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music&riots magazine

FREE | ISSUE 19 | SUMMER

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RUSSIAN CIRCLES Loud, Shining & Colossal

NIGHT SCHOOL KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD EARTH GIRLS NIGHT SCHOOL PIERCE THE VEIL MOCK ORANGE MISERABLE EMAROSA SLØTFACE BAYSIDE CLIQUE

HELLIONS HOPEFUL ANTHEMS OF A DARING BAND

SWANS

Closing A Beautiful Chapter

ISLANDER Change Is Power! HORSEBACK Minimalist Art Form MOOSE BLOOD Heart, Mind & Summer

FIELD MOUSE Corageous & Ferocious CAPSIZE

Cathartic Heaviness

CREATIVE ADULT Intelligent & Inventive 65DAYSOFSTATIC An Unexpected Journey 1


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YOUNG GUNS: ECHOES

New a DESOLAT Anthemic rock from one of the UK’s best young bands.

Augus

“Echoes” out September 16 th weareyoungguns.com music&riots Summer

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HEART-WRENCHING ROCK!

The debut album “I’m Not Well” out on August 19th

album TE DIVINE

st 19th ust

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ROUND UP 10 // TOUCHÉ AMORÉ - The band returns with Stage Four in September. 18 // EVERY TIME I DIE. - The band is back with album number 8. 22 // WARPAINT - “Heads Up”! New album arrives in September. 26 // AGAINST ME! - Everything you need to know about Against Me! new album... WELCOME BACK 16 // MOCK ORANGE - We caught up with guitarist and lead vocalist Ryan Grisham. 28 // EMAROSA - We talked with Bradley about how has been the journey with the band and what 131 is all about. RISING 14 // KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD - We talked with vocalist Stu Mackenzie about the new effort... 20 // FIELD MOUSE - We caught up with frontwoman Rachel Browne to know more about the new LP. 24 // PIERCE THE VEIL - We talked with Vic Fuentes that opened to us how the experience of working on Misadventures really was. INTRODUCING 12 // HIGHSAKITE - Øystein Skar was the one who talked to us all about their new album and much more.... 30 // SLØTFACE - We caught up with the band.

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NEW NOISE // FEATURING: 34 // OCEAN GROVE 36 // NIGHT SCHOOL + Q&A 38 // BIG THIEF 39 // YOUTH MAN 40 // EARTH GIRLS + Q&A 33 // INFINITY GIRL

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DISCHORD RECORDS 24 // 6 Essential releases that you should stream right now!

REVIEWS ALBUMS

104 // Swans, 65daysofstatic, Armed With Books, Architects, Beartooth, Black Foxxes, Blink-182, Cane Hill, Capsize, Columbus, Descendents, Dinosaur Jr., Earth Girls, Exploded View, Field Mouse, Grieving, Hellions, Haley Bonar, Hesitation Wounds, Jackal Onasis, letlive., Melvins, Minden, Mitski, Nails, Pill, Russian Circles, Tesa, The Album Leaf, The Julie Ruin, TTNG, Storm The Sky, Gone Is Gone, Gojira, Happy Diving, Horseback, Islander, The Wounded Kings, Vomitface and loads more...

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LIVE REPORTS

132 // NOS Primavera Sound 2016, The Melvins, Pierce The Veil, Sumac, Sun Kill Moon, Mamiffer.

CINEMA & TV

138 // Stranger Things (Season 1), Mustang, The Nice Guys, Suicide Squad. 6

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CONTENTS

68 // HELLIONS - We had a lengthy chat with guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Matt Gravolin about everything surrounding the band’s fantastic and third album – from a strange connection with Pokémon to the lyrical content that makes this album extremely important.

+ INTERVIEWS 44 // ISLANDER - We talked with the only remaining original member of Islander, Mikey Carvajal (vocalist/lyricist).

48 // 65DAYSOFSTATIC - We spoke to 65days’ guitarist Joe Shrewsbury in order to find out how to soundtrack the limitless.

54 // CAPSIZE - Daniel Wand was kind enough to walk us through the band’s new album – from creating it to its actually meaning and impactful nature. 58 // MOOSE BLOOD - We caught up with guitarist Mark Osborne to know what touring brought to the band and much more.

62 // HORSEBACK - Speaking to mastermind Jenks Miller,

we uncovered the meshing of mental cogs that resulted in this curious musical objet d’art.

76 // MISERABLE - We caught up with Kristina to talk about Miserable’s debut album, Uncontrollable.

80 // CLIQUE - We had the chance to speak with Travis Arter-

burn (Bass) and Tom Anthony (Drums) about the band’s formation and the creative road that became Burden Piece.

84 // CREATIVE ADULT - In a frankly honest chat, we talked with vocalist/songwriter Scott Phillips about fear, life and everything that comes in between.

88 // SWANS - We talked with Michael Gira about The

Glowing Man, the unexpected trilogy, what the present looks like, and the exciting uncertainty of the future.

94 // BAYSIDE - We caught up with frontman Anthony Raneri

to find out more about their new effort and how they dealt with those challenges.

98 // RUSSIAN CIRCLES - We spoke to Brian Cook to discuss Mike Sullivan’s recovery, Bob Dylan and the art of doing whatever the fuck you want.

68 WORDS FROM THE EDITOR

Well, so many things happened in the world since our last issue. Let’s see, the UK voted for Brexit (WTF?), David Cameron resigned, Theresa May is the prime minister of the United Kingdom, Boris is the new UK foreign minister, Donald Trump is the official Republican candidate, Hillary Clinton is going to fight Trump because she’s the “nominee” of the Democratic Party, another bunch of terrorist attacks all over the world, Portugal won Euro 2016 and the world is going crazy for Pokémon Go. In the meantime, Stranger Things is perhaps the most impressive TV show of the year, Suicide Squad sucks big time and we have another awesome new issue. We have the pleasure of having Hellions in our cover story, another ballzy band that are pushing their own boundaries and changing the basic foundations of today’s rock music. But our new issue is again strangely diverse, full with in-depth and inspirational talks and again fully independent. Once again we caught up with Michael Gira about Swans’ amazing new album; we went deep into 65daysofstatic amazing new challenge; we were inside Horseback’s Jenks Miller mind to fully understand their new masterpiece Dead Ringers; we spoke to Brian Cook of Russian Circles to discuss Mike Sullivan’s recovery, Bob Dylan and the art of doing whatever the fuck you want; and we talked with Kristina Esfandiari about Miserable’s debut album. But there’s much more inside this new issue. We were lucky enough to share some time with Capsize, Bayside, Islander, Moose Blood, Field Mouse, Earth Girls, Creative Adult and loads more… It’s Summer, the weather is fucking awesome, the beach is calling us and we deserve some rest. We’ll be back in late September for another awesome issue. Cheers! Your Editor, Fausto Casais

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LISTENING POST

music&riots magazine musicandriots.com

TOUCHÉ AMORÉ Stage Four Epitaph Available on September 16

FREE | ISSUE 19 | SUMMER

EDITOR IN CHIEF

Fausto Casais (fausto@musicandriots.com)

OATHBREAKER Rheia Deathwish Inc. Available on September 30

WOVENHAND Star Treatment Glitterhouse Records Available on September 9

DEPUTY EDITOR

Andreia Alves (andreia@musicandriots.com) Tiago Moreira (tiago@musicandriots.com)

ART EDITOR // DESIGNER Fausto Casais

FEATURES EDITOR Fausto Casais

CONTRIBUTORS // WRITERS

EMMA RUTH RUNDLE Marked For Death Sargent House Available on September 30

JENNY HVAL Blood Bitch Sacred Bones Available on September 30

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, Andi Chamberlain, Justin Kuntz, Eliza Britney Mark McConville, Anastasia Psarra

COVER STORY PHOTOGRAHER Sandra Markovic

PHOTOGRAPHERS

Andreia Alves, Ricardo Almeida, Fabio Filipe

GENERAL INQUIRIES

info@musicandriotsmagazine.com

TRUE WIDOW Avvolgere Relapse Records Available on September 23

ADVERTISING

(fausto@musicandriots.com)

FILM EDITOR

Fausto Casais (fausto@musicandriots.com)

PILL Convenience Mexican Summer Available on August 19

SURVIVE RR7349 Relapse Records Available on September 30

DINOSAUR JR. Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not Jagjaguwar Out Now

HORSEBACK Dead Ringers Relapse Records Available on August 12

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Baroness


TOUCHÉ AMORÉ STAGE FOUR I

S

tage Four is the new album from the Los Angeles band Touché Amoré, and its title is an emblem of a band both living its dream and marred by loss. “I don’t open up to people too much in regular life, but when I’m writing songs, I want to be as open and as honest as possible,” Bolm confesses, but, having surpassed every expectation of which any of the bandmates could have dreamed, he eventually found it difficult to

Christian Cordon

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UPCOMING // TOUCHÉ AMORÉ

É RETURNS WITH IN SEPTEMBER cull lyrical material to satisfy their impressive ascendance. “I feel that on the timeline of a band’s path, it gets really hard with each subsequent record,” Bolm says. “At the point where we started writing Is Survived By, I was in such a good place it was hard to find anything to write about. I hit that wall. I had an awesome girl at home, I wasn’t drowning in debt, I had this band. I’d just turned 30 so I looked at it as writing about who I am, what I can be, how I’ll be remembered after I go and if I’ll make a positive impact. It was basically a big

self-reflection. I wanted to find that middle ground of writing music that’s ‘us’ but not drifting too far to alienate people. We knocked that record out.” Touché albums have always served as an emotional outlet for Bolm. So when the time came to write Stage Four there was no question that it would be about passing of Bolm’s mother in late 2014. Stage Four was recorded in early 2016 in Studio City, CA with producer Brad Wood. “With the fourth record, the pressures are less on you because

you’ve proven yourself,” Bolm says. “If you’ve got enough people on board at this point that are still interested, they’re going to take the ride with you wherever you choose to go. With this record being so heavy, content-wise, I also think it’s our catchiest. I never sang before, so I took a chance with that. I’m so thankful that everybody involved has been so supportive and delicate with the subject matter.” STAGE FOUR ARRIVES ON SEPTEMBER 16 VIA EPITAPH RECORDS

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ROUND UP Korn have announced that their 12th studio album, The Serenity Of Suffering will be released on October 21st. The collection marks the band’s welcome return to Roadrunner Records, who previously released 2010’s KORN III – Remember Who You Are and 2011’s The Path of Totality. Produced by Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Deftones, Mastodon), The Serenity of Suffering also features a special guest appearance from Corey Taylor of Slipknot. People of the North – a.k.a. Kid Millions (Oneida, Man Forever) and Bobby Matador (Oneida) – have announced the release of their new album, The Caul, out on October 14th via Thrill Jockey Records. The Caul was recorded over the course of two days at Potterville International Sound in upstate New York with multi-instrumentalist Jamie Saft (a renowned keyboardist and composer who scored the Oscar-nominated documentary Murderball), who plays on the album’s second track “Surfacing” and “A Real Thing You Can Know”. Blackgaze pioneers, Alcest, announced their fifth album, Kodama – due for a September 30th release via the iconic Prophecy Productions. Kodama marks the French duo’s “ferocious return to the stylistic maximalism of its early albums while continuing the band’s relentless pursuit for new sounds and fresh ideas.” Pixies announced that their sophomore “post-reunion” album, Head Carrier, will be released on September 30 (Pixiesmusic/Play It Again Sam). The 12-track collection of the band’s unique aural mix of surrealism, psychedelia, dissonance and surf rock was produced by Tom Dalgety (Killing Joke, Royal Blood) and recorded at London’s Rak Studios from mid-February through to mid-March this year. In addition, the band – Lovering, rhythm guitarist/vocalist Black Francis and guitarist Joey Santiago – officially welcome bassist Paz Lenchantin to the Pixies’ permanent lineup. 12

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FIERCELY POINTED & POIGNAN

Norway’s Highasakite are back with their brilliantly dark and ethe sophomore album, Camp Echo, where the band goes deep into important political and social issues. Øystein Skar was the one who talked to us all about this fierce new album and much more. Words: Andreia Alves // Photo: Hollie Fernando

Y

our new album is out now, so how has been the feedback so far? Very good, thank you! There has been a lot of nice feedback, both in media and from fans. Exciting times! Seems like people are liking it! Even though you said that it isn’t a political album, the themes on Camp Echo are based on political and social issues, terrorism and the human condition. What led you to approach on such heavy and delicate themes? It’s hard not to be affected by things happening around the globe at the moment, and making music is just our way to approach and cope with these subjects. Camp Echo is one of seven the

detention camps within Guantanamo Bay. Why did you choose that name for the album’s title? I personally like the “echo” word in the album’s title. It’s also the name of a number of summer camps for kids in the United States. Not only the one at Guantanamo. The rest of the story behind it is up to the listeners to make! Camp Echo is much darker and more impactful than its predecessor, your debut album Silent Treatment. What was the process like making this new album? We had a clearer idea for this album, with specific music and idea references that everybody in the band were into. We also knew each other and the producer much better


INTRODUCING // HIGHASAKITE

NT real

o

when we did this record, than the previous one. Besides that, the process was kind of similar.

music as good as possible. Of course, there’s more behind it, but we try to only focus on making the music.

“God Don’t Leave Me” is such a powerful and striking song. What can you tell me about the story behind this one? We don’t like giving away any stories behind the music. The best thing is if the music is experienced as a powerful subjective thing, then the listeners creates their own story.

You worked once again with Kåre Christoffer Vestrheim, who you worked with on your previous album. How did the recording process go this time around? We know each other much better now, so the process was easier. We also started the whole recording process staying with Kåre at his hut in the woods... Without any internet or phone signal. Just improvised for a week on a lot of synthesizers, it was a lot of fun!

Would you say that this album was a cathartic process or more of a way to express your social concerns? Difficult question, I don’t know what to answer... Maybe both, or maybe none of them. When we make music we try to focus only on making our

Overall, how would you describe this album as a whole? Pop, rich, dancy, dark and on the edge.

Your music is so detailed, so how do you convey the studio recordings into the live shows? It’s really hard getting all the details in it, at the same time we don’t want the live shows sounding exactly like the album. We need to rehearse a lot! What do you like the most about being on the road? What records do you listen to together? Seeing new cities, experiencing things together as a band, eating good food and dancing in the tour bus. We listen to Phil Collins, Prodigy, Fever Ray, Die Antwoord, and Toto when we are dancing.

CAMP ECHO IS OUT NOW VIA PROPELLER RECORDINGS

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LOUD, CRUNCHY & COMPLEX...

Nonagon Infinity is King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard new album and there’s no doubt that they released something quite remarkable. We talked with vocalist Stu Mackenzie about the new effort among other things. Words: Andreia Alves // Photo: Lee Vincent Grubb

Y

ou guys seem to be always up for a different challenge with each album released and this is your eighth album in four years. How do you keep up this non-stop energy? Just making new songs and experimenting with recording or songwriting or whatever is kind of the most fun part or the most rewarding part... Actually, at least for me, I grab a tape to try to do as much as possible and playing live too. I think the recording element is the most satisfying to me and kind of level up. You guys don’t attach yourselves to just one musical genre and each release you find new ways to

AEON is Burn After Me’s concept album inspired and based on “La Divina Commedia” by Dante Alighieri, the most famous Italian opera of all time. With this album they convey this masterpiece because music has an extraordinary power to spread the culture beyond our own emotions and we are sure of this. AEON represents the path from damnation to bliss through the three otherworldly realms. You’ll feel a gradual transition of this journey more and more in every song to finally reach the complete redemption. AEON, Burn After Me’s new effort is expected on September 23, stay tuned! Wovenhand have announced their forthcoming new album Star Treatment, which will be available on Sargent House worldwide – excluding

MORE ROUND UP 14

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explore your music and it’s always surprising for the listener. How do you think the band’s dynamic and songwriting have evolved through your musical changes? I think that happens in a natural way like people keep evolving and changing. I think the little things in the early days like the lineup was changing sometimes and we had different people coming in and out playing with us, so it wasn’t always the same and that sort of solidified over the years. Some of the other guys in the band would play some different instruments, like Ambrose is playing all the keyboard parts now as well as harmonica, Eric used to play keyboard and theremin and he just plays drums now... You know, it kind of evolves and changes a little bit,

Summer

but essentially it’s still sort of the same thing. You guys have this awesome carefree attitude and a captivating spontaneity. For this album, was the writing process spontaneous and led by improvisation or was it more thought-out? We had pretty clearly sort in mind with this one and we jammed the songs for quite a while before they actually got recorded and everything. This record was a long process - the longest process that we’ve been through. I read that you wanted to do this LP back in 2014 with your effort I’m In Your Mind Fuzz, but it didn’t work out that way. Why’s that?

Europe, where it will be released by longtime Wovenhand label Glitterhouse Records - on September 9th. Wovenhand’s current lineup includes guitarist Chuck French, bassist Neil Keener (both of Planes Mistaken For Stars) and drummer Ordy Garrison, now joined by piano/synth player Matthew Smith (Crime & The City Solution), and, of course, songwriter/multi-instrumentalist David Eugene Edwards. Star Treatment was recorded at Steve Albini’s legendary Electrical Audio in Chicago with engineer Sanford Parker, who also helmed Wovenhand’s 2014 album Refractory Obdurate.


RISING // KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD

We just kind of ran out of patience with that one. The first five tracks had some related themes, but I think we wrote some songs like pass way through making that record that really felt like they fit really well on the album, but maybe didn’t work with that kind of concept. We had a few other concepts that were tied up to that one that we kind of abandoned that in favor of other things, you know, evolving into a different base. The album’s construction is just brilliant, which each song mutates from one into the next, turning into an infinitely looping album. It basically never ends. What led you to approach these songs that way?

“It’s ethereal in its concept,” Edwards explains. “There are many layers, as always. I’ve been paying attention to the stars in the sky and in literature, and it’s a theme throughout the album.” He adds, “There’s more love song style on this in general, which is nice. The idea of what love is and how it’s expressed and all these different atmospheres.” Relapse Records has announced the signing of King Woman. They have recently recorded their debut full-length, Created In the Image Of Suffering, with engineer Jack Shirley at the Atomic Garden. The album will

It was just a lot of practice and a lot of thinking about how it was going to work. If we wanted, we could play it in one go or it could be one performance or one song. I mean, we recorded it in separated parts because there were some improvise sections in there and little parts that kind of could go in different ways... It was tricky and we had some parts in there that kind of linked up with other parts and referencing different songs. All of it was a lot of thinking. [laughs] What’s the meaning behind the album’s title, Nonagon Infinity? Nonagon is a nine side shape and you got nine songs that are linked into a sort of circle and then you got infinity... It’s just another way of

see a release via Relapse in the Spring of 2017. Vocalist Kristina Esfandiari commented on the signing: “It feels surreal to release our first full-length through such a respectable label with a vast roster we respect so much.” King 810 are set to release their new album, La Petite Mort Or A Conversation With God, via Roadrunner Records on September 16th. Produced by Josh Schroeder, Justyn Pilbrow and KING 810 and recorded in Bay City, MI, La Petite Mort Or A Conversation With God is far from a retread of their acclaimed debut, Memoirs Of A Murderer. This new release, La Petite

making it clear about what’s happening on the record. You guys are currently on tour, so how’s it going and how has been like to convey the studio recordings of the album into the live experience? It’s been really good. This record translates really well live and more easily than Paper Mâché Dream Balloon [2015]. A lot of these songs are being played for a long time, maybe through a year now and they kind of evolved and changed in many ways. We let them evolve and change and we sort of jam for this record. It’s been pretty smooth with this record.

NONAGON INFINITY IS OUT NOW VIA ATO RECORDS

Mort – translating to “The Little Death”– is an inspired body of work that marks a profound evolutionary leap forthe restless, driven souls of KING 810. The title is a reference to the dual themes of the record: Flint’s real life violence and despair which builds the basis of frontman David Gunn’s narrative and secondly, the steady desensitization and terminal shut down of the human spirit that is experienced under those conditions. Entwined around that conceptual core is an omnipresent haze of desperation and dark sexuality that provides the album with some of its most unnerving moments.

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ALT-EMO HEROES RETURN WITH THEIR ALBUM Nº 8

Having been a band for over two decades, Mock Orange are a true cult band. This year they hav returned with a brand new effort, their album number eight, quite impressive, uh? Put the Kid on the Sleepy Horse is their newest venture from an ever-evolving band. We caught up with guitarist and l vocalist Ryan Grisham, here’s the result… Words: Steven Loftin // Photo: Kristen Bickwermert

H

ow is it being back in the motions of releasing a new album after a 5 year gap between this and 2011’s Disguised As Ghosts? It’s very familiar, and new at the same time. I forgot how fast everything moves once the ball is rolling. It’s good though. Keeps us on our toes. Within these 5 years what did you find yourselves doing? Working day jobs. Making that cash to pay those bills. I met an oldschool guy, Mike Lankford. True genius. He built my project studio, taught me a lot about electronics, and traditions of recording. That took the better part of a year...

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Add an extra few months of tweaking things, and getting a workflow down. After that, we hit the writing pretty hard, and started tracking. A good way into the tracking process, the hard drive crashed. That was a huge pain in the ass. But in the end, persistence paid off. It was a crash course in creating a completed record from nothing! Now that I’ve written this, I believe it took 4 of the 5 years to complete this project. Any plans to tour the new record? I think we’ll give it a decent run. These days, I think we can tour smart. Before social media, you got in a van and just drove around for months with absolutely no idea what

to expect. It’s much easier to communicate now, and set “pockets” of shows up. So it only makes sense to try out this theory... You’ve amassed quite a large following in Japan, enough so to have a fair amount of Japan only releases. Do you have any idea where this has stemmed from? We were lucky enough to be invited to Japan to play with NOFX, in 2001. It had been a little while after we were home, when we received an email from The Band Apart asking us to come back to tour with them. They saw us play one of the shows. It was obviously early internet days, so we didn’t know what to think, but after some digging, we knew it


WELCOME BACK // MOCK ORANGE a sampler to have a couple of backing tracks, and segue’s live. But, I’m obsessed with mechanical noise. Analog boxes, distortions, effects, anything that changes or gets weirder over time. Digital is great as a recorder, for editing and mixing, and communicating/promoting yourself. Some plugins are great as well. As far as the amount of information or, music you can access... It makes my head hurt. And it makes me bored very quickly. But to be fair, I’ve also been turned on to things I would’ve never looked for. It’s really potent though, so just a sip for me... Retrospectively, what moments in your career are standout? Hmm. Working with J. Robbins was excellent. He’s the man. The MTV competition was true insight into the bizarre world of television. Meeting The Band Apart was one of the best things, in my opinion, that has ever happened to us. Such insanely talented guys. And our new home, Topshelf Records. We are just starting out with them, but I think Seth and Kevin are very professional, stand up guys. On a relatively similar note, what albums have stood out to you over the past 20 years? Man, there are so many... but: PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake, My Bloody Valentine’s MBV and Loveless, Shellac’s At Action Park, all Nirvana albums, all Radiohead albums, all Braid albums, especially during the Age of Octeen period, Pixies, all albums... I don’t really even go by albums. Any band I would mention, their whole catalog usually floors me.

8.

ve e lead

was legit. We owe all of our success in Japan to those guys. They are family. Over two decades in the industry, please tell as much as you can/ want to about how the changing tides of the music industry have affected your career. Well, when we recorded Nines and Sixes, Pro Tools really just got going. Tape was still king (and still is in my book). That was in 1998. No iPhone, YouTube, Spotify, blah blah... So now, in my opinion, we have an oversaturation problem. And also a nano-attention span. It’s a natural evolution, I think. Totally fine, we (the old guys) have to be on top of things both musically, creatively,

and technologically, to stay relevant and stand out. But stand out to ourselves first, otherwise why do it? I can only speak for myself on that one. But I feel the other guys would agree. I believe that’s why we change so radically between albums, for better or worse! From a business standpoint, we should’ve rode the Nines and Sixes train to the bank year after year. But the spark would not allow that! Ok, done with rant... Let’s just say, I’m glad vinyl is still coveted. How has technology changed your approach and attitude to music, both your own and others? I really like technology right now. I also dislike it. You can abuse anything great. So, it’s super to be able to use

How is it being signed to Topshelf Records compared to past labels? As I said earlier, it’s still new. But even so, it’s the best label we’ve been on. They are real. It makes me want to work harder. It makes a huge difference when you feel like someone genuinely gives a shit, and has your back. What does the future hold for Mock Orange? It’s hard to say. I believe we will record albums as long as someone out there wants to hear them. Hell, I already have another musical shift in mind for the next one! I think we’ll go until we don’t... I try not to think about the future too much.

PUT THE KID ON THE SLEEPY HORSE IS OUT NOW VIA TOPSHELF RECORDS

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GET READY FOR LUKE ROBERTS’ NEW ALBUM, SUNLIT CROSS T

Andrea Behrends

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his October 14th sees the release of Sunlit Cross (via Thrill Jockey), the new album from Nashville-based Luke Roberts. Recorded at Ronniejone$ound with Kyle Spence (who, in addition to recording tracks for Kurt Vile’s B’lieve I’m Goin Down, also drums with Vile and Harvey Milk). Spence and Roberts worked extensively on arrangements and instrumentation resulting in the most sonically rich record of Roberts’ career. Kurt Vile, with whom Luke had toured, added backing vocals and banjo on the track “Silver Chain.” In addition to Vile, other collaborators include John Neff (Drive-By Truckers) on pedal steel and Creston Spiers (Harvey Milk) on viola, guitar, and piano.


ROUND UP

EVERY TIME I DIE ARE BACK WITH ALBUM NUMBER 8 B

uffalo, NY metallic hardcore outfit Every Time I Die have unveiled details about their forthcoming brand new album. Low Teens is due to be released on September 23rd via Epitaph. “The whole winter, the temperature was in the low teens. Utterly freezing,” says Every Time I Die’s frontman Keith Buckley regarding the months that yielded their eighth full-length album. The icy backdrop of Buffalo underscores a winter of dramatic change. Most notably, the band was on tour in Toronto in December when Keith received a phone call that his wife was in the hospital with a life-threatening pregnancy complication. It was a harrowing night as Buckley left the tour and raced home to overwhelming uncertainty. “I was facing death, not in a symbolic sort of ‘cyclical change’ metaphor but literally,” says Buckley with his token literary-minded self-awareness. “If I lost my wife, I would have to raise my daughter for her. If I lost my daughter, my wife and I would be forced to try and cope. But if I lost them both my life would end and I would see to it. Once I knew that in my heart it became the only certainty I had, and that was a relief.” Both wife and daughter survived the ordeal, but the moment of crisis had a lasting impact on Buckley and an inevitable role in shaping the lyrical scope of Low Teens. Low Teens’ razor-sharp sound and auditory barbarism was also abetted by engineer and producer Will Putney (Acacia Strain, Body Count, Exhumed). “Will had a hunger we found exciting. He was willing to do whatever it took to make this record which included coming to Buffalo and working in a strange studio. If he was willing to step out of his comfort zone, so were we. And I definitely don’t mean to disparage any other producer we’ve had but I have never in my life heard so many incredible ideas for an Every Time I Die record come from one man.” Low Teens’ guest vocalists further demonstrate these polarized extremes, with Tim Singer (Deadguy, Kiss It Goodbye, No Escape) roaring alongside Buckley on opening track “Fear and Trembling” and longtime friend Brendan Urie (Panic! at the Disco) providing a melodic counterpoint on “It Remembers”. Joshua Halling

LOW TEENS ARRIVES ON SEPTEMBER 23 VIA EPITAPH RECORDS

EMMA RUTH RUNDLE IS BACK WITH MARKED FOR DEATH Singer/songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle has announced her sophomore

Gus Black

solo album, Marked For Death, which will be released on September 30th on Sargent House. The album mines feelings of loss, defeat, heartache and self-destructiveness and emerges as Emma Ruth Rundle’s most honest and compelling accomplishment to date. A more adventurous production than her solo debut Some Heavy Ocean (2014, Sargent House), the eight compositions on Marked for Death, helmed by engineer/co-producer Sonny DiPerri, emphasize dynamics and vocal melodies, variable tuning, and a dense layering and texturing of guitars.

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CORAGEOUS & FEROCIOUS After going through some taxing experiences over the last years, Field Mouse are back with a new album, Episodic, which shows a much daring and ferocious side of the band and we just love it. We caught up with frontwoman Rachel Browne to know more about it. Words: Andreia Alves // Photo: Shervin Lainez

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ast time we talked back in 2014, you were moving to Philadelphia from New York. How have been these couple of years in Philly for you? I’ve loved living here. It feels like home, which New York never did for me. Your previous album Hold Still Life was majorly inspired by your life experiences in New York. The new album Episodic feels like a portrayal of what you’ve been through these last few years. What did inspire you this time around? I wrote it over the course of about a year, and it’s really just snippets of those experiences. It was a particularly rough year, though. One of my (younger) sisters was diagnosed

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with breast cancer out of the blue, about two weeks after our other sister and I got back from a ton of touring. Alongside that, which became all-consuming, my relationship that had not been working out deteriorated rapidly and painfully. So I just wrote a lot, and the album is what came of it. Naming this album as Episodic is really accurate, because the songs are about parts or events of your life. How was it like your creative process to develop these new songs? We named it Episodic for both that reason and because of television. Andrew and I both use TV to help alleviate anxiety, and we both doubled down on it during this time period. You and Andrew have always done things by yourselves and this is the first album that you wrote as a full

band. How was it like the experience and what did each member bring different to the core of your songwriting process? We wrote the core elements using the same process - Andrew or I would write something and bring it to the other, and the other would expand upon it. Then we’d take it to the band. Usually Andrew writes drum and bass parts/ideas for Tim and Saysha to mess around with. Zoë played synth and came up with some really cool parts, plus she wrote and sang harmonies. It was a great time. Your sister Zoë is now part of the band as well, which is a great addition to the band’s dynamics. How did she get involved with the band? I love being in a band with her.


RISING // FIELD MOUSE

She had just graduated college and wasn’t totally sure what her next step was going to be, and we wanted a fifth member who could sing and play keys and guitar. She is classically trained at piano and is just wonderful to play with. She is so easy going on tour that it kind of calms me down whenever I start to feel too stressed out. Your music feels angrier, more direct and with a great amount of powerful tunes. Working on this new album must have been a cathartic and liberating process for you. How do you see this new album as a whole now that it’s about to be released? I do think it ended up sounding angrier, and in retrospect, I definitely was. It was definitely a cathartic writing and recording

experience. I think - as objectively as I can - that it does sound like a few stories from someone’s shitty year, with all the ups and downs included. You had really awesome guest musicians for this album - Sadie Dupuis, Allison Crutchfield and Joseph D’Agostino. How did those collaborations come to be? Those three people are close friends of mine, and were all around Philadelphia while we were recording. I am thrilled that they wanted to bring anything to the album. I love the songs they worked on so much. They’re all amazing talents and equally great friends. Episodic was recorded in Philadelphia with Joe Reinhart. How did go the recording process with him? Joe Reinhart is the best. I cannot say

that enough. It was the best time I’ve ever had recording. He brought some really important ideas to the table and he did it in the most effortless, even-tempered way. He has a great sense of humor and that comes through in everything he does. In September you will hit the road with Cymbals Eat Guitars. Any plans for a European tour anytime soon? I sure hope so! We’ve still never been. What have you been listening to lately? Forth Wanderers’ Tough Love, Courtney Barnett, Pinegrove, Tancred, Downtown Boys, Pinkwash, Swanning, all the old favorites too - Stereolab all summer every summer.

EPISODIC IS OUT NOW VIA TOPSHELF RECORDS

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ARE YOU READY FOR MONO’S REQUIEM FOR HELL? POSTROCK LEGENDS ARE BACK WITH ALBUM Nº 9 22

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UP UPCOMING ROUND // LETLIVE.

“HEADS UP”! WARPAINT’S NEW ALBUM ARRIVES IN SEPTEMBER

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arpaint have announced the release of their third studio album, Heads Up, which will be out September 23rd via Rough Trade Records. “The doors were a little more open in terms of what was accepted and what wasn’t, because we were sharing ideas so rapidly between us” says the band drummer Stella Mozgawa of the recording process. Heads Up was recorded after the band spent 2015 apart working on solo projects. Reuniting in January this year, the band started to work with producer Jacob Bercovici, whom they had worked on their debut EP Exquisite Corpse – into the studio to begin work on the new LP. “Everybody was allowed to have their space, time and creative freedom with songs and figure out, ‘I wonder what the best notes would be? I wonder what the best would be to play?” says bassist Jenny Lee Linberg. The album was recorded in House on The Hill studio in downtown LA, their home studios and Papap’s Palace and for the first time ever, recorded in pairs and alone rather than as a full band. “Everybody got to sit and go, “What do I want to do to this? What’s my part? What’s my role? How can I make it the best? I feel really proud of what we made – almost surprised,” says Linberg. “When we were making it, I was like “I wonder what this is going to sound like? How’s this going to come together so nicely? I feel so proud of it, and its like an evolution of our band, It sounds like a mature version of Warpaint.” In the meantime Warpaint released the first single, “New Song” and announced that they will be touring the UK/Europe in October/November 2016, which will include a headline slot at the Simple Things festival in Bristol on October 22nd. Mia Kirby

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apanese post-rock legends Mono have announced the release of their ninth studio album and follow-up to 2014’s The Last Dawn / Rays of Darkness. Requiem For Hell is due to be released on October 14th via Pelagic Records in Europe. The five songs that comprise Requiem For Hell were written entirely by guitarist Takaakira ‘Taka’ Goto. Goto comments on the new record: “This album is a series of songs from a flood

HEADS UP ARRIVES ON SEPTEMBER 23rd VIA ROUGH TRADE RECORDS

of inspirations in 2015. After writing song after song and giving them titles, we stumbled upon Dante’s Divine Comedy and the story struck a chord with us. Divine Comedy’s story about travelling down to Hell, through to purgatory, then from Heaven to reality, turned out to be the same theme. This is when we decided to use Gustave Dóre’s illustration from Divine Comedy’s last scene as the main cover.” “Our long-time friend Jeremy (the owner of our American label Temporary Residence) recently had his first-born, named Ely”, comments

Goto. “Jeremy had been sending us photos and her heartbeats from long before she was born. When Ely was born, we decided to dedicate one of our songs to her, with hopes of her listening to it when she is grown up, and decided to use her heartbeats as an intro on Ely’s Heartbeat” Goto explains. The album was produced, recorded and mixed by Steve Albini at Electrical Audio in Chicago, and mastered by Bob Weston. Albini has worked with band three times previously, and just last year, his band Shellac embarked upon their first tour of Japan in 23 years, co-headlining with Mono.

