense. Next season, please!
+ TV ROUND UP SUPERGIRL (Season 1)
There’s a new superhero in town! After a long time hiding her powers, Kara Zor-El decides it’s time to embrace her superhuman abilities and fulfill her destiny as a hero. Melissa Benoist portrays Supergirl with graceful charisma and great determination. On the next season, we expect to see the continuing growth of her character in all levels. (8)
LIMITLESS (Season 1)
WHERE TO INVADE NEXT
DIRECTOR: Michale Moore STARRING: Michael Moore USA 2015 Personally, I can’t understand all the criticism over the years about Michael Moore. From Roger & Me to Bowling For Columbine, from Fahrenheit 9/11 to Sicko, everyone seems to point out to the fact that he’s an idealist and desperate to look for answers or that he doesn’t offer any real solutions. But are you all fucking stupid? He points to the facts with some humor, but no, he’s only looking for answers, fucking pricks. Where to Invade Next sees Moore invading several nations (Germany, Norway, Slovenia, France, Iceland, Portugal, Italy were a few of the countries invaded) as he looks at the positive social reforms of multiple European countries and compares to US social politics, or lack of them. Raising again some serious questions, Where to Invade Next represents the return of Moore at his best, funny and cynical as expected. FAUSTO CASAIS
This is the follow up to 2011’s film Limitless and, oh boy, it’s a damn good one! This series follows Brian Finch, who develops superhuman abilities after taking a mysterious drug called NZT. He’s hired by the FBI as a consultant and things get pretty interesting and unpredictable. If the following season is as much intense as this one, well, just bring it on! (9)
THE RANCH (Season 1)
Want to have a good laugh and get nostalgic at the same time? Then look no further and watch this new series that reunites Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson (That ‘70s Show). Set on a Colorado ranch, a son of a rancher returns home from a semi-pro football career to run the family business. It almost feels like That ‘70s Show is back again and there is some kind of nostalgia, that’s for sure. (7)
FLAKED (Season 1)
Somewhere between Californication (without that much fornication) and Togetherness, Flaked is Will Arnett’s and Mark Chapmans’ baby. It still needs some work on the plot, but it was a damn good start. Vulnerability, non-compromising and the lack of maturity are always big issues when you are auto discovering your self being. Let’s see what the second season got hold for us. (7)
WIRE, the absolutely legendary English rock outfit (among many other things), started as a band in 1976. Think about it! They have, on and off, produced new music for 40 years. When many of the bands formed in the 70s are just thinking about the heyday and some are trying to capitalize from songs that were written 40 or 30 years ago, the quartet composed by Colin Newman, Graham Lewis, Robert Grey, and Matthew Simms, is celebrating the bandâ€™s 40th anniversary with Nocturnal Koreans, a brand new mini-album, and most importantly with something that keeps adding value not only to their extremely rich catalogue but also to rock music in general. They never wanted to be treated like a legacy act, they never wanted to stop being creative, and they were always up to challenge themselves and the audience. The brilliant Colin Newman talked with us on the phone about Nocturnal Koreans, pop music, the importance of DIY, and Wire in general.
CREATIVITY CAN 140
ou’ve said that the self-titled was “quite respectful of the band” and “Nocturnal Koreans is less respectful of the band.” I’m curious to know what you mean by that. It’s kind of a way of talking. It was a kind of classic why situation how the last album, the self-titled album, kind of came about. We ended up with a lot more material that we’d initially planned to have. So, we actually had 19 tracks. One of the problems with these days is: “A” – first of all, it’s not a problem, it’s a plus thing but it makes you more aware – we have our own label, so releasing things on your own label you have to be aware of timetables, you
have to be aware of the timetable pretty much of when the record is going to be released even before you recorded it because it has to fit with a lot of other things and the lead time for vinyl is very long (vinyl has become a very popular format so we can’t ignore vinyl). We knew that actually the self-titled album really should have been delivered in December or early January. In the end it got delivered a bit late, in early February of 2015, and it was recorded in May of 2014 – and this might seem a bit over technical, but it’s worth explaining it. We had a situation really where I actually moved, that year of 2014, and I didn’t have an operative studio for probably two months, or maybe a bit longer, which made working on the record quite difficult. I didn’t really seriously start working on the record until early October. We did a bit of recording on it in December… With the best will in the world 19 tracks are not going to fit on a single vinyl album. And we took the decision to do a single vinyl album because this was the first record where we’d actually gone back to design it as a vinyl record – figured as a vinyl record and the CD was an additional thing. The previous album, 2013’s Change Becomes Us, ended up being a double vinyl, which is… It’s nice but in the end – and this is a record company’s argument – you are spending much
N’T BE STOPPED Words: Tiago Moreira // Photos: Owen Richards