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THE CHARMING RISE OF PIERCE THE VEIL

Everything takes time and Pierce The Veil had to take their time to deliver the best and most cohes record to date, excelling themselves and learning from that. We talked with frontman Vic Fuentes t opened to us how the experience of working on Misadventures really was. Words: Andreia Alves // Photo: Jonathan Weiner

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aking Misadventures was a long and taxing process for you guys and some mishaps happened along the way. Can you tell us how went down that process from when it started to when it was finished? It was kind of a journey. We took a normal recording time like 2 to 3 months just to do that and we ended up for 5 months just doing all the music. We set out in the beginning to make a really good sounding rock record, because we had a great producer Dan Korneff, we had a lot of experience of making albums and we felt like we could make a really good sounding record. That’s what we set out to do and there’s been a lot of time doing that with all the guitar sounds and that was super fun. Once all that was done, we tracked the vocals and I felt like we had been in the studio already for too long to finish the record, so we ended up going on a

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couple of tours right in the middle of recording and we did Warped Tour right in the middle of recording our album. It started to feel like it needed to happen, that we needed to get out of there because we were getting tired of being inside of the same studio for so long. It was nice to see our fans again and to play shows and it kind of reminded us of the reason why we do all this, so it was cool to get out for a little bit and do that. After the tour was done, I had to finish all the lyrics and I kind of wanted to do the exact opposite of what I was doing, so I wanted to travel... I went to all different kinds of Airbnbs, different houses and different places. I describe it like I was sort of searching for the songs and waiting for something to really mean a lot to me and inspires me. I worked with a lot of cool ideas and I needed a few more songs. I actually took a flight up to Seattle just by myself and I finished the album there. It was such a wild

journey that we didn’t expect to happen, but we just sort of wrote it on and we did what we had to do to reach our goal. After you guys finished the music, the rest of the guys went back to San Diego and you went through a sort of writer’s block and you kind of isolated yourself in Dan’s studio for three months to write your lyrics. How was your approach for it to overcome the lack of inspiration? I felt like I didn’t have this belief at the moment. I mean, I had a few songs that I wrote and I felt really strong about, but I didn’t have the whole record... I felt like these songs had to mean a lot to me and I felt like it didn’t have the story to tell. Instead of just making up random stuff, I wanted this record to be true and so I basically just kept writing and working in different places, living in different cities and places and it kind of makes you think


RiSING // PIERCE THE VEIL his life into it as we did and that’s what we always think of having a producer who cares as much about the project as we do and that’s really rare to find. Working with Dan was really cool and it was situated in Long Island, where there’s not a lot around and there’s not much to do because of the work on the record which is very nice. We would take trips, I had a car and I would drive around and explore the area. We would take trips together, sometimes like to the beach and there’s some beautiful areas around there. It’s always a great experience working with him. What led you to pick up the word Misadventures to be the album’s title? I think that word describes the process of making the record and I think it describes our lives in the last four years since we put out our last record. A lot of great tours, a lot of crazy stories and good and bad things that happened, everything that kind of surrounded us over those last years making this record and kind of went into misadventures. I think each of these albums become a time capsule that just captures our lives at that time and we will be able to look back and remember the good and bad things that happened just listening to the album.

sive that

differently and think about different things in your mind in different ways. It just felt like something I had to do to make it all work. I kind of just describe it like actors do a big movie and they adapt things and take on the role and they become best at it, it was sort of like that. I just felt really close to the album and it really became the best on it because I really cared about it a lot. It all felt like it all had a meaning to it, you know? Dan Korneff recorded once again the album, who also co-produced previous album, Collide with the Sky, and you guys went to his studio in Long Island. How was that like this time around? Working with Dan is always great. This is a new studio that he built with his own hands from the ground up. He was always there with us very hardworking, he put as much of

The first song you guys unveiled from this record was “The Divine Zero” in 2015. Why that song and what’s its meaning to you? We needed to have a song out and we really wanted to have a song out when we started Warped Tour. We had this song that was pretty much done and we decided to put it out because it was one of my favorite songs on the record and it felt like it would be the perfect song to play that summer and it was kind of aggressive and fun. It felt like the perfect song to put out and I think our fans were really hungry for new music and so we decided to put that out early. The meaning behind it is a relatable topic of feeling like you have a lot to offer to the world, but not really knowing how to express yourself yet. I think a lot of young people can relate to that feeling of knowing that they can do so much, but they’re still finding a way through to show it to the world. I think of myself that way a lot of the time when I feel like “I can do so much, but how do I show you?” That was the idea behind “The Divine Zero”.

The track “Circles” was inspired by the horrible events that occurred in Paris last November. You guys had played at the Bataclan before as well. What were your thoughts back then when you heard about what happened? It hit the whole world really hard and it hit musicians in a certain way because it involved music and what we do. We stand up on a stage everyday, I go to shows all the time and I just think about it really hit close to home to a lot of our fans, especially since we played in that venue too. It was really scary. It was something that we all learned to overcome, but I think the thing that touched me the most was caring about the fans that were in that show and trying to help each other. The bravery and love that people showed to each other was what I wanted to focus on, so I wrote the song about two friends that are helping each other out of that situation and tried to put a bit of positive feeling on the thing and make it more about love than anything. Personally and professionally, what did you take from the experience of working on Misadventures? I think we’ve learned a lot about ourselves as a band. With every record we’ve learned different ways that we excel and things like in the studio we had to write new songs from scratch just from thin air. We wrote the last two tracks while we were in the studio and it was a crazy experience because we’ve never tried to do that. We learned a lot about ourselves, we learned that we’re not just a kind of band that just jams in a circle and comes up with the songs, we have to have a little bit more of a structure presented on the table and that’s where we really excel together. We put our heads together when we have something to work on. We learned little things like that and so I think that helps you grow stronger as a band. Personally, I learned a lot of deeper things, you know? I definitely learned on this record that too much isolation is a little too much on your mind and I think I probably spent almost like a year just alone doing this record like writing, going on trips and living in cabins and houses. It’s not healthy and it doesn’t always help. I learned not to push myself too far because you have to appreciate the time you have with your friends and stuff like that as well.

MISADVENTURES IS OUT NOW VIA SPINEFARM RECORDS

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6 ESSENTIAL DISCHORD RECORDS RELEASES THAT YOU SHOULD STREAM RIGHT NOW Dischord Records, the legendary Washington, D.C.-based independent record label, co-owned by Ian MacKaye and Jeff Nelson and founded back in 1980, has now joined Bandcamp. Highly important and influential albums like e Minor Threat‘s Out of Step, Rites of Spring‘s End on End, Fugazi‘s Repeater, and many more are now available for stream.

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ROUND UP

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT AGAINST ME! NEW ALBUM Against Me! have announced the release of their highly-anticipated forthcoming new album, Shape Shift With Me, out on September 16th via Xtra Mile Recordings. This is follow-up to the 2014’s album Transgender Dysphoria Blues. Recorded, mixed and engineered by Marc Jacob Hudson (Taking Back Sunday, Saves The Day) at Rancho Recordo, Shape Shift With Me is Against Me!’s seventh full-length album. “Tonnes of people have written about love. But while love is cliché, it’s infinitely relevant,” Grace says. “For me, having always been in a punk band that was expected to be political, I never felt like I had that option to write about feelings in that way. That’s what I ended up being drawn to this time. It’s writing in a way I thought I could never write before, and not giving a shit about expectations.” As such, Shape Shift With Me is a loose concept album about travelling the world and falling in and out of love, with Grace serving as the narrator. “Is there a record that is about relationships from a trans perspective?” she asks rhetorically. “There needs to be more records about trans rights and everything like that, but feeling like I already did that, I wanted to move on to write commentary on living from a trans perspective. I wanted to write the transgender response to the Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main St., Liz Phair’s Exile In Guyville and The Streets’ A Grand Don’t Come For Free. All those records are relationship records. There’s been an infinite amount of records talking about what love means from a cisgender perspective. I wanted to present the trans perspective on sex, love and heartbreak.” With Grace’s new motivation came a new outlook on the band as well. Previous albums found the songwriting process to be a largely solitary experience, but she embraced the spirit of collaboration for Shape Shift With Me – so much so that when Cody Votolato of The Blood Brothers sent her some demos of songs he was working on for another project, she became inspired and ended up co-writing “Boyfriend” and “Norse Truth”, two of the album’s most memorable tracks, with him. “It was just about opening up to whatever comes my way karmically,” Grace says. “Whatever everyone in the band is willing to offer, I just wanted to be open to it. I didn’t want it to be like what it was in the past where it may have felt closed. I want it to be different.” “While I’ve always wanted the moon and the stars, I have a certain amount of humbleness,” she admits. “I just want to play shows and make records and write songs. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do. Of course I always want the biggest and best things for those shows and records and songs, but when it comes down to it, I just love doing it. I have no other ambitions or career goals.” Jason Thrasher

SHAPE SHIFT WITH ME ARRIVES ON SEPTEMBER 16 VIA XTRA MILE RECORDINGS

RITES OF SPRING End On End (1985)

MINOR THREAT The First Demo Tape (1981)

FUGAZI Repeater + 3 Songs (1990)

JAWBOX S/T (1996)

LUNGFISH The Unanimous Hour (1999)

SCREAM Fumble (1989)

The very own emo foundations lay here. Another game changing effort, enough said...

Ian MacKaye, Lyle Preslar, Brian Baker, and Jeff Nelson formed Minor Threat and history was made.

This is Fugazi’s first album and perhaps one of the most important game changing releases of all time.

This was Jawbox’s fourth and final full-length. The perfect crossover between alt-rock post-punk-HXC.

Post-hardcore will never sound like this. Poetic, detailed and pure inspirational and highly influential.

Fumble is their fifth and final studio album and also the first having Dave Grohl finger on it.

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SOULFUL, EMOTIONAL & PUNCHY

Emarosa recently released their fourth album, 131, and it’s the second one with Bradley Walden as the frontman. We talked with Bradley about how has been the journey with the band and what 131 is all about. Words: Andreia Alves // Photo: Ashley Osborn

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his is the second album you release with Emarosa. The first one was

2014’s album Versus and back then it was a bit stressful for you due the fact you were the new vocalist. How was it like this time around for you? It was amazing! It was so much fun and there was less stress. I just felt like we really finally connected as musicians and we knew what we wanted to do, so going in and executing it was so simple and it just kind of poured out of us. By now you got used to perform the band’s older songs and got involved in the new stuff. What was the most challenging thing for you when you joined the band that it’s not a problem anymore? Having to perform the old songs was kind of annoying because I couldn’t

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really connect with them emotionally and I’m a very emotional performer and that was rough, but thankfully we don’t actually play those songs anymore and so I don’t have to worry about it. [laughs] We stopped playing songs from Relativity [2008] and the self-titled [2010] probably last year. We decided that those records had their time and it was time to move on, so it’s been great just performing songs that I know I’m emotionally attached to and put my all into. This is also the first album to feature Matthew Marcellus as a permanent member of the band (guitarist) - he’s been touring with you guys since 2014. Why did you decide now to get him on board? He has been touring with us for a while. He and ER [White, guitarist] had some guitar parts ideas together and it started to feel normal and

right for him to be on the band. It was just time to bring him in and I’m glad he contributed to the record, like the song “Miracle” he was a huge part of that. In which way do you think you guys evolved your sound during the process of creating this new album? I don’t know if there’s one specific thing... We just kind of decided to write the record that we wanted to write and we went out on a lime. We brought in a choir, we did some cool vocal programming stuff and just things that the band have never done before. We wanted to think outside of our own box and anything that we thought would be interesting to try or that we wanted to try, we did it! There were no reservations, we literally took the record and made it exactly what we wanted and there was no like “Are people gonna like


WELCOME BACK // EMAROSA to kind of end the record with a summary. The title “Re:” can be interpreted like to go back to the beginning. It’s such a cool way to represent the whole record and it ends the way the record starts. Something I really love about it is that it brings the record full circle and it shows it in a much more destroyed nature, which is kind of a reflection of what happens going through all the emotions that are on the record. You’ve already released two music videos for “Cloud 9” and “Miracle” and both were done by Megan Thompson and they seem to have this connection with the storyline. What can you tell me more about those videos? Yeah! We filmed the part three already and I’m not sure how much longer it will go, but I would do more. For now there’s this storyline with “Cloud 9” and “Miracle” and the next video, and you can see the character mentally deteriorating and kind of losing his mind.

this?” or “Will this sell?” It was just like “Hey, this would be very fun to do! Let’s do this!” and that was it. What subjects or references did you dwell on while writing 131? Personally, I went through a lot of loss and I went through a lot of self-reflection when I started writing, and I think those things are very relatable. Everybody has wondered what they are, what they’re doing. Everybody has stuff that lost and I think in that way it could be a great record to help someone to do something or maybe help someone wake up and realize the air of their ways, you know? Who knows, music does crazy things for a lot of people. For me personally, it’s definitely a lot about loss and self-reflection. Each song has this huge emotional

depth and there’s this one in particular, “Never”, that is really amazing, which has some female vocalist singing with you. What can you tell me more about this song? That’s actually my fiancée Meeko. She is singing on the song and it’s a song that I kind of wrote for us. It’s an emotional song and I think people can make their own interpretations to the song, but ultimately, it’s like saying “You’re safe. Everything is going to be ok, just accept it.” A lot of people like to create problems that aren’t there out of fear and it’s just saying that you don’t have to do that. The album ends with the track “Re:” which is an interesting title for a song. What’s the story behind this one? With this song, we wanted to incorporate every song into it just

This new album was produced by Casey Bates (Portugal The Man, Chiodos, Pierce The Veil) and the production is really neat. What did he bring to the Emarosa’s sound? I think he just did a phenomenal job. He knew what he wanted and we knew what we wanted and it just lined perfectly. He helped shape the songs and ideas that we had in a way that we didn’t see and that’s part of the collaboration and that’s part of the team. That’s why you pick a specific producer because they see something that you may not see and they have a vision. Casey has a lot of tricks, a lot of ideas and a lot of heart. He puts those things into his records and I think that he and I both agree that we made something special with this record. Why name the album 131? 131 is a number that kind of followed us around... Like I said, there’s a lot of loss and death themes around the record and 131 is my birthday and it’s also the address where we recorded the album. It’s a number that really surrounded the record and the record really named itself, the number just kept following the record around and still to this day I see the number all the time.

131 IS OUT NOW VIA HOPELESS RECORDS

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MORE ROUND UP Following his acclaimed debut Whelm, London-based singer-songwriter and pianist Douglas Dare returns with his sophomore album Aforger on October 14th. “The album title plays with the idea of a forger – someone creating imitations or copies, and reimagines them as the creator of something that’s no longer real” he explains. “Prior to writing the record, I came out to my father and came out of a long relationship, both were hugely challenging for me and questioned my idea of identity and reality. These thoughts leaked out into the record and formed the core of Aforger. I was determined not to write a break-up album or repeat what I’d done before.” Aforger was mixed at the iconic Abbey Road Studios and produced by long-time collaborator Fabian Prynn. Blackpool’s Boston Manor have announced their highly anticipated debut album. Be Nothing will be released on September 30th via Pure Noise Records. Boston Manor’s debut effort was produced by Neil Kennedy (Milk Teeth, Creeper, More Than Life) and mixed by Kyle Black (New Found Glory, Set Your Goals, All Time Low). Dallas’ trio True Widow have announced the release of their fourth album, Avvolgere, out on September 23 via Relapse Records. The band recorded Avvolgere with Matt Pence, who recorded their 2013 release, Circumambulation, at his Echo Lab studio in Argyle, Tex. earlier this year. Los Angeles post-punk quintet Sex Stains have announced their debut self-titled record, set for release September 2nd on Don Giovanni Records. The album was recorded with producer Mark Rains (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Alice Bag, Death Valley Girls, Miya Folick) at Station House Studio. Oathbreaker have announced their best and most groundbreaking album yet, Rheia, which will be released September 30th on Deathwish Inc. Engineered, mixed, and mastered by Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Loma Prieta), Rheia sees Oathbreaker carving a new path for their sound.

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BLISTERING PUNK WITH A MESSAGE Four young people from Norway that have important messages to pass on and their music is their way to bring up those concerns for everyone to be aware of. We caught up with Sløtface that shared with us their thoughts about society nowadays and much more. Words: Andreia Alves

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irst of all, why did you change your name previously known as Slutface to Sløtface? Either way, both names are awesome. Halvard: Due to social media censorship, we had been shut out of certain opportunities as a band, so we wanted to try and sneak by these old fashioned views and kind of “trick the internet” by changing that one letter. We have in no way changed our political and feminist message, we just hope to reach more people with our lyrics and message. Also, we like the connection to our Nordic roots. It basically means the same thing over here, or anywhere really. Tell us a little bit about yourselves and how you started this band. Haley: We’re 4 people between 19 and 22 years old. We like to think of ourselves as pretty nice despite what most people think due to our name. Study wise, only one of us studied music in high school, the rest of us chose the more boring path of regular studies. We’re all studying this fall, and since we’re all pretty different people, it varies from Molecular Biology studies, to Economy, and Music science. We had all played in a bunch of different

bands in our teens and knew each other from the various constellations, but none of them really stuck. In 2012 me and Tor-Arne then wrote a few songs we wanted to record demos for, so the four of us kind of picked the most fun people to play with, started playing together, and it worked out really well, so we kept doing it. Musically, you blend these fierce punk tunes with pop sensibilities. What were your main references while shaping your sound? Haley: In the beginning, we all had different inspirations, but we could all agree on the ironic cleverness of lots of brit-pop and indie rock like the Wombats, Arctic Monkeys and the Smiths, so these bands shaped a lot of our early stuff. Also, we all really like good strong pop songs like the kind our Swedish neighbours make, like Robyn and Veronica Maggio, so we wanted to combine those things to make music you can sing along to and mosh to. Your music is fearless and straight to the point, something to praise for in the nowadays music industry, really guys. How do you usually approach your songwriting process?


INTRODUCING // SLØTFACE gender. They are supposed to be a clear voice saying that gender should never be a limitation for what you want to do. “Kill ‘Em With Kindness” and “Sponge State” are more about the apathy and passive attitude our generation has about a lot of things. “Sponge State” is about encouraging people to go out in the world and make change, not just sit around and be nostalgic about previous generations’ versions of social changes. While “Kill ‘Em With Kindness” is about our unhealthy obsession with failure and how it seems much easier for people to criticize than create. Some of our next stuff is a lot more fun and simple, but we wanted our first release to give a very clear picture of some issues we think are important.

Halvard: Well, every song has its own way of coming together. But usually there’s someone in the band - often Lasse (bass) or Tor-Arne (guitar) that presents an idea or demo. Maybe then we jam on it a little while, and if everybody feels it, we start making some kind of sketch or structure, with an intro, and verses and so on. Haley writes all of the lyrics, so she might be working on those, listening in while the rest of us jam, and then we finish up a structure and Haley finalises the melody and lyrics over it. Your new EP Sponge State is just neat and brave. All the four tracks have an important message and nothing there is by chance. Can you tell us a little bit about those songs and their particular messages? Haley: The songs on the Sponge State EP are from two different sessions. We wanted our first proper release to be a bit of a manifesto to what things are important to us, so the songs have all pretty serious and heavy messages. The main themes are feminism and apathy. “Get My Own” and “Shave My Head” are very clear feminist songs about us wanting people to have room to take the space they deserve regardless of

The video for the song “Sponge State” has such an impactful statement. A friend of yours told you about Natur og Ungdom protests against Nordic Mining in Førde, which he was going to join them. Then you guys went there and played a gig for them joining their cause, which resulted in this music video. How was the experience to shoot the video? Halvard: It was a really spontaneous project, without any planning really. The film “crew” was just us four and a friend with a camera. Luckily the protesters were really nice and helpful, which made things a lot easier. We wouldn’t have been able to pull it off in such a short time without their help. The actual shoot was freezing and we hadn’t slept for more than a couple of hours the night before, because of the long drive, but I guess it was fine. Since the protesters had been there for weeks we didn’t really feel like complaining a lot about the nasty weather. [laughs] We played the song as many times as we could before our fingers turned blue and we weren’t able to hold our instruments anymore. Our instruments also got their fair share of water and dirt during the shoot so there was a lot of cleaning up to do when we came back home, but it was definitely worth it! Regarding that song, Haley said that “It is about the fact that making the world a better place isn’t about sharing a post or tweeting... real change comes about by doing things and being an active participant.” We couldn’t agree more with that.

What do you think people need to start doing to become more active on major causes? Tor-Arne: It seems like there’s some kind of nostalgia to the 70s. “It would be so cool to protest in the 70s and be a part of that movement” is like saying “It would be so cool to play in a band in the 90s” and then not doing it. Why not? It’s the same thing it was back then, as it is today. People are still active on major causes, protesting and caring about politics, human rights, and what’s going on around them. All of that didn’t die in the 70s. So yes, people that want to become the change they would like to see in the world should really just become more active. But we mean, if you’re not interested you’re not interested. And that’s okay as well. With everything shitty that happens in our world/society nowadays, it’s really amazing to have bands like you guys around making a statement with your music. What drives you the most about making music? Tor-Arne: That’s a tough one. We’ve played in bands growing up, so it’s kind of like playing soccer or doing ballet or whatever. We’ve done it since we were kids, and in our hometown it was somewhat organized by adult musicians and performers. Our friends and family are supportive, so that helps. Also, it’s important to express lyrically and emotionally what it’s like being a teenager from a female perspective in 2016. To play gigs, according to our punk and hardcore heroes from our home country is an ongoing drive when touring. Are you currently working on new material for another EP or a possible full length? We must say that this EP was too short for our appetite, it just made us want more songs. Halvard: [Laughs] We need to make the crowd hungry for more you know. We have an EP of 4 new singles which is already done and will be released throughout this fall. But yes, we are also working on an album. This summer we’re recording our debut album, which is all that’s on our mind right now. It will be released spring next year.

SPONGE STATE IS OUT NOW VIA PROPELLER RECORDINGS

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STRANGE MIX

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NEW NOISE HEY! WE’RE NEW HERE, PLEASED TO MEET YOU...

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OCEAN GROVE

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he sound of explosive youthful talent and the right amount of 90’s nu-metal nostalgia affair. Ocean Grove are not just another band, they are a collective, a powerful art form and for sure one of the most refreshing acts around. From Melbourne, Australia, Ocean Grove is the perfect prototype of what the modern rock sounds like, they operate on

WHERE? Melbourne (Australia) WHO? Luke Holmes, Jimmy Hall, Matthew Henley, Dale Tanner, Sam Bassal, Matthew Kopp RELEASE: Black Label (Sublime Vol.) EP (Out now on UNFD) FILE UNDER: Limp Bizkit, Hellions, Stray From The Path their own terms, they’re not afraid to experiment, flashback the best of 90’s nu-metal, they’re completely comfortable being called weirdos and for them creating art is limitless and with no such thing as boundaries. Innovators and full of creative freedom, Ocean Grove have signed this year with UNFD - once again proving that they’re changing the basic rules of how to be a label

nowadays – released their new EP, Black Label (Sublime Vol). By the way, they also released The Rhapsody Manifesto, which means something like this: “Seek the ANTITHESIS. In any art form we engage with, there is a need for inventive thinking that goes against uninspired standards.” Excited? You should be.

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WHERE? Oakland (USA) WHO? Lexy Morte, Baylie Jimenez & Cheyenne Avant RELEASE: Blush LP (Out now on Graveface Records) FILE UNDER: Weezer, Best Coast, The Shirelles

FUZZY, NOSTALGIC & DREAMY Night School is a new band formed by Lexy Morte (ex-Whirr, Camera Shy) along with Baylie Jimenez and Cheyenne Avant. The trio mix the best of 60’s melodies and 90’s indie rock vibe with melancholic feelings. Lexy told us all about the band and their debut album, Blush. Words: Andreia Alves // Photo: Travis Shinn

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ou were formerly on Whirr, then you formed Camera Shy with Nick Bassett and now you’re on Night School. What led you to form Night School? I loved both of those other projects I was in, but I wanted another outlet where I was doing most of the writing instead of just vocals. What did you want to bring to Night School that you didn’t have the chance on the other bands? I wanted to incorporate a more 60’s sound for Night School that the other bands didn’t have. Your music is like a nostalgic daydream where you pick the best of the 60’s surf rock and 90’s indie rock. What were your main

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inspirations while crafting your music? Thank you! For this record my main inspirations were the Beach Boys and 90’s era Weezer. I’ve always loved 3 and 4 part harmonies and the Beach Boys did it best in my opinion, I wanted to recreate something like that sound they have. The production of Blush, as far as guitar tone and overall sound, was very inspired by Pinkerton. The dynamic trio guitar, bass, and drums just flow really well on your band and that’s something that really stands out in your music. How do you usually approach the songwriting as a band? For the songs that I write I usually come up with all the parts and then show the song to Baylie and she adds

drums, Cheyenne and I sometimes collaborate on bass lines as well. As for Baylie’s songs, she’ll have the basics of the song written out and I’ll contribute with vocal harmonies and guitar leads. Blush is a short but great album with bittersweet ballads and dreamy tunes. Tell me a little bit about the process of working for your debut album. The songs on Blush were written over the span of a couple years. Some written by myself or Baylie on our own, and some were more of a band collaboration. We didn’t intentionally create an album of emotional love songs. [laughs] It just somehow ended up that way. We’re very happy with how this record turned out.


HOT NEW BAND // NIGHT SCHOOL

The album ends with “Pink”, a beautiful piano-based instrumental song, which is something different from the whole album’s sound, but still it fits its mood, nostalgic and dreamy. How did you come up with this song? I’ve been playing piano since I was a little kid, took piano lessons for years and all that. I love writing piano pieces and wanted to find a way to incorporate that into the record as well. The Cardigans record Gran Turismo has a beautiful distant sounding piano song at the end and I always thought that was a cool idea. You released a music video for the track “Last Disaster”, which must had been really fun to shoot it. What can you tell me about how was it like the shooting

experience and the story behind this song? It was so much fun to shoot! It was a really hot day, but we had a great time anyway. We’re always just joking around together so it seemed appropriate to make a silly video. Nick Schuller directed it and did an awesome job. What song off the album stands out the most for you and why? “Airplanes” is probably my favorite song. I think it has a different vibe than all the other songs on the record and I like that. It can be easy to get stuck in writing songs that are all a similar style, it felt good to write a song that got away from my usual style a bit. The album’s artwork is really

sweet, who’s that little girl on it? Thanks! That’s our friend Jessica’s daughter, Luci, she does all of our artwork. We loved that picture of her daughter and thought it was perfect for the record’s cover. What are your upcoming tour plans for this summer? We are joining the Graveface Records Roadshow for their west coast dates and are super excited about it! What have you been listening to lately? I’ve been listening to a lot of Sunny Day Real Estate, Jeff Buckley and Madonna. All the old Madonna hits.

BLUSH IS OUT NOW VIA GRAVEFACE RECORDS

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BIG THIEF

WHERE? Brooklyn (USA) WHO? Adrianne Lenker, Buck Meek, James Krivchenia, Max Oleartchik RELEASE: Masterpiece LP (Out now on Saddle Creek) FILE UNDER: Sharon van Etten, Courtney Barnett, Torres

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ig Thief are a four piece band from Brooklyn and led by the striking and engaging songwriter Adrianne Lenker. The band, which includes Buck Meek on guitar, Max Oleartchik on bass, and James Krivchenia on drums, create compelling and nostalgic folk rock tunes, where Lenker’s lyrical storytelling is as much

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autobiographical as it is surreal. The group signed to Saddle Creek and recently released their amazing debut album, Masterpiece. In Lenker words, the record tracks “the masterpiece of existence, which is always folding into itself, people attempting to connect, to both shake themselves awake and to shake off the numbness of certain points in their life. The interpretations might be impressionistic or surrealistic, but they’re grounded in simple things.”


NEW NOISE

YOUTH MAN

WHERE? Birmingham (UK) WHO? Kaila Whyte, Miles Cocker, Marcus Perks RELEASE: Wax EP (Out now on Venn) FILE UNDER: Marmozets, Milk Teeth, The Adventures

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outh Man are probably one of the most exciting punk bands to emerge from the UK lately. Hailing from Birmingham, the trio consisted of Kaila Whyte, Miles Cocker and Marcus Perks create frenetic and heavy punk tunes. Their unique and raw sound drives their energy into explosive punk anthems.

The band recently released a new EP titled Wax on VENN Records and it was recorded live in just one session. About the recording sessions, they said that “With Wax we wanted to make a record that properly captured our live sound. We wrote the tracks in between tours last year and playing them live felt good for us... They’re night time songs. We wrote them at night and play them at night and you can hear that on the songs.” Freaking awesome, uh?

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WONDER POWER TRIO Earth Girls are one of those bands that you shouldn’t totally let get unnoticed. Based in Chicago, the trio creates such raw and infectious power pop tunes that are perfect for these sunny, dreamy days. Guitarist/vocalist Liz Panella talked with us about the band and their first album, Wanderlust. Words: Andreia Alves // Photo: Peter Nelsen

T

ell us a little bit about Earth Girls and how you got together to form

the band. Joey and I first played in a band together in 2011, right after I moved back to Chicago from Boston. Right before the move my old band Libyans played a show in Chicago and when I told some friends that I was moving back, we agreed to form a band on the spot. That band was called Embarrassed Teens and was comprised of me and Joey plus two other friends. Embarrassed Teens didn’t last long - I think we only played two shows - but it was really fun so a few months later Joey and I decided to start up again in the same style Embarrassed Teens had been playing. The initial lineup of Earth Girls was me on vocals and

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guitar, Joey on bass, and Jeff Rice on drums. This lineup played together for a little over two years and recorded the demo and the first seven inch on Grave Mistake and Drunken Sailor. When Jeff left the band, Joey switched to drums and we quickly recorded the second seven inch (released by Dirt Cult) and the LP. Wanderlust was actually written entirely in 2014, but recording and production delays pushed its release back several times. Earth Girls has had quite a few different people play bass and second guitar, so the core of the band is really me and Joey. Although I write all the music, he always helps me arrange and polish the songs. As a songwriter, it’s really nice to have someone you can trust to bounce ideas off of and reign in bad ideas.

Joey really keeps me in check! Dumb question! Why name the band Earth Girls? There’s no good answer to this question; we just liked the sound of it! Funny enough, I never actually saw the movie Earth Girls Are Easy until long after we started the band! Your music is just so damn catchy and raw and you combine perfectly sharp garage-rock with power pop melodies. What were your main references while shaping your sound? Although we did have a couple of bands in mind as points of reference when we started, I’ve never tried to write songs according to the blueprint of another band or songwriter. I come from a musical family and


HOT NEW BAND // EARTH GIRLS You’re about to release your first album, Wanderlust. All songs just go really well together with these vibrant tunes. How was it like the whole process of putting it together? For most of 2013 and 2014, the band practiced a lot. Sometimes four or five times a week. I tried really hard to capture all the creative energy we were expending into a cohesive package. I spent many, many hours writing and rewriting the songs on the record. The music took about a year to write, but I always like to do the lyrics for a release at the same time. It took me about a month to write all the lyrics right before we recorded.

WHERE? Chicago (USA) WHO? Liz Panella, Joey Kappel, Antonio Holguin III RELEASE: Wanderlust LP (Out on August 12 on Grave Mistake Records) FILE UNDER: Tacocat, The Babies, Dilly Dally

from a very young age I’ve been a ravenous consumer of pop music. My mom raised me on British Invasion and I probably knew the words to every Beatles song by the time I was 8 years old. I also spent most of my childhood in Rockford, IL, home of Cheap Trick, so I was exposed to that sort of power pop very young as well. As a teenager in the late 90s I was really involved in the local music scene in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin - Promise Ring, Smoking Popes, bands like that. Also around that time I discovered Chris Knox and Flying Nun Records, which has been a huge influence on my songwriting. And of course I love British punk and post-punk from the 70’s and 80’s - the Adverts and Dolly Mixture being my absolute favorites.

Liz, what inspires you the most while writing your lyrics, especially for Wanderlust? I have a very stream of consciousness lyric writing process. I almost never sit down with a specific topic in mind when I write a song. Generally, a phrase or two will pop into my head based on the melody of the song and I’ll just keep writing as much as I can on that theme and then edit it all together. Sometimes songs have a very obvious meaning that I’m not even aware of until they’re finished, which I think is very cool. I also really love the idea that a writer doesn’t have complete control over what they write. I think that leaves a lot of space for the listener to create their own emotional and intellectual interpretation of a song. I just love the album’s cover art! When was it taken and by whom? Our friend Peter brought his camera to a show we played at Bric a Brac Records in Chicago and we spent the whole evening taking goofy photos inside and outside the store. The cover was taken outside the store. The mural in the background has since been painted over, I believe. What does Wanderlust represent to you guys? For me, it’s basically a personal journal of trying to figure out how to make the best out of life. I spent my 20s doing everything I was supposed to do - college, grad school, internships, getting a “real job” ad nauseum but in the end I felt totally screwed over by my own expectations of what adult life is supposed to be. So I guess the album represents feeling out of place and experimenting with how to stop that feeling. It’s

not necessarily a literal Wanderlust. I didn’t leave my hometown during the whole period described by the record. For us, this record is just perfect for these summer days. What do you love the most about this season? Or do you prefer another? I live in a place with extreme weather - very cold winter and very hot and humid summer - and I love the different mental states that I associate with different seasons. Winter is the time to be introspective and process all the shit in your head, and summer is the time to socialize and make new friends and have new and fresh experiences. I love summer because it forces me to get out of the old routine and create a new “normal” if only temporarily. What’s next for you guys after releasing your album? I’m going to do a solo tour of the east coast and midwest US in late August because Joey is working in Japan right now and it doesn’t feel right playing with another drummer. When he gets back we’re going to do as much touring as we possible can, hopefully Japan, US, and Europe. What do you love the most about playing live and being on the road? Definitely meeting new people and getting away from daily routine. I have a huge problem with doing the same thing every day, so getting out of town on the road is always very refreshing. What records or bands are you really into lately? My current favorite band is Vacation out of Cincinnati. Their records are perfect fuzzy pop on speed and their live shows are even better. They’ve been touring a lot lately so everyone should definitely go check them out if you haven’t already. Any new bands from Chicago that we should check out? Chicago is definitely blossoming right now. I feel like every week I hear another great new demo. The most recent new band I saw was Porno Glows, which I highly recommend. The Bug have been around for a couple of years, but they definitely put on the best live show in the city right now.

WANDERLUST ARRIVES ON AUGUST 12 VIA GRAVE MISTAKE RECORDS

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NEW NOISE

INFINITY CRUSH

WHERE? Maryland (USA) WHO? Caroline White and Derrick Brandon RELEASE: Warmth Equation LP (Out on September 30 on Joy Void Recordings) FILE UNDER: Angel Olsen, Ray, Elvis Depressedly

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nfinity Crush started as Caroline White’s bedroom pop solo project, which evolved into something much bigger now. Formed in Maryland, White’s has influenced much of her style in part by the abundant, yet desolate nature that constantly surrounds her, leading to create melodic and atmospheric dreamy pop tunes.

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Recently signed to Joy Void Recordings roster, Infinity Crush will release a new album, titled Warmth Equation. It features contributions from Sam Ray (Teen Suicide, Ricky Eat Acid) as well as newly Infinity Crush member Derrick Brandon. Brandon’s contribuitions on guitar and keys simply complement White’s melodies. Warmth Equation is a collection of twelve short songs that work toward interpreting loss and grief through different lenses.


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On their second album, the Greenville, South Carolina metal/punk/hardcore outfit Islander were forced to face a situation that most bands only encounter after many years of activity. They’ve changed 75% of the lineup and managed to don’t skip or miss a single beat. We talked with the only remaining original member of Islander, Mikey Carvajal (vocalist/lyricist), to know more about these changes and what’s behind their new beast that goes by the name of Power Under Control.

CHANGE IS POWER! Words: Tiago Moreira // Photos: Dustin Smith

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was supposed to be and that’s the same thing with our fans. We’ve been calling them family forever because that’s what they are for us. We hate the “fans”. They are our friends and our family. I think that’s the main way the Dominican culture influenced me. Other than that... we don’t play reggae music. [laughs] As far as growing up in South Carolina, we had a lot of hardcore bands and we had a good scene for a while. Also because Atlanta, Georgia is pretty close to there and so we were getting bands like Norma Jean, The Chariot, and stuff like that as well. Lot of stuff to be influenced by.

I

would like to start by talking about your roots. Your family is from the Dominican Republic and you grew up in Greenville, South Carolina. How did that shape you as a person and consequently as an artist? My dad... it’s his side of the family that is Dominican. I think a lot of it just gave me culture as far as the idea of family being so close. Our family is so tight. I think bringing that idea into the music industry, into the scene of rock ‘n’ roll... that’s kind where it influenced me with that. I saw how family it

If we look to titles alone – 2014’s Violence and Destruction and 2016’s Power Under Control – we can sense a strong change and I would even dare to say maturation. Would you agree with it and was it even something you were aiming for? Violence and Destruction was never supposed to be like a violent title – even though it’s called Violence and Destruction. It was based off of a story in the bible, in the book of Jeremiah where he was just saying that every time that he opens his mouth he’s warning people about the destruction and all the violence in the world, and he’s just telling everybody about Jesus and they just look to him like he was the household joke because of it. But he says that if he held it inside of him then burns in his bones like fire and so he must speak. It was never supposed to be hardcore and violent. It was supposed to honestly be just another way of saying that we are sharing love and truth even though people don’t want to hear it. Power Under Control is the idea that we are born with all this youthfulness and wildness and we just grow up wanting to do our own thing.... it’s like a horse, or a stallion. You put a saddle on a stallion, you teach him how to turn left and right, you teach him how to be obedient. I feel like once we live our lives on love, and God, and the reason that we were created, I believe that our power is like the power of the horse, it’s not less powerful, but now it’s under control and can be used for good things. It’s not spread out all over the place, it’s directed. There’s a line on the opening track that goes, “Violence and destruction is my favorite game.”

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It seems almost like you’re making an effort to connect the dots sort of speak. Would it be fair to say so? Yeah, absolutely. Both albums are concept albums – the new album even more so. That’s not supposed to be me speaking in the song, it is supposed to be this character that I made up. The whole album is a story line, it kind of follows their struggle with wanting to do whatever they want to do, like on the song “Darkness”. They’re just kind of saying, “I’m gonna be who I want to be, and I’m gonna do what I want,” but throughout the album they find that it might not be the best way to live their lives. [laughs] It’s just a conceptual album with several different characters that I play throughout the album. How is that process for you, to write in the perspective of another person, a character? It’s difficult, and the reason it’s so difficult is because a lot people listen to music, I don’t think they see it as an art form as much as it is. I was scared that they were just going to listen to it and think that was me sharing my views and beliefs instead of me writing the story and playing the different parts. I was scared that they were going to think that I believe in darkness, or I’m into darkness, or whatever, like that song talks about. But actually I’m playing a character and that’s the way I wrote it. It’s hard to play a character in a song just out of fear that people are going to misunderstand you. Some songwriters use characters to tell a story, but some of the content is biographical. Does that happen with you? Not so much. This album, I definitely have the same views as where the character ends up on the album because that’s kind of the message of the album, but as far on this album, I just try to stick to the story instead of letting myself deep in there too much. What does that bring to you... writing in the perspective of a character? A new sense of perspective? Yeah, absolutely. Honestly... even using like the song “Darkness” as an example, it brings a lot of pain and heartbreak just from writing from that perspective just because you start realizing that a lot of the world might be the way that character is and you start to realize maybe how

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much pain and hurt that character lives with every day. And how many people live with that hurt and that pain... It’s pretty heartbreaking, actually. It affects me in that way, just to write from the perspective of somebody who is caught up in his own life, in his own self, instead of being sacrificial. A lot of lineup changes happened for this album. How did J.R. Bareis (Love and Death), Zeke Vasquez (ex-ForeverAtLast), and Arin Ilejay (ex-Avenged Sevenfold) end up on Islander? Oh, we were just friends. We had toured in the past, with different bands. J.R. was the guitar tech of Korn, me and Arin we met at Mayhem festival, and me and Zeke we met... he was a fan of our band, actually. He came out to see us live and he was in another band at the time, but we had made some changes in the band and in the lineup and... yeah, this is what it is. We were like, “Dude, let’s keep this thing going. Let’s keep playing.” So, everybody jumped in the band and we already had a good thing going that everybody believed in. It worked out. I must confess that I find it extremely impressive how Islander changed 75% of its lineup and not only maintained the level of quality that was set with your debut album, but even manage to increase it. You being the unifying element of it all, how did you manage to pull it all together and be able to perfectly include the three new members on your voyage? You know, truthfully... I don’t know. [laughs] When you say it that way, I really think back on it and I’m like, “Wow, nothing of this was me.” I feel like God put this band together. I don’t remember how it happened in that sense. I never planned on being able to keep it going or anything. [laughs] It was just... it happened. [laughs]

“It’s hard to play a character in a song just out of fear that people are going to misunderstand you.”

I’m really curious about J.R.’s input on this album. I remember watching an interview of Love and Death where Head was talking how he had to convince J.R., because J.R. was a little bit unsure of himself, to start writing his own stuff. What was his input on this album? You know, he actually was still unsure about writing his own stuff on this album. It was something he was nervous about, but I think he proved himself. We just sat down in a room together – that’s how we write music - and we just start jamming. But J.R., yeah he was nervous going into it from that perspective. But I feel he did amazing. He nailed it. You’ve said “We would not move on to the next song until we were finished with the song we were working on”. This can be in its own way problematic, because you can find yourself in a kind of a dead end without any actual good idea on how to push it forward. How did you manage to avoid those creative “traps”? I think a lot of it is... we felt the pressure because we had to get the album done in like a certain time limit. We didn’t have a lot of money and stuff like that to work with, so we were kind of just forcing ourselves and pressuring ourselves into finishing the album within a week and a half. We just spent an extra time with it and... I don’t know. We’re artists. We never had like a super crazy road block with it. [laughs] We knew where we wanted the story to go and... it worked out. There’s a moment on the “Better Day” where you seem to use the Auto-Tune vocal processor just like Kanye West did on his album 808s & Heartbreak. Is that a reference or just something you thought it would be cool on the song? Oh, just something we thought it would be cool. It’s not really Auto-Tune. What we actually did was to slow the track down, the vocal track. We were listening to a lot of hip hop, like Tyler The Creator, A$AP Rocky, and we were just trying to figure out something dope to do right there to sound kind of hip hop and that’s what we came up with. What did you want to convey lyrically with “All We Need”? That’s the part of the album where the character is letting the other character know that, “Hey, I appreciate you playing bad guy and say what you wanted


INTERVIEW // ISLANDER

to say but don’t tell us what to do anymore. This is me and my crew and we are gonna live our lives how we want to.” It’s that same character from “Darkness” saying, “You know what? You can just stop talking because we’re going to do what we want anyway.” That’s the character that’s being portrayed in “All We Need”. Can we talk about the lyrics on “Beelzebub”? Yeah, absolutely. That same character that we were just discussing, in “Beelzebub” that character starts realizing that the world that we live in is ran by evil and they’ve been made them fool this whole time. They start noticing and saying, “I see what’s going on. I see behind this false portrayal of what’s been going on in the world.” And they’re just saying out loud. On “Beelzebub” there’s a line that goes like, “They want to take my guns away and take me to a place where I can feel safe. (…) But they worship Beelzebub.” Who is the character specifically speaking about here? It was kind of talking about the powers that be, whether be

government or whatever. Saying like, “These people say they want to take guns away and they want to do all these things the world a better place but they worship Satan. So, what are they talking about?” [laughs] So, the character is talking about gun control. The character is talking about gun control at that moment, but they’re using it to say, “You guys say that you want to take this world and you want to make it a better place where people aren’t dying, but yet you worship and follow the rules of evil.” It’s saying basically that they don’t really want me to feel safe. [laughs] Just showing that there’s a double standard. I’m curious to know how you managed to not freak out with touring with P.O.D. and even receive public praise from Sonny Sandoval. I mean, P.O.D. was the first band back when you were in 8th grade and your brother begged you to go to the show - that managed to blew you away. You got it absolutely right. It was an amazing experience to see them live for the first time and over the years I just became friends with those guys and they were a major

influence on my personal life – not just musically. I guess I manage to not freak out because we were already friends, but at the same time I did nerd out a little bit. I found myself on tour with my favorite band from being a kid... who wouldn’t be excited? For when a collaboration with Josh Scogin (former Norma Jean, former The Chariot, ’68)? I know you’re... ok, I know you’re a fanboy of Josh’s work. [laughs] How would you know that... What are you talking about? How would you know that? I read. [laughs] You read... gotcha ya. [laughs] I’m friends with him. We’ve actually talked about doing a track together someday, but I don’t know when it will happen, or if it will happen... but hopefully someday. I love his band ’68... Such an underrated band. Yeah, they’re very underrated. Josh has been underrated for a long time. But yeah, we’ll see. Maybe someday we’ll work together.

POWER UNDER CONTROL IS OUT NOW ON VICTORY RECORDS

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An Unexpect Infinity is a useful mathematical concept but in practice, it’s a much trickier proposition - how is it possible to envision something that, by definition, has no beginning and no end? Instead, it’s usually lumped in place of things so vast that humans would have trouble comprehending but in the case of No Man’s Sky, the forthcoming explore-‘em-up from Hello Games, and the accompanying soundtrack Music For An Infinite Universe from Sheffield instrumentalists 65daysofstatic, both definitions can find some footing. For a game that has a longer lifespan than the universe (depending on who you ask), the accompanying music would have to be equally awe-inspiring and nebulous, and that is exactly what has been delivered. We spoke to 65days’ guitarist Joe Shrewsbury in order to find out how to soundtrack the limitless.

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ted Journey Words: Dave Bowes // Photos: Danny Payne

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H

ow did you end up working with the development team for No Man’s Sky? I believe that they initially just wanted to use one of your songs for the trailer. That’s right; it came totally out of the blue. We were on tour somewhere in Europe and we got a bunch of emails saying they wanted to license the thing, but there was something about the way they presented it to us that was quite intriguing so we chased it up, which we wouldn’t always do with a license like that; for a piece of music, you just check that it’s not being used for something that you find abhorrent and then you just move on, but there was something about it we found quite intriguing. We emailed them back and said, “Of course you can use the music but what are you doing here?” They sent us back a bunch of screenshots of a really early rendering of what the game looks like now and described it to us. We were trying to play it pretty cool but privately we thought we had to work on this. We had to try and see if they had anyone and crowbar our way in, convince them that we were the right people to do this. Luckily for us, they were having a similar conversation. Sean (Murray, managing director) from Hello Games had been playing 65days’ back catalogue in their weekly meetings. At the end of each week, they’d be watching a bunch of squares, triangles and circles moving around this universe they were building that was unfinished and he was using our music to keep the atmosphere of the game alive and keep the team feeling positive about it. So that whole part of it came really easily because when we finally met up, both parties wanted the same thing. How much was given to you after you agreed to work on it as far as concept art and the bare bones of the game? Nothing, really - we saw some gameplay that wasn’t available to the public, but we were only ever two or three weeks ahead of what was released into the public domain. I think they very consciously

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left us to our own devices; they didn’t use what they were building as a mechanism to influence what we were writing. I like to think that was a conscious decision, given that we had to rely on what we imagined the game was like and what we imagined we were soundtracking, so that’s quite a useful exercise in itself. I think it’s much better than having loops of gameplay in front of you on a screen and trying to score them in a more traditional way. It was more a thought experiment in that “Okay, they’re making this game, we’ve seen the artwork, we’ve seen what the aesthetic is – how can we bring something unique, something that only 65days could bring to the table to alter and enhance how this game is going to be?” rather than “Okay, we need to back off on the band that we are and act like composers. We need to score this game in a more traditional way.” We were left to our own creative devices in a much greater extent. Very difficult, though, not to see something like that because there’s a lot of pressure. Did you have any say in how the music was implemented within the game? We knew they were going to use the compositions for these ‘event moments’ in the game, but we didn’t know what those events were going to be. We sort of knew - we imagined what those moments were going to be so we wrote some music that we thought might fit into these various elements of the gameplay, but we knew that we had to write the record and there would be this whole other element of the work which was to begin working with the audio director, Paul Weir, who has designed the software for the audio engine of the game. We had to hold these two ideas in our heads – on one hand, we wanted a cohesive body of work that fit into an album or double-album form, we wanted that to be recognisably accessible for those that weren’t interested in the game at all and we wanted the music on it to be at least related to what 65days has created in the past, but at the same time we knew after we’d done that, recorded and mixed it, we would be going back into various studios and our studio and we would be essentially using that music as a jump-off for a much bigger library of audio that didn’t behave in the same way compositionally, that could be fed into the game in much smaller pieces, but would

have this resonance which echoes the textures on the album. We wrote for a year, recorded and put these two albums together, and then moved to another year’s worth of work which has only recently finished and is possibly not going to finish, even after the game comes out, because they’re now talking about continuing to add music and raw audio for the game’s release because you can do that with these sorts of things. Based on the little information you were given, what were your impressions of how you wanted this to sound as far as tone and instrumentation? What we realised was that No Man’s Sky has that element of classic 70’s paperback sci-fi covers in there – that classic era of sci-fi design. Our jump-off was not to make something that might be equally as 70’s – bombastic, even proggy – because that’s not really what we’re about. It was to try and subvert that though we were definitely coming from a much more Kubrick angle, like the way that he uses that piece of Ligetti’s symphony in 2001: A Space Odyssey. I think we wanted to bring something much darker, and much sadder, to the game. We felt there was scope for that from the little direction we had that we were being asked to interpret in whatever way we see fit, so we definitely tried to steer away from strings and bombast, and head for much more visceral stuff – like, whacked-out sonic textures that suggested science rather than space in itself. It was more a question of suggesting the scope of the game. We didn’t want to use too many obvious band sounds; we were looking for a cohesive sound that transcended all of those individual elements. There is some guitar on there that sounds quite guitar-y, but for the most part it’s all a combination. We did a lot of work feeding guitars and synths through the same guitar rigs in recording so that the gap between the two instruments was non-existent – they sort of became a different sound when the two things were playing at the same time so they blurred into each other. Where did the idea to have a double-album of Soundscapes and Music For An Infinite Universe come about? The nature of the project meant that there was a lot of material and because we concentrated both on


INTERVIEW // 65DAYSOFSTATIC

“... it doesn’t matter how complex any of this is in terms of technology. If your end project has no soul, no-one’s going to care that it’s groundbreaking. That was something that we kept in our heads” making compositions that worked in album form, but also on material that was going to be able to be applied to many different instances. What we found was that approximately a third of the work, compositionally, had more obvious end points and middle points – I hesitate to use the words ‘verse, chorus and verse’ – but you had these recognisable moments that built the momentum to a peak then gave way to something was perhaps more hummable, or more like a hook. We were working in a paradigm that we’re more used to working in, but the game gave us this license to also do stuff that was coming from a more sound-design discipline and was inherently more minimal, that relied on less aspects to do more, but also lasted for longer without changing. It was more based on repetition. Those two sides of the work were fairly indistinct

because we didn’t know ‘til quite a long way through the process which of those pieces we were going to push on to the album and which of them we were going to back off and just use in the game, because we worked on them all to such a degree they just felt like the same body of work. I find it difficult to listen to one without the other because they were all done at the same time so they all come from the same place. We needed a method of articulating to people what it was we were releasing, but we couldn’t release a two-hour album - I don’t really like that, I think that an album’s nicer at a 45 or 50-minute length, it’s much easier to digest and it feels like a journey. I think instrumental music makes more sense if you put it in an album form. It might be a form that is becoming more obsolete, but it’s certainly one that we’re used to working with. So we had the album,

that was about 50 minutes long, and then we had this extra hour of music which is harder to explain what it is, but I think that works as a piece. It was just trying to adjust this to everything that we’ve done and present it in a way that was useful. You’ve said that your touchstones for this were things like 2001, but as far as video game soundtracks are there any that you hold in high regard, or that perform their role particularly well? I can think of things that I like, but I don’t think are the same as this project, other than that the procedural nature of this has a slightly different slant. We consciously didn’t come at the project by comparing or thinking too much about what had been done before in video games. I know that Eno did a generative game quite early on, I think in the last 10 years, that we certainly

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“We worked six days a week, we put the hours in, we just wanted to bring our most grown-up and professional creative game to the game and really do it justice.”

checked out and I think that’s a really great example of granular procedurality, but that was only a method of educating yourself as to what conversation you were a part of and where you might want to take things. Knowing what Paul Weir was working on with the software, we knew there was scope to do something that was more compelling, musically; that was able to go through more moods from calm ambience to more ballistic stuff with rhythm. Knitting together time signatures and keys and rhythmic stuff with procedural techniques has traditionally been the stumbling block, whereas people like Paul Weir are starting to find ways to make software that can handle that and still produce something that’s cohesive and compelling. Really, it doesn’t matter how complex any of this is in terms of technology. If your end project has no soul, no-one’s going to care that it’s groundbreaking. That was something that we kept in our heads. One of the most interesting things about the game is that it is procedurally generated, making its

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content almost infinite. I believe that it would take 500 million years to experience everything in it? Was that epic scale in your mind at any point? The scale of the game is absolutely key to how it works as a creative entity. It is huge. I got to play it recently and I hadn’t had access to it for perhaps six months prior to that and it really is amazing. I don’t play games, I’m too busy being in a band and making music and making sure that that is kept going so it’s not my idea of relaxation. I’m not super in-touch with what’s happening but playing that, you really can move across this environment which is huge and ultimately, you’re not going to play this game for 500 million years. You’re going to play it for x amount of hours and so the music doesn’t have to provide 500 million years of audio, it just has to be responsive in a way that’s exciting while you’re in it. But writing it was completely about that scale and also about soundtracking the moments in the game where you do go from these very widescreen, large vistas to much smaller, more human environments and I think that’s what the game

does – it goes from one-to-one scale of humanity to this huge scale and fulfilling the needs of that movement musically was key. I don’t know if we pulled it off, but we tried. Obviously they are both very different beasts, but how did you find this experience in comparison to the work you did on Silent Running? They’re really different projects. The thing about Silent Running is that we were really fed up with the same old tour-write a record-argue with incompetent label-tour model of doing things. We were at this sort of ten-year crossroads in the band’s existence and we knew we had to push the band into something new because we wanted to do it for another ten years, and we’re not the same people we were when we started the band. Creatively, we felt that we had to be challenged more. We weren’t getting offered soundtrack work and we didn’t know how to break into it, and so Silent Running was just a way of proving that we could do it to ourselves and finding a mechanism to create to. You are soundtracking to something


INTERVIEW // 65DAYSOFSTATIC

that’s already been edited. A lot of the time it already has music which you are undermining or superseding and there’s no dialogue between you and someone who is making a film, so it’s quite a rigid thing to do. In that sense it’s really quite a singular undertaking and it’s not one with a lot of precedent. That was a really successful and interesting project for us for a lot of reasons, not least that we were working outside of being with a label and we ended up crowdfunding a recording and vinyl release of that soundtrack, which we never planned to do at the start. That was just based on the response to the live shows. I guess No Man’s Sky was equally singular, but for completely different reasons. It was, at the time, a big idea from a small independent game’s company and we were a small instrumental band but even then, when we signed up to do the soundtrack, there was a level of excitement about the game that made it, by far, one of the most important things we’d ever been involved in. Since then, it’s gone to Sony - it’s going to be a very big game, no matter what happens to our record

so we tried to be as totally professional as we could. We worked six days a week, we put the hours in, we just wanted to bring our most grown-up and professional creative game to the game and really do it justice. We took Silent Running no less seriously, but it was this weird art project that we did in an attic in 2012. It set us up for No Man’s Sky in really useful ways in that became apparent later, but I think that’s true of every project that you do. Writing and recording No Man’s Sky and then working with the audio software has again moved us forwards to another jumping-off point and I think the game, and software and using repetition and loops and programming in that way, will inform what we do next, whatever that might be. How are you feeling about playing this material live? Oh, unbelievably excited to play this live. The project has been fantastic and very rewarding. It’s also been very frustrating, very scary and it’s taken twice as long as we expected to have this music out. We finished writing a lot of this over a year ago and there’s absolutely no issue about

that, it’s just the nature of working on something of this size, but we are a band who are used to writing music and putting out when we feel like it so this has been a real test of our patience. We haven’t toured properly for a good while now and we are a band that started to play live and it’s something that we miss doing. Actually, interpreting the two albums to live, which is what we’re doing this summer, is going to be really interesting. Certainly the bits that lend themselves to the live show are going to be amongst the most exciting things we’re going to get to play live on an evening, so I think a lot of the first half of the first record really complements the material from the last record, Wild Light, which is again some of our favourite stuff to play live. We’re really lucky as a band or in a good place in that we’re feeling healthier and better at what we do. Rather than running out of ideas, we feel like we’re doing our best work now and I think that’s really important. It only ever gets more exciting to play that stuff live.

NO MAN’S SKY: MUSIC FOR AN INFINITE UNIVERSE ARRIVES ON AUGUST 12 ON IAM8BIT

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T R A H T A C S E N I V A E H Words: Tiago Moreira // Photos: Ashley Osborn

Post-hardcore quartet Capsize didn’t have to wait to win over thousands of people’s hearts. Their debut album, 2014’s The Angst In My Veins, proved it. That early success was made with something missing in their music. Their new album, A Reintroduction: The Essence of All That Surrounds Me, delivers without any sort of reservations and vocalist Daniel Wand was kind enough to walk us through the band’s new album – from creating it to its actually meaning and impactful nature.

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TIC SS W

e’re less than two months from Capsize’s new album to officially drop. How do you feel? People seem to be enjoying a lot the new song, “XX (Sew My Eyes)”. Good. I’m super excited for everyone to hear it. The reactions to the first song have been really cool but... you know, it’s cool to hear what people have to say about the singles, but I’m way, way more excited to hear what people have to say about the whole album because I think it represents something a little bit different as one big piece as opposed to people only getting a small taste. Talking about “XX (Sew My Eyes)”... You directed the video along with Aaron Marsh. Was it the first time you directed a Capsize video? Me and my best friend Tyler [Ross], he plays guitar in Being As An Ocean, we’ve been working on videos for both our own bands together for quite some time so, it’s been fun to like help each other out and everything but this was the first video where I just created the artistic vision from scratch and then I had Aaron helping me out with the filming and editing together the vision I had... I’m super happy with it. At the early stages of it I knew how I wanted the footage to be kind of weird, it was kind of the first thing that I had in mind. I knew I wanted like a lot of semi-desaturated browns and greens, and just colors that look kind of dead/natural colors. And

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I wanted to have big parts of the video where most of the screen was black, like when it showed characters and stuff like that... Yeah, I knew I wanted to curate some sort of visual dark side to the video using the other people just kind of all came together. I don’t have a very clear explanation of every single detail in the video, but I can say that I feel that it sets a raw and dark side of that song. About the album, perhaps we could start with the title, A Reintroduction: The Essence Of All That Surrounds Me. Is just a reintroduction to the fans that have been following your work or is it also a reintroduction of Capsize to Capsize? It’s definitely more so to the fans because... I really like that question and I think it’s really interesting. It’s definitely more so the fans because the thing is: the things we are doing on this new record are things that have been a part of who I am for a very, very, very long time. Even since before the initial incarnation of Capsize and other things we were doing, but it hasn’t been the appropriate time to express them the way that I do on this one. It’s definitely not like internal. It’s definitely more so for anyone that’s away of us. And the rest of the phrase of the title is what kind correlates more on a personal level whereas the reintroduction is just to people that have heard of us before and the rest of the title kind of explains where that reintroduction is coming from, which is the things that represent me and the things that kind of brought me where I am, in music and just in life. Was there any sort of discussion regarding how you would approach the new album or was it just an unconscious stream of thoughts that led Capsize to this place? The things that we were most influenced by for The Angst In My Veins record was a lot of music made between 2009 and 2012 Deathwish hardcore bands and stuff like that – while for this new album it was from stuff that kind of got me into underground music in the first place, which is like early/mid-2000s post-hardcore bands. Yeah, the vibe of it all is just kind of pre-selected, but there wasn’t any extreme conversation like us seating in a room deciding what we would do exactly.

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The injection of melody and clean vocals on this album kind of changed the Capsize experience, for the listener at least. How was the experience of writing with that element very present and how did it feel for you guys as songwriters? It felt good. It pretty much just feels like I can entirely be myself now. That was the one thing that... Although I was enjoying being in Capsize, that was definitely the last little thing that I really, really wanted to bring into the picture. Musically, I knew that it had to be broken in overtime and couldn’t just completely change everything just to be able to sing and I knew that it would come in time. Pretty much now more than ever, with the additional singing, I don’t feel that I’m missing out on anything as an artist. That was the important thing for me, just being able to do all of the things that I wanted to do with my voice, all over the record, without any regards for what’s “appropriate” or whatever. Just going for it. Keeping it real. Would it be fair to say that this record is a more honest approach to self-expression? For sure. With the previous record the things that influenced it were heavily present in my life in the moment, so that was totally honest with who I was at that exact time, but the thing about this new record is that it isn’t about who I am right now or at the time that I was recording the record... just more about who I am

“I’m not as desperate to move on, like a certain part of my life that I was back then in a sense of I’ve been lucky enough to pursue what I actually want to be doing with my life for a couple of years straight.”

from the moment I first wanted to be in the band to everything I’ve gone through now doing it. Having those two elements in the equation, did it change the way you approach the writing process? Honestly, it just made it easier because like I said, I’d finally taken away any sort of thing I wasn’t allowing myself to do, or I didn’t think it was like appropriate at the time. In the most recent two-year experience me and everyone around me was the most open minded we’ve been to any type of idea. It made it easier because I didn’t have to overthink, “Oh, is it going to seem like it’s too much singing here?” I just didn’t care about any of that. I sang where it sounded good to me, and screamed where it sounded good to me without really second guessing it. Back in 2014 you said, about The Angst In My Veins, “I go through life with a bit of a chip on my shoulder and let myself mentally downward spiral uncontrollably fast sometimes.” Did you feel that start to change for and with this album? The thing is... I don’t think it started to change, I just think it got a little bit more controllable because I’m not as desperate to move on, like a certain part of my life that I was back then in a sense of I’ve been lucky enough to pursue what I actually want to be doing with my life for a couple of years straight. Back in that time, I think one of the hardest things was just being so eager to chase music the way that I do to get to now and that was just bringing me down super hard. All the internal personal struggles still exist. The fact that I have something to truly, truly appreciate, which is like the fact that I’m only in this band. I do it for a living, all that I do is play shows and travel around all year. I think having that it’s been the thing that’s made any sort of mental or emotional issues more bearable that any other time. Reading the press release, I end up under the impression that you wanted this album to be an album that could be important for people that are still struggling to create their own identity – young people, for the most part. Is that a fair assessment? Totally! I think it goes back to the fact that I guess I found a little bit of peace in the way that my life has


INTERVIEW // CAPSIZE

turned out and I think it makes the music that we’ve just made... it’s something that me at my most darkest, completely confused point of life... I think if I would’ve had that it would help me figuring out who I was when I was younger. I would love to be able to be a part of that for the kids that are listening to our music. Essentially when I was at my lowest emotional point of life in general, there was definitely a set of records that would make it way easier and I would like to think that the record I’ve just made would’ve been in that stack if it existed back then. Ok, I think we need to talk about “Safe Place”. Such a gut-wrenching piece. I’m really curious about that particular song. Seems to be such an important piece for the dynamic of the album. I’m glad you like it. As far as the dynamic... its placement within the record is what I think it becomes dynamic because I put it specifically in the middle to kind of give it a chance to breathe. I wanted it to exist in the middle because I kind of have this thing that I really, really appreciate, which is if I’m listening

to a record alone in a room and I end up kind of falling asleep to it if it’s soothing... there’s going to be a random point that hits really, really hard that kind of wakes me up and I realize that I like what I’m hearing so much that I was able to fall asleep to it and it was able to bring me out of sleep. I like to think that in that scenario that moment that I’ve always appreciated would exist right there too. As far as how the song came about, it was honestly kind of a last minute decision in the studio because we actually had a different instrumental that I was working on vocally but... It was like the first song I had gotten into the vocal booth and just really not being enjoying myself while I was recording it. It wasn’t as fun as it needed to be for me, it was just kind of frustrating and so we ended up just scraping it entirely and then sat down with our producer [Matt McClellan (The Devil Wears Prada, Being As An Ocean)] and pull a few reference tracks of things that we wanted to find a vibe between and... it just happened. We honestly made that song just in a single afternoon. It was the quickest song to finish out of all the songs in the studio.

Could you please let us know who’s responsible for the cover artwork and what you wanted to convey with it? The name of the guy responsible for it is Henrik Uldalen. Essentially, I’ve found him via this artist called Chelsea Wolfe. Whenever Chelsea Wolfe put out this I thought the art was really, really special and she’d tagged this guy Henrik in the photo of her album art. It turns out he’s just had tones and tones of paintings of this similar style and he was doing all this crazy work and even shares all these amazing works in progress footage. I knew that I wanted something to be painted for the record cover. I ended up contacting the guy. He was pretty busy at the time, but he gave me a thing to go through of like all this other stuff that he’d just kind of sitting around. I purchase this painting from him and kind of did my own thing with it and it ended up becoming the album art. All of Chelsea Wolfe art is great and she definitely had a bit of inspiration on it.

A REINTRODUCTION: THE ESSENCE OF ALL THAT SURROUNDS ME IS OUT NOW ON RUDE RECORDS

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Heart, Mind 58

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d & Summer In 2014 UK-based quartet Moose Blood released their debut album, I’ll Keep You In Mind, From Time To Time, which led them to a massive praise worldwide and touring across the globe. With that experience and willingness to keep growing they wrote the sophomore album, Blush. We caught up with guitarist Mark Osborne to know what touring brought to the band and much more. Words: Andreia Alves

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yourself, and that’s exactly what we did with this record. We wanted to make a record that was better than the first, so hopefully we have done that. [laughs]

our debut album I’ll Keep You In Mind, From Time To Time had such a great feedback and 2015 was a huge year for you guys. How have things been for you guys since all that wave of excitement? It’s been great! We had such a good year, such a great response to the record coming out. We couldn’t really believe about the reception that we had and the lovely things that people said about it, it really took us back. We had a really great year of touring and doing things like the Warped Tour and stuff like that. It was a really good year and we couldn’t believe how lucky we were. You guys toured a lot since you released your first album and you went to a lot of places across the world. What did touring bring to the band as a whole? With touring we got to do incredible stuff and we never though we would do anything like that and any intentions of taking the band to travel around the world almost just playing our songs. It’s a really humbling experience that people actually care and demand for us play there. It’s quite mind blowing, especially because we had no intentions. We just wanted to put out Moving Home 7”, just do that and play some shows to back that up and that was as far as we’ve ever thought. How has the band evolved during the time between your first album and the new one? We have naturally progressed with just the touring and playing as much together. I think that kind of makes you better together and as a band you get a bit stronger. The more we did it, the better we got at it. I think it has helped us in our band and to feel more comfortable with each other, so it has helped massively and we definitely took that into the new record and what we wrote for the new songs. The more you get together, the more you know about each other, like the weaknesses and strengths and push

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Between tours and all other stuff, when did you find the right mindset to start working on your sophomore album? We never really did, it was already in the back of our minds like “We need to start writing.” Just because we toured so much for the first record, we hadn’t really had time to write and when we weren’t touring, we were rehearsing for the shows of the next tour and stuff like that. We found a bit of time. Me and Eddy spend a little of time on tour just trying to work through some ideas. We couldn’t really do too much to get too much out of it, it was really tough to write like that because we were pretty much out of our comfort zone. We had about two/three month period to go out to record the album where we tried to write as much as possible and then demo those tracks and then send them to our producer Beau Burchell. We recorded it properly with him, but it was about in two months and so we had to do a lot work when we got out to record the album properly. There were a lot of ideas that we wanted to get down and put the pieces together in the studio and still working on lyrics and stuff like that. We didn’t really have a set amount of time and it was just like “This is when we’re going to record our second record and this is the only amount of time we go to do it.” It was a bit tough, we put pressure on ourselves, but we’re really proud of what we’ve come up with and just been working to get the record done. Cliché question, why did you name this album as Blush? We just wanted to choose one word that described sonically the album. Glenn came up with a bunch of ideas and a bunch of words... He said Blush and we really liked it. We thought it was kind of nice and it fit for the album’s artwork as well. The cover is a photo that he took and he manipulated it in pink and blue and he has done the whole artwork for this record as well. The look of the record and the name came up from Glenn. I noticed on the tracklist that each song only has one word as title and

they are pretty cool. Did you pick up those names by chance or was it intentional? Some were by chance, some were intentional. We really wanted to stick with the one word thing, but then some of them we thought of trying to fit a word to the song and stuff like that. It didn’t really have to reflect on the song in any way. Just nice sounding one word titles and so there’s no meaning to any of them. What inspired you the most when it came to write your new songs? Definitely touring and being away from home and stuff like that, and how it affected our relationships and our family lives. People in our lives and things that actually happened, that’s what influenced the songs, so touring from our experiences and things that happened over the last couple of years. You have recently released a new video for the track “Knuckles”. What can you tell me about that video and its storyline? The video is about a father and son relationship, they’re werewolves and they’re travelling across the country to go to a talent show and it just really follows their journey to the talent show and the kid winning the talent show. People started judging them and looking at them a bit weird because they’re different and they’re werewolves and that’s about it. [laughs] It doesn’t fit in the song. [laughs] It’s just completely different content from the video to what the song is actually about. You worked once again with Beau Burchell, the producer of your debut album. Why the decision to go back to work with him? It has to be with the experience of working with him on the first record and the help he gave about the direction and just being personally with him. He became the fifth member of the band and with this second album we just wanted to work with him. Luckily enough, we got the chance to have him on board again. He’s really brilliant. I doubt we want to work with anybody else but him. [laughs] You guys flew back to Los Angeles to record this album as well. Yeah, it was there where we recorded the first record. We all love L.A. Getting to go over there twice and make two records was really great, we love it over there.


INTERVIEW // MOOSE BLOOD

“The more you get together, the more you know about each other, like the weaknesses and strengths and push yourself, and that’s exactly what we did with this record.” You guys are based in Canterbury, UK, so how is it like the music scene over there? There’s not much to go zombie, because it has such a small music scene and it falls between like venues that people can play. There’s a couple of a bars and then there’s a theatre that occasionally does shows, but other than that, there’s the festival thing that happens once in a year where bands play up around the university season in the pubs. Other than that, there’s not a lot to go so you really have to find local bands to sort them out. It isn’t really a very active music scene around where we are unfortunately. You have a busy agenda of tour

dates during this summer until the fall. Any venue or city that you are really excited to go to? That’s a good question. [laughs] I love going anywhere or any place that maybe we haven’t been to before. We really wanted to play at Roundhouse in London, but then we got to do that on a support slot with Lower Than Atlantis at the end of the last year and that was incredible. We were fortune enough to play in Brixton as a support slot there and it was a great opportunity and experience. What do you guys like to do the most on your days off while on the road? We really like to catch up with our fans, family and girlfriends since

we’ve been away for quite a while. We’re quite active and we like to do things like going to the gym or play football or go to the parks and see our mates... Go shopping with our girlfriends and stuff like that. [laughs] Oh, and playing a lot of FIFA and catch up on TV. [laughs] What has been non-stop on your playlist? Right now it would be the new Pup record and the new Modern Baseball record. I’ve been listening to those records non-stop. I think when the Blink-182 record comes out, it will be that as well. I’m really looking forward for that record as well.

BLUSH IS OUT NOW ON HOPELESS RECORDS

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Despite being one of the most renowned metal labels around, Relapse Records have never been exclusively ‘metal’. From Amber Asylum’s haunting neoclassicism to the space-age prog of Zombi, they’re a home for all artists who seek to explore their personal limits of sound and musical construction. It makes Horseback’s presence on their roster a natural fit, a project that has gone from minimalist drone and blackened atmospherics to what is presented on Dead Ringers, an exploration of pastoral psychedelia and minimalist electronica as absorbing as any great work of literature. Speaking to mastermind Jenks Miller, we uncovered the meshing of mental cogs that resulted in this curious musical objet d’art.