BONUS FEATURE more in manufactory because you have to manufacture two vinyl and a double sleeve, but you can’t sell it for twice as much because people won’t pay that. The single vinyl is actually... that’s the definition of an album. The definition of an album is not a double album, the definition of an album is an album and an album is a single vinyl. We should be conscious about that and do it like that. Therefore we had to decide what material should go on the record. This couldn’t just be a decision taken when all of the work was done because there wasn’t time to work on all of the tracks. It had to be a decision taken somewhat before the end to say, “This is what should get finished.” By various means of discussion between the band we ended up with a slightly ridiculous [laughs] but still... you got to have some kind of concept when you’re going about things like that. Because it wasn’t a case of “this track is better than this track so this track should go on the record,” it was more like a case of what fits with the aesthetic. The aesthetic of the self-titled album was... everything on the record had to be based on the basic performance and with nothing clever done to them, the tracks. By that I mean... especially things like drops. You can compare and contrast the drop on “Nocturnal Koreans” and the drop on “In Manchester” [a track from the self-titled album]. The drop on “In Manchester” was played, that was part of the arrangement. We actually played like that whereas the drop on “Nocturnal Koreans” was not played, it was created. It might be a subtle difference, but actually in a way of thinking about it, conceptually, is a big difference. Conceptually creating something artificially that the band didn’t play or a variation that the band didn’t actually play is “production”, it’s taking a production decision. So, in a way, is less respectful of the band. That’s kind of the concept behind it. If you go through all of the tracks on the self-titled album, those arrangements are pretty much as we played them. They’ve been added to, but the basic shape of the pieces are pretty much as the band played them. There’s nothing clever and everybody plays on everything whereas on Nocturnal Koreans 142
“We do not behave like a so called classic band. It’s just not in our nature to do that. We have the attitude of a contemporary band, we always have, and we’re not really very interested in doing the nostalgia thing.” it’s quite different. There were tracks where some people don’t play very much on, there’s stuff which wasn’t really played as a band, which was kind of ensemble by people adding takes. It’s less of a “band’s record”. That’s what I meant by “less respectful”. I remember reading Graham saying, about the self-titled album, “I think the mix that Colin made is very poppy. I think it could have been heavier.” I was wondering how difficult and challenging can be that part of the process? The thing about it is that the sound of the self-titled album is the sound of the band. [laughs] There are things done on Nocturnal Koreans... I mean, the drums are unnaturally beefed up with distortion, which is not used at all on the self-titled album. I think Graham is taking a viewpoint which I’ve heard him express before, but I think is people taking it with not a great deal of understanding of actually how the record was approached. The record was approached to sound as much like the band as possible. With Nocturnal Koreans... yeah, it’s
heavier. There’s definitely more distortion going on, in the drums and in the guitars, which makes it sound heavier, but it’s not so true to the way the band actually sounds. Look, we’ve been doing this for a long time and communication can get complicated and doesn’t always happen in the way it should happen. It’s a group of individuals who all have a radically different idea of how something should be. Graham is way more theoretical than me. I try to be practical how I do things. In the end, I can only mix how it makes sense to me that the piece is going to sound best, you know? Do you find that the success of Wire comes from that balance between your approach and Graham’s approach? I think it’s the balance of the four people in [the band], and I think is everybody. Everybody has lot of different opinions in the band regarding what we are and how we go about things. The agreement that we come to is ultimately Wire itself, is something that kind of breaks a lot of rules about how you’re supposed to be. We do not behave like a so called classic band. It’s just not in our nature to do that. We have the attitude of a contemporary band, we always have, and we’re not really very interested in doing the nostalgia thing. Those are the things that we really come together on, as a band. I think it’s in some ways remarkable... This is the longest time that a version of Wire has existed. If you count basically from 2005, which is when we started talking again (Bruce [Gilbert, guitar] left in 2004), and we started seriously working in 2006. That’s ten years, from 2006 to 2016. Wire has never existed for a ten-years-stretch before. It’s not the fact that Bruce isn’t here anymore, it’s the reason why it kind of keeps going. It’s because we have achieved something in these ten years. We’ve come somewhere where a lot of bands of our generation just haven’t... For good and bad. We can’t do the mega comeback tours playing for thousands and thousands of people for huge fees because we’re already here, we can’t comeback. [laughs] We very often get treated like a young band, like a
INTERVIEW // WIRE
contemporary band, in terms of the kind of offers that we get, the kind of things that we’re asked to play, and the places we’re asked to play, which is kind of great. Although a lot of young bands wished they were getting what older bands are getting. It’s an interesting position to be in, but it’s the position that we feel most comfortable in. I’m curious about the meaning behind the mini-album’s title, Nocturnal Koreans. Can you please explain what’s behind it? The part of the lyric refers to an American tour, in 2013, that we did and we stayed in a hotel near Boston that was a kind of hotel where they put people who are on benefits and don’t have... It was like a really nasty hotel. It was just one of those places, the travel agent had booked it and we weren’t going to find another place quick so we kind were stuck with it. It wasn’t dirty or anything, it was just that some of the people there were kind of low life. But amongst the people that were there was a family of Koreans who’d missed their flight and Graham – I’m sure he would explain