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Minimalist

Art Form Words: Dave Bowes

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hat were your musical beginnings and how did that develop into Horseback? I’ve been playing music in one form or another since I was very small. When I was in college I tried to get a band together and I didn’t have very much success so what I did in the meantime was teach myself how to use studio recording equipment so that I could do everything myself. That enabled me to be productive even if I couldn’t organise the more social aspect of playing with other people. The first Horseback record, which I probably started working on back around 2004 and was originally released in 2007, was the culmination of this experimental phase I had which was mainly focused on music production. A lot of it was very personal for me, a way to funnel what I was going through at that time. A friend heard it and he was starting a

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record label at the time and he wanted to release it, so he put the record out even though I had never really intended for it to be released. It’s more like this personal experiment. That record was Impale Golden Horn and it’s since been reissued on vinyl by Three Lobed and as part of The Gorgon Tongue, which was three records that Relapse released. After that, I did some smaller recordings that were more aggressive and then wound up, kind of on a whim, booking some studio time with a friend and asking a couple of guys that I knew and liked a lot if they wanted to come and sit in with me to record what ended up being the basic tracks for The Invisible Mountain. As I was putting it together, I was talking with Keith Utech, who runs this label out of the Midwest called Utech Records. He’s released a lot of experimental stuff and has a stylised visual approach as a graphic artist, and he put me in touch with Denis Kostromitin, who is a painter from Moscow who did a lot of the Horseback art early on. He did the art for The Invisible Mountain and Half Blood, he did the art for The Gorgon Tongue and New Dominions, a collaboration with Locrian, so that was a really productive collaboration with Denis. Keith released The Invisible Mountain on Utech records in 2009 and somebody at Relapse got a hold of it and asked if they could work with me, and I was excited about that. They reissued The Invisible Mountain, because they had greater distribution, and I think it surprised everyone by doing really well. It caught a lot of attention for whatever reason and that elevated the project to a new plateau. The rest is history. I still have this urge to experiment, both in terms of the creative process and with production methods, and that’s always underlined the project itself. That’s one of the big reasons why there’s not one sound associated with the band – it’s not like we’re a black metal band or a rock band, even. It’s a much more mercurial creative effort. We played some shows on the back of the attention we started to get, but recently it’s been more focused on recordings, because I’ve gotten older and I’m married now, I have dogs to look after, that kind of thing. I’m also involved in Mount Moriah, which is more active on the road and has been for some time, and because of that I haven’t had

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much touring availability for my other projects. That’s the not-sobrief of how the project started and evolved into what’s happening now. You typically work on multiple projects at any one time. Is this to offer multiple avenues of expression without ‘cross-contamination’ between them or do you find that the projects actually influence each other? I think there is an influence between each other. I have the multiple projects because I love so many different musical forms and I don’t like the feeling of being trapped into making a record that’s supposed to sound a particular way. I try and keep the production process very open-ended at the start so that I’m not trying to force things and I can let ideas evolve more organically, rather than trying to write a song that’s supposed to fit a particular genre mould. I found that’s much more artistically satisfying for me and, to me, it’s illuminating. It helps me understand a lot of different kinds of music and having the multiple avenues available allows me to commit at a later time. After the ideas have grown on their own, then I can identify if, say, it sounds more like a Horseback thing. At that point I can start to shape it in that respect, or if it sounds more like a Mount Moriah song or a Rose Cross one, which is the most recent outlet I’ve had. That was because Horseback put out a record called Piedmont Apocrypha in 2014 on Three Lobed and I liked how that one came out, and I wanted to pursue those sounds a little bit more, but it’s not quite as dark. It’s suggesting a lighter path that wouldn’t feel appropriate for what Horseback had been, so I broke off this folk-psych, loose, improvised thing for Rose Cross and that’s kind of the stuff that’s under my name. I like multiple avenues mainly because it keeps things creatively interesting for me, it keeps me from backing myself into a corner with a particular style or sound. There are elements, not just in the sound but even in the art, of Dead Ringers that is reminiscent of the pastoral psychedelic folk of England, and of its folklore too. Do either of those play a part in the composition of the album? Absolutely. Folk music is a big part of my life. I spend a lot of time reading and thinking about that kind of thing and I love a lot of folk music,

especially Appalachian-derived folk music, which is basically Irish and Scots-Irish traditional music. I like a lot of the folk rock sounds developed by the likes of Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson and Sandy Denny. I like southern American rock and bands that exist in that tradition like Neil Young and The Band, stuff that’s referred to as classic rock here in the States. I really love a lot of that stuff, and the blues tradition too, that personally I see very evident in Black Sabbath and the early days of heavy metal. All that is really interesting and it resonates with me. I like the challenge of translating those folk music sounds and folklore to more electronically-derived soundscapes. At first they don’t sound like they really fit together, but I think they do in some ways and that’s where Dead Ringers is coming from. The inspiration there is largely the World Serpent bands that were coming out of the UK like Coil, Current 93 and Nurse With Wound, those bands especially along with a lot of post-punk bands and a lot of the folkier krautrock stuff, and Can and Faust. To me, those were the avenues that suggested a meeting of the folk traditions that I’m interested in and electronic composition, like electro-acoustic and what is generally progressive music. The development of your voice is one of the most striking aspects of Dead Ringers. You’ve said in the past that you view voice more as an instrument than as a narrative tool. Do you feel that has led to you developing your voice in a different sense to that of a more traditional vocalist? I think so. In the past, a lot of the vocals have carried harsh textures and haven’t had a lot of melody, or that narrative quality that you’re talking about. In a lot of the early Horseback stuff, I was trying to create vocal textures that would blend in with the guitars – kind of a shoegaze-y idea, even if the music wasn’t really shoegaze. A way to make the guitar distortion and the harsh vocal textures fit together. On this record, it has changed a bit. There were clean vocals on Piedmont Apocrypha and I’ve been doing a lot of clean vocals with Rose Cross and I wanted to give it a shot in a Horseback context, where the vocals were almost entirely clean. It’s completely new territory for me in some aspects and it was a challenge. It was something I


INTERVIEW // HORSEBACK

“I like the challenge of translating those folk music sounds and folklore to more electronically-derived soundscapes. At first they don’t sound like they really fit together, but I think they do in some ways and that’s where Dead Ringers is coming from.” hadn’t really tried before and I was curious to see if I could actually pull it off. I’m more confident in my voice and less interested in perfection now at this point in my career. I feel like that allows me more room to put the voice front and centre as a very human element. I think that does represent a big change on this particular record. I imagine that will turn off a lot of the more metal fans that Horseback has, but it might excite some other people. You do have a lot of fans who have come from the metal community and through Relapse, though you’re obviously not a typical ‘metal’ band. Do you think that a lot of the open-mindedness within those communities is a largely recent development, or perhaps specific to certain subgenres? It’s hard for me to say. I do feel like there is far greater access to

different sounds thanks to the internet and so it’s much easier to parse out the different influences and gain an understanding of where these different sounds are coming from. One of the results of that development is that listeners have a much broader taste. There are plenty of people I know that love straight-up black metal, pop music and abstract noise and drone stuff. Just having everything there at your fingertips gives you the vocabulary necessary to figure out what’s being said with these different forms of music. I think there is an interest in new form in ways that these things can come together. That’s true across the board, whether you’re talking about metal fans or any sub-genre of music. That fandom is much broader and that’s certainly true for me. I love so many different kinds of music and while I’ve always identified as a metalhead, as I grew older I became much more interested

in learning as much as I can about other types of music, where they come from and what they mean. One of the terms that I mentally associated with Dead Ringers was psychedelic, in the traditional consciousness-expansion sense. Do you adhere to that term and what does psychedelia mean to you? I think that’s entirely appropriate. It’s definitely the thing that connects Horseback and, at least, Rose Cross. One of my primary interests as a music listener is to find music that changes my mental state and that you can get lost in; find more layers the more you listen to it. I like when records smash different production styles together. This Heat is a really good example of that, where there are very articulate, immaculately captured sounds that will fall off into really lo-fi textures, and I like that juxtaposition. I think music can get

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a lot of energy out of that sort of thing. That, to me, is a very psychedelic thing, creating this world of sound and then throwing the listener into a very different world. It creates a kind of mental shift. Also, with bands like Coil and Nurse With Wound, who approach music as the creation of a sound world, there are melodic elements but they take a back seat to that psychedelic sensibility of creating this mental space for you to explore. That’s definitely one of my aims with Horseback and Rose Cross because it’s one of my favourite things as a listener. It’s one of the things I look for. The ideas of repetition, harmony and dissonance all have ties to that idea, not just psychologically but also in terms of spirituality. Is there an overarching sense of spirituality in your use of these forms of sound? There’s definitely a spiritual element, but it’s hard to talk about spirituality because it’s so abstract and very personal. It feels like a personal experience to me. It’s definitely there, but it’s not something I would necessarily expect people to relate to just because I feel like spirituality is experienced so differently. But for me, it is definitely there. Music is a vehicle for my spirituality in many respects and so it shows up again and again in whatever I’m working on. Is there a physical component to your use of these techniques, like how repetition can induce trance-like states? Have you encountered it yourself or has anyone reported those effects? I try and create that possibility in the music, for sure. It’s also something that, for me when I’m making it, the repetition does frequently take me there. That’s an enjoyable experience for me, that tranceing effect and a large part of my composition process is to access that half-removed trance state, and to create from there. It feels different from day-to-day life’s mental plane. That’s certainly something that I experience when I’m making it and I hope that other people could, if they wanted to, access a similar experience. I was curious about the final track on the album, “Descended From

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The Crown”. The composition and instrumentation on that song are so bizarre, very difficult to articulate. Compositionally, that one hearkens back to the very earliest Horseback stuff, where there would be a strict foundation, usually very repetitive, and I built structures around that. Then, at some points you just take the foundation completely away so that the structures you’ve built around that are suggesting this absence of a well-defined space. All of Impale Golden Horn was created that way. The goal is to define that absence of space with the things that you’ve layered on top of it. With this particular track, it was originally based on a really repetitive improvisational piece that my wife and I did one night, mainly on synths, and then I took that and went back and built around it; again, removing a lot of the elements that provided that sense of structure to make it float more. I do usually like there to be an extended piece on Horseback records that is more transporting, not as attached to an obvious song structure. Is all of your work done entirely in-studio or do you make use of field recordings too? Both. I’ve worked with field recordings a lot in the past, and I do like to work with them. I haven’t been doing as much ‘out in nature’ field recording, but I do try and record a lot of sketches and then sometimes those sketches themselves, if they were recorded with that more voyeuristic field recording sensibility, can serve in the same way as a nature recording would. Flying Saucer Attack are another example of a band that’s using rock band instrumentation, but almost approaching it with a field recording approach. The sounds themselves take on this sense of removal and I do like that a lot. How did you find working with Denis Kostromitin? He’s an absolutely incredible artist. I think that he is a modern master. He approaches his work and it is of a certain quality that you have to compare it to other master painters throughout history. I feel he is the real deal in that regard, and because of that he has an attitude that doesn’t really correspond to the traditional record cycle. He’s much more classical – classically trained, classically minded in terms of his

“I love so many different kinds of music and while I’ve always identified as a metalhead, as I grew older I became much more interested in learning as much as I can about other types of music, where they come from and what they mean.”


INTERVIEW // HORSEBACK

approach to painting, and he is a painter. He’s not a record cover illustrator. In many respects I feel lucky to have worked with him on records because it’s not his primary pursuit, it’s not necessarily how he’s trying to get his work out there. His process is fascinating. His creative process involves trances, like mine often does, and he describes himself as a symbolist painter, so he works with a lot of mythology and folklore, which is also what I’m interested in. We had a lot in common in terms of interests and approach. He’s a fantastic artist and I feel he deserves every bit of attention he gets. He should be one of the most famous artists in the world at this point. Maybe one day. He is one of the few artists I’ve worked with who wanted to be involved on that

level, where we were discussing the thematic elements and how it was going to relate to the mythology. We were talking about that stuff at the earliest stage of the work, especially with Half Blood. He contributed a lot to the ideas at the heart of that record and the cover image he created was one key that allows you access into the thematic elements of the record. Most illustrators and painters will take your idea and run with it, but he wanted to be very active in developing the ideas themselves. I liked that. It was challenging and very rewarding. Is there anything else you have coming up apart from the Horseback album? There’s a Rose Cross record that came out last month on Three Lobed

that’s called Blues From WHAT. That’s still out there, trying to find listeners. I’ve been working really hard these past couple years trying to get a number of records finished and one of those was the Mount Moriah record that came out at the beginning of this year. Another was the Rose Cross record and the third was the Horseback record, so this is going to be the last one in a very busy recent release schedule for me. Beyond that, I’ve been working on another Rose Cross thing, Mount Moriah’s been writing songs and with Horseback, the writing process is often very abstract and not something I sit on specifically to do. It’s often very hard to judge progress with that band.

DEAD RINGERS ARRIVES ON AUGUST 12 ON RELAPSE RECORDS

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HOPEFUL A OF A DARI 68

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ANTHEMS ING BAND Doubt usually knocks on the door whenever the terms operatic and theatrical are used to describe a rock-based band’s sound – let’s face it, we’ve suffered at least a few times. Hellions, another Australian band (there must be something in the water over there since as of late every month we hear yet another exciting new Aussie band), are using those two terms to describe their new bold statement, Opera Oblivia, and believe it or not they’ve managed to give good name to them. We had a lengthy chat with guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Matt Gravolin about everything surrounding the band’s fantastic and third album – from a strange connection with Pokémon to the lyrical content that makes this album extremely important. Words: Tiago Moreira // Photos: Sandra Markovis

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he album is coming out in less than a monthtime. How do you feel, man? I’m so excited. I couldn’t be more excited for it to come out. We’ve been sitting on it since February and we listen to it every day, and... yeah, couldn’t be more proud of it. It’s the first time we wouldn’t change a single thing about it. I would like us to go back in time and talk a little bit about your debut album, Die Young. Back when you started working on it, did you have a clear idea of what you wanted to do with it? Was there any sort of preset musical goals? At that point in time, it was more of an extension of our band, which is called The Bride. We were going to put that album out under the name The Bride before the singer had left and we renamed it... The goal wasn’t anything too clear-cut. It was all very natural. Just wanted to have some heavy songs and some ballads as well. Yeah, we were a bit younger and it was just whatever came to mind, really, at that point.

“(…) we want it to commiserate with people through our common unpleasantries and overwhelming hardships, and also celebrate alongside our inevitable victory.” Would it be fair to say that there’s a hopeful tone that you want to provide with your music? Absolutely! I think this record has more hope within the lyrical content and within the music as well than any of its predecessors. It’s so much bigger and it feels to me more sympathetic with the listener. It’s a lot softer in a sense than the music before it. I think it appeals more to the heart than any of our other stuff has. So, I think that in that sense it’s very hopeful. But it doesn’t seems to be naïve in its hopeful nature. By that I mean, there’s an awareness of how bad some things are and at times it starts with a dark tone to then work a lot to be hopeful. The album starts off quite hopeful in the guts of it, right in the middle. It deals with the darker, sort of more complicated facets of life and towards the end it begins to get hopeful again. There’s a resolution there. I think that like anything in life it needs to deal with... it can’t just be hopeful. In order for there to be hope there has to be detriment, there has to be harm.

Anthony [Caruso, drummer] said about Indian Summer, “This is the first time we have ever felt truly content with where we are at musically”. What was it that made that album so successful for you as a band? I guess that was more of a step into the direction we are now. A little bit more grand and operatic than the previous songs. The songs [on Indian Summer] are a bit longer and a lit... I don’t know, we always wanted to sound like a big band, like Queen or some of those really big guys from the 70’s and 80’s. Just having influences like that. And that [album] was a step into the right direction towards that. And at that point in time we felt very accomplished, especially with songs like “Nottingham” and “Polyphasic Sleep”. Those songs in particularly were very big victories for us.

When did you start thinking about the scope of this new album? It doesn’t seem to be the kind of album where you create one song and then another song until you just have enough songs to put everything together in the same CD or vinyl. Yeah. [laughs] As soon as we finished Indian Summer, as soon we started working on... I think it was “24” the first song we started to work on. At that point we all sort of agreed that we wanted to get bigger and, like you said, really broad in the scope of what we’re doing. I think that with “Nottingham” and “Polyphasic Sleep”, like I said before, we sort of touched on this bigger styling. It was sort of a peak at this potential for us, and we just wanted to really hit the nail on the head this time with that. We needed to sing in order to do that and... yeah, it was a conscious decision to go in that direction as soon as we had started writing after Indian Summer.

You said about this new album,

Really happy that you mentioned

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Queen before, because there’s definitely a theatrical element on this album that is impossible to overlook. Does that also comes from your love for My Chemical Romance? Yes, absolutely. Yes it does. It’s funny that we mentioned those two bands because I believe that without Queen there wouldn’t have been My Chemical Romance and, I guess, in some ways if there wasn’t My Chemical Romance we wouldn’t be the band that we are today. They have a very, very... once upon a time, especially with Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge (2004) and The Black Parade (2006)... they had a really big influence in my songwriting and with the other boys too. They’re sort of hard-wired into my mind with the chords that they use and the way that they sing. Yeah, absolutely, you’re correct in saying that. But it gets tricky to explain to people the relation between your music and My Chemical Romance’s music. I was trying to explain to a friend and the only way I could find was by saying “They sound like My Chemical Romance without really sounding like My Chemical Romance. It’s more the way they do things with their music and the spirit of it all.” I mean, I know that can get a little bit confusing and sound a little bit of gibberish. [laughs] [laughs] Yeah, but I think that’s actually a good way to put it. But I agree with you there, it’s hard to put... I think musically it’s a lot about the chords that we use, the guitar harmonies, and a lot of the ideas are very similar to My Chemical Romance, but the way we put them across, I suppose vocally and with our hardcore influences as well, those are the things that distance ourselves from them. And thank god for those more heavy-oriented influences because otherwise we would sound exactly like My Chemical Romance. [laughs] Not only that element, but the way the album was structured where it seems that at each song you’re taking a left turn... It seems that there was much that went into it. How prepared were you going into the studio? We were more prepared than we’ve ever been for any other album with this one. We did a lot of writing – double the writing than we’ve done


INTERVIEW // HELLIONS

for the other ones – and we did a lot of pre-production as well. For the first time I’ve done some co-writing, as well, with Jonathon [Deiley] from Northlane. He helped a little bit with some songs, particularly a song called “He Without Sin”. When we went to the studio, for real, that was when we really started to feel what we were doing, how big this could get. It broaden our scope, the way we looked at it...there was no more boundaries once we got into the studio. We knew exactly what we wanted to do and it was such a pleasant experience. It was really cool, man. Talking about the studio... how was the recording experience this time around? Was any different from past experiences? Yes, it was different. It was plenty different. The primary thing that was different was the vocals.

Obviously this time we put more of a focus onto singing, or like group vocals with that anthem sort of feel for the choruses. Me and Dre [Faivre, vocalist], we both got singing lessons before we went in... Yeah, we didn’t know how much we were going to be using it, but we ended up using it a whole lot and our producer Shane [Edwards] was really important in keeping us motivated and keep out eyes on the prize with the singing. We also did it in a different way. We recorded the guitars first, before the drums. So, it was like all the guitars, song by song, without drums and vocals. The guitars were sort of the more concrete thing about the songs before we went in. We needed a little bit more time to think about percussion and every other element. We are a very guitar-driven band and we knew exactly what we wanted to do with the guitars. We figured that we should do that first and then

“When we went to the studio, for real, that was when we really started to feel what we were doing, how big this could get. It broaden our scope, the way we looked at it… there was no more boundaries once we got into the studio.”

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basically everything else around that. You recorded all three albums in Thailand. What made you get out of the country and do 9-hour flight to record an album? [laughs] The main motivator there is our producer Shane Edwards that works there. I work with him since I was 15 years old and I’m now 25... so, I’ve been working with him for 10 years and he just knows everything that I’m going to do musically. He has this big belief in what we do and an understanding of our music, unlike anybody else in the world. You can’t really put a price on that. It’s worth making the trip just for him, and it’s an added bonus that Thailand is an absolute paradise. It’s beautiful everywhere. You go outside and you see this amazing green, the nature, the pool... It’s perfect. I’m curious about the title of your new album. What does it mean and what did you want to convey with it? Oblivia is a Latin word meaning a passive state of forgetfulness, and that’s the very essential theme of the album – just that feeling. Obviously opera is the way we went it about it, the way we wanted it to sound. We wanted it to sound theatrical and operatic. I think that title, the way it sounds, even when you say it, it always just felt right. Did you know that Oblivia is also the name of the region in which Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs takes place? You’re kidding… I had no idea. [laughs] Wow, that’s so cool. That’s lucky for us that Pokémon GO is so successful at the moment. Maybe that’s a good thing for us. [laughs] Was Rage Against the Machine that influenced you to do political and social commentaries in your lyrics? More so on the last album than with the new one. The new one is very inward, it’s very much about the human experience it’s less of a political themed record. But musically they’ve always been a big influence. They’re such a powerhouse of a band and we love them. Especially when we started they were a big influence, but this time around is lesser. But our respect for them still remains intact.

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I would say that there are still strong political and social commentaries on this new album. Right on the opening track we can find, “We are born and raised as cattle to be the same”. [laughs] Absolutely, that’s a good point. You know, I had completely forgotten about that line in particular until you said it. You’re absolutely right, that line in particular is very politically driven. It’s about us being encouraged growing up to get a job, looking for a house, and the other normal stuff that you take to keep you placid and feel at home with everybody else and not do your own thing. I must confess that it feels a little bit weird to sing-along to “We are born and raised as cattle to be the same”. [laughs] [laughs] I suppose so. Nobody wants perhaps to admit to that, but the way I’m looking, and excuse me if I’ve offended anybody in any way, but in my mind, especially with our schooling systems, that’s the way it is. It’s that same procedure. You go to school, you get your degree, you’re supposed to go and find yourself a job or a career... I don’t know, for all of us especially in Australia and everyone in Western culture, I suppose, that’s the way it is. And it is sort of frowned upon if you choose take a different path. For example, to do what we do with music... A lot of people frown upon that and say it’s not really the right thing to be doing. If you are successful, people will not say that, but if you’re struggling, people will start asking about the money, where will we find the money to live our lives

“I think this record has more hope within the lyrical content and within the music as well than any of its predecessors. It’s so much bigger and it feels to me more sympathetic with the listener.”


INTERVIEW // // NOTHING HELLIONS INTERVIEW

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and even about the direction of your life. I mean, we had to struggle for years, especially as a band. We weren’t successful immediately and there isn’t a lot of money in what we do. A lot of people tend to wonder why we do it and they think it’s stupid because they haven’t taken the time to look it from our perspective. Is the song “Lotus Eater” about apathy? That’s about anxiety and panic. The subject in question... is supposed to be written from my perspective and the song refers to a woman a lot of the times. In the second verse it says, “She ate when I ate, she drank when I drank,” and that is this feeling of panic and anxiety... we’ve put it in the body of a woman to give it this physical presence because that’s how you can feel, like there’s something else in the room with you, a very physical presence that sort of drains you of your normal faculties. What’s the specific cognitive dissonance that you mention in that song? Just the inability to make simple decisions because you’ve been affected by panic... when you’re in that state of mind of anxiety and panic even the simpler decisions can be very, very difficult. You don’t have a clear mind and everything can become a bit blurry. Listening to “He Without Sin”... It seems that you have a bone to pick with the entity that’s Church. I grew up going to Catholic schools and I was raised as a Christian. I have a very high respect for the Christian faith and for a lot of men and women of the Christian faith, but it’s just these particular people, these rapists, and pedophiles within the Church that... You know, people go to the Church so they can feel some sort of hope and people go initially because, I guess they feel lost. People turn to the Church often as the last resort or because it’s a family tradition and something they hold so close to their heart, and for these men to take faith, and that hope and turn it into something so disgusting and that sometimes ends up costing these children’s lives, turning families inside out... It’s the most repugnant, disgusting thing. I couldn’t help to write about it. I was worried that it

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wasn’t my place to say something about it because I haven’t been through this personally. I didn’t know if it was ok so I took my time, rewrote it a few times just so that no one would be offended by it. There’s no cursing in it, it’s just the straightforward perspective. It’s called empathy. You don’t need to go through these things yourself to be able to suffer from them and sort of understand the pain involved in it. As a matter of fact, you’re absolutely right. It’s a song about empathy. But that doesn’t come first at least when I was writing it. I guess that first and foremost is a hatred for these men that have taken the innocence away from this people. Where did you find those testimonials on “Heels Of The Hands”? They are all in a particular website – you have to forgive me but I can’t recall the name of the website at the moment. It’s public information and it was a very painstaking process having to go through and having to listen to all these people speak about these things. I can’t imagine how hard must be to hear these testimonials for I don’t know how many hours. Man, it was something like five or six hours of pouring through these things. By the time I’ve got done with, and we were choosing these specific parts that really represented what these people are going through... We just felt we had lost our souls. It was very draining. But I’m glad we did it because I think it makes the song all the more powerful having it in there. “Bad Way” strikes me as the most personal track on the album. Would it be fair to say so? You hit the nail right on the head. It’s about a breakup. I dated a girl for about two years and I just fell out of love with her... A lot of people, when they fell out of love or get bored with the relationship, it is easier to blame on the other person or something else. But the hardest thing to do, and the most noble in my opinion, is look them in the eyes and say, “I don’t care about you anymore.” I don’t know, I guess I cared enough for this person to tell her I didn’t love her. She broke into a million pieces which led me to a lot of drinking and self-pity.

“You go to school, you get your degree, you’re supposed to go and find yourself a job or a career… For example, to do what we do with music… A lot of people frown upon that and say it’s not really the right thing to be doing.”


INTERVIEW // HELLIONS

Talking about that personal side, there are throughout the album a considerable amount of references to drinking and addiction. Do you care to elaborate on that? Especially in Australia, drinking is a very common thing to do to deal with your problems. And I’m not saying is a successful method to deal with things, but for me is my favorite way even though I know it’s a bad habit. I sort of romanticize drinking a little bit too much – obviously the music reflects that. It’s not something that I want... I think there are a lot of good things about alcohol. It helps me with my creativity – at least I think it does – and it helps on a social level since I’m a very introverted and a very nervous person. But it has helped me as much it has hurt me. It might

be a controversial thing to say, but I believe it has made my life all the more interesting. I guess, like almost anything else, it’s about the limits and boundaries. Yeah, that’s exactly right. For me I know that I can’t... I don’t drink from Monday to Thursday. I refuse to do it. My father was an alcoholic. It’s in my genes that trait of an addictive personality. I know that I have to be very careful with that. You have to set rules and boundaries for these things. Man, can you please talk about the concept behind the video for “Quality of Life”? Who’s responsible for creating that one? It’s such a simple, but yet effective music video.

We knew that we wanted to have a physical representation of somebody remembering their youth, assessing their place in life and thinking about where they should be as a person, where they were when they were the most happy... Yeah, I sort of had brought that to the table and Anthony [Caruso], our drummer, suggested this girl that he knew to play the part and the part of the little girl on the video is Anthony’s little sister, her name is Isabel. She’s just adorable, she’s gorgeous. It all started with that and then we took the idea to the label and the videographer, Neal [Walters], which is a great friend of ours, he helped expand on that idea and it all come together... quite well, I think.

OPERA OBLIVIA IS OUT NOW ON UNFD RECORDS

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UNKNOWN PLEASURE H

ey, before I start to annoy you with my kind of intrusive questions about your record... I’ve noticed that you shared the latest Rihanna’s video and you even shared a photo with a caption saying, “work work work work”. Are you freaking out, as I am, with how fucking awesome that record is? [laughs] I love it. It’s so good. And I’m so pissed about how people have been talking shit on the record because I think it’s fucking amazing. That song “Desperado” is so fucking good. I loved the “Work” single, I thought it was awesome,

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and I think people just need to shut the fuck up. I just love her whole appeal, I’m really drawn to her. I love most of her records. She’s also another inspiration for me. I like how she doesn’t give fuck about what anybody thinks. She’s a badass. Help me with the timeline. When we spoke last time, in February of 2015, you had already written the album and you told me that you had started recording it with Max Senna. So, how much time did it take to record Uncontrollable? Oh my fucking god. Dude, it took forever. I didn’t get it done until... well, I had been talking with you about recording but it took over a year, honestly. Maybe we wrap it up at the beginning of January of 2016. I started recording with Max and my friend Evan [James], who’s

In these la Kristina Esfan output not o amazing – with King Woman irrefutable pro of her artis caught up with about Miserabl Uncontrollab what’s behin pieces Words: Tiago Moreira


some things were missing, but I wasn’t really sure what those things were. And then I was looking to these tracks that my friend Kyle Bates of drowse, that he had sent me to collaborate on and I heard them and I was like, “Hey man, can I sing over these and use them for my album? I really like them and I think they really suit with the mood of my record.” He said I could do whatever I wanted and I ended up listening to these two tracks – “Stay Cold” and “Salt Water” - over and over again and writing lyrics for them and put them on the album. Other than that... yeah, it was really hard and it took a lot of time. I’m honestly shocked at all the positive feedback towards the record so far. I wasn’t sure how it was going to be received at all. I mean, I’m never too much insecure like, “Oh no, what if they don’t like my record?” I’m just like, “I don’t know if anybody is going to be into this. I’m into it but I don’t think anybody else is going to enjoy it.” [laughs] I think it’s like the doubt of being a musician or something.

st few years ndiari’s creative only has been h Miserable and n – but also an oof of the quality tic vision. We h Kristina to talk le’s debut album, ble, to discuss nd such painful of music. // Photos: Mary Manning

in Far Away Places and Grey Zine. He flew out from New York to come visit and we kind of worked on a couple songs for the record and he was also out here working on his record. So, we started the record with Max and I took what I had to Pat Hill [Tera Melos, 7 Seconds], who I usually work with, to make it sound the way I wanted it to because I’m really comfortable working with him and I was having a hard time... Honestly, this record was the hardest release. I wasn’t feeling it, really. I was just, “I need to get these songs done,” and I was really stressed out. I wasn’t really in a good mental space and my health wasn’t very good when I was working on this and I was also having problems with my voice. Things were weird when I was working on this record. I finally took it to Pat and I was feeling that

I’m always fascinated with what’s behind your covers. I never expected you to show yourself like that... I mean, your covers seemed to always to kind of deviate attention from you, in a way. Would it be fair to presume that it wasn’t an easy decision for you to use that specific cover? Oh yeah, definitely not. It wasn’t personally the one I wanted to use, per se. I had another one in mind. I felt like it was the most polished one we had. Me and Julio [Anta, responsible for the layout] kind of settled on it. It was another image I wanted to use, personally... it was still showing my face. I feel like this release is really intimate, it’s like accidentally stumbling upon someone’s diary, in a sense. And the fact that you can see my face and the light is on my face... I don’t know, I felt like it was a good representation of how I felt internally about the album. It was kind of up-close, very personal. With Dog Days containing a collection of upbeat songs and with the cover of Uncontrollable people were probably expecting something different from these songs, sound wise. Did you want to throw people off, sort of speak? Perhaps play a little bit with people’s perceptions. No. I don’t think too much about that, per se. I just kind of go with how I’m feeling and as long as I’m

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true to how I feel and what I feel I need to process and work on next... I’m always curious as to what people will think, but it’s not necessarily something I put much thought into. The record was really me just ringing out every last drop of desperation, sadness, and feelings of betrayal. Feelings I couldn’t find closure where I really desperately needed it, and so I just kind of sat with myself in a room, with my little Orange amp, a half-broke guitar, a loop pedal, and I would just stay up really late and just try to locate or search out these feelings in me and play guitar to match how I was feeling. Because those feelings were so deep and things I couldn’t really put into lyrics. It was really, really the hardest record to finish and write. It felt very graceless, very confused, I was very unsure about the record and lot of things. I was just feeling kind of hazy in general. I guess that didn’t translate over because people’s reaction to the album have been pretty wild. Reading the lyrics, I couldn’t help thinking that these are letters that you wrote to yourself to kind of keep you in check and remind you of what’s wrong and bad and what’s important. Is it a fair assessment of Uncontrollable? No, I didn’t write them to myself. They are songs to a specific person... or persons. A lot of the songs are about the same person I wrote about for Halloween Dream. I just couldn’t seem to find closure, and I couldn’t find it from this person, so I had to write about and get all the emotions out. Find a way to let it go and finally release it and just be like, “I’m done with this chapter of my life. I’ve done everything I can. I have no control over this.” Some of the songs are about different things, you know what I mean? Most of them are about one person. You live in a place that has an average of 260 sunny days per year and you decide to start the album with the sound of the rain. How much of a reference to depression does that particular choice reflects? It also seems like a tip for what’s to come, which I’ve interpreted as an experience that will wash your soul. Oh wow, you’re too deep, man. [laughs] Listen, I did so many interviews, but you’re my favorite person to do interviews with. You’re so

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deep, you’re so observant, and your questions are refreshing because I get the same fucking questions over and over again. I’ve done like ten interviews just last month and I’m so sick of doing interviews because they’re so boring. They ask me the same exact questions every time. It’s almost like when you ask me these questions you’re helping me putting together the puzzle pieces of how I feel about the album, in a sense, because you’re helping me to see things that I previously hadn’t observed about the record. The rain is from... I was living with my boyfriend at the time – Charles, he is one of my really good friends now – and we lived in this really weird warehouse, like communal warehouse, and we had like a sunroof and it was raining like really, really, really bad when they were doing like flood warnings and I always like to sample things on my phone so I just recorded it. Then I sampled “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis, that’s what that piano part is. It’s just slowed down. It was one of Charles’s favorite songs, actually, because I asked him, “If you were to die, what song would you want to be played at your funeral?” and he said “Kind of Blue”. So, just with the rain, having that rain sample, and thinking of Charles and how much he means to me, I just wanted to put that in the beginning of the record and I worked on that, slowing down the track with Pat. I was like, “I want it, I hear this like sad piano but I can’t... I feel like I want to slow or sample an old jazz track.” Because I wanted the album to have kind of a jazzy feel. I had been listening to a lot of Etta James and Chet Baker, at the time, and I feel like jazz and blues are some of the saddest music you can listen to, and it relates so much to sadness in your soul and heart. That’s how that rain came about, but now that you mention the “washing away”... yeah, definitely. I feel like I was definitely cleansed and like had a new sense of reality after I finish the album. I felt like I closed a chapter of my life, or written a full diary and then burned it or something, you know? I felt like I finally had been able to cope and let go and find closure for myself. What came first, the lyrics or the music? I’m curious to know how you approached the music this time around. It was a little bit of both. I came up with the album title before I came up with the music. I wrote around the album title which is what I do a

lot of the time. I come up with the title for the album and then I write the album based on that theme. So, I came up with Uncontrollable because for me it felt like the only word that could be that all-encompassing word that fit how I was feeling. And then some of the songs, like I said, I was writing whilst in this room. And the room honestly was really scary and I was having a lot of night terrors. I couldn’t sleep a lot of the times so I would sit in a corner so that I could see everything, because I was scared. I was tripping myself out and I was very isolated and feeling very depressed at the time. I wasn’t even fully awake a lot of the time, and I would just play like these sleepy loops on my guitar and lyrics were coming through that. And then I wrote some of the songs on the acoustic guitar... I would say that for the most part the guitar came before the lyrics but on some of them, like “Oven”, I already had the whole lyrics in my head before I sat down to work it out. Thinking about it, maybe that was the only one I had lyrics before having the music. When you finally end writing and recording this album... did you find yourself in a better place? I was so relieved when it got mastered. It was like, “Ok, the record is approved. It’s mastered. It’s done.” I just felt so... I have not given birth to a child, but I can compare this to how I would imagine a woman would feel after being in labor for way too long. Everything about this record was hard to do. There were so many complications with it in every way. I felt like I was just pushing against a fucking brick wall. Somehow it all came together and seems to be doing well. I’m happy it ended. I never want to go back to it again. [laughs] I know you’ve been always very reluctant to describe your music as uplifting. This time around, how do you feel about it? I still don’t think it is... Well, I’ve been getting a lot of messages from people and they’re like, “Wow, you’re songs are so honest. Thank you for being brutally honest with your lyrics. You just put into words exactly how I have been feeling and I’ve never heard a song with these kind of lyrics.” There’s been a lot of that. I guess it’s uplifting in a sense, like I said before, that people don’t feel so alone when you’re honest and


INTERVIEW // MISERABLE

“I have not given birth to a child but I can compare this to how I would imagine a woman would feel after being in labor for way too long.” you’re real and vulnerable in your lyrics, which I think is the accurate way to describe my music. I’m very vulnerable in my songs. It’s like borderline embarrassing. This record is kind of embarrassing for me because it’s so honest. How one does get the strength to be so honest? I think honesty is strength. Being vulnerable is strength. You have to be emotionally strong to be a vulnerable person and I think people have it twisted and they think that if you’re vulnerable and you’re honest then you’re weak. It’s quite the opposite, which took me a long time to realize. But I still get shy sometimes. There’s still a very shy side to who I am. When the first song got premiered I wanted to hide under my blanket and not respond to any of the messages I was getting because I was so embarrassed with the fact of the song being so personal to me. I felt I was showing my diary to the world and I was like, “What the fuck are you doing? Why would you do that?” But then I started opening the messages and I was like, “Ok, this isn’t so bad. It’s quite fine, actually.” [laughs] Once Nikki Cage from True Widow

and Chelsea Wolfe hit me up about the song “Oven” and how much they loved it. I was like, “Ok, this isn’t so bad. Two of my favorite women just complimented me. I’m ok.” And the thing is, you will probably die with that shyness and embarrassment, which I think there’s a good side to it. Oh, thanks man. Thanks. [laughs] Sorry to bring you the bad news. [laughs] [laughs] Yeah, I think it keeps you humble. Growing up I was really shy, but I feel that people perceive me as more aggressive now, and kind of fierce, but I still have a very shy, reserved side to me. I spend a lot of time at home by myself. Yeah, I still don’t get that. I noticed that some people perceive you as being this super aggressive woman, which it’s not really the way I would describe you. I think with King Woman people perceive me that way because I’m very protective over women, and I’m a feminist, and I have to like stand my ground in certain things. I’m not a pushover. I still have this introverted

shy side to me. It’s a big fear. I don’t like to be misunderstood and I think most artists are misunderstood. But it really scares me because I feel I’m really friendly, sweet person and I know some people perceive me a certain way. I know it’s really hard to anticipate the affect that something you’ve created has on people, but do you have a good guess of what people might be feeling while listening to your album? I think they may feel comforted by it in some ways. Desperation... so many things. Deep sadness and regret. Betrayal... I mean, these are all feelings I was feeling when I wrote it. I’m kind of looking forward to work on more upbeat stuff after this. I can’t be doing so much heavy stuff for both my projects. It’s a lot to work on. But it seems like when I want to write more poppy stuff I always seem to go back to the more sad stuff. I just started working on another Miserable album and I was making it really upbeat, but it seems really, really, really sad again. [laughs]

UNCONTROLLABLE IS OUT NOW ON THE NATIVE SOUND

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The city of brotherly love has welcomed a new band to their endless alumni. Debuting their album, Burden Piece via Topshelf Records, Clique have been cutting the standard of a typical melodic rock band. We had the chance to speak with Travis Arterburn (Bass) and Tom Anthony (Drums) about the band’s formation and the creative road that became Burden Piece. Words: Justin Kunz // Photos: Sabrina Jacot

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our latest album, Burden Piece has a very unique, rough edge to it. How was the recording process and how do you feel the record stands out? Travis: I’m not really sure what you mean about the rough edge, but that could be because I’m pretty close to the album. I engineered it myself over the course of 8 days at the Headroom last November. My production style isn’t super polished or anything so that could be what you’re referring to. I also don’t like to use very much reverb. Whatever. Anyway, the studio experience was pretty typical. We drank beer, hung out, and stayed up late. Some Adderall here and there. We’d already demoed like 8 of the songs, so we pretty much knew them back and forth by the time we went in. You can check the music video for “Top Field” if you want to see us fucking around in the studio. I mixed the record in my apartment. I took too long and started driving myself a little crazy. A couple of weeks into the mix I got fired from my job for sleeping three hours into my shift after a particularly late night at a party at the Headroom (of all places). They had some moonshine in a spray bottle. After getting the boot, I ended up sitting around my apartment all day with the TV on mute making minute changes to the mixes. I spent like a month and a half working on it. I kept showing my girlfriend new mixes and she couldn’t tell the difference. Eventually I just said “Fuck it!” and sent it off to mastering. As far as the record standing out, I typically try to be as straightforward as possible with recording. I think that gels with our musical style well. It’s a pretty nofrills album that let the songs speak for themselves. Which track on Burden Piece means the most to you, and why? Travis: For me it is “Boundaries”. It’s the best song I’ve ever written and I really like how the production turned out. I can’t speak for the other guys though. There’s some pretty heavy shit on this album that can mean different things to different people. Tom: “Saline” sticks out for me. I had a rough skeleton for the song and I was really nervous to show to everyone ‘cause it was the first song I brought

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to the band. But almost instantly Trav and Brandon added these amazing riffs that took the song to another level. Then PJ took the original guitar part I had and blew it completely out of the water. The recording turned out great and to me it highlights what everyone in our band brings to the table. What’s the typical songwriting process for Clique? Travis: The songwriting process for this record was different than any band I’ve ever been in. All four of us would bring in skeletons of songs and then we’d expand upon them at practice or send demos back and forth. Tom wrote the main instrumental for “Usage” and I wrote the vocals. Brandon wrote the main instrumental for “Separate” and Tom wrote the vocals. I wrote the main instrumental for “Athlet” and PJ wrote the vocals. That kind of stuff. We all also have songs that were primarily written by one person too. I guess it can be a bit of a clusterfuck. It’s a lot of work but very creatively satisfying. There is no real ‘band leader’ so it’s surprising to me that four different songwriters all figured out a cohesive sound without discussing what we were going for. Apparently, we’re on the same wavelength. I guess when you smash ideas together that way it has to come out with some sort of distinct style. Many bands have an everlasting love for their hometown. Coming from Philadelphia, how do you feel about the city, the music scene, and what has it done for you guys? Travis: Philly is great and Philly sucks. There are so many bands and

“As far as the record standing out - I typically try to be as straightforward as possible with recording. I think that gels with our musical style well. It’s a pretty no-frills album that lets the songs speak for themselves.”

so many places to play. There is a huge community within the scene that we exist in. People have been very supportive of our band which we really appreciate. It’s easily commutable by bike and relatively affordable. Those things are cool. It’s also full of asshole drivers and trash. A lot of people get pretty bummed out and downtrodden here. Us included. Those things suck. I don’t know. I imagine it’s pretty normal to feel conflicted about a place you’ve lived in for a while. You’ve referred to your lyrics in the past as “raw”. Would you mind elaborating on that? Travis: I doubt that we’ve ever referred to our own lyrics as raw. I’d bet that someone else has, though. There are four contributing lyricists in this band now so it’s hard to say. I think we try to write honestly and that might translate to raw. I guess we’re just not particularly happy people. Tom: I don’t know if they are raw. I won’t speak for everyone else, but I tend to hide behind metaphors and double-meanings because I’m not self-assured enough to just come out and say what I think or how I feel. The other guys are better at that. Musically, Burden Piece definitely has its own feel. Who influenced your sound the most for this record? Travis: We draw upon a lot of influences both individually and collectively. Some groups that I know to be particularly influential to the sound of this band are Bedhead, Pedro the Lion, Duster, Pinback, and Modest Mouse. We’ve also been listening to a lot of early-2000s white studded belt metalcore on the road lately. What’s the reason behind the album’s title Burden Piece? Travis: It comes from a line in the first track. We were initially calling the song “Burden Piece”, but we decided to use the title for the record instead. In my mind it works on a few levels. I think a lot of these songs are pretty thematically depressing and heavy so you could refer to the record as a whole as a ‘Burden Piece’. It could also be referring to us as individuals being a burden on those around us. We never discussed the meaning explicitly with each other, but it felt right.


INTERVIEW INTERVIEW// //CLIQUE GATES

Tom: The line in “Worth” goes, “I won’t be your burden piece.” There’s no deep meaning to it. Originally it was just “I won’t be your burden,” but I needed an extra syllable to finish the line. When I sent the demo to the guys I called it “Burden Piece” and I think Trav very quickly was like “That’s a great title.” And when we needed a name for the album, I think we all thought it was appropriate. In the past you’ve mentioned that before Clique, the majority of the members were playing in other groups. What brought you all together and what was the driving force to create Clique? Travis: PJ, Tom and I have all been playing in bands in Philly for 5 or 6 years or something. We came up in the same scene around the same time so our bands were playing together and we were all friends. I’ve worked on recordings for a bunch of them too. When PJ’s bands started to dissolve, he and Brandon, who were roommates, started writing songs together and performing them in acoustic. I heard a few of the demos and thought they were really good. So I asked PJ if he might be

interested in putting a band together. He said yes and I ended up coming over and writing bass parts over a few jams. We didn’t have a drummer and I asked Tom if he would do it. I think he was trying to get out of playing drums in bands and he reluctantly agreed - he’s a really talented multi-instrumentalist and had already been drumming in a couple projects. Things came together pretty quickly after that. Tom: I was definitely trying to get out of playing drums, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play with Trav and PJ. Ted Nguyent and Girl Scouts were two of my favorite bands in the city, so it was a no brainer to say “Yes!” when Trav asked me. I’ve never enjoyed playing the drums more than I do now so I’ve got no complaints. Do you guys have any tours/shows scheduled for the near-distant future? Travis: We just played our record release show and a show with Into It. Over It. for Northside Festival in Brooklyn. Those are our last two scheduled shows for a while. We have a bunch of new material to work on. Plus, we are broke idiots

and wanna try and get ourselves on track so that we can start being a real band and maybe tour later this year. If you could tour with any group, who would you choose, and why? Travis: That’s a tough question. There are a ton of bands we’re into that we’d love to tour with. I guess if I have to say something I’d say Pinback. Maybe The New Year? Are they gonna tour ever? David Bazan would be pretty cool. Our friends in Hop Along and Alex G are touring with Built to Spill. That’s pretty wild. Thinking back to all the shows you’ve played before, what incident/memory sticks out the most to you? Travis: We got to play the final Glocca Morra show at the first Unitarian Church. I really love them and was stoked to play that show. I’ve been going to gigs at the church since I first moved to Philly in 2009. Playing on the stage for the first time was pretty surreal.

BURDEN PIECE IS OUT NOW ON TOPSHELF RECORDS

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While working on their sophomore album, Fear Of Life, Creative Adult went through some rough times within the band. They had some creative differences and they had to work along with that, but the outcome is just outstanding. In a frankly honest chat, we talked with vocalist/songwriter Scott Phillips about fear, life and everything that comes in between. Words: Andreia Alves // Photos: MJ Bernier

R

ecording your new album Fear Of Life had its challenges and each one of you had different perspectives of what you wanted the album to be like. How did you deal with that and what impact did that have on the final result? Being in a band is kind of being in a strange family where people may have different life experiences or come from different places, but you try to work together in order to make something that we all like. I think we just sometimes put too much pressure on ourselves and maybe overthink things a little bit too much. I think a lot of bands have that problem where sometimes they get caught up in the outside peripheral stuff rather than just having fun with it and making something that you like. The less pressure you put on yourself, the better the outcome is and, yeah, the process was different for this album. We recorded in a couple different studios and it spread out over a few months and turned to this thing that was a bit more than I think that we were ready for to handle, but I think in the end it makes a better album.

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INTELL & INVE


LIGENT ENTIVE

What was the most challenging part to overcome the recording process tensions? I think communication is the main thing. I don’t think we were necessarily communicating very well while we were working on the album and I think we could have avoided a lot of the internal conflict and we could have been a bit more open and honest with each other rather than thinking of things just personally. We all come from different places and have different experiences and different backgrounds, but in the end like I said the music is what the music is and we are proud of the record. That internal tension or conflict was beneficial. I think a little of tension could be a good thing. I think that music resonate with people and I think they will be able to feel that when they listen to the album. When you put yourself outside of your comfort zone, it can definitely be something good for people to try different things. Did you guys put yourselves in that position to excel your differences about the new album? I completely agree with you. With this band, we’ve never had like a set format. We just kind of make things up and do it as we go along. We just try the best we can to work together and not want to rip each other heads off and we usually get along well. We’re all friends and so we figure out the best we can. What did you learn about yourselves as musicians and bandmates while working on this album? Every album is different and when you’re working on a record everyone is in a different place personally. I can only speak for myself and so for me this album is different because a lot of the music was like “Oh fuck, I’m going to have to actually sing over on a lot of these songs.” I don’t consider myself a singer by any means, I consider myself a writer first and foremost and so I heard a lot of the music and before I worked on it, I was like “Shit, I’m gonna have to try to sing over a lot of these songs” which is something that I’m not really used to. That was maybe one of the challenges for me, which was just trying to write vocal melodies that I could actually perform without making a fool of myself. You know what I mean, I’m not really an entertainer, I’m not Mick Jagger. I’m not going to do this song and dance kind of like an entertainment thing. I try to go internal rather than external when I work on the songs. This record was an exercise on going inward and just reflecting on some of the things that happened over the last couple of years personally. It was a therapy for sure.

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I read a statement in which you said that each song’s lyrics were treated as “an attempt to delineate how it feels to be alive at the moment with respect to all emotions.” Can you explain to us what you meant by that and what did inspire you for your lyrics? It’s kind of what I had in mind for the title of the album... We live in such a perpetual fear cycle where we’re supposed to be afraid all the time and I think a lot of the stuff on this album is just about trying to find the light within and trying to make something positive happen. There’s so much negativity, nonsense and a lot of stuff that distracts us from our true potential and what we really are as people. That was kind of my focus with the writing. A lot of the lyrics are very simple and I wanted to keep things simple for this record, you know, estranged from a lot of metaphor and a lot of things that maybe I relied on in the past, there’s still that for sure, but maybe not as much. Music is such a great way to be able to freely express oneself without fear and that was what I was thinking with Fear Of Life. I think a lot of us are afraid to really be in the moment, really be the people that we can be and being able to help other people too along the way, because you know, we’re all here together. Is there anything that you fear the most at the moment? Well... [laughs] America is such a fucked-up place. I mean, Donald Trump can be our president and a lot of people here are afraid of that me included - but rather than focus on the things that I’m afraid of, I like to focus on the things that I like. There’s a song on the album called “I Can Love” and the lyrics are just really simple, which is me listing the things that I like. I’ve kind of wanted to show a different side of myself because the music is emotionally heavy as it is, so I wanted to do something a bit lighter and kind of fun. I can’t think of anything in particular that I’m afraid at the moment, I have the same worries and fears as a lot of people, whether is money or this or that. My fears aren’t different from anyone else, I think. The possibility of Donald Trump becoming the president of USA is really frightening, and Brexit is also a really scary thing to see happening.

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Yeah, it’s an absolute nightmare. [laughs] I feel like it’s all rigged to more war and more of the same. It’s like a cycle that never ends. Every day we interact with people that we like and we see good things too, so I think it’s also wise to focus on the good stuff as well as the bad stuff, because if you consume yourself with all the nonsense, then I feel like you kind of save yourself up to be like a hated person and a person that’s hard to be around. Back to Fear Of Life, the outcome is just amazing and all songs flow really well together. In fact, there are two songs with an eight-minute length that are just surreally good, which are “Connected” and “Hand in Shove”. How was the creative and recording process for these two songs? The first song “Connected” was a song that was written probably about a year before we even recorded it, so that was a song that I felt comfortable with vocally because I was familiar with it and I was really impressed with it because it goes on and on and I thought that was really cool. Lyrically, “Connected” is just like the title says, it’s just about all of us being in this together and trying to take some of that internal light from within and spread it and try to help. The last song on the album, “Hand in Shove”, is about coming to terms with some of the things that we bury in our own minds and some of the things that aren’t maybe ready to deal with yet, maybe it’s a regret or something from the past like an open wound in a way. Musically, I thought they’re just emotionally heavy songs and they were really fun

"This record was an exercise on going inward and just reflecting on some of the things that happened over the last couple of years personally."

to write on because they allowed me to get creative with it and do things that I’ve never done before, so it was exciting to do that. Which song off the new album was the most fulfilling for you guys to work on? It’s hard to say... I worked on all of them kind of simultaneously, the way I work is like maybe I work in one song for a few hours and then jump around to another song, so really the entire record for me feels like one giant song [laughs] even though obviously is not. But, I think if I had to pick a favorite track, I would probably pick track one. I think “Connected” is the best song that Creative Adult have done so far. I think that song kind of takes what we’ve done in the past and expands on it in a way that I think it’s cool. To me, it’s like the quintessential Creative Adult song. It goes in and out of things that we’ve done before and things that we’re going to do in the future. The album was recorded fully analog with instrumentation produced, engineered, and mixed by Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Comadre, Punch) at The Atomic Garden in Palo Alto, California. What did he bring to the band’s dynamic? We’ve all known Jack for a while. His records sound way more polished than anything we’ve ever done before. We’ve generally recorded in 30 studios and did everything super live and raw. Jack’s studios sound cleaner, if that makes any sense. [laughs] Jack is really focused and he’s dedicated, and I think he has an idea in his mind of what he wants things to sound like even before we laid the first track. I think that was good for the band. I didn’t record my vocals at Jack’s studio, so it was a different experience for me, but Jack did a great job. He’s a pro. You recorded your vocal parts with RJ Phillips at Grizzley Studios in Petaluma, California. What led you to record them in a different studio and with a different engineer? I went in one morning and tried to record at Jack’s and something about the room wasn’t right. I’ll record anywhere, but something about the vibe was just off and, instead of going into that studio and trying all these things that may not work, I thought it was more practical to go into a place where I’ve recorded


INTERVIEW // CREATIVE ADULT

before and a place where I feel comfortable in, so I went to a studio a bit closer to home, a place where I’ve recorded with a lot of different bands before. It just made sense and I think in the end it worked out fine. No hard feelings to Jack or his studio. [laughs] It just wasn’t working. You released an awesome video for the track “Charged”, which was directed by Timmy Lodhi and features vocals from Kristina Esfandiari (King Woman, Miserable). What can you tell me more about that? The song was actually written in the studio and so it wasn’t a prepared song when we started recording it. I think that’s one of those things that happen spontaneously, which to me it’s the best way to write music, not overthink it too much and it just kind of happens, and that’s how that song happened. When I was working on the vocals, to me the music sort of had this Mogwai vibe to it and so vocally that’s what I was going for. Fortunately, Kristina came and helped out, she did such a great job. She did some other background vocals on the album as well. She has such a powerful voice and such a powerful presence, I was grateful that she wanted to be on the album. That song in particular is about longing I suppose, it’s about figures from your

past that you may or may not ever see again and just thinking about stuff like that. What records or bands are you into lately? I really liked the last The Brian Jonestown Massacre album called Mini Album Thingy Wingy and it came out last year. I just saw them playing in San Francisco a couple of months ago and I thought it was great, they played like a three-hour set and it was just fucking awesome. I tried to listen to the new Radiohead’s album and I couldn’t, I don’t know why. [laughs] I couldn’t do it, maybe I just wasn’t in the right mindset for it and I should give another shot. There’s some good local bands in our area right now, bands like The Down House, Tony Molina... Our guitar player Mike is in a cool hardcore band called Profile and they are awesome. Our drummer James does a wonderful project called Teal and he just self-released an album earlier this year and it’s really good. There’s a lot of good stuff going on right now. We’re going to Europe with Self Defense Family, a band who we’ve toured a lot with in the past that we’re finally bringing it overseas and we love them and we always have a great time with them.

What about you? Do you have other projects that you’re involved in besides Creative Adult? Nothing serious. I’m playing bass in this sort of joke band right now, but that’s just for fun. I do like writing projects, write poetry and just try to keep my mind focus on something creative, whether it’s for an audience or not. It just feels good to make stuff and I encourage everyone to make stuff, whether they show it to anyone or not, just because I think it’s good for the mind. Couldn’t agree more with you. It just feels great to make stuff creatively to boost your mind. Definitely! Don’t you find it just good for anxiety or just release any kind of tension of your life, like pick up a guitar, pick up a pen, pick up a paintbrush or whatever it is and just take your mind somewhere else and put yourself in a different place. I think it’s healthy and important. A lot of people use music as a distraction from what’s maybe bothering them in their lives, but sometimes I find that it’s the opposite to where it gives me a chance to travel within and really reflect on how I’m feeling and try to get to the root of some of that anxiety.

FEAR OF LIFE IS OUT NOW ON RUN FOR COVER RECORDS

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Closing A Beau With the release of their fourteenth full-length album, Swans are hardly surprising people each time they manage to blow people’s mind. It has been that way for some time now and for the look of things it will remain that way. We talked with Michael Gira about The Glowing Man, the unexpected trilogy, what the present looks like, and the exciting uncertainty of the future. Words: Tiago Moreira // Photos: Samantha Marble

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Y

ou’ve been releasing music, with and without Swans, for more than 30 years. In a moment where the record is like two weeks from being released, is there an excitement to see how people will react to your new work? [pause] Yeah, I suppose so. I make it for myself, but I also make it for other people. I just hope that people available themselves to the experience. You described The Seer as a culmination of every previous Swans’ album as well any other music you’ve ever made, been involved in or imagined, and you told me, in our last conversation, that perhaps To Be Kind was a visit to your local supermarket. So, how would you describe The Glowing Man? I guess this one was like being on the operating table in the hospital having my liver removed. [laughs] In a good way or in a bad way? It was very good in that the surgeon, the nurses, and I all ate my liver afterwards. Was it the first time, in your career with Swans, that you started working on an album without knowing it was a farewell? No, I did that with Soundtracks for the Blind (1996) as well. How did it feel and how it compares with the Soundtracks for the Blind? In this instance I’m not retiring the name Swans. I’m just moving on to a different phase, a much different phase. But I don’t think it really affected making record. There’s the music to deal with, that’s the most important thing, and all of us... we knew it was the last adventure involving all of us as a band. All of us, we just focused on the music, really. Like you say in The Glowing Man’s press release, you didn’t know where it would lead when you restarted Swans back in 2009. Was there a specific moment or period in these 7 years where you figured

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out or you started understanding its purpose? Yes! That would’ve been during live performances when it reached – the music, not us – the highest possible state that I could ever imagine myself partaking in. Where the music was a living entity and we were just, very similar to the audience, experiencing simultaneously as was being created. Was it before the release of The Seer? Yeah, after we started touring for the first album [My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky (2010)]. At first we started those tours in pretty much a normal way, doing some songs from the record, some old songs, and then I started to feel very phony about that. It seemed like just recapitulating the past or something. So, we started just letting the music take over in and improvising, for lack of a better word... it’s not really improvising in the normal, in that people take solos and explore their instrument or something. It’s more like we found ways to allow the trajectory of the sound to take over and follow it. So, that was a revelation and is the mode we’ve been using for a lot of the material, not all of it, by performing the songs, transforming and ultimately it become new songs, which was what happened in this record. Particularly the song “The Glowing Man” itself, it grew out of performing a song called “Bring The Sun / Toussaint L’ Ouverture”. I was becoming dissatisfied with playing “Toussaint L’Ouverture”. Although it was great, at one time it started to feel predictable and one night I just started doing something else, people followed, and then we went to a whole new thing and it became “The Glowing Man”. As everyone knows at this point, The Glowing Man is the last record with this Swans’ incarnation that’s been together for seven years now. Is there a comfort, in being together in this group of people for the last seven years, that you wanted shake away, sort of speak? Perhaps welcoming a sort of uncomfortable feeling. Yes... [pause] I guess it’s like being with a wife and the sexual adventure has disappeared. But you know, we were together – and we’ll still be together for the next 18 months – over 200 days a year, very close quarters, working constantly, and I just feel that as a group, as a band that if we were to continue

“I’m just trying to provide an experience in which one can hopefully lose themselves for a minute...”


INTERVIEW // SWANS

we might start becoming predictable. I just think it’s important to shake it up. I’m not going to say I’m not going to work with these guys, it’s just that I’m going to have a revolving group of contributors in future records. And also, having a band, at least at this level, is a huge responsibility and I’m just too fucking exhausted to deal with it. To have a band like this and to be able to afford it is necessary to tour a lot, to pay people, and... Yeah, I can’t keep that up. So, I’m going to scale things down. With To Be Kind, you did cut a little bit of music and there was even a piece that didn’t make the record because you felt it made the album tedious, like it didn’t work. Did you end up cutting

anything for this album? No. This record has everything that was conceived to be on the record. I mean, there were some edits, of course, but that’s it. “The Seer” grew into “Bring The Sun” which grew into “Toussaint L’ Ouverture”, and then there’s “The Glowing Man” that contains a section of “Bring The Sun”. Is this interconnectivity enough to call the last three albums a sort of unexpected trilogy? I suppose so. It wasn’t conceived that way, but it’s a period of time where everything feeds of everything else and it’s just one body of work that keeps evolving. You confessed that “Cloud of Forgetting” and “Cloud of

Unknowing”, the two first songs on the album, are prayers. If you don’t mind me asking, what kind of prayers? Lyrically, and I guess musically live too, they are involved with the act of surrendering and giving up. I’ll leave it up to you to decide what that’s giving up to but... Certainly not life. No, it’s more to do with trying to find a contact with something bigger than yourself, which is where the music, at times and not always, involves. It’s like I say, when the music reaches this kind of stage where it’s an undeniable wave that’s moving forward, you just have to decide to just let it take you. That’s a corollary to pursue of a state of consciousness, which I aspire to.

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Would it be fair to say that giving up to reach something higher is what you’ve been doing with Swans, in the great scale of things? Probably. I think that anybody that experiences music in a deep way, just music, is involved in that process. I was thinking... if you go listen to Swans’ early records... No, thank you. [laughs] They’re extremely aggressive, extremely bleak, sometimes fuckin’ depressive... I mean, nowadays it can also be aggressive at times – there are some moments on this new album that can prove it – but there seems to be hope, seems to have a lot of love involved. It’s always searching, yes, and it’s always giving, which is where the word love comes in. But I disagree with the word “aggressive”. I would say it’s more sort of all-encompassing because aggression implies that you’re attacking, which I’m definitely not doing. I’m just trying to provide an experience in which one can hopefully lose themselves for a minute. Listening to this album, I felt that there was a gospel music feel with the chants and everything, a great sense of spirituality - perhaps more than any other Swans’ album. Do you feel comfortable with this association or do you even think it’s fair? Yeah, there’s a similarity in gospel music that just quite literally is always trying to take you higher. Lyrically, it’s quite beautiful in the sense that the words don’t interfere with that music or inspiration. They are signposts leading you on. For instance, if I were to write words in the bigger songs – I mean, there’s obviously quieter songs on this record too – that were personal or confessional, it would ruin the music. It’s always a matter of finding phrases that fit with the music, but don’t make it smaller. “The World Looks Red / The World Looks Black” uses some words you wrote back in 1982 or so that Sonic Youth used for their song “The World Looks Red” for their debut album Confusion Is Sex (1983). People often have a hard time remembering what they did last week... how the hell did you

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“... having a band, at least at this level, is a huge responsibility and I’m just too fucking exhausted to deal with it” still remember those words that you had written more than 30 years ago? I didn’t remember them all, but I was just playing my guitar in my office and I didn’t have words for this music... I have no idea, I just started singing those words. You know, I had recently reconnected with Thurston [Moore] and that might have had something to do with why that song was in my mind. I guess they were good words. [laughs] There’s a line on that song that goes “The weight of my body is too much to bear.” Do you still feel that way? Oh yeah, but it’s not a confessional song. It’s just describing a state of mind. At that time my state of mind was utterly paranoid [laughs] and verging on insane. I don’t who that person is anymore, but I still feel that psychic picture. You named the last track of the last album with the current Swans’ incarnation “Finally Peace”. I’m curious to know... was that the last track written and recorded for the album? Things were recorded all in bits and pieces. You go into the studio and you record the basic tracks, then you go back and do overdubs – in the case of these songs there are hundreds of overdubs. So, they all worked in tandem, together. But that song was one of the last for the record, yeah.

Why did you decide to call it “Finally Peace?” Well, I guess is describing the state of mind of the song. That’s what it points to. I thought you were referencing to this seven-year period. Well, I guess you could look at that way too. Although I’m not that self-referential. I don’t think that Swans per se is an interesting topic for a song. A song should be a standalone experience for people – it’s not about me, or my friends, or the band. It’s a song and it should have a wide appeal or interest to people. Could you please talk about and explain the meaning behind that sort of symbol in the cover art? It’s a drawing I did. I did all those drawings. The initial concept for the artwork for the album was to have a symbol from different languages of “glowing”, “man”, or “fire”, “exploding”... different kinds of phrases. The cover would have been a Chinese character, the back cover would have been a Japanese character, and another one would have been Arabic, and so on. I researched those characters and I began to realize that it seemed really new age to do this [laughs] and it looked corny. So, at the last minute I thought, “Oh fuck, what am I going to do?”, and so I just drew my own symbols. I was struck later realizing that they sort of reminded that they sort of reminded me of [Francisco] Goya’s The Disasters of War series where body parts are hanging from the trees. [laughs] Pretty much every album has an icon. The last three albums hit the twohour mark (more or less). I guess you’re still unsure what the Swans’ future will look like, but do you consider working with a time limitation or the organic nature in Swans’ music is too good and satisfactory to be putted aside? I just think the music will determine that. That’s what it does now. It’s not intentional to make things long and I didn’t set out to make things long. Intrinsically, it seems like that’s how it has to be. There’s no reason to cut things. The only reason to cut things is if it’s not interesting. I only cut things if it’s not interesting anymore.

THE GLOWING MAN IS OUT NOW ON MUTE RECORDS


INTERVIEW // SWANS

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A HIGH-EM VACA

Last year Bayside celebrated their 15th anniversary as a band and a lot has happened since their journey began. Dealing with the fact that every member is living now in different cities and with some inevitable personal changes, the band are about to release their seventh album, Vacancy. We caught up with frontman Anthony Raneri to find out more about their new effort and how they dealt with those challenges. Words: Andreia Alves

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MOTIONAL ANCY

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ast year you guys did a tour to celebrate Bayside’s 15th anniversary with Senses Fail, Man Overboard, and Seaway. How does it feel for you to look back to those years as a band? It’s nostalgic and it’s happy. There’s sad moments and there’s hard moments, but most of all, we feel proud to have been a band for this long, succeed for this long, maintain this career for this long... There’s so many bands that had more success than us and made more money than us, they dream with that, so we’re just incredibly proud. When we started Bayside, we wanted to be the kind of band that would last a long time. We wanted to mean something to people so that they would stick by us, and that seemed to all happen. How much has changed for you guys since you started the band? In some ways a lot and in some ways not at all. We’ve always been the kind of band that we’ve always wanted to stay true to our sound. We think that in our first couple of albums we toyed around with a few different ideas and a few different styles and we sort of landed on something that we felt it was unique and something that we love. We’ve just always wanted to maintain that. We think that Bayside has a recognizable sound and seven albums later we try to make sure that every album you know is Bayside as soon as it comes on, but at the same time experimenting and trying to work within that, but like I said, make sure that you know it’s Bayside as soon as you turn it on. It’s been 2 years since you released your latest album, Cult, and a lot has happened to you guys. What had you been up to during that period of time? In between Cult and Vacancy, I moved to Tennessee, which is in the south. I lived in New York City my whole life, I was born there and I never lived in anywhere else until coming to Tennessee. I felt like a stranger in a strange place, I didn’t really have my family here anymore, except my daughter. My parents aren’t here and I don’t have a wife anymore, and now I’m in like

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this strange state that I’m having a hard time getting comfortable with. It’s a very uncomfortable time for me and that’s what really the record is about. It’s about trying to find where you belong in a new place. So, the aftermath of being married and moving to Tennessee had a massive influence on your writing for this new album. Yeah, I didn’t want it to be about my marriage breaking up, I didn’t want to be a break up album. I wanted it to be about putting everything back together afterwards. Working on this album must have been a way for you to deal with those situations you went through. It was really therapy... I mean, there’s certain sentences on the album that were things that I was actually saying out loud to people. I would be talking to people or even talking to myself and thinking to myself and I would think of sentences and I would write it down in the album. I was literally writing it as I was experiencing it. I always write from what I know and I always write from my past experiences, but I think it’s the first time I really wrote an entire record while living in the situation. Even though you had some drawbacks while working on this album, Vacancy sounds invigorating and really cohesive. What stands out the most about the writing and recording process for you? Another big change for this album for us, besides my big move and everything I’ve gone through, is that all the guys in the band have moved all over the country. Everybody is living all over the country now and we’re all a plane ride away from each other, we’re at least 1000 miles away from each other, if not more. That made really interesting with writing this record because we all used to live in the same place for 15 years and in 6 albums we used to just all meet up every day or every couple of days or so, we would work on stuff in a room together and then we would go into a studio. But this time there was a lot of working from home, recording ideas at home and emailing to each other. It was like this guy works on this part and email us back. We discussed it that way and then when we got into the studio, we still had a lot more work to do really. It was an interesting and very different process than we were used to.

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"When we started Bayside, we wanted to be the kind of band that would last a long time. We wanted to mean something to people so that they would stick by us..." Was it stressful for you guys to deal for the first time with distance issues while making music? It was incredibly stressful! While it was happening, it was very stressful, but now that we’re done and we could look back on the process and the product, I’m thankful for it. It was a better process. Back then, we would come with an idea and then we would play that idea together a 100 times, and then by the time we would get to the studio, that was just the idea. It was no longer really up for discussion because it had been so ingrained in our minds by then. And with this new approach, it left everything much more open to interpretation. No idea was solid until the album was done. Every idea was open to being changed or being improved on all the way until the end. You guys worked with Tim O’Heir (Sebadoh, Say Anything) and the result is just amazing. How was it like to work with him? He really made us to rethink a lot of the habits that we got into, which I think we really needed it and it’s one of the reasons that we hired him to begin with. You know, it’s our seventh album and there’s a lot of ideas and a lot of habits musically that we just keep going back to. There’s a lot of times where we still go back to this core and that we always go back to this idea because it feels right. We’ve got into a lot of habits, but we can break them and it can still sound like Bayside if we think outside of the box. He really helped us with the way that we were approaching our parts. Vacancy’s artwork is a photo of a hotel entrance, so what does that

mean to you in regards to the album’s content? When I first moved to Tennessee, I bought a nice house here with my family and I was really proud of it. I was the first person to ever live in it and I had it built just for me, so I was really excited about it and it felt like a big step in my life, like I really accomplished something and then when I split with my wife, I had to move out of the house and moved into a little apartment. I haven’t lived in an apartment in like 8 years, so I moved into this little apartment all by myself and it was very isolated and very lonely. I moved all my stuff in there and the whole time I was there I was just kind of figuring out my life, you know? There’s a lyric in the song “Pretty Vacant” where I say “I can’t believe this is my life [...] And I’ve got no home.” That was literally me lying in bed in that apartment and just thinking “I don’t even know where I live anymore. I bought a house that it’s not my house anymore and I don’t know if I’m going to move back to New York. I don’t know if I’m going to buy a new house in Tennessee. I don’t know if I’m going to live in this apartment for the rest of my life. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me next.” On that apartment, I didn’t unpack any of my boxes, I just had boxes all over the place. I didn’t unpack, I didn’t hang anything on the walls because it was so transitional. It was just like “I might move out, I might move back to New York tomorrow or I might buy a new house here or I might live here forever.” It just felt like I wasn’t going to bother to unpack. I was like basically in a hotel, like “I’m just kind of crashing here and this isn’t really my house. I’m just staying here for a minute.” So, that’s where the album’s title Vacancy came from and putting the hotel on the cover, because I wrote the whole album in that apartment. I was sitting in that apartment and living there by myself, and so I wrote the whole album in the bedroom of that apartment. I knew I didn’t want to write a break up album, I knew that I wanted to be something more than that. At your seventh album, what do you still find challenging about the music industry and its setbacks? When we first got signed, people still sold albums. Our first four albums came out on Victory Records and while we were on Victory we had


INTERVIEW // BAYSIDE

other bands on the label that sold a million albums. [laughs] Can you imagine a punk band selling a million albums right now? It will never happen again. I was like around 21 years old when we first signed our first deal, I didn’t know anything about the music industry and so I was always trying to learn it all and figure it out how it worked like “Can one day I make a living doing this?” Just when I started to figure it all out, everything changed. [laughs] Now the music industry is completely different and now I have to learn it all over again. I kind of like where the music industry is going, though. It’s harder, but I’ve spent my whole life playing in a punk band and I was never going to be on the radio. I’ve never been on the radio, never come close to sell a million albums. I had to figure out how to make a living without any of that stuff, so I really dedicated myself to learn about touring, merchandising and how to be a blue color band, you know what I mean? We’re not fancy rock stars, we go to work. We go on tour and we work hard. We hustle and we make a living. It seems to me that that’s what the entire music industry is turning into now and all these guys who used to be rock stars don’t want to get their hands dirty, but they have to learn how to get their hands dirty now.