it better – just doesn’t sleep very well very often. He was well aware of them marching up and down the corridor having missed their flight. [laughs] “Nocturnal Koreans are walking the halls / They missed their connection / They’re climbing the walls,” I mean that’s literally something that actually happened. I was blissfully unaware of all of this, but I remember the hotel very well. I will never forget it. [laughs] These songs are, for the most part, very short. Did you end up cutting some fat, sort of speak? Yes, a couple of them were edited down. I think “Pilgrim Trade” was edited. I took a verse and a chorus out because it was too long, but that wasn’t something we’d played live so we literally played around it for the structure. “Numbered” is completely... There’s a lot of natural play in it, but that’s not in the way the band played. That’s completely created and you can hear it. It’s kind of meant to sound like that, it’s quite jarring the way it goes between very different styles of music within the same song. I think short tracks are a bit of a
Wire specialty. If you can say all in one minute and thirty seconds, why take three minutes? I remember Rush saying that they improved as songwriters when they decided to aim for shorter songs, and they were of the opinion that is actually harder to write shorter songs as opposed to very long songs. I’m not sure if I agree or not. It depends on how you write. My favorite way of writing is using an acoustic guitar and a set of lyrics in front on me, and the tune tends to end when the lyrics run out. Sometimes it feels there are too many words and very often I’ll... There are songs were I took the first half of the lyric and I made one song and with the second half I made a second song, which is kind of a Newman specialty. [laughs] Actually we’re just preparing new material for the next album, which we will be recording in May, and there was one piece that I looked at and thought there were just too many verses and before I had a chance to say to Graham that I
BONUS FEATURE had made it into two songs he says that we had too much and I would made into two songs... yeah, I had in fact done that. It’s a bit of synchronicity there. I think once you get into a flow, they just kind of come out. I would rather do that, make two pieces, than make one piece and then just remove two verses and two choruses because you’re writing those words and they’re not even getting used. I’ve noticed that from the opening and title track to “Forward Position” you are gradually decreasing the tempo of the songs and then there’s an explosion with “Numbered” that personally I find it spectacular. I was wondering if you were aiming in that direction, to throw a left punch, sort of speak? [laughs] That’s not deliberate, well spotted though. Actually not at all, but that’s kind of interesting. The running order sort of made itself. We had way less discussion about it than we had about the self-titled album. But I quite like the idea of Side 1 kind of graciously slows down in tempo and then speeds up to Side 2... I think that’s great! Maybe it wasn’t conscious, but maybe it is the idea of putting the slower piece at the end of a side is always a sort of bit of a classic one. It was kind of obvious that we needed to finish with “Fishes Bones” so then it would make sense to have “Forward Position” at the end of Side 1. They’re clearly fairly standard thoughts, to be honest. I have no idea how everyone else puts records together, but you try to think about the aesthetic of the people listening and their experience. If that makes for a good experience then we did a good thing. Pop music was always a part of Wire’s musical vocabulary. Sometimes pop gets a bad reputation, but what do you – you had the chance to witness, almost first hand, the entire evolution of pop music – think pop has to offer, perhaps more than any other genre? This is an interesting point. Those words... Rock is a word which almost has no meaning at all. Pop is something that changes its meaning all the time. If you think of pop as 144
being popular music then obviously that doesn’t really amount to very much. If you think of pop as something that gets in the charts, well if you look at the charts nothing that’s in the charts is anything like what Wire sounds like. I think the idea that pop... you define pop in a way which a lot of people define it. You start with kind of 60’s guitar pop and that connects to sort of indie 80’s and 90’s kind of pop. People had various concepts about perfect pop. In many ways pop is a vehicle for production. Whether something by J-Lo or something like that... those are the places where you hear kind of effects and kind of ideas and you hear a producer going all around it. I remember reading something by Paul Morley where he said, “Actually all the innovation goes on in pop not in rock, rock is just reproducing the same thing all the time.” It’s all semantics and you have to be really careful because people do think different things when they hear the word pop and some people just don’t have a positive definition of pop. I personally... if you’re viewing in that way I think that pop is the medium which definitely gets the more attention in terms of what kind of production gets used and the ways that the music is kind of
“There’s definitely more distortion going on, in the drums and in the guitars, which makes it sound heavier, but it’s not so true to the way the band actually sounds.”