Besides Bayside, you started your own solo project and last year you released your second EP, Sorry State of Mind. It was a really great EP. How’s going your solo adventure and how’s the feedback been? I love it. When it comes to the solo thing, I am my own manager. The first EP I put out myself with no distribution and no anything, it was literally me in my house and I was selling it through the website. I was literally putting it in envelopes myself and mailing it to the people who were buying it. That’s so much fun because that’s what being in a band was when I was like 16 or 17 and that’s what I was doing with my friends in the basement. It was so much fun and of course that’s not how Bayside operates. For me, with the solo stuff, I’ve never wanted to sign to a big label or a big management and I kind of take it on and trying to build it into something to where Bayside is, because for me, I just want to keep it fun all the time and I want it to remind me of when I was young and when I was in a punk band like working from a basement. Musically, your solo project is quite different from the music on Bayside, which is really refreshing. Yeah, it’s very different from

Bayside. Like I said earlier, when it comes to Bayside music I really always want to sound like Bayside, we never really wanted to change that up too much. I don’t wanna say that it puts me in a box creatively because I love doing all the Bayside stuff, but sometimes I write a song on piano, sometimes I write a country song and I want people to hear that and I’m not gonna put that on a Bayside album. It’s a cool outlet for me and it’s also fun that the genre has never really been defined and because of that I’m able to really just do whatever I want. Every song can be completely different, it’s whatever I want. Are you currently working on new material for a possible full-length? I actually am! I won’t be able to get into the studio for at least a year, probably more than that to work on it because I’ll be on tour with Bayside for the next 8 months probably. Last week I sat down with a friend of mine and we started to talk about some ideas for the next solo record. It won’t be for a while, but yeah, I am starting to think about it.

VACANCY ARRIVES ON AUGUST 19 VIA HOPELESS RECORDS

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G N I N I H S , D U O L T

hanks a lot for taking the time to answer these, it’s much appreciated. As an aside, I was the guy you and Mike zapped at the Glasgow show with Earthless years ago (the one with the dodgy earthing issues) so cheers for making it a memorable night! We still talk about that show all the time. Electricity is strange. Mike had a steel plate in his ankle from an old

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wrestling injury removed after that tour because we were convinced it was at the root of his conductivity issues. No weird shock episodes since. Thanks for being a guinea pig to our troubleshooting that night. I guess a good one to start off on, although probably not the cheeriest, is to ask how Mike is recovering at the moment and what exactly happened. Mike is holding up okay. Fortunately, he didn’t have to get any more steel plates embedded in him. He’s just recovering from some really gnarly whiplash and attendant headaches.

It was bad enough in the first week that he couldn’t lift a cup of coffee, tie his shoes, look down at a fretboard, or wear his guitar without being on a bunch of pain killers, but the neck and back pain seems to be abating somewhat, so that’s good. Basically what happened was Mike was driving home from practice one night and a car swerved into his lane and hit him head on. He was in the band van, which probably saved his life because it’s a big old Ford Econoline. The other car got messed up pretty bad. It sounds like a really grim situation. Last I heard both people in the swerving car are


L A S S O L O C & G

Over six albums, Russian Circles have evolved to the extent that they’ve pretty much outstripped (and outlived) the scene that birthed them, expanding any notions of what three guys who like loud, emotive music can achieve. Guidance is a shining example of their loose blueprint at work, a colossal record that delivers a series of gut-punch emotional hits and doing it with enough gusto to topple an oak tree. As news came in of guitarist Mike Sullivan’s recent involvement in a head-on collision, we spoke to Brian Cook to discuss his recovery, Bob Dylan and the art of doing whatever the fuck you want. Words: Dave Bowes // Photos: Paul Blau

recovering, but their injuries were a lot more severe. There’s still some investigating as to why they swerved into Mike’s lane. There was nothing in the road. No turns. No reason to swerve unless they were trying to actually do some damage to themselves. You have steadily operating at the poles of sound for a while, focusing on outlying tones and dynamics to create something dramatic and conflicting. Is there a certain freedom that comes from working at the extremes and are there limits to it? The bottom line for us is that we

want to be able to write whatever we want to write. There were a couple of songs that didn’t wind up on Guidance because they didn’t fit in with the overall vibe of the album, but it was a drag to have to put those tracks on the back burner. Overall, we feel like we have free reign to do whatever we want. We want to write a melancholic pop song with vocals? We did it with “Memorial”. We want to write a minimalist Americana noir song? Cool, we wrote “Lisboa”. We want to pay homage to Deathspell Omega’s dissonant mid-tempo black metal? We’ll sneak that into “Deficit” and “Vorel”. Experimental

folk? “Praise Be Man”. We’re just a bunch of dudes in our mid-to-late thirties that like a bunch of different kinds of music and want to be able to cull from as much of our record collections as possible. I think people appreciate that our albums cover a lot of territories, but I also understand that people want a handy lexicon for discussing what we do. Even thinking of how I would classify the examples I just listed seems weirdly dismissive or oversimplifying the process. But because we veer towards the heavier end of the spectrum, and because we’re an instrumental band, we get put in a

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box with other heavy, loud-quietloud, predominantly-instrumental bands. And I guess that’s fine, but I’m not aspiring to be in that peer group. I don’t want to feel like there are parameters to what we can do.

Down On Broadway at the time. But with Guidance I really wanted to keep my head clear of expectations. I didn’t want to force anything. As far as I know, the other guys didn’t have any reference points either.

It sometimes seems like each album of yours builds upon the past, like they’re each an incremental step towards some final goal or ultimate work. Do you think there is some kind of grand scheme across your past work and if there is, where does Guidance sit within it? I’m sure there’s some sort of Platonic ideal out there that we’re subconsciously trying to attain. Do you know that Bob Dylan song “Visions of Johanna”? That’s one of my favourite Dylan songs. On the surface, it’s all about how Dylan is sleeping with Louise, but he’s really in love with Johanna. But the bigger metaphor is that it’s about Dylan’s art, and how Johanna is what he’s striving for, but it’s this unobtainable idea. We dream of it, but it’ll never live up to your expectations. We’ll never even be close enough to get a sense of it. If Dylan was struggling with this idea, then pretty much every musician is fucked, including us. But I’m not even sure what the ultimate Russian Circles composition would sound like. Maybe that’s why our albums have gotten increasingly dynamic. Maybe perfection resides in the sombre moments. Maybe it’ll come out in the loud cathartic moments. Who knows. We’ll just keep sleeping with Louise.

There has always been this elegant simplicity when it comes to your album and song titles. Names, places... do these titles have any bearing on the content of your music, or do they act more as placeholders or signifiers? It varies. Phonetics are really important, but there also tends to be some sort of importance to the words. Do the titles pertain to the content of the song? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Sometimes they really are just placeholders. “Vorel” has a definite meaning for us, but it doesn’t necessarily pertain to the emotional resonance of the song. “Schiphol”, on the other hand, is definitely pertinent to the vibe of the song, though the explanation is long-winded enough that I’ll spare you the details. The impetus behind that song title has been discussed before, so a little internet sleuthing will yield an answer for curious parties.

Was there a difference in how you approached this album compared to past works? Not really, but we don’t really have a set way of writing songs to begin with, so the albums tend to be a mishmash of approaches. I mean, at no point are we going on absinthe binges and trying to score a soundtrack to Rimbaud’s Illuminations or something. There’s no dialogue about “I’m only going to play in one scale on this album and I’m not going to fret anything with my ring finger” or some such lofty idea. Were there any reference points that you had in mind while you were working on these songs? For me, personally, no. On Memorial, I really wanted to try to tap into some of the ambition and classical inclinations of old prog records. I was really obsessed with The Lamb Lies

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After how well-received Chelsea Wolfe’s contribution to “Memorial” was, I think some people expected vocals to become more of a feature in your music. Was this ever an

“... we don’t really have a set way of writing songs to begin with, so the albums tend to be a mishmash of approaches. I mean, at no point are we going on absinthe binges and trying to score a soundtrack to Rimbaud’s Illuminations or something.”

option with Guidance and are there any vocalists who you feel would complement these songs well? It was discussed, but “Memorial” was specifically written with Chelsea in mind. It was a collaborative process. With Guidance, any vocals would have been an afterthought, and because of that we eventually vetoed the idea. One of the things that separates you from a lot of the post-whatever crowd is that your albums are usually on the shorter side, meaning they stay strong and don’t fizzle out. Is this a deliberate move on your part or is it more of a songwriting preference? It’s definitely deliberate. Geneva was on the long side, and I love that album. But as a listener, I never listen to an album and think, “Man, if only this album was just ten to fifteen minutes longer.” On the other hand, there’s many albums that I love that could use a little trimming of the fat. So starting with Empros we began to try to keep things between 35 and 40 minutes - long enough to go on a journey, not so long that you get bored by the trip. A lot of people were very excited when you started playing with Russian Circles, especially those who had followed your career with These Arms Are Snakes and Botch. Do you see much of a difference in your technique and musical approach in comparison to how you were in previous bands? Definitely. It was really refreshing to play with restraint. It was also really refreshing to think less about how I could mix things up note-wise and instead focus on mixing things up texturally. These Arms Are Snakes was already a move in that direction from Botch, but Russian Circles allowed me to finally play in a context that didn’t involve swinging an instrument around and jumping off of monitors and such. It was less about riffs and bass lines and more about figuring out the proper treatment to the song as a whole. It’s still fun to play music that operates at full-throttle at all times, but it’s also satisfying to play with some nuance. From a quick perusal, it seems that you get quizzed quite a lot on your technical set-ups. Are you guys gearheads yourselves and do you


INTERVIEW // RUSSIAN CIRCLES

think it’s a good thing that people find your tones and techniques as intriguing as the music you make with it? Personally, I’m not someone that feels compelled to try out every new toy on the market. I’d rather find something that works and stick with it. That probably stems from spending the majority of my recording and touring career being so broke that exploring new gear was totally futile. I’m flattered that people like our tones enough to investigate our rigs, but I’m not as much of a gearhead as the public interest might imply. More than anything, I just get stoked when friends of mine make cool stuff. I’d rather play guitars and amps and pedals made by my peers than something manufactured overseas. As for the rest of the guys, Dave is definitely of the camp where you find the equipment that works for you and you stick with it. Of all of us, Mike is definitely the guy who’s the most interested in exploring new gear. He’s on a never-ending tone quest. Again, I think it’s cool that people are intrigued by the components that go into making our music, and I’m glad that it brings attention to DIY tradespeople who build musical equipment. But I also think it’s cool when I see people

make interesting music on cheap or unconventional gear. One of the strangest developments in the underground in the past few years has been its partnership with the craft beer revolution. You guys had your own beer with the Death Rides A Horse stout, Pig Destroyer had Permanent Funeral, Red Fang had Murder The Mountains... do you think there’s something to this beyond the whole ‘beer + metal = good’ equation? This actually kinda ties in to what I was just talking about. One of the coolest developments in recent years is people actually making their own stuff instead of buying mass-produced stuff. I know there’s a tendency to make fun of this sort of Portlandiaesque artisanal-goods phenomenon, but seriously, isn’t it way cooler to be self-sufficient and support small businesses? I’m friends with the guy who built my amp. I’m friends with the people who make a bunch of my pedals. I’m in awe of these people because I barely know how to intonate a guitar. And folks that make their own beer? That fucking rules too. So we were really excited for the DryHop folks to do a beer named after one of our songs.

Actually, what are your beer preferences? Are you a stout guy, or IPAs or lagers…? I’m a different-beers-for-different -occasions kind of a guy. Sometimes an ice-cold High Life in a bottle is perfection. Sometimes a good flowery IPA is the most delicious thing ever. Stouts were my point of entry for beer, so I’ll always love those. When I first started drinking, I couldn’t understand how people could enjoy beer until I had an Oatmeal Stout, and then it was like the Rosetta Stone for appreciating all the beers out there. Right now I’m really into a good gose-style beer. Sierra Nevada’s Otra Vez is particularly delicious. Some of my other random favourites are Lakefront IPA, Mac and Jack’s African Amber, and Daisy Cutter Pale Ale. Dammit, now I’m thirsty. Thanks once again for your time, man. Anything you’d like to add, feel free to chuck it in here. Going back to “Visions of Johanna”... the album version off Blonde On Blonde is okay, but the definitive version is the live take on the Biograph box set. Take note.

GUIDANCE IS OUT NOW ON SARGENT HOUSE

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1 REPULSIVE | 2 PURE SHIT | 3 TERRIBLE | 4 MUST AVOID | 5 AVERAGE | 6 GOOD EFFORT | 7 GOOD | 8 VERY GOOD | 9 EXCELLENT | 10 PURE CLA

SWANS

The Glowing Man Mute (2016)

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Since their resurrection in 2010, each new Swans album has arrived garnered with ever more heft and gravitas. Michael Gira and this current incarnation of his soul-scouring operation have coordinated a tightly focused schedule of recording and touring which now seems to have reached its peak and finale with this almighty piece of work. The fourth “official” album since that surprise renewal of the Swans name and the third in a row comprising a mammoth two-hour running time to drag you head first through varying degrees of intensity. The work of Gira and his cohorts has come to increasingly resemble the densely-packed and weighty cinema of a filmmaker such as Nuri Bilge Ceylan, with each release growing in magnitude and scope as 104

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it determinedly scrutinises and chips away at the vast unknowable rock-face of human emotion. With this comparison in mind, The Glowing Man is Swans’ “Winter Sleep”. “Cloud of Forgetting” begins proceedings as epic sweep across an immense tundra of the mind’s eye, a scene-setting while Gira sings as though to a sick dog which shivers and shakes in the dark. Wired and highly-strung guitars are embellished by keyboard swathes akin to Alice Coltrane’s astral meditations, a cosmic jazz influence which makes its presence felt noticeably throughout The Glowing Man. “Cloud of Unknowing”, 25 minutes in length and the first of three such epic pieces, emerges in the twilit glade where violins go to wither and die before a sudden

acceleration, like we have been tied to the back of a souped-up drag race car which then thunders down scorched byways with our battered and bloodied bodies to the rear. A locked rhythm stays sharply grounded as a vortex of disembodied voices howls in its attempt to gain flight from the benighted earth. Gira now sings of “suckers” and “healers” and the whole piece is a sustained climactic blow-out, with prolonged energy levels akin to works such as John Coltrane’s Ascension. A shorter piece such as “People Like Us” takes the bluesy twang of a double bass and makes it the centre of a drunken sea shanty aboard a sinking boat, Gira’s verse telling that the “...sky shows a bruise where our fingers have


REVIEWS

ASSIC

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Sludge metal practitioners tend to walk a fine line between musical ambition and monotony, because more often than not the subdued violence that spews out of the music can sound tedious and boring. These Californians that are revered by the fans and almost unknown outside the genre’s appreciators, prove with Lifespan Of A Moth, their seventh full-length release that they mean business and are capable of creating memorable riffs and visceral aggressive percussion with style and ease. What sets them apart from the pack is that they are able to infuse one song with more dynamic shifts and changes than other so called sludge bands can do in one record. NUNO BABO

FOR FANS OF: Eyehategod, Sourvein, Iron Monkey

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8 touched...” and “...we’re tracing our shape on the walls of your house...”. This waking dream of violence foretold and remembered continues, to unsettling effect, on “When Will I Return” on which Gira’s wife, Jennifer, with haunting yet brutal clarity, sings of the “...car door open wide...”, “...I scream until he’s gone”. The ferocious title piece takes shimmering keys and aggressive hypno-buzz guitar (“He’s a real heartbreaker, he’s a real headsplitter”) and detonates into a blast of impotent, self-abnegating catharsis. “I am a glowing man, I am” is screeched as volatile waves of pummelling noise buffet the carriage. By the end, Gira gives out a retching cry as the band woozily steady themselves, like they know they may have gone too far and punched through the wall only to trace their fingers across a void. This is the end of this embodiment of Swans and they take their leave with “Finally Peace”, a starry-eyed country gospel lament which offers soothing balm and some form of calming settlement in recognition of the furies which have passed. The Glowing Man is not so much a record as a living experience, a definitive slab of contemporary Americana. An essential piece of work, it demands your time and attention. In return, one day it may fully give up all its secrets. FOR FANS OF: Xiu Xiu, Throbbing Gristle, Einstürzende Neubauten

EUAN ANDREWS

65DAYSOFSTATIC No Man’s Sky: Music For An Infinite Universe - Laced Records (2016) In order to capture the vastness of both No Man’s Sky and the concepts it embodies, 65daysofstatic have delivered two albums that are visceral and danceable on one hand, but also able to move the heart as well as the feet. Infinite Universe... is borne of urgency, Rob Jones’ percussion spurring the band through glitchy swells and hooks that ebb and flow through a series of emotional climaxes, but the material on “Soundscapes” is a more unexpected venture for the band. These compositions are less about momentum than the moment, an IDM chill session that serves as a deconstruction of the album’s opening bursts. Taken together, this is a considerable, cohesive work that makes achieving the impossible seem like the most natural thing in the cosmos. DAVE BOWES

FOR FANS OF: John Carpenter, Mogwai, Maybeshewill

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Jennifer McCord

OUT NOW OUT NOW

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8 ARCHITECTS All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us

ALL HAIL THE YETI Screams From A Black Wilderness

ALL YOUR SISTERS Uncomfortable Skin

If you’re into some melodic, dark, conceptual horror story influenced metalcore sound, this record might be just what you asked for. All Hail The Yeti are back with their second full-length and they are ready to serve their best record so far. Combination of screaming verses with melodic clean choruses could be described as metalcore cliché, but All Hail The Yeti are one of the bands who made it work. Their melodies match dark lyrics that dominate the record while heavy riffs perfectly transfer the horror atmosphere of the words. There are many surprises on the record, but the band managed to deliver just what they wanted. It may not be perfect, or for everyone, but in the end, this is a good record.

The beautiful thing about post-punk, or whatever you want to call it, is its ability to make the sad ones dance. Play the right tune and even the biggest train-wreck of a man will creep its way to the dance floor. After putting out the amazing new Muscle & Marrow record, The Flenser keeps playing the right cards with yet another solid release, the sophomore full-length by the San Francisco, California, duo All Your Sisters. An obsessive-compulsive drum-machine and guitars that lie, and you know they do like that sweet girl wearing red lipstick. Forget about crying in the gutter, stop daydreaming for a minute, grab a huge beer, dance and laugh at the odds. Not just another genre revival, All Your Sisters grace us with a very decent take on 2016’s incarnation of post-punk music, or darkwave or whatever.

Architects love to play rough and ready music that haunts minds. The British metal-core act, aren’t slaves to the scene, they’re equipped and ready at all times to enthral and to break boundaries. With their new album All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us, the band maximise their sound to blitz everything they’ve done before, by mastering the art of volatility. Yes, they’ve always been loud and brash, but on the new opus, they proudly elevate. They reach beyond the cut throat drama, cancelling out any niggling aches of mediocrity. Songs such as “Phantom Fear” and “A Match Made In Heaven” are both electrifying and atmospheric, pushing the sound further. The guitar influence is always there to please, as well as the thought provoking lyrical play, words that pound and provoke a response.

FOR FANS OF: Clan of Xymox, The Soft Moon

FOR FANS OF: While She Sleeps, The Ghost Inside

Minus Head Records (2016)

MILJAN MILEKIC

FOR FANS OF: 36 Crazyfists, Vision of Disorder

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Epitaph (2016)

The Flenser (2016)

RICARDO ALMEIDA

MARK MCCONVILLE


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ARMED WITH BOOKS Honestly, Honesty

BAND OF HORSES Why Are You Ok

Norwich band Armed With Books are a supremely intelligent and passionate bunch. Their new EP Honestly, Honesty is a well-rounded and compelling contribution that instantly quivers the spine. With thunderous guitar tones and gravelly vocals, it develops into more than a record. It’s a note that’s written with a sophistication and despair, a true piece of melancholia. And the band members carry their music through so much personal obstructions, breaking the walls that hold them back. The music isn’t fabricated or one dimensional either, it naturally rises and flourishes as it plays on. Songs such as “The Same” and “To Betray” offer a creative blend of guitar riffs and evocative lyrics that enforce a sense of fight and desire.

The fifth full-length by the Seattle band Band of Horses is a kind of convulsion. From the harmonious “Dull of Times” to the confusing “Solemn Oath”, it seems that even this kind of opposites blend in perfection. And it’s with this in mind that the album unfolds and rolls up like a captivating story, filled with unusual notes and twists, something quite familiar from Band Of Horses. More rich than ever regarding their instrumentation, especially the guitars, helping out to create the emotional cocktail that this new album is. With a corpulent mix of rhythms, from indie rock to country, everything is quite catchy and strong. Not being rapturous, it is a very interesting album. It made me emerge in a peaceful wave of happiness and energy.

Grandad Records & Dent Row Records (2016)

MARK MCCONVILLE

FOR FANS OF: Touché Amoré, Fugazi, Defeater

Interscope (2016)

NUNO TEIXEIRA

FOR FANS OF: Band Of Skulls, My Morning Jacket

19.08

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BAYSIDE Vacancy

BEARTOOTH Aggressive

Hopeless Records (2016)

Red Bull Records (2016)

Considering that Bayside’s previous album, Cult, was vocalist/guitarist Anthony Raneri dealing with his move to Nashville, his recent marriage and fatherhood, on Vacancy we witness a different side of those life events. Raneri wrote the new songs while he was going through the end of his marriage and its effects on his life. But this is not a breakup record, this is a record about change and how to overcome it. This was also the first time that all band members had to work on an album without being in the same city (New York) and not being in the same room. Challenge after challenge, the band show maturity on their seventh album and Vacancy is raw and ambitious. A fine record from an always-impressive band.

They are aggressive, that’s for sure. And they know how to push their sound to the heights of metal-core. That’s Beartooth for you, a band that don’t whimper behind their music like little scared puppies, they embrace it with open arms. The American act, evolve convincingly on their new LP Aggressive, pushing limits and their lyrical qualities. It’s like listening to notes of distrust being sung through a microphone, metaphorical brilliance being hurled towards a pane of glass. Songs like “Hated” and “Sick Of Me” showcase great instrumentals and infectious vocals that evoke and intertwine brilliantly. And the band, teach us that they’re truly passionate about what they do and believe. Their words might sting, their music might rattle, but they do it for the love, that’s for sure.

FOR FANS OF: Senses Fail, Taking Back Sunday

FOR FANS OF: The Word Alive, Of MIce & Men, Blessthefall

ANDREIA ALVES

8 APOLOGIES, I HAVE NONE / LUCA BRASI Split EP Uncle M Music / Holy Roar Records (2016)

A split EP by two of the most exciting punk rock bands from the UK and Australia just has to be good. Apologies, I Have None went through some tough times and personal changes, and now they are back on their feet. For a band with such a dark and gloomy sound, those tough times aren’t necessarily music-wise, but it’s great to see them back on track. On the other hand, Luca Brasi are on fire, and it can be heard from every song they play. Their music is just as emotional and honest as one would expect. I just can’t recall many better matches for a split than these two bands. Just four songs long, this EP is an amazing piece of music, and definitely “a must”. MILJAN MILEKIC

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7 BIG BUSINESS Command Your Weather Joyful Noise (2016)

Everything about these nine tracks feels wonderfully natural and strongly organic. Jared Warren and Coady Willis are Big Business’ noise terrorists, their minimalist approach is a nasty beast of variable display of power moods and tempos. Command Your Weather is sharp, but fully effective. If you are looking for frantic distortion, no such thing as boundaries regarding experimentation, vocal harmonies and ferocious eruptions of violence, this might be your mandatory pick. Big Business’ Command Your Weather is a strange affair, not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s damn strong and competent. FAUSTO CASAIS

MARK MCCONVILLE

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8 EAGULLS Ullages

Partisan Records (2016)

An album that could quite easily have been released back in the 1980s as much as it has in 2016. Much like their female counterparts in Savages, Eagulls post-punk sound is a perfect homage to the sound that defined a generation 30 years ago. Filled with lyrics about heartbreak, loss and all those other fun things, Ullages. Singer George Mitchell has a quite impressive ability to channel the best of The Cure’s Robert Smith, just with added angst, if that’s even possible. The band around him, drenched in reverb and thick drum sounds are the perfect accompaniment. A great album for revivalists and the heartbroken alike. STEVEN LOFTIN

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9 BILLY TALENT Afraid Of Heights

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The End Records (2016)

BLACK FOXXES I’m Not Well

Billy Talent have become pioneers of the rock genre since their inception in 1993. And they’ve gone onto create some of the most politically engaging records that have hit hard with honesty. Leading man Benjamin Kowalewicz has installed his remarkable and distinctive vocals as well as his cut throat songwriting on every release, and by channelling his inner demons, he’s perfected his muse. Now, in 2016, the band are back with another record that features more songs that reflect the world we live and bask in. Afraid Of Heights is the fresh new album that pinpoints the chronic disenchantment that many feel. Songs such as “Ghost Ship Of Cannibal Rats” and “Time Bomb Ticking Away” are stupendously infectious with well-constructed riffs and hardened messages of bleakness.

Honest and emotionally heavy, Black Foxxes’ debut album is way more than just another generic rock album, it’s a full statement of power that never compromises their own ambition to storm the rock world. I’m Not Well is strong, consistent and full of dynamics, the songs are undeniably heavy and full of hooks, even when everything goes emotional, they are able to keep their charm. Sharp riffs, infectious chorus and enchanting melodies are the fuel to set free Mark Holley’s insane vocal performance, providing the listener a fearless and unexpected experience. Black Foxxes’ talented debut album works like an addiction, irresistible in any way and screaming to be heard and praised.

MARK MCCONVILLE

FOR FANS OF: Alexisonfiire, Muse, Anti-Flag

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music&riots

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Search And Destroy/Spinefarm Records (2016)

FAUSTO CASAIS

FOR FANS OF: Nirvana, Zoax, Pulled Apart By Horses

8 BLINK-182 California BMG (2016)

When pop punk band Blink-182 come to mind, you will think about the glory days, the days where bratty, 3 chord music was applauded. Now we’re in a different place, the world of music has altered. Yes, there are countless bands that try to emulate the success of the best, and usually that falls dead. But Blink-182 have kept the music flowing well, even with a few flawed moments. And also, we can’t forget the resignation of founding member Tom Delonge. He has been replaced by Alkaline Trio frontman Matt Skiba, which is a credible decision. With the band going through the motions, they have delivered California, a record bursting with Skiba’s arresting melodies and lyrics, and bassist’s Mark Hoppus’s heartfelt lines, they both shine on songs like “Teenage Satellites” and “Home Is Such A Lonely Place”. MARK MCCONVILLE

FOR FANS OF: Alkalike Trio, Green Day, The Descendents


REVIEWS

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9 CANE HILL Smile

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Rise Records (2016)

Carefully excising the most acidic elements of past works and bringing them together to create a genuinely unsettling tableau, the latest fulllength of Mancunian BM project Caïna is an indefinable work of rage and art, free-noise salvoes and droning ambience pitted against scathing black metal to devastating effect. The contributions of Integrity’s Dwid Hellion and experimental noise duo Warren Schoenbright, as well as the increasing (dis)comfort of vocalist Laurence Taylor in his miasmic role, has opened up the abilities of Andrew Curtis-Brignell further than ever before, allowing him to create a work that is nihilistic, beautiful, disturbing and truly daunting in scale. Whether this is the ‘ultimate’ Caïna release is up to personal preference, but by all standards, it isn’t far off the mark.

Cane Hill are a product of this new sick and troubled America, where a group of individuals in all this decay are able to rise some freakiness into this whole bullshit slavery zombie society, perhaps this is what we all need, a good shake! Somewhere between Marilyn Manson’s Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death), Korn’s Life is Peachy and Slipknot’s Iowa, Cane Hill are bringing chaos back and some clarity into heavy music, their goal is quite obvious and they’re not taking prisoners, they’re going direct to the jugular and violently shaking the whole music industry. Elijah Witt’s powerful vocals bring some sickness and multiple twists into Cane Hill’s savage, feral and intense statement. Smile sounds fresh and old, a modern take on 90’s nu-metal golden years that is far from sounding dated whatsoever. “With celebrity worship, a racist/homophobic/misogynist prick as a republican candidate, and unrivaled violence widespread, it’s time for this country to get a facelift” - well Elijah you nailed it, enough said.

FOR FANS OF: Bauhaus, Ulver, Primitive Man

FOR FANS OF: Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, Korn

CAINA Christ Clad In White Phosphorus Apocalyptic Witchcraft (2016)

DAVE BOWES

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CAPSIZE A Reintroduction: The Essence of All That Surrounds Me - Rude Records (2016) A Reintroduction: The Essence Of All That Surrounds Me represents a change, but don’t let changes fool you. Capsize just take another evolutionary leap in their sound, mind and soul. The most striking thing about Capsize is their incredible sense of cathartic tension they display, finding rare harmony between their own intensity and aggression. A Reintroduction... represents a change in direction, now incorporating more clean vocals and blending catchy chorus with crushing heaviness. Daniel Wand’s vocal-diversity is outstanding and his lyrical approach comes from the heart, the way he shares his feelings is haunting, honest and emotionally heavy. Capsize’s new effort sees the band enter into this bold new territory, while remaining true to their roots, perhaps they’re also shaping what post-hardcore should sound in the future.

FAUSTO CASAIS

FAUSTO CASAIS

FOR FANS OF: BMTH. Glassjaw, Modern Life Is War

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29.08

8 COLUMBUS Spring Forever UNFD (2016)

Brisbane trio Columbus are finally releasing their debut album, Spring Forever. Nostalgic and strangely addictive, this might be one of the most interesting and fresh releases of this Summer. Everything sounds new, kicking and screaming the pains of growth, where life and getting older is challenging enough to make you fight for your own comfort and peace of mind. Spring Forever is not your average power punk, now and then we find the influence of late 90’s emo indie infused, guitar driven paean for young adults, full of hooks and insanely catchy soaked anthems. Moody, dreamy and painfully honest, this is an emotional effort that blends punk aggression with a real ear for melody. The sky is the limit for the Australian gang, but Spring Forever is aiming squarely at your heart, and they’re showing no mercy about it.

FAUSTO CASAIS

FOR FANS OF: Title Fight, The Hotelier, Turnover

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CREATIVE ADULT Fear Of Life

CROWHURST II

Fear Of Life is an riveting experience. Raw and full of twists, this was an album built on tension over the recording process between members and everything was about to break. Fortunately, the band was able to put aside their differences and realize that the record was “a house we’re all living in”. So, with that in mind the Bay Are five piece joined forces with Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Comadre, Punch) to create this fuzzy and explosive post-punk standout. Fear Of Life is sharp and heavy, brooding intensity and where creativity match experimentation in perfection. In all their weirdness and ability to fuck up the basic rules of rock they show that intelligent and inventive doesn’t have to mean difficult. An album that challenges the listener from the start to finish.

Over the course of five years and almost 70 releases, Jay Gambit’s blackened noise unit Crowhurst has made the serene and the horrifying practically interchangeable. II, the second part of their ‘metal trilogy’, brings Andrew Curtis-Brignell (Caïna) and Matron Thorn (Ævangelist) into the fold and dredges up a blackened hellscape of drone, power electronics, pain-wracked screeches and misanthropy. It seems to exist permanently on the edge of a precipice, its rolling and lurching progressions evoking a near-inescapable sense of tension, but unlike them it’s a much more accessible prospect. The crisp guitarwork and piercing riffs create a clear, if still challenging, path for the listener, offsetting the turmoil and making II one of the most essential metal releases of the year.

Dullest Records (2016)

Run For Cover Records (2016)

FAUSTO CASAIS

FOR FANS OF: Culture Abuse, Nothing, Spaceman 3

DAVE BOWES

FOR FANS OF: Blut Aus Nord, Krallice, Altar of Plagues


REVIEWS

05.08 OUT NOW

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DINOSAUR JR. Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not Jagjaguwar (2016)

DESCENDENTS Hypercaffium Spazzinate

DESPISED ICON Beast

The Descendents, the punk legends that made a name for themselves with extremely witty self-deprecating remarks and an entrancing melodic sensibility and vision, are growing older. Now all in their 50s, they’re releasing their first album in 12 years without losing a fucking ounce of relevancy, power, and appeal. As a matter of fact, it adds to what they had – they know they have grown up, even though back in the day they didn’t want that to happen. Hypercaffium Spazzinate can be a record “made for old people by old people” but it often gets a universal appeal with its relevant social subject matters... not to mention that musically we find an extremely energetic band that delivers their most musically matured album to date. More than a record, a huge statement.

Despised Icon are back with Beast, their first new album in seven years, after their disbanding back in 2010 so that members of the band could begin new chapters in their lives. Revolutionary pioneers of what we today call Deathcore, Despised Icon return with a Beast of an album and let’s say that it’s still hard to imagine this band ever losing an ounce of their brutality. The traditional formula of death metal, grindcore and hardcore is back again, raising the levels of intensity and hostility to the maximum, where frantic breakdowns, guttural vocals vs pig squeals vs hardcore style chants and the almost inhuman tempo changes are still damn exciting. They’re not re-inventing anything, but there is an obvious progression and a modern take into their crushing sound.

Dinosaur Jr. are back with something that’s way more than just “business as usual.” Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not, their 11th full-length album, is undoubtedly the best of the post-2005 reunion and quite possibly (time will tell) a great highlight in their discography. The trio led by J Mascis delivers on this album an extremely satisfying experience that involves tons of amazing riffs, astounding solos, and the pop sensibility and a witty songwriting that most people can only dream about. Sure, they are not reinventing their sound, not even creating something unique/unheard, but the fact that they’ve managed to refine the winning sound they had – and that influenced countless artists – on an exciting-all-the-way-through album is as admirable as welcome. True legends.

FOR FANS OF: Bad Religion, Green Day, Pennywise

FOR FANS OF: Napalm Death, Obey The Brave, Madball

FOR FANS OF: Pixies, Sonic Youth, Sebadoh

Nuclear Blast (2016)

Epitaph (2016)

TIAGO MOREIRA

TIAGO MOREIRA

FAUSTO CASAIS

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12.08 OUT NOW

7 DYLAN CARLSON Falling With A Thousand Stars... Independent (2016)

Though this collection of English and Irish folk ballads have been stripped of any vocal narrative, drcalsonalbion, a.k.a. Earth main-man Dylan Carlson, carries their tales and tragedies well in their own right. Chord are suspended upon gossamer threads yet borne with ominous portent, progressing as much at the will of the amplifier as that of Carlson himself, and it affords these songs a dreamlike haze that ties in well with the supernatural slant of the originals. For an album so steeped in history (both in terms of the songs and of its lengthy genesis) it’s a surprisingly airy listen, especially for those more attuned to 2’s momentous rumbles or even the downcast Americana of Hex, but as an extension of Carlson’s own personal mythos there is certainly magic to be found in these musical faerie tales. DAVE BOWES

FOR FANS OF: Earth, Popol Vuh, Dylan Carlson

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8 EARTH GIRLS Wanderlust

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Grave Mistake Records (2016)

Based in Chicago, Earth Girls are a power pop band that embody everything that’s great about guitar rock in the US. Actually, Earth Girls sound is more like a 60’s pop version of The Ramones. Well, with that in mind you can expect sunny infectious tunes, some noise and an exciting balance between melodies and hooks. Wanderlust is thrillingly feral, soulful and with lyrical depth. Guitarist/vocalist Liz Panella performance is charming in any way, even when there’s some slackness in their sound we are able to find a bunch of arrangements and details that totally makes forget their raw and unpolished sound, probably that’s what makes this effort so damn good. More punk than pop, Earth Girls’ debut album is pure bubblegum punk, a short and gritty effort (21 minutes) that really makes us think about those little and minor details of life. FAUSTO CASAIS

FOR FANS OF: Tacocat, The Babies, Dilly Dally

EMAROSA 131

Hopeless Records (2016)

Hopeless Records have some of the biggest bands on the planet under their wing, and post-hardcore darlings Emarosa are striking thunder into the hearts of many. The Kentucky based act, create sublime and controlled sounds that shudder, but also awaken the spirit inside. Their new record 131 is colossal in sound and measure, constructed with verve and imaginative lyrics that pinpoint struggle and hardship. Lead singer Bradley Walden sings with wisdom in his voice and his bellow is fierce when it needs to be. He’s truly hurt, but equipped to stand the tests, and the band behind him function with talent running in their bloodline. Songs such as “Miracle” and “Porcelain” showcase guitar wonderment and style with a dusting of emotion. MARK MCCONVILLE

FOR FANS OF: Dance Gavin Dance, Hands Like Houses


FRESH CUTS

REVIEWS OUT NOW

7 GUTTERMOUTH Got It Made

Rude Records (2016)

Got it Made is the long-awaited new EP from Southern California punk rock heroes Guttermouth and their first new material in ten years. Fun and damn engaging, Got it Made is exactly what we’ve been waiting all these years, their melodic and spiky attitude still sounds incredible, perfectly bracing the space between the modern and the classic elements of the genre, somehow injecting life into a tired formula. Guttermouth sound honest and real, fast and heavy, their lyrics are still damn awesome and with no such thing as bullshit attached. A hell of a comeback, the current punk scene needs more daring and ballzy efforts like this.

FAUSTO CASAIS

OUT NOW

6 HOLY FUCK Congrats

Innovative Leisure (2016)

As always, bringing their blend of electro-weirdness into this big wide world, everybody’s favourably named band Holy Fuck are back. At times flirting between hard offensive and straight dreamscape, Congrats is the next logical, big step for them. Building upon the sound they’ve developed over the years, whilst influencing a lot of peers around them, Holy Fuck are here to show that eleven years later they’re still well within their stride. “Acidic” shows the band doing what they do best, creating a turbulent yet attracting sound that makes you want to dye yourself in neon and lose all of your shits. STEVEN LOFTIN

OUT NOW

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EMILY JANE WHITE They Moved In Shadow All Together

EXPLODED VIEW Exploded View

Taking inspiration from Cormac McCarty’s novel Outer Dark and places Emily among the most celebrated alternative female songwriters of the moment, such as Chelsea Wolfe, Marissa Nadler and Marika Hackman. After experimenting a little with electronics on Blood/ Lines, the new album marks a return to the acoustic format – occasional string arrangements, subtle piano lines, vocal choirs and minimal yet interesting percussion make this one a particularly pleasant work. It’s a heavy but somehow beautiful record that deals with the loneliness and pains of overcoming a traumatic experience. The very first song leaves us at this dusty and broken place; there is a sense of drifting through the remains of something, a barren landscape full objects that once meant something or belonged to someone.

Exploded View is a new collaborative project helmed by German/UK political-journalist-turned-musician/singer Anika along with Crocodiles producer Martin Thulin, Hugo Quezada of Robota and Hector Melgarejo of Jessy Bulbo. Fresh and experimental textured, elegant and full of fuzzy edges, perhaps too minimal for mainstream, but too rich to keep in the underground. Exploded View are impressively defying expectations, this is an album that rings with the honed precision, unpolished and loudly sharp, set on experimentalism and somehow working like a mind blowing political challenge. From krautrock to dub, from punk to the Neubaten esque, Anika’s voice is the leading light and voice of this revolutionary art and political manifesto.

Talitres Records (2016)

Sacred Bones (2016)

RICARDO ALMEIDA

FOR FANS OF: Chelsea Wolfe, Marissa Nadler

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FRAMEWORKS Smother

GARBAGE Strange Little Birds

Having reviewed the Time Spent EP earlier in the year, I was keen to hear the evolution of Frameworks into their new album – and I am pleased that Smother has delivered exactly as I had hoped it would. A deeply angry vocal, spitting lyrics in bursts of zealous rage over well oiled, beautifully crafted rock. Pacey, musical and full of heart. Smother is a burst of adrenaline into a scene devoid of character and colour. Opener “Fear Of Missing Out” sets pace and the album delivers track after track of furious noise. “Purge” changes pace but loses none of the viscera, and closing track “New Narcissistic American Dream” drags you screaming into a new horizon. The landscape remade by a band with idea, passion and drive to get the job done. Blistering stuff.

Wisconsin based alternative group Garbage is back with their fifth album Strange Little Birds. The first track, “Sometimes”, opens with ominous strings and dark piano sounds, presenting a mysterious vibe. The high pitched vocals and off-putting melodies create a beautiful, haunting contrast with the slow, deep bass synth. As the album continues, the songs get faster and more melodic, switching between major and minor keys throughout. There’s a consistent dark and rough sound carried heavily through each track. Only a handful of bands can survive the 90s and manage to remain relevant today. Garbage have always proved their ability to adapt to modern sound while appealing to a diverse and growing fan base. Strange Little Birds is a step in the right direction for Garbage.

Deathwish Inc. (2016) OUT NOW

5 LOATHE Prepare Consume Proceed EP SharpTone Records (2016)

Loathe are a five-piece anonymous collective, gang or cult formed in an unknown part of the UK. Are you intrigued? You shouldn’t... Prepare Consume Procced is their debut EP as the press release claim... Well, it’s their debut EP, but it’s also a reissue of an EP of the same name that was released last year. These publicity stunts are fucking bullshit and I hate being played like a stupid fuck. Bullshit aside, Loathe are heavy and strong, sounding somewhere between Volumes and Structures, full of crushing breakdowns, ambience and groove. There’s potential, but for now we’re not that excited or impressed about it... FAUSTO CASAIS

FAUSTO CASAIS

FOR FANS OF: Patti Smith, Einstürzende Neubauten

Stunvolume (2016)

ANDI CHAMBERLAIN

JUSTIN KUNZ

FOR FANS OF: The Saddest Landscape, Envy, Touché Amoré

FOR FANS OF: Garbage, Garbage & even more Garbage

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FIELD MOUSE

05.08

Episodic

Topshelf Records (2016)

8

A lot has happened since Rachel Browne and Andrew Futral first

started Field Mouse. The duo has grown with their music and with their band members - Rachel’s sister Zoë Browne has recently joined the team. From working as a super duo to share now band duties with the rest of the gang, Rachel and Andrew have always had a special chemistry when it comes

to write music. Episodic is the first record that the full-band has composed together from start-to-finish and the differences are remarkable, from the most cohesive sound to sharper lyrics. This new album is definitely much more cathartic and aggressive than its precedent, 2014’s album Hold Still Life. But the tender and dreamy tunes are still part of their menu.

FOR FANS OF: Wildhoney, Speedy Ortiz, Hop Along

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Browne’s approach has always been quite autobiographical, and she’s still striving for more while dealing with her own life struggles, such as relationships that simply perish or family issues that strike by surprise. Recorded in Philadelphia with Hop Along’s Joe Reinhart, Episodic is the band’s most complete and compelling effort ever and heavily honest. ANDREIA ALVES


REVIEWS

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GOJIRA Magma

GONE IS GONE Gone Is Gone

GRIEVING Demonstrations EP

Gojira are a band that carry expectation with them heavily like a burden with each new LP cycle. Therefore, listening to this new release you can hear the weight of anticipation and the harnessed fear within each and every song. A more contemplative, slower and more introverted album than previous releases. But nonetheless creative, inventive and masterful for it. Opener “The Shooting Star” sets the mood within seconds, and the pace is kept steadily more panicked and moody with each new track. “The Cell” is a machine gun burst of intellectual metal, “Yellow Stone” is a doom laden stoner track, eponymous track “Magma” has a genuine sheen of menace and terror. Another stark and startling achievement from a band who do not compromise their vision for quality, and have knocked another homerun.

Jagged, effecting guitar laden rock’n’roll from the mind of Mike Zarin, Tony Hajjar and A Perfect Circle/ QOTSA guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen. An eclectic mix of emotionally wrought alternative rock anthems, dripping with a melancholic veneer mainly thanks to frontman (and Mastodon mainman) Troy Sanders vocal prowess. Mixing A Perfect Circle-esque ambient rock and out-andout anthemic space-rock. Van Leeuwens trademark guitar tone washes the album with a seal of quality, Sanders vocals are strong and snarky; the flow and ebb of each track creates a lush soundscape. Single “Starlight” is a perfect representation of the many facets of the band. Lean, creepy, layered and with a real intensity, both lyrically and musically. Good stuff.

Why we need Grieving so much in our lives? That answer is quite simple. They sound fresh and new, their sound is direct and damn diverse, where every song is able to bring new levels of intensity to the listener providing a raw and sonic experience. Demonstrations is an indie art-punk effort that plays with the same heart of bands like Fugazi, Jawbreaker, Sunny Day Real Estate and The Menzingers. Their diverse set of influences, sharp tracks and straightforward lyrics transcend musical genres and tastes, everything seems urgent and their sense of melody tremble into this lushly punk rock confrontation. Still unsigned, Grieving are the real deal. Demonstrations is a challenging effort, perfectly balanced between their rich pallet of details.

FOR FANS OF: Mastodon, Paradise Lost, Opeth

FOR FANS OF: Black Mountain, Mastodon, Minor Victories

Rise Records (2016)

Roadrunner Records (2016)

ANDI CHAMBERLAIN

Self Released (2016)

ANDI CHAMBERLAIN

FAUSTO CASAIS

FOR FANS OF: Beach Slang, Fugazi, The Replacements

OUT NOW

OUT NOW

19.08

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HAIKU FUNERAL Hallucinations

HAPPY ACCIDENTS You Might Be Right

HAPPY DIVING Electric Soul Unity

Avant-garde metal is no small thing when it comes to France, yet Haiku Funeral’s infusion of martial ambient beats, electronica, black metal, hyper-sexualised poetics and what can best be termed deathfunk is both cohesive and distinctive enough to put them in a class of their own. Their fourth album is an invasive entity, either stealthily working its way under the skin with creeping ambience and breathily intoned blasphemies or piercing with angular force; those guttural blastbeats and William Kopecky’s bass, his tone owing as much to DJ Shadow as to Godflesh, make for a uniquely punishing experience . Swaying woozily from one extreme to the next, it carries itself with an air of drugged unpredictability and by the time The Last Hallucination Of Christ tolls Hallucinations’ death knoll, you’ll be reeling.

London indie-punk trio Happy Accidents go deep into their love for 90’s punk and indie with their debut album, You Might Be Right. The band formed by brothers Rich and Neil Mandell and Phoebe Cross mix so nicely the best of that time and those genres, reaching into something quite fresh and special. The album is packed with a great energy and big hooks that combines perfectly with the intensely introspective lyrics. Rich’s deliver to the lyric themes is very passionate and brave, which gives a more in-depth touch to the songs. Though it’s a record that approaches on issues such as personal struggles, there’s plenty of optimism on it resulting in catchy and charismatic indie pop tunes.

Happy Diving are loud and energetic, but with a very strong pop sensibility. Their previous albums - Big World (2014) and So Bunted (2015) - shown a band that was gradually evolving their sound and getting more matured as a band. Electric Soul Unity is as its name implies so - it’s electrifying, fast, cohesive and also has some tender moments. Their songwriting is much more neat and tidy, as it is quite exciting and with a vivacious and frenzied energy. During the listening of the 12 songs that fills this record, one just thinks how amazing and zippy these sludgy and fuzzy pop songs are and how this band can create such a great mood and energy on them. Electric Soul Unity is another high-energy discharge effort.

FOR FANS OF: Goatpsalm, Godflesh, DJ Shadow

FOR FANS OF: The Thermals, The Pixies, The Breeders

Aesthetic Death (2016)

Topshelf Records (2016)

Alcopop! Records (2016)

DAVE BOWES

ANDREIA ALVES

ANDREIA ALVES

FOR FANS OF: Pity Sex, Speedy Ortiz, Dinosaur Jr.

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Sandra Markovic

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HELLIONS Opera Oblivia

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UNFD (2016)

HORSEBACK Dead Ringers

Jamie Jasta’s wrecking crew return with a fire firmly burning in their bellies and a new, renewed sense of urgency in their hardcore social commentary. From the lyrical bombast of opening track “A.D” through to metal infused guitars and composition of “In The Walls” to the bass heavy “Something’s Off” – which serves as a spine for the album, this is a furiously paced, lyrically precise stab in the heart of America. As a social comment on the times – you’ll be hard pressed to find something more poetic. Its heavy, its message is clear and it holds back no punches. Hatebreed seldom mess about and with this album they have done the job with efficiency once again. A top job at that.

Even though 2015’s Indian Summer hinted that something massive could be around the corner, it wouldn’t be fair or even honest to say that one was expecting something of the magnitude of Opera Oblivia. Hellions, the Sydney-based quintet, have delivered one of the biggest albums in recent memory. Making a wonderful use of operatic and theatrical elements, the Australians have learned from the cues given by the masters Queen and My Chemical Romance and applied them to create their own and distinctive identity, that is filled with a myriad of different and cutting-edge musical ideas that celebrate an absolutely astounding and even over-the-top anthemic feel. Opera Oblivia is extremely rich in details, a hopeful testimony of a group that is willing to be as socially conscious as well self-aware. A majestic celebration of life, even when everything seems irremediably bleak and lost.

There is a faint but indelible string tying England’s pastoral folk roots and the industrial/post-punk movement that followed decades later, but it’s taken an outsider to pick up the thread so fully in the 21st century. Horseback’s aptitude for contrast again drives these compositions, but rather than positing harshness and void, the opposition here lies in its utilisation of synthesised textures and organic melody, showcasing a strangely alien vulnerability that proves more affecting than the most maudlin of singer/songwriters. It’s folktonica’s weird cousin, the one that dabbled in too many psychedelics and made themselves at home on the other side of the looking glass, and whether it’s lolling in the fields or rocking out to squirrely synths, Dead Ringers sounds content to be out-there.

FOR FANS OF: Cro-Mags, Madball, Terror

FOR FANS OF: My Chemical Romance, Northlane, Anti-Flag

FOR FANS OF: Coil, Can, Nurse With Wound, Faust

HATEBREED The Concrete Profissional Nuclear Blast (2016)

ANDI CHAMBERLAIN

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TIAGO MOREIRA

Relapse Records (2016)

DAVE BOWES


REVIEWS

Graham Tolbert

HALEY BONAR

05.08

Impossible Dream GNDWIRE/Thirty Tigers (2016)

Besides being an excellent songwriter and musician, Haley Bonar is first and foremost a storyteller and on Impossible Dream she points out that purposely. The new songs were born from Bonar’s “own set of memories and ideas, and once they are released into the world, they do not belong to me anymore. The interpretation is all yours, therefore these stories are yours.”

8 Getting into these stories is quite easy, but underneath that there are complex and mixed feelings that one can relate to and make their own interpretations. With detailed guitar work and catchy and warm melodies, her creativity and songcrafting have never been sharper than now, her spirit is fearless and contagious and her music is the way to set it free and for everyone to experience it.

Diverse and enthralling, Bonar is more than savvy on making a good damn song and these songs are inherent as much for her as it is for the listener. Haley Bonar shared with the world her most cathartic and vibrant effort ever with Last War, now with Impossible Dream she continues to show her integrity as a musician and as a human being.

FOR FANS OF: Basia Bulat, Cat Power, Neko Case, Jenny Lewis

ANDREIA ALVES

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Erica Lauren

HESITATION WOUNDS Awake for Everything 6131 Records (2016)

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HOTEL BOOKS Run Wild, Stay Alive InVogue Records (2016)

nfortunately, Hesitation Wounds’ first full-length is a reflection of the time it came out in - meaning there’s an asshole called Donald Trump and an army of brainless morons supporting him. And that’s not all: just yesterday I was having the best of times watching bands like Savages, Drive Like Jehu and Mudhoney at Primavera Sound, having fun with my friends, when I learned about the shooting at Pulse club in Orlando. What a fucked up world we’re living in. Awake for Everything is a desperate cry, a middle finger raised at the snobbish and conservative right-wing and its culture of fear and ignorance, a thanks but no thanks to the bullshit media and an entire nation with a ‘broken of moral compass’. Fronted by Jeremy Bolm of Touché Amoré and featuring members of acts such as The Hope Conspiracy and Trap Them, Hesitation Wounds bring back the ‘food for thought’ that lacks in a culture ‘designed for assholes by assholes’. Where Touché Amoré deal with insecurity (which is perfectly fine), Hesitation Wounds are self-confident and incendiary, aggressive, yes, but insightful and aware. FOR FANS OF: Touché Amoré, Modern Life is War, Rise and Fall, Birds in Row

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Summer

RICARDO ALMEIDA

Hotel Books have always wondered far from the path of an average band. Their latest LP Run Wild, Stay Alive is no exception. The band’s signature harsh and heavy spoken word vocals are accompanied by an intense and melodic musical style on this ten track, 33 minute release. The first track “Every Day, The Same” accurately captures the tone of this album, carrying emotional verses and loud, intense choruses through melodic guitar riffs and fast tempos. Lyrically retaining the familiar presence of the band’s previous songs, this album is packed with tasteful storytelling and imagery so wild, it’ll make your heart hurt. Hotel Books are one of those groups you couldn’t imagine making a bad album. And that standard has not fallen short. JUSTIN KUNZ

FOR FANS OF: Listener, la Dispute, Being As An Ocean


REVIEWS

Steve Bone

OUT NOW OUT NOW

05.08

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8 JACKAL ONASIS Big Deal Party

INTER ARMA Paradise Gallows

ISLANDER Power Under Control

Taking the cue from the Latin translation of their name which means “in times of War”, so does the music tend to be chaotically beautiful and ambiguously complex and aggressive. Like soldiers on a battlefield, not knowing what is going to happen next, so does the music shift and change moods and tempos to create a weave of rhythmic aggression. Never dull or uninteresting, the songs tend to develop with a clear sense of melodic ambition that captures the attention of the listener almost unwillingly. Everything from dual guitar melodies, piano interludes, sludge riffs and tumultuous drums are sown together to create this strangely appealing tapestry of sounds. This is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Perhaps the biggest lesson to be learned with Islander’s sophomore album isn’t how incredible genuine and good these 12 songs are – it would be preposterous denying it - but rather the undeniable high focus and true sense of mission from Mikey Carvajal, vocalist/lyricist and the only member who remained in the band after ¾ of its lineup changed. Power Under Control makes it sound effortless in the way it surpasses the level of songwriting that was displayed in the band’s debut, 2014’s Violence & Destruction, and with a panoply of musical approaches they’ve delivered a concept album that isn’t conditioned by its own nature – the value of the single unit is high. A band and record to connect with, and beware, because Carvajal hasn’t peaked creatively.

It’s a pleasure to hear an album that knows escapism isn’t anything like dressing like huggy bears and expecting that everything will sound cool and happy. Big Deal Party is a struggling effort, a true gem that deserves to be appreciated as a whole and not for just another trendy sound. Blending the best elements of noise pop, indie rock, fuzzy dual vocals style, grunge and shoegaze, Big Deal Party is a sonic experience with straightforward songs full of twists and turns. Inspired by one of the group’s favorite TV shows, cult-classic Party Down, the core duo of Alex Molini and Jordyn Blakely between culture clashes, hypnotic patterns and perfect harmonies manage to bring a bit of Party Down’s cynism, cleverness and unpredictability into their music. Well done!

FOR FANS OF: Tonbs, Yob, Graves At Sea

FOR FANS OF: P.O.D., Deftones, Glassjaw

FOR FANS OF: Autolux, Failure, Deftones

Relapse (2016)

Exploding Sounds (2016)

Victory Records (2016)

NUNO BABO

TIAGO MOREIRA

musicandriots.com

FAUSTO CASAIS

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Jonathan Weiner

OUT NOW

LETLIVE.

If I’m The Devil...

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Epitaph (2016)

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t the crossroads. That’s where we imagine letlive. in the moments following 2013’s brilliant The Blackest Beautiful and preceding the brand new If I’m The Devil... The Los Angeles quartet prioritized the attempt to truly evolve and progress in detriment of what could have been a more comfortable and easy ride. Its scope is one of the most impressive features, and the courage to redefine a dialect when it would be an arduous task to predict objectively if it would even remotely work. The sounds coming out of each song – soul, punk, hardcore, gospel, hip hop, and more – provide a universal appeal that can’t be overlooked and should be praised. The emotional availability and vulnerability are not showing around the corner for the first time, but it was hardly as dashing as this time around. Jason Aalon Butler, who a long time ago decided that he wouldn’t turn his back to those around him, puts himself on “trial” while at the same time connects with some of the issues that really matter. If I’m The Devil... succeeds in the task of not eliminating the individual out of the conversation and instead of merely pointing the finger tries to understand what’s behind. Political and social commentaries are often made in a black and white world. If I’m The Devil... exists in that grey area that we like to call reality. letlive. (fortunately) don’t stand alone, but they assured their place in a sky that’s filled with the brightest of stars. FOR FANS OF: Michael Jackson, Rage Against The Machine, Black Flag, Nirvana

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OUT NOW

Summer

TIAGO MOREIRA

KAYO DOT Plastic House On Base Of Sky The Flenser (2016)

Trying to chart the evolution of Toby Driver’s main squeeze is a futile endeavour – it’s much more pleasurable to let whatever new developments sweep across the eardrums and synapses. Plastic House... is a neo-futurist marvel, an ethereal bringing-together of New Wave synthworks, dystopian visions and the dreamlike tenor of Driver, but buried under all those heady analogue tones are hints at something more traditional. In a sense, it’s a pop record at heart but its streaks of neoclassicism and straight-up rawk are concealed within so much aural subterfuge and skewed tempos that if you’re drawn too much on the surface textures, you might just miss its true essence. It’s a complex beast – emotionally, texturally and instrumentally – but for Kayo Dot this is yet another natural detour. FOR FANS OF: Oxbow, Ulver, Intronaut

DAVE BOWES


FRESH CUTS OUT NOW

OUT NOW

05.08

7

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KAREN MEAT & THE COMPUTER On The Couch

KATIE DEY Flood Network

A wonderfully naive, but aware sound, Karen Meat & The Computer have bestowed unto us a little collection of four tracks that would lead away from the truth that the journey here for the four piece was little short of torturous. With a mixture of happiness that’s highlighted by the instrumentation which comes across as twee whilst the lyrics that reveal the quirky side to go with this, such as those found in opener “I Made You A Card” with the golden words of “I made you french toast and you at all and got syrup on your chin and yelled ‘son of a bitch!’”. A delightful little listen that doesn’t do more than it needs to and gives a great introduction to a band who are definitely one to watch.

Katie Dey’s follow-up to her 2015’s debut album, asdfasdf, is another daring and refreshing effort. With her first album, she delivered something quite different from the experimental music scene of nowadays and that « was outstanding. Her musical deconstruction is fascinating and sometimes it feels like the sounds speak louder than the words. With Flood Network, Katie explores even more chaotic and ethereal soundscapes where sometimes the lyrics get immersed on such unexpected tunes. It’s quite interesting how the tracklist was put together and the name of the tracks. Katie Dey’s music is not for everyone’s taste, nor for everyone’s mood, but once you get into it, it’s quite hard to get out of it.

FOR FANS OF: Courtney Barnett, Yeah Yeah Yeahs

FOR FANS OF: Elvis Depressedly, Japanese Breakfast

Sump Pump Records (2016)

Joy Void Recordings (2016)

STEVEN LOFTIN

ANDREIA ALVES

OUT NOW

OUT NOW

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LISA PRANK Adult Teen

MELVINS Basses Loaded

Lisa Prank is Robin Edwards’ alter ego. This is a Seattle-based one-woman project that has gained a lot of praise among her peers. For an instant, her music is summery cheerful, her lyrics are damn relatable and her attitude is captivating. Everything seems to go along and it’s undeniable her contagious and colorful energy. Adult Teen is her debut album and it all feels like the same damn thing, literally. All songs are almost approached with the same kind of drum machine beats, the riffs don’t vary that much and the vocals go on the same line. The lyrics are charming and introspective, but the sound gets stale after a couple of listenings. Heavily influenced by 90’s pop punk, Adult Teen feels like a collection of boring bedroom pop tunes.

With an ever rotating line-up, it is not a new concept that The Melvins release music with different contributors, but on Basses Loaded, the idea is taken as a concept and each song is crafted with a specific bassist from a talented pool of performers. Due to this, the album is an eclectic and fun twisting journey through the many faces and shades of the Melvins sound. Fuzzy, drone like rock tumbles into more upbeat faster paced tracks into more contemplative almost doomy numbers. Overall, it is a good experiment with a few clear shortcomings, but mostly – for Melvins fans, it will be a welcome and cherished addition to their pantheon. As ever, the humour is dark and muted, but the noise wins out.

6 NO FRONTIERS Moving Forward This Is Core (2016)

It’s not easy playing punk rock in 2016. It’s almost impossible to be original and play something new. Only one thing a band have left is to simple be good as hell and stand out from the rest. No Frontiers are not among those bands. Italians can play, there’s no doubt about it, their music is good, but they don’t offer anything new or special. With so many great punk rock bands around, and so many good records released through the years, Moving Forward is easy to overlook almost as nine generic punk rock songs that can’t be interesting for more than a couple of spins.

MILJAN MILEKIC

OUT NOW

6 NONPOINT The Poison Red

Spinefarm Records (2016)

Early 2000s were massive for nu-metal and related genres, with many bands launched straight into mainstream. Nonpoint never got on that level, but they were always “up there”. A decade and half later, they are still true to themselves, still doing what they do best, and playing their music. The Poison Red is far from a revolutionary record, but their fans will get their dose of Nonpoint they know. All of the elements are here once again, and the band sound just like you’d expect. Strong guitars, heavy groove, and specific vocals are the strongest weapons, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a hit or two.

MILJAN MILEKIC

Ipecac (2016)

Father/Daughter Records (2016)

ANDREIA ALVES

FOR FANS OF: Colleen Green, Hinds, Frankie Cosmos

ANDI CHAMBERLAIN

FOR FANS OF: Melvins, Melvins & Melvins...

OUT NOW

8 POLAR No Cure No Saviour

Prosthetic Records (2016)

In case you were wondering, metalcore is still alive and well. But don’t believe in me, take a few spins of Polar’s new record No Cure No Saviour. With fast, energetic songs, and big sing along choruses they will show you metalcore can still be good, relevant and fresh. They haven’t invented anything, there is nothing new or unheard here, but the band managed to take the most out of slightly closed genre, and give a good record. With more than a few potential singles, and live favorites, No Cure No Saviour could lead Polar to a wider audience, and more recognition. They deserve it.

MILJAN MILEKIC

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05.08

8 MINDEN Sweet, Simple Things Hit City U.S.A. (2016)

There’s something tropical and sensual in Minden’s multi-layered sugary indie pop. The Portland outfit breeds authenticity and creative freedom, everything sounds smooth and funky. Frontman Casey Burge doesn’t shy away from writing about love betrayal or kinky sex, everything is “Simple Things”, woozy and wonderful infectious pop bubblegum smoothie. Delicious hooks, minimalist genre-crossing mellow danceable tunes with a classic funky groove twist, clearly invoking influence of classic and modern artists like Sly Stone, Curtis Mayfield, Beatles, Phoenix and Ariel Pink. Simple Things is the perfect artful pop album, full of soul and charming funky melodies as sweet as a gingerbread house. If you are still looking for something new and exciting in today’s pop music perhaps this might be your perfect choice.

FAUSTO CASAIS

OUT NOW

OUT NOW

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05.08

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MICHAEL KIWANUKA Love & Hate

MISERABLE Uncontrollable

How audacious can Michael Kiwanuka be? Dunno, but his sophomore album is undeniably daring. That manifests right in the first track, which with 10 minutes of duration only hears Kiwanuka’s voice five minutes in. But it doesn’t end there with Love & Hate, in fact, it goes to much greater lengths. The once smooth folk-soul stepped aside to a much darker, gut-wrenching, and overwhelmingly profound sound that often runs away of itself to avoid being pinpointed. There’s a lingering despair and Kinawuka seems to struggle all the way through. In his hardships and seemingly everlasting melancholy coexists an insatiable willing to keep on fighting and Kinawuka found his own lane in a magnificent and fresh celebration. An honest and soul-baring artistic manifesto that keeps on giving.

We know how hard to digest can be Kristina Esfandiari’s music, but on Miserable’s debut full-length album, it gets almost unbearable. Throughout all the 9 tracks that compose Uncontrollable, the shoegaze, doomy, jazzy, and bluesy approach provides the adequate soundtrack to a painful, intimate and personal reads of a diary filled with gut-wrenching, soulful, and (more than one would expect) anguished howls made by someone who walks a painful journey towards understanding and acceptance of the life’s dynamics. Even with its bleak and even depressive side, the album presents a hopeful undertone, which makes it all worth to go through again and again, and to some degree pleasurable. Uncontrollable is the kind of record that you want to explore for many years to come, and that’s rare.

Hopeless Records (2016)

FOR FANS OF: Benjamin Clementine, Curtis Mayfield

FOR FANS OF: The Cure, Nothing, King Woman

FOR FANS OF: Have Mercy, Sorority Noise, Citizen

TIAGO MOREIRA

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MOOSE BLOOD Blush

The Native Sound (2016)

Interscope (2016)

Summer

TIAGO MOREIRA

I’ll Keep You In Mind, From Time To Time, Moose Blood’s debut album, took the band to a stage that even they weren’t expecting. It was a massive release and that led to a lot and a lot of touring and experience as a group. It’s quite normal that bands learn and develop their sound while on the road and playing their songs over and over again, and the UK quartet took those experiences and life events to write their sophomore album. Blush is neat and appealing, their emo rock and pop punk energy continues to engage their tunes with fresh and strong guitar riffs and a steady rhythm section. The band is more grown for sure and feel stronger playing together. Blush isn’t so different from their previous album, but it’s another great effort.

ANDREIA ALVES


REVIEWS

Ebru Yildiz

MITSKI

Puberty 2

Dead Oceans (2016)

Puberty 2, the follow-up to 2014’s Bury Me At Makeout Creek, is as deeply connected with its predecessor as it is a kind of different beast all together. If the previous studio effort thrived in its energetic bursts, creating a certain layered cacophony to contrast the more soft-paced moments, the new album takes a more steady and confident approach piecing together, gently and dazzlingly, one of the most intimate, imposing,

OUT NOW

9 enthralling, and wonderfully crafted albums of 2016. Mitski’s voice takes the front seat with one truly memorable melody after the other in a fantastic trip through reality made with an extremely lush production that rewards the most respectful listener with its electronic slickness, irresistible guitar work, and even a heaven-like saxophone that dazzles right in the album’s opening track. Mitski, who before directed an orchestra of 30 people, is now

more interested in a more “simplistic” and “minimalist” setup (working with her sole collaborator and producer, Patrick Hyland). The attention to detail is daunting and the concept of space was never so well applied. The record never runs out of oxygen, allowing the witty metaphors of inner struggles that never go way and the pursuit of happiness and balance that always seems to fall short in the end to sink in. Truly brilliant!

FOR FANS OF: PJ Harvey, St. Vincent, Hop Along

TIAGO MOREIRA

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OUT NOW

8 NIGHT VERSES Into The Vanishing Light

Equal Vision Records (2016)

There’s an intensity that bubbles in the music of New York band Night Versus, and the man behind the microphone seems livid with life and the world. The bursting musical arrangements are wonderfully composed too on their new record Into The Vanishing Light, shaking the earth. The vocals also elevate and gain volatility and smash through like a bleeding knuckle, dismantling any real chance of subtlety. And who cares about softness, Night Versus certainly don’t, they’ve worked on a sound that fiercely unlocks the monster within you to cater for your torrid thoughts. The songs that make this album brilliant and joyous, include “A Dialogue In Cataplexy” and “Blue Shades Of The Sun”. They’re both hungry for exposure, crafted with expansive and dirty guitar lines as well as lyrics that tell a bludgeoned tale. MARK MCCONVILLE

FOR FANS OF: Deftones, Depeche Mode, letlive.

OUT NOW OUT NOW

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05.08

NAILS You Will Never Be One of Us

8

Nuclear Blast (2016)

As their third album is released Nails are already perceived as a very well-established band. The crowd knows what to expect from them: aggression, aggression and more aggression. They’re absolutely merciless! However, for the better or the worse that’s pretty much what there’s to say about their new album. ‘You Will Never Be One of Us’ does a good job at assembling old and newer approaches to the most violent hardcore and aggressive metal, especially when there is a certain Napalm Death reminiscence. Still, although watching Nails live is an interesting experience - for their set is insanely intense -, listening to the new album gets rather boring too soon. If you love this sort of music there’s nothing to complain about here – their songs are well crafted and do work -, but if you’re looking for something more interesting and risk-taking you better go somewhere else. RICARDO ALMEIDA

FOR FANS OF: Destroying everything...

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NAPOLEON Newborn Mind

Basick Records (2016)

8 NOMAD STONES Nomad Stones

Exeter band Napoleon strike like thunder on their new album Newborn Mind. The act, nullify any chance of subtlety, and utilize big and bold sounds. The guitars are played with authority and immense talent, naturally elevating, breaking the straps of limitation. The lyrics play a massive part too. They’re focused on with precision and intent. The choruses are all maximised and pivotal, infectious with breakneck breakdowns. Although we’re given astounding guitar sequences, the vocals and growls add a distinctive and decisive punch. The songs that evolve greatly on this release, are “Different Skin” and “Afterlife”. They’re both lyrically cohesive and the guitar presence isn’t predictable by any means. And that’s a great thing, being predictable ruins the formula and foundation of a record.

Formed in late 2015, we have a so called supergroup led by Adam McGrath (Cave In) and JR Conners (Cave In, Doomriders, ex- Goatsnake) with the desire to recreate as musicians who don’t want to feel stuck in their inspiration and art. Nomad Stones exploit inflamed jams of punk/noise rock, unlike the sludge, post-metal and hardcore bands members have formed in the past. It is simple and straightforward, no-nonsense rock ‘n’ roll. The songs are short like punky, noisy as it can be, and to the point of being the perfect soundtrack for a day of revolution or running. Still well there are musicians that do not refer only to create music for your initial band and are transported to another view or another field of activity and make new bets.

FOR FANS OF: Counterparts, Polar, Stick To Your Guns

FOR FANS OF: Cave In, Doomriders, Goatsnake

MARK MCCONVILLE

Brutal Panda Records (2016)

SERGIO KLIMORE


REVIEWS

19.08

8 PILL Convenience

OUT NOW

OUT NOW

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Mexican Summer (2016)

Convenience is Pill’s debut album. Expressive, intoxicating, visceral and, above all, exciting. Pill are here to get you out of your comfort zone, mess you up and they sound like nothing you have heard before. Aggressive and in your face, Convenience is damn sexy, ballzy and brightly detailed. Lyrically straightforward and politically sharp, Pill’s sound is like a roller coaster of noise with post-punk, perfectly blending free jazz and improvisation, where everything sounds cinematic, new and trashy. With Ben’s sax leading the path into chaos and Veronica’s incendiary vocal manifesto, the Brooklyn quartet show their incredible ability to capture a moment in time is artfully strong; emotionally, culturally and sonically. Full of tension and creative freedom, Convenience is perhaps one of the most weirdly awesome and empowering experience you might have this year. The perfect artist statement for this troubled times. FAUSTO CASAIS

FOR FANS OF: Sonic Youth, Priests, Naked City

PKEW PKEW PKEW Pkew Pkew Pkew

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS The Getaway

Pkew Pkew Pkew are just what the world needed. They are fast, funny, aggressive, simple and energetic. Skate Punk at its best. With a deep philosophy left to others, these Canadians made a perfect summer record, ideal for skateboarding, or drinking at house parties. Their songs are melodic as hell, with many, many sing along moments, and beats that just don’t let you stand still. They managed to squeeze as much as twelve songs in just over fifteen minutes. They see things with a great dose of humor, but they can be serious when needed. Which is not often. They even made a song about ordering pizza sound great. And yeah, if you ever need a new anthem, “Mid 20’s Skateboarder” is an obvious choice.