put across. But there’s a lot of Wire’s stuff that isn’t really pop, it’s very far from pop. And I think that’s also a good thing. If you back to the 70s the classic single with “Outdoor Miner” on one side and “Practice Makes Perfect” on the other side... There you have, they’re both my tunes. If you get it right is very effective. In a way if you don’t vocal music then you don’t have a good tune, and then second to that you don’t have a good arrangement. Those are the things that are kind of important. If you’re not doing vocal music then it can be abstract. It can be anything you like. It doesn’t matter. For me not everything has to be pop, but I think Wire is quite good at doing it. But on the other side is the furthest thing from pop that you can imagine because we don’t look like pop stars and we’re not a pop group. I mean, actually if you look at pictures from Wire in the 70s, we weren’t a terrible looking band but most of the band are in their 60s now... We don’t really look the part. [laughs] But I kind of like the idea of making music that you don’t really know what it is. Are there any artistic and musical expressions, or even different ways to approach your creativity, that you would like to explore or spend more time in the future? There’s always something. I released a 10” [Analogue Creatures] this year with a project that I have with my wife, Malka Spigel, called Immersion and it’s kind of abstract electronic music. It’s a project that we haven’t work on since the 90s actually. I’m really interested to do more with that now because I like electronic music, I always have, and I think there was a kind of space opening up for that kind of thing and also we figured out a way to do it live, so we can actually play it live without computers and just make something kind of interesting. In terms of Wire I think every album is going to be, and is a different approach. We’re going in the studio in Rockfield with a different kind of consciousness. It will be some more material and it will be whatever it will be. I’m always interested and on the other side... I really like folk music. [laughs] I’ve never done anything
INTERVIEW // WIRE
really with it although there’s much more acoustic guitar in things that I’ve been involved in the last five years than there ever was before. I think in a way is about the collaboration, the people that you are working with and what’s appropriate. In the end Wire’s biggest strength as a band is its ensemble playing and the pieces work out how they work out between us. That’s really the basis of it. How important was and it has been having your own label, Pinkflag? Many people in your position wouldn’t even want to get close to running a label. Let’s be honest, it’s a lot of work. Yeah, but you’re looking from that point of view. You have to look it from the point of view of we’re a band and we could be in a situation where we were signed to a label and making records... If we were making them in the way we are making them now I guess we
would get some money to cover the recording but there would be the issue of how I would get paid for the amount I spent on the production of the records. We would be just another band on the label, not necessarily a priority for the label... It could sort of work, but not really financially. The band doesn’t really makes that much money out of the records and then the touring is the only income. It sort of puts you in a more difficult situation. The way that is setup now the band gets the maximum out from the records, which is a really great thing. That means you’re not wasting efforts. I’ve been running labels since 1993, when Graham and I started swim [label], so I already knew sort of the history of doing it. I was a bit reluctant in the beginning to take on Pinkflag, but it just seemed so logical. I’m pleased that I did it because I think we’ve made it work. It’s quite a lot of work but it’s not as much work as you might imagine because – and that’s one
thing I’ve learned from swim – you pay for services. Basically a lot of the stuff is not done in house. All the promotion is done by other people, we have a distributor, we have designers, and we have people who do things for the service of the records and the music. We can make it work without necessarily having to have an office with staff. You only need that when you got a whole bunch of bands on the label, but there’s only one band on Pinkflag. It’s responsibility more than anything else. That was something that I was able to bring to the band because at some point I knew how to do this. I know how to put a record out. It’s not that hard. It is way easier putting out a Wire record than virtually anything else because you don’t have any problem with selling it. [laughs] NOCTURNAL KOREANS IS OUT NOW VIA PINKFLAG RECORDS
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Featuring: Nothing, Wire, Thrice, Explosions In The Sky, Marissa Nadler, Gates, Modern Baseball, Discharge, Pity Sex, Yuck, Dälek, Beverly,...