Considering the fact Red Hot Chili Peppers usually take around four or five years to put a record, saying that The Getaway is their best album in years just doesn’t do justice to it. This is the old school record Chili’s fans will probably find difficult to swallow. People who still cry for John Frusciante will have a good reason to keep doing so, but this record have enough quality to overcome losing legendary guitarist. The Getaway is slow, rhythm driven record, with some amazing melodies and deep lyrics. The atmosphere on the record is incredible, just asking for a movement, it walks through the night, or taking the four wheels and a board of choice. Chili’s are back, for real.

FOR FANS OF: Pup, The Dirty Nil, Gnarwolves

FOR FANS OF: Red Hot Chili Fucking Peppers...

Royal Mountain Records (2016)

Warner (2016)

MILJAN MILEKIC

MILJAN MILEKIC

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Nick Sayers

RUSSIAN CIRCLES OUT NOW

8

Guidance

Sargent House (2016)

05.08

8

There’s an old-world charm to Snake Church, but Ringworm remain as relevant and vital as they were 25 years ago. There’s a prevailing sense of doom throughout Snake Church, an all-consuming loss of hope in every lumbering riff and misanthropic vomiting of rage from James Bulloch, though it’s never content to accept its lot. It twists and writhes, delivering bursts of oblique energy that sound like John Zorn choreographing a knife fight between Napalm Death and Cro-Mags, and the three-car pile-up of deliberate heavy metal-isms, groove and hardcore is a glorious thing to hear. Before the days of Tapout shirts and UFC-lite moshpits, bands like this were going strong and breaking boundaries and it’s good to hear that there are a few who still are.

There’s always been something about Russian Circles that takes the post-crowd beyond their comfort zones, and while Empros’ astonishing scope and depth might have shown the sharpest fangs, every one of their releases has demonstrated some facet that opposed the often-clichéd state of instrumental rock. Happily, Guidance is no slouch either, a sleekly ferocious collection that shows that there are as many permeations to their formula as there are drops in the ocean. Sonically, it bears all the hallmarks of their work, with Dave Turncrantz’s skidding rolls and brass-laden bombast complimenting and occasionally contrasting with Mike Sullivan’s heavenly arpeggios and descents into blood-flecked metal, but their pushing towards the extremes is even more pronounced. Mota verges on Darkthrone territory, all savage blastbeats and distorted fury, while Lisboa’s sparse, deliberate Americana provides the antithesis to the album’s heavier terrain, images of sun-blistered plains and a post-apocalyptic sense of calm exemplifying the Chicagoans’ ability to act as much as a visual treat as an audible one. The shifts between poles aren’t always the gentlest, the transitions often jarring the listener out of whatever reverie they’ve been lulled into, yet again, it plays to their strengths, sidestepping cinematic soars and choosing a path that is more natural in its violence and grace. Free of melodrama and pretence and laden with more colossal riffing than you can shake a pedal board at, Guidance sounds like a band widening a channel that they, and they alone, have created.

FOR FANS OF: Napalm Death, Cro-Mags, Black Breath

FOR FANS OF: Pelican, Red Sparrows, Caspian, Long Distance Calling

RINGWORM Snake Church

Relapse Records (2016)

DAVE BOWES

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DAVE BOWES


REVIEWS

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05.08

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SARABANTE Poisonous Legacy

STORM THE SKY Sin Will Find You

SCIENTISTS 10100II00101

We are all aware of what’s happening in Greece, where people’s life is on hold, days of discontent and rebellion seem to never end. All result of the measures and political actions imposed by the powers that be... Originally formed in Athens and clearly influenced by those events, writing music with anger and assault to its power, which protrudes them naturally. Settling their foundations in Crust and Hardcore, their sound is chaotic, from the first to the last second. Not denying a connection to other musical branches. In fact, in some of the tracks on this record denoted a more death metal characterization within its hardcore side. Poisonous Legacy is a raw and aggressive work in the most natural latent form that brings your feelings to the surface.

The Melbourne-based band that not too long ago was considered to be a post-hardcore outfit has changed. With the departure of screamer and vocalist Daniel Breen, the band took a more introspective approach – “(…) intentionally 100% based on my life,” confessed new singer, William Jarratt – to their lyrics which seem to have influenced their sound. A band that once worked around explosive bursts of energy with screams, they’re now a seemingly unit of self-expression that’s more interested in subtle movements wrapped around in a kind of soft sound that welcomes rock, pop, and electro music. Sin Will Find You seems the beginning of something more unique, but fails in delivering a sound that’s truly staggering by swimming in the more common waters of the alt-pop/rock world.

In my research about this new band from Chicago, I read the term “Architectural Metal” and after hearing these gentlemen play it’s easy to agree with the designation. The mastery with which they concoct a blend of sludge, alternative and experimental metal does create an architectural music score that demands the listener’s full attention to capture the sense of melodic and structural complexity. The sound is full and intensely distorted to create a heavy and tortuous sound peppered with some ever so light djent and industrial influences. It takes most bands a life time’s work to create a mature and well rounded sound, but these musicians pulled it off with their debut album.

FOR FANS OF: Jungbluth, Okkultokrati, Momentum

FOR FANS OF: Palisades, Nothing But Thieves, The 1975

FOR FANS OF: Mastodon, Neurosis, Isis

UNFD (2016)

Southern Lord Records (2016)

SERGIO KILMORE

Hell Comes Home (2016)

NUNO BABO

TIAGO MOREIRA

OUT NOW

05.08

26.08

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SWITCHFOOT Where The Light Shines Through

TESA GHOST

THE ALBUM LEAF Between Waves

Switchfoot are one of those bands who offer emotion as their strongest weapon. In their music, the lyrics were always the first thing to listen, and by this day, things haven’t changed much. Their words are strong, heart on the sleeve, and hit hard as always. Musically, this is typical Switchfoot – mid tempo alternative rock with emo edges. Distorted bass guitar, is still foundation, with acoustic guitars and keyboards having no small part in the band’s sound. The vocals are once again on the verge of hypnotic, with emotions clearly as a leading force. If Jimmy Eat World are the kings of this genre, Switchfoot are one of their closest guards. Where The Light Shines Through may not be their strongest record, but it’s well worth the attention.

A strong focus on layered dynamics, pummelling sludge grooves and corkscrewing sonics puts Latvian trio TESA in a similar camp to touring mates Neurosis, but that’s where most similarities end. Whereas the latter are all about the power of contemplation and action, G H O S T is focused on a more immediate sense of reaction, be it in the urgent drive of H’s galloping stomp or, conversely, in T’s sparse echoes, its forlorn melodies suspended upon a web of fuzz. Pushing vocals down to barely audible levels and offering a profoundly moving sense of emotional resonance, TESA’s picture of energy and passivity locked in a never-ending scrap is a bloody, hypnotic battle royale.

The Album Leaf is the solo musical adventure by Jimmy LaValle – guitarist of San Diego’s post-rock band Tristeza. Between Waves is the first proper full-length record in over six years and the first to be recorded and produced as a complete band. There is this sense of cohesion and new found dynamics, all the songs are languid plateaux of musical pleasure and everything seems multi detailed and layered. Between Waves brings the sinuous electronica of Four Tet and the disorientating chaotic ambience of Radiohead’s The King Of Limbs, full of sonic boundless experimentation and intense electronic soundscapes. Strong, minimalist and dynamic, this is perhaps the most accomplished The Album Leaf effort ever.

FOR FANS OF: Jimmy Eat World, Amberlin, Relient K

FOR FANS OF: Neurosis, Year Of No Light, Amenra

FOR FANS OF: Four Tet, Boards Of Canada, Radiohead

Spinefarm/Vanguard Records (2016)

MILJAN MILEKIC

My Proud Mountain (2016)

Relapse Records (2016)

DAVE BOWES

FAUSTO CASAIS

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Shervin Lainez

05.08

THE JULIE RUIN Hit Reset

Hardly Art (2016)

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Evoking genuine emotion through music is always something hard to do. But connecting every single track in its own place in time is something quite difficult to achieve. Well, these dudes actually did that. Seems hard to do, but when life happens everything seems quite random, but when life is able to set that mark, memory or moment and define our past, present and future everything gets a new meaning. Epoch is exciting and sharp, everything sounds real and honest, from the emotional heavy “Searchlights”, the powerful “Dreamless” (feat. Marcus Bridge from Northlane) to the non-conformist anthem “Ignited Youth”. An ambitious and brave effort from a band that are getting out of their own comfort zone, in an emotional manifesto of hope, love and change.

Long gone are the days when Bikini Kill first emerged and being one of the punk bands to standout in the 1990s, mostly because of their urgency to fight against sexism and other social issues. Well, that’s really well known by now, and since then their legacy lives on until this day, especially with frontwoman Kathleen Hanna. The Julie Ruin started as her solo project in 1998, then it was left on hold, and finally it all really began in late 2009. Assuming that The Julie Ruin would be a continuation/combination of Bikini Kill and Le Trigre (Hanna’s band) wasn’t completely overdrawn, but the truth is, The Julie Ruin is a much cohesive and personal band that Hanna has been involved with and the proof was their 2013’s self-released album, Run Fast. It was such an awesome and inspiring moment to witness. Now Hanna and her bandmates are back with album number two, Hit Reset. From danceable pop beats to indie moody melodies, the band is much unified and stronger together and that also reflects on Hanna’s approach. Her lyrics are as pointed and poignant as usual, but she Hanna takes a leap into much more personal stuff such as illness, abuse, sexism, among other subjects. Tracks like “I Decide” and “Mr. So And So” are as catchy and playful as they’re instrospective and delicate. It’s really amazing how Kathleen still brings so much energy and empowerment into her music throughout these years and she never really stops or backs down of doing what she feels is the damn right.

FOR FANS OF: Architects, Bring Me The Horizon, Northlane

FOR FANS OF: Ex Hex, Sleater-Kinney, Wild Flag

THE BRAVE Epoch

UNFD (2016)

FAUSTO CASAIS

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ANDREIA ALVES


REVIEWS

19.08

26.08

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THE COLOR MORALE Desolate Divine

THE WOUNDED KINGS Visions In Bone

TTNG Disappointment Island

Trying to explore new sound territories is always a bold statement. Expanding their creative pallet in order to search for new dynamics to match their poetic aggression and their lyrical message was something quite challenging for them, but overall the result is not impressive but quite good. Desolate Divine is a confident effort, emotionally strong that keeps The Coral Morale signature breakdowns along with big and infectious riffs, contrasting heavy full-throttle assault with clean and sometimes repetitive BMTH That’s the Spirit vocal style. Too much polished but strangely addictive, Desolate Divine is a change, but also a step forward into the band’s own identity, somehow seems they set the foundations for the next chapter.

The Wounded Kings are one of the few bands that still capture the pure essence of doom. Britain’s occult heritage is still the starting point to this insanely heavy doom climax journey, where their dense and crunchy riffage blends with their horror meets psychedelic dark foundations. Visions In Bone is intense and menacing, like a continuous and repetitive punishment over the listener, full of sorrow and danger. George Birch powerful vocal performance is for sure a standout, the songs are distinctive long, depressive and slow. Visions In Bone is solid, smells like 90’s classic doom and it’s a damn ride full of twists and turns straight into the heart of your favorite funeral doom.

TTNG (formerly This Town Needs Guns) come out with a sense of quirky, mischievous wonder with new LP Disappointment Island. Jangly, dreamy musical backgrounds to while away the summer. The shoegazey, indie on display here harks back to the art-rock stylings of Talking Heads on occasion, but is an inventive sound all of their own creation. Songs like “A Chase Of Sorts” and “Whatever, Whenever” highlight a band who are happy to show off their songwriting chops, but are full of easy going, laid back ambivalence it’s a wonder the band ever made it to the studio. Cool, unique rock music which is lyrically nuanced, musically inventive and full of cool little moments that will keep you hooked ‘till the final notes ring out. Worth a listen if you’re looking for something new and different.

FOR FANS OF: The Word Alive, Blessthefall, BMTH

FOR FANS OF: Cathedral, Woods Of Ypres, Cough

FOR FANS OF: Talking Heads, The 1975, American Football

Sargent House (2016)

Candlelight/Spinefarm Records (2016)

Fearless Records (2016)

FAUSTO CASAIS

FAUSTO CASAIS

ANDI CHAMBERLAIN

OUT NOW

OUT NOW

OUT NOW

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VANNA All Hell

VHS Gift Of Life

VINNIE CARUANA Survivor’s Guilt

“‘All Hell’ is everything we’ve been through, all the problems, all the pain, all the lessons we’ve learned or were forced to face. But make no mistake. These songs aren’t confessions —they’re us being proud and owning the people we are now.” – said Dave Muise. It’s fair to say that All Hell represents an exciting new chapter for the Boston lads and easily Muise’s most aggressive vocal delivery ever. They managed to take their sound even further, resulting in an overwhelmingly apocalyptic wave of pure and noisy punk rock. Impressively produced and engineered by Will Putney, All Hell blends new with old elements, sounds fresh and intense, something close of discordant cacophony of frantic and caustic musical energy.

Jagged arty post-rock from Seattle is not a new thing. Like Grunge it is the cities go-to flavor of rock... However, for every ten a penny act doing it, there are few who can break into the mainstream’s zeitgeist with any real meaning – Violent Human System (VHS) are making a good dash to the front of the parade though. Gift of Life is an edgy, urgent and attention seeker burst of eight songs – each with brittle edges and furry sides, but each with no less charm because of it. A deep retrofired sound makes it sound like a seventies garage band supporting Bowie or The Ramones, but it has an irascible joy all its own. A suave, naughty little record that will steal your heart and mind and demand many repeat listens. Well done boys.

Vinnie Caruana is a lyrical magician. His words are truly emotive and understood. He prides himself on his wordplay, and on his solo effort Survivor’s Guilt, the I Am The Avalanche frontman, dazzles. He pushes for truth and desire, placing his heart and soul into his muse, capturing the essence of acoustic wonderment. He also wears his heart on his sleeve, singing about love being strangled to the point of it turning blue. If you’re looking for a record to dance to, then Survivor’s Guilt isn’t that album. It’s progressive and humble, but sad and sombre too. Songs such as “Angel Of The North” and “Gem Street” capture the talent of Caruana like a snapshot. The acoustic guitar pulsates and his gritty vocals empower.

FOR FANS OF: Every Time I Die, Norma Jean, Defeater

FOR FANS OF: Plague Vendor, Baddies, Icarus Line

FOR FANS OF: I Am The Avalanche, Frank Turner

Pure Noise Records (2016)

Equal Vision Records (2016)

Suicide Squeeze (2016)

FAUSTO CASAIS

ANDI CHAMBERLAIN

MARK MCCONVILLE

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FRESH CUTS OUT NOW

7 SONIC BOOM SIX The F-Bomb

Cherry Red Records (2016)

The eclectic Manchester five-piece are back. One of the most chaotic bands around are ready to take back their place as one of the most important UK punk bands of the new generation. The F-Bomb is yet another great work, with quite a different approach. Trough career, Sonic Boom Six became known for blending almost every genre that ever existed, with ska punk as dominant component, but this time this it is more dominant than ever. It can be called as going back to their roots, but if feels way more like a band just felt like doing it than planned action. But make no mistake, this is a strong record. MILJAN MILEKIC

05.08

7 THE RUMJACKS Sleeping’ Rough

FOUR || FOUR / Proper Music (2016)

The Rumjacks are a bunch of folk punks from Sydney, Australia. They play music from the heart, with soul and raw emotion. Somewhere between Flogging Molly, GBH and Dropkick Murphys, their sound is incendiary and strong solid. Their Celtic folk roots are all over the place, but their punk soul is the fuel to ignite their genre cocktail of diversity. Their rampant energy is full of hooks and it’s almost impossible to not sing along and dance to their melodic driven anthems. Sleeping’ Rough is a great album in its own right, an infectious upbeat celebration of life.

FAUSTO CASAIS

Jimmy Fontaine

26.08

8

8 TRUE LOVE Heaven’s Too Good For Us Bridge 9 (2016)

True Love is a straight edge band from Michigan/Detroit, launching a solid record built in sound and style of the new era of hardcore, full of rebellion, passionate and raging, at full speed, and half of breakdown. Their esque sound is somewhere between Modern Life is War and Defeater. It was recorded with Andy Nelson in Chicago Bricktop Studios, and the album features vocal appearances by guests from Turnstile’s Brendan Yates and Forced Order’s Nick Samayoa. Heaven’s Too Good For Us is a real in your face effort, full of attitude and capability to prove that the next generation of the hardcore scene is a real thing. MILJAN MILEKIC

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VOMITFACE Hooray For Me

Help Yourself Records (2016)

More often than not side projects and super groups tend to be nothing but a simple rehash of old ideas, and recycling of old songs that didn’t make the cut. Fortunately, this project from former Ved Buens End members is something completely different from other so called bands. Surely there are many similarities between the previously mentioned band and this one, but that should be perceived as a band that is as much a natural extension as a reaction to the fearless experimentation of Ved Buens End. To call this a metal album would be a very risky proposition; this is fearlessly experimental music with the jazz leniencies of Voivod mashed together with early eighties experimental post-punk.

Vomitface may sound filthy, noisy and possibly crazy. But like all true expressions of artistic insanity and erratic wildness there’s a genius at work here. Hooray For Me, their debut full-length was recorded by the always awesome Steve Albini, sounds crazy good and infectiously addictive. Somewhere between Nirvana’s punk attitude and Shellac’s noisy cathartic experience, Vomitface like many other bands were raised with punk ideals and that slacker grunge pedigree. They dare and take chances, everything sounds so damn immediate, full of heavy doses of sarcasm and intelligent punchy lines. Hooray For Me is an frenetic and dynamic standout, deeply moody and unfashionable sexy, for sure one of the most ambitious and original releases of this year. The one and only Steve Albini said at the end of the recording sessions that the songs “sounded fine”, you can’t have best approval than that.

FOR FANS OF: Voivod, Solefald, Dødheimsgard

FOR FANS OF: Nirvana, Shellac, Mudhoney

VIRUS Memento Collider

Karisma Records (2016) OUT NOW

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NUNO BABO

FAUSTO CASAIS


REVIEWS

REVIEWED IN OUR NEXT ISSUE OUT NOW

7 WITH CONFIDENCE Better Weather

Hopeless Records (2016)

Rushing guitars and infectious vocal work are evident on the new record from Sydney band With Confidence. Their sound bubbles with a certain intensity and groove, propelling the band to a higher platform. Although, the wordplay is simple, it connects, it tells a story of lost love and rotten lust. And the act are certainly a pop punk outfit that are here to withstand the rush, the ruthless music industry. Their new record Better Weather isn’t all about sex and booze laced parties, there is a cohesiveness to the work. Songs like “We’ll Be Okay” and “Long Night” showcase spirit and musical punch. Both tracks alert the inner emotion, colliding with pessimism, but there’s hope under the stern weight.

TOUCHÉ AMORÉ Stage Four

WOVENHAND Star Treatment

EMMA RUTH RUNDLE Marked For Death

OATHBREAKER Rheia

NEUROSIS Fires Within Fires

AGAINST ME! Shape Shift With Me

RED FANG Only Ghosts

NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS Skeleton Tree

ANGEL OLSEN My Woman

JENNY HVAL Blood Bitch

MARK MCCONVILLE

FOR FANS OF: Neck Deep, State Champs, Knuckle Puck

OUT NOW

7 YOUNG MOON Colt

Western Vinyl (2016)

Deeply charming and at times melancholic, this new offering from Trevor Montgomery aka Young Moon brings forward all your favourite components from artists such as the imitable Nick Cave, with the more approachable instrumentation of Elbow. It can feel like a bit of a slog listening to the whole record, but that’s due to the rich and creamy nature of the instrumentation and vocals. Good in smaller doses, but after a while you feel that you might just need a break. If anything, that’s a compliment, it’s certainly a gift that Young Moon have and absolutely own. Inspired by a gruelling break up, as all great albums are, Colt dives into the psyche of the heartbroken and gives it a voice and sound that has been missing for a long time. Not one for the summer, but definitely should be on your radar. STEVEN LOFTIN

FOR FANS OF: Nick Cave, Elbow, The National

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DRIVE LIKE JEHU

SAVAGES

NOS PRIMAVERA SOUND

Parque da Cidade, Porto - Thursday

Words by Fausto Casais // Photos by Hugo Lima (NPS) After four successful editions NOS Primavera Sound was once again back in Porto. So, for their fifth edition the weather was finally awesome, the line up was crazy good but not everything was freaking perfect. For the first time we witnessed several issues, from the extreme and loud noise when it was not supposed to, to the stupid change of place of one of the most important stages of the festival, what the fuck was that? But wait, the main complaint is for the stupid VIP section, people who are just there to look good on a music festival is really shameful… The first day started with the always boring Sensible Soccers, then U.S. Girls. Meghan Remy voice was too damn loud. Not a good way to start this year’s edition! Wild Nothing’s dreamy indie was competent, sometimes way too good for the boring audience. When Sigur Rós took the stage it was the first time we felt that NOS Primavera Sound was finally getting started, it was late night and the vast soundscapes, the detailed and cinematic post-almost everything paraphernalia was again on auto pilot. They’re not the band they used to be, they’re not the headliners they once were, it was good but not that impressive or even memorable. Fortunately, we still had Parquet Courts to save this boring first day, they were intense, complex, raw and melodically heavy. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but damn good!

NOS PRIMAVERA SOUND

Parque da Cidade, Porto - Friday

Words by Fausto Casais // Photos by Hugo Lima (NPS) Second day, basically started with the living legend that is Brian Wilson, performing Pet Sounds in full. Our expectations for this were low, and unfortunately we can’t expect much of Brian Wilson nowadays, his health problems and his age are clearly some serious issues, specially when you are performing one of the most brilliant albums in music 132

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LIVE!

PJ HARVEY ALGIERS

history. Let’s say that this show was something that if Brian Wilson was in control of everything he never would let this happen. It was only another bucket list show, only that. Then we pay a visit to Dinosaur Jr., still sound relevant and quite better than almost every single band that tries to sound like them, they were at their absolute best. When Jehnny Beth took the stage we’ve already knew what was about to happen, pure riot and perhaps the best show of the fest. Savages are one of the few bands that still mean something, they’re the real deal and their sound is honest, raw and emotionally heavy. One hell of an experience that will be in our memory for years to come. We ran to PJ Harvey, she brings her latest record ‘The Hope Six Demolition Project’ to life, nothing to say, it’s PJ fucking Harvey, still unique and inspirational. As for Mudhoney. Well, they were Mudhoney. They rock! The iconic grunge survivors were there to slash the audience and their goal was achieved. All these years, and vocalist Mark Arm’s feral attitude and guitarist Steve Turner’s distorted guitar solos still sound edgy and unsettling enough.

NOS PRIMAVERA SOUND

Parque da Cidade, Porto - Saturday MUDHONEY

Words by Fausto Casais // Photos by Hugo Lima (NOS Primavera Sound) Final day of NOS Primavera Sound started for us with Algiers, the Atlanta’s punk-noise-electro-gospel innovators Algiers were there to leave their mark. The show was dark and emotionally heavy. Their shows are not for everyone, but their message is effective and powerful, their sound is fresh and no one sounds like them. Car Sea Headrest were one of the nicest surprises of the fest, their indie noise rock Pavement meets Radiohead was excellent, and let’s face it only few bands can match this formula nowadays. Impressive! Time for Drive Like Jehu, one of the most important post-hardcore bands of all time. The quartet sounded like they hadn’t lost a step, the show was heavy, raw and full of classic cuts from the past. Quite cool to see Rick Froberg and John Reis on stage again. Another bucket list show! Finally, Unsane and Shellac, both suffer from the same issue, their sound was too damn annoying and loud, we had to step back a lot to hear everything in perfection. We love Steve Albini and Shellac, but this time around and because of all the stupid technical problems we’re not in the same page. musicandriots.com

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THE MELVINS Koko, London

Words by Anastasia Psarra & Photos by Fabio Poupinha

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he Melvins returned to London for what now seems to be an annual affair for them, bringing their good kind of music to a packed out Koko on a rainy Sunday evening. Getting the crowd warmed up without the help of any support up acts would have been a difficult task to tackle for a lot of bands out there but the Melvins did it in their unique style sending bodies flying across what

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probably was the happiest moshpit London’s rock and metal world has ever experienced (since their last performance anyway!). The band unleashed their fusion of rock, metal and psychedelia opening with old favourite ‘Eye Flys’ and an ominous cover of the Kiss classic ‘Deuce’ giving us a taste of what was about to follow. As they were tearing through a catalogue of old and new, it was obvious that the band hadn’t simply put to gether a setlist to please the fans, they had chosen songs they were

drawing energy from as musicians turning their whole performance into a pulsating experience. Buzz was filling his share of the stage with his massive sludgy riffs and his commanding presence while McDonald and Crover proved that their bond was much stronger than their matching, glitter logo t-shirts reading Bass and Drums respectively as they seemed to be bouncing off each other throughout the set. A lot has been said and written about how unpredictable and excellent


LIVE!

musicians these guys are but what makes them truly stand out in a live setting is their chemistry. Everyone in the audience could sense it on the night. A tight trio of musicians who respected each other’s space and maintained their unique traits and quirks. The Melvins held nothing back and their fans reciprocated, by the time the night drew to a close with the madness of ‘Night Goat’ everything had quietened down much like the calm after a storm. Until next time. musicandriots.com

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PIERCE THE VEIL

PIERCE THE VEIL + I THE MIGHTY + MOVEMENTS The Mayan Theater, Los Angeles Words & Photo by Eliza Britney

As the time got closer to the opening band’s set time, the crowd grew bigger and more furious. The lights dimmed and the excitement echoed against the theatre’s walls. Thousands of instantaneous cheers, roaring. Pierce The Veil’s last date on The Midadventures tour was completely sold out, hitting Los Angeles with one of the biggest bands in the music scene. Movements, a 4-piece from SoCal hit the stage first and the crowd went insane. They kicked it off with a banger and by their last song the crowd was still just as intrigued as they were when the band started. Pierce The Veil and I The Mighty came out during Movements last song and pranked them by dancing along on stage! The people loved all the excitement. By this time now, it’s I The Mighty’s turn to appear on stage. 136

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Their stage presence conveys confidence and enthusiasm, as they are a 4-piece from the great state of California. The concert attenders push each other closer to the barricade in hopes to touch the musicians. Their song hits off with a powerful one that keeps everyone’s blood pumping! By then end of their set, the other two bands come out and prank them back, this time with boa scarves, coconut tops, and taping an inflatable pink dolphin to the mic stand. Finally, the theatre becomes impatient with excitement as it is now time for what everyone has been waiting for. The prominent, Pierce the Veil of San Diego, CA is ready for their kick-off date of tour. They begin with the all famous song ‘Texas Is Forever’ off their most recent album release,

Misadventures. The crowd was singing and dancing along to every single word. During the middle of the song, the confetti canons triggered and out spilled the glorious sights of red shreds of paper falling to the ground as the crowd roared once more! Next was their single, ‘Divine Zero’. Two songs later, they sang their first ever radio-played song, ‘Circles’. On their last set song, King For A Day the other bands came out and pranked PTV back by throwing rolls of toilet paper all of them and the stage. But it didn’t faze anyone. All the members kept killing the stage as they were before! The Misadventures Tour was beyond what I expected it was going to be. The fan base and musicians who are a part of the punk-rock scene, is definitely where it is at. Don’t miss out!


LIVE!

SUMAC

SUMAC + SUN KIL MOON + MAMIFFER

Hard Club, Porto

Words by Tiago Moreira & Photo by Andreia Alves It was a fine summer evening and everything seemed perfect for a great night of concerts. Opening the festivities was the experimental duo Mamiffer (Faith Coloccia and Aaron Turner) presenting their latest studio effort, The World Unseen. With a sound that revolves around Turner’s distorted guitars and Coloccia’s beautiful piano and voice, the duo was unable to replicate live the staggering beauty of their album and with the exception of a handful of undeniable astounding moments the concert was borderline-dull sometimes even going as far as being unbearable. A certain lack of purpose and structure in their ambient meets drone wanderings.

But not even the disappointment of Mamiffer’s performance could undermine the pure brilliancy of Sun Kil Moon’s show. Mark Kozelek, accompanied by America’s Most Wanted, delivered a spontaneously brilliant 90-minute run, where everything seemed possible. From a witty humor to frightening introspective moments, the experience was of an admirable and almost unreal roller coast of great emotional depth. Kozelek proved once and for all why he’s one of the few able to match Bruce Springsteen genius in the highly revered Nebraska era. Playing songs from his collaborative album with Jesu (Justin K. Broadrick), the acclaimed Benji album, and the most recent Universal

Themes, the biggest highlight was the unreleased song, “Me? We!”, inspired by the great Muhammad Ali about the Orlando shootings, the problem with gun control, and all the madness going on the world. Pure magic. To close the night, Sumac. The trio Aaron Turner (ex-Isis and Old Man Gloom), Brian Cook (ex-Botch and These Arms Are Snakes), and Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists), presented their latest album, What One Becomes, and delivered an extremely savage and violent assault of metal with unhealthy extreme and abrasive tendencies. Monstrous riff after monstrous riff, the night closed with a performance of a band that actually is better on stage that off stage.

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STRANGER THINGS - SEASON 1 (NETFLIX)

CREATORS: Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer STARRING: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Cara Buono, Matthew Modine, Joe Keery, Rob Morgan USA 2016

T

here’s always something more in Stranger Things, perhaps is another nostalgia affair that goes deep into your heart. At a certain point we’re flirting with the past, with some of our favourite movies, characters or even unforgettable 80’s movie scenes. We could be so damn cliché and say

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that Stranger Things is a thrilling homage of 80’s sci-fi meets horror meets thriller movies, but The Duffer Brothers created something quite beautiful, rich and memorable.Stranger Things’ plot is quite simplistic and compelling, but pure entertainment. In fact, twin creators Matt and Ross Duffer pictured the 80’s so well, making it clear the type of coming-ofage nostalgia adventure films they’re honouring. Set in 80’s Indiana, where Will (Noah Schnapp), a young boy vanishes into thin air and the search for him includes friends, family and local police. Their search for answers, draws them into

an extraordinary darker and sometimes frightening mystery involving top-secret government experiments, supernatural forces and one very strange little girl with powerful abilities. The heart of the show are Will’s friends. Mike - or Frogface to his bullies - (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), they are leading the quest to rescue Will, but everything gets more strange and interesting when they cross paths with the amazing Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), a strange and innocent mysterious girl. From Will’s out of control mom (the amazing Wynona Ryder), who never backs


CINEMA & TV

10 down to find her son, to Will’s sometimes weird old brother Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), everything follows the classic 80’s nostalgic characters. We get the classic lost chief of police (David Harbour), the strange doctor (Matthew Modine) and even a group of cliché 80’s teenagers and their soapy love triangle. Stranger Things is nostalgia driven unique adventure, it’s easy to get lost in time when there are so many references to the films you grown up loving and admiring. From The Thing poster spotted on the wall, to the walkie-talkies, the kids travel around on bikes and we even get to see

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe on TV. There are obvious references to Stand By Me, The Thing, Poltergeist, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and of course The Goonies, but there’s also a classic X-Files approach on it. Let’s say that The Duffer Brothers were clearly influenced by Spielberg, John Carpenter and Richard Donner among others, but what’s more impressive is the way that they somehow pay tribute to their influences, without being cheesy and random imitators. Stylish and fresh, even if they lose in originality, the Duffers replicate the sci-fi blockbusters family films of the 80’s with a perfect script, terrific

performances and compelling characters. They captured the starting point, the essence and purity of the 80’s pop culture, how we had fun with simple things and how we can honestly say that we miss the 80’s. It was a pleasure for this writer living the 80’s and experiencing the 80’s that can never be taken away from me. By the way, have you met Austin soundscapists S U R V I V E? They’re the band behind the Stranger Things nostalgic and creepy awesome score. Go find them, google them, they deserve all the praise.

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MUSTANG

8

DIRECTOR: Deniz Gamze Ergüven STARRING: Günes Sensoy, Doga Zeynep Doguslu, Tugba Sunguroglu, Elit Iscan, Ilayda Akdogan, Nihal G. Koldas, Ayberk Pekcan, Bahar Kerimoglu, Burak Yigit, Erol Afsin, Serife Kara FRANCE/GERMANY/TURKEY/QATAR 2015

T

he Turkish cinema seems to be experiencing somewhat of a renascence and Ergüven’s debut feature, which was nominated for the Oscars 2016 Foreign Language Film and won four César awards in France, tells an equally tragic and beautiful story. Mustang will slowly lure you into a false sense of innocence watching five young sisters coming of age before its cruel reality daunts on you. Five orphaned sisters are raised by their conservative grandmother and uncle whose main concern is to keep their virginity hymen intact so they can

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find them a good husband. When the girls are seen by neighbours splashing around in the sea on the shoulders of their male classmates, their guardians decide that in order to maintain the respectability of the family in the local community, drastic measures must be taken. Spending the summer locked inside, the house gets turned into a “wife factory/prison” with the girls desperately looking for a way out. An atmosphere of feeling trapped with brush strokes of the determination to conquer freedom regardless of the consequences; borderline admirable and self-destructive. Even though the subject of forced

marriages and women’s rights in Turkey can be enraging and the director touches upon a reality which unfortunately doesn’t belong to the middle ages provoking death threats against her and the actresses, the film is not without its light-heartedness and at times the cinematography allows you to paint a different story of young innocence. What’s really remarkable is that the young girls, apart from one of them, had never acted before and it’s this purity that filters through to performances and makes the overall result relatable. ANASTASIA PSARRA


CINEMA & TV

8

THE NICE GUYS

DIRECTOR: Shane Black STARRING: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Yaya DaCosta, Keith David, Beau Knapp, Lois Smith, Murielle Telio, Gil Gerard, Daisy Tahan, Kim Basinger, Jack Kilmer, Ty Simpkins USA 2016 Shane Black’s The Nice Guys is a homage to great action comedies that we just don’t get anymore such as the Lethal Weapon series and The Last Boyscout, both of which Black wrote. With his latest venture, Shane Black proves he is one of - if not the best - the best action comedy screenwriter around. The film follows Holland March (Ryan Gosling) and Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) working together to uncover the mysterious death of a fading porn star in the late 70’s. The premise is very simple, reminiscent of an early Paul Thomas Anderson feature, but works tremendously well with all the creative, quirky characters and plot threads to keep the viewer interested. Detractors may say this is too similar to Black’s previous buddy cop film, 2005’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but the time period and homages to the reference material from the 80’s and early 90’s keeps you too entertained to notice or even be bothered. While the villains are underdeveloped and quite weak (despite the great Keith David making an appearance), The Nice Guys is certainly a film that will achieve cult status and rightly deserve it. Hopefully a few sequels will spawn and this will become a Lethal Weapon for the modern generation. JOE DOYLE

1

SUICIDE SQUAD

DIRECTOR: David Ayer STARRING: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, David Harbour, Robin Atkin Downes, Shailyn Pierre-Dixon, Jared Leto, James McGowan, Jim Parrack, Cara Delevingne, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Ezra Miller USA 2016 What a mess! David Ayer failed, the stellar cast was trapped in the dull and sloppy plot. Suicide Squad was freaking painful to watch and boring as hell, the whole movie editing is shameful. You can’t introduce the characters for 30 damn minutes and spend the rest of the movie in fast-forward mode, with random dialogues and rushing everything to the end. Deadshot, El Diablo, Croc, Boomerang, Katana, Amanda Waller or even Rick Flag looked strong and promising at the beginning, but after those 30 minutes everything seems like a roller coaster of bad and sad mistakes. The Joker character is not bad, it’s a different kind of Joker, but we’re not fully convinced by Jared Leto as The Joker, let’s see what the future holds for him. By the way, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn was awesome, erratic, fun and beautifully fucked-up. Everything we hoped for. Suicide Squad doesn’t deserve the hype. Unfortunately, David Ayer was dead wrong for being too concerned with being politically correct and humane, FAUSTO CASAIS this movie is sexist and lacks audacity, strong dialogues, good editing and a strong soundtrack. What a mess!

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